DTVPal DVR Unboxing & Setup

Dave Zatz —  January 23, 2009 — 73 Comments

I’ve previously been a bit lukewarm towards DISH Network’s DTVPal DVR, but as I contemplate dumping pay TV at some point this year I’m more motivated to explore all over-the-air (OTA) recording options. And the DTVPal DVR ($250) is pretty much one of only two mainstream retail HD DVR set-top boxes currently available. Unlike the similarly priced TiVo HD, DISH’s solution is subscription-free with guide data received OTA.

As you can see from the 23 enlargeable photos below, I’ve gotten my hands on a review unit. The enclosure is still rather plain, plasticy, and bulbous (can’t stack anything on it), with that unfortunate TV character illustration resembling a pig. However, in this case, it’s what’s inside that truly matters. Setup was a breeze. Heck, I probably completed the DTVPal DVR configuration in the same time it takes my TiVo to boot. The initial OTA PSIP guide data was pretty limited, but overnight the dual tuner DVR has been populated with the more comprehensive TV Guide (TVGOS). The unit seems about as a loud as my TiVoHD, perhaps slightly louder and definitely warmer – neither should be an issue. The Ethernet jack is active, and I did try to initiate a software update. But it appears that my OS is current. Perhaps, utilizing that Internet connectivity, at some point DISH Network’s CinemaNow video on demand (VOD) offerings will make their way to this unit. DTVPalDVR OTA ATSC reception seems similar to the TiVoHD, and all my major networks come in via just a small antenna, although I haven’t done any sort of exhaustive comparison of reception or picture quality.

So far, so good! I’ll have more to report in the coming weeks. Anything specific you’d like me to check out?

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73 responses to DTVPal DVR Unboxing & Setup

  1. There is a thread over at AVSforum that is getting close to 2000 posts – mostly negative about this DVR would be good if you could address some of the issue noted there:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=15631727#post15631727

  2. Yeah I’ve been following some of the conversation, linked a thread Christmas Eve. But I’m not wading through nearly 2,000 posts. Perhaps someone might ask specific questions/issues for me to research. :)

  3. I don’t have the box yet, was about to buy when I started to hear about the errors.

    The main errors is that the box locks up at some different points (I’m not sure what is on the screen) the only way to fix it is to unplug the unit and plug it back in. It happens at random times using the system, sometimes recording a program from what I hear.

    The cause seems to be something with the over the air program that comes in . I guess the TVGO? that comes from local stations get corrupted some how. So when the Unit tries to pull updates, it crashes the system.

    Really, as you use the unit what problems do you run into, how often do they happen. are you seeing reboot issues and so forth. Thanks

  4. Ah, that’s new to me. I’ll keep an eye out and report on any crashes, reboots. If they occur, I’ll also check in with my DISH contacts to find out more on that status.

  5. What I want to know is how this thing gets guide data via OTA? I thought that it was just TV signals embedded in all that data whizzing through the air. Are you sure that it’s not using the ethernet connection to get the TV Guide info? I’ll be really impressed if you can use the DVR without a computer, internet connection or phone line.

  6. Local broadcasters transmit limited guide data along with their ATSC A/V transmissions (PSIP). Which is why many OTA tuner STBs and some TVs will display what’s on when using only an antenna. The better stuff is via TV Guide (TVGOS), who has some sort of dealio in place where their data is also transmitted OTA. I read on AVS that’s it’s via CBS affiliates, but I don’t know any details on the technology or relationships.

  7. “There is a thread over at AVSforum that is getting close to 2000 posts – mostly negative about this DVR would be good if you could address some of the issue noted there:”

    More accurately; People with problems are making a lot of post, as it should be.
    Those with no problems aren’t, they don’t need to.

  8. Q&A with known issues:
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1099071

    Poll of people experiencing lockups and reboots:
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/poll.php?do=showresults&pollid=6659

    Dave, please be sure to use the unit for a week before posting a full review. Some people don’t experience any issues for a few days.

  9. Nice pictures! I’m hoping the Easter bunny brings me one of these! I’d like to replace my old VCR!
    Question, if you can answer: Does the TVGOS guide go out further into the future than the PSIP only guide does?

