Home Analysis Connected Home DISH dramatically expands Hopper whole-home client options

DISH dramatically expands Hopper whole-home client options

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DISH Network is set to use connected TV devices as clients for its Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR platform, complementing its own client devices, the Joey set-top box and the recently announced SuperJoey set-top box with physical satellite tuners. From the spring, there will be a ‘Virtual Joey’ software application for Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 game consoles that will enable the game consoles to access the DISH EPG, live TV, VOD and DVR recordings from the Hopper device. You will be able to control DISH services on PlayStation using either a DISH remote or DUALSHOCK controller. There will also be a Virtual Joey app for 2013 and 2014 LG Smart TVs. In both cases, the devices can be connected wirelessly.

During a busy International CES for the U.S. satellite Pay TV operator, DISH unveiled its new Wireless Joey system as well, another alternative to the wired Joey STB client when architecting the whole-home service in a customer premise. “High on our customers’ wish list is the ability to mount a TV on any wall – they don’t want to be anchored to a coax outlet or by unsightly wire runs,” declared Vivek Khemka, DISH Senior Vice President of Product Management.

Due for release in the spring, Wireless Joey includes a wireless access point and the wireless STB client. The access point creates its own dedicated 802.11ac Wi-Fi cloud within the home and can serve two clients. “This approach ensures that other Wi-Fi devices in a household do not degrade the Hopper’s video quality. The Wireless Joey Access Point connects directly to the Hopper and will work in homes that do not have Internet access,” DISH pointed out in Las Vegas. Wireless Joey and the wireless capabilities of the client and access point are all powered by Broadcom processors.

In a further expansion of its client device options for the whole-home Hopper service, DISH Network unveiled the Super Joey set-top box, a wired option that includes two satellite tuners. In effect, this device is a traditional non DVR satellite set-top box but one that can be networked to a satellite DVR. It can access all the services on the Hopper hub and its own tuners can be harnessed to record channels for Hopper.

The Hopper DVR comes with three tuners so with a Super Joey in the home it has access to five tuners in total. Because one of the Hopper tuners can be used to record four broadcast network channels as part of the innovative PrimeTime Anytime feature, users can now record eight shows simultaneously. The product is a response to customers asking for even more recording capability, Vivek Khemka said.

Super Joey is powered by a 1305 MHz, 3000 DMIPS Broadcom BCM7346 processor, has remote finder functionality and supports MoCA and Ethernet connectivity. The devices are backward compatible for all models of the Hopper and availability will be announced in the first quarter of 2014.

“The Hopper continues to break new barriers in terms of accessibility, affordability and mobility,” declared Joseph P. Clayton, DISH CEO and President. “You see that in the way DISH delivers more content and virtually ends channel conflict with SuperJoey. Our new Wireless Joeys and software-based Virtual Joeys make in-home installation options almost limitless. And our app strategy continues to lead the way with the best and most value-packed mobile entertainment experience in the market.”

When talking about mobile apps, Clayton is referring in part to the DISH Anywhere app, which has been updated for iOS and Android devices to include the DISH Transfers feature. DISH Transfers gives users the ability to view recorded content offline on devices when no Internet connection is available. This enhancement is a free update for DISH Anywhere users. DISH Network is releasing a version of DISH Anywhere for Kindle Fire tablets in the coming months, too.  DISH also has a second screen app for iPad called DISH Explorer and has added voice search and Hopper control capabilities to this.

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