Pros OTA HD dvr capability (up to 1080i)
Hard drive can unofficially be upgraded to 500gb
No subscription needed
Enables trickplays such as pausing and rewinding live TV
Great program guide
Cons No name-based recording/ "season passes"
Software is a bit buggy - crashes occasionally, but nothing I cannot live with
Dish customer service
No removable storage
Summary This is an excellent buy for the $$$ and is currently the only model of its kind (offering dual tuner OTA HD dvr capability without a subscription). I have been very pleased with its performance thus far. The tuners are great - they are better than the one that came in my TV and my reception is significantly better. I am not a big TV watcher, so it is nice to be able to watch something that I actually enjoy in the few times a week I have a chance to sit down. Also nice to keep some programs for the kids. The "pause" is a good feature if you have kids, so that when you need to go upstairs for the 10th glass of water, you will not miss the last 5 minutes of your show. Sure, there are a few bugs that will hopefully be worked out with additional software upgrades (the unit can be upgraded via an ethernet connection), but the functionality is acceptable, especially considering the price. I have not swapped out my hardrive at this time, but I understand that it is possible -- it requires opening up the box (so do at your own risk!). I should note that I live in a digital TVGOS service area - the guide feature is probably not as great for those that do not. Are there features that a $700 box has that this does not? Of course. But it is a great piece of equipment for the money.
(I do need to agree with another poster that Dish customer service is pretty atrocious - they really need to at least implement some sort of an order tracking system and get some customer service reps who even know what the product is. Thankfully, I have not had to deal with tech support, so I cannot speak for whether they are more helpful.)
Pros When it works, it records two digital shows at a time and you can watch a prior recording at the same time. It's easy to pause or rewind live TV.
Cons Dish's customer service is extremely terrible. Machine is defective, maybe they all are. The 7 day guide is only filled in for 6-12 hours. It's not a satallite reciever, but has a satallite card which they used to deactive my unit & kept my money
Summary Echostar/Dish DTVPal DVR compared with Philips DVDR3576Hcnet doesn't allow enough characters to complete my review. Send me an e-mail and I will send the full review: email@example.com
I would giv it 3 out of five stars if it actually worked.
Let me first say, ?DON?T ORDER THE DTVPal DVR until they fix the problems?. I got a defective machine and after seven hours of phone calls and letter writing, they haven?t replaced it. I am now working with VISA and hope they will refund my money. Even though this machine was paid in full and was working over 90% of the time, DISH deactivated it over-the-air and it no longer works at all. I wonder is Dish is not replacing my unit because they know they will be replacing it with another defective unit because that?s all they have. They won?t refund my money either.
Dishes site compares their DVR to the VIP 622 and VIP 722 satellite receivers. If those are race horses, the DTVPal DVR is a pony at best.
I will use words Dish and Philips for the Dish DTVPal DVR and Philips DVDR3576H.
Both receive and record HD and standard digital broadcasts. Only the Philips receives and records analog.
The Dish has a slightly larger hard drive but you cannot change the recording qualities. My Dish DVR only records about 110 hours of standard TV even though it says 150 hours on the box. You can set the Philips DVDR to record 66 to 198 hours of standard TV depending on the quality you want. I set my Philips to 99 hours and it seems to have the same quality picture as the Dish unit.
The Dish DVR records two channels at a time, but it is tricky?you have to set the longer show before you set the shorter shows or it won?t record two at a time. The Philips will only record one show at a time. Both units will play back an existing recording while you are making a recording. Both will also play back a current recording while you are recording it. For example, you can start recording a three hour football game and start watching it an hour later and skip the commercials, time-outs etc. I usually start about two hours into a game and finish at the same time. I can even watch every play in less than 30 minutes with either machine.
The Philips let you watch DVD?s or record to writeable DVD?s as well as the hard drive. I connected my VCR to my Philips DVDR and I copy my tapes to the hard drive. Because the Philips machine has an editing feature, I then edit out items I don?t want and record it to a DVD. You can record one to six hours depending on the quality setting. The DVD?s menu then shows each recording, but it always shows one extra menu choice which is empty. It only records standard definition to a DVD disc. The Dish DVR will not record to DVD?s.
You can pause live TV on either machine, but the Philips does a poor job of this. It?s easier to just hit the hit the record button on the Philips machine. Just hit the pause or rewind or skip back buttons on the Dish DVR. It starts recording any show you watch and keeps an hour in memory if you don?t change channels. If you change channels, it starts over. This feature doesn?t work if you are recording two shows.
The Philips unit looks good, about an 8 or 9 out of 10. The Dish unit looks terrible, probably a 0 or 1 out of ten. It even has the DTVPal TV emblem painted permanently all over the top of the unit. The Dish unit even has a satellite card sticking out the front of it. They didn?t even put a door over it like on their satellite units. They evidently use this to disable your machine if they want to?they disabled mine. The Dish unit has no buttons on it, not even a power button. It is controlled entirely by the remote control. The Philips unit has a power, play, stop and eject button on it. (I don?t know why they need a card. Cards are used to control your particular unit, either to limit service or bill you.)
