Dish launches "industry first" 4K TV set-top box
One of the biggest reasons many users are reluctant to spend the extra money to pick up a 4K television is a lack of content. DISH is aiming to change that with the launch of its 4K Joey set-top box, which will bring 4K cable to the home, along with some other interesting features.
A box that's capable of receiving a signal in 4K is nice, but the content needs to be there. For that, Dish claims that it will deliver 4K content from "several providers," with announcements of exactly which providers are on board coming closer to launch of the device itself, which will be in the second quarter of 2015.
Outside of the actual 4K content, another interesting aspect of the 4K Joey is the way its picture-in-picture works. Because of the extra resolution, the device will be able display two channels side-by-side, with each in HD. For sports fans, this could be a huge selling point, as it prevents the need to switch back and forth between two big games happening at the same time.
Another important fact for current DISH users is that the new box supports the Hopper, the company's popular full home DVR system. It also supports Hopper apps like Netflix and Vevo. The box will work with any HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2-compliant TV, which should cover the 4K models on the market.
It's also that worth noting that DirecTV began offering 4K content to subscribers late last year, but this requires the user to own a 4K TV with RVU technology built in, with compatibility currently limited to Smart 4K models from Samsung.
While DISH did announce the Q2 release window for its new 4K set-top box, it did not announce pricing information. Presumably, it would take the form of a monthly fee, which is generally how most television providers offer their equipment, but it will be interesting to see how it compares to a standard HD box.
Of course, the main limiting factor will still be how much 4K content there is watch. The enhanced PiP is a cool feature, but will probably not be enough to make this a must-have device on its own.
Update (Jan. 13, 2015): Article text was edited to include a mention DirecTV's 4K offering.
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The sheer volume of data and the bandwidth needed to provide it make it difficult and expensive. It becomes a hard thing to justify if the rewards are virtually nil.
Add to that there are still great swathes of many countries that are barely beyond dial-up internet speeds and it will be a long time before we see any of this come to fruition. I suppose someone has to be first to start the journey, though!
One thing, tho: when viewing two channels side-by-side, can I independently pause them? I'll need this when two plays overlap. ;-)
It almost seems like these TV mfgs. want us to replace our TVs every 5 years instead of every 10.
However, I think the takeaway from this post is the ability to view 2 x HD telecasts at the same time. The content itself isn't 4k so I don't see why you couldn't do it right now on a 4k TV. I think this will be a more prominent feature in other new devices as well as 4k TVs become more popular. I'm not sure how it will work with the sound as it would be muddy with both, I guess you switch between them? Perhaps someone will also develop a way of transmitting both to separate headphones so 2 people can watch completely different shows on the same 4k TV?