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EchoStar Launches Portable Media Players

Englewood, Colo. — The first portable media players that store music and video transferred via high-speed USB connection from a set-top DVR have been launched through EchoStar’s independent satellite-TV dealers.

The devices, made by Archos, might be made available in the future to other EchoStar retailers such as Sears and RadioShack, a spokesman said.

EchoStar’s trio of co-branded PocketDISH/Archos portables store time-shifted music and video channels transferred from DISH-network DVRs via USB 2.0 connection. All three also store music, video and photos transferred from a PC. USB 2.0 enables a five-minute transfer of an hour’s worth of DVR-recorded video, EchoStar said.

To date, only one EchoStar DVR, the 942, features USB, but all future EchoStar DVRs will come with the high-speed digital connection, said a spokesman. In the meantime, the top two portable media players will use their own time-shifting capabilities and analog inputs to directly record audio and video content in real time from any connected cable box, satellite-TV receiver, TV, DVR, DVD player or VCR.

The three devices, all equipped with hard drives, include the $599-suggested PocketDISH with 7-inch 16:9 screen and a $499 version with 4-inch 16:9 screen, both with built-in time-shifting capability and USB 2.0. A $329 model with 2.2-inch 16:9 screen lacks built-in time shifting but stores content transferred from a DVR’s USB port. All three lack removable memory. Hard drive capacities are 40GB, 30GB and 20GB, respectively.

The devices store EchoStar’s music channels, which are provided by Sirius Satellite Radio, but like the EchoStar DVRs, they will not let users selectively record songs by artist or genre or skip from one song to another during playback. The devices also store MP3, WAV and protected WMA files transferred from a PC.

The devices’ rechargeable lithium-ion batteries deliver four hours of video playback or 12 hours of music playback. Stereo headphones, USB cables, adapter cable, A/V cables, an AC/DC power adapter and a carrying case are included.