Dish Network ViP722
Manufacturer: Dish Network Part number: VIP722
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CNET editors' review
price range: $299.99 - $379.99
- Reviewed by: David Katzmaier
- Edited by: John Falcone
- Reviewed on: 02/19/2008
- Released on: 08/15/2007
The good: High capacity; receives and records new MPEG-4 AVC programming, including local and other HD channels not available on older receivers; dual-output mode for secondary TV; can record up to three HD shows simultaneously while playing back a fourth; 30-second commercial skip; exceedingly quick response time; well-designed, highly customizable interface; search function includes history; superb remote; impressive image quality; USB port enables connections to portable media players and external hard drives to expand storage capacity.
The bad: Generally lighter selection of local HD and sports channels than cable; annoying interstitial pay-per-view page; defaults to "all episodes" for EPG-initiated recordings; uglier EPG and menu system than TiVo HD and DirecTV; no built-in networking functionality.
The bottom line: The Dish Network ViP622 and 722 are among the most fully featured and versatile high-def DVRs you can buy today.
This is an incredible product.
by phrelin on October 5, 2007
Pros: Excellent quality picture; sufficient HD channel choices!
Cons: Setup a bit more difficult than described.
Summary: Since writing our previous review (under the ViP622), we've had a bit more time. And guess what, we had to have them send a replacement 722 because a minor ...
Summary: Since writing our previous review (under the ViP622), we've had a bit more time. And guess what, we had to have them send a replacement 722 because a minor hardware problem - we started getting a "jumping freeze frame" with normal audio. But their tech support has been great, so we are not downgrading our rating.
The HD picture is incredible. And, in fact, we just watched the new Law & Order CI on USA - non-HD but wide screen and the picture was incredibly clear for digital standard definition TV compared to our older Dish receiver-recorders we still use.
Also, we added a Western Digital MyBook Essential 750GB External Hard Drive which expands the storage capacity of the system to what appears to be about 100 HD movies. (If you choose to do this, do not buy the MyBook Premium Edition as it has some nifty things you might want for your computer, but not for this use).
Here's our original review:
We have been Echostar (Dish Network's parent company) satellite TV service customers since 1988. The company tries to provide, and generally succeeds in providing, adequate, competitive service. Based on our own experience when we had two homes plus on the experience of friends and family, Dish Network's service is on a par with, if not better than, cable service and DirectTV. Keep in mind for any of them: "sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't."
With that said, we did not leap into Dish HD even though we've had a 42 inch HD plasma tv since 2003. The reason was simple, we live in the Redwoods and most of the initial Dish HD signals were on satellites we cannot "see." (The satellite companies are clear - lacking an unobstructed "southern sky" view can be a problem for service, a problem not found in cable service.) We still cannot get some of the HD service we theoretically are paying for because of this. But almost every HD feed we'd like to see we now can. (We also waited a few months for the release of the ViP722 because it is black as are the other components in our home theater system.)
Since we were adding to our Dish Network Standard Definition service (keeping our existing two receiver/recorders active) , we knew what we were getting into. If you are new to satellite TV browse the links at http://www.dbstalk.com/ and particularly the Dish Network info at http://ekb.dbstalk.com/
Things went pretty much as expected. We called the Dish Network number and explained we wanted to add an HD 722 receiver/recorder to our existing two feeds - four feeds total. The woman took the order without needing alot of explanation and but she gave an incorrect price which she couldn't get straight, but...oh well.... Three days later two installers wearing shirts with the Dish logo arrived in a old, but well maintained, unmarked pickup. One spoke only Spanish, but the other who was the lead was fluently bilingual. (My Spanish is comparable to George Bush's so I speak English but listen carefully.) The lead installer discussed his flawed work order with me, called his supervisor to get permission to do what we had ordered. Installation went well. But, you need to know that we had the cables to our theater system hooked up with the end plugs for the ViP722 waiting on the shelf for the installer to plug in. He will likely not have with him more than RCA's for composite video and two channel sound and an S-video cable. We have HD component connections and an optical surround sound connector to our theater system, plus an S-video and RCA stereo to our additional room distribution box. He activated the system which resulted in most signals being activated before he left, but some (local channels for instance) took another three hours. (We knew this would happen from previous experiences with changing our programming.)
