Initial thoughts on 921 (was: It's coming to tomorrow)


SatelliteGuys Family
Original poster
Supporting Founder
Sep 7, 2003
Greenwood, Indiana
Just had to jump in here and say my 921 will be here tomorrow at some point it is on a truck heading my way! Yippeee! I can tell you what I will be doing on my two days off and then the weekend. :D

:!: See first posting on page 2 for my observations :!:
Well, the 921 is nothing more than an HD721. Thanks to everyones input I'm pretty comfortable what I'm getting. Hopefully Dish will continue to make it better, although they didn't do much with the 721.

I expect the aspect ratio for watching SD will bug me.

Scott, whats the best way to watch SD in a 16:9 screen?
John, I know what you mean! Mine is coming via UPS ground and I don't have a tracking number, just that it shipped yesterday.
are you using 480p for SD?? or keeping the 921 set to 1080i all the time??[/quote]

I am on 1080i all the time.

I am going to try taking a picture of how bad the stretch modes are and add them to my 921 review.
re: aspect ratios and 921s...

Maybe I'm really confused, but it seems to me that the ideal world is where your receiver outputs whatever is naitive, and your television does the stretching or zooming.

I understand having the ability to take a naturally 16:9 source and outputting it as an anamorphic 4:3 image, as a option on the receiver, but why would you bother with the receiver doing stretching?

Does the 921 allow me to set SD to output 4:3 always, and HD 16:9 always, without any strech modes?

Ok I just posted a new topic in the 921 area showing some pictures of the various apect ratios for SD channels on the 921.

I should note that with the 6000 when you did stretch mode everything was still on the screen, you did not lose anything.

Also the way the 6000 stretched it did not make the picture look bad or really funny.

BTW I always keep my 921 (and 6000) in normal mode for HDTV shows) ;)
got one

I got mine today!!!!!! (supposedly 1 of 16 for the east coast)
I had to drive an hour to go get it though. No prob.
HOWEVER, I have 3 young kids & I have to wait until after 8p EST to install it!!!
Also, by interesting coincidence, the DVI cable that I ordered via Ebay also arrived TODAY!
I got mine today around noon.

For those of you with a 721 the 921 is nothing more than an HD721.
Everything is identical.

The DVI has a nice picture, not dark like the 811.
I haven't recorded anything, I've been busy with getting ready for New Years Eve.
Well, I just finished installing and moving out my 721 (it will go to my mom sometime in the future), downloading the software and getting it activated. The software was downloaded and installed in about 30 minutes. It took me about 5 to 10 minutes to remove the 721 and put in the 921 and connect it to the DISH Network 40" RPTV. The activation of my subscription took about 40 minutes. So, I just waited. By that time, the full 9-day guide was downloaded. The unit is connected via DVI and the 811 is now using component.

My first impressions were that this is just a 721 with HDTV. It really is. But it is a very nice, though large unit. The operation is much quieter than the 721 ever has been. My mom and roommate both noticed the difference in the operational volume.

After the receiver was activated, I immediately added the local off-air HD channels. This process was nice, but I would also like to see which channels are being added as they are found. The receiver does not seem to be as sensitive as the 811 on reception off HD signals, but it is a lot more sensitive than the 6000. I still get the two channels that my 6000 did not get (the 811 did get these). The 811 also picked up, but could not lock in on a 3rd channel. The 921 could not see this channel at all. The 921 also does not experience any of the dropped signals from the 2 channels which the 811 has trouble with. The 811 shows these 2 channels as varying signal strengths between 89 and 62. The 921 shows a steady 103 and 104.

I do have to say that the aspect controls at first were very confusing because they operate very differently than either the 6000 or 811. But I do not see myself using this very often as HD I normally watch in normal mode and SD I watch in normal mode.

Next up, I set up a timer for an off-air station using the DISH guide and then edited the timer to record the show on the off-air HD station. It worked without a problem.

One item I noticed was that when I set a timer to record a DISH Network HD channel and then tried to change to an off-air station, it immediately informed me that I needed to be in Live Mode. But only one timer was set. So, I tried changing to another DISH channel and was able to do that and then was able to tune to an off-air station. Kind of a round about way of doing it and a little bug.

The listing of the subchannels of HDTV stations is kind of confusing because it lists all the subchannel 1's together and then subchannel 2's together and so forth.

The picture quality is better than the 6000 and about the same as on the 811, but I do notice that the colors are much more vivid than the 811. The blacks are not quite as black either.

The front of the machine does look like there will be some sort of future expansion, such as a DVD-R or extra hard drive expansions. Either of these would be a nice additions. It actually looks as if there could be two addition units (maybe both a DVD-R and extra hard drive expansions) added in this area.

Most of the bugs I experienced with the 811 are not to be found with the 921. And the major bug that was reported with the OTA tuner locking up is not an issue in my area as most of the off-air stations are good about not changing their PSIP data, which is why I was so confused about the odd channel droppings on the 811.

It is great to finally have the ability to pause live off-air HD signals! Finally! Great job DISH Network.

As I play with this more, I plan to post more findings. I have been waiting for this unit for a very long time. I am both excited to have it, but also dismayed that there are still bugs. One thing that still is a bug from the 721 is the fact that Caller ID numbers come in formated very oddly. They are formatted as 133-444-55555. For some reason, it always adds the "1" for the long distance. Which makes the rest of the numbers off. I wish DISH would just remove the "-" as they have with their 5xx series of receivers.

I will post more as the weekend progresses...
Thanks for your comments, particularly on the OTA sensitivity and picture quality.
Keep in mind I'm not hooked to an over the air antenna and, It's not quit been 24 hrs since I activated it, I am pleased to announce it's worked flawlessly for me.
I did manage to duplicate the OTA bug & more!
First, I scanned for DTV & it found the usual strong ones. Later, while switching DTV channels, one dropped low SS & I got the 8svb lock up. Basically, you get a acquiring signal message but does not. When you go to a DTV channel that is always good, you get the same message. Then it will NOT rescan DTV UNLESS you remove all of the previous ones & smart card reboot.

I also locked up the receiver while doing an Add DTV channel for a known channel to check signal strength. It took about 5 rounds of trying to reboot with smart card & power button. It then would not recognize the smart card! I called tech support, & they then suggested the unplug power reboot. That worked.
FYI, all 921 owners are supposed to ask for ADVANCED TECH SUPPORT!!!!
Yep, I got the OTA bug, too. It took some time, but the local PBS station here went off the air for a while today. It locked up and was unable to then tune to any other OTA stations until I pulled the smart card.

I also noticed that unit seems to get lost as to where it is I was on 25-01 and was trying to switch to 25-02 and tried to go to 13-01.

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