My ramblings on the 811 (1 Viewer)

snathanb

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I recently bought a 65" HD TV. To supplement it, I went out and bought a Samsung SIR-T351 STB. Got hooked on the OTA HD channels and decided I wanted more. While in my 30 day return window on the Samsung, realized I could get a much lower cost HD solution from E* or D*. I am a D* subscriber of 10 years (paid $800 for my first D* receiver, which by the way, is still in service!). I could have gotten a HD receiver from D* for $99 and a year commitment. For a new subscriber, the 811 was free, with no commitment.

I read all the horror stories about the 811. (I rarely buy anything without extensive online research). But, I also know that you only tend to hear the bad online.

I was also very hesitant about having E* do the install. I've done all my own installs and I don't like having outside people messing with my stuff. (Plus, I've got the typical engineer attitude that I do things better than anyone else :D )

Gotta say, I'm happy with the 811 and making the switch. My installer was great. I was expecting some grief when I told him I didn't want any of the cabling etc from my D* installation used/touched, but he had no problem with it. (I had already run all the inside wiring and was saving my D* setup for a possible Voom install). He was professional, very polite, easygoing, and did a very neat and clean install. In fact, better than I would have done myself. I told him I had already pre-wired everything, and he had no problem with me setting up everything inside the house while he installed the dish.

Here's why I like my 811 over the Samsung (which went back to buy.com)

1) My 811 was free (Yes, I severed a 10 year relationship with D* over a $99 price difference in hardware. I am not cheap, really! I just hate spending more than I have to for something)

2) It changes channels WAY faster than my Samsung
3) It receives satellite programming
4) It has an NTSC tuner (not that I use it, since everyone is digital in Dallas)
5) It requires rebooting far less often than my Samsung did
6) It keeps the correct time (the samsung reset it's clock every time it went to a new station, and some locals don't broadcast the correct time)
7) I get a better quality HD picture on OTA HD locals.
8) The DD DOES NOT WORK on the Samsung, but does on my 811
9) I get integrated satellite/locals on one box without have to switch inputs on my TV.
10) The 811 allows changing of the resolution via the menu. The samsung had a switch on the back of the box. What a pain!
11) The 811 offers many more resize options than the Samsung
12) Percent meter for fine tuning OTA reception on the 811, bar graph on the Samsung


Bottom line... I am much happier with the 811 than I was with the Samsung SIR-T351 ( Which is a NEW model). I imagine the SIR-T360 (which is one of the Directv HD receivers being shipped) suffers from many of the same issues.

Do I want to see all the 811 issues fixed? Heck yes! But, a little time in the AVS forum, as well as my own experience, shows me that a whole lotta' people with various HD STBs are going through similar, if not worse problems.

That doesn't excuse the 811 problems, but for me takes away the "the grass must be greener over there" feelings, and make the wait for fixes a wee bit more bearable.

So... if you are sitting on the fence like I was, trying to decide if you want the 811, I say go for it!
 

rad

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I don't really think it's a fair comparision of doing the Samsung box, which is strickly an OTA box vs. a combo DBS/OTA box. For example, the clock setting in the Samsung is counting on the time being sent in the PSIP stream by the stations, if it's wrong your box will be wrong. the 811 gets it's clock from E* only. You say that DD works on the 811 vs. not on the Samsung, but others have reported that they can't get DD to work on their 811's either.

I had an 811 and dumped it when I switch to D* and got a Hughes E86. Is the E86 perfect, nope, but it's much more stable then the 811 in my case.

As you said, you did a lot of research, which is good. That research should have shown that there are a number of folks very happy with their 811's and another group that thinks it's a POS. So the bottom line is if you get an 811 keep your fingers crossed that it works in your environment or that you didn't get it from E* with a 12 month commitment so you can dump it and try another solution.
 

AcuraCL

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Jan 7, 2004
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Nathan, that was a well thought out post and I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience.

