The Dish Network Hopper with Sling really impressed us when it came out, partly because of the functional whole-home watching systems with Joey receivers in different rooms. However, it was limited to three tuners which, outside of primetime with four specific networks, could only tune to or record three shows at once. That changes with the Super Joey, a larger Joey receiver that adds two additional tuners to your Dish service, expanding just how much content you can watch or record at once. Like the Hopper, the Super Joey is free with a Dish subscription, but you’ll have to pay an extra $10 per month free if you want to use it.
You won’t get a Super Joeyfor simple multi-room watching. That’s what the regular Joey is for. The Super Joey is a one-off expansion to the Hopper that also functions as a regular Joey. It’s an advantage you won’t see just in the room with the Super Joey, but across your entire home as an upgrade to your entire Dish service. It adds two additional tuners to the Hopper’s three, for a total of five tuners that can work simultaneously in your home.
It’s called a Super Joey, but it should really be called a Mini Hopper. The two tuners and Dish smartcard slot take up a lot of space, and the Super Joey is three times larger than the regular Joey because of it. It’s a 10.8-by-8.7-by 1.7-inch slab that’s still puny compared to the Hopper, but not quite as Apple TV-sized as the Joey. The front panel holds Power, System Info, Locate Remote, and Up/Down/Select buttons, but not the full direction pad the Hopper front panel has. It doesn’t matter much, because you’ll use the Super Joey’s remote anyway, which is identical to the Hopper’s and the regular Joey’s remotes. The back holds the coaxial connection, an HDMI output, an optical audio output, USB and e-SATA ports for expanding DVR storage beyond the Hopper’s internal drive and connected drives, and a composite video output. You probably won’t use the composite video output if you’re spending money for multi-room, place-shifted, high-definition satellite service with DVR. Still, it’s a study of contrasts, so you could argue the Super Joey is downright artistic.
The connection process is slightly more complicated because of the tuners. This is all something Dish should take care of on installation, but if you want to know how coaxial sausage gets made, read on. The Super Joey requires a dedicated line directly to the dish, just like the Hopper, compared to the Joey’s requirement to simply be hooked up somewhere in the cable nest between the Hopper and the dish. It’s not something you’ll have to worry about, but it’s a bit more involved to install than just connecting another Joey to your system.
Setup and Tuners
Dish says this lets you record up to eight shows at once, but that’s a bit deceptive. The eight simultaneous recordings number applies only to Dish’s Prime Time Anytime feature, which uses one of the tuners to record ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS during prime time hours. Outside of the hours of 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. and for the hundreds of other channels available on Dish, you’re “limited” to five simultaneous channels. It’s not much of a limit, considering you can watch shows on three separate HDTVs, record another show, and stream another show to any mobile device or Web browser without your system breaking a sweat.
The Super Joey worked flawlessly in our tests. Once it was set up, I could tune into five channels at once (three on the Hopper, Super Joey, and a regular Joey, one on my iPad through the Hopper’s streaming feature, and one DVR recording of Power Rangers, because why not? After that, I watched the recorded episode of Power Rangers while simultaneously recording World’s Deadliest, Anthony Bordain: No Reservations, How It’s Made, and because I thrive on contrast both The Waltons and RuPaul’s Drag Race. In fact, that’s what I’m doing right now: rocking sentai samurai while secure in the fact that in half an hour I’ll be able to indulge in industrial culinary zoological heartwarming transvestism. Which I’m now claiming as a musical sub-genre and calling it progspel furtech glamcore.
The Super Joey is an excellent upgrade to the already excellent Hopper with Sling. It lets you tune into even more shows at once than the original Hopper, so if three simultaneous streams isn’t enough to sate your television needs, it’s a must-have if you subscribe to or are considering Dish. The $10 per month price tag puts a little damper on the upgrade, though, and if your have an apartment or small home with just two or three family members, you might not need it. It depends on just how much you want to watch or record at once.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc