dish dtvpal dvr

bus_driverApril 24, 2010

The Dish DTVPal DVR seems like it might serve my needs well. Online reviews are rather old and deal with problems that supposedly now are cured with software updates. Anyone have first-hand experience with this unit? If, so how recent?

Some of my TV recording is during sleeping hours and while I have a TV in the bedroom, the recording is in another room due to the noise of a VCR, which I use with a converter box. How noisy is the DTVPal DVR?

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My understanding is that this is a discontinued product.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 7:50PM
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It is on the shelf at Sears stores.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 7:09AM
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It is still my understanding that Dish discontinued this product - there is also no longer any mention of it on their website and the last firmware update was July 9th, 2009.

I am surprised to find that Channel Master has been doing an on again/off again decision to do a re-branding of this same unit. It appears Sears/Kmart struck a deal with Dish for the remaining inventory.

Many DTV converter products sprung up prior to the digital broadcast transition only to disappear soon after. While Dish has produced some very good products, I don't think they could argue that this one appeared to have more problems than others.

Below is a link I had in my files to an AVS Forum that has a lot of information on this product.

Here is a link that might be useful: AVS Forum DTVPal DVR

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 11:02PM
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That is a very helpful link. I have antenna reception only. Cable unavailable at my location. The DTVPal advertised features are exactly what I want. But the reported problems with this and similar units scare me. Great concept but the execution of the concept leaves much to be desired. Do you know of a unit that might serve me better?
My antenna setup is as good, as far as I know, as it gets. I selected and installed it myself. I receive usable signal from some stations 125 miles away, well beyond their planned service area. In addition, I have an amplified omnidirectional antenna for reception of nearer stations within 50 miles and no need to overuse the antenna rotor on the big unit. The overall available program selection from this setup is greater than my available watching time.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 7:39AM
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I agree that the concept of the product is great and while they did do firmware updates there appears to be heat related issues going on that require hardware changes. An internal picture of the box with the cover off shows no cooling fan and the main IC that this device is designed around, the STi7109, has no heat sink on it either. Maybe if the version that Channel Master will be selling addresses these issues, and firmware updates are supported it would be a good unit. I see from the UL number on the back of the Channel Master model it is still lists EchoStar as the manufacturer.

The only other options I am aware of for terrestrial DTV recording now are Tivo or the HDD/DVD recorder under the Magnavox name. A few years ago several manufacturers had HDD DVRs but never brought out DTV versions.

Your antenna setup sounds like you have built a very good system with excellent reception... 125 miles for a DTV signal is impressive.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 7:05PM
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I've owned a DTVpal DVR for about a year. It works great and I love it. I did upgrade it to the latest firmware - just plug in an Ethernet cable and select 'upgrade' from the menu.

I haven't heard about any overheating problem and it does have a fan. The hard drive does spin even when it is off - so it probably isn't very 'green'.

I think Dish Network had problems supporting it - I suspect that's why they dropped it. Hopefully Channel Master will do better.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 10:10AM
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I'm really glad to hear that you have had a good experience with the DTVPal DVR. There is a need for recording terrestrial broadcast that almost all manufacturers have dropped the ball on. OTA (over the air) broadcast has been gaining ground again recently; between the economy & cost of competing services, the added sub-channels offered by DTV, and the fact that it is the only broadcast format (vs cable and satellite) that can offer true HDTV people have been watching again.

I have not had any "first hand" experience with that particular product (but quite aware of it) since I primarily do engineering and design support for the IC manufacturers and the STB (set top box) manufacturers that include security features, copy protection, and DRM (digital rights management) that are not part of OTA broadcast in the US. I have worked with ST on many of their designs and know that their devices are very well designed... the microcode to run them though, as is true of all mfgs. can be very, very complex.

Anyhow, I really hope that Channel Master can support the product and really make something more of it!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 9:54PM
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So how noisy is the unit which has a fan?
One of the reasons I do not have satellite reception is that they do not offer some of the more-distant stations that are received on my antenna. And the antenna has no monthly bill.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 7:00AM
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I'll just say that I didn't even know that it had a fan until I opened it up. It's quieter than the hard drive - and I can't hear that unless I put my ear right up to the case.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 5:27PM
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So it has ventilation openings?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 9:09PM
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While I did not see a cooling fan in the picture that was on the link I posted, I have no reason to doubt dennisgli... he seems to have a pretty good understanding of this product. The pics do show ventilation on the top of the STB but of course you need to have a convection flow for that to work.

The hard drive and the main IC (integrated circuit), which when they get this big and complex, are better known in the industry as an SoC (system on a chip), can create a substantial heat build-up. On evaluation platforms that I have received from the IC manufactures, they are always very open and have heat sinks on the devices.

I guess I would say, if you can get the Dish product at Sears, and as much as I am against them, an extended warranty that will pay you back if they can't replace the product (from what I've read)... why not?

Keep it out in the open where it has good airflow and hopefully it will be OK. I'm thinking that Channel Master firmware upgrades should work but may change the "splash screen" from Dish Networks" To "Channel Master".

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:12PM
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