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EchoStar Gears Up Interactive Game Portal

EchoStar announced at CES that it will offer a new interactive-services gateway this year called “Dish Home” to DISH Network subscribers.

Dish Home will serve as the entry point to four interactive services delivered via a satellite download. The “Dish Home” gateway will offer access to movie reviews from Zap2it Entertainment Features, games from Playin’TV, Horoscopes and DISH Network Customer Support.

EchoStar will deliver the system as a download upgrade to all DISH Network subscribers with OpenTV enabled hardware models 4900, 3900, DishPro 301 and DishPVR 501 or 508 through 2002.

EchoStar said all of the services can be selected using the system’s remote. Initial services scheduled will include the following:

  • Dish Home—(channel 100), the “dish home” portal to all of the interactive channels.
  • Zap2it Entertainment Features—Produced by Tribune Media Services, Zap2it provides on-demand TV and movie information, including movie reviews, program descriptions, and “Best Bets” recommendations. Local theater information with show times and locations is also available within the 36 cities served with local TV channels.
  • Playin’TV—From Visiware, Playin’TV will provide subscription-based multiple arcade, action and children’s games per month that can be played on the TV using a remote control. The initial games will include Solitaire, Bowling, 3 Pointer basketball, Golf and Carrot Mania. In the future, customers will be able to network and compete with other players and win prizes. Playin’TV will offer subscribers five games rotated on a weekly basis for $4.99 per month. Those who opt not to subscribe will receive access to one free game per month and the opportunity to play for free a portion of each of the other four games available that month.
  • DISH Network Customer Support—An interactive channel providing customers with easy access to personalized programming and account information.
  • Horoscope—Daily horoscope readings based on the 12 signs of the zodiac for their personal enjoyment.
  • DISH Instant Weather—Current and 5-day weather forecasts for over 900 U.S. cities, national parks, ski resorts and destination locations.