Dish Network says hello to Google’s video doorbell

Many of Dish Network’s boxes can now tune into some exceedingly-local programming: the footage captured by Google’s Nest Hello video doorbells.

The satellite-TV broadcaster announced this integration Friday, saying users of its Hopper DVRs and Wally receivers can “now receive on-screen notifications, including an image, when your doorbell rings while watching live, recorded or on-demand Dish content.”

An accompanying press release alluded to more integrations with Google’s Nest lineup of smart-home gadgets after the $229 Nest Hello. "This is just the beginning of a powerful relationship with Google Nest and their vast portfolio of products,” Dish product manager Rob Sadler said in that statement.

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“Video doorbells are a really hot product,” said Brad Russell, research director at Parks Associates, in an interview Friday. “10.1% of U.S. broadband households now own a video doorbell, which puts them right behind smart thermostats and smart light bulbs.”

He added that he had not yet seen data on whether adding these smart-home features to rented pay-TV boxes made customers happier with renting that hardware—but MVPDs seem to think it’s a smart business move.

“This has become a very common strategy,” he said. “Market leaders like Comcast, Cox and others are choosing this strategy to kind of shore up themselves in the marketplace.”

Englewood, Colorado-based Dish has suffered several brutal quarters of cord cutting but did better than most pay-TV firms in the third quarter. It lost only 66,000 satellite subscribers while gaining 214,000 subscribers to its Sling TV over-the-top streaming service.

Comcast has jumped on this trend earlier and more aggressively than other MVPDs. The Philadelphia-based cable giant began selling third-party connected-home gadgets compatible with its Xfinity Home platform more than four years ago and now offers a variety of home-security services on that system.

What connected-home hardware might Dish want to have its boxes talk to next? Russell suggested smart light bulbs would make sense. “Lighting is really the next most logical integration,” he said. “It correlates with entertainment experiences.”

But in that scenario, viewers will still have to make the popcorn and pass it themselves.