It’s Thursday, March 17th, and for college basketball fans that means one thing: March Madness. But for college basketball fans who also happen to be Dish Network subscribers, it means two things: March Madness, and a hotly anticipated Hopper 3 update that lets you watch four different channels at once. Since March Madness matchups will be broadcast on four different networks this year — CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV — the timing obviously couldn’t be better.

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Dish’s latest and greatest set-top box, the Hopper 3, was released earlier this year and it featured a number of big upgrades compared to earlier models. It also included the promise of some hot updates that Dish had planned, and one of the best ones was just pushed out to the public.

Dubbed “Sports Bar Mode,” the new feature allows Hopper 3 owners to watch four different channels at one time. It makes great use of the new set-top box’s 16 different tuners and still leaves plenty of tuners open to record other shows and movies that your family can’t watch because you’re hogging the TV.

Sports Bar Mode is available beginning today to everyone with a Hopper 3, and Dish’s full press release follows below.

DISH launches “Sports Bar Mode” on Hopper 3 in time for March NCAA tournament games

 MultiView displays four different simultaneous channels on one TV screen at home
DISH is the only pay-TV provider to offer HD multi-channel view technology
Feature compatible with both 4K and HD televisions connected to a Hopper 3

ENGLEWOOD, March 17, 2016 – DISH Network L.L.C. today launched Sports Bar Mode, also known as MultiView, to Hopper 3 customers nationwide ahead of NCAA tournament first-round games. Sports Bar Mode is a multi-channel view that divides a 4K or HDTV screen into quadrants, each with the ability to display a different program. The feature works by decoding any four different feeds and displaying them simultaneously.

Sports Bar Mode shipped in the latest software update pushed to Hopper 3 set-top boxes last night. It arrives in time for the March NCAA tournament games, which schedules several basketball matchups at the same time within the first two rounds. In addition to Sports Bar Mode, the software update included performance enhancements and general bug fixes. 

“This technology replicates the fan experience of catching several games at once, now from the comfort of your home instead of heading to a local pub,” said Vivek Khemka, DISH Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “Sports Bar Mode is an especially useful tool throughout the month of March, as the tournament airs across four different channels. Not to mention, it’s great for households who don’t want to miss their favorite drama or sitcom, but also want to keep tabs on any live basketball games.”

Sports Bar Mode works with all live, linear channels in DISH’s programming lineup, as well as on demand content, and recorded TV shows and movies. To access the feature, customers press the “Options” button on the remote control, select “Picture In Picture,” then “MultiView.” Once the TV screen is divided into quadrants, customers can easily toggle among the four channels to determine which one will have its audio played. Sports Bar Mode is compatible with both 4K and HD televisions when connected to a Hopper 3. On 4K TVs, the four quadrants display in 1080; on HDTVs, the four quadrants display in 540.

Hopper 3 includes additional multi-channel configurations, including a split-screen feature that places two channels side-by-side, as well as a setting that overlays a second channel in the upper right hand corner of the TV screen. 

Designed to change the way consumers find, record, stream and watch content, DISH’s Hopper 3 was first announced at the 2016 CES, then made available to the general market on Jan. 31. The third-generation of DISH’s whole-home DVR system, Hopper 3 features 16 tuners, delivers an enhanced 4K experience, supports up to seven TVs simultaneously and integrates Netflix titles into universal search results.

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