While watching the hopper suddenly turns off. it is like someone pushed the button on the remote but the remote is sitting on the table. we are too far from any neighbors (even if they had dish) to come from their remote. also, the turning on the hopper with the remote using the "on" button is finicky requiring a solid push. is the remote causing the issue?
While I won't say it is impossible that the remote could be causing an issue it is unlikely. Do you know what the inactivity settings are on your receiver? By default they are configured to automatically power down after a certain length of time passes if no channel changes or other activity takes place, so this could be the cause of the issue.
You can check these settings by pressing the Home or House button on your remote, changing to the menu tab, selecting settings, then selecting power. The setting you are looking for is the "Inactivity Timeout".