Tuesday, August 19, 2003

PVR, take 5

We have another DishPVR 721 on the way. This will be the 5th one we've had since we bought (for $549) our original DishPVR 721 last fall.

PVR No. 4 lived a week. No. 3 lived about 12 hours. No. 2 managed to function for a couple of months (including one complete crash of the box which wiped out Ashley Judd - Style Star and many less important programs). I think PVR No. 1 had the longest life, maybe even 4 months.

So now No. 5 is on the way. Dish Network blames my house for the problems with their DishPVR 721. Last Sunday they sent out a couple of technicians to make sure my system is grounded properly (it is). Now their solution is to send me a "three-prong adapter" intended to make sure the electrical part of the system is properly grounded. From what I understand, this adapter is the same $1.50 plug you can buy at Radio Shack that lets you plug a two-prong power cord into a three-prong outlet and have it grounded properly. Nevermind that my herd of DishPVR 721s have all been plugged into a surge protector which itself has three prongs.

When No. 5 fails, Dish has promised to send out a "field service manager" to look once again for "site issues" that could be causing the problem. [DISCLOSURE: I did, in fact, install the second cable that runs to the 721 and "quad LNBF" - bought off Ebay - myself, so there's a chance the problem is, in fact, with the inept installer].

The Dish folks seem completely baffled that I am having these issues with the DishPVR 721. Everytime I'm on the phone with their "advanced tech" people, I try to pry information about 721 problems out of them. They tell me a good number of people now have the DishPVR 721 and problems are rare.

But the installer guy who came out Sunday made a very good point. If they are so willing to keep shipping me replacement units and they have such an efficient system in place to do so (when I call, I get a new unit 2 days later, complete with return instructions and labels for my old unit in a nice little package), there just may be an issue with the unit.

Another disturbing thought came to me when I was on the phone with Dish today. I asked if the units they send as replacements are new or refurbished. They are, in fact, refurbished. I'm working the math to see how many DishPVR 721s I should expect to be sent before I get back one I've had before.


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