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Tech Chat Review
Posted 11 February 2002 - 08:52 PM
Hello everyone and welcome to the Dish Chat Recap for February 11th. For the vacationing non-technical Tony Suárez, I am DBStalk.COM moderator Scott Greczkowski. (Yes folks Tony actually asked me to recap the chat for him tonight!)
I will do my best to recap all of the details of tonight’s chat, but because this is being typed live in real-time, so some mistakes may be made. I would like to apologize in advance for anything I may accidentally omit or type in wrong.
Tonight’s spell check is brought to you by Microsoft Word. (GRIN!)
With all the introductions and disclaimers in place, let’s get to the show!
While waiting for the show to start, we are treated to a video showing us how to use our remote control. Nowhere in the video does it instruct us how to change the channel from channel 101. Oh well. I wish they would bring Dish Network News (DNN) back. They could air the news between the remote control training videos. DNN made me feel like DNN was something special, it’s hard to explain but I did enjoy DNN very much. (Ok I admit it I am weird)
Anyways its 9PM – Lets roll the Opening! The opening looks like an ad for 1 a day vitamins. (Usually the Tech Chat opening has a high tech opening with some really good stereo separation. But not this time)
Tonight’s hosts are Mark Jackson and Dave Kummer. Dave had someone recognize him when he was Christmas Shopping. He was happy that people know who he is.
The 721 is on the Desk, with the CES Best of Show award on top of it (Folks don’t try this at home, by placing award on your receiver you could block vents and cause the receiver to overheat and malfunction.) (grin)
On tonight’s show we will talk about the new 721 receiver, we will show you the new Dish Home Interactive service, then Dave Bair will join us to talk about the upcoming satellite launch, some prizes and then viewer questions.
Our first topic of the night is the 721! The 721 will hold up to 110 hours of program., With the 721 you will be able to watch 1 show while recording another or record 2 things while watching a recorded program.
Mark tells us that Dish Network won the Best of Show award for the Model 721 and the Platinum Plus keyboard won an award too. Mark thinks its cool that Dish beat out the big Japanese companies by winning the big awards.
Dave thinks the 721 will be great because of the 721’s dual tuners, plus he thinks the new interface will wow a lot of people. They think that the 110 hours of storage is a great thing. (They do not mention however how Internet access will work on the 721, nor did they show the new interface, which they raved about)
The 721 install will be more complex, then any other Dish Network receiver install as it needs two inputs from Your Dish or switch, with the 721 you can use the new Dishpro Switch which can cascade together to expand your Dish Network setup.
Mark then gets serious and tells us not to drop the 721 as the hard drive in it is fragile. (….Umm Mark you mean I cant play Frisbee with my 721?)
Giveaway time – It’s a very cool looking flag dish (Yes the dish is painted like an American Flag!) Name 5 of the 7 places where the American is flown 24 hours a day by federal law. (BTW they say that the new Flag Dish will be on sale later this year)
Next up is more information on the new DishPro line of products. One of the nice fatures of the Dishpro line is that you will be able to have 200 foot cable runs. Dishpro has built in diagnostics to better tell you what’s going on with your equipment. We are then told that the Dishpro technology is for the new generation of receivers, it is mainly for new customers and is designed to make installs easier.
Next up is Dish Home – which is Dish Networks new OpenTV Interactive Service. Everyone who has a 4700 receiver should have a software update to make their receivers into a 4900. We are told that all 4900’s will soon have Dish Home that is the home for all the Dish Interactive services. You will be able to get to Dish Home by going to Channel 100.
Here is a video of the new Interactive services… Umm here is a video of the new Interactive services….. (Someone hit play on the tape!) Ahh there we go. The video finally rolls! The first really important feature shown of the new interactive software is the ability to pay your bill via your remote! (Everyone rush for this feature! (Why do I get the feeling you will be able to sign up for credit card auto pay with it too!?). Zap2It looks interesting, it gives you what they feel are the best bets on TV tonight, plus with Dish Home you can check movie listings for theaters in your area. Then we see the Dish Weather application (like we have not seen it before!). From there our Horoscope shows us that we are in the mood to play some games, From PlayitTV you can play golf, bowling, carrot mania and some other old Atari looking games (all the exciting price for $4.99 a month). And then the tape ends.
