NEW YORK — Dish used an annual CES Unveiled preshow event last week (see p. 6) to reveal a new feature addition to its popular whole-home DVR, known as the Hopper.
The satellite-TV provider said it has added an over-theair tuner that plugs into the set-top DVR to bring access to any of those local broadcast stations either not carried by Dish or in place of paying a monthly fee for each local channel carried through the satellite service.
Dish representatives said the local stations received by the add-on broadcast tuner will integrate into the Hopper’s program guide and will be recordable by the DVR, but will not be available for the PrimeTime Anytime auto Prime Time program recording feature of the Hopper, or consequently, the AutoHop commercial-skipping feature.
The tuner, which is available now at a $30 retail, also gives Dish subscribers some assurance they won’t lose any stations in the event that Dish and a broadcast network go through a protracted retransmission consent negotiation process, which has resulted in temporary blackouts of some channels in the past.
Unfortunately, no such component is available for cable- based channels, like AMC Networks.
Meanwhile, Dish said its new What’s Hot feature will simplify the process of choosing a TV show, while eliminating the need to sort through hundreds of show available at any point in time. Dish cited a recent Digital TV Research survey showing 96 percent of consumers don’t know what to watch when they turn on the TV, and socialmedia searches are limited by highlighting only select program trending from viewer posts.
What’s Hot spotlights the most popular programs based on real-time data from a broad spectrum of Dish viewers. Programs can be filtered by local or national viewership and genres that include movies, sports, drama, comedy, reality, kids and family, and news and talk shows.
What’s Hot, which is available now from the Hopper’s main menu, automatically sorts by most popular to least popular and signifies the popularity with a flame meter.
Dish also revealed a new Game Finder feature on the Hopper, offering fans a way to watch and follow the most popular games across the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NBA, NCAABB and NHL.
The Game Finder app brings scores and games from every network into one location. While watching the live TV, viewers can select favorite teams, view up-to-the-minute box scores, schedule recordings and set reminders for upcoming games.
The app also charts excitement ratings for sports by integrating sports monitoring from Thuuz alerts of popular, trending games. Thuuz monitoring uses real-time analytics of hundreds of data inputs to alert viewers to the most exciting sporting events. The feature is available now by pressing the blue button on the Dish remote and selecting Game Finder.
Dish also reminded that it is now offering satellite-delivered high-speed Internet access to residents with slow or limited broadband access.
The DishNet service offers subscribers one bill, one installation, one customer-service number and a $10 monthly discount when bundled with Dish’s most popular TV programming packages.
DishNET offers download speeds up to 10Mbps and offers high-speed Internet service starting at $39.99 per month.