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DVR Face-Off: Hopper 3 vs Duo

Last updated: 1/2/2024

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: 3/19/2024
DISH Hopper Duo updated: 3/17/2024
Overall Score: 97/100
Overall Score: 92/100
Hard Drive
2 TB

The same size as its rival, DIRECTV Genie, it has 4 times more storage space than 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

With its industry-leading 2 TB drive, the Hopper 3's storage capacity doesn't get better. Overall, 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
16

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
2

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 Receiver Fee
$10/month

With all the extra storage and tuners, a very reasonable price for access to the Hopper 3. You only need one Hopper 3 per household. For each additional TV, your choice of the standard Joey, 4K Joey or Wireless Joey (all $7/mo).

Monthly DVR Fee
$5/month

Half as much thanks to the Hopper Duo's streamlined features; hey, that's an extra coffee every month. As with the Hopper 3, each additional TV is $7/mo for its Joey unit.

Hopper Plus add-on
$25 (one-time)

Hopper Plus is a standalone device that improves your DVR by giving you access to live TV and over 10,000 popular apps (Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video etc), all from one central location. Especially helpful for NFL Sunday Ticket access via YouTube (started in 2023).

Hopper Plus add-on
$25 (one-time)

same

Overall
Doesn't Get Much 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.

Overall
Great Value

The Duo is a solid addition to the Hopper line mainly for the void it fills. Before, folks with 1 or 2 TVs 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 better price.

Where to get your Hopper Receiver

As of today, you qualify for a smart DVR when you choose any of DISH's plans (the current offer is below):

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  • FREE Smart HD DVR (Hopper 3 or Duo)
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What about the Hopper 2?

DISH Hopper 2The Hopper 2 is a hybrid between the Hopper 3 and Duo. It has a 2 TB drive (just like the Hopper 3) as well as 4 tuners (twice as many as Duo). It's a "Sling DVR", exactly like the Hopper 3, so shares most of the same features. As a result, price-wise, it goes for the same $10/mo as the Hopper 3. If your household has 2-3 TVs, it's the DVR DISH typically recommends (and it works out for most). If you don't need a DVR or want to save a bit, you always have the option of choosing the non-DVR Wally Receiver for $5/mo instead.

More about the Hopper DVRs and additional TVs

If you're a new customer, during the ordering process you'll be given the Hopper Duo as the default option when you select 1 TV. If you choose 2-3 TVs, you'll get the Hopper 2 as a new option. You'll also have to pick between the Standard Joey, 4K Joey and Wireless Joey for the additional TVs. They're all $7/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 4 or more TVs, the Hopper 3 becomes the default DVR (you won't be able to choose the Hopper 2 or Duo). For households that don't need a DVR, you can downgrade to a Wally receiver and save $5/mo. If you're a current subscriber with the Hopper 3 and have 1 or 2 TVs, you have the option of downgrading to the Hopper 2 or Duo as well (it's a rare move but every little bit of savings help). Simply call up your service representative to make the switch (they'll have to mail you the new DVR).

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