M&E Connections

Dish Introduces Google Assistant Integration Across Several Devices

Dish Network has integrated Google Assistant into its Hopper, Hopper Duo, Joey and Wally TV set-top boxes, boosting the number of devices now available that feature Google’s voice control technology.

The integration provides a “hands-free TV entertainment experience” to Dish customers, who can now control their TVs using just their voice when using one of the compatible devices, Dish said in a news release July 9. Dish became the “first pay TV provider to offer direct compatibility with the Assistant,” it said.

The news didn’t exactly come as a surprise because Dish announced in January that it would be adding the Google Assistant integration “in the coming months.”

“Since we first introduced voice control technology, we’ve seen our customers really embrace the hands-free TV experience,” Niraj Desai, Dish VP of product management, said in the company’s July 9 news release. He added: “Our collaboration with Google is an exciting opportunity for us to continue meeting demand for voice and changing the way we interact with television.”

Dish customers with a broadband-connected Hopper digital video recorder (DVR) (all generations), Hopper Duo, Joey (all models) or Wally can now use the Google Assistant to control their TVs when paired with the Assistant on devices including the Google Home smart speaker, Android phones or iPhones. To set it up, users must download the Google Assistant app on a mobile device.

Dish customers using one of the compatible devices can ask the Assistant to set recordings, adjust volume and launch apps including Game Finder, Netflix and Pandora, Dish noted. Customers can also use the Assistant to navigate, play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and search content based on channel, title, actor or genre, Dish said. When using search functionality, the results displayed include Dish’s live, recorded and on-demand titles, in addition to Netflix’s library of TV shows and movies.

Spoken commands that users can ask the Assistant include: “Turn on my Hopper,” “Mute my Hopper,” “Change the channel to ESPN,” “Tune to channel 140,” “Go to Food Network,” “Show me home improvement shows,” “Show me Tom Hanks movies,” “Play ‘This is Us’,” “Launch Netflix on Hopper,” “Skip forward on Joey,” “Rewind 30 seconds,” “Pause” and “Resume,” Dish said. Spanish-language support will be added “soon,” Dish said.

Google wants to “make it easy and fun for people to turn their living room into a smart entertainment center with the Assistant,” Michele Turner, senior director of Google Smart Home Ecosystem, said in Dish’s news release. She added that, “by working closely” with Dish, “we’ll ensure that customers can easily control their TVs through the Assistant, instead of searching for or having to share the remote.” 

In May, Turner said in a blog post that Google Assistant was able to connect with “more than 5,000 devices for your home—up from 1,500 this January.” Those devices include “cameras, dishwashers, doorbells, dryers, lights, plugs, thermostats, security systems, switches, vacuums, washers, fans, locks, sensors, heaters, AC units, air purifiers, refrigerators, ovens … we can keep on going,” she noted.