Even though we had prevous service with older (508) recorders, the menu's for the 722 are complex and require some deciphering, the adequate operating manual notwithstanding. For us, the Dish Tech Portal at http://tech.dishnetwork.com/departmental_content/TechPortal/content/tech/receiver/722.shtml is very helpful. Nonetheless, after about two weeks of setting it up like we want it, the HD picture and 5.1 sound is as good as our DVD player provides (no we don't have brand new HD or BluRay) and certainly as good as we are ever going to be able to appreciate.
For us, several consideration were involved. Even though we did not have cable service available when we first moved here, we now have Comcast which is our high speed internet service provider. We had Comcast in our other home and two of our adult kids have Comcast. We have no problem with Comcast but it would be more expensive and they are just now upgrading to be able to offer HD in the future. We could have gotten a huge new customer discount from DirectTV, but DirectTV's packages are not what we want (we aren't big sports enthusiasts) and they are just beginning the process of providing HD. Additionally, no other service has provided the state-of-the-art recording technology as reliablly as Dish. Some people prefer TiVo, but that appears to be a personal preference. We do have rare weather related signal losses. But our cable system goes down more frequently and in a power outage it simply goes down. With satellite our battery backup lasts long enough for us to start up our generator without losing service and programs being recorded. In a two or three day power outage which does occur every four or five years, this is a big plus.
13 out of 15 users found this user opinion helpful.
Makes you appreciate Tivo
by Frank Pryor on March 4, 2008
Pros: Access to DVR content from two rooms/TV's
Cons: User interface, Programming Guide and Remote are all vastly inferior to Tivo.
Summary: Dish Network does NOT know their own product. In the course of switching to this unit from a Direct Tv/Tivo I had seven people at the company, including three ...
Summary: Dish Network does NOT know their own product. In the course of switching to this unit from a Direct Tv/Tivo I had seven people at the company, including three installers, tell me point blank that the unit would not allow pausing live TV on the two tuners and switching between them. Some of them said they'd never heard of such a thing. Some of them said that it would not do that if you chose to make the DVR accessible to a second television.
All of them were wrong and the only way I determined this was by reading CNET's review before going to the Dish website.
As for user experience, it's mixed:
-Image quality. The Direct TV signal provided marginally better quality for non-HD viewing than Dish does. Didn't have HD with Direct so I can't compare that.
-User interface. I've used Tivo for a few years now and thought it was brilliant from the first hour. What a shame Dish couldn't have incorporated some of those principles in to their software.
-Remote. Ditto. A blizzard of buttons spread out in ways that put the controls for associated functions in awkward places and the way those buttons control those functions is frequently badly thought-out.
-Two rooms can access the same content.
-As Tivo no longer supports two satellite inputs and so will not time-shift two tuners it's only suitable for cable subscribers, so it's no longer a solution for Sat. customers, so our only choice is between Dish and Direct TV. And from what I've heard Direct's UI, remote and DVR are even worse.
7 out of 8 users found this user opinion helpful.
DIRECTV IS BETTER THAN DISH BUT THERE'S GOT TO BE AN ALTERNATIVE TO ALL THIS
by scotsgranny on January 27, 2008
Pros: On-screen menus are colorful and crisp
Cons: not intuitive; awkward; limited wishlist options
Summary: We switched to Dish this month to avoid paying the $279 DirecTV wanted for an HD DVR. We had DirecTV's "Tivo" based receiver and it was far superior. The ...
Summary: We switched to Dish this month to avoid paying the $279 DirecTV wanted for an HD DVR. We had DirecTV's "Tivo" based receiver and it was far superior. The focus of all these machines frustratingly appears to be to record favorite TV shows. Our main use is to have it record shows we don't know exist, by entering a keyword and asking it to autorecord, e.g., an actor's name or subject. Both Dish and Direct want you to first look at what's on their guide (only 9 days for Dish and over 14 for Direct) but the only way to really accomplish this successfully is to by-pass that option and create a "timer" in Dish or a keyword autorecord in Direct. The Dish installer had no idea this could be done and DirecTV support haven't a clue either. I would like to NOT be dependent on cable/sattelite at all since we aren't network program viewers and don't subscribe to movie channels. We pick up what we like by keyword (timer) which usually turns up on BBCAmerica, PBS, or a couple of network channels. When will this technology become civilised?
