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EchoStar Plugs Into IPTV Via HomePlug Connections

"One of the issues, from a consumer standpoint," said Gelphman, "is that they’re confused by all the competing technologies. We as a home networking industry need to do a better job educating the consumer that there are numerous networking options for moving video and audio around their house, condo or apartment—and that these technologies can co-exist to provide redundant data paths for continuity of content transmission around the home."

Beals later reiterated the use for the two distinct networks within the home.

The low-bandwidth network has uses such as modem sharing and on-demand/television guide sharing and acknowledgement of the presence of smart peripherals. In addition, the low-speed network allows for set-top box feature coordination, meaning that one STB can pull in a new configuration and then pass it to multiple other STBs within the home so that only one device needs to have internet access.

"With an average install of more than two STBs per residence, and more than two million HomePlug-enabled STBs shipped to date, EchoStar has several features it can turn on within the next few months," said Beals.

One product that EchoStar created but will probably not roll out is an audio only software tool that could be used to play audio back in multiple locations around the home, via the low-speed network.

With a run rate of over 200,000 HomePlug-enabled units shipping per month, including HD boxes to which EchoStar is transitioning, Beals said he expects the overall percentage of HomePlug equipped devices to also rise, as only about 1/3 of boxes shipped today are shipping with HomePlug,

For the high-speed network, for use in potential IPTV deployments, EchoStar says that MoCA meets all the specs the company needed. Beals noted that—short of transcoding—a minimum of a 100Mbps payload is needed, and the network must guarantee consistent throughput to meet consumer demands.

"Our intent is for live streaming of AV within the house, which means the STB must support HD video and trick modes for viewing of the same HD stream in multiple roooms." said Beals. "One of the things that’s exciting, though, about getting together with Sling is the ability to transcode if the network encounters noise that drives the level beneath 100 Mbps."

"Our new boxes have Ethernet," said Beals, "which is great, but very few of our customers will be using these Ethernet ports—they’ll more likely be using HomePlug and MoCA to move content around the home.

"We’re now starting to sell STBs to other operators, too," said Beals.

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