Archives For Satellite TV

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.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 26, 2016 — 8 Comments

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

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DISH has owned CES in recent years with spectacular product reveals… and 2016 sees that trend continue with massive upgrades to their flagship DVR (that I first caught wind of back in September). The 3rd generation Hopper carries forward integrated Slingbox capabilities and (limited) commercial skip, as they introduce 4k support and jump to 16 tuners. Sixteen! DISH isn’t kidding when they declare “channel conflict eliminated” as this surely provides enough to handle all your satellite units during an evening of heavy recording plus some remote streaming.

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DISH Wally Headed To CES

Dave Zatz —  December 14, 2015

As originally revealed, Echostar has been prepping an unsurprising Hopper 3… alongside the mysterious new DISH Wally. And, mere weeks ahead of CES, details have started to trickle out.

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The single tuner Wally satellite receiver may be targeted towards small business, in addition to secondary rooms, and will run only $7/mo in rental fees. The non-DVR STB includes HEVC decoding capabilities, although it’s unknown if this is geared towards linear programming or the advertised raft of apps within its “brand-new user interface.” Given the available intel, we suspect Wally is the DISH 211 heir apparent sporting the Hopper UI.

While we’re not exactly fond of Sling Media’s business practices, we remain enamored of their placeshifting technology which remains best of breed. Similarly, the DISH Hopper offers one of best DVR experiences out there. Indeed – the latest, greatest Hopper includes Slingbox capabilities to catch your content around the house or beyond via smartphone, tablet, computer, or streaming box. So it’s quite curious to see the Slingbox-powered Hopper Go pass through the FCC today (under the Echostar banner).

Is this a companion product, perhaps something akin to the TiVo Stream, to bring placeshifting capabilities to less full featured DVRs? Related, could this imply the DISH Hopper 3 doesn’t natively transcode and stream content? And given the “Go” designation, could this also provide video offload capabilities to catch that recording on a subway or plane without connectivity?

A third generation DISH Hopper just broke cover at the FCC. The second gen model won CES 2013 Best of Show by building upon automatic recording and commercial skip with newly integrated Slingbox capabilities. As to the incoming model, we don’t have much to go on as the juiciest parts of the filing are confidential. Given the previously announced 4k Joey DVR extender, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suspect the Hopper 3 might similarly include UHD capabilities – it’s all the rage these days.

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att-directv

I hate AT&T by Aaron Slater on Flickr.

Just a day or so after sealing the deal, new graphics have been pushed to DirecTV Genie boxes at warp speed to update bootup imagery and the screensaver with AT&T branding. Faster even than Verizon can drop DirecTV from their FiOS offerings. If only making NFL Sunday Ticket available to U-verse could be as efficient… (Thanks Joseph!)

DISH & Comcast DVRs Outpace TiVo?

Dave Zatz —  December 12, 2014

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While TiVo focuses their resources on serving smaller and international television providers, as retail customers defect, the larger US cable and satellite companies continue to crank away on their own compelling in-house DVR services.

Although DISH may have given up some ground in the Hopper’s ability to, you know, actually hop (over commercials) they just completed a nationwide software update that brings one-button access to Closed Captioning and the ability to watch an in-progress “live” show from the beginning should you have gotten a late start and the programming is resident within the On Demand catalog. But way more interesting, given our collective shift in scripted television viewing patterns, is the new Binge Bar (as shown above). Once you’ve finished watching an episode, any remaining episodes on your DVR or in the VOD catalog are presented – as pioneered by Netflix and similar to Comcast’s X1 “Next Episode Suggestion.”

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Speaking of Comcast, TiVo has felt free to publicly bash their so-called partner… despite upcoming improvements to that Xfinity X1 HTML5 platform — including deeper Pandora and other “web site integration,” along with a few other features TiVo doesn’t possess. From the Donohue Report:

Its Share2TV app will allow X1 subscribers to stream personal videos recorded on mobile devices with any X1 subscriber in the country. Comcast is also developing an app called Family Point which will allow subscribers to view the locations of family members on TV by tracking smartphones that are connected to X1, and family members will also be able to leave messages through “sticky notes” that will be displayed when a television is turned on.