EchoStar Communications Corporation, whose Dish Network is the third largest pay-television provider in the United States, is to acquire Sling Media, creator of the Slingbox. The deal values Sling Media at around $380 million, payable in cash and EchoStar share options. It is expected to close in the last quarter of 2007.

Sling Media created the category of ‘place-shifting’ devices with its revolutionary Slingbox, which allows consumers to redirect their home video services for remote viewing over the internet.

“As an early investor in Sling Media, EchoStar has been pleased with the progress and commitment the company has made establishing Sling Media and the Slingbox as powerful and beloved digital media brands,” said Charlie Ergen, the chief executive and co-founder of EchoStar. “This combination paves the way for the development of a host of new innovative products and services for our subscribers, new digital media consumers and strategic partners.”

“We are psyched to make this announcement,” proclaimed Blake Krikorian, who co-founded Sling Media with his brother in 2004. “We have worked closely with EchoStar for more than two years, and have come to realize that both companies have similar entrepreneurial cultures and mutual dedication and passion for creating empowering experiences that benefit the consumer and the media industry.”

“By combining strategies, resources and technologies with EchoStar, Sling Media will be able to rapidly expand our open multi-platform product offerings, not only for DISH Network subscribers, but for digital media enthusiasts around the globe.”