DISH didn’t miss the opportunity. With DIRECTV a no-show at this year’s CEDIA Expo, DISH jumped in with both feet. There were DISH graphics and banners everywhere, a giant stuffed Hopper and a costumed character Hopper, and a very large central booth full of DISH product.
While Hopper itself wasn’t new, the kangaroo sure has learned a new trick. DISH showed a prototype system with Control 4’s app controlling a Hopper. DIRECTV has had this functionality for years but this is the first time we’re seeing it on a DISH product, and more importantly it uses an open standard rather than DIRECTV’s open but proprietary SHEF protocol.
DISH also plans on taking a big bite out of DIRECTV’s dominance in the commercial market with its Smartbox product. This is essentially a DISH version of DIRECTV’s COM1000 headend in a box. It uses tuner cards and a web interface to provide a simple HD solution for commercial customers.
The real highlight of the booth was the new Winegard Pathway X2 self-aiming HD Dish. It’s a perfect solution for tailgating and far surpasses the Tailgater product shown last year. Placed on a flat surface with a view of the sky, it automatically aims.
Pathway X2 goes beyond Tailgater with its built-in multiswitch allowing two HD receivers to be used at the same time. It’s expected to be available in the next few months and Solid Signal will be carrying it.
No matter where you walked in the DISH booth, the message was the same: DISH wants to be in your high-end AV installation. For the first time, they may have the equipment to back that up.