Netflix Now Available On Dish Subscribers’ Boxes

Netflix and traditional pay TV companies are ever at odds in the public eye. But behind the scenes, it seems they are getting ever more cooperative: as of today, Dish subscribers now have access to Netflix on their set-top boxes.

The deal, which both companies announced today in a press release, applies to Dish subcribers who use the second-gen Hopper set-top box. Those customers can now switch over to Netflix with the flick of a virtual button — although they will need to have a separate, active Netflix subscription apart from their Dish subscription.

It’s been well over a year since rumors first began swirling that Netflix was in talks with major pay-TV providers to put everyone’s favorite binge-streaming TV app onto cable boxes.

In the current generation of technology, everything is just a platform running a hundred different apps. Your cable (fiber, satellite) box from Comcast, Verizon, or Dish is not terribly different from your Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV except that it natively includes your pay TV access as its primary app. Adding Netflix to the mix is a matter of will and contracts, not a matter of tech.

A handful of small cable providers put Netflix onto their TiVo-based set-top boxes earlier this year, so the Dish integration is not the first of its kind. However, those three companies added all together reach only 820,000 subscribers.

Dish, on the other hand, is the third-largest pay TV company in the country — behind Comcast and DirecTV, and ahead of Time Warner Cable — with over 14 million customers.

From the Dish perspective, the move basically gives customers a reason not to dish their satellite box just yet, and instead to hang around in the Dish playground a bit longer. As Vivek Khemka, DISH senior vice president of product management, explained it in a statement: “This app integration eliminates the need to switch television inputs to access content on varying devices. It gives our customers easy access to their favorite shows and movies, on both DISH and Netflix, without ever having to leave their Hopper.”

For Netflix, meanwhile, the gain is obvious: the more ways customers can access Netflix, the better. Bill Holmes, global head of business development at Netflix, acknowledged the obvious in his statement, saying, “Many households subscribe to both Netflix and a traditional pay-TV service. Our vast library of TV shows and movies, combined with DISH’s lineup of live television content, gives customers easy access to a wide variety of complementary programming.”

The offer is different from the bundle that Verizon offered earlier this year. The Verizon deal did include a year of free Netflix as a perk, but did not add the service to the FiOS lineup or box.