As anyone who follows the tech industry knows, the annual Consumer Electronics Show is nearly upon us. And, with it, bazillions of new product announcements. Some of which aren’t always revealed exactly as or when a vendor had intended… and such may be the case with DISH Network’s upcoming “Hopper” whole-home DVR solution that was supposedly covered by TWICE prematurely (and then yanked).
What I gather from the article and some Internet sleuthing is that EchoStar’s next generation XiP satellite whole home DVR hardware will be branded as the DISH Network “Hopper” (XiP 813) – along with the cute little kangaroo logos you see below. Further, the “extender” units will be Joeys (XiP 110). Given DISH’s inglorious historical product/box naming conventions, this is already a massive win as far as I’m concerned (and it beats TiVo’s Q and Preview, conceptually). The XiP, er Hopper, also features smaller, less angular set-top box hardware which had been my other major complaint with DISH units.
Of course, the goal of a whole-home DVR is to create a mostly centralized repository of recordings that can be streamed around the home… which the 2TB, 3 tuner Hopper and Joeys deliver. Along with live television. From the article, the system
can relay programs from the Hopper’s hard drive and tuners to up to three remote rooms in the house.Viewers, in effect, gain the ability to “hop from room to room” viewing the same program on different TVs. It’s smaller partner, the Joey (as in a baby kangaroo), is actually a thin−client box that is tethered via a MoCA coaxial cable system to the Hopper to share live and recorded TV programs in up to three additional rooms. The system will incorporate a new interactive program guide that features a more ergonomic look and feel
Beyond those compelling, albeit anticipated, whole-home functionality, the Hopper introduces a DVR “catch up” feature they’ve christened Primetime Anytime. Basically, one of the three tuners appears to be co-opted to record local affiliate programming (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC) between 8PM – 11PM with programming retained for about a week. Clever! Seeya, Hulu Plus? But I wonder if this sort of automated solution will raise the ire of broadcasters – who’d rather license “catch up” services.
Lastly, the article indicates that the artist formerly known DISH Network will be dropping the “Network” and going solely by DISH (along with a new logo) in regards to marketing. Which, I suppose, isn’t entirely surprising given their (questionable) acquisition of Blockbuster along with other non-satellite TV irons in the fire.