Dish Network is claiming a new pay-TV industry first.
Starting today, Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) is shipping its new Wireless Joey set-top, part of the company's Hopper whole-home DVR system and the first box in the industry to include 802.11ac WiFi. Support for the latest WiFi standard comes courtesy of the Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) BCM4360 chipset. The Broadcom chip operates in the 5GHz frequency band and uses 3x3 multi-input/multi-output (MIMO) technology with beam forming and auto frequency selection.
Despite their obvious appeal, wireless set-tops have been slow to take off over the last few years. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) introduced its first wireless client boxes in 2011, but only recently have other service providers followed suit. Notably, DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), which AT&T plans to acquire, has put serious marketing muscle behind its own Wireless Genie Mini set-top, which just launched in April.
Now Dish is looking to get the wireless word out too. The company emphasizes that its new Wireless Joey provides all of the same functionality as its wired Joey model, including trick-play features like pause/rewind/fast forward, PrimeTime Anytime with automatically recorded primetime TV, and AutoHop for commercial-free playback of select shows.
On the silicon front, both AT&T and DirecTV use chipsets from Quantenna Communications Inc. for WiFi delivery. AT&T originally sourced its wireless technology from Broadcom, but switched to Quantenna in 2013. A spokesperson for Quantenna noted that DirecTV's implementation in particular supports up to six client set-tops with the Quantenna chip. Currently, the Dish system supports three wireless boxes. (See Arris, Quantenna Snag U-verse WiFi Deal.)
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading