Dish Opens Hopper API to Third-Party Devs

ENGLEWOOD, COLO. – Dish has opened up its Hopper app to developers. As of Tuesday, Dish said “trusted partners” would be able to access many of the application programming interfaces that it uses for Dish Explorer, the mobile app for the satellite operators Hopper set-top. Explorer essentially is Dish’s virtual remote for tablet computers.

Developers will be able to create new ways for subscribers to find shows on the program guide or recorded to the Hopper’s hard drive. Their apps will also be able to control the Hopper by changing channels, setting recordings and playing back DVR and on-demand shows.

“Dish already has its own suite of mobile apps designed to work with the Hopper, but we want to see what other experiences trusted partners might create if given the opportunity,” said said Vivek Khemka, senior vice president of Product Management for Dish.

Thuuz Sports is the first developer to incorporate Dish’s APIs into their app, enabling Dish customers to control their Hopper receiver directly from Android or iOS smartphones. Thuuz Sports uses real-time analytics and social signaling to alert viewers to exciting sporting events.

Fans can customize the app based on their favorite teams and sports leagues, including NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAAF and NCAABB. The Thuuz Sports app also enables one-click recording of live or upcoming matches on the Hopper if a customer is away from their TV.

Dish’s Hopper set-top remains the object of litigation by broadcasters because of an ad-skipping feature that targets only over-the-air networks. The Hopper automatically records primetime programming from Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC, with an “AutoHop” option that skips commercials on playback. Broadcasters claim this violate copyright law in that it materially alters their signal.

CBS, Fox and NBCU filed suits in a California federal court, and CBS filed a retransmission violation suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, saying Dish failed to mention the Hopper during contract negotiations.

Last year, Fox lost a bid for an injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, a decision now on appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the meantime, Dish has marched forward, rolling out a version of the Hopper with Sling place-shifting capability. The Sling-Hopper was the subject of controversy at the January Consumer Electronics Show when CNET, which is owned by CBS, gave it a “Best of CES” award, which CBS summarily kyboshed. The Consumer Electronics Association then stepped in declared the Sling-Hopper a best-in-show winner.

Following the CES hoo-ha, Dish rolled out a Hopper mobile app in March for following the NCAA playoffs.

June 4, 2013,
Fox Presses Appellate Panel to Stop Dish’s Ad-Skipping Features,” in Variety

March 20, 2013,
Dish Adds Mobile App to Hopper for March Madness
Dish has beefed up its Hopper apps in time for March Madness. Updates include the new Hopper sports app, Game Finder, which displays all the Tournament games in one location and allows viewers to tune in to, or record, upcoming games directly from the app.

February 11, 2013,
Dish Rolls Out Controversial Sling-Hopper
Dish said the new set-top, which combines the ad-skipping, time-shifting features of the Hopper with Sling Media’s place-shifting capability, will be rolled out with a multimillion-dollar national marketing campaign featuring Dish’s “Boston Guys.”

January 28, 2013,
CEA Friends Dish’s Hopper
Let stand the Hopper, the CEA said in an amicus brief filed in federal court. The CEA, along with the Computer and Communications Industry Association and the Internet Association, filed a joint amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in support of the Hopper, a set-top box from Dish Network that can be programmed to automatically skip commercials on recorded, prime-time broadcast network programming.

January 24, 2013,CBS Says Dish Concealed Hopper in Retrans Negotiations
Dish failed to disclose its intention to launch a commercial-skipping option when it worked out retransmission consent with CBS, the broadcast network said in documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Nov. 12, 2012:Fox Appeals to Stop the Hop
Fox’s legal team wasted no time in appealing a federal judge’s decision last week to let Dish keep on skipping broadcast TV commercials.

Nov. 8, 2012:Judge Lets Dish Keep on Hopping
Judge Dolly Gee of the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied Fox’s request to order Dish to stop skipping network TV commercials, published reports indicate.

May 29, 2012:Networks, Dish Sue Each Other Over Hopper
As expected, three out of the four major broadcast networks filed lawsuits against Dish Network and its Hopper DVR that allows viewers to automatically skip TV ads.