Integrators know that the superb home theater environments they design and install for clients are more often used for watching broadcast television instead of movies. So it is a point of frustration when they get the blame for problems created by the cable TV provider. The best way to avoid that dilemma is to control the broadcast TV, which is why more integrators are turning to Dish Network as a solid option to offer their clients.
“A lot of integrators have moved away from including television service as part of their overall value proposition. TV providers have really let down this channel in the past. We are back in the game with great product and great support because we really don’t think integrators should tell their customers, ‘You are on your own for TV programming,’” says Frank DeFilippis, national sales manager, Custom Integration, for Dish Network.
DeFilippis says it is not necessarily the technology behind Dish that makes it a viable solution for dealers’ clients, but support.
“I feel like there have been a lot of things missing from this channel… certainly integration and breadth of products are part of it… but more than that it a dedicated support line for integrators where the people on the other end of the phone actually understand custom installation, understand the context of jobsites where integrators are working, and understand the urgency of the need for information when someone is out in the field. Our dealer support program includes access to the dedicated support line where you are never going to get an answering machine.”
The Dish support team consists of tech support personnel, not customer service reps. “They are there every day, even the Fourth of July and Christmas Day. They work in our control center,” says DeFilippis.
Indeed, Dish Network is actively recruiting integrators to be part of its custom integration authorized dealer network.
Amazon Firestick, Sling TV
Meanwhile, the company has a slew of technology solutions for dealers to offer their clients, including the Dish Anywhere app that now runs on an Amazone Firestick. That application enables business travelers to simply plug in the Firestick into a hotel Wi-Fi port and watch their recorded programs on their hotel TV versus on their laptop.
Dish is also continuing to push forward with its control platform integrations. “This is the foundation of any CI program.” The company has “revved up” its integration with Control4, Crestron, Elan and URC to be full two-way with programming guide data, comments DeFilippis.
“We are moving into IP-enabled television. This is where the world is going. We are going to get all of our TV from the Internet one day.” But it is not as easy as just adding technology because Dish and other providers have to negotiate programming contracts with various broadcasters, which is “easier said than done,” says DeFilippis.
Dish’s Sling TV product solves that problem and is basically a fully featured set-top box and offers customers the ability to purchase mini-cable TV packages. Also, Dish added an antenna that enables end users to pull in local channels. So both local channels and cable channels are in a single guide on an IP set-top box.