CES: Dish Turns iPad Into Guide and Remote for Hopper

Free 'Dish Explorer' App Acts as Remote Control for Multiroom DVR System
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Las Vegas -- Dish Network is releasing an iPad app that will let customers with the Hopper multiroom DVR use the tablet as a remote control as well as discover popular and recommended programs and chat about them on social networks.

The free Dish Explorer app will be available in Apple’s App Store on Jan. 7, the operator announced Sunday. Dish is scheduled to hold a press conference on Monday with CEO Joe Clayton here at the 2013 International CES.

The Hopper, which Dish introduced at last year’s CES, includes an automated ad-skipping feature that prompted lawsuits by major broadcasters.

Other pay TV operators including Comcast, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems have introduced similar “second-screen” apps.

“Customers are already using tablets while watching TV but, until Explorer, it had been two separate experiences,” Dish vice president of product management Vivek Khemka said in a statement. “What we’ve done is develop an integrated, seamless experience between the tablet and the television; only the Hopper creates an entirely new viewing dynamic.”

The Dish Explorer app connects the iPad to an Internet-connected Hopper via Wi-Fi.

The Dish Explorer provides full control of the Hopper from an iPad, including channel guide navigation and DVR management, and users can search live TV, DVR recordings and on-demand programs using the iPad’s keyboard instead of a remote control.

In addition, the new app recommends shows by cross-referencing social media TV viewing trends and real-time viewership data from Dish’s customer base. By integrating with Twitter and Facebook, viewers engage with other fans of a show.

The Explorer app also incorporates sports-tracking data from Thuuz to identify the most popular games on TV and provides viewers with real-time sports stats. The trending data can signal sporting events that are quickly becoming “must see” events. The feature lets sports fans can “quickly see the potential no-hitters, the shut-outs and the upsets forming live before the sports recap on the evening news,” Khemka said.

Dish, the third-largest pay TV operator in the U.S., had 14.0 million subscribers as of the end of September 2012.