Best News of 2017: Dish Hopper is First TV Service to Work Directly with Amazon Alexa

CES 2017: “Alexa, go to CNN” and other voice commands can be used to control Dish Hopper TV and DVR services.

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Granted, we’re only a few days into 2017, but so far Dish has the best news of the year – at least if you’re me, a Dish Hopper DVR user and Amazon Echo devotee. Amazon’s Alexa speech-recognition engine now works with Dish, the first TV provider to integrate directly with the Amazon service. And by “directly,” the two companies mean you don’t need a third-party mediator like IFTTT.

“Amazon is excited to be working with DISH to develop an Alexa skill that offers a hands-free television experience …,” says Amazon Alexa director Rob Pulciani, in a statement. “You no longer have to set down your popcorn to change the channel, or spend time searching for what channel the game is on – just ask Alexa to do it for you.”

Starting in the first half of this year, users can ask Alexa to navigate, search and play TV content on a broadband-connected Hopper DVR (all generations) based on channel, title, actor and genre.

The press release announcing the new service offers scant details. From the list of sample voice commands (below), it is clear that Alexa can be used to navigate through Dish’s electronic programming guide and on-demand content; however, it’s unclear if it can also navigate through the user’s recorded DVR content.

We also don’t know if users can issue voice commands to control the TV or other connected devices, given that Dish’s handheld remotes can be configured to operate these third-party products.

Finally, can you use Alexa to record shows?

Regardless, Alexa integration is a welcome amenity for Hopper DVRs. Dish's own voice-controlled remote, while useful, falls way short of what Alexa can do.

Stay tuned, we’ll find out more at CES 2017.

  • “Go to ESPN”
  • “Show me football games”
  • “Tune to AMC”
  • “Play the Warriors game”
  • “Change the channel to NBC”
  • “Watch Game of Thrones season 1, episode 2”
  • “Turn on channel 200”
  • “Find Matt Damon movies”
  • “Find The Voice”
  • “Find comedy movies”

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson:

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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