CES: DISH Unveils Hopper With Sling

Will make live TV, DVR, on demand content availableon multiple devices and allow DVR reporting to iPads
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Just a
year after using a pre-CES press conference to offer a number of new products
intended to revitalize its business, Dish unveiled a new Hopper With Sling,
which will allow subscribers to access live TV programming, DVR and on demand
content on any internet connected device both inside and outside the home.

The move
is very notable because it will allow subscribers to access more content on
more screens than any other pay TV operator.

Dish
also showcased significant enhancements to its apps, which have been rebranded
Dish Anywhere and announced a new feature called Hopper Transfer. This will move
recorded DVR recordings to an iPad so subscribers can access it outside the
home even when they don't have the Wi-Fi connection needed for the Sling
features.

The
company plans to make the new Hopper and Dish Anywhere apps available later in January
and will support the rollout with a multimillion dollar campaign.

The new
Hopper has built in WiFi and includes a much faster Broadcom chip that offers
twice the speed and memory and includes a transcoder for delivering video to
mobile devices. These features will help turn TVs into a home media hubs that
offer new multi-player gaming apps and the ability to ‘fling' photos, videos
and music from a mobile device.

The
Hopper with Sling will continues to include the AutoHop features that allows
users to automatically skip commercials on prime time programing. The feature
has proved to be highly controversial in the TV industry and broadcast networks
have sued Dish over the feature.

During the
pre-CES press conference, Joseph P. Clayton, DISH president and CEO, taunted
broadcasters over the feature, saying viewers "want to watch commercial free TV."

"Broadcasters
would have us believe that American consumers are breaking the law in skipping
commercials," he declared. "If bypassing commercials is illegal, we are nation
of outlaws."

The
company also showed some promos for AutoHop with actors from its Hopper ads
saying "everyone hates commercials." He also noted that judges had given the
Hopper a CEA Innovation Award this year.

It isn't
clear yet if the Hopper Transfer feature would prove to be controversial with
programmers, a number of which have refused to grant rights to programming
delivered to PCs and mobile devices unless operators agree to pay additional
fees.

Clayton also
noted that the company would continue to "ruffle feathers in the industry."

Arguing
that video costs were getting too high for many consumers, he stated that Dish
would continue to remove under-performing channels. "We are rapidly approaching
tipping point," he declared. "How many customers will pay100 a month for video?"

The new
Hopper also contains a feature that could prove to be helpful in retransmission
consent negotiations with broadcast stations because it comes with a DTV tuner
that would allow viewers to access local broadcast stations.

In an
interview on the new announcements prior to CES, Vivek Khemka, VP of product
management at Dish, noted that the satellite multichannel provider had been
focusing on making all of their content available everywhere and on improving
the overall user experience with improved apps and multiscreen features.

The new
Hopper with Sling and the rebranding of its TV everywhere offerings significantly
advance those efforts, he said.

"It
completely transforms the viewing experience," he said. "They will have access
to everything they have on their TV on every other device."

This
will significantly differentiate Dish from other TV Everywhere efforts, which
he called "either broken or very confusing," because of they have limited
content and don't allow subscribers to access all their live, on demand content
inside and outside the home.

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