Jump to content

Welcome to DBSTalk


Sign In 

Create Account
Welcome to DBSTalk. Our community covers all aspects of video delivery solutions including: Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), Cable Television, and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). We also have forums to discuss popular television programs, home theater equipment, and internet streaming service providers. Members of our community include experts who can help you solve technical problems, industry professionals, company representatives, and novices who are here to learn.

Like most online communities you must register to view or post in our community. Sign-up is a free and simple process that requires minimal information. Be a part of our community by signing in or creating an account. The Digital Bit Stream starts here!
  • Reply to existing topics or start a discussion of your own
  • Subscribe to topics and forums and get email updates
  • Send private personal messages (PM) to other forum members
  • Customize your profile page and make new friends
 
Guest Message by DevFuse

Photo

DBSTalk First Look: In-Home DVR-942 Review, Part 1 - Introduction and Installation


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
2 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Mark Lamutt

Mark Lamutt

    Your Neighborhood Liasion

  • Registered
  • 12,527 posts
Joined: Mar 23, 2002

Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:01 AM

DISH Network™ DISH Player-DVR 942 Review
By Mark Lamutt, DBSTalk Administrator
All text and images ©2005 www.DBSTalk.Com and Mark Lamutt
No other use is allowed without prior written permission from www.DBSTalk.Com and Mark Lamutt
Permission is not granted to distribute, republish or post this review’s text or images in part or in entirety at any other internet site or location, other than www.DBSTalk.Com


1.0 Introduction

Welcome to the DBSTalk First Looks Review of the new DISH Player-DVR 942 receiver from DISH Network™. This review is based on the initial Production software version, L221.

The first, and most important question that users are asking about this receiver is “Should I buy this receiver, and if so, why?” My answer to this question is a definite YES, but with a caveat. Currently, the DVR-942 is one of the more stable DISH Network™ receivers that I’ve seen released since the early days of the basic receivers. It is the also the most feature packed receiver that DISH Network™ has ever released. And, it’s very reasonably priced for ownership with an MSRP of $749 (with dish antenna) or $699 (without dish antenna), and it will also be available in the Digital Home Advantage lease program for a one-time upgrade fee of $250 for new customers. An existing customer lease has not been announced, although DISH Network™ has stated they are looking at the possibility.

However, there is a caveat that prevents me from answering the question with an unequivocal YES. The biggest issue with the DVR-942 is that it is an MPEG2 receiver, and it is not upgradable to the forthcoming MPEG4 standard. To the average user, this means that the DVR-942 will not be able to receive and record future MPEG4 high definition channels. During the January, 2005 Customer Charlie Chat, it was announced that any new DISH Network™ high definition channels may only be transmitted in MPEG4 format. Historically, DISH Network™ has provided low cost or no cost upgrade paths with the introduction of new technology. Examples include upgrading the DISH 300 dish antennas to DISH 500 dish antennas, upgrading DISH 5000 HD modulator users to DISH 6000 receivers, and offering the DISH 6000 8PSK modules for no cost with a programming commitment. The upgrade path precedent has been set, but there’s no guarantee that it will be offered for the DVR-942.

So, with that caveat said, how can I recommend this receiver? Because in my opinion after extensively using the DVR-942, it’s the best receiver that DISH Network™ has ever released to the public. It’s what the DVR-921 should have been. I am very excited about this receiver, and in my opinion you would be doing yourself a disservice by dismissing it immediately without considering what it can do.

In this review, any time a command entered from the remote control is used, it will be presented in blue. For example, Menu-6-1 indicates pressing the Menu button, followed by the 6, followed by the 1.

1.1 Definitions

There are several terms that are applicable to the DVR-942 receiver of which you may not be aware.

Previous DISH Network™ receivers (other than the DVR-522 and the 322) have offered one set of video output connections (DVI, component video, S-video, composite video, RF coax). The DVR-942 has two distinct sets of outputs – TV1 and TV2.

TV1: The TV1 output is connected to your primary high definition display device via HDMI or component video connections.

