DISH Network has launched its Sports Bar Mode option for its Hopper 3 set-top box (STB). Also known as MultiView, the feature has been introduced just in time for customers to watch NCAA tournament first-round games with the first two rounds of the annual tournment scheduling simultaneous games. Sports Bar Mode is a multi-channel view that divides a 4K or HDTV screen into quadrants with each quadrant of the screen showing a different program. The feature works by decoding any four different feeds and displaying them simultaneously.
Sports Bar Mode shipped in the latest software update pushed to Hopper 3 set-top boxes on March 16, and in addition to the introduction of the Sports Bar Mode, the software update also includes performance enhancements and general bug fixes.
“This technology replicates the fan experience of catching several games at once, now from the comfort of your home instead of heading to a local pub,” says Vivek Khemka, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Dish Network. “Sports Bar Mode is an especially useful tool throughout the month of March, as the tournament airs across four different channels. Not to mention, it’s great for households who don’t want to miss their favorite drama or sitcom, but also want to keep tabs on any live basketball games.”
Sports Bar Mode works with all live, linear channels in DISH’s programming lineup, as well as on demand content, and recorded TV shows and movies. To access the feature, customers need to press the “Options” button on the remote control, then “Picture In Picture,” and finally they need to select the “MultiView” option. Once the TV screen is divided into quadrants, customers can toggle among the four channels to determine which one will have its audio played. Sports Bar Mode is compatible with both 4K and HD televisions when connected to a Hopper 3. On 4K TVs, the four quadrants display in 1080 resolutions, and on HDTVs, the four quadrants display in 540 resolutions.
Hopper 3 includes additional multi-channel configurations, including a split-screen feature that places two channels side-by-side, as well as a setting that overlays a second channel in the upper right hand corner of the TV screen.
The popular service provider states the Hopper 3 is designed to change the way consumers find, record, stream and watch content. DISH’s Hopper 3 was first announced at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), then shortly afterwards it was made available to the general market on Jan. 31. The third-generation of DISH’s whole-home DVR system, Hopper 3 features 16 tuners; it delivers a 4K TV experience; it supports up to seven TVs simultaneously, and its integrates Netflix titles into universal search results.