Dish Network has just made a surprising move that’s certain to appeal to second-screen aficionados, and could spell big and interesting changes for the way Hopper users control their whole-home DVRs. The company has opened its app control APIs to third-party developers, including the ability to tap into the same channel-changing, program-listing, and DVR-setting capabilities as Dish’s own Explorer mobile app.
In a move that probably surprises exactly no one, the first app to take advantage of this access involves the sports:
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.
By pairing the Thuuz app on mobile devices with Hopper, DISH subscribers can automatically jump to the most exciting games on their TV. 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.
Granted, I couldn’t care less about the sports, but this application intrigues me, because if I have one complaint about my own Dish service, it’s the the company offers so much content for so little money that it’s often hard to find what I’m in the mood to watch. I’ve gone through the steps to set up favorite channels lists (via both the Hopper and my Control4 system), but give me an app like this that just lets me browse, say, nature documentaries, and I would be all over it.
What I’m wondering, though, is if this new API availability could be used in other ways. Control4 showed what I’m starting to believe may have been a mock-up of two-way IP control of the Hopper at last year’s CEDIA Expo, and I’m still waiting (impatiently) for the SDDP driver that will allow that. Control4 already offers two-way IP control for DirecTV. I’m digging deep, deep, deep into speculation territory here, but if Control4 could tap into Dish’s programming data on a deeper level, that would make the two-way and app control experience even better.
At any rate, this API access isn’t available to everyone. The press release concludes:
Developers interested in working with DISH will be vetted to ensure that customer privacy and other considerations are met. Requests for the Hopper APIs are being accepted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.