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Smart Home

Dish wants to set up your smart home gadgets for you

You don't have to be a Dish customer -- for a flat fee, Dish's new OnTech service will send a technician to your home to help set up devices from Google Nest, Ring, Linksys, WeMo, Yale and more.

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Don't want to install that new security camera yourself? Dish's new OnTech service can send a technician to do it for you.

Dish

Thinking about picking up some new smart home gadgets, but unsure if you'll have the time or the wherewithal to install them yourself? Dish might be able to help.

Today, the satellite TV service provider is launching "OnTech," a direct-to-consumer service that provides professional installation and set-up help for select smart home devices. Available in 11 cities at launch regardless of whether or not you're a Dish subscriber, OnTech technicians can help install smart locks, video doorbells, thermostats, smart hubs, voice assistants, whole-home audio, mesh Wi-Fi networks and more, in some cases as soon as the same day, Dish says. If you don't own the tech yet, you can buy it direct from OnTech and they'll bring it with them.

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You can buy this Linksys Velop whole-home mesh Wi-Fi system direct from OnTech for $350. They'll set it up for you for an extra $150.

Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Partner brands include Google Nest, Ring, WeMo, Linksys, Yale and high-end names in home audio like Klipsch and Polk. Most service appointments will cost you a flat fee of $99, though some, including mesh Wi-Fi setup, will cost more.

"We've been offering these services to Dish customers for several years now," says Jeremy McCarty, VP and general manager of OnTech Smart Services, who points out that the company quietly partnered with Amazon in 2015 to offer consumers help with mounting their TVs. "This is about bringing those services to everyone."

Dish's approach also seems to bridge the gap between retail-based concierge services like Best Buy's GeekSquad and the professional, in-home service that comes with contract-based subscription services from names like Comcast and AT&T. With no contracts or subscription fees at all, OnTech is a lot closer to the GeekSquad end of that spectrum (both will come to your home and set up a Ring Video Doorbell for $99, for instance). 

Keep in mind that, unlike Best Buy, Dish already has a footprint in people's homes with its own cloud-connected DVR boxes, as well as existing integrations with big names in the smart home like Amazon Alexa. With smart displays positioning themselves as visual, interface-based complements for voice-controlled smart homes, Dish is potentially positioned well to leverage smart home tech to expand its TV-centric foothold in the coming years.

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OnTech is launching today in select regions, with plans to expand to additional regions in the coming months.

"Dish started with the rural markets and worked in," says OnTech Senior VP Nick Rossetti. "Now, we'll be starting in urban areas and working out."

Those 11 urban regions are:

  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • St. Louis Missouri
  • Houston, Texas
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Sacramento, California
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Los Angeles, California*
  • San Francisco, California*
  • New York City, New York**

*Licensing restrictions on door lock
**Licensing restrictions on door lock and thermostat