DISH Adds Support For Google Assistant Voice Control In Select Hopper Products
Direct-to-home satellite TV service DISH became the first pay-TV service Monday to integrate voice-control operation powered by Google Assistant smart speakers and similar devices into select receiver/decoder boxes and DVRs.
The satcaster said that effective Monday it is offering direct compatibility with Google Assistant commands for DISH subscribers who use a Google Assistant smart speaker and the sat service’s Hopper, Hopper Duo, Joey and Wally receiver/DVRs or thin-client adapters.
The capability will provide hands-free control via any Google Assistant-enabled device of the satellite TV service.
Google Assistant is the voice-powered artifical intelligence software program built into smart speakers like the Google Home speaker and similar speakers from partner brands, and various smartphones including Google’ own Google Pixel phones and others.
Google Assistant is very similar to Amazon’s popular Alexa voice-powered AI system, which was previously integrated into various DISH receivers and DVRs, among many other products and brands.
Viewers who have the Google Assistant integration properly setup will be able issue the following commands and others to: “Turn on my Hopper”; “Change the channel to ESPN”; “Tune to channel 140”; “Record Game of Thrones on Hopper”; “Rewind 30 seconds”, etc.
Of course viewers can also simplify the process of searching for content by actor, genre and other criteria.
Some DISH viewers (and others) previously could use some Google Assistant tasks if products they bought (like Chromecast integrated TVs) had Google Assistant techology embedded, into their operating systems but this is the first time it is being offered directly through the satellite service.
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To get started a DISH viewer with the appropriate Hopper product can download the Google Assistant app on an iOS or Android device.
Then, enable DISH in the Google Assistant app by tapping the ”Explore” icon in the top right corner of the screen, then the Menu → Settings → Home Control → ‘+’ → DISH.
Pair the internet-connected set-top box with the Google Assistant by going to the set-top box, entering the Menu → Settings command and finding Google Assistant → Get Code.
Enter the code generated from the Google Assistant app and select “Activate.”
Wait for the app to find discoverable devices. Confirm the devices and assign them to the correct rooms.
It may go without saying at this point, but anyone sensitive to the possibility that their privacy might be invaded through technology designed to be always lisening for verbal triggers, should be aware that Google Assistant smart speakers (as well as Alexa versions) and other devices equipped with far-field mics can be used to eavesdrop on you to gather all sorts of private data. That’s not to say that this is happening in any nefarious way. But it can include things like TV program preferences that might be used to push ads and promotions for programs and products at you at some point in the future.
So, buyer beware, And remember, similar data is being collected all the time through smart phones, other smart TV platforms and similar technologies. But with Wikileaks reports a couple of years ago that spy agencies used smart TVs to listen in on parties of interest, anyone with a cautious nature (or acute paranoid tendencies) should probably just stick to the remote and dumb speakers.
By Greg Tarr
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