In an effort to spur development on smartphones and tablets, Dish Network announced this morning that it has opened up its third-party application programming interface (API) to developers.

Starting today, developers that gain Dish’s approval can access many of the same multi-screen APIS that Dish uses on its Dish Explorer mobile app for the satellite company’s whole-home Hopper DVR platform.

With the Dish APIs, developers can offer new ways for customers to discover shows that are available on the program guide, recorded to the DVR and accessible on demand. The developers’ apps will also be able to control the Hopper by changing channels, setting recordings and playing back DVR and on-demand shows.

Cable operators are also working on more Internet-like capabilities by using HTML5 for user guides, and other open source technologies in order to speed up innovation cycles.

“Dish wants to evolve the Hopper experience for customers and foster innovation among the developer community,” said Vivek Khemka, senior vice president of product management for Dish. “Dish already has its own suite of mobile apps designed to work with the Hopper, but we want to see what other experiences trusted partners might create if given the opportunity. By tapping into a deeper well of creativity, I’m confident we will discover ideas we’ve never dreamed of to improve upon an already unique customer experience.”

Thuuz Sports was  the first developer to meld Dish’s APIs into its app, enabling Dish customers to control their Hopper receiver directly from Android or iOS smartphones.  

Thuuz Sports uses real-time analytics and social signaling to alert viewers to sporting events. Users customize the app based on their favorite teams and sports leagues, including NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAAF and NCAABB.

By pairing the Thuuz app on mobile devices with Hopper, Dish subscribers can automatically jump to the most exciting games on their TV. The Thuuz Sports app also enables one-click recording of live or upcoming matches on the Hopper when customers are away from their TVs.

Dish said that developers who were interested in working with its APIs would need to be vetted to ensure that customer privacy and other considerations were met.