Dish unveils Hopper DVR, announces broadband service

By on January 9, 2012, 6:00 PM

Dish Network says it's revamping the company from the ground up in 2012 and to kick off their efforts they've come forward with two major announcements at CES. The first is a HD DVR system called the Hopper that includes a 2TB drive and is complemented by thin-client boxes called "Joeys" that can stream live or pre-recorded content from the Hopper to up to three additional rooms.

The Hopper itself includes three satellite TV tuners but one of them is reserved for recording all four major broadcast stations -- from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC -- during primetime hours as part of a new feature called "PrimeTime Anytime". This essentially means users will have on-demand access to those station's most popular and most watched shows without having to worry about scheduling their set-top box.

When enabled, PrimeTime Anytime records network programming in high definition, where available, every night and stores them for eight days after they have aired (eight days gives viewers one previous episode). With the remaining tuners, Dish subscribers can record two more programs from other channels, meaning the Hopper can store up to six programs simultaneously during prime-time hours.

In addition, users will be able to access thousands of streaming titles from Dish’s Blockbuster service, which is being renamed Blockbuster @Home. People who don’t have broadband access or haven't connected their set-top box to the Internet can still download movies via satellite with a new feature called Dish Unplugged.

Lastly, Dish is also throwing in app support so you can access social networks, games, news, weather information and more. Subscribers will be able to access and manage the DVR through the web or through Dish's Remote Access App, and there's even  a convenient "locate remote" button on the Hopper for those times you're going crazy looking for the remote. Just press it and your remote will beep.

The other major announcement involves a partnership with ViaSat to offer satellite broadband. The new service will provide up to 12 Mbps download and up to 3 Mbps upload speeds, bringing a broadband connectivity option to more than 8 million rural U.S. households that lack access to anything better than DSL.

Dish CEO Joe Clayton said an entry-level package of Dish plus Dish Broadband will start at $79.95 a month with a planned launch for the summer.

User Comments: 6

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theusmale2 said:

Fantastic! records up to 6 at a time U verse should be as good but is not.

Guest said:

Whats the lag time on that broadband? It maybe fine for downloading streaming content, but do not count on it for VPN or interactive gaming. Pretty expensive.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

So if I turn off PrimeTime Anytime can I use the other turner for whatever I WANT to record? Something is off putting about the idea of them deciding what I can record.

Also agree with Guest #1 about what kind of latency is going to be seen on the broadband. I have heard satellite broadband has VERY high latency, making it not very reliable.

And the what do you do when a storm comes through and your sat TV goes out along with your SAT internet now? :P

Guest said:

Yes you can record what you want on the other two tuners, the prime time anytime will use 1 tuner to record those 4 channels for those 3 hours.

Guest said:

PrimeTime Anytime, on DISH's new Hopper Receiver is going to come in extremely handy for my family. We constantly struggle to either remember to set the DVR, or with scheduling conflicts and storage space. The Hopper and PrimeTime solve each of these problems. We will have the ability to record up to 6 live HD programs at once, with PrimeTime ensuring we will have 3 hours of prime time recording each night. It stores it on the largest Hard Drive in the pay TV industry, and keeps the recordings on a rolling eight day block!! Also, since the Joey TVs can access the master DVR playlist, each can play a different program simultaneously! This means we will be able to store more, watch more, and we each get to watch our own favorite shows, without DVR conflicts!! When my DISH coworkers and I got to try this technology out, this was by FAR the most popular feature! I'll post as soon as I know a release date.

Guest said:

Too bad dishs HD satellites are so low to the ground. If only i didnt have trees at my house :P

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