The way television is delivered to customers is slowly becoming archaic. Previously in my old apartment I was forced to use a small cable company to deliver my television entertainment. The company provided high definition but that was about all of the extra features it offered. They did not provide any extra features like viewing content on my iPad or scheduling digital video recordings(DVR) through a website. Recently I moved into a house and I decided to try satellite. After comparing services I decided on Dish Network and their Hopper DVR
While Dish Network may not be perfect, I have been happy with their service and the Dish Anywhere app. It allows Dish Network subscribers to view featured content, browse the guide to see what is on, schedule and maintain DVR events, and also view live TV and DVR events with the optional Sling Adapter. Keep reading past the break to see if the Dish Anywhere app has been a welcome addition to my change in TV providers.
Using the Dish Anywhere app, your TV guide is always available. Opening up the guide shows a list of channels which will mirror your subscription plan through Dish Network. Scrolling through the list of channels can take up some time so the best way to browse is to select a category or set up favorites. Above the first channel listing is a menu bar which includes options to narrow down the guide by categories, which include movies, shows, sports and family. Favorite channels can be chosen by pressing the heart inside each channel.
Above the guide are categories to narrow down results and make it easier to find something to watch.
The favorite channels listing is a customized list by the user, and shows all of the selected favorite channels. Unfortunately, there is a downside on setting up favorites list, which is that favorites list do not sync to the Dish Anywhere iPhone app or the website. Since signing into the app requires your Dish online credentials, I would assume the favorites list could sync between these other access areas.
Other options available in the menu bar to make browsing the guide easier is an HD option which will show only HD channels. What is clearly vacant from the menu bar is an channel input area. It would be nice if there was an option to enter a specific channel to see what is on within the guide.
Press the Today button in the guide to reveal a scroll wheel to efficiently navigate to a future date for see what is coming up within the next week.
One of the major benefits of having access to your DVR recorder on your iPad is the ability to schedule recordings while not in front of your TV. Although, I fully admit I use the app all of the time while watching TV to browse for items to record. The reason I prefer to use the app rather than my remote control is due to the fact it is quicker and easier to navigate within the app. When browsing the guide any show or event can be selected. Selecting a show brings up a menu which offers more information about the show. From this window a user can also record the show.
Clicking on a show provides more information about it and you can choose to record or watch the show.
Pressing the record button will pull up three options including Record This, Record All and Record New. Choosing Record This will only record the item one time. If you would like to record the item on each new occurrence then you need to choose Record New and of course choosing Record All will record every occurrence of the event.
Chose Record New if want to record all the new items in a new season of your favorite TV show.
In the DVR menu, a user can also manage their DVR events. This includes watching and deleting items you no longer care to see. Above the DVR events is a menu with different categories. The categories include PrimeTime AnyTime, recordings, scheduled, timers, conflicts and skipped. I use the scheduled view a lot to look ahead and see what I can plan to watch.
DVR events can be managed and scheduled within the app.
Using the search option you can look for items in the guide and your DVR. Clicking on results will reveal the original air date and the next time an item is on. I have found searching to be somewhat reliable. To receive the best result possible, always spell the desired result correctly.
Live TV Everywhere
As previously mentioned, the Dish Anywhere app does support live TV through a Sling Adapter. The Sling Adapter will cost an extra $50, but it seems well worth the price for the benefits. Once the adapter is hooked to your receiver you can view live TV or recorded programs on your iPad. Viewing live TV works on Wi-Fi and also on a fast cell network like 4G or LTE. The live TV feed will be a few seconds behind the actual receiver, but it is not noticeable unless you hear the audio from the TV with the main receiver.
It is easy to see the benefit of being able to enjoy your home TV while away, but I find the benefits even better while at home. I cannot see my TV from my kitchen but now I always have a TV with me that also supports AirPlay for audio to my external speaker and Airport Express in the kitchen.
The control bar overlays the live TV but can be dismissed with a single tap.
While viewing a TV program a menu will overlay the screen allowing the user to record rewind and fast-forward during the event. These controls will most likely get used during a recorded event for fast-forwarding through commercials. Unfortunately, the fast-forward and skipping is not as smooth as it is on the receiver, but it does work satisfactory.
For the most part, when streaming TV the quality and service has worked well. In my testing, there were two occurrences where the stream would mess up and could not repair itself. If you find this happening to you, just jump into the settings of the app and press the receiver reset button. After reseting the receiver, give it a few minutes and hopefully your streaming problems will be fixed.
The Dish Anywhere app is helping move TV into the future. Instead of having to be in front of my TV, I can view my guide, recorded programs and even live TV with the Sling Adapter, right on my iPhone. The app is quick to load and it does not take a while to buffer while loading live TV. The biggest drawback that I saw was the lack of syncing of favorite channels. It was disappointing that I had to set those up on each individual device but I am happy that having to re-set-up my favorites is the biggest drawback.
If you are not happy with your TV service or want to get more from your TV then check out the Dish Anywhere app and Dish Network.