  10. I would be interested in knowing where the unit gets the time of day from.

    OTA channels in my area shows a different times when flipping through the channels. If each channel is different, what does it use to start and stop timer programs? This box starts recording 30 seconds late at times, other times it starts between 1 and 2 minutes early.

    I have a Phillips DVR and it is dead nuts accurate on every program recorded. The Phillips has an analog tuner as well and I wonder if that’s were it picks up its time from (like my VCR auto clock feature).

  11. Could you ask your Dish contacts why you have a different firmware and bootstrap version than the purchasers on AVS? Specifically, everyone is reporting either having v. F201TA(L)D/F202TA(L)D firmware and 1011TA(L)D bootstrap. It seems yours is special!

  12. Ken, a better troubleshooting poll might allow folks to indicate things like connected via HDMI versus component or well ventilated versus kept in a crowded tv stand. Also, we should determine which OS/firmware/bootstrap people have. I’m trying to determine if 202 has resolved some of these reported issues.

    James, the PSIP data is usually just a day or so. The TVGOS looks like it’s about a week. Ideally, you’d want two which is what TiVo and TV Guide online does with EyeTV (Mac).

    Dave, not sure where the time comes from and which source takes precedence. I’ll try to find out more.

    partsman_ba, Yep – I’ve already gotten confirmation that the PR folks will relay my messages through engineering. Before any further reporting, I’ll want to make sure I understand how/if what I have is different from folks buying units.

  13. It’ll be most interesting if you can ask your contacts at Dish what they’re official position is w.r.t. the reboot and lockup problems that people have been describing in the AVS thread previously mentioned. They may have given you a cherry picked unit, but that does not take away from the fact that there are many, many reports of units having problems. Also, there are reports of purchasers contacting Dish and being told there are no problems; while others contacting Dish get their unit replaced.

    I’m most interested in buying one of these, but I’m even more interested in getting a bug-free unit. I’d love to hear Dish’s side.

  14. My unit had a Picture Alignment problem where both the HD Channels I watched and MENU pages did not fully fill the screen leaving an unused + eighth inch black Bar across the Top and left side of the screen, much like an open Window on a PC Monitor that was not aligned to fill the screen. If I watch a show for more than 20 minutes, this leaves a shadow line on my LCD HD TV when I use other sources. I need to turn my Brightness all the way up for a minute or two to get rid of this mild Burn-In.

    DISK Chat (DRDish) said it was an unknown Software issue (They said to wait till a Software patch cured this)and when I tried phone service they simply read off a list of problems trying to match it up, without any success.

    Neither wanted to replace the unit, but the girl on the phone finally got permission to – with me paying to send back the unit.

    In the end she was ‘sure’ they were going to send me a unit even though her system failed at that time. The Policy was that I send my unit back before they would send me a ‘used one’, but she said that I should wait and make sure that I get the replacement first. After me saying it was not fair for me to pay for shipping again, she finally said they’d pay for the shipping but I was not told how or when.

    They rarely give out Tracking Numbers and the only reciept you get from an On-Line order is to copy the end page. Of course I’m to send a copy of my printed reciept, which I never got, with the return.

    I can only hope I get one of the apparently normal problem units so I can join all those awaiting a solution. Let’s all have fun with Lock-Ups, Reboots, aborted Recording and Split Recordings. The current speculation is that nearly 50% have these problems.

  15. Russell, Has anyone on 202 firmware reported reboots or freezes? Still trying to understand the issue… I’m not sure that my unit was “cherry picked” and I’m doubtful it was. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if the PR team swiped it from a different stack of boxes, from a QA or helpdesk team, etc. (Someone else on the forum reported similar packing to mine and the same version software.)

    Russel, BretC, Regarding folks calling support, those inconsistent experiences with little info provided don’t surprise me and is unfortunately seen with many companies. However, it definitely sounds like they need a better and consistent exchange procedure.

  16. The avs forum re: dtvpal dvr indicates that many users have been experiencing unexplained freezes and reboots. The forum has mulled over many alternative hypotheses intended to isolate a cause for these events, and no single theory is sufficient.

