Here are some bullet points (in no particular order)
- There will be more HD rolling out at Dish (The History Channel has already started up this week and things like HD-CNN should appear shortly, although I'll probably learn more when I get home and power up my own equipment.) No real surprise here as everyone is adding HD channels.
- The recently introduced (August 15th) active USB port which allows you to connect an external hard drive to a 622 or 722 HD-DVR to "archive" recordings by moving them over to the external drive will be enhanced to allow you to connect your Dish-formatted (Linux) HD to any registered Dish HD-DVR in your house. In other words, no longer will the drive be tied to only one unit. This provides a "sneaker net" approach to moving content from one box to another. This is all tied to the receivers' unique registration numbers and doesn't extend beyond your house to a friend's units.
- Yes, Dish is aware of the "shutdown mode" of some external USB hard drives and is working on a fix in a future firmware upgrade (nebulous timeframe on this).
- The Ethernet Port, when connected to a high speed Internet connection will soon support IPTV for additional content from the Dish Servers. Right now, if you make a connection you will get another menu option (#5, I believe) in the "My Recordings" section. Soon programming will be available with limited appeal that would otherwise not make it up to the satellites (local sports?, other content?) I'm assuming that this would be fee based to download to your receiver.
- I saw a small device (from Slingbox?) that allows you to plug in an Ethernet cable from your Internet Router and then plug it into an electrical outlet in your home. This would provide Broadband internet connectivity for all Dish HD-DVRs in your house via their powercords. Not sure if this extends to SD-DVRs.
- As to Boxes talking to each other via powerlines in your house - they are working on it but issues still need to be resolved. No time frame at the moment.
- This next one is an exciting one: Soon (timeframe?) a Dish subscriber with an HD receiver (like the 211) and not a DVR (like the 622/722) will be able to add an external USB HD which will give the 211 (or any new receivers) DVR functionality. This is an option that should open the world of DVRs to many more current Dish subscribers. Once again I didn't find out if this extends to SD receivers as well but I'm sure that there will be more details.