New Dish Hopper Adds Sling
January 8, 2013

CES 2013: Dish Network Adds Sling To Their Hopper

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

At this week´s 2013 International CES, satellite TV provider Dish Network announced an updated Hopper DVR that will not only record a full week of prime-time programming from the four major broadcast networks, but that subscribers will also be able to stream content to remote viewers through the Internet.

“Last year, Hopper delivered the Dish TV experience to multiple rooms. This year, we top that and deliver it anywhere,” said Joseph P. Clayong, Dish president and CEO. “With Hopper, the value of equation for pay TV becomes radically different. Customers pay only once for their content and can access it anywhere they choose, in the home, or on the go.”

And this year it really could be about the “on the go.”

The Hopper with Sling offers the promise of what the company calls “unparalleled choice and control, at home or on the go.” This second generation of the award-winning Whole-Home HD DVR system allows users to watch live and recorded television anywhere via an Internet-connected tablet, smartphone or PC. This functionality will be available to Dish subscribers at no additional charge using the Hopper´s new built-in Sling capabilities and the new Dish Anywhere app.

The Sling technology is now built into each new Hopper with Sling and will work by encoding and redirecting a live or recorded TV signal from the Hopper to Internet-connected iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. Whereas the DVR technology created the concept of “time shifting,” the Hopper with Sling now could evoke the concept of “place-shifting” of a user´s content.

This is because Dish customers can use the Sling feature to watch DVR recordings stored on Hopper´s hard drive, including major network shows recording using the Dish PrimeTime Anytime feature. Both the live and recorded TV programs will be available for viewing in the home as well on devices whilst on the go.

The Sling place-shifting technology utilizes a Sling Adapter accessory for select Dish DVR models, including the original Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR.

“Customers want to access the shows they pay for on their mobile devices and only the Hopper meets that demand,” said Vivek Khemka, vice president of product management at Dish. “Our new Hopper with Sling simply makes it easier for our subscribers to watch their favorite programs on the go.”

The Hopper Transfer will also allow for place-shifting of content where there is no Internet connectivity, such as on an airplane during flight. The Hopper Transfer app lets viewers move recorded TV content from a Dish DVR to an iPad and watch the recorded content without the need to connect online. The transfer of course needs to be completed in advance.

How the networks will respond is yet to be seen, but in the past there has been a backlash.

"We always stand with the consumer. That means sometimes we'll have lawsuits," Dish CEO Joe Clayton told the San Jose Mercury News in an interview ahead of the show.

The service will also allow users to turn their TVs into a home media hub with the ability to play games via a multi-player gaming apps and the ability to “fling” content including photos, videos and music from a mobile device. New Hopper apps will also provide support for music services such as Pandora and SiriusXM, as well as multi-screen, multi-player game apps such as Trivia TV and Poker Fun, and these will work with in combination with smartphones and tablets.

Additionally Dish announced Dish Explorer, a second-screen app for the Apple iPad that will combine TV, social media and remote control capabilities. This free app will enable users to engage in conversations relating to the show they're watching via social media services including Facebook and Twitter. With the Dish explorer it sounds like TV fans can “dish” about their shows as well.

Dish´s Hopper with Sling includes built-in Wi-Fi and is powered by a Broadcom 7452 processor that, according to the company, will run nearly three-times faster than any other satellite set top box. The pricing and availability of the Hopper with Sling will be announced later this month.