We are not sure how the thick Boston accents on those ubiquitous Dish Network “Hopper” commercials will pronounce “iPad app,” but they get their chance in coming weeks. The satellite TV company introduces today its Dish Explorer app for iPad, which interacts with the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR video recording and sharing devices.
The apps is devoted to helping customers discover new shows in the Dish ecosystem mainly by leveraging social network tools. The app makes show recommendations based on a combination of its own customer bases’ viewing habits as well as trending social media chatter around shows and events. The app also uses the “Thuz” ratings of hottest games being played now.
The app includes familiar social TV or “second screen” functionality by allowing viewers to both engage and track Twitter and Facebook discussions around the shows being watched at the time. For sports programming, the app collects real-time stats and can identify games that are trending on social media and becoming must-see events.
The app also connects to the owner’s family of Hopper boxes to act as both a remote control and a DVR management interface.
Dish’s entry into the second-screen world appears more ambitious than some like Comcast/Xfinity. In most cases the MSO appears content using the app to control a cable box and promote/manage VOD content. Dish is moving more aggressively to capture some of the social TV behaviors that individual networks and third-party apps like Shazam and Zeebox are attempting to grab at the same time. While the share of TV viewers using second-screen apps remains unclear, those who do have a confusing array of options that range from show-specific apps such as TBS’s app for Conan, network-focused apps like CBS Connect and Syfy, check-in services such as GetGlue and Viggle, and robust second-screen experiences like Zeebox or Yahoo’s IntoNow.