Dish is building Google Assistant right into its Hopper DVRs

dish google assistant built in ces 2019 hopper 3 dvr asset 1a

The voice assistant space, which seriously kicked into high gear during 2018, shows no signs of slowing down. This year’s CES has seen another huge raft of voice-related announcements and product launches. What’s intriguing is that companies that have had voice response built into their products for a few years now are starting to embrace voice assistants from Google and Amazon, as a layer on top of the existing voice services.

The most recent example is Dish, which announced today, January 8, that it would be building Google Assistant into its Hopper DVRs in the coming months. If you’re an existing Dish customer, with a Hopper, Joey, or Wally set-top box — and a Dish voice remote — you’ll get Google Assistant for free as a software update; there’s no new hardware to buy. Previously, Dish devices have been compatible with Google Assistant, but you needed to pair your set-top box with an external smart speaker, like Google Home. That’s no longer the case, and they’re also compatible with Amazon Alexa.

Dish says that the GA functionality will exist side by side with existing Dish-based voice operations, enabling features that weren’t available through an external Google device.  Previously, users could ask Google to find them shows to watch, or control specific functions like play and pause. According to a company press release, there will soon be much more you can do: “Customers will be able to use the Dish voice remote to ask the Assistant questions and see answers on the screen like the weather forecast or games scores. Users will also be able to control smart home devices, such as dimming the lights or adjusting the thermostat, and relive favorite memories by pulling up Google Photos on the TV screen – all with their voice.”

That last point is intriguing. Typically, to get Google Assistant to display Google content on-screen, you’ve needed either a Chromecast device, or an Android TV device. If Dish’s set-top boxes can display Google Photos after the GA update, we’re curious about what else it may be able to do.

Conjecture aside, this is good news for Dish subscribers who have been thinking about getting buying a Google smart speaker. With Google Assistant baked into their set-top box, you get all of the GA functionality, without having to add another device to your home. Of course, it’s not quite the same thing. With a Google speaker, its always-on far-field mics can respond to you as long as you’re within its pickup range. Using GA through a Dish device means having the Dish voice remote within easy reach, and then using it.

Movies & TV

The show cost how much?! The priciest original series on Netflix

Netflix has spent big bucks on original series, which might be part of the reason why its subscription pricing is going up. Here's a look at some of the priciest series from the streaming service.
Smart Home

Want to change the voice, gender, or language on Google Home? Here's how

If you'd like to hear what Google Assistant sounds like speaking in a male voice, or a female voice that's different from the default voice, you can easily make the switch using the Google Home app.
Deals

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for January 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Smart Home

Legrand’s Smart Lighting touts security, interoperability, and simple setup

Near universal connectivity including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Ring, and the Internet of Things is the theme of Legrand's Smart Lighting Radiant collection of switches, dimmers, outlets, and plugs.
Smart Home

Want a smarter home? Ditch the keys with these great smart locks

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Home Theater

Ikea’s Symfonisk Sonos speaker coming in August, priced to “reach many people”

If details in a newly released video are true, we could be looking at Ikea's new Symfonisk speaker collaboration with Sonos to be in stores as soon as August. And the price? Within reach of "many people."
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

Spotify adds artist-blocking feature, despite its denials

Though it continues to claim you can't do it, there is plenty of evidence that Spotify added an artist-blocking feature to its platform, making it easy for users to never hear a specific musician or band.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on Hulu and what’s leaving in February 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for February 2019, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming…
Deals

Save up to $100 on the Sonos Beam, Sub, and Playbar before game day

With the big game less than two weeks off, now is the perfect time to upgrade your home theater. Whether you're hosting a party or kicking back by yourself, Sonos is offering nice deals right now on a few of its top-rated audio devices…
Features

Netflix’s rate hike is a good thing. Wait, wait, hear us out

Upset at Netflix for raising its rates? We don't blame you. Nobody likes to pay more for anything -- even if they love that thing. But you really should be thanking the streaming entertainment giant. The hike in prices is a necessary and…
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.