DISH took the ambitious step today of rolling out YouTube videos to its Hopper 3 DVR, making it the only pay-TV DVR with YouTube capabilities. DISH’s Hopper 3 is now a fairly full-featured streamer, with Netflix, Vevo and Pandora in addition to the popular cat-video repository.
DIRECTV customers will recall that for years, DIRECTV DVRs could play YouTube videos but the experience was never stellar and the feature was removed in 2015 with very little fanfare. It’s interesting that DISH is choosing to get into the YouTube business after every other pay-TV provider decided it wasn’t worth the time.
But then again, DISH looks at Hopper 3 as an entertainment hub, and most other pay-TV companies have abandoned that idea. DIRECTV DVRs were once touted as media centers, able to stream video and music from local sources as well as pull from popular apps. For whatever reason, those capabilities were never really fleshed out and faced with a less-than-enjoyable experience, most people tried them once and never tried them again.
Today, Hopper 3 has the horsepower to provide a media center experience that easily matches that of standalone streaming devices. Of course, this also comes amidst ongoing criticism that Netflix isn’t what it was, delivering a subpar experience to some streaming boxes and cutting down its library. It remains to be seen whether or not DISH will continue to add popular streaming apps so that they can compete with even the lowest priced streamers out there. Competition is fierce, and today’s customers demand an excellent experience. It’s possible that unlike earlier-generation DVRs and earlier-generation executives, DISH has both the computing power and the determination to actually create a good streaming device.
The YouTube app should be available now on all Hopper 3 devices. Just press “Apps” on the remote control or tune to channel 371. If you’re a big fan of press releases, of course here’s one for you… be sure to read it and leave your comments below.