Dish Network has introduced its Wireless Joey system that it said will enable people to watch TV anywhere around their homes that they'd like. More compellingly, for some, it also prevents instances of having to run ugly wires, or arduously nailing down even not-ugly wires, all the way around a room, because the place where you'd like your TV isn't the place where the wiring enters your home.
Working much like a Sonos wireless stereo system, which has a wired home base that wirelessly communicates with speakers placed throughout the house, the Joey system has a Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR that wirelessly communicates with small Joey clients.
"Wireless Joey expands installation options where coaxial or Ethernet wiring is either difficult or undesirable," Vivek Khemka, Dish senior vice president of product management, said in a June 23 statement.
"You're no longer forced to position your TV on the same wall or near a room's coax outlet. Whether you're in a new house, an older home or on a backyard patio enjoying a family cookout," Khemka continued, "Wireless Joey delivers television where you want it."
He adds that the system is the first in the pay-TV industry to use 802.11ac wireless technology, which offers "data transfer speeds up to three times faster than pay-TV competitors' wireless video offerings."
The Wireless Joey is powered by a 900MHz processor, and it and the Access Point are driven by a Broadcom chip operating on the 5GHz band. The system also features 3x3 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) beam-forming internal antennas.
Dish customers can add Wireless Joeys to their Hopper system for $7 per month per device, plus a one-time $50 fee for the wireless access point.
The Dish Transformation
It's expected that Dish will do more to transform America's viewing habits than just eliminating unsightly wires.
As various mobile industry players go about the work of convincing federal regulators to let Comcast purchase Time Warner Cable, AT&T to merge with DirecTV and (though it's not yet official, an announcement is widely expected) Sprint to team up with T-Mobile, the future of Dish is of increasing interest.
Technology Business Research analyst Chris Antlitz has said that he doesn't expect Dish to "sit on its hands" while competitor DirecTV and AT&T team up.
"I'm looking for Dish to do something big," Antlitz told eWEEK.
Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen, during Dish's failed 2013 bid for Sprint, offered a vision of what Dish, paired with a wireless carrier, could offer. In short: the video experience that Americans are used to at home, extended to everywhere they go.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Greg Miller said in a May research note that an AT&T-DirecTV deal could "accelerate the game of musical chairs in the U.S. wireless industry" and bring about one of a number of scenarios, including Sprint finally launching a bid for T-Mobile and also helping Dish to build a wireless platform, AT&T settling on instead buying Dish's spectrum (if it would sell), and DirecTV and Dish teaming up on a merger.
Events, Miller added, "could easily take a turn with little notice."