I have the 811 but have been thinking/wondering whether a OTA STB like the Samsung might give me better reception. However, based on several comments that mostly confirm your experience, I think I will work on the front end first (antenna type/location, amplification, etc.).
 

waja

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The problem with researching a product like the 811 is that each software release makes the 811 a much different product than the previous. It is difficult, to say the least, to determine which bugs are still present and which have been fixed when you go through all these posts.

I think that the 811 w/P2.64 (03/02/3004) has only two major bugs.
1. Poor PQ on S-Video output.
2. DTV OTA channels disappear from the channel lists.

As far as I can tell, most of the other problems that 811 owners experience are due to poor design of specific features or may be related to one of the above major bugs. For example, when I lose an OTA channel, it also seems that the 811 will need to refresh the entire EPG.

And last, if I could have just one feature in the 811, it would be the ability to change channels while in the EPG. It would be :cool: , if moving the cursor one spot to the left (over the channel identifier) would cause the EPG PIP to change to that channel. And then if you moved the cursor up or down in the channel field, it would change channels accordingly.
 

snathanb

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AcuraCL said:
Nathan, that was a well thought out post and I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience.

I have the 811 but have been thinking/wondering whether a OTA STB like the Samsung might give me better reception. However, based on several comments that mostly confirm your experience, I think I will work on the front end first (antenna type/location, amplification, etc.).


I found the reception to be no different between the two. Of course, your mileage may vary. You might try picking one up if you have a Circuit City nearby, try it out, and if you don't like it, take it back.
 

snathanb

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Your are right.. it's not fair. They both have the same MSRP and Samsung is strictly an OTA box. For the same $$, if Samsung is doing OTA only, it should be doing it a better job of it. ;)

But I think you missed my point entirely. I was simply relaying my personal experience in comparing the two, and the reasons I am happier with the 811.

rad said:
I don't really think it's a fair comparision of doing the Samsung box, which is strickly an OTA box vs. a combo DBS/OTA box. For example, the clock setting in the Samsung is counting on the time being sent in the PSIP stream by the stations, if it's wrong your box will be wrong. the 811 gets it's clock from E* only. You say that DD works on the 811 vs. not on the Samsung, but others have reported that they can't get DD to work on their 811's either.
 

snathanb

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How true! The 2.64 release came out in the short window of time between when I called to have it installed and when they installed it.

waja said:
The problem with researching a product like the 811 is that each software release makes the 811 a much different product than the previous. It is difficult, to say the least, to determine which bugs are still present and which have been fixed when you go through all these posts.

\.
 

GaryPen

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waja said:
I think that the 811 w/P2.64 (03/02/3004) has only two major bugs.
1. Poor PQ on S-Video output.
2. DTV OTA channels disappear from the channel lists.

You left out a few:
3. Unable to acquire 148 bird when using 811 with Dish Pro switch/LNB.
4. Intermittent Closed Caption.
5. Some user are reporting that Dolby Digitial is not working properly.
6. Often goes into "acquiring signal" mode when going to the EPG directly from an OTA channel.
7. System lockups. In my case, at least once-a-day. when switching from OTA to EPG or sat. channel.
8. Recall button does not work when trying to recall channel between an off-air station and a dish station.
9. EPG needing to reload after being in either OTA or power off mode for a while. What is the point of 44-hour memory, if it can't remember it in those two situations?
10. VCR timer not working correctly if 811 is switched off. The recent software update at least finally enables the VCR timer to work if the unit is left on, though. That's a start.
11. Not able to tune a digital OTA station with less than 49%, and signal strength fluctuately wildly on some stations, that are received perfectly by Dish 6000 and other non-Dish OTA receivers.

Otherwise, the 811 works perfectly.

As far as I can tell, most of the other problems that 811 owners experience are due to poor design of specific features or may be related to one of the above major bugs. For example, when I lose an OTA channel, it also seems that the 811 will need to refresh the entire EPG.

