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Dish updates Hopper to include HDMI-CEC

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 12:54pm
Mike Robuck

With its latest update to Hopper, Dish Network is laying claim to being the first service provider to implement HDMI-CED (consumer electronic control) to help viewers control their TVs.

 The fifth software update this year for Dish’s Hopper whole-home DVR platform was codenamed “Denver,” and included some additional features such as improved navigation and search interfaces.

HDMI-CEC stitches together users’ viewing preferences between the various devices that are connected to TVs around a home. The moment a user turns on the Hopper DVR, the television  automatically adjust to the proper viewing input. For example, customers who last watched a Blu-Ray no longer have to manually switch back to their TV’s satellite input to view their Dish channels.

“The ‘Denver’ release for Hopper is all about continuing to improve the TV viewing experience for our customers,” said Vivek Khemka, senior vice president of product management at Dish. “With so many devices connected to the TV, we find confusion arises when consumers switch between inputs. Our Hopper’s HDMI-CEC feature helps eliminate that confusion.”

Additional updates to Hopper included:

• On Demand Shelves—Hopper’s On Demand section now displays rows, or shelves, organized with movie and show tiles displayed horizontally across the screen. As part of this new design, DISH includes a “free for kids” shelf that features On Demand content filtered by content ratings appropriate for children.

• Dish Explorer: —To aid in content search and discover, the Dish Explorer app can now control all televisions in a Hopper ecosystem, which includes the smaller “Joey” boxes.  To further enhance the program discovery capability within Dish Explorer, the app now includes a new “see also” recommendation feature. This allows users to find similar programming options. Dish Explorer is a second-screen iPad app that finds programming, enables social media and serves as a remote control.

• Search— Hopper’s search function now produces results from all possible sources, including the programming guide, recorded content and VOD. This is also presented in the shelf-based format, making it easier to view and select from the displayed options, according to Dish.

• Programming guide— When users visit HBO, Starz, Encore, Epix and History in the programming guide, an option to select that channel’s on demand page will appear with additional content options.

• Help app—A new “help” app provides customers with information to better maximize Hopper features and settings. The app is accessible from the “menu” or by pressing the blue button on the Dish remote.

Dish first introduced the Hopper whole home DVR platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in last year. 

Programmers, including ABC/Disney and Fox, have objected to the Hopper’s ability let viewers skip over commercials while Dish has maintained that the ad skipping was no different than what takes place on DVR recordings. While broadcasters have sued Dish alleging that the Hopper infringes on their copyrights, to date Hopper has prevailed in the courtrooms 

CED’s Jeffery Krauss detailed how Hopper works in a recent column. 

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