I recommend 1 Hopper for every 2 TVs — not the 4 Dish advertises in its marketing materials and website.
I had to learn this the hard way, but after a couple days I’ve gotten things straightened out with Dish. Here’s what I learned, and hopefully it will help ensure that your experience with the company’s new Hopper DVR “whole-house” DVR system is a pleasant one.
The problem is with how Dish markets its Hopper service. What the sales rep (or online registration process) needs to do is first ask each customer HOW HIS/HER HOUSEHOLD WATCHES TV. And then prescribe recommended-package options accordingly.
Dish says: “Connect up to 4 HD TVs using a single Hopper and 3 Joeys!” If you have 4 TVs, do not do this! Get the package with 2 Hoppers. Get 1 Hopper for every 2 TVs. Each “Joey” is basically a little relay box that connects to the Hopper.
Why? Each Hopper only has 3 tuners, so if 3 of the TVs are in use, the 4th is rendered a mirror of the other 3 — that TV can only view one of the 3 shows already playing. You cannot change the channels!
It gets worse! If two shows are being recorded at the same time, that takes up 2 of the 3 tuners! There will then be a battle over which TV can roam the channel landscape unfettered. Otherwise you’ll get the screen shown in this post.
A couple days after it was installed, I called Dish and told them this situation was unacceptable, so they are swapping out one of the Joeys with another Hopper. Once it arrives we’ll have one Hopper for every 2 TVs.
Dish demanded another $100 up front (and another $7 per month) for this but I wore them down, getting escalated up the chain of command, and they finally agreed to waive the $100 fee — so I am happy (though it was a hassle).
A short “movie trailer” I made using iMovie just for fun. Our Harlequin lambs, Koh and Ten, are the stars. Our Baby Doll lambs, Yuki and Saki, have supporting roles.
Our Harlequin lambs and Baby Doll lambs horsing around before bedtime.
The adventures of Koh and Ten: Episode 2 (Harlequin lambs)
The Baby Doll lambs meet the Harlequin lambs for the first time (May 20, 2012).
Since our Harlequin lambs will soon be sheep, and they are a girl and a boy, we need to separate them before the “ewe” (a female sheep) gets pregnant. The advice is to wait until the ewe is at least 12 months old (they are capable of getting pregnant at six months).
The problem with separating them (until the honeymoon) is that sheep don’t do well on their own — they need at least one companion. So we decided to get two more sheep, another girl and a boy. Since there are no Harlequins in Ohio (that we know of), and since they are on the expensive side, we decided to go with another breed of small sheep called Baby Dolls.
As a breed, Harlequin sheep have only been around a little more than 30 years. Baby Dolls go back to the late 1700s and regained popularity among breeders in the early 1900s. I know that Baby Dolls are used in vineyards to mow down weeds and grass — they are too short, however, to get at the tasty grapes.
While the Harlequins arrived healthy (and still are, knock on wood), the Baby Dolls had diarrhea. Noriko and I learned in Sheep School (we took a month of sheep-related classes from Ohio State in February) I remembered that this wasn’t good. We called our vet who tested them and determined the Baby Dolls had a nasty parasite called “coccidia.” So we are treated all four sheep just to be on the safe side, and will keep the two breeds apart for at least the next two weeks.
We also have a miniature donkey…. but that’s a story for another post.
This photo was snapped a few minutes after we got home with our lambs from the airport.
The adventures of Koh and Ten: Episode 1 (Harlequin lambs)