CES2015: DISH/Sling Booth Tour

The answers you’ve been waiting for. Out blog team spent close to an hour at the DISH and Sling booths (they were side by side) and we’ve got all the details you want to know!

Sling TV

According to folks at the show, this is “pretty much a done deal.” They’ll take your information now, and the product is more or less ready to go. They were showing it on Roku, Xbox, Nexus Player and Amazon Fire TV and let me tell you, it looks good. it also looks great on a tablet.

It works more or less the way you’d expect… you select a channel and it tunes to it, no fuss or drama. I gotta tell you folks, I’m a little bummed that this is available direct, since I’d love to be able to offer it at SolidSignal.com. Combine this with an antenna and you have a great basic solution at an unbeatable price.

4K Joey

This box is little. I’d put it at about 6″x5″ by maybe an inch tall. It wasn’t really functional at the show… expect this one sometime by midyear. But that’s ok, there isn’t really any content yet either. The people at DISH are positioning this as an all-around 4K box… remember that Netflix does 4K and it’s now available on Hopper.

New Remotes

DISH showed the Voice Remote (left) as well as a new sort of general-purpose remote that’s expected to work with existing Hopper hardware. The voice remote is slick, it has full backlighting and the touch pad works as a number pad as well.

Voice control was in a more or less prototype stage, and not really ready to be demonstrated effectively unfortunately. However, voice recognition itself is in a pretty mature state and I have no doubt that this will work fine once it’s introduced.

The “Carbon” UI

Here’s the good news: DISH’s new UI will be available for existing HD Hopper systems when it launches. There was some question as to whether it would just be available for the 4K Joey, but it’s going to be out there for everyone… probably toward the middle of the year.

The new look is clean and smooth and makes other UI’s look really kind of dated. DISH did two really important things here and other companies (cough DIRECTV cough) should really look at what DISH did. First of all by moving the info bar to the right instead of on top they made it easier to see more channels at the same time. Since the new font is a little narrower and thinner you can still get the same number of hours in the guide. They also added an option to make the font size large or small so that if you have an 80″ TV it can look good, and if you have a 24″ TV it can still look good.

If there was one complaint about my visit to the DISH booth it’s that none of what they were showing will actually be available until at least the second quarter of this year. That’s a bummer because like many of you, I want it now!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.