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. The EchoStar TR-40 was announced at CES 2008 with a $40 price tag, then it was renamed as the DTVPal, and now the latest story is the Dish Network DTVPal and EchoStar TR-40 are actually separate products. EchoStar's public relations team now says the Dish Network DTVPal is going to cost between $40 and $60, with a release date of June 19th; the EchoStar TR-40 is coming in the future, but there aren't any additional details. However, Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen hinted on his TV show "Charlie Chat" that the DTVPal will have an MSRP of $60, while the TR-40 will have an MSRP of $40. Again, no details of the actual differences between these models, but we wouldn't be surprised if the TR-40 featured some Dish Network advertising to compensate for the lower cost--especially since back in January, Ergen stated that Dish Network would actually lose money on a $40 DTV converter box.
We'll keep you updated on the details between these two boxes, but in the meantime the DTVPal is the go-to choice if you're looking for a DTV converter box with an excellent EPG.