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DISH's new Hopper DVR - A good idea?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by TomCat, Jan 13, 2012.

Do we like DISH's "Hopper" concept?

  1. Great idea; I can't wait for DTV to offer this

    0 vote(s)
  2. I might use it some if I had it

  3. Ho hum

  4. Bad idea - let's not complicate things

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Jan 13, 2012 #1 of 122

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    By now you likely have heard of the "Hopper" from DISH. What do we think of this?

    My limited understanding is that it records all of prime time every night on all of the big 4 or 5 networks, and then holds that content for 8 days.

    As someone who's viewing contains a high percentage of big net prime, I can see a certain attractiveness to that concept. Of course if you would rather watch The Jersey Shore, movies, and live sports, it probably doesn't really mean much to you. Now that a number of cable nets are putting out quality shows in HD, it means less to me than it would have 5 or 10 years ago.

    I also have a lot of shows that I just don't get to during the week. Right now, Person of Interest is about the only show I have to see that night, and few are must-sees within the week. I think The Good Wife is the best show ever to grace television, yet I still have 5 or 6 backed up; Justified is one of my favorites, yet I let the last 3 eps from last season linger for months. I also probably have over 25 The Mentalists just sitting there, so 8 days is hardly a real solution for me.

    It would also be nice if this feature were customizable; IOW. let me pick the channels and the time blocks myself. In the summer it makes more sense to block record prime on USA or TNT than it does NBC or ABC, for instance.

    But what do the rest of us think? Is this a great idea that we should solicit DTV to emulate (steal), or is it just so much overhype and not really of much value? (try to avoid sour grapes posts please)
  2. Jan 13, 2012 #2 of 122

    Jerry_K Godfather

    Oct 21, 2006
    All I can see is this filling up a hard drive with a whole lot of drivel.

    We can record anything we want now with Series Links.
  3. Jan 13, 2012 #3 of 122

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    I wonder how it handles reruns and such, it has to record them since it's the whole transponder.

    I like the HR34 method, I can record all prime time from the networks, but in my own terms.
  4. Jan 13, 2012 #4 of 122

    kevinwmsn Hall Of Fame

    Aug 19, 2006
    I think the hr34 would take of most needs. I would have to try this hopper DVR to be sure.
  5. Jan 14, 2012 #5 of 122

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    If I wanted to record all of those shows I would. Why do I need to waste a tuner if I don't want to.
  6. Jan 14, 2012 #6 of 122
    Go Beavs

    Go Beavs Hall Of Fame

    Nov 18, 2008
    Exactly! I don't need the thing to record a bunch of stuff I won't watch. If I want to record it, I'll set up a series link.

    This feature is just Ho Hum to me...
  7. Jan 14, 2012 #7 of 122

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

    Dec 2, 2010
    I guess the theory is that you'd have plenty of tuners to do other things, but that means multiple DVRs, which I am of the impression is not many Dish households have.

    Yeah, if I had it, at some point I'd want to go back and watch some show that had been referenced by someone else, but I certainly can watch all I want of prime time network TV in other ways.
  8. Jan 14, 2012 #8 of 122

    kymikes Icon

    Jan 15, 2008
    The function that I have not been able to tell if it exists is the ability to "cull" from the 7 - 8 days of the 'major' networks to save the shows that I really want to see. If you could do that it might have some usefulness in getting more 'bang for your bucks' in tuner utilization for the 3 tuners. If it doesn't exist or is too hard to use, then it seems to be something that consumes lots of hard drive for limited usefulness. Kind of one of these 'oddball' ideas that might have a kernel of function that you don't see until you work with it for a while.
  9. Jan 14, 2012 #9 of 122
    David Ortiz

    David Ortiz Save the Clock Tower!!

    Aug 21, 2006
    Fresno, CA
    According to the slide from the press conference, you can.
  10. Jan 14, 2012 #10 of 122

    kymikes Icon

    Jan 15, 2008
    Thanks. I missed that. For my viewing habits, that might provide some function if I could 'cull' or extract the shows of interest as the week went along and release the remaining DVR disk space. Then it becomes a question of tuner utilization vs. a maintenance activity. Hard to tell without a chance to try it. I think I would would rather have more tuners but now 'price' becomes a question for the alternative solutions.
  11. Jan 14, 2012 #11 of 122

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2006
    Uses up to what 400gigs of hard drive space, and you can't fast forward the commercials that are on these shows that are recorded this way. Totally useless to me. At least it looks like you can turn that off.
  12. Jan 14, 2012 #12 of 122

    markrogo Godfather

    Sep 18, 2007
    It has 2TB, or twice the space of an HR34. I'm unclear on the need to start reclaiming the relatively small amount of space this is using for the network broadcasts.

    It will let you save your favorite series like normal and also eventually tag stuff via a smartphone/tablet app for saving as well (those features not yet implemented).
  13. Jan 14, 2012 #13 of 122

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    It has 2 TB because DISH reserves 1TB. So users only have access to 1TB.
  14. Jan 14, 2012 #14 of 122

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

    Nov 16, 2005
    Well ... I don't know ...

    Couple of major shortcomings so far that I see;

    Only three satellite tuners per Hopper?

    Which is understandable I guess since Dish wants to maintain a single wire system of course, yet has to rely on frequency stacking 500 Mhz blocks atop one another one one cable to supply the Hopper's tuners.

    Therefore you need to go to a two Hopper configuration to reach six tuners in aggregate.

