DISH Network CES News Round-Up

--Launches Whole-Home HD DVR Solution with 2,000-Hour Storage Capacity
--Adds VOD Streaming Support to DISH Remote Access App for iPad
--Partners with Thuuz on Google TV App that Offers Sports Fans Alerts Based on "Excitement"
--Signs Multiplatform Distribution Deal with Univision
--Gives Prospective Subscribers "TV Everywhere" Access to a Selection of its Programming
--Expands On-Demand Access to HBO Programming
--Adds 3,000 On-Demand Children's Titles to its Blockbuster @Home Entertainment Package

DISH Network generated a fair amount of news over the past couple of weeks at CES and beyond. Here is a round-up of recent major announcements from the company:

  • Most significantly, the company has unveiled a whole-home HD DVR system consisting of two devices--the Hopper and the Joey--and providing the ability to store up to 2,000 hours of programming (thus giving it the ability to function as a catch-up service for primetime programming--see below). "The Hopper HD DVR and accompanying small Joey set-top boxes create a whole-home HD DVR entertainment system that lets DISH customers easily record, pause, and play back shows from any room in the home," the company states in its press materials. "While most whole-home DVR's do not have the same DVR functionality on every TV, the Hopper and Joey whole-home system offers the same DVR functionality on every TV, letting customers pause, play and rewind both live and recorded HD programs in up to four rooms...Pricing and packaging will be announced later this quarter. The main Hopper unit features: 1) Three satellite TV tuners. 2) A two-terabyte hard drive for up to 2,000 hours of video entertainment. 3) Up to 250 hours of HD or up to 1,000 hours of SD user recordings. 4) Bluetooth for linking to devices such as wireless headphones. 5) Picture-in-picture for watching any two channels simultaneously. Combined with a Joey, the Hopper whole-home HD DVR system offers more advanced features: 1) 750 MHz Broadcom processor--the fastest satellite receiver processor available today for a quick, responsive on-screen guide. 2) Approximately 50 percent more energy efficient for a four-room installation than previous models. 3) ZigBee RF4CE using a proprietary protocol remote with 'remote control finder' alert. 4) High-definition user interface. 5) Easy-to-use, fast, graphical, tile-based user interface with predictive search. 6) Small, sleek chassis for convenient placement. The Hopper's new, unparalleled feature, PrimeTime Anytime allows customers, with one click, to record using a single tuner all of the primetime TV programming from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC--the networks that deliver the most popular shows during primetime. Once activated by a customer, PrimeTime Anytime records network programming in high definition, where available, every night and stores them for eight days after they have aired. This creates an on-demand library of approximately 100 hours of primetime TV shows, and makes it easy to catch up on episodes from last night and last week's airing. The Hopper can record up to six TV shows at once (two live programs and four PrimeTime Anytime shows) while allowing viewers to watch up to four different recorded or on-demand shows in four rooms of the house, simultaneously. This gives a family a variety of options to control or view their recordings and to watch shows in any room from a single Hopper. The Hopper's on-demand capabilities give access to DISH's Blockbuster @Home for $10 per month which is now enhanced with more than 10,000 total titles streaming to the TV. The Hopper also offers on-demand content for customers with limited or no Internet access with a feature called DISH Unplugged. This feature delivers via satellite hundreds of the most popular movies and TV shows to the hard drive, including transactional and authenticated videos-on-demand. DISH Unplugged provides a high-quality picture without buffering and makes available many of the same streaming movie choices offered by Blockbuster @Home, including premium movie access. And for subscribers of DISH's America's Top 120 programming package or greater, the Hopper provides whole-home music distribution from 73 SiriusXM channels, including album art and a unique collapsible list of music channels located at the top of the channel guide at Channel 99, making it faster and easier for SiriusXM music fans to find their favorite music. Additionally, the Hopper will feature TV apps that give viewers real-time access to Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and photo sharing, as well as games, news, weather, sports, and stock quotes...Customers can manage the Hopper via the Internet at or the DISH Remote Access app, providing the ability to control DVR recordings on their tablets, smartphones and computers. Connecting the Hopper with DISH's Sling Adapter provides customers the ability to watch and control all live TV channels, PrimeTime Anytime programs and the DVR on their computer, tablet or smartphone wherever they go. The Hopper and Joey are designed and engineered by EchoStar Corporation. The Hopper works by distributing HD signals through existing co-axial cable in the home using the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) specification. The Hopper is powered by a Broadcom 750 MHz processor, the most powerful satellite-TV processor available today delivering a fast and responsive on-screen guide and a graphical user interface that features channel logos to help search channels, movies or TV shows quickly. The advanced search platform also allows for navigation of programs across satellite TV, broadband and an optional external hard drive."
