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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys I've done some searching on this site (great btw) and I can't find a clear answer. I've got a regular receiver, not sure which, and would like DVR. I understand that there are particular models (discontinued) that do not require monthly fees, so on those, what do I need to do if I get one off of eBay? I see that some come with cards, do I reactivate those cards or use my existing card? Does Dish charge for this? It doesn't have to do the most or a lot of features, just able to record a few shows that I might miss. Are there any models that are problematic that I should stay away from? Thanks and if there are posts on this already please send me a link.

Thanks,
Nick
 

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In my opinion, the best Dish DVR without a fee is the 721, since it has two tuners. This is $200-$250 on ebay and must have two satellite feeds (which a Dish Pro Plus LNB plus a Dish Pro Separator can provide [$25 and $10 respectively on ebay]).

Otherwise, the 501 and the 508 single tuner models are both fine - those are the other two without DVR fees. ( I currently am using a 721 and a 501). The 508 has a large hard drive than the 501, otherwise the same.

The main problems you can encounter on ebay (aside from those that would apply to any ebay transaction) in buying a Dish DVR:
- Is there a "balance" of unpaid PayPerViews on the receiver ? If so, you will end up having to pay them. You can get the receiver and smartcard number from the seller and call Dish to find out.
- Is the hard drive still working well ? HDs are the source of most DVR problems.
- Is the receiver actually owned by the seller ? This can also be checked by calling Dish with the aforementioned numbers.
 

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ok, if you want to avoid monthly DVR fees, you can get a 501, 508, or 721. Before buying, or bidding, get the receiver and smart card numbers from the seller. These start with RO and SO. If the seller won't give you the number, move on to another seller. Call Dish at the normal number and tell them you're looking at buying a receiver and wanted to verify that there is no balance on the receiver and it can be transferred. If they say there's any problem, move on to another box.

501 and 508 are the same, except 508 has a bigger HD. I wouldn't bother with the 501 unless you are on a tight budget. 721 is a dual tuner, which allows you to record two programs at the same time and watch one previously recorded. It also has a larger HD then the 058. 501 and 508 can record one and watch another.

721 will require another feed from your switch, so it depends on your setup as to whether you will need different hardware.

Easiest solution is to get the 508, unplug old receiver and plug in the new one. I have the 508 and 721 and REALLY prefer the 721 though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Alright guys you're awesome. So as long as the card doesn't have a balance on it, then no fees will apply? So if it comes with a card, is it that card that I activate or the one in my current receiver?

Thanks again,
Nick
 

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The cards are tied to the receiver and cannot be interchanged between receivers.

It's all straightforward:
1. Get numbers from the used box you're considering.
2. Call Dish to assure that there is no outstanding balance and that the receiver is owned and can be resold, not leased. (As previously recommended here.)
3. Purchase receiver.
4. Install. It will (obviously) not come with a free install, so you should familiarize yourself with the switching/cabling requirements. As noted, the dual tuner boxes require two separate feeds from the satellite dish(es). There are various ways to accomplish this.
5. Once your installation shows good signal on the satellites (point dish) and passes the check switch, call Dish to activate.
6. Use your new box.

Note: You will pay $5/month for the additional receiver, but that applies to ANY additional receiver.
 

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It must come with a new card (the yellow one), otherwise, Dish will charge an extra $75 for a new card - you can't use your old/existing card with a different receiver. The 721 is nice, but its not really plug and play, as you may not have the right LNB for it. The 501 and 508 are great units.
 

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I just called Dish Network and asked them about 501, 508 and 721 DVRs. That told me that I will have to pay $6 for using DVR. I wonder if they know what they are talking about. I spoke to 2 different people.
I'd like to get DVR capable receiver for my mom and not quite sure which way to go. Her dish is pointing at 61.5 satellite. Can I use Dish 300 with 721 DVR?
 
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