The satellite company’s Hopper DVR “has evolved from a plain old set top box to….the hub of the electronic home” — and soon will monitor and automate household functions — Dish Network CEO Joseph Clayton said today at the International CES confab. Dish used the platform to unveil several enhancements including an ability to record eight shows at once (if as many as four are major broadcasters), and watch four simultaneously. Users also can download programming to mobile devices, and integrate Hopper services with Sony’s PlayStation 3 and 4 models as well as with certain LG TV sets and Amazon’s Kindle Fires. Hopper apps already work with Android and Apple devices. The beefed up Hoppers likely will further infuriate broadcasters who are suing Dish, alleging that the DVRs breach copyrights with their ability to automatically skip over ads in recorded programs. (Dish says consumers already can zap ads with their remote controls.) The company says that improvements in the Hopper’s Sling technology will enable users to stream live and recorded shows, including with the ad skipping capability, both inside and outside the home. Many programmers want distributors to pay extra for those TV Everywhere capabilities. The Sony game consoles and LG TVs will be able to integrate with the Hopper wirelessly via an app as long as they’re on the same wifi network. The iPad app also now will be able to respond to voice commands to find programming — and Google Glass owners can use the device to schedule recordings. Dish will announce later this quarter when all of these services will be available.
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