One of the perennial questions we get at CNET is this: "I get my TV via an over-the-air antenna. Is there a noncable, nonsatellite DVR I can buy that doesn't require a service fee?" The answers were few and far between. TiVo works great with over-the-air TV, but that unit does require a monthly/yearly/lifetime fee. You can set up a Windows Media Center PC (with a DTV tuner attachment), but that's a rather elaborate solution for most folks. DVD recorders are one possibility, but they generally don't have onscreen program guides, and they … Read more
The Dish Network DTVPal DVR ($250) tries to fill the niche penny-pinching home theater enthusiasts have been looking for--an HD DVR that records free over-the-air HDTV, but without the costly monthly fees of the TiVo HD.
The DTVPal gets around the monthly fee problems by relying on the program data provided with standard DTV signals and also tapping into TV Guide On Screen data if it's available in your area. However, in this case you get what you pay for, as the program data just isn't as reliable as the info you'd get from TiVo or your … Read more
After a delay of several months, Dish Network will be releasing the DTVPal DVR in mid-December. The antenna-friendly HD DVR will retail for $250 (after a $50 instant rebate).
You may remember the DTV Pal DVR as the EchoStar TR-50. That's the name under which it was launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, where it garnered CNET's Best of CES award for the home video category.
The latest iteration of the DTVPal DVR is pictured above. While the name and look of the product have changed a bit, it appears that it retains its core feature … Read more
Way back at CES 2008, Dish Network announced a DTV converter box called the TR-40 that was going to cost $40, include an electronic program guide and it seemed like it was going to be a simple, cheap choice for buyers looking to handle the upcoming analog-to-digital TV transition. Shortly afterward, the TR-40 became the DTVPal and the price went up to $60. Then the TR-40 CRA came out, which was exactly the same as the DTVPal, except it cost $40. And, as of now, you can buy both products from the DTVPal Web site, essentially giving you the option … Read more
Let's get the facts out first. Dish Network is now selling a "new" DTV converter box, called the TR-40 CRA, which will sell for $40 and is exactly the same as the currently released DTVPal. And that's not just our editorial spin--we've confirmed with Dish Network that the hardware and feature set is exactly the same, and Dish Network lays it out clearly on its DTVPal Web site. Even more confusingly, you can still order both models from the same online order form--effectively giving you the option of whether you'd like to pay … Read more
We just posted our full review of the Dish Network DTVPal DTV converter box, and it's one of the best units we've tested so far. The standout feature of the DTVPal is its electronic program guide, which can handle several days worth of data and has a layout similar to what you'd see on a cable box or TiVo. It's also really responsive, so cycling through a day or two of programs feels pretty effortless. Besides the EPG, reception and video quality was good (but not great), but we were a little disappointed by the remote--especially compared with the RCA DTA800. Be sure to read the full DTVPal review to get all the details.
Along with the review, we've also been able to get the latest info on the differences between the Dish Network DTVPal and the EchoStar TR-40.… Read more