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Initial impressions of E* coming from D*

Discussion in 'DISH™ High Definition Discussion' started by cornflakes, Nov 5, 2006.

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  1. Nov 5, 2006 #1 of 14

    cornflakes Legend

    Sep 30, 2005
    Finally got hooked up today and so far I'm pretty happy... For those who are considering switching from D* (especially if you're using a HD DirecTivo), here are some of my opinions of the two. I'm going to start with the good:

    1. E* seems to have neater features on the equipment side, such as the separator/combiner that allows you to power two satellite inputs with just one cable (as far as I know D* doesn't have this because my D* install required 4 separate cables to power two DVRs in two rooms). The vip622 DVR which is what I got, allows you to watch two separate shows on two separate TVs on one box, which is something D* doesn't have.

    2. The picture quality of SD channels looks better in my opinion, though only by very little. Not a huge difference, but pictures do seem to be sharper. In all fairness this could be due to me using DVI (converted from HDMI) on the vip622, instead of component which was what I used on my HD DirecTivo. My DirecTivo's HDMI port was DOA and I never bothered to replace it.

    3. The vip622 does a much better job than my DirecTivo at picking up OTA channels. With my DirecTivo I could barely pick up any OTA channels, and usually they are subject to a lot of signal loss. The vip622 is able to pick up those channels strongly. Same antenna was used. I'm very happy about this.

    4. HD channels including MPEG4 look great... however during fast motions I can see pixellation. I forget which channels, but I believe they were both VOOM channels. However, I haven't experienced any of the "Max Headroom"-style audio stuttering that I had to deal with on D*.

    5. Dish's own vip622 DVR is definitely more mature than D*'s own R15 which I also have. You can tell the software is much more polished and less buggy. I'm not very confident in D*'s own hardware.

    Now some not-so-positives...

    1. Tivo I feel is still by far the best DVR interface. It's so simple to use and organized. I feel a little lost trying to find my way around the vip622. I already miss my DirecTivo.

    2. The vip622 heats up quite a bit. In my entertainment unit with an open back and a glass door, the DVR got to be too hot to touch, and had restarted itself 5 times. I relocated it to have it openly sit on top of the entertainment unit and it has cooled down significantly and I havent' experienced a reboot since.

    3. The vip622 has a maximum of "288 timer events"... these are shows that are on the "to do" list, and includes shows that are not to be recorded (such as duplicates). I quickly hit this limit, and I was unable to program in my 50 "Season Passes" into the vip622. As far as I know DirecTivo doesn't have this limit. By the way, this has been mentioned a couple of times in the forum, but it doesn't hurt... vip622's timers are like Tivo's Season Passes, and vip622's Dish Passes are like Tivo's Wishlist. Don't confuse a Dish Pass for a Season Pass!

    4. 129 satellite is coming in a bit weak... certain transponders are getting 55 signal levels. While watching Food Network HD I noticed a couple of dropouts. I am in Los Angeles (Redondo Beach to be exact), using a Dish 1000.

    So I've had the system for less than 12 hours, but so far I'm very happy and I'm glad I switched. I will be playing around with it more this weekend and will share more comparisons between the two.
  2. Nov 5, 2006 #2 of 14

    shortspark Legend

    Oct 25, 2006
    I switched from D* to E* about a week ago. I had been a loyal D* customer since they first started a dozen years or so ago. Out here in the woods where I live there is no cable, dsl or broadband of any kind. In order to get "locals", I needed a 60' tower antenna with rotor. So, it was a God-send when sat tv first came out.

    I updated as time went along with a couple of HD tvs and D* receivers such as Samsung 360 in the bedroom and the Zenith 520 in the den. I also had the tivo in the den but it was standard definition.

    I went with E* for a couple reasons. The HD content was better and I much prefer Sirius over XM. Speaking of Sirius, E* allows you to record to their 622 (or any stb I suppose) their Sirius music channels. You can save them on the pvr hard drive and play them back at will just like a tv program. This is important to me as I like to record complete operas that can run several hours long. On the other hand, D* did not allow its XM audio stream to be recorded on the Directivo. I don't know why they had this restriction. When I heard E* did allow for audio only recording, I jumped ship.

