EchoStar will begin shutting down its satellite-based IPTV delivery service, ViP-TV, at the beginning of September.

Michael Hawkey, EchoStar's vice president of sales and marketing, said the company is working with customers to help them migrate either to a different service or to a competitor on a case-by-case basis.

He did not specify what alternatives EchoStar might be offering. He said EchoStar does not have a unified product as an option, but the company is working with its customers on a company-by-company basis on alternatives.

EchoStar jumped into the business of delivering lineups of MPEG-4 IPTV channels in 2007 and got a bit of a boost helping to fill in the gap created when competitor SES Americom shut down its similar IP Prime service in the middle of 2009.

At the time, SES Americom said with only about 70 customers, mostly smaller phone companies, it was not getting enough business to justify continuing.

Hawkey declined to comment on the size of the market it had with ViP-TV. Announced customers included CT Communications (Ohio), Duncan Cable (Vermont), BTC (Oklahoma) and Canby Telcom (Oregon).

EchoStar will completely shut down ViP-TV at the end of September.

Along with several companies that can provide channels through terrestrial networks, EchoStar's shutdown of ViP-TV will leave two notable companies able to provide satellite delivery: Avail-TVN and the Comcast Media Center.

Avail-TVN's COO Jon Romm said his company has already transitioned three former EchoStar customers and is working with others. "There's no need to panic," Romm said.

He noted that in many cases, EchoStar clients have all the capabilities they need in place for Avail-TVN to accomplish a migration remotely.

Avail-TVN will host a Webinar on Monday in which it will explain the options available to any EchoStar customers looking to make the switch.