DISH Network Embraces Whole Home DVR

Dave Zatz —  May 13, 2011 — 14 Comments

dish-network-xip

DISH Network recently held their annual Team Summit for partners and retailers. Scott Greczkowski of Satellite Guys was in attendance… and came back with a treasure trove of info and photos. The most compelling story for us gadget loving consumers was the unveiling of Echostar’s new whole-home DVR solution, which will be composed of at least one XiP813 triple tuning DVR hub and multiple XiP110 extenders that communicate via MoCA. Also notable, and somewhat different from the last couple years, is the de-emphasis of integrated Slingbox/SlingLoaded functionality as seen from the ViP922.

DISH Network XiP 813

dish-xip813-3

The DISH XiP 813 appears much more svelte than prior oversized EchoStar DVR hardware… despite sporting 3 satellite tuners, 1 terabyte of recording storage, and acting as a central hub – much like Arris’ new Moxi Gateway.

DISH Network XiP 110

dish-xip110-2

The DISH XiP110 extender units are even more compact than the 813, tuning live satellite television and providing access to all recorded content from that aforementioned hub. They communicate using the high bandwidth and reliable MoCA connectivity.

For those who need more than 3 tuners, additional XiP 813 units can be added to the mix along with however many XiP 110 extenders are desired. Scott says this DISH/EchoStar initiative appears “a lot more advanced than DIRECTV’s MultiRoom Viewing in all ways.” EchoStar is expected to deliver a completed product to DISH Network this fall, but it’s probably a safe bet that customers won’t actually be able to purchase new XiP hardware until 2012.

(Many thanks to Scott and Satellite Guys for the extensive briefing and pics!)

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14 responses to DISH Network Embraces Whole Home DVR

  1. This should probably end discussion of DISH licensing TiVo technology after the huge settlement. Why give up superior functionality? Then again, TiVo appears to be working on similar

  2. I am impressed!

  3. One thing to point out was there was no live demonstration of the new units.

    But on paper the product sounds very sound and very exciting!

    I can’t wait to get my hands on one. :)

  4. Definitely sounds interesting. I think my problem though I have grown to prefer TiVo’s implementation of remote playback. I realize most are limited by the copy protection, but I prefer the control you have when FF and REW compared to watching a stream. It always annoys me when I try to FF a Netflix show or movie since you can’t really watch it while FFing especially if you are looking for a specific scene.

  5. Brennok, local streaming is usually handled differently (better) than remote streaming. While we’ve yet to see it in action, I would suspect it’ll rewind and fast forward pretty closely to what you’re used to.

  6. Hopefully, I know I found similar results with Media Center streaming from one room to another. Then again the 360 Media Center remote sucks so it may just be that. After 10 years with TiVo it is just tough to get used to other playback styles and controls.

  7. glad to see Dish backtrack on Sling tech for whole-home distribution. just way too flakey. i’ve got the ViP 922 (more fool me) and the Sling tech is just about bearable if you’re away from home and desperate not to miss something you can’t get where you are, but it’s a royal pain to get it working, it falls over a lot and is totally inappropriate as the backbone for in-home distribution. whereas the moxi-like solution is very smart – we actually have a moxi + mate in our offices and it’s an outstanding piece of kit – basically it’s the whole home DVR solution everyone wants, and a real shame it never took off in the US – but pricing was a big issue. (wishing arris luck with this in canada!)

  8. The decision NOT to have Sling built-into the XiP 813 makes the box LESS expensive to manufacture. Also, Sling won’t be used by everyone, so it makes no sense to add the cost of building Sling into a box if Sling is not going to be used by everyone.

    However, the Sling solution is now the Sling Extender, an external piece that connects via USB to ANY capable box (722 on forward) that functions as if Sling were built-in. Since Dish will be giving away the Sling Extender–at least to new customers–this is a much more efficient (cost effective) way of providing Sling capability for those who truly intend to use it.

    It should also be added that USB OTA tuners can be connected to the 813 (some have said even the 110′s) for integration into the network of tuners. This is a tremendous benefit for households that record several OTA networks at the same time (my household) leaving the sat tuners for channels available via sat only.

    Dish had been the innovative tech leader from 1999 until recently when DirecTV and others had passed them by with true multi-room viewing capability (DirecTV’s is NOT a true whole home solution). Now, Dish is finally back into the game and passed-up the competition with true WHOLE HOME DVR with FULL capabilities–NO LOSS of any features or functions in remote rooms; the same rich experience one would enjoy in the main room–and an elegant solution to adding even more tuners to the network. If the software does its intended job, this would be the first truly networked DVR from any MVPD.

    As for protection from OTT boxes, Dish has purchased Blockbuster. It seems after a few years, Dish is finally getting its ducks in a row.

  9. Bobby, well said on the rationale to not integrate the Sling technology. I was saving that angle for a later post, but you’ve pretty much covered it. :) I still think home placeshifting hardware will remain niche, especially as the cable and satellite providers roll out the simpler (at least conceptually, if not in terms of tech or licensing) iPad-eqsue apps. I can see out-of-home streaming becoming an upsell over in-home.

    Not sure I share your optimism on the Blockbuster dealio. We’ll see how that plays out.

  10. @Brennok — I have U-verse which has one main DVR and smaller boxes that stream content from it and everything works pretty good except. Given state of technology these days, streaming from one device to another shouldn’t be a big deal.

  11. @Dave,

    My concern would be that with the de-emphasis on Sling as the in-home tech (correct of course), and the evolution of TV Everywhere type solutions to iPads and such reducing the potential market for Sling Boxes, you have to wonder if Dish can be counted on to keep pushing Sling products forward over time…

  12. When folks, WHEN?!?!?!? The suspense is killing us!!

  13. Not even close. free 922′s for 4th quarter, though.

  14. Sound pretty good. I current have Dish a multiroom 722vip which I find it annoy. The second tuner coming to the other tv is no hd. The remote control from the second room hardly work. To change channel it’s a pain. Being thinking about switching to Direct Tv and after I saw this new box coming out I prob just going to wait and see if it’s a good choice. But yet I just saw a post about a new DVR coming for Direct tv which seeing to blow out xip (DirecTV’s new five tuner HR34 Home Media Center DVR) so I’ll wait and see which one will be better choice for me

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