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Dish Rolls Out Its Joey ‘Troop’

LAS VEGAS – Dish is bringing out “a troop” of new Joey thin-client systems to International CES to further address the company’s ongoing mission of giving its customers what they want: in this case, greater ease of use.

In total, the satellite TV provider is showing four new Joey approaches. Each new Joey is designed to connect to the central Hopper whole-home DVR either by coaxial cable or Wi-Fi network (depending on the particular device) to access programs and recordings for playback in remote rooms.

In the 2.5 years since the launch of the original Hopper, Dish has focused on giving consumers greater choice, control and flexibility in the use of their video content.

“As we come into 2014, we are going to focus more on ease of use,” said Joe Clayton, Dish president and CEO.

At the heart of the effort is making Dish’s Hopper platform an essential “entertainment hub of the house,” said Dave Shull, Dish executive VP and chief commercial officer.

“What you are going to see this year is the first step in the evolution of that hub as we move further into the house and add more capabilities,” Shull said, adding that viewership stats indicate a substantially higher use of TV content coming from the Hopper DVR than the average 35 hours per week of TV viewing attributed to U.S. households in recent Nielsen research data.

The new Joey troop includes the Super Joey, the Wireless Joey, the Virtual Joey and the PlayStation Joey.

The Super Joey is a larger Joey set-top box that adds two additional satellite tuners, which when combined with the three available tuners in the Hopper, enables recording of up to eight channels at one time, or a combination of viewing and recording via four different tuners plus one dedicated to recording PrimeTime Anytime programming, Clayton explained.

The two added Joey tuners can also be shared by any other Joeys or Hoppers in the home network.

The Wireless Joey enables users and installers to place a Joey in a remote room and connect it to the central Hopper DVR via a Wi-Fi 802.11ac network. The capability will enable bypassing the installation of coaxial cables and provides more flexibility in moving the TVs location around a room; however, power cord and HDMI connection to a TV will still be required.

Dish installers will place a wireless 802.11ac access point in the home to connect directly to the Hopper and create a private “wireless AC Cloud in the house.”

The system does not need an existing Wi-Fi Network in the home, will not interfere with existing wireless networks, and supports up to two Wireless Joeys in the home.

Virtual Joeys are Hopper thin-clients based on RVU Alliance-like technology built into TVs of participating set manufacturers. At launch, the Virtual Joey system will be built into select LG 2013 and 2014 TV models, appearing as a Dish app in the smart-TV guide. Dish will be recruiting additional TV makers to add the capability in the future, Clayton said.

Using the technology, Hopper users can share Dish programming in remote rooms without the need for extra equipment and with all the same functionality as a physical Joey set-top box.

In a similar fashion, the new PlayStation Joey brings Joey functionality in app form to a PlayStation video game console and hence any TV connected to it. Anyone who owns a PlayStation 4 console can access Dish programming in a remote room without the need of another device.