Satellite TV is great. It’s available basically anywhere, and both major satellite providers—DISH and DIRECTV—offer competitive pricing, great channel selection, and good customer service. They also both offer great DVRs.

Since most TV interaction happens through DVR systems, this is an important aspect of choosing a provider. If you’re trying to decide between DISH and DIRECTV, we’ve done the legwork and put together a comparison of the two systems for you. We’ve included a breakdown of the features they offer and how those features can make your television experience awesome.

First, see if you have DISH and DIRECTV service available in your area: 

 

Are you ready? Let’s pit Hopper vs. Genie and find out once and for all which is the better DVR.

Hopper 3

Genie (HR-44)

Provider

DISH

Provider

DIRECTV

Simultaneous Recording

16

Simultaneous Recording

5

Storage Capacity

Storage Capacity

1 TB

Hours of HD/SD

500/2,000

Hours of HD/SD

200/800

4K Support

Yes

4K Support

Yes

Number of TVs Supported

7

Number of TVs Supported

8

Size

11.4" x 16" x 2"

Size

9.7" x 13.1" x 1.8"

Mini Client

4K Joey

Mini Client

Genie Mini

Price per Month

$15

Price per Month

$15

Price to Purchase

$269.99

Price to Purchase

$299

Hopper 3

Provider

DISH

Simultaneous Recording

16

Storage Capacity

Hours of HD/SD

500/2,000

4K Support

Yes

Number of TVs Supported

7

Size

11.4" x 16" x 2"

Mini Client

4K Joey

Price per Month

$15

Price to Purchase

$269.99

Genie (HR-44)

Provider

DIRECTV

Simultaneous Recording

5

Storage Capacity

1 TB

Hours of HD/SD

200/800

4K Support

Yes

Number of TVs Supported

8

Size

9.7" x 13.1" x 1.8"

Mini Client

Genie Mini

Price per Month

$15

Price to Purchase

$299

Data effective 4/13/17. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

 

DISH Hopper 3 vs. DIRECTV Genie

Storage

Hopper 3

The Hopper 3 boasts an impressive 2 TB of storage, the highest among our top DVRs. (In fact, only the TiVo BOLT+ offers more built-in DVR storage than the Hopper 3.) The result is a very impressive 500 hours of HD video storage and 2,000 hours of SD storage. That’s nearly twenty-one continuous days of HD video.

Genie

The Genie clocks in at 1 TB of storage for your movies and TV shows. That adds up to 200 hours of HD video and 800 hours of SD—that’s a lot, but not even close to the Hopper 3. It’s also worth pointing out that while the Hopper’s raw storage is twice that of the Genie, the Hopper can store more than double the hours, meaning it’s better optimized for video content.

The Winner: Hopper 3

Simultaneous Recordings

Hopper 3

The Hopper 3 can record sixteen different programs at once. That is by far the most of any DVR, and certainly more than the Genie’s five-show capacity. You’re probably never going to need to record sixteen shows at once, but that’s not really the point; the point is you could if you wanted to. By giving the Hopper 3 such a high capacity, DISH has effectively made recording conflicts a relic of the past.

Genie

The Genie manages a solid five recordings at once, a number that looks a lot less impressive than the Hopper 3’s sixteen. And more importantly, five is still within the realm of recording conflict. It may seem like plenty, but consider this: you’re busy Monday night, but two football games, two movies, and your favorite episode of House are coming on at overlapping times. You set them to record, and then notice a great documentary you’d also like to record. With the Genie, you can’t. With Hopper 3, you can.

The Winner: Hopper 3

Service Provider

Hopper 3

The Hopper 3 comes backed by DISH’s great satellite network. DISH offers good prices, great customer service, and a wide selection of channels. It is one of the highest-ranking providers in our customer satisfaction survey, too, which is hard to argue against.

Genie

The Genie works exclusively with DIRECTV service. DIRECTV is also one of our highest-ranking providers, and they are known for excellent customer service and great channel selection. Furthermore, DIRECTV is the king of sports providers, with NFL SUNDAY TICKET—an exclusive football package that offers tons of features you can’t get anywhere else. And that puts DIRECTV, and therefore the Genie, ahead of the competition here.

The Winner: Genie

User Interface/Experience

Hopper 3

The Hopper 3 user experience centers around the TV guide screen, and it works well. The menus are easy to read, with a modern black, white, and red color scheme. There are easy options to filter the guide based on genre, show, or actor, and it incorporates your recorded programs into the same filters rather than separating them. The Hopper 3 also integrates streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora.

Genie

The Genie’s interface uses blue highlights on a black background. This can look either futuristic or old-fashioned, depending on who you ask. Personally, we prefer DISH’s color scheme. One thing we do like about the Genie’s interface, though, is the way HD programs are kept grouped with the SD version of the channel rather than separated. This makes it easier to focus on the channel instead of whether you’re in the HD or SD part of the guide. Another nice touch is the ability to set a favorite sports team and have all related programming curated and grouped together for you, which is just another feature of DIRECTV’s superior sports offerings.

The Winner: The Genie

Outputs and Ports

Hopper 3

The Hopper 3 offers plenty of options for hooking up your gear. For video, you get HDMI, component video, and composite video. For audio, you have coaxial and optical digital hookups, as well as your standard stereo analog output. You also get three USB ports, two Ethernet ports, and an eSATA port. The latter can be used to add external storage . . . if the 2 TB the Hopper 3 already comes with somehow isn’t enough.

Genie

The Genie offers a similar selection but only has two USB ports and one Ethernet port. There is also no composite video, although most people use HDMI anyway these days. The Genie still provides plenty of options, and the eSATA port for storage is more useful here, since the Genie only has 1 TB of storage built in.

The Winner: Hopper 3

What Both DVRs Do Well

Remotes

Both the Hopper 3 and the Genie now feature remotes that use RF signals. What this means for you is that you no longer need to have line-of-sight to be able to control your DVR. Want to play or pause a movie from the kitchen? Go ahead. This is one of those seemingly small things that adds up to a huge convenience over time.

Mini Clients

Both boxes have corresponding mini clients that connect wirelessly to give you DVR function on your other TVs. The Hopper 3 uses the 4K Joey, while the Genie uses the Genie Mini. The only notable difference here is price: the Genie Mini is a reasonable $62 per unit on Amazon, while the 4K Joey will cost you nearly $150 on Amazon. You can also rent them from their respective providers for $7 per month.

Both systems support multiple mini clients. The Hopper 3 can run up to six Joeys, for a total of seven connected TVs. The Genie can support seven Genie Minis, for a total of eight TVs. Not many homes are going to have more than seven TVs to connect to their DVR, so we’re calling this one a draw.

The Verdict

The choice between Hopper 3 and Genie is especially difficult because both are great DVRs. In fact, they are our top two DVR picks for 2017. And if you look at the winners of each category above, you’ll find that we’ve ended up with a tie. So how do you pick?

Binge-watchers should go with the Hopper 3.

The far greater storage and simultaneous recording ability of the Hopper 3 makes it a no-brainer for binge watchers and digital packrats. You can load up on enough recordings to take you and your family through a weekend without ever running out of something great to watch. Plus, you get a few more output options to connect the TVs you’ll need to get through all that content.

Sports fans should go with the Genie.

There’s just no substitute for NFL SUNDAY TICKET. If you consider yourself a sports fan in any way, shape, or form, you’ll want DIRECTV and the Genie. No question. You’ll also get a great user experience and powerful mobile apps to go along with it.

Find and compare DISH and DIRECTV plans and pricing in your area: