DISH revamps its Hopper interface and remote, adds new 4K set-top box

CES 2015 Dish Press Conference
Apart from Dish’s groundbreaking new standalone Web TV platform, Sling TV, the maverick satellite provider unveiled some new touches to its traditional satellite service today at CES press day in Las Vegas. New additions to the family include a revamped user interface for Dish’s Hopper DVR, a new remote for the system designed from the “ground up,” and a new portal for Dish’s forthcoming 4K VOD service, the 4K Joey set top box.

Dish CEO Joe Clayton arrived at the press conference in typical audacious fashion, preceded by a troop of kangaroo mascots, and even a drumline. Vivaciously, Clayton and his cohorts touted a simpler new interface for Dish’s traditional satellite service called “Carbon,” which adds a new home screen, improved navigation, and a few new features including a new whole-home music service, and the Vevo video service.

The Hopper DVR’s new remote might be the company’s most convenient new feature. The device aims at melding the function of a DVR remote with the simplicity of an Apple TV remote, bringing a sleek new design that includes a touchpad that reveals number keys “when needed,” backlighting, and voice activation.


Dish is also looking to follow competitors like DirecTV and Comcast by offering a new 4K VOD service delivered by its new 4K Joey set top box. The 4K Joey will serve as an add-on to the traditional Hopper DVR box for both new and existing Dish customers. The device features a robust Dual-core ARM processor, HEVC (h.265) decoding for streaming apps, and picture-in-picture that allows dual screens in HD, so you don’t even have to glance at content in standard definition. Perhaps most importantly, it brings compatibility with any 4K UHD TV.

While the addition of the new remote, and the 4K set top box are now doubt enticing innovations, Dish spent the majority of its time touting its $20 Sling TV service, citing the word millenials — the 18-35 yearo old segment that is largely rejecting standard TV services — dozens of times, and revealed a voracious appetite to seduce the coveted demographic for its new live streaming TV service.

The company also promised Sling TV won’t eat in to its traditional satellite service, which may be true for awhile, but it’s not hard to read the writing on the wall. Dish clearly has its foot square on the pedal with its new Web TV offering, promising to unveil Sling TV by the end of the month for jst $20, and bringing on a slew of $5 add-on packages along the way. For now, Dish is touting its latest satellite TV features, including the coming 4K content, and swears Sling TV won’t canabalize its core business.

With several other Web TV services in the works, the real question appears to be just how long it will be before Web TV simply becomes the next pay-TV.

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