Dish Network is pushing new features of its TV Everywhere service, enabling its customers to watch live and pre-recorded programming on the iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry mobile devices. While other pay TV providers are building out large on-demand libraries online, Dish is delivering this video through its SlingLoaded DVRs and newly released Sling Adaptor.
Dish announced new “Remote Access” applications designed specifically to enable its customers to watch live TV from their mobile phone wherever they are, watch pre-recorded videos from their DVRs, manage their recordings and to use their mobile device as a remote control. These features are now available from applications on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry mobile phones, as well as through the Dish website. Dish says an iPad app will also soon be available, sometime after the newest version of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, version 4.2, is released.
The release of the Dish Remote Access apps builds on the company’s integration with Sling Media technology it acquired three years ago. For all these apps to work, subscribers will need either a SlingLoaded DVR provided by Dish or a SlingBox of their own. To help subscribers get on the Sling bandwagon, Dish introduced a new, low-priced Sling Adaptor for $99 that pairs with their HD DVRs.
Dish’s approach to TV Everywhere runs somewhat counter to similar services being offered by other cable and IPTV providers. Competitors such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon have been busy building aggregated content portals and authenticated services that allow customers to use their customer IDs to log in to web services and watch on-demand videos from cable networks they’ve subscribed to. These providers are also building mobile applications — like Comcast’s recently released iPad app — that can be used to navigate programming and schedule the customer’s DVR remotely.
The one big advantage Dish has in its approach is the ability to serve up live and pre-recorded video content directly from the customer DVR. However, while most cable companies are layering in TV Everywhere services as a free added value to existing subscribers, Dish’s TV Everywhere features require the rental or purchase of a DVR or set-top box with Sling technology built-in, which could be a hurdle for some customers.
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