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Beware the Attack Basset
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Should the two merge, it seems most likely that DISH will spin off its satellite and streaming TV business. A new privately held joint venture company will be formed that is owned by AT&T and the publicly traded company currently named DISH. AT&T may have majority ownership (e.g. 60% to 40%) but DISH (and specifically, Charlie Ergen) would have a greater voice in shaping strategy for the joint venture. (Sound familiar? This is following the same template as the DTV spin-out from AT&T and the formation of their current joint venture with TPG.) TPG will not own any part of the new joint venture. They want to liquidate their holding in DTV.
The failure in this scenario is that it simply replaces TPG with DISH's pay TV operation in controlling DIRECTV. AT&T doesn't get substantially closer to their goal of liquidating DIRECTV.

From the standpoint of the FTC and others who concern themselves with viable competition, DISH pay TV is effectively identical to DIRECTV and competition is effectively removed from the DBS marketplace.
 

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How many more subscribers does each company need to lose before they're considered small enough for it to not be an issue? :)
 

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The failure in this scenario is that it simply replaces TPG with DISH's pay TV operation in controlling DIRECTV. AT&T doesn't get substantially closer to their goal of liquidating DIRECTV.
AT&T will probably never be able to liquidate DIRECTV because no one wants it. They tried finding a buyer for several months and all they could find was TPG, who was only willing to (temporarily) buy 30% with the caveat that they essentially be in the driver's seat so that they could quickly steer it toward a tie-up with DISH as soon as they believed the government would allow it.

The same holds true for DISH. No one would buy it outright. The reality is that both satellite TV operations generate a fair amount of cash but that profit stream is in irreversible long-term decline. There would probably be no upside for a third-party buyer unless they were able to purchase either business at a fire-sale price. So the best thing for both AT&T and DISH to do is just to join forces and merge their TV operations in order to cut costs and make that business as profitable as possible until it dies. Should they merge, they'll continue to generate cash that will be split between AT&T and DISH according to whatever formula is struck in the merger negotiations.
 

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It isn't nonsensical at all from the satellite reception perspective. If you can program a DISH receiver to handle SWiM, you're almost done. MoCA differences may be a show stopper.
I doubt there are any MoCA differences. The SoCs used in both Directv and Dish hardware are industry standard, and almost certainly support both the band Directv uses and the band Dish uses (plus others that neither use)

With the appropriate software I have little doubt a Hopper 3 could talk to a Directv SWM dish or switch.
 

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Two satellite constellations don't cost a whole lot more than one (mostly electricity) and there are significant advantages to where the DISH satellites are located. It has always been DISH's plan to have two constellations (though the Western Arc was supposed to be considerably further west). MPEG2 is nobody's friend and there's still no deadline from DIRECTV other than losing or upgrading those MPEG2 customers "naturally" while DISH has already eliminated MPEG4 from the Eastern Arc (though some in EA regions are still using the WA constellation).

In four years, I'd imagine things will be pretty grim for satellite TV in general as more and more of the traffic moves to broadband and, hopefully, broadband access also improves. I have a nagging feeling if someone doesn't take control soon, the denser weaving of the LEO blanket may create some situations for all Ku traffic (perhaps worse for Ka).
Two arcs don't cost much more until it is time to replace those satellites. How old are Dish's satellites? Directv's core fleet will last until at least 2030, and there may no longer be any point to satellite TV after that time (which is why I don't think the merger will happen at all, there isn't enough time left to save enough money to pay for the merger overhead)

One of Dish's arcs is still MPEG2 so they have as many MPEG2 channels as Directv. Directv could eliminate MPEG2 anytime they wanted (contracts permitting) but there is no longer any gain for them to do so. They don't need the bandwidth. So what's the rush? Dish on the other hand is bandwidth starved in the western arc, they could probably eliminate the 129 satellite if they dropped MPEG2 so they have reasons to want to do so.

It doesn't matter how many LEO satellites there are, it won't affect Ku or Ka AT ALL.
 

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AT&T will probably never be able to liquidate DIRECTV because no one wants it.
Liquidate as far as selling the assets instead of selling the company as a whole would be possible, but that would leave the remaining satellite subscribers without a company and the value of the Ka satellites and licenses without the subscribers would not be as high as the value with the customers.
 

