If there are two main points we took away from the fairly entertaining Dish Network press conference this morning at CES 2014 they are: A) Americans watch way too much TV — an average of 35.5 hours per week, according to Dish, and B) Dish Network is working hard to help us watch a whole lot more.
Surrounded by a barrage of kangaroo furries, Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton outlined the road map for the three key parts he says Americans want from their cable or satellite provider: affordability, availability, and ease of use. The new Dish Network products primed for release in 2014 appear to be especially focused on the latter two points.
The apex of the new services Dish Network is rolling out for the coming year focus on its Hopper DVR’s companion piece, the Joey. But instead of just one basic add-on to your Hopper DVR, Dish is making available what it’s calling a Joey Troop. Cute, but also extremely powerful for those that want to watch content anywhere, and everywhere – from a broad range of devices.
The biggest new additions to the family are the Wireless Joey, which allows you to connect TVs to Dish Network services wirelessly via WiFi, and the Virtual Joey, an add-on app to the Hopper that will be appearing in select LG TVs, as well as in the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 gaming consoles, allowing said content to ride along with all of the other streaming apps in your collection.
Finally, the company is rolling out its new SuperJoey, an add-on DVR that is small, but also has two extra tuners, and a processing chip as powerful as that in the company’s regular Hopper DVR. With the Super Joey, users can record up to eight programs at a time, virtually eliminating DVR battles in almost any household.
Along with its super powered new team of Joeys, the company has upgraded its Dish Anywhere app for use with the Kindle, and added voice recognition for the iPad to allow for advanced searching techniques. Senior VP of Product Management Vivek Khemka showed a demonstration in which he told the tablet to find Angelina Jolie movies, and then simply said without Brad Pitt, and the app complied by finding several movies with the solo sultry actress, across multiple platforms. Finally, and perhaps most convincing to those on the edge of signing up with Dish Network, the company will be offering an iPad mini for free for all new subscribers.
With a self-proclaimed higher brand recognition than DirecTV in the last two quarters, Dish Network has already made substantial gains over the last year. And with over 100 evolutions to its interface, reams of ways to watch, and a user-focused attitude, the company seems primed to take the reins as the top dog in satellite in 2014.
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