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942 customer satisfaction thread (moved from bug reports)


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13 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   cebbigh

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 08:33 PM

Should i stay with Dish, or jump ship to DirecTV? is the DirecTV HD DVR any better?

I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks, Pete



It is unfortunate that you got your 942 after the 280/281 software. The 942 is really an excellent DVR when it's working the way it is supposed to. Because I've seen it perform well I'm inclined to stick it out while Dish gets it's act together. (I can't comment on directv because I've never tried it.)
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#2 OFFLINE   cyphire

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 10:51 AM

The 942 - An absolutely HORRIBLE unit!
Hey all - I am new to this thread, but want to state some facts which should be

known by all potential 942 buyers...

BUY THIS UNIT WITH CAUTION!!! In many ways it is a HORRIBLE experience!

My background and comparison info:
I have owned TIVO units (3) since they first came out many, many years ago. I have had Dish, including the first 921 in our area of So. Cal, as well as the 942 almost as soon as it came out. I am also a software design engineer and systems developer. One of my primary responsibilities over the years is the development of user interfaces.

The 942 I purchased was supposed to be a better unit than the 921 and fix the 921's software and programming issues. To a great extent it is a MUCH poorer interface than the 921. Thus - despite many positive reviews of the 942 - an advanced TIVO user or person who likes to get out of a DVR the ability to make smart recording decisions - will feel ripped off, lied too, and incredibly short changed!

On the record - I do not like Tivo as a company. They don't make money, put advertising on your unit (changing channels late at night and other offenses), and have horrible customer service (some have had good experiences, others nightmares). Dish has long wait times (sometimes), but their customer service seems friendly and eager to help. Kudos to them, on the other hand I would have preferred not to have had to call for support at least 2 hours a month since i have had their systems!

But there is no comparison with Tivo (at least the Non-HD ones I have had) and Dish. Tivo does NOT have issues. IT IS ROCK SOLID. The software for recording, making programming decisions, and it's guide quality are 10 years ahead of dish. Using the 921, and 942 for the same type of recording issues as a TIVO is like going backwards from a Lexus - to a Soviet patched up Gulag mobile... It will get you there but you will be in pain, will have lost skin, will have broken down, and will arrive at your destination dirty and relatively unhappy!

Some of the issues with this 'beta unit' are as follows:

1) Dependability. Much better than the 921 - but not ready for prime time.

Still locks up from time to time and has issues where it needs to be reset, especially when you are watching your favorite show!!!

If you are a die-hard sports fan - this is not the unit for you. You take a chance watching a sporting event that if you hit the rewind, review, back, forward buttons, that the unit will lock up, or that it will do a 'freeze' where you hear the audio, but the video picture is in a 'pause' mode where you can forward or backward, but never see anything but a 'still' picture of what you are watching. Dish says to reboot - but of course anything watched to that point is gone. Try watching the world series under this scenario and prepare
for major disappointment. Remember - the 942 was supposed to be dependable. It is less dependable than any technology item I own... And i own them all! Even Windows XP doesn't lock up anymore... and they don't control their own environment like the 942 does... It is just a poorly designed and non-bulletproof box.

2) Software. HORRIBLE! If any developer working for me wrote a system like this - they would be fired for incompetence. I wish that some of you who rave about this box would have had the pleasure of using Tivo - you don't know what you have been missing!

Just off the top of my head, and without sitting down at the unit and writing a very specific technical article - some specific issues:

- The 942's ability to do season passes (Dishpass) is a horrible interface. It asks you to type in the name of your show - and then makes a dishpass out of the letters you entered. Even the 921 brought up the names of the different shows it found, allowing you to pick the one you want. WIth the 942 it actually just takes the letters and makes the pass. Example - Type in a show name, it will not take the one you want and will not give you a chance to agree or refine your choice. Like most of the features of this unit - they tried to make it simpler in deference to problems with the 921, making it, in my opinion almost completely unusable.

