DISH boosts content discovery for Hopper Whole-Home DVR

Michelle Clancy | 23-11-2013

DISH is rolling out the latest software for its Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR, making DISH the first pay-TV provider to implement HDMI-Consumer Electronic Control (CEC) technology to control users’ televisions.

The software update, code named Denver after the company’s home city, is the fifth in a line of Hopper updates this year.

In addition to the upgraded Hopper and television integration, DISH has made updates to the box’s navigation and search interfaces. These enhancements, including On Demand shelf organization and control of Joey boxes with the DISH Explorer app, will improve user experiences on Hopper with Sling and Hopper set-top boxes.

With a new HDMI-CEC function, the moment a user turns on the Hopper, the television will automatically adjust to the proper viewing input. For example, customers who last watched a Blu-Ray no longer have to manually switch back to their TV’s satellite input to view their DISH channels.

“The Denver release for Hopper is all about continuing to improve the TV viewing experience for our customers,” said Vivek Khemka, senior vice president of product management at DISH. “With so many devices connected to the TV, we find confusion arises when consumers switch between inputs. Our Hopper’s HDMI-CEC feature helps eliminate that confusion.”

In addition to the HDMI-CEC, Hopper’s On Demand section now displays rows, or shelves, organised with movie and show tiles displayed horizontally across the screen. This makes it easier for users to scroll through their options. As part of this new design, DISH includes a ‘Free for Kids’ shelf that features On Demand content filtered by content ratings appropriate for children. Hopper’s search function now produces results from all possible sources, including the programming guide, recorded content and On Demand. This is also presented in the shelf-based format, making it easy to view and select from the displayed options.

Also for browsing and content discovery, the DISH Explorer second-screen iPad app can now control all televisions in a Hopper ecosystem and offers a ‘See Also’ recommendation feature. This allows users to easily find similar programming options.

The programming guide has also been updated: When users visit HBO, Starz, Encore, Epix and History in the programming guide, an option to select that channel’s On Demand page will appear with additional content options.

And, a new ‘Help’ app provides customers with information to better maximize Hopper features and settings. The app is accessible from the menu or by pressing the blue button on the DISH remote.