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Genie vs The Hopper: Which One Can Record The Most Channels?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (January 29, 2013) -- Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. I've been hearing a lot of commercials for Dish's Hopper HD DVR and DIRECTV's Genie HD DVR. The both say they can record more channels at the same time than anyone else. How can that be true?  -- Bobbi, Nashville, Tennessee.

Bobbi, good question. Let me explain.

DIRECTV's Genie HD DVR can record five channels at the same time -- all in High-Definition. (It also allows you to watch two channels at the same time using Picture-in-Picture, if you like that sort of thing.)

Dish's Hopper HD DVR, however, allows you to record six channels at the same time -- again all in High-Definition. However, there is a catch. You can't choose all six channels; you can only choose two. The other four channels are chosen for you and they are the four broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC. They record automatically in primetime and each recorded show will stay on your Hopper HD DVR for eight days.

So while Dish is right to say that you can record six channels at the same time -- which is one more than DIRECTV -- you only get to pick two of those channels. Plus, your set-top can only record six channels in primetime. In non-primetime hours, you can only record three channels at the same time.

Bottom line: You could make a case that are both are right when they say their HD DVR can record more channels at the same time than anyone else. But Dish's Hopper comes with so many restrictions that, in my view, DIRECTV's Genie actually gives you more options in multi-channel, simultaneous recording.

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