Mark admits that it took much longer for the rollout of Interactive that they hoped for.
The rollout of the new Interactive services is as follows.
At the End of February all the 4900s will have Dish Home.
Bye the Beginning of Arpil the 3900 will have Dish Home
By May the customer service app will be on the 4900’s and by june on the 3900’s
By July the 301’s and 501 will have Dish Home and Interactive.
You can find more info and a better schedule by going to www.dishnetwork.com/conte.../index.asp
Any receiver that can handle OpenTV should now have OpenTV. If you have a 3800 or 4700 which did not get the upgrade should be put in standby mode (powered off) for 30 minutes to get the update
Scott Davis – wins the American Flag Dish! The read off the answers so quick I did not get a chance to type them in.
Tonight we have a special guest Dave Bair who is the VP of Space Operations. He will tell us about the upcoming launch of Echostar 7, Dave tells us that there will be 3 launches by the end of the year. He wants to show us a tape in what goes into a satellite launch.
Here we see Echostar 4 satellite, showing how the Solar Array is deployed for testing. Next we see a huge airplane, which carries the satellite. Next we see the satellite being unloaded from the plane and prepared for launch. We then see the satellite lowered on to the top of a proton Rocket. We finally see the early morning launch from Russia. Dave tells us that Echostar 7 will be launched soon; then we are treated to a slide show of Echostar 7 photos. In an interesting photo we see a large helium balloon tied to the one of the satellite antennas, which simulates zero gravity on the antennas. Next we see a guy who fuels the rocket in a blue suit. We are shown the way the satellite is put on top of the rocket. End of slide show.
Next Dave Blair shows us a model of what Echostar 7 will look like when it is fully deployed in space. The Dishes on the satellite are 2.8 meters around. It weighs 4100 pounds with the fuel. The guys joke that it weighs about as much as 3 wet elephants. (no mention that Echostar 7 is a spot beam satellite)
Another giveaway – The prize is the new Dish PVR 508 (It’s a 501 with a larger Hard drive which can record up to 70 hours) Dave Kummer mentions that the 501 and 508 will have a alpha search feature added to it, which should be added by late spring. Also even though the 501 guide is 9 days in length, the 9 days guide should be considered a 7-day guide. The question for the giveaway comes from Dave Bair. He wants to know what are two propellants, which move a satellite through space. (geesh usually we don’t need pocket protectors for the Tech Chat especially after the last episode with how to buy a TV set!)
Next update – we have a new channel which shows customers how to program their remote control so next we see some video from this channel (gee we were just watching this before the show started up!) Tune to Channel 101 for answers to all your remote control questions.
Question time…. Joining them is Dan Minnick (Mark jokes that Dan is responsible for all the bugs in Dish Networks software) Dan is there to help answer questions.
First call from Ken from California. He has a PVR 501 and he wants to know how much drive space is on the 721. Dave answers that the hard drive on the 721 will be a 120-gigabyte drive. We are told that some of the drive space on the 721 will be used for Video on demand, which they hope to launch later this year. The majority of the drive space will be used for the consumer. We are told that The 501 had a 40 gig drive and the 508 had a 80 gig drive. Mark says that technology keeps improving and that Dish keeps improving with the technology.
Dave says Mike Zagorsky wins the giveaway for the 508. (Sorry again I didn’t catch the answer)
Lets go to some email questions. On the top of my screen I get pixeling on the top line of his screen he wants to know what it is. Dave Kummer has the answer and says he has seen this problem and that what he is seeing is data information which is being sent by the programmers on line 22 Most TV sets do not see this line. They are trying to figure a way to strip line 22 from the encoding process.