8 out of 15 users found this user opinion helpful.
Good but definitely not as good as TiVo
by jeffpjeffp on February 16, 2008
Pros: Stable & responsive
Cons: User Interface is mediocre at best
Summary: After living with TiVo on DirecTV for 6+ years, we moved to Dish for HD, because the DirecTV DVR gets such terrible reviews. The ViP722 does the job, but it'...
Summary: After living with TiVo on DirecTV for 6+ years, we moved to Dish for HD, because the DirecTV DVR gets such terrible reviews. The ViP722 does the job, but it's much harder to use than TiVo.
Reliability has been very good, and after 2 months we've only had to re-boot once when it mysteriously decided not to stop showing any HD channels. It's fast and responsive, though the remote control is sluggish and plastered with buttons - we still get confused by it sometimes. It comes (at least as of Dec 2007) with a 500MB disk which records some 55 hours of HD or 300 hours of SD.
The user interface is definitely not intuitive and continues to leave us occasionally lost. The dual tuners and dual TV outputs in their default setup is simply baffling - what were they thinking? Once you switch it off, things start behaving in a sane way, i.e. being able to record 2 HD programs at once, transparently.
While it's been very reliable, there aren't any features on this that TiVo didn't do even better, and more intuitively. But for now, this seems to be the best non-Cable HD DVR you can get.Updated
Update after 6 months: DVR is still ok, it needs a hard reset once every 2 months and the interface is still mediocre, but you can learn to live with it. Overall it's very reliable.
HOWEVER, Dish just removed all the Voom Network channels from their HD lineup, replacing these interesting and unusual choices with typical pap like the Hallmark HD channel, etc. So instead of having quirky or European-inspired programs from Gallery, Equator, Rave, Monster, etc channel we now have the 700 Club and America's Funniest Home Videos in HD.
It's astounding that Dish would be so foolish as to get rid of the one differentiator in their programming that set them above DirecTV. Our satisfaction with Dish has dropped from high to mediocre, and we'll probably downgrade our subscription level because more of the same just isn't worth paying for.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Great DVR Software
by KmanFL on January 17, 2008
Pros: Very easy to set up and use
Cons: Have not found any yet
Summary: Set up was very easy. The unit comes with a usable "All Subscribed" channels list. There are 4 user assignable favorites list. Search defaults to the "All Subscribed" list which ...
Summary: Set up was very easy. The unit comes with a usable "All Subscribed" channels list. There are 4 user assignable favorites list. Search defaults to the "All Subscribed" list which contains Sports Packages and PPV. This list can be edited with "Channel Locks," "Lock PPV" and "Hide Locked" options. After setting up "Locks" the DVR will only search and record unblocked channels.
Creating TiVo-like Wish Lists can be done through the remote: 2 button is "a,b,c 3 is d,e,f. Being able to key the search terms really speeds search time. There a myriad of other recording options which all work.
For Home Theater users the remote comes preprogrammed to operate TV, receiver and VCR/DVD. This can be accomplished manually or automatically. Volume default is assignable. When it determines which code works the TV, the DVR automatically adjusts the picture output to match the TV at either 480i, 480p, 720p or 1080i.
On screen guide has seven different customizations so you can choose font size and number of channels to display with or without picture. Other DVRs limit the display to a very short 4 or 5 lines.
There is a PIP feature that allows you to view two satellite pictures at the same time in a variety of different formats, including split screen.
This DVR replaced a short lived competitor's DVR which replaced a 7 year old TiVo with a large hard drive. So far the ViP722 has the best software package.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Overall, very good functionality except LOUSY ability to switch to/from closed caption.
by davidhh on April 6, 2008
Pros: Generally good functionality
Cons: Switching to/from closed caption awful.
