DVR Face-Off: Hopper 3 vs Duo

Early in 2018, DISH introduced the latest member to the Hopper family, the Hopper Duo. Intended for smaller households of 1-2 TVs, it's essentially a less-expensive scaled down version of the Hopper 3, but with many of its features still intact. For starters, it's still integrated with Amazon Alexa and has Hopper's modern and easy-to-use program guide. It also includes the new Voice Remote and Remote Finder features. Finally, you'll still get a bunch of the same smart TV apps, such as Netflix, Pandora and Game Finder. That's the good. The bad is you'll have less speed, tuners and space with which to enjoy those features. Read on for all the comparison details but, bottom line, the Duo is a solid DVR option if you only need to hook-up 1 or 2 TVs and can live without the Hoppers 3's flagship features such as AutoHop (skip commercials) and Sling (watch DVR recordings from anywhere).

The Hopper DVRs
DISH Hopper 3 updated: 4/14/2021
DISH Hopper Duo updated: 4/12/2021
Overall Score: 97/100
Overall Score: 91/100
Hard Drive
2 TB

A whopping twice the size of its rival, DIRECTV Genie, it has 4 times more room than its younger brother, the Hopper Duo.

Hard Drive
500 GB

Plenty of space to watch and record concurrent shows, run pre-installed apps (eg, Netflix) and navigate DISH's feature-rich program guide.

Recording Hours
SD: 2,000 hrs; HD: 500 hrs

Thanks to its industry-leading 2 TB drive, the Hopper 3's storage capacity is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. In this case, you can record 4x more than the Hopper Duo (and run 14 more simultaneous recordings).

Recording Hours
SD: 500 hrs; HD: 125 hrs

Since the Duo is intended for smaller households, it's recording space should be plenty (unless you're a recording junky, it should be months before you have to delete previous recordings to free up space).

# Tuners

Chances are you'll never need to watch and/or record 16 shows at the same time, but isn't it satisfying to know you can? :)

# Tuners

Again, it's all about form and function here. Smaller households and TVs don't need as any tuners so you're better off saving a few bucks per month (more on that below)...

Up-front Costs
Free with any plan

The receiver itself is free; other monthly DVR and receiver charges may apply.

Up-front Costs
Free with any plan

The receiver itself is free; other monthly DVR and receiver charges may apply.

Monthly DVR Fee

With all the extra storage and tuners, a very reasonable price for access to the Hopper 3.

Monthly DVR Fee

Half as much thanks to the Hopper Duo's streamlined features; hey, that's an extra coffee or burrito every month.

Monthly Receiver Fee
1st receiver free, 2nd & up is $5/mo

For each additional TV, your choice of the standard Joey, 4K Joey or Wireless Joey (all $5/mo).

Monthly Receiver Fee
1st receiver free, 2nd & up is $5/mo


Doesn't Get Any Better

The Hopper 3 has been the head of its class for a few years now and while the DIRECTV Genie is closing that gap a bit, it's still the most technologically powered DVR the industry has ever seen. If you dig all that power and want the latest features the second they launch, look no further than the Hopper 3.

Great Value

The Duo is a solid addition to the Hopper line mainly for the void it fills. Before, folks with 1 or 2 TV that wanted a lot of the Hopper features were forced to pay a premium for space and tuners they'd never use. The Hopper Duo now gives them that access at a much smarter price.

More about the Hopper DVRs and additional TVs

If you're a new customer, during the ordering process you'll now be given the Hopper Duo as the default option when you select 1 or 2 TVs. If you choose 2 TVs, you'll also get to choose between the Standard Joey, 4K Joey and Wireless Joey for your second TV. They're all $5/month so it really boils down to your setup and preferences. Wireless has the convenience of mobility (take your TV anywhere in the house) and 4K lets you watch the growing number of shows being broadcast in amazing 4K clarity (compatible TV required). If you're not interested in either, just ask for the Standard Joey.

If your household has 3 or more TVs, the Hopper 3 becomes the default DVR (you won't be able to choose the Hopper Duo). Ordering and specs follow just as they did before the Duo was launched. If you're a current subscriber with the Hopper 3 and have 1 or 2 TVs, you do also have the option of downgrading to the Duo (it's rare but the main reason we've seen is to decrease the TV budget a bit). Simply call up your service representative to make the switch (they'll have to mail you the new DVR).

Where to get your Hopper Receiver

As of today, the following retailer is offering either receiver at the lowest price available...
The Best Price Package
  • ONLY $59.99/mo (Top 120) guaranteed for 24 months!
  • FREE Smart HD DVR (Hopper 3 or Duo)*
  • FREE Showtime, STARZ and DISH Movie Pack for 3 Months
  • FREE HD for Life! (w/ agreement, autopay & paperless billing)
  • BONUS: Free Voice Remote with Google Assistant
  • Note(s): Act now & lock in this low price thru 2022.
Order by
Open now? Yes.
Next-day installation available? Yes.
Toggle menu
At no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase from some of the links above. We're an independent consumer guide and our suggestions will always remain fair and balanced to help you make the best decision possible.