CES2004 -- 921 questions and answers

TheForce

TheForce

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921 report from CES-

What is there to say? If you all have been keeping up with dbstalk.com, satelliteguys.US and AVS you already know just about everything there is. BUT, I did get to a few questions I had that nobody had any real answers to on the forums to date:

1394 Dishwire- reinforced that it would be released for dump of the Hard drive content only and would follow all 5C rules. It is working now but has not yet been authorized to be released. ETA Earliest is Spring 04. Could be sooner but other bugs and issues fixes are taking priority now. The development for this is still being done by Eldon in England but is overseen by Echostar.

USB port. I got it confirmed that USB port is just USB1.1, not 2.0. This is hardware capability or rather limitation and no plans to make it into a 2.0 flavor later. In fact, they have nothing being worked on for the USB port. It will remain a future use port until such time as they can figure out what to do with it. Originally it was to make it for Internet access capable but those plans have been scrapped as they were for the 721.

PCI slots- There are no plans to offer anything for these slots. There is no discussion on what to do with them at this time. I as well as others have speculated about additional tuners like a second 8VSB tuner. No plans to do anything like this at all.

Hard drive upgrade. This is the biggie and what I was really interested in. Again more disappointment. The rep I spoke to who would even discuss it said that not only are they NOT planning on adding a second hard drive for expansion of the 921 capacity, they went out of their way to lock the current hard drive to the receiver so it may not be removed, replaced with a larger one, or a second drive added by other parties. They will not say that a good hacker won't be able to break their security system and do it but if they did, it would be an expert hackers effort and not a simple procedure as is done in the TIVOs. Basically, as I understand it, any attempt to tamper with the hard drive will be a breach of their receiver security and Dish will consider it the same as an attempt at hacking their smart cards.

The policy as I understand it for being able to manage the "small" hard drive record time will be to offer the Dishwire archive option. You fill the drive, you dump some movies off to tape or erase them. Hey! I can accept that as a solution but all this does disappoint me about the possibility of a movie jukebox.

So do they have any plans at all for the extra drive bay? Yes, still in the long range plans are for a DVD recording drive addition but it may at first be a SD version authorized in the OS and later if it ever becomes a product, Blue Ray or HD recroding DVD drive. Let's put all this away for a long time since no real development is on going here for now.

L143 for download?? Shooting now for 1/14 but it was really in the hands of another group whose leader was not at the show for me to question. The rep I spoke to said that 1/14 was the latest he heard it would be ready.

OTABug and a common first setup bug has a work around to prevent a lock up. One other rep promised to check out the forums and make sure any suggested procedures being posted were the proper ones. He seemed concerned that some of the information being posted about the 921 was not accurate. This had to do with the L142 and he said that the new software would fix it.

Finally, Dish Network will not be supplying an adapter cable to breakout the VGA from the DVI-I. YOYO to locate one. A DVI-D cable will work for DVI connection to your monitor. I had one shipped with my Computer LCD monitor so I'm using that one. DVI-D cables are plentiful in the computer monitor business now.
 
D

David_Levin

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re: more hard drive space...

yea, that's a biggie. I still don't get it - if you can dump to a D-VHS over firewire, why can't they also allow dumping/viewing to/from a firewire hard drive?

(starting to regret committing 2 years on the 'free' 510)
 
Scott Greczkowski

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Thanks Don for the report.

He seemed concerned that some of the information being posted about the 921 was not accurate. This had to do with the L142 and he said that the new software would fix it.

Did he say what was NOT accurate? Everything I have reported about my 921 has been accurate, and the bugs I have posted regarding my 921 have also been accurate as well.

I would like to know what this guy was talking about.
 
M

martincva

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Oct 31, 2003
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Don Landis said:
921 report from CES-


Hard drive upgrade. This is the biggie and what I was really interested in. Again more disappointment. The rep I spoke to who would even discuss it said that not only are they NOT planning on adding a second hard drive for expansion of the 921 capacity, they went out of their way to lock the current hard drive to the receiver so it may not be removed, replaced with a larger one, or a second drive added by other parties. They will not say that a good hacker won't be able to break their security system and do it but if they did, it would be an expert hackers effort and not a simple procedure as is done in the TIVOs. Basically, as I understand it, any attempt to tamper with the hard drive will be a breach of their receiver security and Dish will consider it the same as an attempt at hacking their smart cards.

