If you're the type of person who doesn't want to pay your MSO for access to your local channels, Dish has a device you'll want to take a look at if you're a Hopper user. Many Hopper users have been patiently waiting for an over-the-air solution and Dish has finally granted one.
The "Digital Off Air Module" was recently grabbed by a few testers over at SatelliteGuys.com. Dish isn't foolish and they know that these guys not only know how to use these types of devices but that they'll be honest in their assessments as well. That said, they decided that direct users were the best people to give them to in order to see how well they worked.
According to the site, the OTA Module works much like previous Dish models of the same type of device. Once connected, you'll be required to run some setup in order to use the module, including rebooting your Hopper DVR.
Once you've gone through the setup process however, you should start seeing all of the channels that the device can find in your guide. The reviewer on the SatelliteGuys website stated that the Dish module was able to find the same number of channels as another device in his home and was impressed. One thing he did mention was that it took some time for guide data to begin populating so if you're hoping to start scheduling series recordings right away you may want to hold off for a bit while your guide gets populated.
Apparently there are some issue with accurate guide data while using the OTA module. The reviewer was unable to get guide data for the 30+ OTA channels that he can receive but apparently Dish is working on the ability to schedule manual recordings and will provide this feature in a forthcoming software update for the Hopper.
A Necessary Device?
So knowing that you may need to create manual recordings in order to capture some of your favorite network shows, is the Dish OTA Module worth the cost and extra work? The answer to that question really comes down to whether or not you 1: want to save the $5 a month that Dish charges for local network and 2: can receive channels using an antenna that Dish doesn't provide access to.
If the extra money doesn't bother you then you're probably better off simply having Dish Network provide your local channels. You'll get full guide data and you won't have to worry about manual recordings.
If, on the other hand, you know that there are channels (such as sub-channels) that are available to you via antenna and Dish doesn't provide them, then having the option to receive and record OTA signals is probably important to you. If that's the case then hopefully you get guide data and if not, hopefully it doesn't take Dish too long to get you a software update so that you can create your manual recordings.