  • The company has announced that its DISH Remote Access app for the iPad now supports streaming of on-demand programming. "DISH customers who subscribe to the Blockbuster @Home package or select premium movie packages, including HBO and Cinemax, can now watch popular movies, TV shows and kids' programming using the updated DISH Remote Access app on their iPad," the company states in its press materials. "Streaming movies and TV shows using the enhanced DISH Remote Access app requires a DISH log-in ID and a broadband-connected iPad. The DISH Remote Access app is available today and is free to DISH customers from Apple's iTunes Store. To watch live TV on the iPad, subscribers need a DISH Sling Adapter and a broadband-connected compatible DISH HD DVR receiver."
  • The company has partnered with Thuuz to develop an app for Google TV that is billed as enabling sports fans to instantly find the best live and upcoming games to watch on television. "Using special computer algorithms, the Thuuz Android app for Google TV monitors the excitement levels during broadcasts of Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, soccer, cricket and rugby games, along with both pro and college football and basketball," the company states in its press materials. "When the excitement level on field reaches a crescendo, an alert pops up on the viewer's TV screen to let the viewer tune to the action. Since DISH is the only pay-TV provider to pair a set-top box with Google TV devices, the Thuuz application can also automatically record the most exciting moments of the game for later viewing...The Thuuz app uses factors such as parity, pace, novelty, momentum and context in the algorithms that automatically assign an excitement rating to each event. Thuuz comes from the second syllable of 'enthusiast.'"
  • The company has signed a multi-year agreement with US Spanish-language programmer, Univision, that will make a range of the latter's linear and VOD content available to DISH Latino subscribers. "This unprecedented offering is Univision's first authentication partnership with a pay-TV provider, giving DISH customers access to Univision's portfolio of current primetime and library content," the company states in its press materials.
  • The company has launched a promotion dubbed "DISH Test Drive," which it says will allow consumers to "sample TV Everywhere technology from DISH and watch a selection of popular TV programming online or on mobile devices at no charge for 24 hours." The promotion is slated to begin February 1st: viewers can sign up for it via PC, tablet or smartphone at "DISH is the only pay-TV provider to allow consumers to 'try before they buy,'" the company states in its press materials. "With DISH Test Drive, prospective customers can watch live TV, recorded programs and on-demand content, including a cross-section of family and movie channels available from a variety of popular networks. DISH believes consumers will want to subscribe after enjoying its innovative TV Everywhere technology and the extensive choices for entertainment packages, all offered at attractive prices."
  • The company has signed an agreement with HBO that it says will give its customers expanded on-demand access to the latter's programming. "The agreement enables DISH customers with or without Internet, who subscribe to HBO and Cinemax, to watch expanded selections of HBO content instantly from the comfort of home," the company states in its press materials. "DISH customers with Internet access and select DISH HD DVR's who subscribe to HBO or Cinemax will soon be able to enjoy an expanded version of HBO On Demand and Cinemax On Demand, giving them instant access to virtually every episode of every season of the best HBO shows--most of which are available in high definition--including 'Luck,' 'Game of Thrones,' 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'True Blood,' 'Deadwood,' or 'The Sopranos,' as well as popular Hollywood hit movies, documentaries, stand-up comedies, sporting events, and independent films. In addition, a new feature called DISH Unplugged will make hundreds of HBO movies and TV shows available via satellite to the DISH DVR. Customers who subscribe to HBO will have instant access to HBO programming through their receiver in the highest video quality and with no buffering. These programs will be refreshed every day by satellite, providing HBO customers the most current selection of HBO programming. DISH Unplugged will be first available as a feature of the recently announced Hopper, a whole-home HD DVR entertainment system to launch in the first quarter of 2012."

  • The company has announced that it is adding over 3,000 titles, for children aged three to 13, to its Blockbuster @Home entertainment package. The titles include programming from Vivendi Entertainment, Cookie Jar, Lions Gate and Scholastic Media. "Blockbuster @Home is an expansion of Blockbuster Movie Pass, introduced by DISH last fall," the company explains in its press materials. "For $10 per month, this exclusive package offers DISH customers the following: 1) More than 100,000 DVD movies, TV shows and games by mail with unlimited in-store exchanges of DVD's and video games at participating Blockbuster stores. 2) Streaming access on the TV to more than 10,000 movies and TV shows, including more than 3,000 kids and family shows. 3) More than 25,000 movies and TV shows on-demand on the computer. 4) More than 3,000 video games by mail. 5) More than 20 premium movie and family channels. Blockbuster @Home, offered only to DISH customers, is now available on the iPad through the recently enhanced DISH Remote Access app [see above]."

North America