"Can't Watch Live TV On Both TVs While Recording"3.5 starson by hilojackgame
Pros: -Great picture quality.
-High DVR capacity.
-Can pause Live TV on 2 televisions if you aren't recording anything. (Wait... That's actually a "Con", in my book.)
Cons: -Can't watch live TV while recording.
-Changing channels is very slow.
-Rewind and Fast Forward speeds are very inconsistent, easy to overshoot.
-Menu is not intuitive; particularly with regard to Timers.
-Software is a bit buggy and clunky.
Summary: This is my first Dish DVR. I was a longtime cable DVR user, and I am very disappointed at no longer being able to watch one live show (on each TV) and record another (on each TV). This is a HUGE oversight by whoever designed these DVR units. The whole point of being able to time shift is: NOT tying up your TV with whatever you are recording.
With the cable company's Scientific Atlanta box, for example, I could record 2 shows and watch a 3rd Live TV show simultaneously, no problem. I could even pause and rewind the Live TV show I was watching.
With Dish DVR, you can't do that. If you are recording 2 shows (one on the "TV1" tuner, and one on the "TV2" tuner), then you CAN NOT watch Live TV AT ALL. The act of recording essentially TIES UP the each tuner.
This is a HUGE drawback, and if I had known about it in advance, I might have stuck with Cable. I don't want to have to plan my evenings around what's on Live TV, versus what I want to record. I often record two shows at once while watching TV. DVR recording is supposed to happen "in the background", it's not supposed to conflict with the same tuner(s) that you use to watch TV. They should be *completely* separate.
I can't stress that enough. This is inexcusable.
In fact, I specifically asked Dish if you could watch Live TV on both tuners, while recording two shows at the same time. They told me you can. (I have it in an email). So, either they lied, or their employees don't know their own products. Either way, I don't care. This is a BIG deal, and it's VERY poor design choice to omit this. It is a huge disadvantage over other companies' DVRs.
Essentially, because the DVR shares the tuners with the Live TV, my family now has to schedule what we watch on Live TV *around* stuff we want to record. That is SO backwards it isn't funny.
Anyhow, barring that, the rest is not all bad. The picture quality is terrific. And (assuming no one in the house has scheduled any DVR recordings), being able to pause and rewind two TVs, while watching Live TV on each, is wonderful.
The menu is a little clunky and unintuitive. I often find myself having to start over or hit Cancel, because it turned out what I wanted was in a different part of the menu.
It also seems rather silly, but as high-tech as it is, this thing still complains when it can't find a connection to a telephone landline. I have it connected to my High-Speed Internet via ethernet cable. Yet, it still tries to make outgoing telephone calls. None of the Customer Service options function via Internet. It just says "could not detect phone line" and there is no way for me to tell it "There's no phone, use the Internet instead". What a software UI gaffe.
I once scheduled a recording of one TV show, (I had "Once" selected, not "All", and not "First Run". I *promise*.), only to find that it had decided to schedule DVR Timers for about 16 instances of that show. I had to delete them all one by one. What a pain.
Also, it is rather slow to change channels. It literally takes ~5.5 seconds to change a channel. I just timed it, doing three trials using a chronograph. This isn't a deal-breaker for me, but it does make channel-surfing a chore. You can avoid this by using the Guide to channel-surf, but it still means a 5.5 second delay if you're using Recall to jump back and forth between two shows. Having switched from cable, that 5.5 seconds feels like an eternity. I have to tell myself, "this is what I'm giving up in exchange for the savings."
In fact, my experience with this box, in general, has been fraught with telling myself just that: "This is what I am putting up with, in exchange for the [theoretical] cost savings over Cable."
*Some of* the technology in this DVR is definitely impressive. The ability to add external storage is a no-brainer that will certainly come in handy. The ability to connect to the Internet (not an issue for Cable, since they can stream content to you via the cable - but brilliant for a satellite company) is sure to add some value. And of course, running two TVs off one box is very slick indeed. Fewer box rental fees is always a good thing.
They just need to make it so that you can watch Live TV while recording shows, on BOTH tuners. If this means adding 2 more tuners to the box, then so be it. That's what they need to do. That is what the designers of a WELL-DESIGNED, WELL-THOUGHT-OUT DVR box would have done. This implementation is a half-measure. However, it may be a half-measure you can live with.
I know there is no "perfect" solution currently on the market, and I admit, this box is right up there in the upper echelon of the "as close to perfect as currently exists in 2010" category. As-is, this DVR box could be an ideal solution for you, IF you don't mind tying up your TVs' ability to watch live shows while you're recording.