Dish Network is getting gadget-happy, with plans this fall to let subscribers with the new ViP 922 DVR or a SlingBox watch live TV and DVR recordings from iPads, iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android-based devices for no additional charge.
The video-streaming feature, pegged to debut in September, will be an extension of the free Dish Remote Access app, which provides DVR management features for most of the operator's DVR receivers. Dish anticipates offering a BlackBerry version in September and one for Google's Android operating system in October.
However, to be able to watch live TV or recorded shows, Dish customers must have either the ViP 922 DVR or a SlingBox. Dish began shipping the "SlingLoaded" ViP 922 DVR in April, around a year after it previously expected to launch the product. EchoStar acquired Sling Media in 2007 for $380 million.
On Thursday, the satellite TV operator announced the iPad version of the Dish Remote Access app, which it touted as "the first and only app from a TV service provider specifically designed for the iPad that allows users to control their televisions and manage their programming remotely."
The iPad-optimized Dish Remote Access app includes a remote-control feature to let users change channels, browse the program guide, and access other navigation features on TVs connected to compatible receivers.
Meanwhile, other TV providers are gearing up tablet-oriented apps.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts demonstrated the "Xfinity Remote" running on an iPad at the 2010 Cable Show in May. The Web-based feature lets subscribers search their channel lineup and uses EBIF to send commands to their cable set-top box to change the channel or launch a VOD session. Xfinity Remote is to become available to Comcast subscribers later in 2010.
In addition, Verizon Communications is developing iPad-like tablet from Motorola with a 10-inch screen to let FiOS TV customers wirelessly watch TV that could debut this fall, according to a report in the Financial Times.