While negotiations between the Pac-12 Network and DirecTV stall, progress with Dish seems to be moving a bit faster. Or at the very least, Dish is considering adding the satellite network.
One of the preliminary indicators that a TV network might be on the verge of getting picked up is when a satellite company receives an uplink for the channel. An uplink indicaes that there could very well be a channel inserted into the lineup in the near future, and the satellite company is putting the channel together to ensure that things will be ready once an agreement is actually signed.
Well, guess which network showed up in the latest set of uplinks from Dish: The Pac-12 Network gets listed at 413. It's depressingly in standard definition, but it could be the first step to a high definition channel being offered down the road (and also Pac-12 Anywhere could mitigate the lack of an HD channel with high-quality streams through the Pac-12 site).
Now first of all, let's settle one thing: An uplink does not mean Dish Network has agreed to carry the Pac-12 Network; it just means they're anticipating the possibility that a Pac-12 Network might get carried on their airwaves. There are hundreds of channels that have been uplinked before that never ever light up a TV screen. Many channels are tested in the case that a deal is made, and the channel can get up and running as quickly as possible. So there is still a very good chance that the end result from all this interest might be another dead end.
What it probably does mean is that the satellite company and the Pac-12 Network see eye-to-eye enough to make us believe negotiation is possible on both sides. A satellite uplink is far more public process than anything we saw between the Pac-12 and DirecTV.
It'd be strange for Dish to actually offer the Pac-12 Network considering they just dropped the Big Ten Network and aren't really big in the sports business. However, Dish is known for their eccentric decision-making with regards to carriage, so another unorthodox decision in this process is no big surprise.
Time to see how things carry out.