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DISH Hopper 3 Review 2021

We’ve tested the Hopper 3 for several months and can confirm it’s the best DVR/receiver in the business—now let’s determine if it’s the best choice for you.

Price: $10.00/mo.
Storage: 500 hours (HD)
Simultaneous recordings: 16

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

We recommend the DISH Hopper 3 DVR/receiver as the best option for most readers. That’s because it stores 500 hours of HD content, records up to 16 shows at once, supports 4K, has Bluetooth, quad split-screen, built-in streaming apps (Netflix, Prime Video, and YouTube), the DISH voice remote, and whole-home TV functionality (with add-on Joey receivers).

DISH also recently lowered the Hopper 3’s cost by 33% to $10 a month, making the box even harder to beat.

DISH Hopper 3 pros and cons

Pros

  • 500 hrs. of HD storage
  • 16 simultaneous recordings
  • 4K support
  • Voice remote

Cons

  • Additional monthly fee
  • High activation fees for some equipment

DISH Hopper 3 vs. the competition

DVR
DISH Hopper 3
Cox Contour Record
DIRECTV Genie
Xfinity X1
Simultaneous recordings HD storage DVR cost Details
16 500 hrs. $10.00/mo. View plans
2, 6, or 24 250–1,000 hrs. $13.50–$30.00/mo. View plans
5 200 hrs. Included with package View plans
6 150 hrs. $14.95/mo. (plus $9.95/mo. HD fee) View plans

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

To show you just how much better the Hopper 3 is, we’ve compared it to other providers’ DVRs in this table. The numbers are devastating for the Hopper 3’s rivals.

Sure, the Cox Contour Record 24 can record up to 24 movies or shows and store 1,000 HD hours of content, but it costs 50% more than the Hopper 3. DIRECTV’s Genie comes included with your TV package, but it has less than 50% of the Hopper 3’s storage capacity and 67% fewer simultaneous recordings. And Xfinity’s X1 gives you so little, but charges 50% more (250% if you count Xfinity’s HD fee).

DISH Hopper 3 with voice remote

We’re tempted to stop here and tell you to just sign up for DISH, ‘cause the service is also our editorial pick for the best overall TV provider (and the best TV provider for kids). So go ahead and do that if you want—or stick around to learn other cool things about the Hopper 3 and DISH’s other TV boxes.

DISH Hopper 3 options

Device
Hopper 3 DVR/receiver
Hopper Duo DVR/receiver
Wally receiver
Joey/Wireless Joey/4K Joey
DVR service price HD storage Supported TVs Simultaneous recordings Built-in streaming apps
$10.00/mo. 500 hrs. Up to 7 16 Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, YouTube Kids
$5.00/mo. 125 hrs. Up to 2 2 Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, YouTube Kids
$5.00/mo. N/A 1 1 Netflix
$5.00/mo. N/A 1 per device Depends on receiver N/A

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

DISH offers you a choice between the Hopper 3, Hopper Duo, and Wally receiver—plus whole-home TV options with the Joey receivers. But you’re gonna want the Hopper 3, considering everything it does for only $5.00 more a month.

Pro tip: If the Hopper 3 doesn’t seem like the DVR for you, we’ve researched others you might like. Check out our guide to the Best DVRs to explore other options.

Hopper 3 DVR specs and features

And what does the Hopper 3 do, exactly? Aside from recording and storing content? I’ve been testing the Hopper 3 for months now, so I can give you the scoop on its main features.

Storage

Does anyone watch enough TV to warrant 500 hours of storage? ‘Cause only the GOAT couch potato—or an entire family of couch creatures with divergent TV tastes—could fill up that 2TB hard drive. In our tests, we’ve used only 11% of that storage (and we’re great at watching TV).

If the Hopper 3 DVR’s 500-hour storage, 16 tuners, and $10 price are too much for you, consider signing up for DIRECTV instead. The DIRECTV Genie DVR/receiver has much less storage (200 hours) and only 5 simultaneous recordings. And it has no monthly rental fee—it’s included with your TV package.

Simultaneous recordings

Only the most dedicated couch creature (or a family of them) could find enough conflicting movies and shows to warrant 16 simultaneous recordings—I’ve used only three. If that’s you, the Hopper’s 16 tuners are a good thing. Everyone gets to watch what they want. Eventually.

You might still bicker over who gets to watch their thing live, but even that’s avoidable if you have multiple TVs with DISH Joey receivers.

Quad split-screen

If you thought picture-in-picture was cool, this is a whole ‘nother level of multi-slacking, and we’re here for it. The Hopper 3 has quad split-screen so sports fans can watch four games at once. We asked John Sportsball, a dude we totally made up, what he thought and he said, “That’s . . . that’s awesome.”

Multiroom viewing

The DISH Joey receivers let you do everything the Hopper 3 can do on the other TVs in your house, but your DVR recordings will be stored on the Hopper 3’s hard drive. You can order up to 7 Joeys, which cost $5 a month per device and come in three versions:

  • Joey: connects to TVs via an HDMI cable but doesn’t support 4K
  • Wireless Joey: connects via Wi-Fi but doesn’t support 4K
  • 4K Joey: connects via HDMI and supports a 4K display

The Joey also works with the Hopper Duo DVR ($10 a month), but it supports only two Joey-connected TVs. Unfortunately, the Wally receiver doesn’t work with the Joey.

