Dish Brings 4K video entertainment to its Joey set-top boxes

by on January 10, 2015

Stephan Jukic – January 10, 2015

4K ultra HD is also going to be a major part of the Dish satellite service that some of the company’s subscribers receive according to news unveiled at CES 2015.

Of course, those who want the new Dish 4K service will also need a new set-top box to play it and this too is coming out in the summer of 2015. We’re talking about what Dish has named the Joey box and through it, Dish will offer 4K content via a video-on-demand deal that involves still unannounced partners in the service.

Movies and shows that hit the Joey box will be downloadable via satellite to the hard drive found in the main Hopper in subscribers’ homes and the transmitted to the Joey box itself via a MOCA connection.

One of the benefits of this setup is that downloaded 4K movies are automatically cached by the Hopper from Dish so that any titles users want to watch will be accessible instantly later.

Given how long it takes to download a single 4K movie, this is definitely going to be a useful feature for consumers who don’t enjoy access to the kind of internet connectivity that allows for streaming content in 4K resolution.

Dish itself is claiming that their Joey box is the first set-top box ever to support full 4K content in the industry so far and the company also believes that now is an ideal time to make a big move toward 4K programming, even if it’s only via on-demand for now.

According to executives at Dish, the staff at the company had a major discussion a year ago about implementing 4K programming via VoD but at the time decided that they needed to wait because in early 2014, 4K TVs were still very expensive, content was extremely scarce and HEVC compression itself hadn’t yet been formalized as the widely accepted standard. All of these factors made for a very doubtful technology investment environment.

The Joey 4K set-top box will be available with access to fresh 4K content as of mid 2015

The Joey 4K set-top box will be available with access to fresh 4K content as of mid 2015

Now however, Dish claims that “all of that’s changed in the last year or so” and Dish’s senior VP of product management, Vivek Khemka explains that the new Joey box full supports the standards that have become a solid part of the 4K content universe. These include HEVC compression, HDMI 2.0 for data transmission between box and UHD TV and of course, HDCP 2.0 content protection.

Existing Hopper customers won’t be charged anything extra for the Joey box and can simply replace their existing box with the new device when it becomes available.

Finally, because Dish is expecting the popularity of its Joey box to explode, the company is also giving it some powerful bonus features that include picture-in-´picture, Bluetooth audio streaming and a much more powerful internal processor.

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