Dish's Hopper DVRs open up to home automation control, we wonder what's next

Back in July Dish Network announced plans to open its Hopper DVR platform to mobile app developers, and today at CEDIA we saw the results of that initiative. Thanks to SDK access that can mirror the functionality of Dish's own Explorer iPad app, home automation systems like Control4 can now directly access the DVRs. That means users with those systems (or others, we saw demos of integration with a few other systems although they haven't been officially announced yet) can control their DVR with the same controls used to adjust their lighting, security and other services. So far, access is limited to simple remote control commands over IP while everything gets certified and secured, but eventually it will include full two-way communication, including guide data and more.

While that's enough to make anyone who orders or builds custom systems drool, what could it mean for the rest of us? We'll have to wait and see, but if Control4 can build in access, we can certainly imagine what the Xbox One, Google TV, Samsung's Smart TV or any other rumored devices (*cough*) might be able to offer. We'll probably have to wait until CES to hear more on that front, but we did get a quick preview of a feature in testing that's coming to all Hopper DVRs: HDMI-CEC control. The ability to send and receive commands is something we've wanted on cable / satellite set-top boxes for some time, and Dish Network may well be the first to make it happen.

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DISH Connects Hopper Platform to Industry Leading Home Automation System

Custom Installers and Consumers To Benefit from Better Integration with Award-Winning DISH Hopper Whole-Home DVR

DISH Hopper to support Control4 home automation systems

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- At the 2013 CEDIA Expo, DISH (NASDAQ: DISH) today announced plans to integrate Control4 (NASDAQ: CTRL) home automation technology with its award-winning Hopper® Whole-Home HD DVR system. As a result, the Hopper platform will soon be controlled by the popular Control4® system commonly found both in high-end and mainstream home automation installations. The move follows DISH's July announcement that it will share Application Programming Interface (API) programming instructions for the Hopper with selected companies. DISH will implement Control4's Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP), making it even easier for automation installers to fully integrate the capabilities of the DISH Hopper receiver and service. DISH is exhibiting Control4 and other home automation solutions in booth 2340 of the CEDIA Expo this week at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

"Working with a home automation leader like Control4 is only the first step, and it's also the direct result of our decision announced in July to open the Hopper platform and its capabilities to more companies. Our decision to work with industry leaders in the home automation industry ensures that automation systems have the ability to control the Hopper over an Internet Protocol network," said Vivek Khemka, DISH senior vice president, Product Management. "Here at CEDIA Expo, we are offering a glimpse of what consumers may see in the future and what new capabilities high-end installers can offer," Khemka said.

"The Control4 open platform is designed to enable dealers to integrate any digital device in the home into a Control4 automation system. By integrating SDDP into the DISH Hopper receiver along with DISH's shared APIs, installation and programming of this popular DVR and service is radically simplified. Now the homeowner can access and enjoy their favorite programming, see what's "now playing" and get access to the guide with their Control4 remote, touchscreen or smart phone app," said Eric Anderson, Control4 senior vice president, Products. "This represents the beginning of a deeper integration and therefore much richer experience for consumers with the new expanded APIs. And there is more to come," he said.

DISH intends to keep leading the industry in offering more and better consumer choice and control. The integration will start with showcasing full Hopper remote control tuning capability. As the integrators become more familiar with the Hopper's API, their apps and devices will be able to access the full range of Hopper features - not just channel changing and the program guide - such as the capability to manage DVR recordings, browse the entire Video-On-Demand catalog, and the ability to purchase Pay-Per-View content.

Among the key features of DISH's "Second Screen" API available for use by home automation systems:

Third-party device pairing for home automation remotes that can emulate a DISH remote control key press;
Access to key system settings and Electronic Program Guide queries for the current program, as well as details of a particular event;
Channel Changing, including tuning and usage information on all Hopper tuners;
DVR commands, to search recorded content and list DVR information, start and stop playback, schedule recordings, and fully access unique Hopper features such as PrimeTime Anytime™ and AutoHop™;
Ability to purchase Pay-Per-View and On-Demand content.
About DISH

DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH), through its subsidiary DISH Network L.L.C., provides approximately 14.092 million satellite TV customers, as of March 31, 2013, with the highest quality programming and technology with the most choices at the best value, including HD Free for Life®. Subscribers enjoy the largest high definition line-up with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international channels, and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network Corporation's subsidiary, Blockbuster L.L.C., delivers family entertainment to millions of customers around the world. DISH Network Corporation is a Fortune 200 company. Visit www.dish.com.

About Control4

Control4 [NASDAQ: CTRL] is a leading provider of automation systems for homes and businesses, offering personalized control of lighting, music, video, lighting, temperature security, communications and similar functionalities into a unified home automation experience that enhance consumers' daily lives. Control4 unlocks the potential of connected devices, making entertainment systems easier to use, homes more comfortable and energy efficient, and families more secure. Control4 solutions are available through more than 2,800 Control4 certified custom integrators and distributors in over 80 countries. Control4 is the automation platform of choice for consumers, major consumer electronics companies, hotels, and businesses around the world. www.control4.com.