Summary: Generally, I have been very impressed with this receiver. But there are several control functions that are a real pain. I happen to be hard of hearing and often want ...
Summary: Generally, I have been very impressed with this receiver. But there are several control functions that are a real pain. I happen to be hard of hearing and often want to switch the "close caption" on or off. To do this it takes an unbelievable 17 button pushes to either turn the closed caption on OR off.
Not quite as bad, but to time record (DVR) a program or delete a program it seems like one has to go thru an unecessaryly large number of "navigations" before you can get the job done. And, there is no way one can stop a recording once it has started. You simply have to wait it out!
On the postive side, I really like the 30 second skip and 10 second reverse skip feature on the recorder.
Also, I liked the dual HD output capability (HDMI and Component). With this I was able to connect our HD TV in our living room with the Component output while using a 50' HDMI cable (yes, HDMI can be that long!!) to our bedroom HD TV. And, of course, I have used TV2 to pipe analog TV throughout our house to other analog TVs, all with just the one 722 receiver.
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
by wmcoverdale on March 11, 2008
Pros: TV2 can control at least 4TVs W/ coax splitter
Cons: Inability to delist pay channels from HD menu
Summary: I have had the 622 for close to 2 years now.Aside from my 50" industrial Panasonic HDTV monitor, there is no high tech toy that has given me greater ...
Summary: I have had the 622 for close to 2 years now.Aside from my 50" industrial Panasonic HDTV monitor, there is no high tech toy that has given me greater pleasure. The optical outlet enables me to connect to my older AV receiver for DTS or 5.1 sound
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
Tivo ain't no match for the VIP722
by TH8TER on March 11, 2008
Pros: Great DVR, easy to use, can watch/record 3 channels
Cons: Defaults to recording all programs instead on new or once
Summary: I have both a TIVO and the VIP722 and the 722 in my opinion blows it away. The picture quality is much better, it has an RF remote, 30 sec ...
Summary: I have both a TIVO and the VIP722 and the 722 in my opinion blows it away. The picture quality is much better, it has an RF remote, 30 sec skip and ability to watch record 3 shows.
3 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
Functional, but severely lacking in some areas
by azjazz on January 26, 2010
Pros: Very good picture
Much cheaper HD service than DirectTV when I bought it (and still is for my package)
One ViP722 controls 2 TVs (one in HD)
Very large storage for DVR recordings
Cons: Unit has been unstable, and acts very weird/locks up at times
DVR programming interface is absolutely terrible, and lacks important functionality
Menu navigation is painful
Records stuff you don't want
Summary: Let me start out by saying that I have a lot of experience with designing user interfaces, and have tons of years of computer experience (inside and outside the box). ...
Summary: Let me start out by saying that I have a lot of experience with designing user interfaces, and have tons of years of computer experience (inside and outside the box). I am not a newbie with user interfaces.
I will describe in detail the problems I have had with my ViP722:
1) The unit has been unstable: I just had problems today (and it isn't the first time). I have owned my ViP722 for about 1 1/2 years now. I have run into multiple situations where the ViP722 will randomly lock up / reset / freeze / or have sound only but no picture. This morning, I was surfing channels, and I suddenly saw a blank screen and channel #65535 for every channel I chose, and it was the channel number shown for every channel in the Program Guide. I had to reset the unit to clear out the issue. I have also had the unit go through multiple resets on boot-up, where it may constantly reboot for 5 to 10 times before it finally comes up. Something is flaky - software, hardware, or both.
2) DVR Programming Interface: Without a doubt, this is the absolute, hands-down worst user interface I have seen for a DVR. I have used about 4 others (SageTV, TiVo, DirectTV, Cable), and all of their user intefaces are much better. When I am trying to record a single show of a series (Say, next week's 'Nova' episode in HD), it is almost impossible to figure out how to do it through the user interface. Do I press "DISH Pass" or "Timer"? I have actually called up DISH Network Technical Support on this multiple times, and the ViP722 doesn't handle it very well at all. I was always told by the technical support staff that the only way I could do that is to go to the Program Guide, navigate to the Channel / Time that the program was being shown, and then press the record button when the show was highlighted. Every other DVR I have used supported this functionality, and it was accomplished through the programming menu. If I want to record a single episode of something 2 weeks from now, I may have to scan through a hundred or more Program Guide pages before I get to the show of interest (if I know what day it is playing).