- While watching the baseball game last night - on Fox, a channel Tivo has no time capturing every nuance of their programming, in the off air mode - you just get 'DIGITAL EVENT' or something. When i press the record button to record the rest of the game - I get:
THE FOLLOWING TIMERS WILL NOT BE RECORDED:
Then a list of all 13.... Thats right all 13 events which are in my system for the whole week show up, each as "LOCKED EVENT" (even though i use no security and they are not locked!!!). Thus you cannot record what you are watching - unless you manually go to every event in the timer menu (about the worst piece of user interface software ever written!) and remove each timer from that night manually... All just to try and make a choice in what you want to record.

- The worst offender (in my opinion) of the software is conflict resolution. In Tivo - it clearly states what show would be missing and asks you how to solve the conflict. Even the 921 - while cutting off most of the info you need to see the show name, gave you the option of deciding how to resolve the conflict you just created by trying to record a show by pressing the record button.... Here is how the 942 does it:

CONFLICT - Resolve by a) Priority List, B) Override priority with this show (something to that effect..)
NEVER SHOWS YOU WHAT THE CONFLICT IS....
DOES NOT HAVE A 'CANCEL BUTTON!!!!!!!!!!!' - CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! ONCE YOU HAVE PRESSED THE RECORD BUTTON YOU MUST GO FORWARD! LOSE YOUR SHOWS ON TIMER (You have no idea of what they are as this 'new' software does not list the conflicts... WHich even the 921 did!!!), or move new recording to the bottom of the conflict pile.

This is inexcusable... There should be a bright red label on the box: Warning - the software in this unit has been written by the Dish Network CEO's high school son and his friends... It was an extra credit project. Of course I am kidding... I don't think any legitimate high school student would want their name associated with this software.

- The menus are horrible - even less informative than the 921. The Dishpass system sometimes works, sometimes doesn't.. Of course my 921 didn't record my Sunday night shows... I suspect it needs a reboot - of course you don't know this till you realize that you might miss your show...

I love my weekly shows (ER, Desperate Housewives, Grays Anatomy), but am tired of going into the bedroom (where the 921 is) to verify the red light came on... Also (just an aside on the 921) If it's boston legal which was recorded it shows up as the show before (Commander in chief (or whatever)) as that recorded (0 minutes) (60 minutes boston legal) (0 minutes Nightly news)... Pretty funny! for years I have had to actually WATCH THE BEGINNING OF EACH SHOW.. VERIFY what i asked for was what the title is, then make a decision.

The Dish network HD PVR's suck your life away in small unhappy increments. Should anyone require exact technical examinations of each specific user interface issues, I will try to comply in the future - but I am busy and not a big writer of Blogs, AVSforums, etc.

While this seems like venting - it's been a long time coming. If you want something which works out of the box - do not go with Dish. The software is crap and the dependability of the units is poor. I only went with Dish because Tivo had no HD capability. I only wish that Dish had a quality software team on this project - and that they created good engineering - not a horrific, poorly designed piece of trash.

I NEVER write items like this. I do not normally vent. I am a great believer in fixing problems, not complaining about them. But.... Enough is enough... $1,000.00 for a 921... I became the 'beta' site for this unit. $1,000.00 for the 942... Was promised it was a quality unit... Have taken a HUGE step backwards.

If you are a technical user - don't buy this unit.

p.s.!!! Picture quality rocks!!!

p.p.s. I could list 20-30 interface issues with this system - I have only mentioned a few of the absolutely worse ones!

p.p.p.s. Have to go now... Have to confirm that my 921 is actually going to record the show it is set to!!!! (Bye) :mad:

#3 OFFLINE   LtMunst

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 11:23 AM

I was a long time TIVO user before the 942 also. Sure, the TIVO has better search functions and is a bit more intuitive than the 942 and certainly more reliable at this point. The 942 does have some of improvements over the TIVO however.