Also, look out for the leased receiver fees DISH charges for Joeys at signup. If you order more than three Joeys (plus the Hopper 3), you’ll be charged a one-time fee of $50. The fees are even spookier with the Wireless Joey ($25 per device) and 4K Joey ($50 per device). Good thing that most of us have only one or two TVs.

Fortunately, if you have DISH on only one or two TVs in your house and someone is hogging them, you can watch DISH on your smartphone or tablet with the DISH Anywhere app.

DISH Anywhere app

DISH Anywhere home page Aug. 2021

Available on Amazon Fire TV, Android, and iOS devices, the DISH Anywhere app allows you to watch live, on-demand, and recorded movies and shows on your mobile device—but for only one user at a time.

You can also set and manage DVR recordings and parental controls within the app from—wait for it—anywhere. Just remember that it’s better to use an app like this over Wi-Fi, ‘cause it uses your mobile data (I learned this the hard way).

If there’s a con to DISH Anywhere, it’s that it allows only one stream at a time. But that’s not so bad when you consider everything else you can do with the app.

Parental controls

While we’re on the subject, DISH has the best parental controls—and the Hopper 3, along with DISH Anywhere, are how you wield this awesome power.

But DISH parental controls, designed with Common Sense Media, aren’t just about preventing your kids from watching video nasties. You can also use them to guide your kids toward educational programming and positive role models.

DISH voice remote

The Hopper 3 comes with the DISH voice remote with Google Assistant, so it can control your DISH Hopper 3, your TV, and your smart home devices.

DISH voice remote

Pro tip: Do you already have DISH, but need instructions on how to program your DISH voice remote? We wrote “How to Program a DISH Remote” for you.

The DISH voice remote also has backlit, soft-rubber keys (a tactile delight), a remote locator feature, and programmable hotkeys. And, of course, it harnesses the awesome power of your voice. That’s our favorite feature, by the way—it understands everything I say and returns search results super fast.

Final take

The feature-rich DISH Hopper 3 is almost too powerful, with 500 hours of HD storage, 16 simultaneous recordings, quad split-screen, support for up to 7 TVs (with Joey extenders), tons of built-in streaming TV apps, powerful parental controls, the DISH voice remote, and mobile viewing with the DISH Anywhere app. And it’s now only 10 bucks a month, which makes the Hopper 3 not only the best DVR out there, but also the best DVR deal.

Needless to say, we highly recommend the DISH Hopper 3 for most people.

DISH Hopper 3 FAQ

What is the newest DISH Hopper?

The DISH Hopper 3 is the newest version of the Hopper DVR/receiver. It costs $10 a month in addition to your plan price.

How much does DISH Hopper 3 cost?

The DISH Hopper 3 costs $10 a month. But if you don’t need its 500 hours of HD storage and 16 simultaneous recordings, you can get the Hopper Duo (125 hours, 2 recordings) for $5 a month.

How do you get the Hopper 3 for free?

You can’t get the DISH Hopper 3 for free. But people have started GoFundMe campaigns for more trivial things . . .

What remote comes with the Hopper 3?

The DISH Hopper remote can control up to three devices including your Hopper 3, your TV, and your smart home devices. It also has backlit keys, a remote locator feature, and programmable hotkeys. And it comes with Google Assistant, so you can search with your voice—and get incredibly accurate results quickly.

How much does it cost to upgrade to the Hopper 3?

If you currently have a Wally receiver, you’ll pay an extra $5 a month to upgrade to the Hopper 3. Same deal with the DISH Hopper Duo, which is now $5 a month (it used to be free).

Can I buy my own DISH Hopper?

Yes, you can buy—instead of rent—a DISH Hopper 3 receiver/DVR, a Wally receiver, a Joey receiver, and even DISH voice remotes. That doesn’t mean you’ll get free DISH TV service, though. You’ll need an OTA adapter to use the Hopper 3 with your TV antenna, or you can use it to pick up free-to-air satellite TV networks.

Can I watch Disney Plus on the DISH Network Hopper 3?

Unfortunately, the DISH Hopper 3 doesn’t support Disney+, but you may already have a device that does support Disney’s popular streaming app. Read our Disney+ review for more information.

What is the difference between the Hopper Duo and the Hopper 3?

The Hopper Duo is a receiver/DVR just like the Hopper 3, but it’s not as powerful. Check out the table below for details.

Device
DISH Hopper 3
DISH Hopper Duo
Price HD storage Simultaneous recordings 4K support Built-in apps Supported TVs Bluetooth Internal Wi-Fi
$10.00/mo. 500 hrs. 16 Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, YouTube Kids Up to 7
$5.00/mo. 125 hrs. 2 Netflix Up to 2

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Methodology

Our TV experts have logged hundreds of hours using the DISH Hopper 3 in order to give you a first-hand assessment of its cost and features. For more information on our research and testing practices, see our “How We Rank” page.