For more than a year, U.S. courts have shot down lawsuits against Dish over its ad-skipping Hopper digital video recorder. While media producers and television networks may dislike the Hopper set-top DVR, it has been praised by technology publications and individual users. Until now, Dish has relied on the original Hopper, which came on the scene in early 2012. Monday at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, Dish released numerous Hopper-related features and devices.
Among the new Hopper products are Joeys, which Dish says will allow users to wirelessly stream their recorded shows to otherwise-disconnected televisions. On top of the wireless streaming features, the upgraded Hopper will now be capable of recording eight channels simultaneously instead of six.
Joeys and New Devices
At the center of Dish's announcement at CES were the Joeys, and in particular, the Super Joey recording system. The Hopper set-top box itself will be upgraded to allow customers to record eight channels at once, although Dish will require at least four of them to be one of the major networks: ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox.
To increase the functionality of the Hopper system, Joeys will be used to stream content to other televisions that are not directly hooked up to Dish's network or to the Hopper. Unlike in the past, the next generation of Joeys will only require a power outlet to run, instead of coaxial cables, allowing people to use them more easily throughout the house.
The Hopper alone will cost $12 each month, while the new Joey boxes will cost an additional $7 per TV. This will be the third year in a row that Dish has used the annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to unveil a device that helps the company move toward its goal of becoming the best "TV Everywhere" provider.
Along with expanding the Hopper's features and introducing the wireless Joeys, Dish has also signed deals with LG and Sony. These deals will allow consumers to view recorded shows on some LG TVs along with the PS3 and PS4 without another device and monthly fee.
As a result of the way that TV networks are set up, there is bound to be an issue when a company comes along to remove ads from a program. When Dish unveiled the Hopper, the first response of some networks was to initiate lawsuits against Dish, and while some networks never took it to that level, they are still unhappy with the way the Hopper works.
The Hopper was a huge announcement during CES 2013 and right from the beginning, people knew that the set-top box would not only shake up the industry but that it would likely be great for consumers. This led to CNET's decision to name it "Best of CES." Unfortunately, because CNET's parent company, CBS, was unhappy with the product, that award was eventually taken down and CNET also lost its ability to pick the awards for products shown at CES.
Now that the courts have spoken in favor of Dish and the Hopper, it is unlikely the updated version of the device will face as much criticism from TV networks.