TV2: The TV2 output is connected to a secondary standard definition display device, or to a video distribution system via composite video or RF coax connections.

The DVR-942 can be operated in two distinct modes – Dual User Mode and Single User Mode. Different features and options are available depending on which mode you choose to use.

Dual User Mode: In this mode, the DVR-942 operates as two distinct, independent receivers inside of one case. The TV1 and TV2 outputs display different programming, and are independently controlled via remote control. PIP is not available in Dual User mode because each tuner is treated as if it were its own separate receiver. And, you cannot watch digital (ATSC) off-air channels on TV2.

Single User Mode: In this mode, the DVR-942 operates as a single, dual-tuner receiver. The TV1 and TV2 outputs display the same programming (if TV2 output is enabled), and both remotes control the receiver identically. PIP is available in Single User mode, and digital (ATSC) off-air channels can be viewed on the TV2 output.

To switch between these two operating modes, you press the MODE button on the front panel of the DVR-942. It is not currently possible to switch between operating modes via the remote controls.

1.2 DVR-942 feature comparison with the DVR-921

I said that the DVR-942 is what the DVR-921 should have been. Let’s take a look at the specific features the DVR-942 offers that the DVR-921 doesn’t (currently) offer.
  • Name-based Recording as well as manual time-based recording
  • DISH Pass™ Recording
  • Output of HD and SD simultaneously
  • HD Picture in Picture
  • 480i SD output via the TV1 component and HDMI outputs
  • All video outputs are active all of the time
  • All three tuners can record HD (and/or SD) simultaneously, while watching a fourth (in Single User mode) and a fifth (in Dual User mode) prerecorded HD program
  • A more robust, later generation 8VSB Over the Air chipset
  • Direct swapping between the tuners via remote button
  • A remote that sends IR signals to the DVR-942
  • Closed Captioning on 720p high definition channels
  • A user interface that looks and feels much nicer
  • DISH Home™ and Customer Support interactive applications
  • Independent tuner control in Dual User mode, or a dual tuner receiver in Single User mode
  • TV2 output modulated in stereo via RF output to off-air channels (21-69) or cable channels (73-125)
  • Direct access to the timers screen without going through the menus
  • Faster operation in almost all circumstances
  • Partial Zoom format
  • An extended widescreen guide showing 3 hours of guide data for 7 channels (with preview video window) or 3 hours of guide data for 9 channels (without preview video window).
  • An enhanced guide display with larger text fonts
  • HDMI high definition video output
  • Very quiet operation – the fan is currently about half as loud as the DVR-921 fan
  • The AUX mode on the remote can be configured to control a second DISH Network™ receiver via IR and/or UHF

DISH Network™ trademarks are property of EchoStar Satellite L.L.C., and are used with permission.


Mark Lamutt
markdl@dbstalk.com
Your DBSTalk.Com Community Liaison to Dish Network

#2 OFFLINE   Mark Lamutt

Mark Lamutt

    Your Neighborhood Liasion

  • Topic Starter
  • Registered
  • 12,527 posts
Joined: Mar 23, 2002

Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:01 AM

DISH Network™ DISH Player-DVR 942 Review, page 2
By Mark Lamutt, DBSTalk Administrator
All text and images ©2005 DBSTalk.Com and Mark Lamutt
No other use is allowed without prior written permission from www.DBSTalk.Com and Mark Lamutt
Permission is not granted to distribute, republish or post this review’s text or images in part or in entirety at any other internet site or location, other than www.DBSTalk.Com


1.3 Physical Characteristics of the DVR-942

The DVR-942 is approximately 16” wide by 13” deep by 3.5” high and should be installed in a location where it will have at minimum 2” of free space on the sides and top to ensure proper ventilation. The following picture shows the size difference between the DVR-942 and a DVR-921 receiver:

Posted Image

The front controls of the DVR-942 receiver are hidden behind a flip-down door on the right side. The door is opened by pressing the top center of the panel. Front controls consist of buttons for the four directional arrows, Select, Power, Info, Menu, Mode and System Information. Also included behind this door is a USB 2.0 port, to be used for future applications (such as downloading to those handheld units shown at CES this year). Below is a picture of the front panel controls.