Did they say what could possibly be the reason for disallowing a hard drive replacement or addition? Why are they locking the max size to 250GB? I am relatively new to this and similar forums (about 2 months), so maybe this has been discussed, but I cannot see the harm to either DISH or to the hallowed Hollywood hoodlums if my harddrive is larger than 250 GB. I'd appreciate any insights.

- martincva
 
TheForce

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Scott- The comment was in reference to the accuracy of posts on a public forum and not a slam at any one individual. He just promised to review some of the procedures posted on all the forums to be sure there were no errors. But he did say that the best advice if anyone experiences a problem is to call for the procedure and they will walk/talk you through it. WRT the check switch bug or the OTA bug. No need to be overly sensitive to the comment and I didn't mean to throw you into a worry state. Sorry if I did.

Yes, there was discussion on WHY the no user upgrade for the HD policy but the reasons were just arbitrary in my opinion and not worth discussion as it is simply policy, much like it is a new policy for E* to be switching to a secure EEPROM board mount that will self destruct if any attmpt at removal is tried by the user/hacker.
Consider that E* has taken steps to control the hard drive in their 921 much like they control their smart cards whether the chips are on the card or the card type chips are on the MB. They feel that their solution to the hard drive capacity issue is Dishwire to DVHS. I happen to agree with them but I am disappointed that user upgradable hard drive is not in the cards unless you wish to be considered a satellite pirate by E*
 
Scott Greczkowski

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No I wasn't being sensative to the comment at all. I know I have been told by a few at Echostar that others at Echostar were upset with me reporting the OTA recording problems. I was trying to dig and see if this was what they were aluding to.

You also reported what I was told that the Firewire software was ready for the 921, I wonder who gets to say go ahead and release it.

I know I have been tough on the 921, but I am only telling my honest opinions on the 921.

And I think its silly that Dish will consider anyone fooling with the hard drive a pirate. A hard drive is a consumable item, sooner or later it is going to die. If you use your DVR a lot and keep it on 24 / 7 the drive may only last for 2 or 3 years.

There should be some kind of consumer upgrade procedure using a special dish "blessed" hard drive to let a customer upgrade / replace their hard drive.

I don't know about you but I dont want to throw away my $1000 reciever after 2 or 3 years of use because the hard drive dies.

Again thanks for the report Don, MUCH appreciated. :D
 
BobMurdoch

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Scott Greczkowski said:
Thanks Don for the report.

He seemed concerned that some of the information being posted about the 921 was not accurate. This had to do with the L142 and he said that the new software would fix it.

Did he say what was NOT accurate? Everything I have reported about my 921 has been accurate, and the bugs I have posted regarding my 921 have also been accurate as well.

I would like to know what this guy was talking about.

I heard rumors that with non-legacy switches, the initial software download has to be done BEFORE the check switch is done. I got mine to work by doing the check switch and then doing the software download, and then doing the check switch again. Do I have a problem? (I just hooked it up last night)
 
B

bcwmachine

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I think that perhaps the hard drive issue is to foil the 'hackers' that remove the hard drive from the dish equipment and put it into a pc to copy the mpeg streams to the pc's hard drive.
 
D

David_Levin

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re: hard drive swap

1) Of course they don't want people calling customer service asking for help after a user screws up a box (ESD) swapping a hard drive.

2) they want to promise the content providers that programs cannot be digitally copied (if you have an external hard drive easily installable in a computer...)

BUT - both of these problems are easily solvable. A firewire hard drive wouldn't require opening the box. E* could bless specific models for performance characteristics. Since the 721 (and I assume the 921) the data on the hard drive is stored encrypted.

"Again thanks for the report Don, MUCH appreciated. " - Ditto.
 
S

SlicerMDM

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Sep 7, 2003
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Scott Greczkowski said:
I know I have been told by a few at Echostar that others at Echostar were upset with me reporting the OTA recording problems.

That's nice. Some at E* are upset at you for reporting the OTA problem? I guess it's better in their minds for someone to pay $1000 for the hardware, then try using it and finding out it doesn't work like it's supposed to. :rolleyes:
 
TheForce

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" I wonder who gets to say go ahead and release it. "

I'll leave that up to you to dig out. I asked and was not told. So it is more of a concern to me that it get done.