On the phone Mike from California, who is moving in to a ranch style house. He has a HDTV and wants to know how many cable to run and he also has 7 receivers they are telling him he has to pay full bill for the 7th receiver. They go to the peanut gallery for this and we are told that Dish only allows 6 receivers on one account. The caller is out of luck in this regard. We are told that the Dish 6000 is not a Dish Pro product meaning you can not hook it up to a Dishpro switch. It is noted that there will be converters available later but not now. To answer the question on how to wire his house it is hard to answer because it depends where you put the switch. Then it depends on the receivers.
Mail from Jim of Oregon. When he turns his 501 receiver off he hears a fan and hard drive noise, is this normal and what can he do about it. Dave again answers Yes the fan comes on when the temperature rises to high. He adises the caller to put the receiver someplace where it can get cool air. The hard drive will spin for a few minutes then turn off and it will turn on from time to time to update guide listings. If you leave the unit on the hard drive always run so this way the pause feature works. Sometimes it can take 20 minutes for the guide to spin down when you power it off.
Bill is on the phone – he has a Dishplayer and he wants to know there there will be any upcoming software additions. To answer the question here’s Wendell Blackman from the Peanut Gallery, who says that the Dishplayer is “A little unstable” he blaming Microsoft for the problems and says the unit will have no new features. (Not the answer we wanted to hear!)
From Dave via email. He currently has a model 6000 and wants to know if there is a HD PVR receiver. Mark answers this and says “Yes” there is its called a 921, it was showed at the CES. It is scheduled for release late in the 4th quarter. (I wouldn’t expect it till early 2003) Mark asks us to please be patient, it will get here when its ready. The HD recordings will have 1/6th storage capacity of a Standard Definition recording. Dave Kummer tells us that with the 921 you will be able to record both Standard Definition and High Definition on it.
Email from Art who is getting odd transponders when he wiggles the cable he gets them back, what’s going on? Dave says you have a bad connection. Arts receiver is not getting the full 18 volts through the cable. It’s a connection problem.
Travis is on the phone with a couple of questions.
1)        501 has switch check problems and aquiring signal problems he has a 301 which does not have the problem.
2)        He wants all remote codes put on the Dish Website.
3)        Will they fix the 6000 eliminate the banding problem.
4)        Finally is the Quam? system being developed?
Dave wants a clarification on the 6000 banding question. The caller can’t really explain it, just changes in the colors. Dave is confused, as HD does not do NTSC decoding. He has no answer for it.
Yes Dish does have a Quam system which is called the 3750, however this technology is only for Apartment buildings. A home consumer will have no use for it.
The 501 already has the 7 day guide so that’s an easy a question to answer. However if you’re a Dish 300 customer you only get a 2 day guide.
The caller is still on the line and is wondering about the unstableness of the 501, he has done a bunch of work but still not working correctly. Dave is talking to the peanut gallery with his mike off while the guy on the phone keeps talking. Dave then says check your software version it sounds like he does not have the p139 software revision. If you don’t have that you may have a problem with the receiver and if you have the 139 software then we need to RMA it for a new receiver.
As far as the remote goes what codes are in it are the ones it supports. Sorry. (they missed this question the caller was asking them to put a list of the remote codes on the website)
Email from Vito who has a second receiver with a sw64 switch looking at 3 satelite 110 / 119 and 61.5 and he can’t locate the even transponders on 61.5. Dave is
Happy with this question as it is an easy one, he needs a new LNB on the 61.5 dish.
Email has a bad receiver and wants to go buy a new one and wants to know if the new receiver will work on the Dish 300. He says for Curtis to call the CSC group and they will get him the equipment he needs.
Next email wants to know why is the info button so slow, sometimes the writer hits the button and the info pops up other times it take awhile to get any information. The reason is when you press the info button the receiver must go to the satellite and wait for the information to be sent down.(Its sent in a round robin format) With must carry the guide has grown and thus the reason for the slowness.
Next on the phone is Dustin who wants to know if the G4 gaming networks will be launched on Dish. Dustin it’s not the Charlie Chat it’s the tech forum. Sorry. The guys have no Idea what the G4 network is (nor do I for that matter!)