Posted Image

There are five color LEDs on the front center of the DVR-942, which indicate power status, user mode and recording status. The LEDs are located under three labels – Mode, TV1 and TV2. The following series of pictures show the combinations of front panel lights on the DVR-942. First up is the DVR-942 powered up in Single User mode. The green LED indicates power and the yellow LED indicates operating mode status.

Posted Image

Next is the DVR-942 powered up in Single User mode with an event being recorded on one of the tuners, indicated with the red LED lit under the TV1 label.

Posted Image

Here is the DVR-942 in standby mode (off) in Single User mode, while an event is being recorded on one of the tuners:

Posted Image

Next is the DVR-942 powered up in Dual User mode. In addition to the yellow and green LEDs being lit, the blue LED is now lit under the TV2 label as well.

Posted Image

Next is the DVR-942 powered up in Dual User mode with the TV1 tuner recording an event.

Posted Image

Next is the DVR-942 powered up in Dual User mode with both the TV1 and TV2 tuners recording events. This is the condition with the most LEDs illuminated at one time on the front of the receiver.

Posted Image

And finally, here is the DVR-942 in standby mode (off) in Dual User mode, while both the TV1 and TV2 tuners are recording events:

Posted Image

The rear connections of the DVR-942 are shown in the following pictures. First up is an overall picture showing all connections.

Posted Image

The next picture shows a close up picture of the left side of rear of the receiver. You can see the 2 satellite line RF connections, the 1 8VSB Off-Air antenna/Cable conenction, the UHF stub antenna RF connection, and the TV2 output connections including an RF output and composite video/RCA audio outputs.

http://www.dbstalk.com/images/942/942_back2-TN.jpg

The next picture shows a close up picture of the right side of the rear of the receiver. You can see the TV1 output connections including the component video outputs, analog RCA audio outputs, a digital audio optical (toslink) output, an HDMI video/audio output, a USB 2.0 input and a phone line input.

http://www.dbstalk.com/images/942/942_back3-TN.jpg

1.4 Inside the Box

So, what’s under the hood of the DVR-942? It ships with a 250 GB Serial ATA hard drive, capable of holding roughly 25 hours of high definition recordings, 180 hours of standard definition recordings or a combination of both. Different source resolution programming requires different amounts of disk space to record, so these numbers are rough estimates. For example, a one hour 12.5 MB/s 720p source program requires less disk space to record than a 19.2 MB/s 1080i source program.

The single fan is located directly beneath the hard drive enclosure, and it is whisper quiet. I cannot hear the fan operating with the 942 installed behind a glass door in my equipment rack. Currently the fan runs all the time, regardless of whether the DVR-942 is “on” or “off.” Like the other DISH Network™ DVR receivers, the DVR-942 is never truly off unless it is unplugged. When you press the Power button on the remote, the DVR-942 is placed in Standby Mode, with a DISH Network™ icon scrolling around the screen.

1.5 DVR-942 Remotes

The DVR-942 ships with two remote controls. They are shown in the following picture:

http://www.dbstalk.com/images/942/942_remotes-TN.jpg

The green remote is IR only and is used with TV1. The blue remote is both IR and UHF Pro and is used for TV2. Both are set to their own independent remote address. The blue TV2 remote can also be programmed to control another DISH Network™ receiver with the AUX button via IR and/or UHF (not UHF Pro).

Both remotes look and feel very much like the DVR-921 and 811 remotes in that they are comfortable in the hand, with the button shapes making it very easy to operate the remotes without looking at them.

I have used the green TV1 IR remote 60 feet away from the receiver, and it worked very well from that distance. I have used the blue TV2 UHF Pro remote through 2 floors and about 150 feet away from the receiver, and it also worked well from that distance. But, your mileage will probably vary with the TV2 remote, depending on the materials with which your walls are made, and the number of floors between your remote and receiver.

