Question and Answer Page

Echostar Knowledge Base
The Dish Network User's Resource

This is a collection of miscellaneous questions. Several of them are quite old, more current answers for others can be found on the major discussion forums. Questions here were asked by email or were abstracted from alt.dbs.echostar.

Other Questions and answers are available at

I install Dish Network and have had customers tell me that error code xx flashes on the screen. Unfortunately, they don't have time to read the message or just forget what it said. So, does anyone know where I can a list of error codes for Dish's receivers?

Visit the Dish TechPORTAL. Select your receiver, then check the drop-down list of error codes.

I'm always looking for the most bang for the buck and am not looking to spend more than $30 or $40 a month for dish services. I'm trying to decide between the 4722, 5022 or the latest Dishplayer unit. I have a Dolby Digital ready (5.1) receiver and may upgrade in the near future, probably to a unit that has the decoder built in. I'm leaning toward the 4722, mainly because if the AC-3 capabilities built in, but have heard, but it's not quite clear that the 5022 may NOW have AC-3. As far as the dishplayer units, I would like to have the harddrive recording capabilities but don't want to pay $10 extra a month for that service. I saw where you could use freewwweb for the Web part but I'm not that interested in that at least for now.

My questions are:
1) Does it truly cost extra to use the recording capabilities of the dishplayer units?
2) Does the 5022 now include AC-3 and are there any significant reasons for choosing this unit over the 4722?

The 4700 is a good and capable receiver. I have 2 myself. It's benefits are built in AC-3 output (via TOSLink) and a UHF remote. The 5000, which I also have, does not have the AC-3 built in, but can be upgraded with a $70 digital audio adapter or a $300 HDTV adapter. Its features (besides being the only then current unit to support HDTV of any kind) are UHF remote, built in CallerID (has separate outputs for the VCR so the callerID info is not recorded to tape), an input (that gets passed to the TV as channel 000) so that the TV can still display CallerID info when watching a tape, and local link. Local link is good if you are keeping cable or OTA so that rather than switching inputs on the TV to watch local programming, you can just tune it on the receiver as normal.

Then there is the DishPlayer. It has the AC-3 out and the PTV functions. Without paying for the PTV functions ($10 per month per account, not receiver), all you get along those lines is digital pause. With the PTV functions, you will never use your VCR or watch live TV (if you have your locals via the dish) again. I only watch previously recorded material on my schedule, easily skipping past the commercials and only taking 20 minutes to watch a half-hour sitcom. The DP also has an expanded guide (7 days vs. 2 days of the other receivers).

All the units above have the IR blaster. This allows the receiver to start and stop the VCR. Once setup, all you have to do is select a program from the guide and make sure there is a blank tape in the VCR. The receiver will start and stop the VCR at the preselected times.

In the above, you will notice all my receiver designations ended in “00”. xx00 signifies the receiver part number. Anything else will be a receiver and dish package.

Most bang for your buck will depend on what the current promotion is. Getting a rebate I believe will require at least a $40 (actually $39.98) a month commitment.

I have heard that FreeWWWeb works with WebTV. This would reduce the WebTV cost from 24.95 to 14.95. I can not confirm this personally for I do not use WebTV.

So, after all that, the direct answer to your 2 numbered questions is...
Other than pause, yes, the rest of the functions are extra.
No, it does not include AC-3. That requires an adapter. Reasons to go with that unit over the 4700 are local link, CallerID and ability to be upgraded to HDTV. I personally would not use the HDTV as a reason because by next year Dish will come out with a unit that has HDTV functionality built in.

I'd say my choice right now for a top pick would be the DishPlayer. The 7100 has recently been discontinued in favor of the 7200. the 7200 has 2x the HD space (more recording and/or pause space) but the keyboard is no longer included. Even if you don't use WebTV (which I don't), the keyboard is a nice to have. It makes typing in show titles when doing searches much easier, as well as is needed for playing the unit's built in games. I chose to get the 7100 to get the keyboard, and spend as little as possible on HD size since I planned on upgrading to a drive size not available from Dish before I even bought the unit.

Just thinking about moving to DISH from DirecTV. What's this I read about some of the audio channels being monoaural?

