Dish has been trying to dramatically reshape its value proposition to consumers with new technologies and feature sets to set it apart from other pay TV providers. One of its big new features last year was PrimeTime AnyTime, which automatically records and allows users to watch any primetime broadcast show aired over the past week. Another was the controversial AutoHop feature, which allows users to automatically skip commercials that they didn’t want to watch.
This year, it’s making big improvements in speed and reliability to its Hopper, and announcing a new feature powered by Sling that will allow consumers to stream live and pre-recorded video to their mobile devices both in and outside of the home. The new devices have double the memory and double the speed of the Hopper introduced last year.
But the big innovation is the addition of Sling technology. With that introduction, Dish is adding new features that tap into consumer demand for their content wherever they are, whenever they want to watch it. The new DVR will stream Dish programming to PCs, as well as smartphones and tablets with the Dish Anywhere app installed.
In addition to being able to stream live TV at home and on the go, Dish subscribers will also be able to stream previously recorded TV content as well. Even better, the new DVR with Sling also will allow users to download content to their mobile devices for watching while offline, through a feature called Hopper Transfers.
“Sling gives the American consumer the ability to access on mobile phone, Apple iPad, or PC,” Clayton said.
The new features are likely to continue to antagonize broadcasters and content providers who might argue that Dish hasn’t secured the rights for out-of-home mobile streaming or downloads of their content. On that front, Dish is no stranger to controversy: Broadcasters bristled at the idea of AutoHop, which automatically fast forwarded through commercials — the lifeblood of those content owners.
But Clayton defended the new technologies as pro-consumer, particularly the AutoHop feature. Broadcasters claim that “American consumers are breaking the law if they skip commercials,” he said. In which case, well, “we’re a nation of outlaws,” according to Clayton.