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As part of the "Living with 4K" series of articles I started in 2012 I cover equipment, content, services, etc. and today I am just introducing the arrival of a much awaited Set-top-box system from one of the main players of video services, now in 4K, Dish Network.

A few years ago, in October 2012, I reviewed the Dish Network Hopper on this article. I compared its functionality and user interface with my current cable service but my primary objective was to compare and evaluate Dish Network's HD image quality, which was a notch inferior to my cable service.

Dish Network has just made available a Hopper 3 system that now handles 4K and I anticipate that although the new system is more advanced now, especially about 4K, a similar experience with HD image quality is expected judging by the response from Dish Network about the subject, which I hope will not be case with 4K image quality but there is only one way to find out.

There are many improvements on this new Hopper compared to the one I reviewed before, such as 16 tuners, 4K content from Dish satellite and Netflix app, with HDR, up to 6 Joeys can now be connected to one Hopper, and the Hopper itself can tune and deliver the 4 content to the connected display.

Here is what Dish Network announced:

 

DISH Releases Hopper 3 to Customers Nationwide

Eliminates recording conflicts with 16 tuners

Delivers enhanced 4K experience

Ultimate whole-home experience with support for up to seven TVs

"Since the introduction of our first-generation Hopper only four years ago, we have continued to invest in innovation. DISH has a history of being at the forefront of consumer entertainment technology, and I'm proud to say that Hopper 3 offers no exception."

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DISH Network L.L.C. today announced the availability of its award-winning Hopper 3 to customers nationwide. The third-generation of DISH's whole-home DVR system, Hopper 3 features 16 tuners, delivers an enhanced 4K experience and supports up to seven TVs simultaneously. In the coming weeks, Hopper 3 will launch the Netflix app and integrate Netflix titles into its universal search results.

"Packed with industry firsts, Hopper 3 is the most advanced DVR in the world. It provides our customers with the innovative features they loved on our legacy Hopper DVRs, while additionally delivering the ultimate, conflict-free entertainment experience," said Vivek Khemka, DISH Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. "Since the introduction of our first-generation Hopper only four years ago, we have continued to invest in innovation. DISH has a history of being at the forefront of consumer entertainment technology, and I'm proud to say that Hopper 3 offers no exception."

Hopper 3 delivers several industry-firsts designed to change the way consumers find, record, stream and watch content, including:

16 tuners - Hopper 3 contains 16 tuners, making it easy for viewers to watch shows in multiple rooms, view live programs remotely via DISH Anywhere and set multiple recordings, all at the same time and without the need to manage conflicts or cancel timers.

4K video - Hopper 3 decodes and outputs 4K video and comes equipped with a selection of 4K programming, including titles from Sony Pictures. 4K content from Netflix will also be coming to Hopper 3 in the near future.

Support for seven TVs - Hopper 3 supports up to six Joeys simultaneously, powering a total of seven TVs at one time. The DVR is compatible with the standard Joey, Wireless Joey and 4K Joey. DISH is delivering enhanced connectivity options to drive the whole-home experience, including MoCA 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet.

Universal search with Netflix - Hopper 3 will soon feature the Netflix app and integrate Netflix titles into its universal search results. With this new functionality, customers who search for a TV series will see a list that incorporates episodes from Netflix, DVR recordings, on demand options and future airings, depending on availability of each.

Sports Bar Mode - Another feature coming soon to Hopper 3 is 4K Sports Bar Mode, a multi-channel view that divides the TV screen into quadrants, each with the ability to display a different program in HD.

Also newly available to DISH customers is the 4K Joey client, compatible with all HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2-compliant televisions. The 4K Joey plays back 4K ultra HD content and easily integrates with Hopper 3 to provide a whole-home solution for customers with multiple 4K televisions in their home.

Qualified new and existing customers can receive one Hopper 3 at no upfront cost. The Hopper 3 system requires a whole-home DVR fee of $15 per month and $7 per month for each Joey, including the newly available 4K Joey.

Technical Specs

Hopper 3 is powered by a Broadcom BCM7445 quad-core ARM application processor at 1.5 GHz, 21K DMIPS. It contains a two TB hard drive for up to 500 hours of high-definition recording, or 2,000 hours of standard definition recording. For 4K viewing, the Hopper 3 can decode and output 60 FPS and 10-bit color. It supports H.264 and H.265 and is compatible with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. It is the first DVR to support USB 3.0. Hopper 3 is compatible with HDR10/BDA 2.0 encoded streams.

About the Hopper

Introduced in 2012, the DISH Hopper provides whole-home capabilities and includes innovative technologies like the PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop features, as well as an industry-leading two TB of storage. DISH introduced its Hopper 2 in 2013, adding Slingbox technology-driven DISH Anywhere functionality, making it possible for consumers to watch live and recorded content anywhere on Internet-connected tablets, smartphones and computers. The DISH Anywhere app includes transfers, which makes remote viewing possible when no Internet connection is available. Hopper 3 is the most advanced version to date with 16 tuners, 4K integration, USB 3.0 compatibility and the upcoming availability of Netflix incorporated into search results. The Hopper is the center of the whole-home entertainment experience and connects to additional TVs via standard Joey, Wireless Joey and 4K Joey.

About DISH

DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH), through its subsidiaries, provides approximately 13.909 million pay-TV subscribers, as of Sept. 30, 2015, with the highest-quality programming and technology with the most choices at the best value. DISH offers a high definition line-up with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international channels and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network Corporation is a Fortune 250 company. Visitwww.dish.com.

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Posted by Rodolfo La Maestra, February 11, 2016 11:45 PM

More in Category: 4K (Ultra HD)

About Rodolfo La Maestra

Rodolfo La Maestra is the Senior Technical Director of UHDTV Magazine and HDTV Magazine and participated in the HDTV vision since the late 1980's. In the late 1990's, he began tracking and reviewing HDTV consumer equipment, and authored the annual HDTV Technology Review report, tutorials, and educative articles for HDTV Magazine, DVDetc and HDTVetc  magazines, Veritas et Visus Newsletter, Display Search, and served as technical consultant/editor for the "Reference Guide" and the "HDTV Glossary of Terms" for HDTVetc and HDTV Magazines.  In 2004, he began recording a weekly HDTV technology program for MD Cable television, which by 2006 reached the rating of second most viewed.

Rodolfo's background encompasses Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, and Audio and Video Electronics, with over 4,700 hours of professional training, a BS in Computer and Information Systems, and thirty+ professional and post-graduate certifications, some from MIT, American, and George Washington Universities.  Rodolfo was also Computer Science professor in five institutions between 1966-1973 in Argentina, regarding IBM, Burroughs, and Honeywell mainframe computers.  After 38 years of computer systems career, Rodolfo retired in 2003 as Chief of Systems Development from the Inter-American Development Bank directing sixty+ software-development computer professionals, supporting member countries in north/central/south America.

In parallel, from 1998 he helped the public with his other career of audio/video electronics, which started with hi-end audio in the early 60’s and merged with Home Theater video, multichannel audio
, HD, 3D and UHDTV. When HDTV started airing in November 1998, and later followed by 3DTV and 4K UHDTV, he realized that the technology as implemented would overwhelm consumers due to its complexity, and it certainly does even today, and launched his mission of educating and helping consumers understand the complexity, the challenge, and the beauty of the technology pursuing better sound and image, so the public learn to appreciate it not just as another television.