    It seems clear to me that *multiple problems* are present, but any single unit does not have all of the problems (and some units have none of them). The issues include: non-robust software/firmware, buggy tgvos guide data transmission/interpretation, inadequate packaging for shipment, hypersensitive power supplies, inconsistent hdmi data exchange, and probably others.

    It’s unfortunate that the unit is so buggy, because otherwise it would be an ideal tool for anyone who is OTA-only and wants HD recording without subscription fees.

  17. Dave Z,

    Folks on the avsforum have experienced freezes/lockups irrespective of fw 201 v. 202.

  18. do you do OTA with the TiVo DVR? can you compare if the DTV PAL picks up more stations or less stations than the TiVo HD?

    PS – do you live in a densely populated area and that is why you have all the locals?

  19. handjive, what do you mean by “non-robust software/firmware”?

    Drlink, thanks for the clarification. I’m still keeping an eye on it and haven’t seen a reboot yet.

    Zeo, Yah I’m in a very dense metro area with good ATSC coverage. At my latest, current location the only channel I occasionally have trouble pulling in is NBC (4) and my results are similar with the TiVo, Hauppauge tuner, etc when using a tiny omnidirectional antenna. However, I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison. So my answer would be the DTVPal DVR is in the same league as most modern tuners.

  20. I mention “non-robust software/firmware” because it seems user reports of reboots and freezes sometimes correlate with high-complexity demands on the dual tuner system–e.g., recording two programs and watching a third; programming consecutive or overlapping programs, etc. Also, there is indications that the system does not mesh well with tvgos or pisp guide data transmissions–there may be some features of those signals that the confuse/overload the unit. Likewise, it seems that fluctuations in signal strength can confuse the system. A more robust OS would not be so sensitive to user commands or vagaries in OTA signals.

    Of couse, this is all speculative because nobody but DISH is in a position to have a good data set about failures or to conduct controlled comparisons, and they remain mute. Without that kind of control, it is not possible to exclude the possibility that failures are the result of crappy chinese circuit boards or from shipping damage.

  21. I received my DTVPal DVR last week and thus far have had no issues or problems with reboots or system freezes.

    A couple questions though, I know it can record in SD or HD, but how do you specify which it does…or does it do this automatically (HD content recorded in HD and SD content recorded in SD)?

    Also, this is purely cosmetic, but when you change the channel, the info that is displayed takes up at least the top third of the screen and stays on for 5 seconds. I have found that by pussing the ‘view live tv’ button it turns it off right away, but that is annoying. Do you know if there is a way to scale down the information, relocate it to the bottom of the screen or ideally turn some of the info off?? (ie. I don’t need to always see the signal strength or the “SD: NORMAL and HD: NORMAL” discriptions. Let me know, I’d really appreciate it.

    And if I end up having any other issues with the unit, I’ll be sure to post.

  22. FYI I’ve gotten some clarification on the K versus L software versions: “it’s just a unit identifier used internally in our service department to identify parts used. It has nothing to do with functionality.” So we all should have the same functionality. And, unless any of the reported issues are hardware-specific, our experiences should be similar. Somewhat related, my unit has yet to freeze or crash. I’m connected via HDMI, using TGOS, and the DVR is in a well ventilated location. Will continue to observe.

    Hans, I believe the cancel button also clears the banner but I’m unaware of banner settings for amount of information or time displayed. I do agree it’s a bit much.

  23. I received my DTV Pal DVR 1/19/09. Getting PSIP data only as no digital TVGOS in my area (South Bend, IN). Have not updated, still on V F201TALD-N. I’ve had over 30 power cycles and at least 1 freeze (meaning I had to unplug DVR) in each of the configurations I have tried, HDMI, Component and coax. After 1st freeze I reset to factory defaults and reformatted hard drive. That helped for about 1 day, then problems started again.
    Hopefully you can help Dish find a solution.

  24. Hans, it records whatever digital data the station is broadcasting without doing any conversion, so if the station is sending HD, it records HD; if it’s sending SD, it records SD.

  25. Dave, to answer your question from the 24th – yes, folks with 202 have experienced freezes. The folks in the AVS forum have struggled to find some kind of pattern to this madness, but nothing coherent has emerged. If Dish knows what is causing the problem they’ve not let on.

