Hopper Storage Limitations

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Hopper Storage Limitations

jamesivie
Extra
5 years ago, I upgraded from the VIP 722K to the then-brand-new Hopper 1 (with external Sling). Even at the time of the upgrade, I was somewhat dismayed by the Hopper's lack of support for external hard drives (EHDs) larger than 2TB (3TB drives were available at the time), but figured that it was just a software/firmware limitation, so they would surely add support for it soon. 2TB wasn't terrible at the time even though it was a painful step down from the 8TB DIY DVR I had back in 2008. It was going to take me at least 28 days to fill it, even recording with all three tuners 24x7. It's now been FIVE YEARS, and not only has this software update not materialized, but Hopper 3 is now available and doesn't have support either. Hopper 3 can record a whopping sixteen channels at once, but has the same size internal drive as the Hopper 1, so now we can fill the entire drive in THREE days instead of 28!

It's getting harder and harder to find EHDs small enough to work with the Hopper. 4TB EHDs are cheap and very common. 10TB EHDs have been available for a while now and it looks like 12TBs will be generally available soon. My years-old $30 Raspberry Pi can use larger drives than my DVR for which I've paid $720 to date. I get that I'm not your typical user. I get that no major competitors have decent storage either. However, I am a power-user who makes recommendations to many others, and the way it stands now, this is frustrating for me. My wife and I fight about storage usage far more than the 3 tuner limitation on the Hopper 1. Don't get me wrong, I would love 16 tuners--I just have little use for them without more storage to go along with it (my DIY setup had 12 tuners, so yes, I definitely know what it would be like to have that many tuners).

As a software developer, it's unimaginable to me that any software team out there working for a major company with millions of customers thinks that this limitation is acceptable. I would be embarrassed by this if I worked for you, and any self-respecting developer should be too. Enough is enough. Please add some kind of support for more storage:
1. network storage (I will even happily gather the DRMed files on an EHD and move them to a network drive manually if the Hopper would just play them from there and yes, I did try that already)
2. larger drives (definitely external, but internal would be nice too)
3. larger numbers of EHDs (the current support is very poor, with drives frequently disappearing, no ability to persistently link a specific drive to any kind of name, and drives often showing with different numbers in different screens, not to mention the painful and slow requirement to manually move stuff between drives)

I don't care if I have to upgrade my device and sign another 2-year agreement. I would gladly do so in order to remove this limitation. In fact, the more recordings I have saved, the more likely I will be to stick with DISH in the future because I know I will lose my recordings by leaving. Those saved recordings are nearly the top thing keeping me with DISH right now, and the more recordings I have, the more painful it will be to leave, no matter what features competitors are offering.
4 Replies

Re: Hopper Storage Limitations

scotar
Audio Engineer
You do have an alternative. The Genie. But when you hook an external hard drive to it you can't swap them and you lose use of the internal drive. Yep, it disables the internal and uses the external exclusively.

Re: Hopper Storage Limitations

BillC4
Camera Crew
You can attach at least two external hard drives to the hopper, each 2 TB. That would give you 6 TB of storage, enough for over 1000 movies.

Re: Hopper Storage Limitations

jamesivie
Extra
As I said, I already have FOUR external drives. Two of them are even 3TB drives (there seem to be two known models that work if you can find which ones they are on google and find someone who still sells them). I can occasionally get all four to show up, but have never been able to get the fourth one to do anything other than show up in the list. I got the a third one to work once or twice in the past 5 years. Even the first two are unreliable--they come and go as they please with all sorts of slowness, errors, and confusion about which drive is which, requiring frequent manual disconnection and reconnection, which of course frequently crashes the Hopper and interrupts recordings, so that's often not worth the risk. All in all not a pleasant experience, and zero WAF. Yes, I can get to the third and fourth drives, but only occasionally and only if I'm willing to risk a reboot and the accompanying recording interruption, wait several minutes for it to be detected, and suffer loss of access to everything on the other drives until I switch back. The whole appeal of DISH over a DIY system was supposed to be reliability and simplicity, and while those are there for the Hopper using the internal drive, they're nearly nonexistent when it comes to EHD handling. It's one of those features they just seem to have finished half way and never gone back to finish up.

6TB may be enough for 1000 SD movies, but probably not HD, and how do I know which movie is on which drive (that's a major pain) and what if I *gasp* want to record TV too? I have one 3TB drive full with just movies I watched, liked, and thought I might want to watch again someday. It's a very modest collection IMO.

Is it really so much to ask that the software be updated to support truly useful standards that were established before the system was originally released or at least that a new system support standards that are five years old? I see the software get updated all the time (though I'm baffled as to why it never actually seems to improve much--it's actually gotten WORSE on several occasions and still remains broken in certain areas). Think of how many people have wasted hours trying to get their EHD working only to find out that only a small percentage of EHDs are actually supported, not due to hardware limitations, but rather a lack of proper software support that's been going on for five years now.

Does the Genie support 10TB external hard drives? Does it support multiple EHDs?

Re: Hopper Storage Limitations

skc29
Extra
Dish should provide support for upto 12TB external desktop hard drives, including bigger portable drives. I already have two 3TB each drives attached and running out of space. I tried 8TB and 4TB single drive(not double), even that was not recognized by Hopper3. In the era of 4K video, it will be very difficult to survive with only 2TB support. Come on Dish, are you listening?