    My impressions overall are similar to yours. Although I never had the HD tivo, I am very pleased with the performance of the 622. Basically, this one box has replaced my tivo (which I loved and had an easier interface than the 622) and my Zenith HD 520-STB in the den and my Samsung HD 366 STB in the bedroom. And at a cost that is a bit cheaper than D*. I got a good sign-up deal too that includes the 622 for free (they give you $20 a month off the bill for 10 months), installation with the 1000 dish and the dealer even have me a $100 rebate certificate. I imagine customer service will be like D* - hit or miss depending on who you get on the line.

    I was a little disappointed that the 622 did not send HD signals to tv2; however, I must say that their HD downconverted signal is quite good. But since I had both the Zenith and Samsung STBs laying around, I simply hooked up the OTA to the Samsung and now I can watch true HD tv in the bedroom through it, bypassing the tv2 Dish signal all together.

    D* seemed to have an overall stronger signal strength. But the E* is adequate (we will see what happens when bad weather hits). Picture quality is the same and I had my HD tvs hooked up to my D* HD STBs with DVI. Since the 622 is HDMI, I bought an adapter so that I hook the DVI from my tv (I don't have HDMI on the tv) to the 622's HDMI output. The picture is very good. I tested this connection in a comparison with component cables and frankly, I can't tell much difference. The same was true with D*. There may be subtle differences but not enough to mention.

    All in all I am pleased with the switch from D* to E*. I have an 18 month agreement with E*so I will have a long time to compare the two but unless D* gets more HD programming I'm afraid this switch will be permenant.
  3. Nov 5, 2006 #3 of 14

    wje Godfather

    Mar 8, 2006
    New England
    Give it some time. I went through the same DVR shock when I switched. Eventually, I got comfortable with the VIP interface. While it's more complex, it also gives you a lot more. On the other hand, there are a few little things I wish it had.

    However, I don't regret switching at all.
  4. Nov 5, 2006 #4 of 14

    HomebrewerDan New Member

    Oct 25, 2006
    I generally agree as well (switched last week). I haven't noticed the ViP622 heating up much more than my DirecTiVo since it was a Series 1 and ran AWFULLY hot (overheated quite often).

    The one thing that I think is going to annoy me the most is the timer limit. I mean, come on! As you mentioned, I am not aware that TiVo has any such limitation. With a box that holds 160+ hours of SD, I had been planning to get a little more 'loose' with what I recorded - like have one episode of various shows on the box because I was drunk with the amount of space on the box (my TiVo had 30 hours). But I ran out of timers before I even completed my OLD season passes from TiVo!

    I have two small children, so once you add in their smorgasbord of TV shows that they want at a moment's notice, you use up lots of those timers.

    This HAS to be about a one-line fix. I certainly hope they double it or something close to that!
  5. Nov 5, 2006 #5 of 14

    cornflakes Legend

    Sep 30, 2005
    My biggest complaint so far is the timer limit... I'm running into it too frequently. I've deleted several timers already, but that just clears the event list for even more events for the existing timers.

    Shows such as The Simpsons, which is on 3 times a day, times about 7 days worth of guide data, means one show is occupying 21 event slots. That's almost 10% of the available event slots! What were the programmers thinking?

    This has got to be the most frustrating aspect! Digging through the forums it seems like people have been complaining about this for quite a while. I'm surprised they haven't raised the limits in the software updates!
  6. Nov 7, 2006 #6 of 14

    HDlover Godfather

    Jul 28, 2006
    Sounds to me you need another 622. :)
  7. Nov 8, 2006 #7 of 14

    MDRNHL AllStar

    Jan 8, 2006
    Glad you guys are happy!

    I hear a lot of people saying that, but I guess I don't get it (never having owned a Tivo). What I mean to say is, how can DVR control be any simpler than E*'s already is? (I'm speaking from a 510 point of view...perhaps the 6xx series is more difficult to use?)
  8. Nov 8, 2006 #8 of 14

    cornflakes Legend

    Sep 30, 2005
    In a way it's a matter of personal preferance and how used to the interface you are. I'll admit, I've been using a Tivo for 6 years (starting with the standalone version then moving up to DirecTivos). It's a bit like Mac vs. Windows... I find Mac's interface to be difficult to use, while others swear by it. But I've got one year of Mac experience, versus 13+ years of Windows.