    As, I mentioned before, I’m dying to buy one of these – but I’m waiting for these bugs to be resolved.

  26. I also would currently own one of these if not for the freezes/re-boots.

    I believe there is a market for this product once it becomes stable.

    You put myself, Russell and a couple of friends I could easily sell on this unit and Dish has just made $1000!

  27. I had an interesting quirk happen last night and wondering if anyone has insights.

    I wasn’t watching anything, but the DVR was recording two shows. I wanted to turn the TV on to either watch the end of one of those shows or watch something that had previously been recorded. Both the green and red lights were on on the DVR, but when I turned the TV on the screen just stayed black. I couldn’t get the DVR menu to display nor was I able to change channels to watch one of the shows that was being recorded. I was afraid I had my first freeze, but when I turned the TV back on 10 minutes later (after one of the two shows had finished, thus freeing up a tuner) it was still just displaying a black screen, but in pushing a number of the buttons on the remote I finally got the guide to come up and then could watch any channel. It had also record the two shows just fine meaning it hadn’t frozen up.

    Anyone else expereience anything like this? Or if you have two shows recording can you not turn the tv on to watch one of them or a previously recorded show?

  28. It’s been almost two weeks with mine. I upgraded to 202, no issues with lock ups since then. So far, so good.

  29. Dave,

    I would be interested in finding out how the DTVPal DVR compares to a TV HD in regards to fringe reception. I am currently using my TV HD for OTA only and sometimes have reception problems with a large roof top antenna.

    Thanks!

  30. Hans, to answer your question on the 27th, YES.

    Though not exactly the same.
    That happens all the time to me, when recording two shows at once. With the box in the “off” position, if two recordings start, I will be unable to change the tuner(even to one of the actively recording channels) till ONE of them stops. Menu button doesn’t help, for me either(I think it’s caused by the preview in menu mode)

    With two tuners recording, starting with the box “ON”, I don’t have that issue anymore(can watch either show, or a pre-record).

    Then again, I got one of the first batch sent out… so far, averaging one lock-up a week :-( I could even live with that, if the darn thing had a POWER SWITCH! The Concept of this box rocks! especially for the older vhs generation, that’s happy with local broadcast. but the execution…. it almost seems like the prototype from CES jan, 2008 got put on a shelf, forgotten, then in Dec, they dusted off production lines, and just ran a couple off. REALLY, all the preview vids from that CES i watched…. that’s prety much exactly what we got. What WERE they doing all year?

  31. Greetings,

    I saw an ethernet port on the back. Is it possible to pull recorded tv shows to your PC ..or even better..is it possible to record them to your home PC ?

    Thnx

  32. Has anyone having problems had their unit plugged into UPS? If there is finicky power as a cause, that should eliminate the problem.

  33. atmusky, I probably won’t be able to test fringe reception. I’m not dedicated enough to find another place to install it.

    Bigux, So far the Ethernet port is solely for network software updates.

    FYI, I’ve yet to experience a freeze requiring a reboot. And it’s never rebooted while I’ve been watching.

  34. just sent mine back… could not take it anymore. i hope my new unit will be better… but i think its just a piece of junk. will update this if my new unit is any better.

  35. Can you find out if they will be making these available in Canada.

  36. I got mine about 2 weeks ago. I ordered, got it in about 3 days. I was moving from an apartment with Comcast cable to a house (thank you housing market decline!) and wanted to cut cost. I only watch Lost really with two small kids. This device cut my cable bill out (and I use Netflix for other movies and TV shows). No problems yet, updated to the 202 software. I only wish I could set recordings by show instead of just by time.

    I say buy and try. It’s worth it if you have a working unit and what to stick it to the cable company.

  37. I am one of the ones with problems over on the AVS Forums. I am still waiting for a replacement unit, I was told that it was on hold and that they were checking the replacement to make sure it works correctly.

    Even with the lock ups and reboots, I LOVE this unit! It is almost as good as my old TiVo. There are a few things that I wish I could do with this that I could with the TiVo, but maybe they will make changes in the next firmware version.

    DeathAdder, you can program by show and not have to set it by time. Just go to the Guide and highlight the show and press the Record button.

