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A bit of background before my rant. I have had Directv for 10 years or so, and currently use it exclusively for mainstream channels. I've had Dish Network for a few years less, and I use Dish exclusively for a few foreign channels. I've had a Dish301, and I also have a DVR 508 in addition to the 721.

The 721 has just been a PITA since day one.

Setup:
Directv is aimed at it's 101 and 119 birds.
Dish is ONLY aimed at 61.5 wing bird.

1. 721 had to be RMA'ed 2 weeks after I bought it, advanced tech said: "because something was wrong with it, since it was not picking up software update off 61.5." Well replacement didn't pick up the update either. Nor did the second replacement. So I had to re-aim dish to 119 to pick up update. Advanced tech said this would be a one-time deal. "the wing birds, 61.5 and the west coast only have incremental firmware updates, the 119 has them all." OK I thought. I loaded up firmware, and 721 behaved, well... like a 721. It isn't as good as DirecTivo, but as Heston said in POTA "she's the only game in town."

2. Advanced tech is smoking crak. 721 has never picked up an update off 61.5. Yes, you read it right, in 2 years of owning this thing, the 721 has never picked up an incremental update off 61.5. I have to go onto my house and re-aim the dish to 119 to pick it up. Not 110, since I can typically find that easier, but 119. Every single time. Obviously, I don't update firmware unless Ireally, really need it. Daylight savings = not worth re-aim, I just re-calculate program times. Channels dropping out due to lack of update, then I've updated.

3. L1.78 update.. I would like to personally throttle the developers in charge of this update. I picked it up in spring off 119. And then I could not find 61.5. I tried and tried. My wife wanted to kill me (since she mainly watches the programs off 61.5). 2 weeks went by, and I still couldn't find 61.5 using the 721 sat finder, which had worked for 2 years. After a month, I finally broke down and spent some $, on a sat finder. Bang! In minutes, I found 61.5 right where I always thought it was (I have 61.5 & 119 marked on my mounting pole). Go to 721 inside, and nothing! Do a switch test, and wham, 61.5 shows up. So basically the L1.78 firmware changed the aiming program so it doesn't work. Nice...

4. Now I'm trying to pick up the current software again dealing with L1.78, which of course shows no 119, until the switch test. I can't wait to see what this updatebrings me.

All in all, a not very impressive experience. I didn't believe it, but clearly Dish Network PVR users are beta testers. I never had any problems with the 301, and the 508 picks up incrementals off 61.5, just this 721. Worse still, dish breaks existing 721 features: aiming program and smooth 15x skip.

I mean really, can it get any worse than breaking the dish aiming program? It is the most basic, fundamental need on a consumer satellite receiver. Talk about quickly pissing off customers. Imagine if Toyota released a firmware that made their car fuel gauge read empty when full...
 

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I must be the only person who owns a 721 and thinks its GREAT! No issues ever here. ::Knock wood::: Never a missed recording. The bugs I find are just that, real bugs that are easily worked around like no Dolby Digital audio out when the alternate language is set to a language other than English even if the unit is still using the default (English) stream on that channel. Or very slow resets after power outages...

And reading the OP it seems that the real problem is not with the receiver, but with the fact that software updates are not available on the wing slots!

Sorry to hear about other's problems with the 721, but I am happy with mine!

See ya
Tony
 

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I also love my 721 and have minimal problems in the 2-3 years I've owned it. It's not as stable as the 508, but has better features. Sounds like you got a bad box and perhaps bad installation...sorry about that.
 

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I am reasonably happy with the 721. I get a spontaneous reboot about once a week (always while viewing / deleted recorded programs), and I wish that the Mosaic feature of Dish Home would actually work rather than lock up the receiver. But otherwise the 721 works fairly well - it's not as stable as my 508, but the dual tuners more than compensate for this.
 

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I think using a 721 for only 61.5 is a pretty extreme fringe condition, that I can just about guarantee no beta testers would have caught. I know that I certainly don't test that condition with any of the receivers that I test (although maybe I should, now that it's been brought up)...I certainly am not going to go repointing dishes, though, to do it.

Did you ever bother calling Dish to tell them about the L178 problems, and what you're seeing now?
 

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Mark Lamutt said:
I think using a 721 for only 61.5 is a pretty extreme fringe condition, that I can just about guarantee no beta testers would have caught. I know that I certainly don't test that condition with any of the receivers that I test (although maybe I should, now that it's been brought up)...I certainly am not going to go repointing dishes, though, to do it.

Did you ever bother calling Dish to tell them about the L178 problems, and what you're seeing now?
So who can we forward detailed 721 problem info to? Please don't say standard Dish Customer Service - they will just give a standard "reboot the box", or perhaps issue an RMA for the receiver.

I guess I'm wishing that there was a moderated "bugs" forum for the 721 / 5xx DVRs like there is for newer Dish DVRs.
 

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Why not just put up a dish aimed at 119 beside the 61.5 and connect both to the 721? Then the 721 would automatically get it's software upgrades and you might get a few more channels to watch.
 

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boba said:
Why not just put up a dish aimed at 119 beside the 61.5 and connect both to the 721? Then the 721 would automatically get it's software upgrades and you might get a few more channels to watch.
Actually, he would be even BETTER off putting up a D500 - that way, he would get the 9-day extended guide on the 721, since it is ONLY on 110 (he's now ONLY getting a 2-day guide pointing only at a wing bird)
 

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dishrich said:
Actually, he would be even BETTER off putting up a D500 - that way, he would get the 9-day extended guide on the 721, since it is ONLY on 110 (he's now ONLY getting a 2-day guide pointing only at a wing bird)
The 9-day guide was moved to 119.
 

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derwin0 said:
The 9-day guide was moved to 119.
Hmm, interesting - when abouts did it move?
(I see it IS updated on Tony's chart, but I know it WAS on 110 at one time)
I do remember seeing some people on here complain about this, (mostly in Puerto Rico) & other places that normally can only get 119 strong enough.
 

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Check the history part of TNGTony's charts ...
 

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The 721 has been flawless for me, The only reason it isn't used as heavy as previously is I only use it to catch the overflow from the 622's recordings.

Example tonight I'll be recording three things at the same time period. It holds plenty enuogh for me, No DVR fee, same reason I have a 501 running in another room, and it always records its timers. What more should it do?
 
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