1. Record time remaining counter (Why in God's name does TIVO still refuse to include this???)
2. 1 hour vice 30 minute buffer
3. Video box allowing the continued watching of programs while using menus
4. Much quicker guide/menus
5. Better picture quality

Once your used to it, it's actually pretty easy to use. If the basic reliablilty issues are fixed, this will be a Great machine.

BTW: Since L280, the Beta testing program has been seriously stepped up. Dish is listening.

#4 OFFLINE   Ron Barry

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 06:38 PM

Cyphire

I read a number of your posts and it looks like you basically had the same thing to say about the 921, Dish customer service, and that you were moving to Cable. You even threatened to bad mouth E* through your 50 website and 200 employees. Question is why didn't you make the switch then if you are that upset over Dish?

I have had my share of software frustrations with E* and the 921 and I understand your frustration, however I do feel that your post goes a bit over the top and unless you have personal experience with the development team I believe your conclusions in terms of their ability are ill founded. I find your impressions of the 942 compared to the 921 is the exact opposite of a number of users that have used both.

Infact the next post from LtMunst seems to indicate this point. Have you used the 942 prior to L280 or are these impressions based on L280? Would be interesting because I have read a lot of positive posts on 942 though people seem to be feeling some pain with 2.80.

Since I don't have a 942(have a 921), I can't comment on some of the points you made. Since I have formal training in usability and UI design, I wish I have had some run time to give another opinion. From what I have read on the 942 threads, I did not get the impression the 942 is usability nightmare that you seem to indicate. From your posts you definitely have a Tivo background and I know for a fact that a Mac user moving to Windows and a Windows user moving to Mac usually incurs some level of frustration in the UI. Maybe this might be a factor in your impression to-wards the 942.

I would be very interesting in prior people opinions on the 942 vs the 921 in terms of usability. Does the 942 deliver in terms of NBR functionality?

Cyphire. My suggestion is take the worse feature in terms of usability and critique it in a constructive criticism way, add how you feel it should work, and drop it into the 942 support forum for other users to critique. See what feedback you get and that way Dish's eyes will see it too.
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#5 OFFLINE   JM Anthony

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 06:53 PM

I'm convinced E* will get the recent 942 issues resolved shortly. Never had a TIVO, but I watched my teenage daughters figure out the 942 in short order. They're my acid test (I've given up on my wife).
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#6 OFFLINE   Ron Barry

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 07:05 PM

The true acid test is the 70 year old Grandma. I am still amazed how much she uses her 721 and never needs any help with it anymore. She actually grasped it pretty quick. Now she is burning DVDs and transfering from VHS to DVD. Really picking up technology.

In my opinion, Kids are not a good acid test. Too Tech savey.. Go after grandpa and grandma.. there is the real challange. Make somethign they can quickly adapt to.
<strong class='bbc'>New Member of the 9K club & 922/612 User<br /></strong><span style='font-size: 8px;'>"A release is not a release until it is released." - Me. <br />"To the true believer, no proof is necessary. To the non believer, no proof is sufficient." - Peter James (Derived from a Stewert Chase Quote)</span>

#7 OFFLINE   Tom-Tx

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 12:07 AM

Prior to L280 the 942 was just plain great! My disappointment is the current frustration that Dish has subjected me to and allowed me to endure since L280 came out rather than rolling back the software.
Something went wrong in the last two upgrades for a large percentage of 942 users. Things happen. I understand that, but I feel there is no excuse for Dish to continue subjecting me to this current performance. They have had weeks to fix this. If it was apparent they couldn't fix it quickly, they should have rolled back the software. The previous version wasn't broke! Adding features that would support Dish's introduction of new hardware is not justification to inconvenience its customers the way they have.

#8 OFFLINE   rickc

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 09:11 AM

If it was apparent they couldn't fix it quickly, they should have rolled back the software. The previous version wasn't broke! Adding features that would support Dish's introduction of new hardware is not justification to inconvenience its customers the way they have.


