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CES: Dish Stitches Slingbox Features Into Next Hopper

Complete Coverage: CES 2013

Las Vegas -- Dish Network is introducing a version of its Hopper multiroom DVR that integrates Slingbox place-shifting technology -- to let customers watch live or recorded TV over the Internet -- and also is launching an app to "sideload" DVR content to an iPad for offline viewing.

Pricing and availability for Hopper with Sling will be announced later in January, the company said. The product and related apps will be available in the "next few weeks," Dish vice president of product management Vivek Khemka said.

The Hopper with Sling will deliver live and recorded television anywhere on Internet-connected tablets, smartphones, PCs and Macs at no additional charge using the new Dish Anywhere app. In addition, users can move recorded television to an iPad for viewing without an Internet connection using the Hopper Transfers app.

"The TV Everywhere experience from other providers is either broken, or very confusing," Khemka said. The new Hopper is "DVR at home, and on the go."

The operator said it will continue to offer Sling place-shifting technology using a separate Sling Adapter accessory for select Dish DVR models, including the original Hopper.

At the 2012 CES, Dish launched the original Hopper. Later in the year, the operator added the AutoHop commercial-skipping feature -- which prompted copyright-infringement lawsuits from broadcasters.

"Broadcasters would have you believe that consumers are breaking the law if they skip commercials," Dish president and CEO Joe Clayton said at a press conference here Monday. "I'm surprised the rest of the pay TV industry is not standing up for the rights of consumers."

The Hopper with Sling is powered by a Broadcom 7425 processor and runs nearly three times faster than any other satellite-TV receiver in the U.S. market, according to Dish. That provides a more responsive guide than DirecTV's Genie multiroom DVR, Dish claims.

Hopper with Sling contains a 2 Terabyte hard drive, which provides up to 500 hours of HD (2,000 hours of standard definition) recordings. The DVR also includes built-in Wi-Fi for easy networking.

In addition to the built-in Sling place-shifting technology, the second generation of the multiroom DVR will provide the Hopper Transfers app.

Customers can configure the Hopper with Sling to prepare recordings for mobile viewing, and the recordings are then transferred to an iPad via the home's Wi-Fi connection. Each mobile recording transferred features digital rights management (DRM) protection and is limited to one mobile transfer per recording. Once a recorded television program is finished encoding for mobile viewing, a 30-minute program takes approximately five minutes to move to an iPad, according to Dish.

In conjunction with the release later this month of Dish's Hopper with Sling, the Hopper Transfers app will be available in Apple's App Store.

On Monday, Dish released Dish Explorer, a free second-screen app for iPad that acts as a guide and remote control. The app serves up recommendations based on social activity and viewing data of Dish's subscriber base, and includes a sports-specific game tracking feature.

The company noted that other apps available for the Hopper include music services from Pandora and SiriusXM radio, as well as multiscreen, multiplayer game apps like PokerFun, Trivia TV and WeDraw. The apps work in combination with smartphones and tablets.