DISH Hopper and Joey Get Voice Control Remote

Dave Zatz —  July 14, 2016

dish-voice-remote

DISH Hopper and Joey owners can now pick up a voice-controlled remote for $30. While we’ve yet to test its capabilities, voice interaction appears to be a highly successful initiative for Comcast and it’s certainly something I’ve periodically appreciated on Roku or Fire TV (and something we continue to wait on with TiVo).

Roughly half the size of a traditional remote control, Voice Remote fits in the palm of the user’s hand, much like a smartphone. DISH designed the remote to interpret natural language, populating search results based on program title, actor or genre, and building contextual searches to narrow options, as desired. It also utilizes voice commands to control basic functions of the receiver, including recording and changing channels.

Beyond the spoken word, DISH also appears to take the historically limited and fussy remote touchpad to the next level by hiding optionally illuminated numbers under its clickable surface. The backlit remote also conveniently includes IR to control your television and provides a remote finder feature.

10 responses to DISH Hopper and Joey Get Voice Control Remote

  1. Damn. Voice, touchpad, IR learning, and backlit. This remote as it all but a headphone jack and motion. $30 is very reasonable too.

  2. The few necessary buttons, no number pad until needed or requested and voice control make this the Senior Citizen remote my elderly mom has been waiting for. As a Dish subscriber who can do the most important functions on the current remote, the problem has been she is grearly bamboozled by the tons of buttons on the current Dish remotes and can’t use functions like SEARCH, etc. because the remote is so overwhelming. I’ll be getting that remote for her, for sure because she has been awaiting its release. As for me, I’m pretty cheap and may not get it. But on the other hand, it sure looks great and voice commands have become more common for me.

  3. Seems like voice control is becoming a standard feature on remotes. I wonder if universal remotes from the likes of Logitech Harmony will soon incorporate voice? Would they be able to or is there something proprietary about voice control in each individual OEM remote and corresponding system that has it (Comcast’s X1, the DISH remote above, various Android TV boxes, Apple TV, etc.) that would prevent a universal remote from incorporating that feature?

  4. Tim, I doubt the companies would invest the resources to allow third parties to relay voice commands.

    Speaking of voice, I couldn’t take advantage of Amazon’s $10 off $20 when ordering from Echo. I don’t think this is a voice recognition failure but, rather a logic failure in how they handle shopping. I tried product names and model numbers, nothing went thru. In reading their sample stuff, you have to be vague in what you want to purchase – which isn’t exactly what most of us are hoping for when shopping. Strange and poor implementation given Amazon’s primary business as a retailer. Also, in general, I think the platform is now overwhelmed in features and skills that often overlap, conflict, confuse. Maybe we need to explicitly add “apps” to protect or prioritize certain words/features.

  5. I like how the buttons that get used the most often are big. Much easier to run by touch in a dark room where most universal remotes don’t do so well.

  6. Voice control sounds great – until you try it. A quick push of a button beats 2 minutes of trying to get a voice command understood.

  7. Voice control (assuming that it works well) is good for search or other occasions where you would normally have to input text via an on-screen keyboard, which is a real pain. But for simple commands, like channel up or down, button pressing is of course better.

  8. Bud, what platform(s)? I’ve found it efficient for select tasks on Fire TV and Roku – like Tim said, searching a title (or launching an app). For my mom who doesn’t know any of the channel mappings, having moved from FL to VA recently, I’m hoping the Xfinity Voice remote helps her more easily tune channels (once she gets it).

  9. Dave, as per your mom (and mine), users of the Dish remote report reliably being able to use voice command to change a channel by stating channel name, among other voice features as being positive. This certainly beats bringing the guide up on screen to scroll to it or beats bringing anything on screen to find or change the channel, beats even entering the 3 digit channel number that on fair number of occasions I goof and hit the wrong number on the pad, but that can be an exasperating experience for the elderly.

    I would say my experience with voice using Amazon Fire tablets has been excellent, and not just for search, but dear old mom actually dictates her emails instead of typing due to motor control of fingers issue. The Fire has like a shocking 99% accuracy in our experience. So far, voice feature of Dish remote is being reported as very accurate and changing the way people perform functions that would SEEM to be more efficient manually entering them. Some are saying they are using voice input for things they would never have thought.

    The point for all is that, for the most part, Voice Recognition today has come a long, long way from what we remember it. One has to experience the latest devices that employ them (of course, VR reliability will depend upon whose tech or license a device uses) and find that we may use Voice Recognition far more than we might think because it works so well today. Sure, if you are going to tune one channel up or down, it may be more efficient to just press the “UP or “DOWN” button, but that is not the I use TV. I usually need to tune several channels up or down and in that situation VR can be arguably more efficient.

  10. Voice operated controls … the next level of lazy. I love it!