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Dish Debuts Remote DVR Feature

Dish Network officially launched a service Friday that lets customers with Internet-connected DVRs remotely access recordings, catching up to rival DirecTV after more than a year.

The feature is free to Dish customers with a broadband-connected ViP Series DVR. Dish Remote Access provides the ability to search through a nine-day programming guide, and can use keywords and filters such as genre, channel, sports, content rating and language.

DirecTV launched the feature in early 2008 and claimed last month that customers have used it to schedule more than 5 million recordings to date.

Currently, no major cable operators offer the ability to remotely program DVRs. Both Comcast and Cox Communications have said they plan to launch the feature later in 2009.

Dish later this year will offer the ViP 922 HD DVR, which in addition to providing the ability to remotely set recordings includes built-in Slingbox functionality to let customers view live TV or recorded DVR content over the Web. Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen announced the ViP 922 in January at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Dish receivers capable of supporting the feature are: the ViP 922, ViP 722k, ViP 722, ViP 622 and ViP 612 HD DVRs.