Tech Forum Summary, 8/13/07

Echostar Knowledge Base
The Dish Network User's Resource

Hosts for the August 2007 Tech Forum are Mark Jackson, President of EchoStar Technologies and Dan Minnick, VP of Engineering.


1-888-621-2078 or e-mail

HD Receivers



Can upgrade via DISH'n It Up.  There is a $100 mail-in rebate available.  The price can vary depending on how long you've been a customer and your monthly bill.  Log on to your account on for information on upgrade offers.

New HD Channels

Extending HD market leadership by adding 6 new channels this week.

In AT100: MHD, Discovery, TLC
in AT200: Animal Planet
in AT250: Science Channel, Golf/VS

These channels require both DishHD and the appropriate level of “AT” package.

Product Updates

New software started rolling out to the 622 on Friday (L441).

Group by Title.  My Recordings list has a folder icon next to the title, with number of episodes instead of length.  First attempt at full folders, with custom folders coming later this year.

Connect to the internet.  Can buy PPV, waives $5 “Program Access” (no-phone) fee (may take a month or 2 to go away).  Dish Home customer service applications for now still require the phone line, as well as CallerID.  At the next Tech Forum they will talk about future abilities for IPTV and setting timers through the internet.

Can direct connect with an ethernet cable to an open jack on your router, or get a HomePlug-to-Ethernet adapter (roughly $20 at electronics stores, must be HP 1.0 or HP Turbo and NOT HP AV) with the router.  The ViP receivers have HomePlug built in, so nothing is needed beyond the existing power cord (if a power strip is used it must be HomePlug-compatible).  Very easy to set up, more details can be found in the Home Network Installation Instructions available on the TechPortal.


Prize: ViP722, installed, requires adding DishHD
Question: What is the true amount of space available on a new 100GB hard disk drive (rounded to nearest 1000)?

Employees of Dish, those who have won in the past year, and family members of recent winners are not eligible.

Q & A

Jason Lynn: Can I move the external hard drive between my 622s?
Dan: If you have a 622 or 722, you can do that within your household.  The software limits it to 3 moves, mainly to allow for receiver replacements (THANK YOU! Ed.), but after the 3rd move it will be bound to that receiver.  Later there will be a “household key” that will remove that limitation.  Will also be able to use it with some other HD models coming out later this year and next year.

Martin: PocketDISH used to work fine, HBO and Cinemax shows are now deleted from the 622 when added to the PocketDISH
Dan: The studios have copy-protection requirements.  These channels typically repeat shows, so record it again.

Richard: Need a landline to subscribe to Dish?
Jennifer: It's not needed, but several features in Dish Home, PPV ordering do need it, but not for programming.  (They do not mention the $5 fee applied to dual-output receiver w/o a phone line.)

Scott: How to download recorded shows from DVR to computer?
Dan: Not directly allowed.  Can use a DVD recorder with the analog outputs.

Tracy: Upgrade 322 to 222 (sounds strange).  Hoping 222 doesn't have screen saver.  Does 222 have the internet connection?
Mark: Can turn off the nightly down-load that puts box in stand-by, or can set an auto-tune timer to turn the box back on.  Internet connection should be ready by the end of the year.  Will then look at using a USB-to-ethernet adapter for the 625.

Leah: Will the 722 have an ATCS RF output?
No, it's another copyright issue.


722 Winner: Kim Riggs.  A 100GB HDD has 93.132GB available

External Storage

Talked about it in the Spring, it's now out in the software going to the 622 and 722.  Can move programs off the DVR to an external USB 2.0 HDD (off-the-shelf, single disk, between 40-750GB).  Dedicate it for the DVR (connecting DVR drive to PC, or PC drive to DVR, will prompt a reformat that will ERASE EVERYTHING).  Connect to front or rear USB port.  One-time activation fee of $39.99 applies to all capable receivers on your account, call 1-888-241-2205 (wait until Aug 15).  Programs can be played directly from the external drive, or first moved back to the receiver.  Their strong suggestion is to get a single-drive model.  Some are dual-disk, usually in a thicker case, and may not be compatible.  Can have multiple drives, but only connect one at a time (directly, not through a hub).  In the future will be able to “rack” the drives.  VOD will not be transferred, only events from My Recordings.  Get a quality drive, not necessarily the cheapest thing you can find.  Tied to your household, can't be shared with other accounts.

Guest: Rob Pait, Director of Marketing, Seagate Technology

Internal hard drive space will get maxed out soon with more HD programming being available.  Some things to look for are style, USB 2.0 connection, heat tolerance, quiet operation, rubber feet or other non-skid design, drive features such as back-up and LAN connections are not for DVRs.  Keep it well-ventilated, don't drop it, buy enough capacity.  Describes the basics of HDD design (spindle, platter, actuator, read/write heads, tracks).  HDD operation has been compared to a 747 flying inches over the ground being able to accurately count blades of grass.  Seagate is moving to “perpendicular recording” to pack more bits on a single platter.  External drives can be found just about everywhere.


Prizes: Maxtor One-Touch 750GB, and Seagate Free Agent 750GB
Question: Maximum capacity of world's first commercially available HDD using perpendicular recording?

Signal Strength Meter

Currently, different receiver models may show different signal strengths even when viewing the same satellite and transponder through the same LNB and switch.  New software aims to make that reading consistent across models.  The number may be 30-40 points lower than before though the strength of the signal has not changed.  The important thing is that the bar is green and at least 17.  A yellow bar indicates a marginal signal.  A red bar and strength under 10 means you will have loss of video.

Another thing that can affect signal strength is the growth of trees.  The signal doesn't follow the arm, it comes in above it.

Interactive TV

Scott Higgins, Director of Sales. Channel 100 mosaic recently had golf and X Games. now has an EPG that in the future can be used to created a timer on your ethernet-connected 622 or 722, search will be added next month.  Watch trailers, order a pizza.


HDD Winners: Brian Reddy of Providence, RI and Pam Willard of Windsor, CT.  Answer: Seagate 160GB Momentus 5400.3 in 2005.

Q & A

Gary: Just formatted his external HDD for UNIX, is that correct?  Which USB Plug?
Dan: We will re-format the drive to what we need, doesn't matter what it is now.  Either USB port will work.

Mike: Has a Dish 300 he wants to use for 61.5, the new house has a dish with DishPro LNBs
Paul Langer, Engineering Director: Can use the old dish, all LNBs will need to be DishPro, then run through a DP34 switch.  Match the “dp” logos.  (other options)

The show will be rebroadcast throughout May.

Next Charlie Chat: Monday September 10, 2007, 9pm ET, channel 101

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