Dish Network is ramping up its focus on voice remote technology, announcing the availability of a second-generation device for its Hopper DVRs.
The new Dish voice remote will include voice search and command features, as well as motion-activated backlighting. It also includes two programmable shortcut buttons, with users able to program in such abilities as jumping to Netflix or parental controls with a single button push.
Dish’s new 54.0 remote is compatible with all generations of the satellite TV service’s Hopper DVR, as well as the various Joey client devices. New Dish customers will have the new voice remote automatically put into their Hopper hardware. Existing customers can pay $20 for the upgrade.
“In the not-so-distant future, we’ll begin to navigate our TV experience the same way we navigate human conversations,” said Niraj Desai, Dish VP of product management, in a statement.
“Our new voice remote is not only a technological stepping stone as natural language processing and machine learning progress, but it’s also an effort to bring customers along in the process by increasing their familiarization with voice control,” Desai added.
Dish needs all the momentum it can get with customers right now, with its linear satellite TV platform losing 8.4% of its customers over the last 12 months.
For its part, Comcast has sworn to the churn-reducing attributes of the Universal Electronics-manufactured voice remote that it integrated into its X1 video platform back in 2015—so much so that Comcast doubled down on product orders and set up a warrant agreement with Universal Electronics.