FIRST LOOK - Hopper OTA Module

Discussion in 'The Hopper Zone' started by Scott Greczkowski, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Scott Greczkowski

    Scott Greczkowski Thread Starter Welcome To SatelliteGuys!
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    One of the longest awaited features of the Hopper is finally here and that is the release of the long awaited Digital Off Air Module or as we commonly call it the the OTA Module!

    DISH Network chose a number of SatelliteGuys members to help test the OTA Module over the past few months and I was one of the lucky SatelliteGuys members to be included in the tests. The OTA Module arrived in a tiny box and did not contain anything but the module itself and the USB Cable to plug it into the Hopper. We did not receive any instruction manual, but it turns out we didn't need one.

    Before I install it I deleted all the channels on my 1 year old 50 Inch Panasonic 3D Television. It was hooked up to my Antenna I have on the roof then I did a scan of all digital channels. When the scan was complete it was picking up 30 digital stations.

    I then took the antenna coax from the back of the TV and hooked it up to the USB Tuner Module and then plugged it into the front USB port on my Hopper. Instantly it recognized the module and told me that it would need to reboot.

    I let it reboot and then once it rebooted I was back to watching television. There was no mention on the screen of the OTA tuner. To setup the OTA its in a strange place, to get to the OTA settings you need to go into MENU, then SETTINGS, then DIAGNOSTICS then finally OVER THE AIR LOCALS.

    After finding the setup for the OTA module in the settings I set it up. And setup was like any other DISH OTA tuner... simple.

    I let it scan and was happy as it also found 30 channels, meaning this thing has a decent tuner. :)

    After my first time setting it up I watched a few different channels. You can see the signal strength of each channel by pressing the info bottom on the remote. For all the channels I watched it worked good and locked on quick to the channels. Only on one station did I see some occasional pink pixelation. The signal level for this channel was 75 but it was also very windy outside at the time and this channel is the most distant channel that I can receive.

    I was worried as after about 45 minutes of my first time using it I was just seeing the station call letters in my guide and no actually show data for the OTA channels. I had to go do some running around when I came back three hours later I was happy to see that most of the stations had guide data.


    I learned that the guide data will fill in and was happy to see listings for channels like THECOOLTV, Antenna TV and THIS!

    However it should be noted that Guide Data for the OTA channels is spotty at best. For example, as run down of the channels I can receive, the local CBS has a total of 4 channels, there is guide data for the first 3 but no data for the 4th channel, my local ABC station has Bounce TV as one of its sub channels, there is no listings but then the word "Bounc" in the guide, I get no guide listings for any of the Springfield, Mass channels, instead I just see the channel call letters listed in the guide, the only exception to this is the Springfield PBS which has no guide data for the main channel, but full guide info for it's 3 sub channels. The opposite is true for our local Connecticut PBS which has listings for the main channel but no listings for the sub channels. It is unfortunate that the tuner does not read the PSIP guide data from the channels for which DISH has no guide data for.

    For the Hopper to work best for these channels it will need guide data... or manual timers. And luckily DISH is already working on adding manual timers to the Hopper and Joey. It was announced here on SatelliteGuys that a future software update would add manual timers on the Hopper system. Once manual timers are in place this will be an excellent system, and quite honestly what we have today is really usable.

    I am happy to report that the OTA module can be viewed on the Joeys, however since the module is single tuner you can only tune to one OTA channel at a time on the entire system. Since I did not have two OTA modules I am unable to tell you if having an OTA module on each Hopper will work or not, but I can only guess that it will work fine. I do plan on ordering an OTA module for the second Hopper as soon as they are available on MyDISH.COM and I will be happy to report my findings when I have a second OTA module to test with.

    While without complete guide data and manual timers might sound like a shortfall to some, I got to admit I was pleasantly surprised and happy with the performance of the module over the few months I was able to test it. All the shows I wanted to record had guide data and I enjoyed coming home and finding that the Hopper recorded the Monkees off of Antenna TV and the 80's on 8 off of THECOOLTV.

    The tuners performance was very good for me, however I should note where I live 90% of the channels I receive come in at 100% for me. So dropouts and pixelation was rare for me. The only time I had issues was watching a fringe distant station. While the tuner in the module is very good, it is not a miracle maker able to fill in the missing data when the signal is low. Digital TV works differently then Analog, in the old days if you could get an analog signal you could watch it even if the signal was weak, but you would get ghosting, and noise on the screen, but with digital its not like that you either lock on the signal or you don't. This is a limitation of the digital technology and is not an issue with the Hopper tuner.

