The enemy of Comcast is my friend. In a strategic alliance between two vocal critics of Big Cable, Dish Network Corp. and Netflix Inc. said Wednesday they have reached an agreement that will allow Dish subscribers to access Netflix directly from their set-top boxes -- making the satellite company the first U.S. pay-TV service to offer a straight line to the popular streaming service.
Dish is adding the Netflix app to its second-generation Hopper DVRs, giving subscribers access to Netflix’s full library of movies and TV shows, as well as original series like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”
In joint statements Wednesday, executives for both companies praised the move as a way of streamlining the process for viewers who toggle back and forth between Netflix and other channels. Vivek Khemka, Dish’s senior vice president of product management, said the app integration “eliminates the need to switch television inputs to access content on varying devices.”
The move brings Netflix one step closer to becoming a bona fide premium television network, and not just a streaming service. Like with HBO, accessing Netflix on Dish will require a separate subscription.
“Many households subscribe to both Netflix and a traditional pay TV service,” Bill Holmes, Netflix’s global head of business development, said in a statement. “Our vast library of TV shows and movies, combined with Dish’s lineup of live television content, gives customers easy access to a wide variety of complementary programming.”
Dish and Netflix have a common interest in staving off consolidation in the cable industry, and both have been vocal opponents of the proposed merger between Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc., the country’s two largest pay TV providers.
Dish is part of a coalition of companies and consumer groups calling on federal regulators to stop the merger on antitrust grounds. Netflix, too, has petitioned to block the merger -- earlier this year, it reached a direct-interconnection deal with Comcast but then accused the cable giant of charging a toll for faster speeds.
Dish said the Netflix app will roll out to its customers throughout the day on Wednesday.