Well said! I don't think you'll get very much argument there.

#9 OFFLINE   phat_b

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 03:57 PM

It is unfortunate that you got your 942 after the 280/281 software. The 942 is really an excellent DVR when it's working the way it is supposed to. Because I've seen it perform well I'm inclined to stick it out while Dish gets it's act together. (I can't comment on directv because I've never tried it.)


Oh, the irony! I could say the same thing about my experience with the 522. They substantially broke the unit back around the time NBR was released (about 10 months ago), and I'm still "sticking it out". Now we have a neat new bug where with certain configurations you can't record two programs at the same time. I'd hate to go back to D*, but I'm getting really tired of waiting for E*'s software guys to get their act together. It's actually a shame, because I have no doubt they could enjoy quite a bit more market share with better software testing and the increased customer satisfaction level that would generate. You know, it would be really neat if Mr. Ergen actually took an interest in our incessant rantings about this, but I fear that's only wishful thinking...
"Ahhh, what an awful dream. Ones and zeroes everywhere... and I thought I saw a two." ~ Bender B. Rodriguez

#10 OFFLINE   kspeters

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 05:02 PM

I have had a ReplayTV for years now and this thing is rock solid,,,never misses a recording. I wish Dish would look into their technology and lease it or whatever. I love the way it puts your recordings in order. For example,,,,It makes a "folder" for each timer and puts the recording there. So all my Firefly recordings go into this folder called Firefly and they are all together. Wonderful. I could live with the 942's way of doing things up until new software came out. Now I have missed recordings that the red light was on but it never showed up in the DVR page. I also have many recording errors when trying to play back the recordings. Very frustrating to pay this DVR fee when you don't have a DVR to use that works.
Thank God I have my ReplayTV to back up many of the reordings. :mad:

#11 OFFLINE   JM Anthony

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 07:12 PM

. . . In my opinion, Kids are not a good acid test. Too Tech savey.. Go after grandpa and grandma.. there is the real challange. Make somethign they can quickly adapt to.

I agree, but in my case, it's either my kids or my wife. Wife still has a problem with basic remote control functions. I gave up on her (at least this aspect) about 26 years ago! :lol:
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#12 OFFLINE   SteveinDanville

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 11:50 AM

Cyphire



Would be interesting because I have read a lot of positive posts on 942 though people seem to be feeling some pain with 2.80.

Since I don't have a 942(have a 921), I can't comment on some of the points you made. Since I have formal training in usability and UI design, I wish I have had some run time to give another opinion. From what I have read on the 942 threads, I did not get the impression the 942 is usability nightmare that you seem to indicate. From your posts you definitely have a Tivo background and I know for a fact that a Mac user moving to Windows and a Windows user moving to Mac usually incurs some level of frustration in the UI. Maybe this might be a factor in your impression to-wards the 942.

I would be very interesting in prior people opinions on the 942 vs the 921 in terms of usability. Does the 942 deliver in terms of NBR functionality?

Cyphire. My suggestion is take the worse feature in terms of usability and critique it in a constructive criticism way, add how you feel it should work, and drop it into the 942 support forum for other users to critique. See what feedback you get and that way Dish's eyes will see it too.