If you end up having a hard time getting your TV2 remote to function reliably, here’s a list of things to try that have helped users in the past:
  • Make sure the satellite receiver UHF antenna is away from other metal objects and wiring as much as possible, including electronics (DVD player, etc.) located on a shelf above the satellite receiver. In this case, the antenna should be angled down so the tip is separated from the electronics by a couple of inches if possible. Shifting the position of the satellite receiver on the shelf can help too.
  • If the TV2 room is a floor or two above or below where the STB is located orienting the antenna as horizontal (flat) as possible may help.
  • Sometimes it helps to move the antenna away from the back of entertainment center wiring and other electronics with a length of RG-6 cable (3 to 5 feet).
  • The unused 15 dB F connector attenuator included with the DVR-942 (or another value such as 6 dB from Radio Shack, etc.) can be installed in between the UHF antenna input and the antenna to improve performance in certain circumstances. This works best for distances of up to approximately 75 feet within a residence.
  • Combining the RG-6 cable extension with the attenuator may be needed when the prior steps are not effective

DISH Network™ trademarks are property of EchoStar Satellite L.L.C., and are used with permission.


Mark Lamutt
markdl@dbstalk.com
Your DBSTalk.Com Community Liaison to Dish Network

#3 OFFLINE   Mark Lamutt

Mark Lamutt

    Your Neighborhood Liasion

  • Topic Starter
  • Registered
  • 12,527 posts
Joined: Mar 23, 2002

Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:02 AM

DISH Network™ DISH Player-DVR 942 Review, page 3
By Mark Lamutt, DBSTalk Administrator
All text and images ©2005 DBSTalk.Com and Mark Lamutt
No other use is allowed without prior written permission from www.DBSTalk.Com and Mark Lamutt
Permission is not granted to distribute, republish or post this review’s text or images in part or in entirety at any other internet site or location, other than www.DBSTalk.Com


2.0 Installation and Setup

As I stated in the previous section, the DVR-942 should be installed in a space where it has at least two inches of clearance on the sides and the top to allow for heat dissipation. The receiver includes rubberized “feet” to aid in normal operational vibration abatement. As such, it is designed to be installed in a horizontal position.

2.1 Cable Connections

The DVR-942 has two satellite tuners capable of tuning both high definition and standard definition satellite programming. For proper operation, both satellite tuners must be connected to your satellite LNBs or to your switch, and must both see exactly the same satellite configuration. The DVR-942 may temporarily work with only one of the satellite tuners connected, but you WILL encounter instability and timers not firing correctly if you attempt to operate the receiver with only one tuner connected. Besides, the dual tuner operation is one of the best features of the DVR-942.

To connect both tuners to your satellite, you have three options:
  • Run two separate coax cables from your LNB or switch to your DVR-942 location. If you are connecting to a DishPro Quad LNB, it is recommended that the two lines running to your DVR-942 be installed on outputs 1 and 4 of the LNB. If you are running 2 lines from cascaded switches (2 DishPro 34 switches, 2 SW-64 switches), both lines connecting to the DVR-942 must be output from the same switch.
  • Run one coax cable from a DishProPlus 44 switch to your DVR-942 location. Connect the cable to a DishProPlus Separator, and then connect both tuners to the Separator outputs.
  • Run one coax cable from a DishProPlus Twin LNB to your DVR-942 location. Connect the cable to a DishProPlus Separator, and then connect both tuners to the Separator outputs.
I cannot stress this enough – do not expect the DVR-942 receiver to operate normally if you do not connect the satellite tuners via one of these three connection options.

The DVR-942 also has one 8VSB off-air/cable tuner. To view off-air digital and/or analog channels or to view analog cable channels, connect your antenna or cable line to this input. The DVR-942 is not capable of decoding digital cable or high definition cable signals. To view local digital channels in your area, you must connect an off-air antenna to this input.

