DISH Network L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation, today announced that it will be the first pay-TV provider to launch a 4K ‘Ultra HD’ set-top box. Named the 4K Joey, the unit is designed to easily integrate with DISH’s Hopper Whole Home HD DVR system.
Unlike other 4K pay-TV options which are confined to an app on select TVs, the DISH 4K Joey is dedicated hardware that will be compatible with all HDMI 2.0/ HDCP 2.2-compliant televisions. The 4K Joey will not only play back 4K ultra HD content, it will also enhance everyday viewing of television and sports programming by supporting side-by-side display of two programs, each in HD. This picture-in-picture (PiP) capability was not possible previously and is ideal for sports fans who want to watch two games playing at the same time.
DISH will deliver 4K content from several providers. Specific announcements will be made closer to the consumer launch of 4K Joey, which is slated for the second quarter.
“Our new 4K Joey offers the most versatile, future-proofed 4K setup for our customers,” said Vivek Khemka, senior vice president of Product Management. “It’s easy to install and works with the most 4K televisions, so no matter what brand customers bought over the holiday season, they can enjoy content through DISH.”
The DISH 4K Joey, which supports any HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2-compliant television, is compatible with all Hopper systems, provides full Joey functionality for standard and high-definition televisions and supports playback at 60fps in 10-bit color. The new set-top box is equipped with a Broadcom dual-core chipset and Broadcom 7448 dual-core ARM processor. It features PiP, Bluetooth and supports Hopper apps such as Vevo, Netflix and Game Finder.
The newest member of DISH’s Joey troop can network to a Hopper set-top box via coax or Ethernet connections. The unit also features Toslink and RCA analog audio outputs to accommodate a wide variety of home audio configurations.
- 4K Joey: Industry’s first Ultra HD set-top box plays 4K content
- New Remote and User Interface: Simplified, sleek design developed simultaneously to make navigating the Hopper more easy and intuitive
- Whole-Home Music: New mobile application controls Hopper and Joeys to stream music across the home
- Streaming Video: Music videos are back on TV with new Hopper Vevo app
- Photo Display: Personal photos and videos come to the TV via new Lyve app on Hopper
As the 2015 International CES gets underway, DISH Network L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation, unveiled a series of firsts, becoming the first pay-TV provider to deliver a remote with touchpad and voice control, the first to launch a 4K Ultra HD set-top box, the first to offer streaming apps such as Vevo and the first to deliver a whole-home music solution. While becoming more technologically-advanced, the Hopper is now easier to use than ever before thanks to a new remote control and user interface.
“Since launching the Hopper in 2012, we have never stopped innovating, and today marks the next milestone in our journey to connect consumers with entertainment, including the latest 4K Ultra HD content,” said Joseph P. Clayton, DISH CEO and president. “We are making the Hopper user experience more intuitive than ever, while also making it a true entertainment hub through apps on the Hopper that connect consumers to some of their favorite streaming services.”
DISH launches industry first with 4K Ultra HD Joey
With the launch of the 4K Joey, DISH is the first pay-TV provider to offer a set-top box that supports all Ultra HD televisions equipped with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. The ultra-thin receiver is small enough to fit behind wall-mounted 4K TVs and features picture-in-picture and native Bluetooth support.
“While 4K Ultra HD televisions have generated considerable buzz in the industry, 4K pay-TV solutions have not been universal,” said Vivek Khemka, DISH senior vice president of product management. “The 4K Joey expands the 4K ecosystem and enables consumers to select the Ultra HD TV of their choice and access relevant content, helping them better enjoy the most advanced picture viewing experience available today.”
The 4K Joey will be available in Q2 2015. It will connect to an existing Hopper and joins the existing “troop” of Joeys in offering a complete whole-home experience. In addition to the standard Joey, DISH offers the Wireless Joey, the Virtual Joey and the Super Joey.
New remote and user interface make using Hopper and Joey easier than ever
To enrich the overall customer experience, DISH is rolling out a new user interface (UI) and remote control designed to make interacting with the Hopper and Joey easier and more intuitive. The new UI, named “Carbon,” features a flat design, increased accessibility (including higher contrast for easier reading and customizable text size) and an innovative “home screen” that displays relevant programs that a customer may enjoy using data analysis based on past viewing experience, time of day, personal preferences and other factors.
To complement the updated UI, DISH is unveiling a new, smartphone-sized remote control named “Hopper Voice.” Developed in concert with the new UI, the remote features a touchpad for swipe and scroll navigation, a dynamic backlight that illuminates the entire remote, and advanced voice command capabilities. With 17 buttons–down from the 53 in the current remote–Hopper Voice makes it easier for customers to access frequently used commands.
DISH is also unveiling the “Hopper Standard” remote, which uses the same design language as Hopper Voice and offers a simplified experience without the touchpad, for those who prefer a more traditional experience. Hopper Voice will ship with all Hoppers and 4K Joeys, while Hopper Standard will be included with other Joeys. Consumers also have the option to purchase the remote of their choice for existing Hopper or Joey boxes, both of which are compatible with the new remotes.
“Consumers interact with the Hopper using two touch points, the remote and the user interface, and we designed both– the Hopper Voice remote and Carbon UI–with their needs in mind,” Khemka said. “We want consumers to get to the content they want without even having to think about how to get there.”