While many of the bugs are related, they are indeed separate issues. And, IMO, a poor design and/or feature is worse than a bug, since it is may not be correctable through software update.

And last, if I could have just one feature in the 811, it would be the ability to change channels while in the EPG. It would be :cool: , if moving the cursor one spot to the left (over the channel identifier) would cause the EPG PIP to change to that channel. And then if you moved the cursor up or down in the channel field, it would change channels accordingly.

That would be cool.
Personally, I'd like to see:
-EPG local channel info mapped to the OTA locals. (I believe D* HD receivers do this.)
-Wide screen EPG and menus. (D* HD receivers do this.)
 

snathanb

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You could replace the word "811" with just about any HD STB (or any other product on the planet), and it would still be true. There seems to be a fair number of people on the AVS forums who don't think that highly of the overheating-prone E86.

Thats why I always end up making my own personal comparions, where possible.


rad said:
That research should have shown that there are a number of folks very happy with their 811's and another group that thinks it's a POS.
 

rad

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snathanb said:
You could replace the word "811" with just about any HD STB (or any other product on the planet), and it would still be true. There seems to be a fair number of people on the AVS forums who don't think that highly of the overheating-prone E86.

Thats why I always end up making my own personal comparions, where possible.


You dropped off what I think is an important point that was the next sentence,, make sure that if you get an 811 that you don't make a 12 month programming commitment. That way if the 811 doesn't work for your environment you're not struck with E* for a year with hardware that doesn't work.
 

snathanb

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rad said:
You dropped off what I think is an important point that was the next sentence,, make sure that if you get an 811 that you don't make a 12 month programming commitment. That way if the 811 doesn't work for your environment you're not struck with E* for a year with hardware that doesn't work.

Agreed! That's what I did.
 

GaryPen

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snathanb said:
You could replace the word "811" with just about any HD STB (or any other product on the planet), and it would still be true. There seems to be a fair number of people on the AVS forums who don't think that highly of the overheating-prone E86.

Thats why I always end up making my own personal comparions, where possible.

I've been checking all the satellite, av, hdtv, and ht forums, and don't see nearly the number of bugs in the current Sony/Hughes/LG model. (The Samsungs do appear to be more problematic, which doesn't surprise me.)

As for "any product on the planet", I wholeheartedly disagree. For example, in the last few years I have purchased an HDTV, Audio receiver, Camcorder, Digital Camera, DVD player, Microwave Oven, even my other Dish receiver, a 311, and they have ZERO bugs. Not minor bugs. ZERO. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Goose Egg. They work PERFECTLY out of the box.

The one new product that was purchased in the last few years that does have "bugs" is our Acura, whose moonroof wasn't sealing properly. That's it. You people are just too forgiving with this 811.
 

snathanb

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What I said was... that for "any product on the planet", you'll find groups of people who think it's great and groups of people that think it is a POS.


GaryPen said:
As for "any product on the planet", I wholeheartedly disagree. For example, in the last few years I have purchased an HDTV, Audio receiver, Camcorder, Digital Camera, DVD player, Microwave Oven, even my other Dish receiver, a 311, and they have ZERO bugs. Not minor bugs. ZERO. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Goose Egg. They work PERFECTLY out of the box.
 

grumpy1

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Nathan,

I've virtually followed the exact same path as you. D* for ten years then a switch to E* when the 811 became available for free three months ago. I also "saved" my D* run for VOOM and Thursday I had VOOM out for the install. Do it. VOOM is a great HD service and at the present time seems to fit well with DISH HD as Voom does not yet offer ESPNHD or HDNET. Personally I prefer the VOOM HD feed to the E* feed for HBOHD and ShowtimeHD. Even though the 811's dark image problem is mainly with the SD channels, I find VOOM's HD image to be much brighter. I have two DVI inputs on my TV and I've been toggling back and forth comparing the two HD services.
 

snathanb

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Very good! I'm giving it some serious consideration... will probably do it before the end of month price increase.
 