In addition, figuring out how to adjust specific settings for a recording is almost impossible to figure out. If I want to change a planned recording so that I start recording 2 minutes earlier for that show, I usually waste about a half-hour before I finally figure out which screens I need to get to.
NOTE: I have recently found that Dish Network's "Remote Access" via a PC works very well, and gets you much easier and more capable programming of your DVR. I no longer use the DVR programming menus in the ViP722. I only use the web interface now, and am eagerly awaiting the release of an Android App for Remote Access.
3) Menu navigation is painful: For some reason, DISH has assigned 'secret button sequences' in order to get to some screens. For example, you may need to press the 'DVR' button twice to get to a specific screen. Useless and annoying! How was I supposed to know to press the DVR button twice? It wasn't on the menu screen, and it isn't on the remote. (It was mentioned in the 146 page manual, though). More significantly, the names of their menu selections aren't clear enough that you get to where you think you wanted to go. Many times, I find myself going back to the main menu to try again.
4) Records stuff you don't want: If you select a 'DishPass' to record only 'New' programs, be ready to delete a whole bunch of stuff. I have a DishPass to record only new 'Daily Show' episodes, and the ViP722 will record every old episode that isn't listed with a specific original recording date. In addition, I have set the ViP722 to record only 'New' showings of a special event (Like a Battlestar Galactica TV movie), and the ViP722 will record every instance of the event. That will fill up your hard drive quickly. Again, I have *never* had these problems with any other manufacturers' DVR I have used in the past.
2 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Don't be fooled
by binaryluv on May 5, 2009
Pros: Good picture Quality in HD
Cons: Customer Service
Is not user friendly, My wife has given up on trying to use it. She wants her Tivo back.
Summary: From the word go we have had nothing but problems with Dish and their equipment. I understand that you will trust CNET more than me, heck you don't know ...
Summary: From the word go we have had nothing but problems with Dish and their equipment. I understand that you will trust CNET more than me, heck you don't know me! Just be wary when you deal with them. We were told all of these great things about the system then learn the DVR really only works in one room as HD. The other TV has coaxial from the DVR going to it so it is not a HD signal and honestly is quite poor on the picture quality. Today a Dish Network tech came to the house to inspect the DVR and I was told that due to my hard drive being about 45% full with recordings that was the reason I needed to reset the unit once a week due to the system freezing up. So I can't use half the hard drive? Well I could go off on a rant here but I wont just take my word for it and don't sign a contract with them. It is going to cost me over $200 to get out of the contract and no telling how much to get back with DirectTV. email@example.com
2 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Dish Network
- Part number: VIP722
- Description: Innovative technology meets functional design. Announcing DISH Network's latest high-definition receiver, the ViP722 DVR. The ViP722 DVR supports two TVs and features a powerful digital video recorder and expanded recording capacity.
- Type of product HD DVR
- Dimensions (WxDxH) 16 in x 13 in x 3.5 in
- Weight 11 lbs
- Color Black
- TV tuner qty 1
- TV tuner multi-channel preview Picture-in-picture (PIP)
- Parental Control Type Password
- Parental lock Yes
- Optical Digital Output Yes
- Output Mode Stereo
Digital Player (Recorder)
- Device Type None
- Digital Storage Media Hard disk drive
- Max Recording Capacity 350
- Connector Type 2 x Composite video/audio output ( RCA phono x 3 ),
1 x Component video output ( RCA phono x 3 ),
1 x S-Video output ( 4 pin mini-DIN ),
1 x HDMI,
1 x SPDIF output,
1 x Network ( RJ-45 ),
1 x Phone line ( RJ-11 ),
1 x USB ( 4 pin USB Type A ),
2 x ( F connector ),
1 x RF input ( F connector )
- Type Remote control