Dish Hopper/Joey Reviewed at Engadget
I wasn’t expecting much when sitting down for Dish Network’s CES 2012 press event, but that skepticism was amply dispelled after the Hopper/Joey whole home DVR system was announced. Obviously, Dish wouldn’t be the first company to say one thing, and release something bearing only a cursory resemblance to the initial promise so it was critical to wait until someone had a chance to really put the devices through the wringer before celebrating the first whole home, fully integrated MSO provided DVR system. With Ben only hesitating to recommend it to those with full-on HTPC (e.g. Windows Media Center) systems or TiVO the first in-depth review (that I’ve seen anyway) casts it a winner. Of course there’s always more nuance to any product than can be summed up in a single sentence; so make sure to head over to Engadget for the full writeup.
Overall, the Hopper is exactly what you’d expect a DVR to be: about the same size and weight, and adorned with a glossy finish that will easily blend into your home theater setup. On one end there’s a USB port (with two more ’round back) and on the other is a door, behind which you’ll find a smart card slot and a few essential buttons like power and reset. Finally, two LEDs sit in the center to indicate when the box is on or if it’s recording. Thankfully, neither of these is distracting or crazy bright. There are still a few hardware features yet to be explored, like Bluetooth for headphones and Zigbee for remote control (currently that feature only works with the included remote). There’s an IR input for legacy programmable remotes, but no HDMI-CEC to simplify setup or IP control to integrate with home automation controllers. The other hardware feature coming soon is an optional over-the-air tuner, which we consider a requirement for anyone who watches PBS (Dish doesn’t carry PBS HD, don’tcha know).