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Two arcs don't cost much more until it is time to replace those satellites. How old are Dish's satellites? Directv's core fleet will last until at least 2030, and there may no longer be any point to satellite TV after that time (which is why I don't think the merger will happen at all, there isn't enough time left to save enough money to pay for the merger overhead)
DISH launched their final sat, EchoStar 23, in March 2017 with an expected lifespan of 15 years, possibly longer. But that satellite was originally intended to mainly (solely?) serve Latin America. Last year DISH was trying to move that sat to 110W. Not sure how it would be used at that location or how much of the US it would cover (if it ever got moved).

Prior to that, Wikipedia shows the two most recent DISH sat launches to be the EchoStar 15 and 14, both launched in 2010 with reportedly a 15 year life expectancy, i.e. possibly dying in 2025. It looks like EchoStar launched other satellites last decade after the EchoStar 15 and before no. 23, although I don't know if those sats are used for DISH at all.

Here's a relevant quote from a NextTV story from Aug. 2021:

"Dish launched its last satellite, EchoStar XXIII, more than five years ago," MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a note to investors, published earlier this week.

"Of their 11 operating satellites, only two are less than a decade old. Each of Dish's satellites has an estimated useful life of about 15 years. In another five and a half years, only one of their 11 satellites will still be inside its estimated useful lifespan," Moffett added.

Technically, the 5.5 metric-ton communications satellite known as EchoStar XXIII was put into orbit by SpaceX in March of 2017, putting it around five months past its fourth birthday. But Moffett's larger point is taken.
 

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How many more subscribers does each company need to lose before they're considered small enough for it to not be an issue? :)
Unfortunately that seems to be the direction DIRECTV is going. The Sirius XM merger was allowed because broadcast and streaming were considered effective competition and the two companies both would not survive.

There are easily less satellite subscribers between the two companies than DIRECTV had at it's peak. (There are less total subscribers, satellite and streaming, between the two companies than AT&T had at their peak).

Hopefully TPG being publicly traded will reveal the status of DIRECTV. Then again, AT&T is publicly traded and they have been able to not report the details of the company.
 

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Liquidate as far as selling the assets instead of selling the company as a whole would be possible, but that would leave the remaining satellite subscribers without a company and the value of the Ka satellites and licenses without the subscribers would not be as high as the value with the customers.
Shutting down DTV as an ongoing business and simply selling what's left of the useful life of their last remaining satellite(s) wouldn't fetch much cash. That's a worst-case scenario.
 

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I hate to break it to all the satellite TV fans here, but any type of merger would not result in any major technology changes or consolidations. Linear TV is a dying industry and satellite is taking a lot of the brunt early on. The customer base on both satellite platforms will continue to dwindle at a rapid rate. The sheer cost to do truck rolls, replace equipment and satellites is too extreme for a dying industry.

A merger of Dish/DTV would follow the same pattern that Sirius & XM did. Both Sirius and XM satellite platforms are still up and running. SXM switched to only selling new XM platform hardware several years ago with the intent of retiring the Sirius platform at some point and repurposing the spectrum. With so many Sirius receivers out there and it being too cost expensive to replace, they're letting the platform ride and the sub count slowly dwindle until such time it makes sense to shut it down.

If Dish/DTV happens, they'll pick a platform to put any new subs on and then let both platforms exist until the sub count on one of them is low enough to migrate with less cost or just completely shut down. While that's going on, they'll do everything to force people to one of the streaming platforms. Combine all of the efforts by wireless carriers to push 5G into rural areas, we'll see satellite TV become a very niche market.
 

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Beware the Attack Basset
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I doubt there are any MoCA differences. The SoCs used in both Directv and Dish hardware are industry standard, and almost certainly support both the band Directv uses and the band Dish uses (plus others that neither use)
DISH uses F band in a singular way while DIRECTV uses a couple of different E band configurations. The bandwidth, frequency and any associated filters of the MoCA transciever would need to be under software control and I doubt that this is the case.
 

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Beware the Attack Basset
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Shutting down DTV as an ongoing business and simply selling what's left of the useful life of their last remaining satellite(s) wouldn't fetch much cash. That's a worst-case scenario.
Given how much of their satellite fleet that is tied up in uniquely configured Ka, I can't imagine anyone wanting to incorporate that into their engineering model. Still, that's pretty much the bulk of what DIRECTV represents when parted out.

The local receive and uplink facilities could be picked up by someone but who could need them?
 
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I hate to break it to all the satellite TV fans here, but any type of merger would not result in any major technology changes or consolidations. Linear TV is a dying industry and satellite is taking a lot of the brunt early on. The customer base on both satellite platforms will continue to dwindle at a rapid rate. The sheer cost to do truck rolls, replace equipment and satellites is too extreme for a dying industry.