  38. Got mine yesterday…last night the unit was off and no recording scheduled…this morning it was locked up…it had both the green and red light on steady…had to cycle power to clear…very frustrating…sent an email to Dish.

  39. Got my first DTVPal DVR a few weeks ago – after downloading/installing the 202 upgrade, it worked great for a day. But the next day it was dead — power would come on for a few seconds, then it would completely die. Looks like a power supply/related issue.

    I sent the unit back to Dish (on my dime, of course); while I’m waiting for the replacement, I’ve got a question for Dave (or anyone!) regarding TGOS…

    Per the DTVPal DVR manual, you need another device that is TGOS-capable in order to use TGOS with the DTVPal DVR. Is this true? Or should I be able to get TGOS without adding any other equipment? (I live in the greater L.A. area, if that makes a difference.) If needed, are there cheap boxes out there that can be added to my system so that I can use TGOS with this DVR? I’ve got a new 42″ LCD TV, but it doesn’t mention anything about TGOS.

    Thanks in advance!

  40. Jesse, Did you try updating the firmware? I still haven’t had any freezes or reboots.

    Rob, I just plugged in a small antenna and the next morning about a week of TV Guide listings were there. Nothing else is attached (other than the television) and nothing else at the moment is using an antenna, so I’m not sure what the manual is referring to. Hm.

  41. Dave, thanks for your reply; since my first unit died after only one day, I’m hoping I’ll have the same success with TGOS when I get the replacement unit up and running — and it (hopefully) stays running! Will let you know what happens.

  42. Dave, you wrote: “I contemplate dumping pay TV at some point this year I’m more motivated to explore all over-the-air (OTA) “.

    Me too.

    Any solution requires DVR functionality. This solution in this post doesn’t seem to be working out, judging by the many comments and other posts. TiVo is a solution, but I’d rather dump those monthly fees as well.

    What else is there???

  43. “Jesse, Did you try updating the firmware? I still haven’t had any freezes or reboots.”…Yes…I had a reboot after updating. Overall I am happy with it…if they can correct these reboot/lockup issues it will be a terrific piece of equipment.

  44. One thing to keep in mind: I’ve had DVR’s for a long time, and from day 1, put all of my DVR’s on UPS’s. Having your DVR on an UPS will cure a lot of misbehavior, not to mention extend its life. Back in the day, people would report all kinds of lock-ups and such with the original WebTV DVR (7100). Nary a one for me on an UPS. If it has a hard drive, it should be on an UPS. No exceptions.

  45. I plugged in my replacement DtvPal DVR last night, and it died just like the first one. Here’s what happens:

    1) Day 1: the unit works great. Install, antenna reception, guide, test recordings all work fine.

    2) Day 2: power is dead. Both lights on the DVR are off. If I unplug / wait / plug in again, both lights come on for a few seconds, then both go off.

    3) A few seconds later, the DTVPal startup screen appears on the TV, with “PLEASE WAIT…” It appears to be booting, but…

    4) A few seconds after that, the picture is gone (TV reports “No signal”). Neither DVR light comes back on.

    I’ve tried this with multiple outlets (direct to wall), surge protectors, TV’s and inputs (HDMI and component video), all with the same results.

    This seems like a power supply problem — and I’m two for two with bad units right out of the box.

    IS ANYONE ELSE HAVING THE SAME PROBLEM?

    Thanks! -Rob

    P.S. I understand how a UPS can help with fluctuating power problems, but in 14 years in this house we’ve had maybe 8-10 PC’s overall, plus multiple DVR’s, and have never had a problem with any other hard drive-based unit that required a UPS.

  46. I hope this device becomes stable. I have the DTV PAL digital/analog tuner and it is not reliable (I have firmware F105 – after having F103 and F101 and about to get F106).

    My OTA DVR at the moment is the Philips 160GB hard drive
    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10059151

    I was thinking about the DVR Pal because of the dual tuners and Graphic Interface, but not ready to spend money with the bad reviews/experiences of the Dish Network DVR pal and DTV pal.

    My alternate is the Magnavox – when in stock

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10104532

  47. To Rob M. sounds like your unit is doing what it is supposed to, make sure you have the pal button selected on the top of the remote and then hit power button. Unit should power up from sleep/standby mode. I had the same problem after the vcr button was pressed on my remote.

