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Summary:

Dish and Roku have partnered to launch a new streaming service focused on international programming. The service, dubbed DISHWorld, will offer foreign-language TV stations targeting Indian, Arabic and other expat communities. And you won’t have to subscribe to Dish to access it.

dishworld

Dish Network has partnered with Roku to launch a new, streaming-only service that will be sold to customers across the U.S., regardless of whether they’re subscribers of Dish’s pay TV offering or not, both companies announced Wednesday morning.

DISHWorld, as the service is called, will offer a number of international packages that bundle Brazilian, Arabic, Hindi and other foreign language content. Bundles go for as little as $5 a month, and all the way up to $44.99, but customers have to mix and match bundles to spend at least $19.99 per month.

Some of the bundles simply offer foreign news stations, while others include movie channels and music TV. Among the networks included in the various bundles are Sony Entertainment Television India, Al Jazeera, Willow Cricket and BBC Arabic. Viewers have access to live TV and can catch up on any of the shows that aired within the last 48 hours on any of the networks they subscribe to.

A press release also hinted at additional offerings targeting other expats in the future, and it suggested that Roku decided against becoming its own operator, partnering with Dish instead:

“Additionally, Roku selected Dish to manage the launch and expansion of future foreign language channels and content on the Roku platform.”

The partnership is a big deal for Roku; the set-top-box has been offering subscription access to a number of foreign channels and packages for some time. But in most cases, these are sold separately by smaller companies, some of which reside outside of the U.S.. Having Dish as a trusted brand to manage and promote these kinds of subscriptions could give Roku a big boost.

But it’s also a remarkable deal for the pay TV world in general. Over the last few months, there have been many rumors that one of the big pay TV providers would eventually decide to go online and target Internet users located outside of its local market with streaming-only packages — an idea that folks in the industry have been dubbing a virtual cable company. Today, this kind of virtual pay TV future became reality — for folks speaking Hindi, Arabic or any other of the targeted languages, anyway.

  1. Great to hear this news. I’ve subscribed to Dish’s Brazilian channels in the past, but have hesitated to do so again because they charge at least $100 to come out and set up the additional/replacement dish that’s usually required for foreign channels. So this system could even attract other people like me who are current Dish subscribers but who want to save the setup fees. I’m looking forward to other languages being offered soon, and to a future of more choices of live TV online that are not tied to cable/satellite subscriptions.

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  2. A step in the right direction but for now I see two drawbacks. One is very limited offering and second this is tied to one Roku receiver.

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  3. Nikato Muirhead Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    As a former Dish Network employee, I can tell you, Dishworldiptv is NOT NEW. Previously in was available on custom iptv boxes from Neulion. It is good to see that charlie and co have gotten wise to the benefits and reach of Roku. I can tell you that Dish will not stop with international programming on their iptv platform. This will be part of their solution to NLOS issues .

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      Imran

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  4. They should use the netflix model. allow watch content on multiple tvs with only one subscription. This will increase their customer base esp. Requiring multiple subscriptions to watch on multiple TVs is dumb! Maybe add on $10 per additional tv. customers will be okay buying additional roku devices since it is one time cost. I’d sign up now!! Dish wake up!!

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