PrimeTime Anytime

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A new feature from Dish introduced on the Hopper whole-home DVR, PrimeTime Anytime automatically records the entire prime-time lineup of the 4 major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) without having to set timers. It is able to do this using a single tuner because the 4 channels that PTAT records are on the same transponder and it extracts the 4 channels at once from the stream instead of just 1 as we've had to this point. You get the effect of having 6 tuners during prime-time with Hopper's other 2 tuners remaining available to record from any channel.

PTAT events get recorded to the Dish-controlled partition of Hopper's hard drive. This creates a local “on demand” library of recordings that don't take space from your available recording capacity. “Anytime” as used here is defined as “within 8 days,” after which they are automatically purged. So for example you will have last Friday through this Friday, and will lose last Friday on Saturday.

If a sports event is scheduled to end in prime time, and you have the default “end 1 hour late,” not only will the sports event get extended but also the rest of the programs for the night on that channel. It's not yet clear if that also happens if the lineup is delayed by a sporting event that was scheduled to end before prime time.

Programs are accessed from the Dish partition via the DVR menu which has a PTAT folder. From there, programs may be listed individually or grouped by title, network or theme.

Programs you aren't able to watch within the 8-day retention may be saved to your DVR space to be kept as long as you wish. That's done a program at a time and is not available through Dish Online or Dish Remote Access. A recurring save can be set for each show. Saved shows remain in the PTAT partition until they are moved to the user's space at the 8-day purge.

For both viewing and saving, PTAT recognizes your start early / end late recording defaults which are retained for back-to-back shows unlike what often happens with standard timers. That allows you to get the entire show without having to hunt down the missing opening or closing moments at the end of another even when the Dish guide incorrectly indicates the show ends at the top of the hour.

PrimeTime shows may also be watched live. When a viewer joins the PTAT tuner, and another viewer also joins but wants a different network, each Hopper / Joey can watch their own network without issue. There may be a split second difference between the Hoppers and Joeys when tuned to the same thing at the same time but they have separate control over where they are in the show.

The user must opt to enable PTAT (Menu-PTAT-Enable-Save). Without it, the 3rd tuner is available to record from any channel of your choosing. If there's a night you don't want PTAT, make sure to disable it before prime-time starts because you won't be able to stop it once it starts. This must be done manually as timer conflict resolution won't override PTAT. (For shared live viewing outside of PTAT, the outputs are synchronized and pausing one results in the same pause on the other.)

PTAT is offered only during prime-time hours. It also works only for those channels designated by Dish; there is no way to select your own line-up.


PTAT is only offered on HD locals of the 4 major broadcast networks delivered by Dish. That covers about 170 of the 210 local markets and about 98% of the population.

PTAT Excluded Markets
Alexandria, LA Dothan, AL Lima, OH St. Joseph, MO
Alpena, MI Elmira (Corning), NY Lubbock, TX Tyler-Longview, TX
Amarillo, TX Eureka, CA Mankato, MN Utica, NY
Bend, OR Glendive, MT Marquette, MI Victoria, TX
Billings, MT Greenwood-Greenville, MS North Platte, NE Watertown, NY
Biloxi-Gulfport, MS Harrisonburg, VA Ottumwa-Kirksville, IA Wheeling-Steubenville, WV-OH
Binghamton, NY Hattiesburg-Laurel, MS Parkersburg, WV Yuma-El Centro, AZ-CA
Bowling Green, KY Helena, MT Presque Isle, ME Zanesville, OH
Casper-Riverton, WY Jackson, TN Puerto Rico/US Virgin Islands  
Charlottesville, VA Jonesboro, AR Rapid City, SD  
Clarksburg-Weston, WV Lafayette, IN Salisbury, MD  
PTAT Partial Markets
Cheyenne, WY Fairbanks, AK Juneau, AK
Panama City, FL Topeka, KS  

PTAT Screen Shots


PTAT recordings saved to your partition do NOT get any padding added to them. The only way to get padding is to unskip the timer and use an additional tuner.

Sports events do not cause the whole night to be extended -- recording still ends at 11/10pm.


These questions were submitted to Dish on 3/12: (helpful users answered the others)

3b. How recurring saves many can be set up?
3c. Are these separate from event timers (they don't reduce the number available) or another timer type (auto-tune, ext, dvr, ptat)? no

4. We got 2 different answers on how much of the transponder is recorded. Is the entire tp recorded, including non-PTAT channels, and then the PTAT channels are extracted? Or does the tuner record only the PTAT channels?

5. When a sports event is scheduled to end in prime time, the whole channel is extended by an hour (or whatever the sports default has been changed to?).  What happens if p-t gets pushed back by a sports event that was supposed to end before the beginning of p-t?

7a. When all 3 tuners are being used for live TV, which one does PTAT take over?
7b. Is it always the same tuner, always the one the Hopper is using, or just whichever one is not in use?

8. Why is PTAT not available on the SD locals for those markets that have no HD locals?

Updated 5-18-12.  Have a correction or addition? E-mail the Editor