NEW YORK, N.Y. – Dish is making it easier to watch video from an online rival, Netflix.
The satellite TV company said Wednesday that it is adding the Netflix app to its latest set-top boxes, its second-generation Hopper devices released in February 2013. Dish wouldn’t say how many customers have that box. Customers with older boxes would need a replacement to use the feature. Dish customers also must subscribe to Netflix’s $9-a-month service on their own.
TiVo also makes a device that combines regular TV channels with online video services, but Netflix said Dish is the first U.S. pay TV provider to add the app to its own set-top box. Netflix has similar deals with cable companies overseas.
The development comes as pay TV providers such as Dish face challenges keeping customers as they increasingly view video online — such as through Netflix. It might seem odd that Dish would embrace a competitor. But the move could keep consumers using Dish’s set-top box instead of switching to a stand-alone streaming device such as Roku or Apple TV to watch Netflix. Dish plans to make watching Netflix even more seamless in the future, by adding its TV and movie titles to its search function.