A stable DVR solution for the whole-home
Save options. You will find 2 USB ports for storage and an eSATA for external
hard disk behind Hopper
DVR for whole-home is a great idea. Instead of having a full
digital video recorder with all set HDTV in-house, you can use the sole storage
equipment to hold all recordings and the equipment to get access to them on
different TVs. Dish Network Hopper is the best performance of this idea we ever
seen. IT is a 3-turner HD satellite receiver supporting up to 3 Joeys (4.5
stars) which originally are smaller devices that can access to Hopper’s turner
and DVD Storage from other room through a connection. Reasonable price,
diversified storage and well-designed interface make Hopper better than TiVo
Premiere Elite (USD 399.99, 2.5 stars), making it our Editor’s Choice for
The medium package of Dish Network is now free; and it costs
USD 99 for the Basic Package. Each installation can include 3 free Joeys for a
multi-room installation. Dish charges USD 10 per month for whole-home with
Hopper and plus USD 7 per month for every Joey connected to a TV.
price, diversified storage and well-designed interface make Hopper better than
TiVo Premiere Elite
A diversified menu with few weaknesses
Considering its 3 turner and 2 TB storage capacity, Hopper
seems to be small. With the size of 2.3 x 15.9 x 11.4 inch, it has mostly the
same size to a Blu-ray player and half-size as Dis Network ViP722 (4.5 stars),
meanwhile it supplies double-sized storage with much cheaper price. The front
folding door contains controls including 1 navigation pad and convenient Locate
Remote button. There is a USB port in the front panel on the right hand-side.
The back of Hopper contains cable input, 1 HDMI output and 2 additional USB for
the storage and 1 eSATA port for external hard disks.
The remote is big, round and has many buttons. While the pad
is fairly enough for navigation, there are buttons for channel search, guide
loading, DVR access, program recording and page navigation.
remote is big, round and has many buttons
Menu system is well-designed with clear label. Main menu
provides with access to Blockbuster On Demand, Dish Network On demand,
PrimeTime Anytime, Facebook, Pandora, etc. Unfortunately, Hopper does not
include services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus, or even Youtube. On-demand video
service of Blockbuster, PrimeTime Anytime and other apps on Hopper require an
Ethernet connection, but the Library and channel guide of Dish work through
Of course, with 3 turners and 2 TB capacity, you can record
500 hours of programs at high-definition or 1000 hours of standard-definition
programs on the 1TB users partition (the other half is used for recording
PrimeTime Anytime, On-demand videos and Dis Unplugged content), so you will not
see Netflix and Hulu Plus much for sure. The Search and Record buttons
specialize in quickly finding our favorite programs.
Rearranging 3 turners requires dexterousness when you are
recording many programs at the same time. The red button on remote brings the
turner list, so you can quickly switch between running turners without
disrupting DVR recording.
More convenient than TiVo
TiVo Premiere (USD 299.99, 3.5 stars) and Premiere Elite can
be more advantageous than Dish Network Hopper: they support Netflix and Hulu
Plus, and they offer suggestion based on your watching habits. However, you
have to pay for each TiVo box and monthly TiVo subscription and you need an
account for digital cable with a CableCARD for each box. With TiVo, multi-room
DVR need a wired network connection or USD 90 dongle W-Fi for each more box.
Considering everything, Dish Network offers a more convenient service with
In conclusion, Hopper is one of the best DVRs we have ever
seen. It has only 3 turners, in comparison with 4 of TiVo Elite, and it does
not offer suggestion and automatical DVR schedule based on your watching habit.
However, price, clear design, and easy support for multi-room DVR make it
something that a Dish Network subscriber should have.
Dish Network Hopper
Cheap, well-designed interface, three turners and large
No Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube streaming.