The title of this review really doesn’t do the DISH HopperGO justice. In my opinion, this is one of those gadgets that when you learn about it, you have a forehead-slapping, “why doesn’t anyone else have this” moment. Simply stated, the HopperGO is a small storage device with a built in battery and the ability to create an ad hoc WiFi network, enabling other smart devices like a smartphone or tablet to stream your TV or Movie recordings stored on the HopperGO.
It’s that simple.
For the past few days, I have been testing the HopperGO out. Normally, when I test gadgets, there is a bit of a learning curve. While the HopperGO is practically a zero-configuration type of device, there is a tiny bit of work to start streaming your shows. First, you have to have a Hopper 3 or a Hopper with Sling, DISH’s advanced DVR set-top box which connects to their satellites. I have used the Hopper with Sling and now am currently testing out the Hopper 3 (a worthwhile upgrade in my opinion). Both of these DVRs include the ability to use the DISH Anywhere app to remotely access your Hopper to either stream recording or view live TV.
Core to those two Hoppers is the ability to prepare recordings for transfer to mobile devices. You can program your Hopper to automatically prepare your recordings (which involves some compression and optimization for mobile devices among other things). Once a recording is ready to transfer, you can move it to your smartphone or tablet for off-line viewing. This works incredibly well actually, especially since local viewing directly from your device doesn’t gobble up any of your mobile data allowances.
But, the problem is, many people don’t have tons of storage space on their devices. And, you can only view the transferred show on that single device.
This is where the DISH HopperGO comes in and really shines. The HopperGO has essentially three main components: an internal battery, flash storage and a WiFi system.
Battery + Storage + WiFi = HopperGO
Let’s start with the battery. My HopperGO came pretty much fully charged. It charges via a micro-USB cable which is the same cable you use to connect it to your mothership – the Hopper 3 or Hopper with Sling. If you have the micro-USB cable, you can charge it on any computer or a smartphone/tablet plug. The battery is supposed to last 4 hours between charges, meaning, you can stream from it for 4 hours, enough for a couple of movies or quite a few shows.
In terms of the storage, it has a 64GB flash drive which means it can hold about 100 hours worth of recordings. That is 100 hours of offline content! So how do you get the content from your DVR onto the HopperGO? It’s actually quite easy. You simply use the DISH Anywhere app.
This does require an initial setup which involves plugging your HopperGO into your Hopper via the included USB cable. When you initially connect the HopperGO, you will want to have your TV on and you will see a notification on your screen about the connection.
From there, you can manage the HopperGO via the DISH Anywhere app.
The instructions are just those 3 steps:
- Connect the HopperGO to your Hopper,
- Install/launch the DISH Anywhere app and ensure you are authenticated and
- Follow the on-screen instructions on your mobile device.
My recommendation is to leave your HopperGO connected to your Hopper all of the time until you want to take it on the go. That way, the battery remains fully charged and you can easily transfer shows or movies over while it’s connected. Even if you are away from your home, just fire up the DISH Anywhere app to transfer recordings over.
To transfer your recordings, navigate to it on the DISH Anywhere app and click on the “transfer” button. You have the option to choose your device or the HopperGO for where you want to transfer. Choose the HopperGO and the video recording is optimized for mobile devices while still maintaining HD quality.
The conversion and transfer time depends on the length of the recording among other things. But it only typically takes just a few minutes to convert and transfer.
Once you transfer over recordings, you are ready to unplug the HopperGO and stream directly from the device. Here’s how you do it. If your HopperGO is off (no green light showing on front), you need to press the power button on the front (it’s pretty much the only button on the device). Once the HopperGO boots up, it starts broadcasting a WiFi network – usually something like “HopperGOxxx” (the name is printed on the back of the HopperGo). The default WiFi password (which you can change using the DISH Anywhere app) is “myHopperGO”.
On your smartphone or tablet (and remember, you must have the DISH Anywhere app on your device and authenticated as a device that can view your recorded content), you simply connect to the HopperGO’s network and launch DISH Anywhere.
This is where it gets cool.
You don’t need to have any type of network connectivity to stream your recordings from the HopperGO to your smart device. You could be on a deserted island or at the top of a mountain or deep in a cave with no outside connectivity whatsoever and still be able to stream your recordings. Within the DISH Anywhere app, navigate to “Transfers” and at the top you will have two tabs: your device and “HopperGO.” Choose “HopperGO” and your recordings are there for your viewing pleasure.
A Few Things to Note
You can have 5 devices streaming from the HopperGO at once (note: this will drain the HopperGO battery a bit faster) and those devices must be running DISH Anywhere and have been authenticated prior.
Also, OnDemand and Pay-Per-View content cannot be transferred over. When you transfer a show, depending on the broadcast network who provided the original content, the recording on your Hopper may be removed and only exist on the HopperGO. Or you may get a warning about the content only existing for 60 days (or something similar) and that it cannot be transferred again. Your mileage may vary.
And, lastly, the HopperGO is tiny! It measures about 2.5” x 2.5” x 0.5” (actually about 1/16th of an inch larger on each side). It is extremely light weight as well. This is really a great thing…but it also means that it can be misplaced or lost pretty easily because of its small size. That is part of the reason why I recommend leaving it plugged in most of the time.
The DISH HopperGO retails for $99. You obviously have to be a DISH subscriber in order to use it. But once you purchase the device, you don’t pay any monthly charges (other than your DISH subscription charges).
The streaming is great. You can play, pause and rewind right on the DISH Anywhere app. You can resume playback as well if you stop and want to come back later. You cannot simultaneously stream the same show though.
Overall, it’s a smart device to have if you are a DISH subscriber as it truly allows you to take your digital recordings on the go for offline playback without gobbling up space on your smartphone or tablet.
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received sample of a product or service for consideration in preparing to review the product/service and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found in my About page.
HTD says: Apart from being absolutely tiny, the DISH HopperGO provides stand-alone, mobile storage for your DISH recording, allowing you to take and stream your recordings from anywhere, even without a data signal on your smart devices.
Apart from being absolutely tiny, the DISH HopperGO provides stand-alone, mobile storage for your DISH recording, allowing you to take and stream your recordings from anywhere, even without a data signal on your smart devices. The only thing holding me back from giving the “Features” a higher rating is the fact that you need to have a particular user’s device as authorized. There is a limit of the number of devices that can be authorized. While this makes sense for copyright protection and minimizing “global” sharing, with a family of 5 with multiple iPhones/iPads, it would be great to have the ability to have limited authorization for additional devices just for the HopperGO. Other than that, it’s a great device to have for a family, especially for road-trips or traveling.