DISH Network Has New Set-Tops In The Hopper

While legacy television services continue to contract, I remain a subscriber (for now) and keep on eye on Dish as one of the most technically progressive service providers (and having personally been acquired, way back when). Now cable and satellite companies don’t iterate at the speed of retail-facing co’s, and generally with less fanfare when they do (not always), but apparently a refresh is upon us as DISH has three new Android-powered devices in the, uh, hopper.

Dish Joey 4

First spotted on the FCC and confirmed by DISH, the DISH Joey 4 (D35) would likely continue to function as a MoCA Hopper client in the hub+spoke model and features both Zigbee and Bluetooth for remote control. As hope springs eternal, I’ll go ahead and assume this isn’t a successor to the non-4k Joey 3 but, rather, a higher-end alternative that replaces the 2015 Joey 4K as it ushers HDR into the mix.

Hopper Plus

First spotted on the FCC and confirmed by the USPTO, the DISH Hopper Plus (D25) is described as a “whole home DVR accessory.” I’d like to assume ‘accessory’ doesn’t really mean anything and this is truly another Hopper DVR hub. However, the initial filing references Bluetooth as the only wireless frequencies, making me wonder about its capabilities and how it might stack up against the Hopper Duo (non-4k, low tuner count, low storage) and the Hopper 3 (the whole enchilada).

Wireless Joey 4

First spotted on DISH and then confirmed by the FCC, the Wireless Joey 4 (D45) presumably shares the same feature set as the DISH Joey 4 … with the obvious addition of wireless capabilities. And, if I’m reading the regulatory reports correctly, we’re looking at WiFi 6, 802.11ax. As with the original wireless Joey, it’s safe to assume the additional networking will allow one to place the client set-top in locations without coax. But the Wireless Joey 4 frequencies exceed those of the Hopper 3 and the Hopper Plus accessory. Given SatelliteGuys Scott G indicates there is no imminent Hopper DVR refresh, this may simply be future proofing. And/or providing additional Internet app experiences.

11 thoughts on “DISH Network Has New Set-Tops In The Hopper”

  1. So when DirecTV and DISH inevitably merge in a couple years, they’re just gonna ditch DirecTV’s line of antique STBs and exclusively use the DISH equipment, right?

  2. I wonder how inevitable that is, though. They’ve tried multiple times, but regulatory issues prevent it from happening. And, while the landscape has changed, the core markets for both DirecTV and Dish are areas underserved by broadband, so they remain competitors in those markets, and the government may still conclude that the companies need to exist separately in order to keep prices down.

    On the flip side, the government originally required the creation of two satellite radio companies for similar reasons, but when they proved unviable as separate companies, they were allowed to merge into what is now called SiriusXM. I suspect satellite television is headed down this road as well, but it may mean the expansion of broadband services from companies like Starlink before it can happen. So, I’m not sure how imminent a merger between DirecTV and Dish might be.

  3. I don’t know how inevitable it is they make a run at it, but the parties could pretty effectively argue the competition is cable and online not one another at this point. I assume it’d sail through. Someone’s tech and satellites would prevail and that’d take money and time to transition…

    Scott G confirmed new Joeys on SatelliteGuys but posted that there will be no new Hoppers at this time. So what exactly is Hopper Plus? If it’s not a hub, like all other Hoppers, things could get a little confusing…

  4. We would switch in a heartbeat to Direct TV. Direct tv can’t put dish on house because of trees. Why they can’t put a dish where the Dish satellite is we can’t figure out. Want NFL Sunday Ticket

  5. Dish and direct use different satellites. Dish has the ability to use eastern and western arcs for line of site issues. Direct need more of a direct south los, so not all locations for dish work for direct and vice versa.

  6. Wonder if the Hopper Plus is something that adds capabilities to an existing Hopper DVR or Joey? Like additional DVR storage space and/or additional tuners? Perhaps DISH is going to move to a central headless server-based model like DirecTV tried to do with their Genie 2 (HS17) Server. If that’s the plan, maybe the new-model Joey (likely wireless, with 4K HDR output) would be placed at each TV with the Hopper Plus containing all the tuners and hard drive to serve the Joeys live and recorded satellite TV. In addition to the main DISH UI, the Joeys would also have whichever apps that DISH supports, like Netflix, Prime Video, etc.

    As for a hypothetical future merger of DISH and DirecTV (which I don’t foresee happening until at least 2023, after NFL Sunday Ticket leaves DirecTV), yeah, I think it would likely sail through. My guess is that new dish installations would be pointed at the DirecTV sats if possible, but the older DISH sats if not. And in either case, the dish would be connected to the much better DISH line of DVRs/STBs (which might have to be tweaked to be compatible with both satellite fleets). I’d think they would standardize on one brand name and one set of channel packages, although who knows what that might be. There would still be lots of existing customers who would continue using their old DirecTV-branded receivers until the whole business folds at some point down the line. Would make absolutely no sense to spend tons of money to essentially re-install half their existing customers to get everyone on one fleet of sats and one set of equipment.

  7. I’m thinking Hopper Plus add more tuners to the Hopper Duo and maybe even the Wally line of DVR’s, and even added “standard” storage for recordings but not as “Archived” storage that currently requires an external powered USB HDD provided by the customer.

    I wonder, even with its higher cost to Dish to build, if the Hopper Plus may include 2 built-in OTA tuners because Dish sees increasing numbers of subs who choose to cancel LIL (Locals delivered via satellite) services/costs, and just use the current “subscriber pays one-time for” external USB OTA 2 tuner module, and it also acts as a fallback if broadcasters won’t renew re-transmission rights provided people are capable of receiving OTA signals. In the past, Dish even provided the 2 tuner OTA modules and antennas and installations of them for FREE in cities that had broadcasters cease retransmission’s rights to Dish, and local broadcasters are a HUGE and ever increasing cost of the programming, and locals keep demanding more and more and more $$$, and built in OTA tuner (like in older Dish boxes) could be that INSTANT solution for broadcasters taking down their channels from Dish. On that same line of thought, a Hopper Plus could even come ready to stream Locast, and possibly even RECORD the stream–which would be legal, IMHO–however imperfect Locast maybe, it could be a solution for those who have no ability to receive OTA signals.

    I can’t see Hopper Plus adding more tuners to the Hopper 3, but it might still add more storage and OTA tuners and ready to stream and record Locast. Of course, all of the above is pure speculation. I can hardly wait to find out what the Hopper Plus offers.

    Yes, I agree, let’s hope the Joey 4 is the new UHD (4K) Joey, and lets hope that the Joey 4 can do Sports Bar Mode by providing any 4 channels as Picture-in-Picture–or even just 2 channel PIP, just like the Hopper 3 DVR itself, but currently is NOT available at any of the current Joeys.

    My Joey 2 is slow with my Hopper 3 (a local retailer got the job to install from Dish, and they only had Joey 2’s left), and I had been considering getting the Hopper 3 for its speed, but I am glad I waited, and I will wait until I see what the Joey 4 can do.

  8. Yeah, I’m starting to get behind the idea of a box with possibly more tuners and/or storage. But with without WiFi, I don’t know about Locast and other apps.

  9. Laurie – because Dish has satellites in a different direction and MUCH higher in the sky. That’s why.

  10. I would think that all streaming/app-based stuff would reside only on the boxes directly plugged into TVs. If the Hopper Plus is a headless box (whether a central server or just an add-on extension to a regular Hopper), I don’t see it handling any streaming duties. But it would be interesting if it had one or two OTA tuners built into it.

    BTW, how has DISH (alone among MVPDs, as far as I know) been able to strike carriage deals with Disney, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and Fox for their broadcast and cable channels without being required to carry those groups’ local broadcast affiliates as a mandatory part of their base packages? It’s odd that DISH give subs the option of dropping locals from any package and saving $12 or so per month. And by having OTA tuners that integrate with their DVRs, they make it even more appealing to do, assuming one has good OTA reception.

  11. It has to do with location of the satellites dish has 2 different sets they can use so they have more options. Not to mention DirecTVs contract with Sunday ticket expires next year and with the way they are losing subs they are more than likely no going to be able to get it back.

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