Pros Large storage
All-at-once parental controls
Automatic Prime Time recording option
Cons Small text on program guide
Can't find automatic shutoff option
Not enough free, On Demand programming
Summary I'd recommend this for anyone who needs to upgrade from older standard def receivers now, but anyone else with a system that works should probably wait a while. Online video services don't really include anything worthwhile unless you pay extra. I couldn't find any option to resize the programming guide for larger, easier-to-read text. I also couldn't find any option to change or disable the automatic shutoff timer.
So far I like having three tuners instead of two and the automatic recording option for prime time so I didn't need to set a dozen separate timers. I also liked seeing the parental control option to block all channels at once. This will make it a lot easier when I need to make sure my teenage kids don't waste too much time watching TV during the day.
This is definitely an improvement over my standard def DVR 625 receiver, but I really don't think I'd see it as a critical upgrade worth spending a lot of money on. I also don't think this upgrade would be so critical if I already had a high-def system that is working. The only critical feature for me was upgrading to high def after buying a new TV, and I was able to get the Hopper upgrade for free by telling Dish Network I was planning to switch to Directv.
Pros Nice User Interface
Commercial Auto Hop
More than I can list
Cons Only has 3 tuners
No PIP on Joeys
Blockbuster@home has limited on demand content
No Netflix support
Summary Overall I love the Hopper system. I switched from directv over billing/pricing issues and they wanted us to pay $250 to install whole home dvr with them. Anyway, the hopper system is very cool. There are software flaws that can be very annoying, but it is still a very new system for dish, and they deserve time to figure out the flaws. The biggest thing I don't like about the hopper is there are only 3 tuners for the hopper and joeys to use. Especially during primetime anytime. Then there are only two tuners for the hopper and two joey I have to use. I have heard rumors though that a software update is being made to support multiple hoppers in one system. One nice thing about primetime anytime shows, is after 1 A.M. most previously recorded primetime anytime will get the Auto hop feature. This is feature eliminates commercial breaks! When you select a show to watch that has this it will ask you if you want to enable auto hop on that episode. Then, the most you will see of each commercial break is a couple of seconds. It does it automatically when there is a commercial break. So far this works really good. The new user interface is really cool. On the guide it has the logo of each channel. Sounds dumb, but it makes is a lot easier and quicker to see what the channel is. The hopper is very fast. On the guide I can scroll through channels so quickly I can't even read them. It doesn't pause like my directv receivers did when I went quickly through the guide either. In the new interface a lot of it is picture driven. It uses a lot of pictures for the menu, on demand, recordings, etc. For example, when I go to on demand or into the dvr library, I see pictures for the show with the show title under neath it. It looks really clean this way. A few things I don't like are no picture in picture on the joeys, there a limited number of apps (I have heard there is more coming soon), the blockbuster@home and on demand have a limited number of newer movies for free, and it would be nice to stream Netflix to the hopper, because then I could view Netflix on the joey. Overall though, if you don't mind a few bugs and inconveniences this is a great system, and it keeps getting better. This has the potential to be an awesome piece of technology.
Pros Lots of channels, great picture, slight lower price than the competition.
Cons Piece of crap shuts off every night for 20 minutes of updating and there is NO WAY to stop this.
Summary Many people have asked disk to stop this but they ignore everyone.
Pros Primetime Anytime
Automatic Comercia Skipping
Cons It appears that there is no way to have your DVR programs show in a list view. It's not user friendly if you want to easily scroll through recorded shows. There does not seem to even be a way to group the same show together. (Except under PTA)
Summary Overall great system... It is annoyin that you can't have a list view of record programs. Picture is crystal clear.
Pros Huge storage capability especially with the external hard drives. (Not sure why the previous poster is having problems)
Nice GUI with excellent graphiics
Fast response to the remote
Lower power consumption than separate DVRs.
Cons Apps run slow (Facebook and Pandora)
Summary Check out the review at http://www.laaudiofile.com/dish_hopper.html
They cover it in more detail.
You will love the DISH user interface. Very intuitive.