WebRTC Solutions Industry News

[January 03, 2005]

SBC Communications Announces Joint Venture to Launch Home Entertainment Service For SBC | Dish Network, SBC Yahoo! DSL Customers

SAN ANTONIO --(Business Wire)-- Jan. 3, 2005 -- Service combines satellite TV programming with Internet-based video on demand, music on demand, Caller ID, digital photo-sharing and remote access

SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE:SBC) today announced it has formed a joint venture with 2Wire Inc. to deliver a home entertainment service that integrates satellite TV programming, digital video recording, video on demand, and Internet content including Yahoo!(R) Photos and music via an award-winning new set-top box -- and ties it all together with the familiar and intuitive SBC Yahoo! user interface. The joint venture is part of a two-pronged SBC video strategy to extend home entertainment video services to customers through either high-speed fiber or DSL.

The service will combine content delivered by broadband and satellite into one easy-to-use package, giving consumers a powerful new way to extend the SBC Yahoo! DSL experience beyond the desktop to bring entertainment content to their TV screens and stereos. Today's announcement builds on the recently announced expanded alliance with Yahoo! Inc. which calls for the companies to extend the SBC Yahoo! customer experience beyond the desktop. The offering will be available to customers who have both SBC | DISH Network and SBC Yahoo! DSL services. It is expected to roll out in mid-2005.

"The SBC home entertainment service will bring together many of the features that consumers want most, including TV programming, video on demand and Internet content and services, in a way that competitors and cable TV providers can't match," said Ed Cholerton, chief executive officer of the newly formed SBC Media Solutions LLC and vice president of SBC DSL. "It allows quick delivery of a complete, personalized and seamless entertainment and communications service to our customers while SBC companies build a fiber network. It is another important milestone in the SBC 'grand slam' strategy of leadership in landline voice, wireless, broadband Internet and video services."

The service will include a satellite TV receiver, digital video recorder (DVR) and storage for digital photos and music. Customers will benefit from the 2Wire MediaPortal(TM) technology, which will provide fully integrated SBC Yahoo! DSL, SBC | DISH Network satellite TV and home-networking services, and will allow customers to access photos and music and to schedule their digital video recorder (DVR) remotely from any Web-connected computer through the SBC Yahoo! user interface. A future enhancement will allow remote access through Cingular Wireless(R) phones.

Customers will also be able to enjoy total integration and control from the comfort of their easy chair, using a remote control and a familiar, easy-to-use interface on their TV screen. An agreement with EchoStar Communications Corp. to include SBC | DISH Network will help ensure that broadcast content works seamlessly with the new set-top box service, offering customers unprecedented ease of use for digital video recording, remote access and video on demand.

"DISH Network looks forward to working with SBC Media Solutions to develop this cutting edge service, which would combine our proven satellite video service with the promising features of broadband," said Nolan Daines, executive vice president of Broadband for EchoStar.

An agreement recently signed by SBC companies and Yahoo! to extend the SBC Yahoo! online interface to other products will ensure that the new home entertainment service brings a common look and feel to popular Web-based features including music, photos, parental controls and remote access.

The development of the home entertainment service with remote access builds on the SBC commitment to evolve the digital home into the digital lifestyle, providing convenient access to a range of communications and entertainment services virtually anytime, anywhere and from almost any device.

Key benefits will include:

-- Satellite TV. Subscribers will have a variety of SBC | DISH Network satellite entertainment programming packages available.

-- Video on Demand. Customers will be able to download and view on their TV screen a variety of movies from different entertainment services, all delivered via high-speed DSL connection.

-- Music on Demand. Customers will have the ability to listen to high-quality music from Yahoo! Launchcast Internet Radio via their DSL connection and deliver it to their home stereos, entertainment systems and networked PCs

-- Messaging. In the future, SBC local phone service customers will be able to view Caller ID and call-log information on their TV screen. Another future enhancement will integrate the recently launched SBC Unified Communications Service, which combines wireline and wireless voice mail, e-mail and faxes into one mailbox.

-- Photos. Customers will be able to download digital photographs directly from their digital cameras to the set-top box or easily view the saved photos on a TV screen from a networked PC. Customers will also be able to access and share their SBC Yahoo! Photos which are stored online in a whole new way.

-- Remote Access. Through any Web-connected computer, customers will have the ability to remotely program their set-top box to record satellite entertainment, download movies on demand, and access their photos and personal music collection through the SBC Yahoo! user experience. Customers will also be able to access files on computers connected to their home networks. In the future, customers will be able to enjoy remote access using a Cingular wireless phone.

The home entertainment service is separate from, but complements, the recently announced plans to deliver advanced next-generation television services called IPTV over the SBC fiber network, an initiative dubbed Project Lightspeed. Customers will not need access to the fiber network to subscribe to the home entertainment service.

The 2Wire set-top box at the heart of the service already has been recognized as an Innovations 2005 Design and Engineering Showcase honoree in the Home Data Networking category by the Consumer Electronics Association.

SBC Media Solutions LLC will develop and market the set-top box. Cholerton has been appointed chief executive officer of the new company. Brian Hinman, 2Wire president and CEO, will assume the role of president, SBC Media Solutions.

"The strength of the SBC-2Wire relationship has helped us champion the advancement of broadband and home networking to families and small businesses everywhere," said Hinman. "We're working with SBC companies to bring broadband connectivity beyond the PC to TV."

About SBC

SBC Communications Inc. is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 46 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation's leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also now offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at www.sbc.com.

About 2Wire

2Wire is a provider of broadband service platforms for the DSL market. 2Wire's suite of solutions offers DSL providers an integrated "triple play" of data, voice and media services. 2Wire's products and services include the award-winning HomePortal(R) residential gateways, the MediaPortal(TM) digital entertainment services platform and a robust Component Management System (CMS) for service management and provisioning. 2Wire's products are distributed exclusively by the major DSL service providers including SBC Internet Services, British Telecom plc and Telefonos de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. With headquarters in San Jose, Calif, 2Wire was founded in July 1998 by Brian L. Hinman, a co-founder of PictureTel Corporation (formerly NASDAQ: PCTL) and Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM).

About EchoStar

EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) serves more than 10.4 million satellite TV customers through its DISH Network, the fastest growing U.S. provider of advanced digital television services in the last four years. DISH Network offers hundreds of video and audio channels, Interactive TV, HDTV, sports and international programming, together with professional installation and 24-hour customer service. DISH Network ranks No. 1 in Customer Satisfaction among Cable/Satellite TV Subscribers by J.D. Power and Associates. Visit EchoStar's DISH Network at www.dishnetwork.com or call 1-800-333-DISH (3474).

SBC is a registered trademark of SBC Knowledge Ventures, L.P. (C) 2004 SBC Knowledge Ventures, L.P. All rights reserved.

2Wire and HomePortal are registered trademarks of 2Wire, Inc. MediaPortal, Greenlight and HyperG are trademarks of 2Wire, Inc.

Yahoo! logos are the trademarks of Yahoo! Inc.

DISH Network, the DISH Network logo and other DISH Network product and service names are the trademarks or service marks of EchoStar Satellite L.L.C.

Cingular is a registered trademark of Cingular Wireless LLC.

NOTE TO EDITORS: In the company name SBC | Dish Network noted in this news release, there is a pipe between SBC and Dish Network. This symbol may not appear properly in some systems.

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