Until recently, the world of voice-controlled computing, nay, voice-controlled living, seemed like it was still a few years away from becoming mainstream. Amazon's Alexa platform, however, has made it easy for companies to bolt on the technology to their existing products. Case in point: Dish has announced that you'll soon be able to pair your Hopper DVR with the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot in order to change channels just by speaking.
The innovation won't be launching for a little while, but Dish feels confident that the option will arrive in the first half of the year. As long as your Hopper is connected to the internet, you can use natural voice commands to go to individual channels or bring up movies on demand by saying, for example, "Go to AMC" or "Find Game of Thrones." You can also search for content via genre or by star, simply by bellowing Matt Damon's name into the ether.
At the same time, Dish is also revealing Dish Music, a service that lets you play music from various streaming services via the Hopper. If you have multiple DVRs in different rooms of your home hooked up to audio equipment (or your TV), then you can use them as a multi-room audio setup. The product is compatible with a wide range of audio services, including iHeartRadio, Tidal and Amazon Music, among others. In addition, if your home theater speakers are DTS Play-Fi-enabled, then they're instantly compatible with the new offering. If you own a Hopper 2 or Hopper 3 DVR, then you'll be able to access the new feature at some point in Feb. 2017.
Bringing multi-room audio to your DVR is a canny move by Dish, simply because it makes its product more valuable at the expense of alternatives. After all, why go out and spend big bucks on expensive new multi-room audio gear if you can wire another Hopper up to your bedroom TV's speakers?