Dish, the company now known best for the Hopper DVR they introduced just two years ago (along with the Joey whole-home extender and supporting Boston guys from the ads), is at CES in force, introducing numerous additions to their line-up.
First out, Dish débuted the Virtual Joey, an extender app that will run on newer LG Smart TVs and soon also on the PS3 and PS4. The app brings a “near identical” [their words] Joey extender experience to your TV without the hardware.
Next up, the Wireless Joey will use a dedicated Wireless AC base to extend your Hopper wirelessly in your home to up to two TVs. This will make it easier to get your Dish TV service to places in your home that might not be wired for cable—the kitchen, the flat screen over your fireplace, or even out in your garage.
For people who just can’t work within the constraints of just 6 consecutive recording streams, Dish announced the Super Joey, an extender that adds two more tuners to your Hopper network. With the 4-in-1 tuner trickery used for PrimeTime Anytime, that gives you the ability to record 8 consecutive programs on your Hopper.
Dish also announced (arguably much needed) user experience improvements to the on-screen UI and numerous improvements to their Dish Anywhere and Dish Explorer apps, and the addition of the Kindle Fire as a supported platform for Dish Anywhere.
One surprisingly interesting feature is an integrated voice search addition to the Explorer app. Dish demonstrated the app’s new ability to search by voice—even working well with different accents—and then refine the search results by voice. In his example, Product SVP Vivek Khemka searched for movies with Angelina Jolie, then refined the search by excluding movies with Brad Pitt. Assuming it wasn’t simulated, it was an impressive demonstration.
The Hopper platform seems to have really supercharged Dish, now proud to have greater brand recognition than DirecTV. (Can you name DirecTV’s whole-home platform? I couldn’t.) Dish’s executives are quick to point out that they’re the only people offering all the services that they have, and they’re doing it at a total cost-of-ownership that’s significantly lower than both TiVo and DirecTV.