Email question - why can’t I get stereo audio from my TV set? The answer is that Dish Network does not support stereo through the RF modulator. Use the AV Outputs to get stereo sound.
Next email I have a 501 and I want to know if I can download the digital file to a DVD or VCD or to my computer? Mark kind of turns green on this one and talk about how the studios are worried about copyright. Dave then comes up with an idea and says that You cant transfer the files to DVD or VCD, however you can feed the analog recording to your computer and record it that way to DVD or VCD.
Monty from Mass is on the phone. The 721 has dual tuners will I be charged $5 more a month for the 2nd tuner. The answer is NO, there will be no extra charge, (yippie!)
Next email - I have a 501, Why can’t I watch one channel while recording another with it? They tell the writer to buy a 721 and that will be something you can do. You can however watch a recorded show while taping another on a 501, but they recommend the writer getting a 721.
Email from Audrey. We have 2 receivers but our house is weird for many rooms can I watch my receivers in the other room. Yes you can just wire them up to the RF outputs.
Mark lets us know that we are out of time, but they want all who have technical questions to email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will answer your questions. Mark and Dave mention that they actually spent the weekend out doing customer installs and had a great time going it.
The Next Charlie Chat is Monday March 4th a 9 pm Eastern.
Thank wraps things up. I am sure if I made any mistakes you will find people making corrections, you can find these corrections in the discussion forums at dbstalk.com or dbsforums.com.
Thanks for reading!
Posted 11 February 2002 - 11:32 PM
I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but when will the 721 be coming out for E* subs? Seems I have been seeing talk about it for many months now.
Posted 12 February 2002 - 04:46 AM
Thanks alot Scott, I only got to see the first 25 mins of it. Very nice recap !!
Posted 12 February 2002 - 05:57 AM
As usual another excellent review. Thanks Scott!!!
Did anyone notice the comment that the 721 might have VOD? That sounds interesting and I wonder what they will make available. Probably just PPV movies I bet.
My favorite line in the whole thing was from the Dishplayer tech "I don't know if you've noticed but the Dishplayer is a little unstable." Oh my, really???
Posted 12 February 2002 - 07:05 AM
My favorite line in the whole thing was from the Dishplayer tech "I don't know if you've noticed but the Dishplayer is a little unstable." Oh my, really???
When I was typing I was a few lines behind the what was being said on TV. I heard the line and I started to laugh and actually forgot exactly what he said.
If they can admit that the Dishplayer is unstable on national television then why can't the telephone reps say the same thing. I am sure I am not the only one calling with Dishplayer problems to be told something to the effect of "gee sir we have not heard of that problem before"
It was funny that the brought on this head of the software department to help answer questions and he did not even answer one question.
They did not say when the 721 would be released, they did not give a demo of the 721. They talked about the new satellite but no mention of the spotbeams. I was kind of suprised by the model of the new satellite, I would imagine a spot beam satellite to have different antennas pointed at the different areas covered by the spots.
It was much better then the last tech chat, but a lot of the stuff had me asking more questions at the end then questions I had before the chat started.
Posted 12 February 2002 - 07:47 AM
I sat on the phone most of the chat last night with my question...grrrr...then right as it ended I was sent to advanced tech support. The question: Are there plans to develop and release a module for the 6000 that will add a DVI output or an IEEE-1394 output? Answer was the 6000 is done and there won't be any future improvements. Of course, this came from a CSR, so take it with a very large block of salt. I sent off lots of emails with questions (none of which got answered), so I bet I get a call from Mark Cohen today...
At least they didn't tell us how to shop for a tv again. I found the sat launch info pretty interesting. All in all, a much better tech forum than last time!
Posted 12 February 2002 - 08:06 AM
I agree Mark. I also found the satellite launch stuff interesting. It was also neat to see what Mark Cohen looks like.
Posted 12 February 2002 - 12:44 PM
The satellite launch stuff was intresting. I didn't realize till last night that 3 satellites were scheduled to go up this year, I thought it was just 2.