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Dish launches "industry first" 4K TV set-top box

The new 4K Joey from DISH promises to bring Ultra HD content to 4K TV owners
The new 4K Joey from DISH promises to bring Ultra HD content to 4K TV owners
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The new 4K Joey from DISH promises to bring Ultra HD content to 4K TV owners
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The new 4K Joey from DISH promises to bring Ultra HD content to 4K TV owners

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.

Source: DISH

Update (Jan. 13, 2015): Article text was edited to include a mention DirecTV's 4K offering.

7 comments
Peter Kelly
As has been well documented elsewhere, the benefits of 4K are minimal for most people in average sized houses (especially in the UK!), but the downsides for the providers are huge. 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!
piperTom
The stores have made-for-marketing 4K clips and the clarity is simply stunning. It's great that real content is finally on the way. One thing, tho: when viewing two channels side-by-side, can I independently pause them? I'll need this when two plays overlap. ;-)
Bob Smogango
Yeah, I was looking at 4K TVs and I came to the conclusion that while it's great from a visual clarity perspective, I looked at the amount of content and there just isn't enough for me to bother with it. I guess the only reason to buy one is to just have the hardware so that when the content becomes available I can view it, but it may be a long time before 50% or more of the content I watch will be in 4K. That's the problem with 4K. Even 1080p is not there 100%. There are still plenty of programs on TV in 720p, so even 1080p isn't 100%. Oh well. I guess these TV mfg's have to push TVs to people because they have nothing better to sell. It almost seems like these TV mfgs. want us to replace our TVs every 5 years instead of every 10.
Mikey T
As others have said, actual 4k content is going to be painful for the providers and I think it will be a quite a while before most of them are even capable of transmitting it. 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?
The Wizard
I believe that 4K and now 8K are designed to attempt to revive the flagging disc rental biz. That way, all your provider's problems are solved. You just buy an UHD BluRay machine and start the cycle all over again. VHS=>DVD=>BluRay=>UHD BluRay=> SDHD (Super Duper High Definition)Purple Ray.
StWils
Quit Yer Whining! I vividly recall the noise about colour TV in the late 50s to early 60s and persistent whine about the lack of content. There are strong chicken & egg issues but very quickly many TV shows that were shot on colour film but broadcast in B&W were able to shift to colour broadcast. All in all the transformation from B&W to Only Colour TV took about TWO YEARS, tops. After that only legacy movies shot in B&W continued to air that way. The same thing happened years later with 8 track car tapes 8 track was king until manufactures figured how to make cassette tape flatter, thinner, and have far higher quality magnetic coating. 8 track was dead in the middle of the road inside of three years. There are now at least 5 video cameras, many shown here in Gizmag, that are affordable, professional and are 4K compliant. There are even consumer oriented 4K cameras. 4K TV is coming our way. For those of us who only have over-the-air digital tv things are going to be kinda shaky, especially given the crappy signal stability but cable users should be OK. And, yeas this will be a great boon for disk sales.
P.j. Russell
This is a lie. The first was the Xiaomi TV Box 3.