    Here's why I like Tivo a little better:
    1. The interface is easier to navigate. It's easier to find where your timers (or Season Passes in Tivo-talk) are. Menus on the Tivo are actual phrases... "Pick programs you want to record", versus the one-word descriptions that 622 uses.

    2. Tivo's navigation through the menus are easier. If I click on a recorded program, I have the option to also view my Season Pass options for that show, view upcoming episodes, and make modifications accordingly. On the 622 I think I have to go through several different screens to do the same thing.

    3. Tivo's audio cues are useful to me... I miss that, although I know many people find Tivo's sounds to be annoying.

    4. And with the new 6.3 software upgrade for the DirecTivo HR10-250, I also miss the folders option.

    But see, those are really a matter of preferences... There's no doubt in my mind that after another week or two of using the 622, I will have no problems finding whatever I need.

    All in all, I'm pretty pleased with Dish. No regrets so far about switching!
  9. Nov 8, 2006 #9 of 14

    cornflakes Legend

    Sep 30, 2005
    By the way, when I find the time, I'm going to see maybe putting together a Tivo-user's guide to the 622 to help others making the switch.
  10. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

    Dec 10, 2002
    I would be really surprised if it is just a few line fix. If it was, I believe then would have done it by now. I don't think it is just having to increase a global variable. I am sure there is a lot more to it than that and I am sure as you increase the limit it may effect performance of other operations. Bring up the schedule for example and there are other dialogs and windows that would have to handle the increased number of events.

    Not saying it is not doable. Anything is given unlimited resources, unlimited money, and unlimited Though it may look simple from the outside, lots of times it is much more complicated on the inside. At least that is my experience.

    Well hopefully we will see an enhancement in this area in the future.. In the mean time.. Might want to check your Dish Pass Events and possible change them to all or weekly to decrease the number of timer events.
  11. BCGreg

    BCGreg Cool Member

    Aug 3, 2006

    I've used TiVos for ~5 years and didn't like the 622's interface as much initially. Now, after a few months of use, I prefer the 622's mostly because of the speed. The HR10 took minutes to add or delete programs (3.1.5).

    I wish the 622 had more storage. I've run short of space well before timers.

    Oh, BTW, the correct OS is Linux. :D
  12. nazz

    nazz Legend

    May 4, 2006
    Hopefully they'll be releasing that external storage yet this year.
  13. casolorz

    casolorz AllStar

    Oct 25, 2006
    I also came from the tivo world and the 622 was very cumbersome to use at the beginning, I had no trouble doing anything but I was just so used to using the arrows for everything on my old tivo.
    As far as features there is only one thing I miss from the tivo and that is when you hit play after fast forwarding it autorewinds a little bit..... however that feature is nothing compared to all the great features of the 622, I just love how you can see why a show is not going to be recorded, or you can extend the record time while a show is being recoreded, or well I could go on for a while.
    I just wish the navigation was as nice as tivo, using only the arrows was so wonderful!
  14. TBoneit

    TBoneit Hall Of Fame

    Jul 27, 2006
    Having had a Tivo Standalone for many years...

    First thing I turned off were suggestions.
    Second thing turned off were the Noises.

    Slow but nto even consistantly slow oftentimes the same operations take different amount of time.

    I like the 622 guide much better. I chose the one that gives me the most channels and three hours of listings on the screen.

    I have never hit the timer limits. If I had been a beta tester for the 622, I wasn't by the way, I would not have seen a problem with the timers due to the way i use timers.

    Possibly because I prefer one time timers most of the time. I go through the schedule once a week on saturday and set any network timers I want then. Then I switch to my Movies favorites list and go through it and set any timers and done.

    I have a few timers set for NJN that record 'Allo 'Allo and Fresh Fields and Hardware and Fawlty Towers and they are all once a week timers.
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