This morning in Las Vegas, Joseph Clayton, CEO of Dish Network became the first tech exec to carry out a baby kangaroo at a Consumer Electronics Show press conference. And it was all in service of touting the satellite provider’s latest attempt to catch up to DirecTV. And yes, he let me hold it too.
For about a year, the folks at DirecTV have been touting its Whole-Home DVR service that allows users to watch recorded content in any room with a connected receiver. Now Dish has almost caught up with its bigger competitor by at least announcing that it will soon have its own similar service with a few additional features that distinguish it from the DirecTV offering.
Dubbed “Hopper” (which explains the kangaroo), the service features one main DVR that can record up to six shows at the same time, compared to the DirecTV offering of just four. The DVR also has a pretty impressive 2TB storage capacity, so you don’t have to worry that saving all four seasons of Breaking Bad will prevent you from recording every Biggest Loser episode (Don’t judge. I like that show).
Another thing that sets it apart — or will set it apart, as it’s still to be determined as to when this service will actually become commercially available — is that users watching TV through one of the connected “Joey” receivers will have full DVR control of live TV. The DirecTV whole-home service only allows users to pause-rewind-record-etc on the main DVR.
The neatest feature we saw on the new Dish receivers was a remote-finder function that causes the remote to beep until you find it hidden in the recycling bin.
The Hopper DVR also does not require an internet connection to download on-demand content. Customers can download up to ten movies a day via satellite.
Speaking of data coming from the sky, another announcement from the Dish presser involves a new satellite-based broadband service, courtesy of a partnership with ViaSat. Dish claims the high-speed service will deliver up to 12 Mbps in download speeds. Customers will be offered an introductory bundle with the ViaSat service for a total of around $80/month, though that price is likely to increase after a promotional period expires. Here’s me and a kangaroo.