921 gamble


SatelliteGuys Family
Original poster
Supporting Founder
Oct 29, 2003
Monument, CO
I am so torn. I really want the 921. But, as a previous DishPlayer owner, and reading the 721 problems, I am afraid that I will get a unit that will never end up working as advertised. Even after months of updating software.
What are the rest of you doing?
Because of E* consistently buggy software and 'less than Tivo' features, E* has pretty much pushed me into getting D*. Like you, I don't want something that's buggy and takes months and months to fix (or break even further .. 721). There's no reason for a major provider to release products like this.

Like everyone else, I've waited a long time for the 921. So, I might as well wait another month or two to make my final decision about switching. That way I can see the initial reports on the 921. Unfortunately, it'll have to be nothing short of spectacular to get me to stick with E* but, I will give it that chance.

My only concern with D* was bandwidth but their announcement yesterday (using Spaceway satellites) eased my worries. Sure, they're probably 6 - 12 months off but at least I know bandwidth won't be an issue for long. Plus, their 7s sat is going up in Jan to help with immediate issues.
I probably will wait and switch to a HD Directivo when available. While I want an HDPVR now, I also want one without problems and 2 OTA tuners will be great.
Not enough hd available yet to justify purchase of a 921 or HD Tivo if I were to switch to directv. Plus, due to the exorbitant cost of these machines, a switch to cable might be warranted if they offer a free hd pvr box anytime soon.
Don't let the gloom and doom of the reports of the 721 sway you.
Yes, there are a few problems. And yes, a couple of new ones came along with the latest upgrade.
But for most people, the bugs are not too bad and most people are satisfied with their 721.

In no way does it compare to the dishplayer mess.

Some people just like to complain a lot.
Yes. A few people have a lot of problems, and they love to share them, over and over again.

Let's face it, you never hear about all the 721s that are working just fine, but when someone does have a problem, this is the place they come to to ask about it.
I've had my 721 for a few months now, and I have to say that I have been thrilled with it! Never had any problems.

I'm not a power user, but I probably record 10-15 hours per week. Never missed a beat.

I can't wait for the 921! I've told Mark at DD to call me the second he gets them in, so I can go pick it up from his store!
AppliedAggression said:
Yes. A few people have a lot of problems, and they love to share them, over and over again.

And if you notice its the SAME two people doing 98% of the complaigning.

I love my 721 and have since I purchased it. I do not regret for one moment this purchase, and I too will have a 921 as soon as they are available. :)
I have had my 721 for almost a year. It has only missed one recording and I think that was because a very heavy thunderstorm not only caused rain fade but a short power failure. I think the SW64 was the actual problem since I had to cycle it before I could get picture on either the 721 or 6000. I'm looking forward to having my 721 and 921 side by side in my AV rack.
My only issue is the Firewire. I won't buy the 921 until the Firewire output is enabled for use with the JVC 30000U. D* is not an option since they have zero Firewire plans.
I will admit that some of the "horror stories" cause some concern.

But, I've heard these type of stories for just about anything. I have waited a long time to see the 921 released. I took the same chance when I got an HDTV early on, when the demo channel and HBO/Showtime were the only HD I could get.

I now have all local networks, HD packages, etc. I recently got a 508 and although it is a little buggy, I have to say that overall it is one of the best pieces of video equipment I have ever gotten and I have no horror story about it.

I've had a few 6000 problems (on my 5th receiver), but E* has always replaced or otherwise stood behind their products. Inconvenienced? yes. But any reason to not get something I've waited this long for? No.

I am looking forward to the 921 and if it turns out to be a problem, I'll deal with it then.

Bottom line: I refuse to let some reported problems (of which some are major) keep me from at least trying out the most advanced piece of HD recording equipment to hit the market.

The E* DVRs are definately missing features compared to the TiVo (mostly 2 tuners, name based recording, and upgradable hard drive). (Yea, I know the 721 has two tuners but for a lot more $$$ the $99). But, things at E* are nothing like the Dishplayer days. I predict that the 921 will function reasonably well. The JVC firewire dump will come (in my dream world it would also allow archiving to a nice 400 gig firewire hard drive - even if it means leaving the data encrypted).

I'm sticking with E* due to some programming not available on Direct. Will probably get the 921 when it's released. I'm hugely dissappointed that they shelved the front expansion bay - it desperately needs more hard drive space (25 hours for my Sat and OTA is gonna fill up FAST).

As much as I'd hate to go back to tape - I'd consider a D-VHS if they would add an ATSC tuner (I'm afraid Blue-Ray is a ways off). Then, it could supplement the DVR for OTA.
David_Levin said:
I predict that the 921 will function reasonably well.

I also predict that a few people will have some problems with it and will tell us all about it. Over and Over again. And call for the heads of every developer that can spell 921. And scream that Tivo can do this or that so much better. And how dare Charlie even consider to call himself human to release such a steaming pile. And how you never hear any complaints from people with D*. And they will stay with the 921 and E*. And complain again. Over and Over again.
Not that this will change anybody's opinion ;)

Dish Network churn - 1.36%

from 10-Q filed May 6, 2003 page 24 (pdf page 27)

DirectTV churn - 1.5%

from 8-K filed October 14, 2003 page 15 (pdf page 23)

I don't know the rate of churn for cable. It looks like both services have generally happy customers once they subscribe. I'm not a statistician, but I expect the difference between 1.36% and 1.5% is considered noise.
Studies also show that Customers with DVR's or HDTV services are MUCH less likely to churn and are very good customers.
Scott Greczkowski said:
Studies also show that Customers with DVR's or HDTV services are MUCH less likely to churn and are very good customers.

We would be - once I spend $1k on a 921 I'm probably not going anywhere for awhile.

(Plus - I'm pretty lazy by nature)
Last spring I was all over getting a 921, but now I will definately hold off... I have a # of concerns:

- 921 is very expensive
- 921 will likely be buggy
- Its big!
- Doubt it will be very much upgraded before it becomes obsolete
- Dont want a Superdish due to size and mounting concerns
- Want to see what DirecTVs plans are going to be for local HD

So since I want to stay open to jumping to DirecTV, I am just going to get the 811. Also it doesnt appear there are going to be any special customer deals on the 811 (unless Charlie says something tonight). If there is, he may be able to grab me for awhile... will have to think about it.

But I would just rather wait for the next generation (922?) DVR. I want something slimmer, can output to 2 TVs, has a newer 8VSB chipset, larger HD, and cheaper!

One thing that left a sour taste in my mouth:

When I decided to become a Dish customer in May of 2000, I shopped for the receiver I wanted and decided upon the 5000 hands down since it provided future upgradeability to DD and HD. A few months after I bought it I discover it is discontinued and the modules are no longer available from Dish and very hard to find. I also notice that software updates for the 5000 will be few and far between.

That really ticked me off because they advertised it as being so upgradable. Then when the 8PSK comes out, they shut the 5000 completely out of the HD business. yeah they had a 6000 deal for 5000 owners but only if you had the HD module. Well I never was able to GET one, so I didnt have one to trade in, but I still bought the 5000 originally because I thought I would have HD someday.

It goes to show that you cant count on upgradability from most vendors, its usually cheaper to get the newer unit.

On a side note, I once bought a 14.4K modem from US Robotics (Courier model) on a $199 BBS Sysop deal around 1991. I upgraded it to 16.8k, 28.8k, 33.6k, and finally 56k all through FREE software updates and ONE $99 daughter board upgrade. Used the same modem for 12 years (still have it).

Now THAT's upgradability! Then 3COM bought them out and a good equipment vendor passes on.


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