The TV1 output of the DVR-942 is designed to be connected to your high definition television with an HDMI connection (which provides audio and video feeds), or via component video cables. If your HDTV has a DVI input, connect to your television’s DVI input using the supplied HDMI to DVI converter. If your television doesn’t have a digital video input (like mine), connect the TV1 output to your television with component video cables. If you connect to your television with HDMI, no further connections are necessary. If not, then connect the digital optical audio output to your A/V receiver. RCA analog audio outputs are also provided for 2 channel stereo audio output from TV1.

The TV2 output of the DVR-942 is designed to be connected to a standard definition television via either composite video/RCA analog audio, RF coax, or both. The RF coax output offers modulated 2 channel stereo audio output, designed to be connected to a whole-house distribution system. The composite video outputs are designed to be connected to some other device installed in or near the same location as the DVR-942 (alternate television input, VCR, etc.) Many comments have been made about the lack of S-video output from TV2. I can tell you this – on my 51” Sony HDTV, the TV2 composite video output looks better than the S-video output from my DVR-921 or either of my 508s.

Attach the UHF stub antenna to its connection, and then connect your phone line. If you don’t connect a phone line to the DVR-942, when you power on, you will be greeted by the following message:

Posted Image

You must connect a dial-up phone line to avoid the “extra tuner” fee of $4.99 per month. The phone line connection is also required for CallerID operation, some of the customer service interactive applications, and to order PPV events. VoIP, cell phone connections and broadband connections may not allow for these features to work, and are not supported.

2.2 Initial Setup

Once all of your connections are made, you’re ready to plug the DVR-942 in and turn it on.

The first thing that will happen is that you will be forced to do a Check Switch. The following is a picture of the Check Switch screen matrix.

Posted Image

Your screen will not have all of the data filled in until you actually do the Test. While the Check Switch is being done, you will see the following screen:

Posted Image

Depending on what kind of switches or LNBs you have installed, the number of tests you see may be anywhere from 3 to 48. Fortunately, the test doesn’t take very long to complete. Once the Check Switch process is complete, you will see your matrix filled out (assuming your satellite, switches and cables are installed correctly). If you click on the Details button, you will see a screen similar to the following picture, with your installation details:

Posted Image

Once the Check Switch has been successfully completed, you will then see a popup message box (ATTN 055) asking you “Is the mounting and positioning of your dish complete, with a "Locked" indication in the point dish and signal strength screen?" You will be presented with three options – “Yes”, “Cancel” and “No”. Answer YES to this popup box (assuming that your installation is complete).

Once you answer YES, you will then see the following message box appear on screen. This screen indicates that your DVR-942 is downloading the current version of the software from the satellite. While this screen is visible, don’t disturb your receiver (i.e. unplug it, reboot it, turn it off, etc. Just leave it alone.) The download process will take about 5 minutes.

Posted Image

Once the software is downloaded to your receiver, you will see the following popup screen:

Posted Image

During this step, the software is being written to memory, so it is very important that you don’t do anything to disturb the receiver during this process. The installation process will take about 5 minutes.

After the software is successfully installed, you will see the following screen:

Posted Image

The five tests will be completed (in less than 2 minutes usually), and then you will be taken to the guide download screen, shown below:

Posted Image

At this point, your receiver is downloading the guide data. The download will take between 3 and 5 minutes. Total software update time is between 15 and 20 minutes. Once the download is complete, your guide will be fully populated with data out to almost 9 days. If for some reason your guide is not fully populated, the first thing you should do is to try to force the guide data download again by re-running the Check Switch. This should force the guide data to download again. If that doesn’t fully populate your guide, then let it sit overnight, and the nightly guide data download should complete the job.

Once the guide data is downloaded, your DVR-942 will then be tuned to channel 101, and you will be ready to go! If you haven’t already called DISH Network™ (1-800-333-DISH) to have your DVR-942 activated, do so now. Have your receiver CAID number, and Smart Card ID number handy. These can be found on the System Information screen.

Link to Part 2



DISH Network™ trademarks are property of EchoStar Satellite L.L.C., and are used with permission.


Mark Lamutt
markdl@dbstalk.com
Your DBSTalk.Com Community Liaison to Dish Network




spam firewall