Dish Adds Sling Capability to its Hopper DVR

Dish, the satellite TV provider that pleased TV viewers and upset broadcasters last year with the introduction of the Hopper DVR that automatically skips commercials on recorded prime-time shows, today introduced a second-generation Hopper with built-in Sling capability. The upgraded box lets users watch and control live TV and DVR recordings from smartphones, tablets and PCs, essentially replicating the living room TV experience wherever they go, and has built-in Wi-Fi for accessing a home network. Dish also upgraded processor speed to 1.3 GHz, which is said to deliver the fastest guide scrolling in the pay-TV industry.

Dish officials said the new Hopper, which has a 2-terabyte hard drive that holds more than 500 hours of high-def programming, will be offered to new customers at the same price as its predecessor with no monthly fee for the Sling functionality.

Dish also announced three apps that embrace the “TV anywhere” revolution:

  • Dish Anywhere provides remote DVR access allowing users to access and manage recordings from a smartphone or tablet.
  • Hopper Transfers enables DVR recordings to be transferred to an iPad with no additional charges; the original is deleted from the DVR, honoring the Copy Once digital-rights-management required by HBO and other content owners.
  • Dish Explorer, a second-screen app that cross-references hundreds of Dish channels and social media threads to recommend popular TV shows and movies. The app also turns the iPad into a remote control, allowing users to change channels by tapping on the screen, and makes it easy to engage in Twitter and Facebook conversations about programs they’re watching. A What’s Hot feature spotlights the most-viewed programs based on real-time data from Dish viewers. Programs can be filtered by local or national viewership and genre, including sports, drama, comedy, reality, kids and family, and news and talk shows. Programs are sorted from most popular to least popular and display “flame meters” that signify popularity.