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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)
    0.0%
  2. I might use it some if I had it

    20.5%
  3. Ho hum

    20.5%
  4. Bad idea - let's not complicate things

    60.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Jan 14, 2012 #21 of 122
    NR4P

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    I was at CES and spent time with the Dish network folks and got the skinny on the Hopper.

    Big sign says "records 6 shows at once".
    Small print says it has 3 tuners.

    How it works, the 4 networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) are recording on a single tuner 8-11pm during prime time daily. It does this out of the box. It keeps everything there for 8 days. On day 9, the first days shows are gone unless you "save" it. It has a pretty good Interface, like selecting JPEGS and you click on one you want and can delete, save, play etc.

    The other tuners are there for watching and/or recording whatever you want.

    Users can tell the prime time tuner not to record say CBS, but it still cannot be used for other recordings during prime time. So during parts of the day there are 3 tuners to record anything and at other times, may be two. But they advertise six things at once.

    I can't imagine folks not causing tuner conflicts with this in practice. Particularly in that they have MOCA clients that are similar in size to a H25 without any tuner. And need the Hopper for content and live TV.

    Likely since UVerse has 4 tuners, Directv has 5 in the HR34, this is the one-upmanship spec game to claim 6 recordings at a time.

    And no OTA capability whatsoever. Not inside, no piggyback tuner like an AM21.
     
  2. Jan 14, 2012 #22 of 122
    Kevin F

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    This will definitely cause people many tuner conflicts in my opinion.

    Kevin
     
  3. Jan 14, 2012 #23 of 122
    TomCat

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    That is actually pretty clever. A typical transponder sends 4 HD locals in a MTPS (multiple program transport stream) which is a single data stream. A typical DVR demultiplexes the program of interest, sends that to the tuner and HDD, and ignores the rest. This concept turns that on its head, by recording the MPTS as a single stream to the HDD, then doing the demux at playback instead. Technically, that is actually very simple.

    I do the very same thing at work for delaying multiple network TV sat feeds on servers for stations (record then play back the entire MPTS), and here is the catch: you must either keep the entire MPTS (or whatever timed section of it) to save a recording, or delete the entire thing. You can't save Whitney and delete the other 3 shows that shared that transport stream originally (that aired at the same time from the other networks), as they are all tied up together on the HDD.

    Unless they have found some clever way around that, this really complicates the HDD space management tying up a lot of space for shows you may not want to save. Effectively, for one 30-minute show in an hour block it could take up to 8 times the HDD space to save a single show from that particular time period.

    I guess they could demux all the shows at record (still takes one tuner) instead of demuxing before the tuner, but that would take a more-powerful CPU than a garden-variety DVR would have available. Those of us with the HR20-23 know that every CPU cycle is already in use, just because of the delays we see in response.

    The good news is that the newer DVRs do have that power, so while the Hopper may be one implementation of it (and actually may not have the complication regarding HDD space management that I raised here), I see another, possibly more-valuable implementation of this technology: Ignore for a moment the concept of auto-block-recording prime, and think what happens when you want to record 3 programs at once from the big nets, which is typically a conflict.

    But if you demux all 4 channels ahead of the HDD and record just what you want, 3 or 4 shows on the big 4 at the same time will still only take one tuner, meaning many fewer conflicts. And that would only imply minor inefficiencies in managing the HDD space if it were only invoked automagically when there would otherwise be a potential tuner conflict (the HDD space for a deleted show would not be released for use until all shows recorded on that tuner at that time were deleted). This could also be extended to the 4 or 8 most popular cable channels, making conflicts nearly a thing of the past.

    I think I might have buried the lead; that would be a significant feature in my mind, much more valuable than block recording shows I will never watch like Dancing With The Stars and Are You Smarter than a Cheese Grater.

    I agree. I think it has a very high appeal but to a very narrow category of user. Many posting here don't seem to even get it: sure we can do anything that the Hopper can do, we just can't have the DVR do it automatically, which is I think where the appeal, if any, would lie.

    Personally, I would like to see DTV offer it anyway; firstly because if you don't think you need or would use it, then don't; no one is harmed by the feature simply being there. But the advantage of removing probably 90-95% of the conflicts from not having enough tuners was implemented (without the block recording aspect) by doing the full MPTS record and multiple demux, I see that as having great value for everyone.