  48. Post #3062 at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1099071&page=103 may interest all. It’s about Solid Signal no longer offering the product. According to that post, “Due to the exceedingly high percentage of problems and defects people are having with this device, we are no longer offering it to our customers at this time.” Perhaps, Dave can confirm this with Solid Signal and if confirmed it really merits a place in your review (imo).

  49. I’m checking on the SolidSignal thing (and the status of the unit itself). However, to me it’s not really news other than them publicly calling out Dish for “defects” – entertaining for me, but I wonder if he has an agenda as this is a good way to burn bridges. Actually, it probably means they’ve already been burned by one side or the other.

    But related to the business end of things, I’m friends with the owner of a smaller online electronics retailer, like a SolidSignal, and I know how tight the margins are. Returns of any sort pretty much kill any shot at making money, unfortunately.

  50. I sympathize with the predicament of the small retailer and small margins. However, in the case of this product there were many reports of the problems on the AVS thread. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to read what you find out.

  51. For some reason the sometimes the stations will not broadcast the psip signals and making the epg on the DtvPal/TR-40 useless, kinda irritating. Or the stations time is off which the units read directly, so that can screw up programing or the timer.

  52. I put mine on a UPS and disabled updates…have had no problems for 2 weeks now!…yippie!!

  53. I have an old dish that previously was installed. I am not using any box or something. I can get some 5-6 public broadcasting station, with not a great quality. My TV is old too. I installed a Zenith convertor. It can not detect any station at all. Any suggestion??

    Thanks

  54. Sorry! I am commenting in a wrong thread. My mistake!

  55. I’m having a problem on DTVPal Plus and wonder if any of you DTVPal DVR folks have the same issue. When I scan in stations, I watch and it does those fine. But then when I go to the program guide, some of the stations have different (wrong) numbers. I’m specifically talking about Boston-area stations WLVI, which should be 056-01 but on the guide changed to 071-01, and WHDH, which should be 007-01, but on the guide changed to 070-01. The Dish Network online tech chat told me that it all looks fine on their end, and my trying to reset (unplug for several minutes) didn’t fix.

  56. I have been following this thread since inception and would like to see a bit more input from Dave since he did state that he would comment on the product.

  57. Jeff, my feelings haven’t changed much since it arrived. I elaborated a bit here recently when agreeing with much of CNET’s analysis, who I’d discussed my experiences with.

    The unit is currently powered down and resting comfortably – if DISH tells me there will be some new features or other updates soon, I’ll reconnect to check them out. If not, I’ll be returning the review unit shortly.

  58. This may be a little off topic, but does anyone know if the DTVPal DVR will pick up Analog Cable channels? I still receive Time Warner analog and I do not want to switch to Digital Cable or pay for a cable DVR, so this baby would be great.

  59. The DTV Pal will not receive any cable channels.
    Digital, over the air only!

  60. New update is available…F206…fixes the problems reported here…Dish is selling these units again.

  61. I just found this site and I have a few observations to share.

    I bought the Philips DVR last fall from Sam’s club. It’s not fancy, but it works VERY well. I’d buy another except they have been discontinued. You see them on eBay for $700, almost triple what I paid, which says the free market thinks they’re great. I believe Magnavox is now a brand name for Philips and their box is functionally identical. One difference is that the two use different remote control codes so you can put them side by side and not get the controls mixed up. Unfortunately, teh Magnavox is discontinued too.

    I bought the DTVpal from ebay a couple weeks ago. They are running $400+, almost double the original price. Setup was easy, online TV guide is great, image quality is excellent and hours capacity is good.

    The unit had version 202 software which was problematic, as stated on this site. Two days ago I downloaded version 206 (released about April 8) and the quirks disappeared. The most annoying one was timers being shown as overlapping when they weren’t, and that works well now.

    The download was NOT clean. Using a USB thumbdrive failed but the cable worked. I had to pull the plug to force a cold reboot before it worked right. All settings, tiemrs and TV guide were lost, but the recorded programs were intact.