The Carbon UI, Voice Control remote and Hopper Standard remote will be available in Q2 2015.
Whole-Home music available directly from Hopper and Joey
Already known as a whole-home DVR, the Hopper is evolving into a whole-home music system to provide a complete, room-to-room entertainment experience. DISH is announcing an update that will turn Hoppers and Joeys into music streaming “zones” that are controllable from a new Android or iOS smartphone app. The app will enable users to select content from popular streaming sources such as iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn, as well as their personal library. Using the app, they can choose to sync the same music across rooms, or play different content in each zone. The whole-home music feature can also be controlled directly from an app on the Hopper and Joeys.
“Our customers listen to streaming music on their smartphones and tablets all the time, but the best speakers and soundbars in the house are often connected to the TV,” said Khemka. “By adding streaming music capabilities to the Hopper, we are giving consumers a music experience that rivals pricey whole-home retail solutions, at no additional cost to them.”
Whole-home music will be available on Hopper and Joey during the summer.
Vevo App brings music videos back to TV
Further propelling the Hopper as a versatile entertainment hub is the addition of the Vevo app, making DISH the first pay-TV provider to offer Vevo on a set-top box. The Vevo app gives viewers access to a library of 100,000 HD music videos that can easily be searched, discovered and played. The addition of Vevo gives consumers even more streaming options following DISH’s announcement of a Netflix app last month.
“As customers watch more online content, we are making the Hopper an even more versatile hub by enabling customers to find thousands of music videos available for streaming from Vevo without the need to switch inputs,” said Khemka.
Vevo will be available at no additional cost on Hopper and Joey in Q1 2015.
Lyve brings personal photos and videos to the Hopper
Recognizing that one of the best ways to display photos is on high-resolution TVs, DISH is enhancing the Hopper with the addition of Lyve, an innovative new service that gives users the ability to collect and access their photos across multiple platforms. With Lyve, consumers can consolidate photos and videos stored on multiple devices (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Kindle Fire) into one app, which they can now access via the Hopper or Joey.
“Between smartphones and cameras, we are taking more photos than ever, and Lyve gives us a way to share and experience our life memories,” said Khemka. “With the addition of Lyve, the Hopper system supports the full range of digital content, including online video, music and photos.”
Lyve will be available on Hopper and Joey in Q2 2015.
- Hopper Voice Remote features clickable touchpad, fewer buttons and advanced voice recognition for quick navigation
- New user interface utilizes flat design, simplified layout to make discovering and selecting content easier
- Remote and user interface developed together to maximize Hopper functions and commands
At the 2015 International CES, DISH Network L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation, unveiled the new “Hopper Voice Remote” and redesigned user interface (UI), making it even easier for customers to navigate, search and select content on the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR.
“There are two touchpoints in any pay-TV user experience, the UI and the remote, and we’ve taken a fresh, holistic approach to both,” said Vivek Khemka, DISH Senior Vice President of Product Management. “After working with our customers to best understand their preferences, we have made it even easier and more intuitive for viewers to reach their entertainment destination.”
The Hopper Voice Remote is designed to easily fit in the palm of the user’s hand, much like a smartphone. With voice control and a touchpad that responds to swipe and scroll gestures, the remote eliminates the need for excessive buttons, sporting only 17 buttons on its face compared to the 53 buttons on the previous Hopper remote.
With Hopper Voice, customers can use natural language to search by title, actor or genre and can build contextual searches to narrow results. In addition to search, customers can use voice commands to control basic functions of the Hopper, including recording and changing channels.
The remote’s touchpad has two usage modes: the default mode, which displays a blank touchpad that allows users to swipe in any direction or scroll and select by leveraging the entire area of the touchpad; and the numeric mode, which illuminates when number input is desired for channel or password entry. Multiple layers, including custom light management and etching, sensors, adhesives and mylar, went into creating the dual mode touchpad.
With the ability to serve as a universal remote, Hopper Voice can control up to two IR devices (TV/AUX models). For those consumers who prefer a more traditional remote experience (including numeric buttons), DISH is also unveiling the “Hopper Standard” remote. Hopper Voice will ship with all Hoppers and 4K Joeys, while the Hopper Standard will be included with other Joeys.
Complementing the new remote is the release of a new user interface, named “Carbon.” With a simplified, flat visual design, Carbon aggregates multiple related features into single areas and features a reorganization of settings, allowing a more natural navigational experience. With increased accessibility, including higher contrast and customizable text sizes, Carbon delivers a more comfortable visual experience.
To help customers more quickly discover and watch the shows most relevant to them, the interface now features a “Home” screen that aggregates content from across the platform, delivering “Top Picks for You,” “On Now,” “On Later” and “Recently Recorded.” The recommendations are based on historical data and vary based on the time of day.
The Hopper Voice Remote, Hopper Standard Remote and Carbon User Interface will be available to consumers starting in Q2 2015.
Hopper Voice is a universal remote with learning capabilities. It features a programmable key, voice control, dual function touchpad and a RF4CE remote control finder. The entire remote can be backlit and can last 4-6 months on two AA batteries. It is designed to easily fit in the palm of a user’s hand with dimensions of 5.59”(L) x 2.25”(W) x 1.02’(D).