"And I think its silly that Dish will consider anyone fooling with the hard drive a pirate. A hard drive is a consumable item, sooner or later it is going to die."

Yep, I agree. But it's their game and their decision. Let's see how they handle the drive failures. I was told that the drive will not be easy to pirate like the TIVO process of swapping drives.

"There should be some kind of consumer upgrade procedure using a special dish "blessed" hard drive to let a customer upgrade / replace their hard drive.

I don't know about you but I dont want to throw away my $1000 reciever after 2 or 3 years of use because the hard drive dies. "

Scott- I'm sure this will be done, in fact I do recall them stating that any drive replacements must come through Dish and will be installed via their download process. You will probably need to have an authorized dealer sell or warranty replace ting drive and reformat or what ever they need to do before you get it back from the dealer---This is my opinion on how it will probably be executed. What you won't be able to do is go down to Best Buy and buy a new Naxtor 250 and install it yourself. It will not work and that is from them!

FYI- I have decided to post all future CES info here because there is some rearranging of the threads over at AVS now by Ken H and with my present connection issues I don't need to be farting around trying to figure out what and where to post. It will just be easier for me to come here when my wireless T-Mibile is not acting up, and post it once.
I know this is not an active DirecTV forum right now but I have some CES TIVO stuff I will post in the appropriate Sat guys forum soon. :)
 
Scott Greczkowski

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FYI- I have decided to post all future CES info here because there is some rearranging of the threads over at AVS

Great Don and thank you!

I have not heard from my contacts who were supposed to be reporting from the show till tonight and they said they would fill me in later tommorow when they got back.

So what was Echostar displaying at the show?

And were you at the press confrence?

Thanks again Don!
 
V

video62

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Basically, as I understand it, any attempt to tamper with the hard drive will be a breach of their receiver security and Dish will consider it the same as an attempt at hacking their smart cards.
I'm glad the automobile companies don't take a similar stance when I tow a trailer behind my car/truck!!

One of the reasons I was glad to leave E* and join the D* ranks was that I would be able to upgrade my own DirecTivo to however much capacity I could muster (within system limits). E* should understand that hardware simply exists to keep you a subscriber to their services, which is where the real money is made.
 
TheForce

TheForce

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"So what was Echostar displaying at the show?

And were you at the press confrence? "


E* displayed their complete line. I saw nothing new that we didn't already know about. The entire show was new innovation lacking in this area. Based on the discussions I was in this evening at the AVS party, I believe the HDTV industry has reached a state of stagnation with lots and lots of sueing wasting time and resources.

I talked to Todd Mitchell "tmitchmd" this evening who did attend and what he told me was not very flattering and he is an E* enthusiast, D* too.

The general concensus is that E* needs some internal reorganization starting from the top if they are going to keep up with D* now that the company is owned by a media company and not a car manufacturer.


Sean- The VOOM demo was very nice introduction of the HD DVR and home networking. I watched it briefly but plan to go back for the full demo. I believe others have reported already on it. If I catch anything that was not already posted I'll put it up after my revisit, hopefully tomorrow.
 
Mark_AR

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Don Landis said:
This is my opinion on how it will probably be executed. What you won't be able to do is go down to Best Buy and buy a new Naxtor 250 and install it yourself. It will not work and that is from them!

I am just guessing, but anybody with a little computer knowledge could probably take a Linux box and pull the HD out of the 921 and 'ghost' it to another 250G Maxtor or at least be able to HEX DUMP the contents of the drive. Track & Sector editors have been around forever.

Then there is also the idea of an IDE sniffer that monitors the data exchange between the HD and the processor. That would be an advanced hack, but it is possible for a motivated 921 owner with lots of spare time and a little know-how.

As for encryption, that would make it more difficult, but the key has to be stored somewhere on the firmware. Again, an advanced hack, but still not out of the realm of possibility for the motivated individual.

But don't mind me, I'm just thinking out loud.
 
D

DenR

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Sep 14, 2003
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Don,

Did you ask anyone from Echostar about the quantities of 921's manufactured? I am wondering if they are just releasing them slowly now to keep support calls down or do they really have so few available.

