"It gets the job done..."3.5 starson by burningbigge
Pros: Plenty of storage. Multiple rooms with only one receiver. Many customizable channel lists. Good search/season pass feature.
Cons: Interface can sometimes be confusing. It's no Tivo
Summary: My first 625 was defective and had to be returned due to a bad Optical/Digital Audio port in back. It would drop the audio signal constantly and was very annoying. This is evidently a common problem. I suggest if you have this problem you should call Dish and get yours replaced. Don't let tech support get under your skin. They can only go by their script and some can barely speak english. Just hang with them until you can get them to send a tech out with a new box. On to the review...
I have been a Tivo user for a long time. Back when DirecTV first came out with their DirecTivo combination receivers I was one of the first people to jump onboard and get one. (two actually) So when one of my most recent DTivo unit died and I was told that I would have to switch to the infamous R15 receiver (and commit to another two years) I declined and decided to try out Dish and the DVR 625.
First off, this is no Tivo. If you are going to try to get Tivo functionality out of this box you will be disappointed. It functions differently from Tivo. Not better or worse. Just different.
The menus are a bit confusing at first but with a little exploring I was able to get into all the sub-menus and customize my settings (audio/video/caller ID). I found that I do miss the little sound cues that my old Tivo offered when I am surfing through menus. The 625 has none. The menus are also rather bland compared to the Tivo interface. The color scheme is blue/gray and thats about it. But that is all cosmetic.
There is not shortage of program information and it delivers it in a fairly easy to navigate program guide. The guide doesn't have as many lines of program data that the Tivo had but it does include a shrunk down video window of your current program so you don't miss anything.(you can omit this vid window in your preferences/settings but I kinda like it) You can skip forward several days in the guide just by typing in how many hrs forward you want to go and hitting the "right" direction button. This comes in quite handy. It also has built in PiP as well as Caller ID (all things my Tivo didn't have).
Ok, now onto DVR function. It has 150 hrs of storage. That is nice. It will buffer live TV for 30 min and pause live TV for up to 90 min. (on both tuners) That is good too. My Tivo was only 30 min.
The program guide as well as the DVR function is fast. I can swap from tuner 1 to tuner 2 and there is NO lag. My old unit would take 2-3 seconds. Moving between menus is seamless and you can escape them all by hitting the "cancel" button a few times. It also comes with a built in 30 sec. skip function as well as very quick ff/rw functionality.
The remote could be laid out better but that is only personal preference. I had gotten used to the Tivo "peanut".
The "Dish Interactive" is kind of entertaining but it does take several seconds to load each time you use it. However, it does offer a lot of info that you might otherwise have to dig for. Local weather radar comes to mind as well as customer service info., troubleshooting tips, etc...
Video quality is good (duh, it's digital) and so is the audio.(once I got my defective one replaced)
The fan inside the unit isn't too loud and the lights on the front of the box aren't too glaring.
All in all, the 625 is a solid receiver as well as an extremely capable DVR. If you can get past the bland (and sometimes complicated) menus and don't mind switching to Dish Network (programming is slightly different from DirecTV) then the 625 is a safe choice.