|EchoStar's prototype Model 7100 satellite receiver and hard-disk video recorder|
EchoStar Strikes BackIn contrast to the lackluster presentation by DirecTV a day earlier, EchoStar -- in a celebratory mood in anticipation of conquering its larger rival -- pulled out all the stops Wednesday. Showing little doubt that it would take over DirecTV, it unveiled a new elliptical satellite dish, not much larger than existing dishes, that can "see" both systems' three main satellites at once using three LNBs.
Even more impressive was a new set-top box that seemed to do everything but wash the dishes. The Model 7100 (if memory serves -- no literature was provided, and there's no model number on the faceplate) combines a satellite TV receiver, a hard-disk recorder, and an interactive device using a phone line. The interactive capabilities extend to news and weather, videogames (for $5 a month additional), entertainment channels, and customer support. It'll let you pay your satellite subscription bill, access your horoscope, or request the Accuweather forecast for 900 U.S. cities. Price wasn't announced, and it won't be available for a few months -- probably within the first half of this year.
EchoStar also invited Moxi to demonsrate its Moxi Media Center (Moxi MC), another receiver/recorder/DVD player that's claimed to be the most user-friendly and easy to operate set-top satellite box around. These new boxes resemble the new TiVo Series2 debuted a day earlier. And as we noted in our HDTV roundup, EchoStar also demonstrated a prototype high-definition receiver/recorder.
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