The Dish DVR lets you edit out channels you don?t want including sub channels like 8.4. The Philips DVDR is all or nothing. You either keep all of channel 8 and its sub channels or you delete them all.
The Philips has a very low quality remote. I hope it lasts a year. I bought another. The quality of the Dish remote is much better, but it?s not excellent.
I have one of the older Mitsubishi rear projection TV?s and it only has one 1080i component input. It also has 480 component input. Although the standard TV images are similar for both units, I have only used the Dish on 1080i input. It has a very good image, but not excellent. My seven year old Direct TV HD receiver (use only for over-the-air TV) has a better image.
I will continue this review if they let me.
Updated on Jan 12, 2009
Although I'd advise against it, if everything was working, the Dish DVR would be better for everyday watching because it has two receivers, a better program menu or guide and better pause and rewind control. It also has a zoom feature the Philips doesn?t have. This will prevent burn-in on plasma and older TV?s.
The Philips is better if you want to record and edit your old VHS family movies or recordings or save current shows to disk.
I recieved a defective unit that works part of the time.
I tried many times (over seven hours of phone time) to resolve this problem.
Dish Network deactivated my product so it doesn?t work at all.
Dish won?t reactivate my product.
Dish won?t give me a return authorization.
Dish won?t pay return shipping for a defective product or even tell me where to send it.
Dish won?t return phone calls.
Pros Picture quality, TV guide on screen (where available), ease of use. dual tuner. HD
Cons Can be buggy at times
Summary i have had the unit for a month and love it so far. I used to use a panasonic dvd recorder and its no comparison. This rivals the dvrs from cable co.
Pros Easy to set up in minutes. (anyone could do it)
Good digital tuner that picks up all the stations.
7 day Program guide
And yes HD recording over 30 hours
No monthly fees in any way. Its all free after you buy the box.
Box stays very very cool !
Cons No video in the corner of the Guide like other dish network boxes, like the 622 or 722.
The box is not flat on top so no clean stacking other things on top.
There is a card for the box, that sticks out in front. :(
Summary The Dish Network "DTVPal DVR" is well worth the money. You can buy this one time and never pay anyone again for HDTV over local channels. You can set it up to record a show every week a lot like the old VCR's worked with ones a week at a given time, but much easier because all you have to do is push the Record button for what you are watching or something on the guide. You can also rewind what you are watching and record if from the time you first started watching that channel like other dish boxes.
The seven day program guide is great but no video of current show in the corner like the other dish boxes like the 622 or 722. I hope this will be upgraded with updates but no word on that. But the work around for that is push the Browse button and see one channel guide at the bottom of your show wile watching and go see the guide at the bottom of the picture.
You can Pause, Stop, Fast forward or rewind (at 4 different speeds 4x 15x 60x & 300x), slow motion-forward or reverse ( 1/15 or 1/4 speed) when in live mode or DVR but not wile recording a given show (have to go into the DVR to do that on recorded shows). The step forward or reverse works too but not so good.
OK this one should be on the Pros list but no room. This box has 2 tuners so you can record one or two shows at the same time. You can then watch either one of the two recording shows live (Stop,Rewind, Skip ect.. will not work unless you watch the same show in the recorded show on the DVR) or watch a old recorded show wile the two new shows record.
Another great feature is you can Skip forward (30 seconds) or Skip back (10 seconds) at any time other than during a recording. (like I said above, just watch the same show in the recording wile is records so all the fuctions work like Pause). I is not like that on other dish boxes but it works.
I did do a firmware update from F201 to F202 and when the update should have finnished the box locked up. I waited about a hour and unplugged the box and when I plugged it back in it finnished the update. I didn't see any change with the update. I used the Ethernet connection for the update and it worked good.
OK the last thing is this box is not even warm when running for hours so why did they make it not so good to stack other thing on top? (you can do it but front is lower than the back and a little rounded on top).
I like to point out thing but this really is a great box for what it is and I would buy it again.
Pros Nice OTA DVR without subscription fee. High Definition recording and playback. Record 2 shows at once, pause live TV, etc....just like a DVR should. Good picture qualify and tuner reception.
Cons Occasional reboots (3 times in 7 weeks so far).
Summary I've really enjoyed this product alot. I've never had a DVR before so I guess I'm easily pleased. I enjoy having the capability of pausing live TV, recording 2 TV shows at the same time or watching one show and recording another at the same time. Another thing I've done alot is record 2 TV shows and watch a 3rd on my HDTV through it's own tuner. My DTVPal DVR has rebooted 3 times in 7 weeks. Actually it rebooted 2 times in the 1st 2 days and only 1 time in the following 6 1/2 weeks, so I guess I'm one of the lucky people who got a DTVPal DVR that doesn't have the constant reboot or freeze up problems that other people have reported. I don't have to pay a monthly fee like I would if I had the TIVO OTA HD DVR which is a definite plus. I've read that the DTVPal DVR is not as fancy as other DVR's but that is not really a big issue for me since I was mainly a VCR user before this....so this DVR is great for me. I've enjoyed it alot!
Anyway, if you're lucky to get one that doesn't have the reboot or freeze up issues, then it's a great product. Hopefully Dish Network will eventually fix those problems and put out a more stable product.