Dish Network appears to be working on a roadmap to bring more TV to the Internet. The satellite TV operator is in deal discussions with several television programmers, according to Bloomberg.
Sources familiar with the negotiations told Bloomberg that Dish has been in Internet-TV talks with Comcast's NBCUniversal, A&E Television Networks, Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, and CBS (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET). The release date for Dish's possible Internet TV service could be as soon as this summer.
Such deals could be similar to what Dish struck up with Walt Disney Co. last month. Disney, owner of ABC and ESPN, agreed to give Dish the right to stream video, live and on demand, as part of an Internet-delivered television service. In turn, Dish agreed to disable the automatic ad-skipping feature on its Hopper network DVR for three days after a program is broadcast. (Disclosure: CBS is one of the networks suing Dish over Hopper.)
Over the past few months, Dish has taken the lead in turning Internet TV into reality. The company's idea is to bring a multichannel television service, filled with popular cable networks, to the Internet. Previously, no company had yet made major, public, or legitimate strides toward this goal. But that changed when Dish unveiled its deal with Disney.
While Dish gives users its Dish World offering, which lets customers stream international shows without a dish, it's far from a multichannel Internet-based offering for people who don't otherwise pay for a video service. Bringing several more TV programmers into the fray would dramatically change the company's offerings.
According to Bloomberg, the companies that Dish is negotiating with have a couple of conditions that must be met before they agree to anything. One is that at least two of the four major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) have to be included, and the other is that 10 of the highest-rated cable networks also have to be part of any deals.
A Dish spokesperson declined to confirm or comment on possible deals with television programmers. CNET has also contacted CBS, Comcast, Time Warner, and A&E for comment and will update this report when we learn more.