    Not only that, its a breeze to market: group the big 4 on one transponder and the next 4 most popular channels on another, build a box with 4 tuners in it that has this capability, and simply market it to customers with the tag line "Record up to 10 programs all at the same time".

    I'd buy that. Who wouldn't?
     
  4. Jan 15, 2012 #24 of 122
    Shades228

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    It's going to be hard for most of us DIRECTV customers with larger systems to buy into this. It's limited compared to the options we have. DISH has never been a company that's focused on having large setups. They almost do things intentionally to limit their technology to smaller setups. So overall I think that this may work for people with DISH that are used to not have as many options. For people with DIRECTV and use all of the options available I don't see this as a game changes. Obviously people will go between the companies and some will like one more than the other. However I think for the general populace this is more of a marketing gimmick than it will be anything revolutionary.
     
  5. Jan 15, 2012 #25 of 122
    P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    echo* making the technology run - and they are for bigger fish then you imagine (see they Aria line ), the 813/110 set is just small residue after big swirl in the pond.
     
  6. Jan 15, 2012 #26 of 122
    Shades228

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    Which has nothing to do with DISH.
     
  7. Jan 15, 2012 #27 of 122
    markrogo

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    Which is 100% as much as DirecTV users have. Except I spend a ton on network TV and that will fall dramatically with a Hopper-type solution. Sounds like a win.
     
  8. Jan 15, 2012 #28 of 122
    dpeters11

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    But that's by choice. Nothing is preventing a DirecTV subscriber from hooking up a 2TB drive. Ad I don't believe the reserved space is 1TB.
     
  9. Jan 15, 2012 #29 of 122
    Diana C

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    The way I understand it, when you "save" a particular show for viewing beyond the 8 day period, it is transferred to the user half of the disk. That would imply that the demux is done at that time. Otherwise, as you say, all four channels go en masse.

    In our household we almost never watch anything on 2 of the 4 broadcast networks. So, recording all 4 automatically has limited appeal.

    To me, the only real attraction is the larger disk...depending on the cost. We have a 2TB external drive on one of our DVRs (with all of it usable by us) and 1TB drives on 2 others. The 2TB solution had a total cost of around $250 ($99 for the Directv DVR and $150 for the drive and enclosure) and the 1TB setups somewhat less. I haven't seen any pricing for the Hopper, but if comes in significantly below that price point, that would be an advantage.

    However, you still have the issue of needing Joeys for multiple viewing. In our house, we the equivalent of an 8 tuner DVR with 4.3TB of disk space and the ability to watch recordings at any of 6 locations...with the need to manage what gets recorded manually. Of course, you also need to factor in monthly costs. The price for this "8 tuner DVR" and all 6 viewing locations is $33 per month (5 "additional" receivers at $6/month plus the $3/month WHDVR service). What would the Dish cost be for an equivalent setup? Could you even build the equivalent with Dish?

    For us, at least, the automation of recording the broadcast networks is not enough to compensate for the loss of functionality we have with 4 dual tuner HD DVRs, 2 HD receivers and whole home DVR service.
     
  10. Jan 15, 2012 #30 of 122
    lparsons21

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    I think it is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. If you ignore for just a moment, the 3 tuners vice 5 of the HR34 and just look at how it all works together, it is a logical step from what we have at D* for MRV.

    The hopper/joey combo gives you full functionality with your recordings on every box, which is not true today with MRV. Trick play comes to mind.

    IF the Hopper had 5 tuners like the HR34, it would be hands down a winner. As it sits, it would depend on which potential customer is looking at it. Those that find the broadcast primetime to be a big value would love this thing, those that don't probably wouldn't see it as an improvement over the HR34.

    As to who will actually want it over the D* system, well I think that will not be a huge factor in deciding. Most consumers will see that both D* and E* have multi-room viewing and decide which service they will use by the programming offered and the 'deal' they can make, just like they do now.

    I do agree with your assumption that E* seems to be more in tune with smaller installations. But that is hardly new, it has been discussed many times right here.
     
  11. Jan 15, 2012 #31 of 122
    NR4P

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    At the booth the rep showed me saving one single show from ABC and transferring it to the user partition. I did not ask about the exact storage and stream saving. He implied it was one show only but may be not.
     
  12. Jan 15, 2012 #32 of 122
    lparsons21

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    From some guesses around the 'net, the Hopper will be free w/2 year commit for new customers, and there has been comments that there will be some very good deals for existing. But no official word on pricing yet.

