DISH has owned CES in recent years with spectacular product reveals… and 2016 sees that trend continue with massive upgrades to their flagship DVR (that I first caught wind of back in September). The 3rd generation Hopper carries forward integrated Slingbox capabilities and (limited) commercial skip, as they introduce 4k support and jump to 16 tuners. Sixteen! DISH isn’t kidding when they declare “channel conflict eliminated” as this surely provides enough to handle all your satellite units during an evening of heavy recording plus some remote streaming.
On the 4k front, content will initially be offered through a Sony streaming service and updates to the existing Netflix app (now integrated into universal, voice search). Beyond online content and having set the stage for linear 4k content, DISH utilizes these extra pixels (and upgraded quad core processing power) for something I’ve been trying to build (on the cheap) for years in “Sports Bar” mode. When output to a 4k television, four distinct 1080i channels can be displayed simultaneously. THIS is how I want to watch college football.
Like it’s predecessor, DISH Hopper 3 ships with 2TB of storage. But, by swapping out eSATA for USB 3.0, owners will have many economical options for storage expansion. And, unlike TiVo, external hard drives are not restricted by business relationship and brand.
The new Hopper is expected early this year, landing at the same price point as the prior generation.