DishNetwork PVR 501

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by SteveK, Aug 20, 2001.

  1. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Dish Network is currently running a special on their PVR 501. Unfortunately, they don't provide much information about the 501 on their website. I called DishNetwork the other day and was able to get some additional information, but I don't yet have enough information to feel confident buying it. For example, I asked how their PVR 501 compares to a Tivo, and the rep didn't even know what I was talking about! So I thought I'd address questions to the experts: HTF! My questions are as follows:
    1. How do you access programs you've recorded on the PVR? Does it show some sort of list from which you can choose, perhaps similar to the guide?
    2. Can a show that is recorded on the PVR be transferred to a VCR?
    3. Does the PVR offer different recording speeds/quality? How does the quality of the recorded program compare to the originally broadcast program?
    4. Does the PVR offer any search features comparable to Tivo?
    5. Would I be better considering a standalone Tivo, or is the 501 a better choice, considering cost, quality and convenience? (The 501 is available right now for $199, and there is no additional monthly charge for program listings. So it is quite a bit cheaper than Tivo.)
    Once I know the answers to these questions, I'll feel more comfortable deciding whether to buy the 501, the Tivo, or none of the above. Any comments/suggestions you can provide would be most appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.
    Steve K.
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    1. There is a menu with all of your recorded programs. Highlight the one you want to watch and press a button on the remote.
    2. Make sure your VCR is connected correctly to the 501, see #1 and press record on the VCR.
    3. There is no quality setting. It records the bit stream from the satellite. It is identical to watching it live.
    4. Another advantage of the SA Tivo, it records Dolby Digital when available.
    -Robert
     
  3. Jonathan Tuck

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    I have a Replay and the 501. The advantages of the 501 are digital quality signal and sound (dolby digital if broadcast that way) on every recording. Better than the 'best' quality setting on my Replay. Doesn't have any search options at the moment but I've heard rumors dish wants to incorporate something for the future. Putting shows onto a vcr is as simple as having one set of a/v outputs connected to the a/v inputs on the back of your vcr and then starting on the 501 the show to save and then start recording with the vcr. There's a neat PVR button on the remote that takes you right to the list of things you've 'taped'. All in all a great machine and I find I use both but get better results quality-wise from the 501..
    ------------------
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I have had a DishPlayer for several years, and recently got the 501.
    Short answer: buy it!
    Of all my HT toys, this is the one my Wife loves/approves of. It really lets you take control of things.
    To record TO a VCR, you have your choice of -
    - RF output like a VCR (using catv coax)
    - Composite & L/R stereo output jacks
    - SVideo and Optical (Toslink) output
    And since the shows come broadcast with separated video, the image can be very good, depending upon the source.
    The PVR has a "video-blaster" option that will fire up your normal VCR to record shows rather than using the internal hard-drive if you choose (I've not used this feature, but it's nice to know it's there). But the hard-drive features are so nice that we only use video tape for archiving a few favorite things.
    Searching is non-existant for now. But the DishPlayer had a 7 day searchable guide so they are said to be working on a Search feature due out real soon.
    The Tivo/Replay units take the questionable-quality signal from your CATV and digitize it. This has often gone through several hands and multiple analog/digital/analog conversions.
    With the 501 unit, you get bit-for-bit what came from each studio/network. You get the advantage of broadcast-quality equipment at the studios, and digital transmission to your box.
    There is no "quality" option like Tivo, but this is a good thing. The PVR shows you how much space (in hours/minutes/seconds) you have left. I dont believe the Tivo unit could do this unless it told you how much space for each "quality" option.
    There is a dual-tuner version of the 501 in the works which would allow you to watch one, record another (or record 2 channels at once). But this unit is not due out for a few months, which tends to mean next year before we see any.
     
  5. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Thanks guys, that tells me what I need to know. It sounds like it's the PVR501 all the way. And its total cost is less than just the lifetime subscription for the Tivo!
    Thanks again...looks like it's time to get the credit card out!
    Steve K.
     

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