EH Buyer’s Scorecard: DISH Network Hopper Whole-House DVR

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A closer look at this digital video recorder, from in-house and around the web.


Sep. 20, 2012 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


The DVR has become an essential component to most people’s home theater systems, but there isn’t a huge variety among the systems offered by most TV providers. However, the DISH Network Hopper Whole-House DVR goes beyond the average black recording box.

Obvious Hopper features include three satellite tuners and a 2TB hard drive, which can hold about 2,000 hours of recorded video. If you want to access the DVR in other rooms, those get a different box, known as the Joey. These boxes allow users to pause live TV and access the Hopper and all of its recorded content and apps in other rooms. Another nifty perk is that you can actually start viewing something in one room, pause it, and continue it in another room—as long as it has a Hopper or Joey box.

Each Hopper box can support up to three Joeys. If you want to expand on that system, you can add in another Hopper and another trio of Joeys, for a maximum of eight TVs.

Besides all of that, the Hopper has two very unique features we have yet to see on any DVR. First up is PrimeTime Anytime, which will record all four HD networks during primetime hours, with a single click and a single tuner. That creates an on-demand library of HD ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC programming that will be stored for up to eight days—without actually consuming any of that DVR space.

More recently, DISH added in AutoHop, which allows users to play back PrimeTime Anytime content completely commercial-free.

In the months since DISH Network has launched the Hopper, the publicity is still going strong—but it’s all not positive. Reviews have been favorable, if you don’t count the reviews from major TV executives. Suits from ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX have all been pretty vocal about their contempt for the Primetime Anytime and AutoHop features. Lawsuits are pending on each side. Should you get the Hopper while the getting is good? Let’s take a closer peek.

What the Manufacturer Says

Full HD DVR functionality on every TV, so you can pause, rewind and record live TV in any room. Plus, you can access your DVR library on all TVs so you can record a movie in the living room, start watching it in the bedroom and then finish in the kitchen. DISH created commercial-free TV with the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR, the most advanced set-top box in the industry. PrimeTime Anytime lets you record up to 6 HD channels at once and automatically skip commercials in primetime TV—ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC in HD.
Visit DISH Network to Learn More About the Hopper Whole-House DVR

Reviews and Ratings from Around the Web

DISH Network Hopper
Whole-house DVR
Auto Hop feature cuts commercials
PrimeTime Anytime creates on-demand selection
Supports 3D VOD
No built-in WiFi
No OTA support

Big Picture Big Sound
“Forget about the apps and extra storage. The private on-demand selection created through PrimeTime Anytime and that Auto Hop feature are downright addictive. Hop on the Hopper bandwagon and you’ll never want to go back.”
Read the Full Review

Engadget
“It isn’t every day that a DVR comes along that not only delivers a sought-after feature but also introduces a never-before-seen perk. But lo and behold, that’s exactly what Dish has done with the Hopper and Joey.”
Read the Full Review

PCMag
“Overall, the Hopper is one of the best DVRs we’ve ever seen. It only has three tuners to the TiVo Elite’s four and it doesn’t suggest and automatically populate your DVR schedule based on your watching habits, but its price, clean design, and easy support for multi-room DVR make it a must-have for Dish Network subscribers.”
Read the Full Review

What Electronic House Says

The DISH Network Hopper is the greatest thing to happen to TV since the DVR. Of course, it is a DVR, but it does so much more. It provides DISH subscribers with on-demand access to all primetime programming from the four major networks, with just one click. Maybe you don’t need that, but you’ll probably enjoy it. And despite the controversy of the AutoHop feature, this is basically the same thing viewers have been doing since the dawn of the DVR. This is just a more direct approach—and it’s awesome. 

What is Electronic House Buyers Scorecard?
Rather than bring our users a single opinion on a product or service, our EH Buyers Scorecard combines what the manufacturer has to say about their product with real ratings and reviews from other websites, along with our own opinions and knowledge of the product to derive a wider lens recommendation that can help you in making a purchase decision.


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