Satellite service provider Dish is planning to integrate the Google Assistant into its new Hands-Free TV platform supported by the Hopper DVR, as well as Joey and Wally wireless receivers, the company announced Wednesday. Support for Google's digital companion is set to be introduced to compatible devices in the first half of the year, though a more precise availability window has yet to be provided by the Meridian, Colorado-based firm. As expected, the Google Assistant will allow owners of Dish's digital video recorders and receivers to control their devices by simply speaking to them.
Besides Google Assistant-enabled gadgets like the Home series of smart speakers that will be able to interact with Dish's products, the integration will also include the voice remote coming bundled with the same electronics from Dish, providing users with the ability to simply speak to their assistants after pushing a dedicated button on the controller, even without activating them using a trigger phrase like "hey, Google." The integration will allow for video controls and content searches, as well as all other commands one would expect from a contemporary voice-enabled DVR or receiver. Owners of compatible devices who still don't have a voice remote can request one from Dish free of charge. As is the case with other hardware members of Google's artificial intelligence ecosystem, devices from Dish will be addable to one's smart home setup using the Google Home app for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.
The development is yet another step in Google's efforts to integrate its virtual helper into as many products and services as possible. The company's first truly official presence at the annual Consumer Electronics Show was established once the fair started earlier this week and involved a broad range of marketing materials and advertising spanning the entirety of Las Vegas, with most of them promoting the Google Assistant and related devices. While Amazon's Alexa is still the most popular consumer-facing AI service in the United States, Google is committing significant resources to challenging the leader in the segment and is also said to be preparing a revamp of its AI hardware retail strategy later this year with the goal of making its offerings even more accessible.