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Finally, TV Everywhere -- As Long as You’re Willing to Carry Your Shows Around Yourself

Take your DVR-recorded episodes of "The Good Wife" with you anywhere.

Dish Network
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Here’s a cool CES product: A gadget that gives you the ability to watch anything on TV you want to watch, wherever you want to watch it.

Wait a minute. It’s 2016. Haven’t we been able to do that for a long time?

Of course! But also, not really: In reality, the ability to watch TV somewhere other than your living room has been limited by both technology and business constraints.

So here’s Dish Network’s workaround: HopperGo, a smallish flash drive — “half the size of an iPhone 6,” Dish says — that lets you take the contents of your DVR with you and lets you stream it to any device you want, using its own Wi-Fi network. That is: You can watch anything you’ve recorded on your Dish DVR and watch it anytime you want, even when you’re nowhere near a cable, broadband or wireless signal.

Dish’s HopperGo will sell for $99 in the next few months and will let you store up to 100 hours of content. There aren’t any additional fees, but it also won’t do you any good unless you’re a Dish pay TV customer with one of its Hopper 2 or Hopper 3 DVRs.

If the notion of recording media and manually transferring it onto another gadget so you can take it with you seems like a bit of a throwback, I agree. But it also seems like a pretty useful solution.

And the fact that HopperGo seems like a not-bad idea also underscores the pay TV industry’s failure to deliver on the “TV Everywhere” campaign it started years ago. Instead of TV everywhere, pay TV subscribers get some TV, sometimes, in some places, depending on the deals various TV networks have made with pay TV distributors, none of which make sense to normal people.

But taping an episode of “The Good Wife” on Sunday night and then taking it on a road trip with me instead of having to buy it again on iTunes or subscribe to CBS’s own Web TV service? That makes sense. Even if I have to tell people I’m carrying around something called a HopperGo.

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