JoeSp

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I would like to take anyone here to task and see if ANYONE has purchased a HD receiver -- either freestanding or part of an integrated HDTV -- that did not have any bugs to chime in!! I have been in the HDTV market for three years and there has not been ONE--thats right--one HD OTA or OTA/Satellite unit that performed to the specs provided by the manufacturer for the stated unit.

We are are still in the product development stage of HD. Heck--the FCC still cannot agree on PSIP standards nor can they agree on what is and what is not HD! The FCC cannot agree what is an acceptable signal strength nor how much power a station must use for their HD signal! They cannot agree on how to deal with multipath and there has not been a final approval on which type of HD signal to use!! How can any manufacturer make a product bug free when there are no set specs and you can make them up?

And before anyone here pips up about the HDTVs with internal HD receivers--don't!! I had a Sony XBR57 and the tuner was replaced 4 times in 9 months!! I was going to buy the MITS with the HD tuner until my dealer informed me that they were not any better and that they were changing out HD receivers just as often!

Here is my gripe in a nutshell--YES the 811 has bugs. Every standalone HD or HD/Satellite receiver has bugs. If you do not like the unit do not buy it or return it--pretty simple. AND, if you decide you do not like the unit and replace it GET OUT of the forum and stop complaining. Go to the forum for your new equipment and converse there. People on the E* site want to hear from users not outside complainers.

As for the DD on the 811--when the HD product has DD being broadcast I have always received the DD signal. Not all HD products do DD--they usually state when they do. I have posted on this site before that there are some receivers that will not work with the 811 and that there are settings you must change in order for the 811 to work with others. Dish has acknowledged that there are some receivers that the 811 DD output will not work with. They are trying to see if that can be fixed--but for the majority of users--when DD is being used they are hearing it. I do not call this a major bug. I call this a minor inconvience--some of you might have to buy a new audio receiver to solve this--I recomend a Denon--works with everything.

As for the signal lock--that is EVERYONES complaint about every HD product on the market. Does anyone check the power output of the stations that they are trying to receive?
The site 'www.antennaweb.org' will not only help you find the right antenna for your location it will also help you find out the power levers of the different stations in your area. You will be very surprised at the differant power levels stations are using. AND, they do not use the same power level all the time!

While everyone has the right to complain and there are many situations where complaining and reporting problems is important in order to help find solutions--going onto a forum where you have no investment (ie--you do not use product or service) to make your sour voice heard is not helping to solve anything.

I agree with the original poster--I have tried several OTA products and the 811 is as good a product with the features it offers as anything currently on the market. Is it bug free--NO. Is it perfect--NO. Is it the best HD receiver on the market--Who Knows? However, for many of the new HD enthusiasts just entering into the market the price point the 811 is at currently makes the 811 a good addition to your home viewing pleasure -- even with its shortcomings.
 

sprinklerguy

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Dec 16, 2003
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Nobody has mentioned the only two bugs my 811 has:

1 -I cant turn Close Captioning off....sometimes a hard reset helps

2 - The other nite it froze up completely during the Sugar Shane Mosley fight...round 10...it does that sometimes.

3- remote loses it's address sometimes
 

GaryPen

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sprinklerguy said:
Nobody has mentioned the only two bugs my 811 has:

1 -I cant turn Close Captioning off....sometimes a hard reset helps

2 - The other nite it froze up completely during the Sugar Shane Mosley fight...round 10...it does that sometimes.

3- remote loses it's address sometimes

My CC often turns itself off, and I can't turn it back on without a system reset.

Do you not get lockups when switching from OTA to EPG or Sat channel?

Do you not lose EPG info when it's been off for a while, or when you've been watching OTA for a while?
 

Kevinw

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My biggest peave is the aquiring satellite. Alway's 110 and and a different transponder. EXCEPT when it is tranponder 4 then I have to do a reset. I can live with once a day but every couple of hours is annoying.
 

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