    And the system also does not appear to integrate in any way with Dish's current ViP series DVRs. So unlike DIRECTV's WH system, there's no MRV capability between them and the Hopper.

    I'll give it this though, by necessity Dish has to get their version of an external proprietary "RVU-like" client box (the XiP 110 or "Joey") out of the door with the Hopper when this system is released. Whereas progress on DIRECTV's (only known) version, Pace's C30-700, appears to be stalled for some reason.

    But this aside had to vote for a "Ho Hum" for now anyway. :rolleyes:
  15. Jan 14, 2012 #15 of 122
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Apr 17, 2003
    The key benefit of the feature (which is called "Prime Time Anytime") is to use one tuner to record four channels. For one tuner to do that, all four channels must be on the same transponder. If one wanted to record a primetime sweep on one channel that can be done on any single tuner.

    I can see it as a good feature for people who watch a lot of prime time broadcast TV and there have been times when someone at work or online has mentioned a new show last night or within the past couple of days that seemed interesting but I had no way of watching it (other than Hulu, etc). With Prime Time Anytime one has the week to go back and see what they missed.

    There have also been times where there is "nothing on" where I have wished I could have watched a broadcast show that wasn't worth setting a series link for. Or something that conflicted with other recordings I had scheduled.

    As far as DirecTV "borrowing" the concept perhaps it is unneeded with the current content sharing allowed between DirecTV receivers. But the idea of using one of a home's tuners to record four channels frees up three tuners for other channels - at the cost of storage space. Distribution to other receivers could still be done the way DirecTV's whole home service works. DirecTV "borrowing" the Prime Time Anywhere concept doesn't force them to use the sharing concept of the Hopper.

    So is it worth using one tuner to record four channels automatically each night saving three tuners for something else or would customers rather pick and chose which prime time broadcast shows to record? It all comes down to how much broadcast TV your family watches.
  16. Jan 14, 2012 #16 of 122

    tomallison24 AllStar

    Dec 10, 2008
    As I started reading this thread I thought, oh wow, Dish holds those shows somehow so I don't have to use my tuner(s) for them. If that's not the case and they're using my tuners, well that's just telling me what to watch. If that's so then it's BS. If it's what I originally thought, then bravo.
  17. Jan 14, 2012 #17 of 122

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

    Nov 16, 2005
    As well as DIRECTV's need to sacrifice more bandwidth to implement such a feature by having to duplicate the big four network feeds for the NY and LA markets on both spot and CONUS beams as I pointed out here.

  18. Jan 14, 2012 #18 of 122

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

    Mar 4, 2006
    Herrin, IL
    I've been doing a lot of reading about this, and overall it is an excellent idea and the implementation looks solid.

    The PrimeTime feature is a big plus, especially with Dish. From all appearances, they worked to get all the big 4 on one transponder for each area and they have some studies, and my personal experience, that show that most of the recording contention is with the locals since they don't rerun at later times or days most often. And after the night's recording, you can move the shows you want to keep to the 'user' area of the hard drive and keep them beyond the 8 days that PrimeTime keeps them by default. And it is optional, you don't have to use it at all.

    The speed of operation on the demo I saw was just amazing. Not one single D* receiver or DVR does things anywhere near that quick. That is also a big plus.

    Two downsides exist. One is that there is only 3-tuners, with PrimeTime, that isn't as big a downside as it could be, but it is still fairly limiting. In my household, I'd need two Hoppers and no Joeys because of the way we watch.

    The other downside is that it won't work with anything but Joeys, no current receiver can work with it.

    As to how much disk E* is taking of that 2TB, well which D* DVR gives you 1TB of user space? And I believe that just as with the current Vip's, you can add an EHD that adds to (not replace) the internal drive and that it will also be tied to account, not receiver.

    Both D* and E*'s approach to MRV seems very viable, both have good and bad points.
  19. Jan 14, 2012 #19 of 122
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Apr 17, 2003
    It depends on what receiver you base the comparison on. If one is moving from a two tuner receiver to a two tuner plus a "PTA" tuner the receiver they are taking is new, not one of the ones that was relied on. Also if one of your tuners is constantly tied up recording one of the big four from 8pm-11pm each night then you're getting four recordings for the "price" of one tuner. Any time one is recording at least one prime time broadcast show it is a break even ... and if you're recording two or more the feature frees up tuners.

    The feature is designed for people who watch prime time broadcast programming. It can be turned off if one doesn't want the feature.

    DISH had to realign some of their channels to make sure all four networks were on the same spotbeam or transponder. In short markets that do not have all four networks filling in with a distant would require mirroring the distant on that market's spot beam. As long as the spotbeam space is available it shouldn't be a big problem (other than having more feeds for quality control to monitor). If not used for a short market fill in what would that transponder space be used for?
  20. Jan 14, 2012 #20 of 122

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

    Nov 16, 2005
    Yeah ... I suppose they could do this once "again" I guess. Because interestingly enough DIRECTV actually did this for a some time in duplicating the big four network HD local feeds for the NY and LA markets onto both CONUS and spotbeams. And no one really understood why the need for this apparent waste of bandwidth instead of simply doing what they had always done with their SD versions of transmitting them on CONUS beams for DNS service and then remapping them into the local channel range in the guide.

    Wonder if DIRECTV was thinking of some type of future PTAT feature on a multi-tuner DVR way back then? :D

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