Category Archives: Tom’s Tech

Dish Network & the Hopper: Things to consider before signing that contract

I recommend 1 Hopper for every 2 TVs -- not the 4 Dish advertises.

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).


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