    If you have been waiting to add OTA to your Hopper then I highly recommend that once the modules are available online that you order one! At $30 its a great buy and I think it is safe for me to say that the OTA Module is the missing link many of us have been waiting for!

    When you get your OTA module please share your experience and thoughts on the OTA tuner here at SatelliteGuys! :)

    Our thanks to the folks at DISH for making this First Look possible!
     

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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  2. Scott Greczkowski

    Scott Greczkowski Thread Starter Welcome To SatelliteGuys!
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    BTW I will be posting pics of the module itself shortly... for some reason those photos are not on this laptop. So I will need to take some new pics. :)
     
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  3. 3HaloODST

    3HaloODST SatelliteGuys Family
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  4. Mochuf

    Mochuf Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    Scott, does this give you a fourth tuner to record from? Have you tried plugging this in a pc to see if WMC identifies it or even works with it?
     
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  5. Scott Greczkowski

    Scott Greczkowski Thread Starter Welcome To SatelliteGuys!
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    Yes it does, see the last picture to see I have 6 things recording at once on one hopper. (and if I wanted to, I could have made it 7!)

    No I didn't plug the tuner into a PC. Since tuners were in short supply I didn't want to risk damaging my OTA module. It would have sucked if I killed it before it was released. :D

    I will tell you that we received the units before the OTA software was enabled on the Hopper, and by plugging the module into the Hopper it wouldn't do anything. :)
     
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  6. gpflepsen

    gpflepsen Supporting Founder
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    Price, promotions and availability?
     
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  7. Scott Greczkowski

    Scott Greczkowski Thread Starter Welcome To SatelliteGuys!
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    Price $30. And they should be hopefully available for order today. :D
     
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  8. gpflepsen

    gpflepsen Supporting Founder
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    Dish Chat just told me three days until in stock.
     
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  9. sculchy

    sculchy Member
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    I guess I will quit refreshing the Dish Store page.
     
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  10. gpflepsen

    gpflepsen Supporting Founder
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    A call in didn't produce anything either but "...may be a few weeks until stock is in". CSR even called "those who should know" and offered help locate a local retailer to check their stock. Looks like the switch is yet to be flipped.

    17 days and counting! :)
     
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  11. Scott Greczkowski

    Scott Greczkowski Thread Starter Welcome To SatelliteGuys!
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    Just keep checking here, we will let you know when its available online.
     
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  12. wallyhts

    wallyhts SatelliteGuys Family
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    No stock at the Midwest warehouse. BOO!!!!!
     
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  13. gpflepsen

    gpflepsen Supporting Founder
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    But I gots to go to bed and sleep all day. Will you call me when it hits the street? :D
     
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  14. Scott Greczkowski

    Scott Greczkowski Thread Starter Welcome To SatelliteGuys!
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    First post updated with pics of the OTA Module.
     
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  15. wallyhts

    wallyhts SatelliteGuys Family
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    Nice!!

    Got a screw driver? some inside pics would be nice if possible I would love to see what chip.
     
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  16. Charise

    Charise Active SatelliteGuys Member
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    You've had OTA before, right, Scott? Are you seeing program descriptions in the guide for the same channels that had it before? Or were the 622/722/922s reading the PSIP data and filling in the guide?? Thanks!
     
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  17. satjay

    satjay SatelliteGuys Guru
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    Greart screen shot of all the tuners in use/PTAT and OTA a thing of beauty :)
     
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  18. Scott Greczkowski

    Scott Greczkowski Thread Starter Welcome To SatelliteGuys!
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    I believe the first shipments will only be sold at the MyDISH.COM website. If you notice at the What's New Screen there is no mention of the OTA feature... I believe the reason for that is there is not a lot of stock of the modules yet. Those who order one are the hard core users who are people like SatelliteGuys members.

    In addition while the OTA works well, there are still improvments and additions to be made to make it a world class product. Those hard core early adopters will be able to get a module now if they want one, but for many avg home users it might be better to wait until things like Manual tuners are available.

    Basically with this release DISH is catering to our hard core users. :)
     
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  19. msmith198025

    msmith198025 Member of the Year
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    I can not remember if there is a back usb port on the hopper. If so will it work there? If not, wont that look kind of gimpy hanging off the front of the unit? I am going to get one, just had that thought.
     
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  20. Scott Greczkowski

    Scott Greczkowski Thread Starter Welcome To SatelliteGuys!
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    From memory the guide data is the same as was on other models.

    For me I wish it had guide data for the Springfield Mass channels which DISH carries those channel via Satellite.
     
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