A merger of Dish/DTV would follow the same pattern that Sirius & XM did. Both Sirius and XM satellite platforms are still up and running. SXM switched to only selling new XM platform hardware several years ago with the intent of retiring the Sirius platform at some point and repurposing the spectrum. With so many Sirius receivers out there and it being too cost expensive to replace, they're letting the platform ride and the sub count slowly dwindle until such time it makes sense to shut it down.

If Dish/DTV happens, they'll pick a platform to put any new subs on and then let both platforms exist until the sub count on one of them is low enough to migrate with less cost or just completely shut down. While that's going on, they'll do everything to force people to one of the streaming platforms. Combine all of the efforts by wireless carriers to push 5G into rural areas, we'll see satellite TV become a very niche market.
Yup. And to add to what you wrote, we may see DISH itself evolve from a pure DBS service to a hybrid DBS/IPTV this decade. It actually already is, a little bit; there are a few channels (like some of the secondary HBO and Cinemax channels that were recently added back to DISH) that are not distributed via satellite at all, only via a broadband connection to the Hopper/Joey. But those live streaming channels show up in the channel program guide like a normal channel and work the same way; they can be paused and recorded to the DVR hard drive. And DISH's on-demand platform is already streaming-based. It isn't out of the question that additional linear channels (e.g. less popular ones) could be shifted from satellite to streaming distribution (perhaps due to failing satellites) or that in time we might see DISH optionally offer the entire suite of channels via streaming, without the need for a rooftop dish and its expensive installation. And that could also allow for better picture quality thanks to greater bandwidth devoted to each channel and/or more advanced compression codecs (e.g. HEVC or AV1 instead of the aging MPEG-4 h.264 used for HD delivery via satellite).

Some of the critiques that DBS fans have against streaming cable TV services like DirecTV Stream or YouTube TV is that trick play on live TV isn't as good and that cloud DVR isn't as good in some ways as local DVR. Having a custom TV box and remote, with a built-in hard drive for DVR, could remedy those shortcomings. And it looks like the soon-to-debut next generation of DISH Hopper and Joey hardware will be based on Android TV, with access to Google's app store, allowing those boxes to surpass even Comcast's X1 platform in terms of being an "all-in-one" box that can deliver whatever content the viewer wants.
 

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The biggest problem with moving customers away from satellite is that there are many places for them to go. DIRECTV doesn't own their customers and DISH doesn't own their customers. Both have a portion of their subscriber base under commitment but they can't force those customers to change from satellite to streaming and require the customer to keep their commitment.

If DIRECTV and DISH push people away from satellite those customers can easily find another company. What both companies need to do (and DISH has done with some success) is give their satellite customers (and other consumers) a good place to go.

DISH lost 4 million satellite subscribers over the past five years but they managed to add a million Sling subscribers - by giving customers a good place to go. 23% of DISH TV's subscribers are Sling.DIRECTV has not had that level of success encouraging customers leaving satellite to go to what is now DIRECTV Stream.
 

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Beware the Attack Basset
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DIRECTV has not had that level of success encouraging customers leaving satellite to go to what is now DIRECTV Stream.
I'd bet that it has been more successful than you think. There are more than a few dyed-in-the-wool DIRECTV DBS subs who have switched since the product was rebranded.
 

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Got numbers or a gut feeling? The last numbers reported support the statement I made.
 

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Beware the Attack Basset
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Hopefully TPG being publicly traded will reveal the status of DIRECTV. Then again, AT&T is publicly traded and they have been able to not report the details of the company.
Reporting financials of a joint venture is not required. It isn't a matter of going out of their way to hide them. All of the shareholders of the joint venture are surely well aware of the situation without a public announcement.
 

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Beware the Attack Basset
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Got numbers or a gut feeling? The last numbers reported support the statement I made.
Mine is indeed a gut feeling based on anecdotal evidence here and elsewhere. I don't think anyone outside DIRECTV and their shareholders has ever seen numbers for DIRECTV Stream.

I think it is fair to say that DIRECTV Stream is a significant improvement over AT&T TV in most aspects other than price.
 

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I have both Direct TV (Satellite, 24 years) and Direct TV Stream (a couple of months). One thing I can say for sure is the picture quality for the Stream product is nowhere as good as the Satellite. I don't think most people would notice unless they have both, record the same shows for comparison, then watch them. Also, I've run into too many glitches with the Stream Product. For further info, I use my Roku and Direct TV's Stream Box for watching.
 
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