The fledgling direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) industry, which delivers hundreds of channels and digital pictures from space, used to be a mosquito on the back of the elephant cable-TV business. Now it's starting to draw blood. In what could be the next long distance-style price war, upstart EchoStar Communications of Englewood, Colorado, began offering its 18-in. dish for $199--a third of the usual price--to buyers who spend about $25 a month on programming. Market leader DirecTV, owned by General Motors' Hughes Electronics, is freezing rates until the year 2000, and will probably cut the price of its $600 dish by...

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