    You talk about the big HD you have, but I've never bothered to connect an external HD to a D* DVR because it is tied to the receiver it is connected to and when that quits or gets upgraded to new, all those recordings are lost. I thought and still think, that was a terrible way to do things.

    E*'s approach is that the HD is tied to the account, so you can archive video and it will still be there when you switch/upgrade equipment. And the Hopper comes with a remote that will back up the timers so you can quickly replace it should it fail. That is a plus.
    As to functionality, well the lack of a unified todo list and inability to set a recording or lose trickplay is somewhat negative from my POV. It is the disadvantage that the HR34 addresses, at least some of it.

    From you other comments, the Hopper wouldn't be a good pick for you because it is just a straight up 3-tuner device for your use since the broadcast stuff isn't real important. Not to mention that you have a huge amount of tuners! :)
     
  13. Jan 15, 2012 #33 of 122
    lparsons21

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    For those that want to see a demo, the 'other site' has a video on their home page of it.
     
  14. Jan 15, 2012 #34 of 122
    jones_hdtv

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    Bad Idea...I would like to see D* progress in making their software more stable (like fixing audio dropouts, slow remote response, etc.)...Also hopefully most people can decide what programs they want to record and watch....
     
  15. Jan 15, 2012 #35 of 122
    nuspieds

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    +1.

    Reminds me of when I got the first TiVo: By Day 2 I immediately disabled the feature that would let it record things it thought I would like. All sorts of nonsense were being recorded.
     
  16. Jan 15, 2012 #36 of 122
    Diana C

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    Having the recording encryption tied to the receiver is not an issue for us. If you use the internal drive, and the box dies, you lose your recordings anyway. Tying the encryption to the account makes sense if your goal is to build a permanent archive. That's not how we use our DVRs. We record lots of content - mostly movies, and some series. This becomes an alternative for when there is "nothing on" to watch, and/or we have caught up on the series we watch regularly. If we lose it, it is after all just TV...we didn't buy it, it came along with our subscription, so it's no big deal to start over.

    I recognize your point about the unified todo list and remote scheduling issues, and agree that the HR34 addresses those - at the expense of even greater exposure to possible loss of recordings in the event of a hardware failure.

    Obviously, some people will find the Hopper attractive. Others won't. That's why both DirecTv and Dish are successful. In terms of future development, I think DirecTV has most of the Hopper advantages covered with the Hr34. I'd rather see them address other factors. But that's just my opinion.
     
  17. Jan 15, 2012 #37 of 122
    P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    It has, echo is the designer and manufacturer of DVR and receivers.
     
  18. Jan 15, 2012 #38 of 122
    P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    According all reports from last CES, the XiP813 allow users write 250 hrs of HD content, what roughly calculated to 250 GB of the 2 TB drive space.
    By easy count it is 12.5% of total.
     
  19. Jan 15, 2012 #39 of 122
    HoTat2

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    No, from what I can see of it so far the Dish system won't allow you 8 combined satellite tuners that way.

    At present the max. is six tuners combined (three per Hopper) in a two Hopper setup linked together by a device called an "XiP Duo Node."

    And this is where the Hopper/Joey system's inability to integrate at all with the current Dish ViP series HD-DVRs really bites you as it appears to be a totally separate system and will not interoperate with the current installed base of Dish's HD-DVRs.

    So the Hopper's tuners are not effectively additive to the other DVRs for recording programs as DIRECTV's HD-DVRs are with the HR34 through WH.

    A big drawback to me and unworkable here as well since we have 4 HD-DVRs, and 1 HD receiver tied together though WH for a combined 8 recording tuners ourselves.
     
  20. Jan 15, 2012 #40 of 122
    lparsons21

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    I think you are right, max of 2 Hoppers for a total of 6 tuners. There doesn't appear to be a way to add a 3rd Hopper that I saw either. Or maybe we just don't know enough?

    For larger installations with some of the current product, it would be nice if they could integrate into the Hopper/Joey world. Depending on what some of the current receivers/dvrs are being used for viewing, it could be used, just wouldn't be able to see what's on the Hoppers. That's a negative for some.

    At the moment, neither D* nor E* has that ideal MRV solution. But with each looking at the other, you can hope that they will both take some ideas from each and implement them. Or at least, that's what I would like to see.
     

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