"Nifty but has hidden costs"3.5 starson by hmb
Pros: HD output is nice
Cons: Pic freeze, reboots, costly
Summary: I used the 942 for four weeks after picking it up on sale for $599. I hooked up the two satellite lines from the satellite switch, and a good UHF antenna for HD locals.
The unit worked great except for:
- Picture freezes lasting 1-5 secs with DishNetwork programming, and with SF Bay Area locals which came in at +95. The freezes happened often enough to be annoying (e.g. just about every-other song during a Dooby Bros concert on HDNET). To me this implies HD tuner performance may be a bit weak.
- Occasional "Serious HDD" errors that were resolved with cold reboots
- Despite being placed in the open the unit gets extremely hot. This is not conducive in my opinion to long life.
DishNetwork Tech support as usual was excellent in getting the unit up and running.
I ended up returning the unit to the retailer for a within-30 day refund because it became evident that this wasn't a value proposition. There are costs associated with buying this receiver that in my opinion DishNetwork does not make very clear.
- If you own it, then for the first year you have to deal with the manufacturer for warranty service.
- After the first year you can sign up with DishNetwork for equipment coverage, but that will cost you $5.99 a month. I think the unit, given that it runs so hot, won't have a long service life.
- Despite buying the unit yourself, DishNetwork will charge you at least $5 a month to use it unless it's your only receiver and you use it in single user mode. This cost is the same as when you lease a unit (with much less capital investment).
- DishNetwork will charge you $5 a month for the DVR feature.
Also, DishNetwork's HD offerings are very limited and probably not worth the $10 a month cost. If you add the VOOM offerings to this it gets better but that adds $5 a month more.
It may make sense to lease this unit from DishNetwork. I think the current up-front cost is $249 to lease. Then you pay the same per month lease cost as an owner's usage cost, but moreover you will have the ability when it breaks to replace it any time at no cost directly with DishNetwork. It's unfortunate that DishNetwork won't lease this unit to existing users. Maybe they will change their policy on this as this model matures.