Are you kidding? You don't have a 942 and you're going to comment on the fact that you don't THINK the 942 is the nightmare that it's perceived to be? I have a 942 and loved it when I initially got it in June '05. Since L280 and L281, it has become an absolutely untrustworthy box of parts. I have never had a TiVo, but having been seduced by the pre-L280 software, this unit WAS awesome. Now, it absolutely drives me crazy. Above and beyond all the audio and freeze-up problems, which I have, and have had for what, 5 weeks now, THE PICTURE QUALITY HAS GONE DOWNHILL BIG-TIME! The amount of pixelation and macro-blocking is getting worse and worse, to the point that it's unwatchable. Even my poor wife has had a bellyfull, but mostly because she knows how much I spent on this box and the 55" plasma. I honest-to-God wish I still had my old 721 and Mitsubishi 50" RPTV; at least I knew what I was getting then. Oh, that's right, the 721 had the freeze-up issue when you'd do the 10-second-back thing... Dish, I've about had it. I now am watching all my local channels and extended basic cable package through my 10-year-old VCR's tuner, through composite cables to my plasma, and guess what; they look GREAT! I'm currently getting more bang for my buck out of my $17/month Comcast product than I am for over $120/month from Dish. Hello, is their a problem with this? I hate Comcast; the happiest day of my life was in 1997 when I dropped off my cable boxes at their office, thumbed my nose at them, and had my Dish installed. But now that they have locals on HD and a DVR product, I may just bail. Eight years of Dish, and I guess it's just been a painful experience. DISH, DON'T MAKE ME DO IT, BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO GO! DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT; YOUR PRODUCT SUCKS NOW, WHEN IT USED TO BE MUCH BETTER, BUT I STILL STAY, BECAUSE I HATE COMCAST MORE THAN YOU! One last note, and this is what Customer Service is all about: I have a Harmony 880 remote, and I was having time delay issues on my plasma. Even if I adjusted it down to 0 delay in ms, it still took almost 2 seconds for each Menu adjustment to occur. I phoned Logitech this morning, waited about 5 minutes, talked with a nice CANADIAN guy, he put me on hold for a couple of minutes, then he asked me to sync my 880 and then go try it. BINGO! Instant input changes on my plasma; as fast as on the OEM remote. He was very polite, asked if he could do anything else for me today, and then wished me a great day. Dish, take note, for that is what we are all expecting. It's still alive and well out there. There, I'm done. I've got to go find my Valium, I think I'm losing it completely.

#13 OFFLINE   Ron Barry

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 12:44 PM

Are you kidding? You don't have a 942 and you're going to comment on the fact that you don't THINK the 942 is the nightmare that it's perceived to be?


No I am not kidding.... Here is why.

Just because I don't have a 942, does not mean I cannot comment on what I am seeing on the board. Also if you notice, I elluded to the point of updates since L280 and mainly in terms of usability. I was commenting on some of the direct comments towards Usability and development. Both of which I do have experience in. Did I say I don't feel the 942 is a nightmare? Nope.. I stated my impression from reading others that are users of the 942.

In terms of reliability, I did make not any judgement and actually stated the fact I don't have one and stated my opinion was based on others posted here. I don't think there is anything wrong with that and just because I don't have a 942 does not mean I cannot comment on my observations on the board.

I understand your customer pain. I myself have felt it with the 921. However, when I read cyphire posts and his previous posts, I felt the need to reply to it and give what I felt was the other side of the coin. Ofcourse from my perspective.

From what I have read... No I don't get the impression the 942 is a nightmare in general. Yes 2.80 did seem to be a bad update and there are people having some issue does not mean that everyone is. The 811 and 921 for example, even today, has a lot of people that are having no issues at all and some think it is a nightmare from hell. I have learned just because I maybe be having a reliability issues with my 921 or 811 does not equate to the unit being a bad product. Got to take other peoples experiences into account and based on the 942 forum in general I would not come to that conclusion.

Looks to me that 280 and 281 introduced some instability and as a result customer pain. Time will tell if the team can get back on trake and return the 942 back into a more reliable state that people were reporting.

Hope this clarifies my point and my thoughts.
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#14 OFFLINE   SteveinDanville

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 01:27 PM

September 23rd to October 29th, and my 942 is getting worse. Just called Dish Network for the 4th time, and I finally was asked if I'd ever been connected to the "TPS" team? I said no, although last time they were going to transfer me to an advanced team and I got disconnected, and I gave up. They said that somebody will contact me within 24-48 hours from the engineering group. I'll wait and see. She admitted that there are a number of software related issues and Dish is well aware of them.

All this because of the PocketDish. Give me a break.




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