Tech Forum Summary, 5/12/08

Echostar Knowledge Base
The Dish Network User's Resource

Hosts for the May 2008 Tech Forum are Mark Jackson, President of EchoStar Technologies and Dan Minnick, VP of Engineering.


1-888-621-2078 or e-mail

AMC-14 Launch Update

Dave Bair, VP of Space Operations, explains what happened to AMC-14.  EchoStar had leased the entire capacity of the satellite.  The launch at 4:00a.m. on March 15 appeared to be going perfectly but the upper stage of the rocket only did 2 of 3 planned burns leaving it in an orbit that was too low and too angled from the equator.  They considered 2 ways to save the satellite: raising to a super-synchronous transfer orbit then flattening it out, and a lunar flyby trajectory.  Each would take at least a year and leave the satellite with very little fuel to make it useful.  It was declared a total constructive loss.

Two more satellites are scheduled to be launched this year.

New HD Channels

Eric Sahl, VP Programming.  Today marks the most channels added to Dish in a single day since the beginning of Dish.  USA, SciFi and CNN have been up for a few weeks.  New channels are ABC Family, Bravo, Cartoon Network, Cinemax Star 5 and Cinemax West (1˘ subscription rate available), Biography, CNBC, Disney East, ESPNews, Smithsonian, MGM, Tennis, Hallmark Movie, Toon Disney, Travel, Weather Channel, and (exclusive to Dish) World Fishing Network.  He restates the claim of 22 per the press release (3 previous plus 2 unmentioned RSNs planned for Wednesday leave 17 -- still impressive).  They now have “over 95” national HD channels.

In the last month they have launched over 20 (map shows 21) new HD local markets skewed heavily to the eastern half of the US, with many more to come.  Will get close to 100 later this year.  Markets planned for summer are NY, Ft Myers FL, Lincoln NE, IA.

New SD markets Laredo TX, Yuma AZ, and unnamed in western MT.

(No mention or update of HD plans for western markets as shown on previous maps.  Looks like El Paso, Tucson, Las Vegas, Reno, Billings and the rest have some more waiting to do.)

HD Viewing Tips

Mark worries that we haven't hooked up our boxes to get the true HD experience. (He doesn't mention who requires “professional” installations and who doesn't provide HDMI cables.)  Video with Leslie Harper, Product Communications Mgr.  You want a receiver with ViP on the front door to get the newer MPEG4 channels.  HDMI has digital audio and video, and ensures viewing of copy protected programming.  Component provides analog video, the best audio is optical to your surround sound receiver.  Next is the receiver's setup at Menu-6-8.  Make sure the aspect ratio is 16x9 (viewers of 4x3 HD sets will choose whichever of 4x3#1 or 4x3#2 looks best) and TV type of 1080i or 720p.  The default setting of 480p is only for EDTVs and 480i is only for an SDTV.  To make standard pictures fill the HD screen, use the Format button on the remote (* on the bottom row) to cycle through the zoom and stretch modes.


Prize: ViP612
Question: What was the first HD channel broadcast on Dish?

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

Reception Problems

Tree growth can block the satellite signal, and wind blowing trees can cause intermittent blockage, so get ready to do some trimming.  The signal comes in from above where the dish arm appears to be pointing.  Signal can also be affected by storms.  Just wait it out, don't do a check switch.

Ask Dish

ASKdish is an on-line way to get answers to common technical questions.  The form of response may be written, video, or a diagram.


ViP612 winner: Chuck Colfak from Scotia, NE.  First Dish HD channel was HBO.

Prize: Archos 705
Question: What is the theoretical top speed of USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 in Mbps?

Q & A

Wayne: What is the advantage of a broadband hookup? I can't tell a difference.
Dan: Don't have to have phone line to buy PPV, access to IPVOD movies, will waive the no-phone fee of dual-output receiver, more features coming.

Wayne: If I pay the $39.99 external hard drive fee, can I use any USB device?
Dan: Has to be a USB external hard drive with a power supply, can't connect your laptop.

