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Dish Network Refreshes Its Set-Top Game with Google-Powered 'Hopper Plus'

Dish Network Hopper
(Image credit: Dish Network)

Dish Network's Hopper 3 was the most powerful pay TV set-top on the market when it was introduced back in January 2016, supporting simultaneous HD recording of 16 shows, Wi-Fi capability and access to popular OTT services including Netflix and YouTube. 

Now serving about half as many satellite TV subscribers as it did back in those relatively halcyon days -- just under 7.8 million as of the end of Q2 -- Dish has refreshed its Hopper 3 "customer premises equipment" (CPE) with a 4K/UHD-capable, Android TV-powered streaming box designed to sit atop of the main hard disk, the Hopper Plus. Dish has also added two new 4K "Joey" client device models to handle TVs in other rooms. 

The 4K-capable Hopper Plus connects to the Hopper 3 via USB-C cable and displaces the Hopper 3's connection with the living room smart TV or other primary display unit with its own HDMI 2 interface. It essentially replaces the DVR unit as the "brains," providing 16 gigabytes of digital storage, access to more than 6,000 apps via Google Play, Google Stadia gaming, improved Google Assistant capability, a new homepage and Dolby Atmos support. 

The Hopper 3 continues to spin, piping in live TV and DVR content via all expensive-to-replace tuners and hard drive storage, but the new UX is delivered by the Hopper Plus -- at least that's how it appears to work to us. 

Dish has also upgraded the client devices to 4K with the Joey 4, which comes in both wired MoCA and wireless ethernet iterations. 

"Hopper Plus is the next evolution of our award-winning whole-home DVR system and delivers an industry-leading viewing experience," said Brian Neylon, Dish TV group president. "It offers convenience for our customers to do more in one place, accessing their favorite live TV, streaming services and smart-home technologies all from their Dish Home screen."

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!