Dish’s Debatable Device Gets New Wings


Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) has opened its third-party application programming interface, or API, to developers — the same second-screen API that the satellite TV company uses for its Dish Explorer mobile app on its Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR, a program designed to conveniently replace a traditional remote control with a tablet-based device.

With the Dish APIs, developers will be able to offer new ways for customers to discover shows that are available on the program guide, recorded to the DVR and accessible on demand. Their apps will also be able to control the Hopper by changing channels, setting recordings, and playing back DVR and on-demand shows. Dish said the move is designed to deliver new customer experiences and spur innovation among smartphone and tablet app developers.

“Dish wants to evolve the Hopper experience for customers and foster innovation among the developer community,” Vivek Khemka, senior vice president of Product Management for Dish, said in a statement. “Dish already has its own suite of mobile apps designed to work with the Hopper, but we want to see what other experiences trusted partners might create if given the opportunity. By tapping into a deeper well of creativity, I’m confident we will discover ideas we’ve never dreamed of to improve upon an already unique customer experience.”

Thuuz Sports is the first developer to incorporate Dish’s APIs into its app, enabling Dish customers to control their Hopper receiver directly from Android or iOS smartphones. Thuuz Sports uses real-time analytics and social signaling to alert viewers to sporting events. Fans can customize the app based on their favorite teams and sports leagues, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA. By pairing the Thuuz app on mobile devices with Hopper, Dish subscribers can automatically jump to games on their TV. The Thuuz Sports app also enables one-click recording of live or upcoming matches on the Hopper if a customer is away from the TV.

Media strategist Robert Tercekearlier said he thought Dish’s announcement was a step in the right direction at the Second Screen Summit in New York earlier this month: “In the world of the multichannel video providers, Dish is probably the most innovative company. This is evidence that Dish is focused on reinventing the TV experience for an audience that’s already accustomed to manipulating their content, tuning in when they want to, and building their own playlists. Consumers want to exert more control.”

The Hopper has been a contentious device since DISH added its AutoHop technology to it in May last year. AutoHop allows customers to skip commercials. CNET reports Fox (NASDAQ:FOX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), Comcast’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC, and Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) ABC have all filed suits against Dish regarding its AutoHop feature.

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