    The component video output is flaky on my unit. I’m still using my old tube TV with the standard video input and that works well. My next TV will use the HDMI signal and I’m looking forward to the upgrade.

    The manual sucks, the remote has a couple unexplained keys and the memory card out the front is unexplained.

    On the whole, I’m happy and would buy another one.

  62. Don’t buy one from EBay…there are several places selling them for under $280 shipped.

  63. I have seen them on eBay for anywhere from $220 to $440. The Buy It Now prices are always in the $400+ range. If they are now shipping from the manufacturer for $240, the bottom should drop out.

    The Philips DVRs are $275 to $500 and the are discontinued.

    Owning one of each, I think the DTVpal has better features but the Philips has much better construction quality, easier user interface and less flakes to the software. I’d go for the Philips.

  64. The Philips DVRs do not record in high definition so they are useless to the folks wanting a HD DVR…read item #51 of the supplied link.

  65. There appear to be a growing number of reports of issues with the clock “jumping” with the latest DTVPal firmware. I myself (amongst others) have experienced this.

  66. So now the worst problem we are having is “clock jumping”…that is MAJOR progress!

  67. My dtvpal dvr just bit the dust after almost 4 months–just 3 weeks past the warranty! After multiple reboots I still get the “Loading Please Wait” screen. Does anyone know if replacing the hard drive would fix this?

  68. I’ve just had the same problem with the “please wait” screen, and rebooting. Where could I find a replacement HD? What’s the model number, etc…?

  69. Kevin,

    Replacing the hard drive on this unit will not fix the problem. I just started having this exact same problem a few days ago. Mine will not get past the “Loading Please Wait screen”. I upgraded the 250gb hard drive to a 1tb drive a couple months ago and have had no problems with it until now. I saved the original hard drive and put it back in after experiencing this problem. Didn’t change the problem at all. Both hard drives are good. I also diagnosed it and found out the power supply board is not the problem. The problem is on the main board (like a mother board in a PC). I have not found anywhere to replace it, not even Dish Network sells them. Did you happen to purchase your unit with a Visa or Mastercard CREDIT card? If so, most banks with these cards will double the manufactures parts and labor warranty free of charge giving you a 6 month warranty instead of a 3 month warranty which you might still be within. If it cannot be fixed or replacement parts cannot be found, the credit card company will reimburse you the full purchase price of the unit. Mine is about 5 months old which puts me out of the manufactures warranty but still within the credit card warranty. Check to see if your credit card has this benefit included. Good Luck!

  70. What is going on lately with these DTVPAL’s? I’m looking for a HD DVR for OTA and my two choices are TIVO and DTVPAL (others?). Seems I can buy one at Sears, that’s a plus because taking it back will be easy. TiVo minus for me is I live in the sticks. I have to use satellite for internet and I’m concerned TIVO will suck up too much of my broadband. Anybody know how much broadband it uses, continuous or intermittent?

  71. Had the same problem as others w/ not getting past the boot splash screen. Power off (translation=unplug), remove antenna cable, plug in and power on, delete all channels, start channel scan, reattach cable, repeat channel scan, now ‘ok’ (thanks to AVS Forum).
    Also had problem w/ remote initially, only worked when held directly in front of DVR. Turned off TV room light auto-sense function (Sony Bravia 26″) and remote works fine now, even works pointed away from DVR from a distance using just reflected power.
    Seriously contemplating adding either a front panel power switch or a reboot switch, it seems absurd having this thing on a small UPS when I am constantly yanking out the plug…

  72. I have a DTVPalDVR purchased 01-29-2010 thru Sears.com

    Issues
    1) Sometimes the power button on the remote fails to turn on the unit sometimes, ( I have to unplug the unit from the wall and replug unit in and it will reboot.)

    2) Sometimes the unit will turn on but the picture will be frozen, ( I have to unplug the unit from the wall and replug unit in and it will reboot)

    3) Sometimes when doing the above the unit will delete all of the recorded programs.

    I turn the unit off every night.

    The unit is defective I wish to return it. It is still covered under the 90 day warranty. How do I do this?

    Sears tells me this is Dish networks warranty and I can not return it to them after 30 days.

    Has anyone else had a similar problem trying to return one?

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