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DISH’s Hopper 3 Offers 16 Tuners, 4K Sports Bar Mode

At International CES this week, DISH Network unveiled what it hopes will be a conflict-free TV experience for its customers.

  • 4K: Content partnerships for on demand viewing of 4K titles
  • ChannelConflictEliminated: 16 tuners for improved DVR functionality across the whole home
  • SportsBarMode: Play four simultaneous, live HD channels on one 4K screen at home
  • YouTube: Integration of YouTube coming to Hopper 3
  • HopperGO: First personal mobile video drive for viewing of DVR-recorded content on the move
  • Netflix: Incorporated into Hopper universal search results

At International CES this week, DISH Network unveiled what it hopes will be a conflict-free TV experience for its customers. 

The next generation of the company’s whole-home DVR, Hopper 3, features 16 tuners, 4K content options including the proprietary “Sports Bar Mode,” and integration of Netflix into its universal search results. The pocket-sized HopperGO wireless flash drive stores up to 100 hours of recorded content for offline viewing on smartphones and tablets.

“Today we are giving consumers even more choice and control over their viewing experience by introducing the most advanced DVR in the world, while also redefining the mobile viewing experience,” said Vivek Khemka, DISH executive VP and chief technology officer. “Hopper 3 is more than just a DVR; it’s an entertainment hub that supports and centralizes the various content types popular today, like streaming apps and Ultra HD, while engineered to adapt with the trends on the horizon, like linear 4K.”

Hopper 3 contains 16 tuners, which the company boasts is “more than any other DVR in the world.” The expansion makes 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.

“Consumers may not spend a lot of time thinking about how many tuners they have, but they do care about being able to watch and record all the shows they want to see when they want to see them,” Khemka said. “Having 16 tuners enables us to give our customers a conflict-free viewing experience while also supporting advanced features like our new 4K Sports Bar Mode.” 

DISH is the first pay-TV provider to offer the 4K Sports Bar Mode, a multi-channel view that divides the screen into quadrants, each with the ability to display a different program in 1080. The feature works by decoding any four different HD feeds and displaying them simultaneously. 

To enrich customers’ 4K experience even further, DISH is announcing agreements with Sony Pictures, The Orchard, and Mance Media to deliver movies and other 4K content directly to the Hopper 3 and 4K Joey. At launch, customers with these boxes will be able to rent on demand popular Sony titles such as “The Amazing Spiderman,” “American Hustle,” and “Smurfs 2” in 4K. 

“The affordability of 4K TVs has increased dramatically, and consumers are hungry for content and features that really showcase the picture and put the technology to work,” Khemka said. “With Sports Bar Mode, we wanted to replicate the fan experience of enjoying several games simultaneously for the home, and combining this feature with our new content offerings gives viewers a rich 4K viewing experience unavailable elsewhere.”

After becoming the first major U.S. pay-TV provider to integrate Netflix into a set-top box, DISH is taking the experience a step further by integrating Netflix into 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. Netflix 4K content will also be available for viewing on the Hopper 3 and 4K Joey, broadening the selection of Ultra HD content available to customers.

“The integration of Netflix titles into our search results is one more way we are making the Hopper a true entertainment hub, enabling viewers to easily find the programming they want to watch without having to run multiple searches across platforms,” Khemka said.

Netflix inclusion in universal search will be available on both Hopper 2 and Hopper 3.

In the coming months, DISH will launch YouTube on Hopper 3, bringing viral videos and content from a new generation of entertainment stars to the TV screen via a set-top box. YouTube joins several Hopper apps and features that together bring a range of entertainment options to customers, including Netflix, Pandora, Vevo, The Weather Channel, and Hopper Arcade.

“Our strategy with Hopper apps is tied to the variety of sources that consumers access for entertainment and information today, making the Hopper a one-stop source for popular content,” Khemka said. “The addition of YouTube fits perfectly with this strategy, bringing the videos dominating the Internet today to customers’ living rooms, all without the need to switch inputs or devices.”

Adding to the conflict-free viewing experience is Hopper 3’s ability to support 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 the soon-to-be-released 4K Joey. DISH is delivering enhanced connectivity options to drive the whole-home experience, including MoCA 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet.

Hopper 3 is powered by the fastest set-top box processor available, the Broadcom 7445, a quad-core Arm processor, giving the new DVR seven times the speed of Hopper 2. It contains 2 TB of internal storage, enough to save up to 500 hours of HD content. Hopper 3 is the first DVR to use USB 3.0 connectivity for external storage expansion, which allows for transfer speeds ten times faster than USB 2.0. It features a sleek, modern UI/UX and is navigated using the Hopper Voice Remote. Hopper 3 will be available in early 2016.

A pioneer in delivering true “TV anywhere,” DISH has offered features like Hopper Transfers that give customers the ability to transfer recorded content to mobile devices for nearly a decade. Today the brand is announcing an even more revolutionary way to transfer, store, and watch recorded content on the move, HopperGO. With HopperGO, every member of the family can take a favorite program with them on vacation.

The HopperGO experience begins by connecting the compact, lightweight device to a Hopper 2 or Hopper 3 via USB. The connection both charges the HopperGO battery (for up to four hours of viewing) and enables users to move up to 100 hours of recorded content from the DVR to the device’s 64 GB of flash memory. 

HopperGO then creates a secure, private Wi-Fi cloud to play back different transferred shows on up to five devices at once, meaning several viewers can be watching a different show off HopperGO at the same time.

“We found that the biggest pain point for consumers in using our Hopper Transfers feature was running out of space to store movies and shows on their mobile devices,” Khemka said. “When taking a trip, often you want to have several entertainment options, and HopperGO gives customers the ability to transport a variety of content for every member of the family, without having to worry about running out of storage.”

HopperGO will be available late Q1 for a one-time cost of $99. There are no monthly fees associated with using the device.

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.

HopperGO has 64 GB of memory and connects to Hopper 2 and Hopper 3 via a micro USB.