The truth. The 20 “Audio” channels recently added for public consumption in the AT150 package are the same highly compressed, mono sources that Muzak supplies to commercial outlets. Commonly heard in elevators and supermarkets all over the US. Since a full fidelity stereo feed is not optimal for that commercial usage, don't expect it to change anytime soon. Dish still has the stereo Muzak channels and has also added Sirius satellite radio.

I've got a Dishnet 3000 receiver with the original (smaller) dish, set to satellite 119. I want to upgrade to the 6000 to take advantage of the various HDTV signals (I've got a Toshiba TV that's up to the task), and need to know what I need in terms of a new Dish etc., and what the best way to do the upgrade is (buying on-line, local, etc).

Good question, and I'm going to give you a bunch of options because you haven't specified your other future plans.

If you're happy with the services you get from 119, and just want to add HDTV for minumum expenditure, you'll need at least a Dish 300 (18" Dish) with at least a single output LNB and an SW21 switch. A DirecTV dish and LNB can be substituted if one is handy and cheap. This option gets 61.5 (and HDTV) for only the 6000 receiver. If you want the 61.5 channels for your older receiver too, you'll need a dual output LNB instead of a single, and another SW21. Total cost: $50 to $100.

If you'd like to upgrade to AT150 or take advantage of some of the new channels available with the premium packages, you'll need to upgrade to the Dish 500 to “see” what's on the 110 satellite too, and use your existing 18" dish for 61.5, but you'll need a more expensive SW64 to connect all the LNB signals into your receivers and another dual LNB. Bad news, is that this will cost more, but the good news is that if you act quickly, you can still get what you need for about half price directly from Dish or a participating retailer. This is the Dish 500 upgrade plan, and the SW64 can be obtained along with it for only $50 more. Cost for the Dish 500 is $75 and $24.95 shipping and handling. Get the additional dual LNB from whoever has the lowest price (try Dish Depot). Total cost about $200.

This gets you all three satellites for both receivers, and lets you add two more receivers later with minimal effort and expense.

There's another way to do this with the new Twin LNB, but it won't work with your older 3000 receiver and would cost more.

Rumor has it that Dish will announce a cheaper alternative to the SW64 on the next tech chat, and SW64s are reported to be in short supply.


I can only afford single premium channel but don't know which one I should pick. Can someone tell me which is the best among HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz/Encore?

It depends on the kind of stuff you want to see.  Myself, if I had to choose one premium service would choose HBO even though it cost $1.00 more per month, Showtime or Starz/Encore. Cinemax just doesn't have what I'm looking for. In the most recent thread on the subject here, most agreed on HBO (except for a few who didn't care for “The Sopranos”), and Showtime (for “Stargate SG-1” and “The Outer Limits”). Starz has exclusive rights to the output of some studios, so you'll see some movies only there.

If you want max channels for the money, Showtime is the winner with 10 channels, Starz come in next with 8, HBO with 7. You'll need Dish 500 to get some of the channels in all three of them.

You didn't say what your base programming will be, but once again, if you have Dish 500, the AT150 plan includes several movie channels from Showtime and Encore which can only be received as part of AT150. The extra $10 / month might be better spent on AT150 if the other channels in AT150 interest you.


Can anyone please explain Mpeg-2 format and how it's used in Dish-500? Thank you all.

More than you'll ever want to know:

Sorry about the stupid question, but I have a customer with an E Blue Button remote control. This remote has a feature that (when NO device is programmed into the AUX mode) the AUX button functions as an independent Power button for the Television. Well, I have a customer that “accidently” programmed something into the AUX button. Now, I can't figure out how to reset the remote so that the AUX button controls the TV power.

First, reprogram the TV to code 222. Then reprogram the Aux to 222. Now reprogram the TV to the correct code. Problem should be solved. “222” is “blank” on these new remotes.

Where can I get a cheap S-Video switch?

This is something that has been asked for in this newsgroup over and over. Previous solutions have run somewhat more money, due to containing components to switch audio or composite video or more S-Video connections. So, when I saw this one with just 2 S-Video inputs, a switch and one S-Video output for $12, I thought some in the newsgroup might be interested. I have never ordered from this site, so you are on your own.

PS They also carry S-Video to “RCA” (composite) adapters, and other