Wayne: Can't delete pictures from hard drive
Dan: This is a software bug, will work if a USB device such as the camera is connected.  Will have it fixed pretty soon.

Nathan: Way to transfer or save timers for when a box is replaced?
Jennifer Addair, Product Communications Mgr: New 2-way remote later this year will store receiver settings in the remote, and remote settings in the receiver.

Lisa: Getting billed for PPVs? Can a neighbor's dish bleed into mine?
Dan: In a way, if they have a UHF remote on the same address as yours, usually you would notice channels changing and other oddities.  Check your manual for how to set the remote address and add a password in the receiver.

Donna: Confused about TV, will I have to buy a converter?
Dan: Won't have to do anything if you get locals from Dish.

Sean: Does my 612 support HDMI 1.3?
Jan: Yes, the 612 has been certified 1.3 compliant.

Jack: Are you also going to put up CNBC HD?
Mark (taking an easy one): I believe we just did.

Paul: What is the bitrate output of a ViP722, which HDMI cable to get?
Michael Hawkey, VP Echostar Sales: HDMI signals vary based on the length of the cable. If the store tells you you need a certain speed of cable, it's going depend more on how long a cable you need to run. Our receivers work with all the HDMI cables out there. I wouldn't call it a scam, but there's a little marketing spin there, definitely.

Tom: Timeline and fees for EHD on the 211?
Dan/Jan/Mark: Looking at July, July/August, Q3.  Fee will be $49.99, up from $39.99 for the account.

PPV Limits

Andy Karofsky, VP Programming.  Studios are requiring every distributor to limit the time a PPV can remain on your box.  The movie will be available through the license period of the movie, which will vary.  Once playback begins, you have 24 hours to complete viewing the PPV.  Affects a limited number of movies today but will be increasing.  The expiration limits are shown in the ordering pop-ups and in the DVR list. An expired event will remain on the hard drive until you manually delete it, this is to avoid user confusion.

New Features

HD cycle through your favorits lists

External hard drive now has a household key which gets rid of the 3 move limitation.  USB 2.0 hard drive of 40-750GB drive.  Size limitation will be lifted soon along with the added ability to rack and stack drives.  Activation fee will be going up from $39.99 to $49.99, call 1-888-241-2205.  Avoid portable drives.  Get an external drive with its own power supply because the box doesn't have enough power for all the portables.

iTV Update

Tennis and golf coming to the ch 100 mosaic.  More national election info to be added by July 4.

Digital Transition Update

Michael Hawkey shows the restyled and renamed TR40 converter box, now the DTVPal.  Features a 7-day guide, parental locks, closed captioning, and analog pass-through.  Eligible for the $40 coupon, more info at and later this week at  Those getting locals from Dish are set, this is for those who use an antenna.


Archos 705 winner: Larry Sheck from Sherman Oaks, CA.  USB 1.1 is 12mbps while USB 2.0 is 480mbps.

Q & A

Mike: Can I use the 501 in a motorhome?
Jennifer: There are several mobile solutions, but that receiver should be fine.  Mark mentions you can even get tracking dishes.

Anthony: Way to connect multiple EHDs with a hub to a 622?
Dan: Later this summer, for now you have to swap.

Bob: When changing the remote mode to control DVD, gets a pop-up, can I make it go away?
Jan: When you change TV inputs it will go away, it's to serve as a reminder to customers who mistakenly push a mode button.

Maggie: Trying to make an all-episodes timer, don't see the resolution option?
Jennifer: That is available when setting up a Dish Pass search timer.  For All or New episodes, create the timer on the HD or SD channel you wish to record.

Jonathan: All or New timers sometimes miss programs, sometimes a New timer records an old episode?
Jennifer: New episode info is in the guide data.  If the original air date is missing, a New timer will record it to be safe.

The show will be rebroadcast throughout May.

Next Charlie Chat: Monday June 9, 2008, 9pm ET, channel 101

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