#CES Las Vegas - Sporting a newly abbreviated name, a new logo, and a popular industry vet as its new CEO, satellite-TV service Dish reached into its pouch one more time here Monday and produced a pair of networkable set-top boxes to bring subscribers back.
Dish's new president, Joe Clayton, known for his leadership roles with Thomson (RCA), Sirius and other CE venues, introduced the Hopper and the Joey, a central DVR server and remote thin-client box that make up the multi-room home-networking system the company hopes to use to revitalize its subscriber-challenged operations.
Named for a Kangaroo and its offspring, the set-top boxes promise to, among other things, allow subscribers to automatically record and cache all of the prime time programs from local CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX affiliates each night between 8 and 11 p.m. and hold them for up to eight days. The Hopper and its Primetime Anytime feature will be central to a national advertising campaign.
The Hopper, which uses a kangaroo as its trademark, is a DVR and household server on steroids. It contains 2TB of internal storage capacity, three tuners, and the ability to record up to six programs at a time. Users can view programs from the Hopper's hard drive and tuners in up to three remote rooms in the house.
Viewers, in effect, gain the ability to "hop from room to room" viewing the same program on different TVs.
"We want people demanding a Hopper," Clayton said. "It's fun, it's entertainment, it's emotional and it's different from what everybody else has."
The Joey is tethered to the Hopper via a MoCA-enabled coaxial cable to share live and recorded TV programs in up to three additional rooms, using the the Hopper as the content hub.
The system will incorporate a new interactive program guide that features a more ergonomic look and feel.
In addition to launching the Hopper here, Clayton also polished up the Dish faÃ§ade by dropping "Network" from the brand name, and increased its SiriusXM music channel offerings with more content for the Latino market and other strategic socio-economic groups.
Dish will launch the Hopper and Joey with a major promotional campaign, starting with "Blockbuster At Home" that will play off its previous campaign with an added appeal to families.
Subscribers who sign up will receive three months of free DVD rentals by mail, more than 40 channels of HD programming, and more than 3,000 children's and family titles added to the existing library of streaming Blockbuster on Demand movies, for a total of more than 8,000 movies and television programs.
Dish will play up the various promotions with a new advertising campaign leveraging national TV spots and a redesigned website.