Buy a Hopper from Dish, get a free iPad mini (soon)

Dish Network Corp. says that beginning January 17 you'll be able to get a free iPad mini when you sign up for their service. It's actually an extension of an existing program, but up until now it's been the full-sized iPad 2 (instead of first-year programming discounts).

The program requires you to sign up for a 24-month agreement with Dish, getting their Hopper with Sling Whole-Home HD DVR in the process. You have to select a minimum of America's Top 120 package. The iPad mini shows up after about 4-6 weeks. Bear in mind that it's the original iPad mini you're getting - a retail value of $299.

(Editor's note: as a native Bostonian, I love the "Hoppah" ads.)

Last month Dish began offering an updated version of Dish Anywhere that enables iOS users to transfer recorded content from their Hopper with Sling, so they can transfer content to an iPhone or iPad and watch it later, even without a live Internet connection.

Go to the Dish web site and take a look at their special offers page - you may find a different offer that may save you as much or more. Right now the iPad 2 deal is still plastered all over Dish's web site, so wait until the 17th if you're interested in the iPad mini deal.