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Dish Starts Interactive Upgrades

EchoStar Communications Corp. has rolled out its new interactive-television
service, 'Dish Home,' to about 10,000 homes, company executives said Monday
night during an on-air 'Tech Chat' for Dish Network subscribers.

All Dish customers who own model '4900' direct-broadcast satellite receivers
should have the new software to enable the interactive-TV features by the end of
February, senior vice president Mark Jackson said.

Starting in April, the company will download software to model '3900'
receivers. And owners of 'DishPVR' models '301' and '501' should see software
downloads in July.

All Dish receivers with OpenTV Corp. middleware should be enabled with the
new interactive-TV features by the end of July, Jackson said. Some older
receivers will not accept the software downloads.

Dish Home will offer customer-support features including the ability to buy
programming and pay Dish bills online, television-movie reviews, local
theatrical-movie listings, weather, daily horoscopes and access to video

Called 'Playin'TV,' the video-games package will sell for $4.99 per month and
include interactive games such as golf, bowling and solitaire.

Dish Home customers who don't pay the monthly Playin'TV fee can still try out
games on a limited basis and access one free game each month.

EchoStar vice president of space operations Dave Bair also said during the
Tech Chat that the company's new spot-beam satellite, 'EchoStar 7,' has been
shipped to Cape Canaveral, Fla., for a launch sometime soon.

Once EchoStar 7 has been successfully launched and tested, the DBS company
will be able to move some of its local broadcast stations to the new satellite
so that subscribers would no longer need second dishes for all of their local
channels in some markets.