Jarrett (jarrett) wrote,

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New Toy!

Yesterday Danielle was informing me that she made plans for next Wednesday evening, not realizing she'd miss her favorite TV show. I offered to take copious notes in her absence, but she was actually considering rescheduling just so she wouldn't miss out.

I'm tired of being a slave to programming schedules. I figured that it was about time we got a DVR.

DVR (or PVR) is the generic word for TiVo. All Tivos are DVRs, but not all DVRs are made by TiVo. If we start using the word TiVo to mean all DVRs, that gives TiVo an unfair advantage in the marketplace. So, dude, let us please use the preferred nomenclature.
So let me introduce the DISH Player-DVR 942 (PDF Brochure). It just got installed this morning, so I was only able to play with it for a little while before coming to work. So far, I'm pretty much blown away. It replaces my ancient DISH 6000, and the new receiver is superior in ways I hadn't even anticipated.

The first thing I noticed is that the 942 is silent. The 6000 has a fan in it that hums like a jet engine even when the unit is turned off. I actually took the 6000 apart once just to try and see why the fan was so loud, but there wasn't much I could do quiet it down. Now, the sound from the television is only interrupted by the deafening roar of the room's two air conditioner vents.

Over-the-air digital channels tune in faster and stronger with the new receiver. Every single digital channel immediately locked on, even though I'm only using a set-top UHF antenna.

The remote is more responsive. The 6000 had a bit of a delay when you pressed buttons. The new remote feels just like an IR remote, and I can punch in channel numbers much, much more quickly without error. It's also more versatile, and can be set to control the volume on my Denon receiver without switching devices.

The guides and menus are prettier, and draw instantly. Plus, they are formatted for wide screen. You can even set the guide up where the fonts are super small, and you can browse more channels and times without scrolling. It also keeps a nine days worth of future listings in memory, where the 6000 would only know what's on for the next two or three hours. The biggest improvement to the guide, though, is that you can keep what's on TV up in the corner while you're browsing around.

View mode changes are instant. The old 6000 would make you miss two seconds of the show if you wanted to change the zoom or stretch.

And then there are all the DVR features! The unit has two HD dish tuners, plus a digital/analog over-the-air tuner (and they all work for PiP as well). So you can watch one program while recording two others on different channels. And you can do all the usual TiVo stuff, like pausing and rewinding live TV. It has storage for 25 hours of HD, or 180 hours (!) of SD. The HD playback looks and sounds identical to live HD. The SD playback is a little more distorted than a live show, but most people wouldn't notice the difference unless they were looking for the mpeg artifacts. Of course, the DVR functions are completely integrated with the guide, so you can tell it to record a show by name whenever a new episode comes on any channel. You even set priorities for which shows are your favorite, so it automatically works out the occasional programming conflicts.

On top of all that, the receiver also runs the TV in our bedroom. It even comes with a second RF remote for the second television. So on the other TV you can watch different programming than the main TV, and access all of the stuff you recorded. The second remote works as well as the first, even being on the other side of the house.

I'm so excited. When I get home from work, the shows I want to watch are going to be right there waiting for me.

I will never, ever have to miss another episode of The Price Is Right.

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