At the rate they are shipping them now, It will be a long time before I get my hands on one.
 
TheForce

TheForce

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"I am wondering if they are just releasing them slowly now to keep support calls down "

That is what they said. Believe what you want but the truth is you won't be happy until your 921 arrives from YOUR dealer. This I can identify with.
 
R

Ray S

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Sep 7, 2003
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Thank you again for all the information you have posted on the 921. I started reading them on the AVS forum about 18 months ago. My local retailer told me in July of 2002, not to purchase a 6000 because the 921 was coming out soon. I never did and now have the 811 and hope to have the 921 soon.
 
R

rudolpht

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Don Landis said:
921 report from CES-

What is there to say? If you all have been keeping up with dbstalk.com, satelliteguys.US and AVS you already know just about everything there is. BUT, I did get to a few questions I had that nobody had any real answers to on the forums to date:

1394 Dishwire- reinforced that it would be released for dump of the Hard drive content only and would follow all 5C rules. It is working now but has not yet been authorized to be released. ETA Earliest is Spring 04. Could be sooner but other bugs and issues fixes are taking priority now. The development for this is still being done by Eldon in England but is overseen by Echostar.

USB port. I got it confirmed that USB port is just USB1.1, not 2.0. This is hardware capability or rather limitation and no plans to make it into a 2.0 flavor later. In fact, they have nothing being worked on for the USB port. It will remain a future use port until such time as they can figure out what to do with it. Originally it was to make it for Internet access capable but those plans have been scrapped as they were for the 721.

PCI slots- There are no plans to offer anything for these slots. There is no discussion on what to do with them at this time. I as well as others have speculated about additional tuners like a second 8VSB tuner. No plans to do anything like this at all.

Hard drive upgrade. This is the biggie and what I was really interested in. Again more disappointment. The rep I spoke to who would even discuss it said that not only are they NOT planning on adding a second hard drive for expansion of the 921 capacity, they went out of their way to lock the current hard drive to the receiver so it may not be removed, replaced with a larger one, or a second drive added by other parties. They will not say that a good hacker won't be able to break their security system and do it but if they did, it would be an expert hackers effort and not a simple procedure as is done in the TIVOs. Basically, as I understand it, any attempt to tamper with the hard drive will be a breach of their receiver security and Dish will consider it the same as an attempt at hacking their smart cards.

The policy as I understand it for being able to manage the "small" hard drive record time will be to offer the Dishwire archive option. You fill the drive, you dump some movies off to tape or erase them. Hey! I can accept that as a solution but all this does disappoint me about the possibility of a movie jukebox.

So do they have any plans at all for the extra drive bay? Yes, still in the long range plans are for a DVD recording drive addition but it may at first be a SD version authorized in the OS and later if it ever becomes a product, Blue Ray or HD recroding DVD drive. Let's put all this away for a long time since no real development is on going here for now.

L143 for download?? Shooting now for 1/14 but it was really in the hands of another group whose leader was not at the show for me to question. The rep I spoke to said that 1/14 was the latest he heard it would be ready.

OTABug and a common first setup bug has a work around to prevent a lock up. One other rep promised to check out the forums and make sure any suggested procedures being posted were the proper ones. He seemed concerned that some of the information being posted about the 921 was not accurate. This had to do with the L142 and he said that the new software would fix it.

Finally, Dish Network will not be supplying an adapter cable to breakout the VGA from the DVI-I. YOYO to locate one. A DVI-D cable will work for DVI connection to your monitor. I had one shipped with my Computer LCD monitor so I'm using that one. DVI-D cables are plentiful in the computer monitor business now.

Don,

You got marginally more info than myself, including mid-month upgrade. Also no info on keyboard (shown on VSSL site) more than blank stairs. The HD trailer with SD channels in it left me cold as well. Only + news there was a confirm of new content on 110. Didn't have presence of mind after blank stairs to even remember to talk about wings coming down for premium content.

That said received 921 from DishDepot today & already experienced a number of bugs, including one of the OTA bugs . Too bad nothing more definitive on Dishwire.

Tim
 
T

Tahoerob

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Sep 10, 2003
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Ok, can someone go & press the sys info button on the Dish 921 & see what software version is there!!!!
 

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