This is the reason why I begrudgingly stayed with cable. Satellite service would be the best since sliced bread if it was done like the Astra and Eutelsat systems in Europe. The TV stations pay for having their channels broadcast via satellite and the end user buys the equipment that they want and can afford. No subscriptions and no monthly payments.
The Dish Network receivers are bargain bin electronics and the dish itself is so cheap, you might as well build it yourself out of cereal boxes and tin foil. Why do you think they offer the devices 'for free'? Same applies to any other services including cable, although the cable companies make us pay each month for a box that costs 40$ on the open market.
Your best bet is to ask Dish if you can buy your own equipment. Spend a few hundred Dollars (good stuff isn't that expensive) and set it up right and the way you want. Means no more dish in the front yard! My guess is they will say no and give you some lame reason.
Years ago when I switched from Direct TV to Dish during a Dish $200 off promotion to get HD service and DVR. Direct got very unhappy. They called within the 3 day cancellation period and matched Dish's rebare offer to the dollar but I declined because as a steady Direct TV customer for over 10 years I should have received this initially. My Dish 722 DVR receiver has had only 1 failure which was quickly resolved.
So if your so unhappy with Dish, discontinue the service and sign up with someone else. Threats won't work - action will. They may get serious about fixing your problem although I find it hard to believe you received 4 defective units in a row with exactly the same problem. I'd be looking at the dish antenna, cabling, connectors or the splitter unit on the back of the receiver. You've probably used the same smart card in each receiver so there may be an issue there. My Dish remotes (one RF and one optical) work perfectly and I think the layout is pretty good especially when compared to my neighbor's Time Warner Scientific Atlanta remote.
I've seen similar problems pop up after one of the many early morning software updates that they push out to their DVR's. Luckily, followup updates brought it back to normal. It's much like when Microsoft sends out an update that's quickly followed up by two or three other updates. One update is an update and the others are panicky patches to fix the bad code in the update. In the case of the DVR above, it's probably pretty sick and needs replacing.
My unit has just a small delay, nothing like what the article is describing and I have no obstructions between the feed horns and the satellite except clouds. All wiring is in good shape. Signal is lost during rain, due to too small of a dish. The unit can be a bit slow to respond with the RF remote we have especially when compared to the OnStar RF remote we had years ago for our C-band system.
Not having looked at C-band programming I am going to say they are probably the best of the three choices out there.
At first I was going to disagree with you but have to admit, you are right. This is not a design issue. It's definietly customer service.
On a side note, here is the solution that My wife and I came up with about 4 years ago after being long-time cable and satellite subscribers. CANCEL.
Television is not worth paying for these days. Those hundreds of channels are nothing but filler. If you are in an area with digital broadcast, the quality is better and with about 7 channels to choose from, surfing is a lot quicker. If nothing's on, turn it off and do something productive.
This piece ought to be considered embarrassing by the DesignNews staff and editors. Instead of any research and logic brought to the table, this bashing of a company's products is based on knee-jerk reaction (after a previous knee-jerk reaction brought him to Dish) that might have been avoided to some degree.
I am a long-time Dish subscriber, and I've had MORE than my fair share of issues with them and their often clueless customer and tech reps (I had to actually calm one down and explain how a satellite system works when he was insisting that I might be able to put a virus on my local box that would get uploaded via satellite to the rest of the world).
I also have occasional issues with their equipment and how it seems like they just push the products out and use their customers as beta testers.
But this piece is way off base.
At random times the receiver will reboot itself -- No, that's not good. But that's also not normal. It is frustrating and it should be taken care of immediately, but if it keeps happening to you a simple web search should have been able to determine whether or not this is happening to everyone. It's not.
I've never EVER seen a problem with channels changing that slow, nor that sound lag problem. This isn't happening to the masses.
When I pause a show, it hits pretty much instantly when I come back. I've had DVRs from these guys for about 10 years, and it's never been an issue.
Recorded shows often have random periods of pixelated picture or skipping of several seconds of the recorded show -- This one I've seen before, but not lately. Tells me they broke something and fixed it.
The buttons on the remote control issue. The layout not being user friendly is debatable. I've seen better, I've seen worse, and this is not a shining example to hold up as particularly bad. Having to press them hard in order to activate them....have you considered that given all the other issues you're having with speed that this might be related? I can tell you that on a straight RF situation their remotes have always worked decently enough for me, and in UHF it's not bad either when you're within range.
I'm sorry for your discomfort and obvious poor experience with Dish, but do the simple work to figure out where the problems are before blaming the things that probably are NOT the problem. Believe me...like most places they have plenty of actual issues, and it often takes a lot of work to find a good rep on the phone.
I was under the impression that this feature was supposed to highlight design "made by monkeys." These aren't design issues, they're tech support issues.
I have learned as some of you have also learned that once one finds a good company or manufacturer it pays to be loyal and stick with them. I like to be open minded and try new things but in some cases, it is less frustrating and I am much better off sticking to products I have used before and received good service from.
I venture out with a couple of new things a year and if they are not immediately better and less expensive they go right back.
I would agree Rob's problem is due to low signal strength. Common issues are trees that leaf out or heavy precipitation. I can tell when heavy rain is on the way 20 minutes ahead of time as my tv will start showing blocks and freeze up.
Another issue I had with Direct was the installer did not use waterproof connectors outside the house. The center conductor rotted out in a number of connections (starting at the dish) that I had to replace since Direct would not cover them.
Dish has repaired all problems quickly and at no charge so far. They even sent a new control so our new flatscreen could be controlled with their unit, again at no charge.
Less money each month and better service than Direct in my experience.
I've been a Dish customer for 9 years, and have found the hardware to be mostly reliable. However, their customer service REALLY STINKS. Too many bad experiences to repeat here. But between pricing & rumors of just as bad service from DirectTV, I'm reluctant to switch.
I think it's just a sign of the times that customer service in general is really poor.
I agree with the other replies - I think you have an antenna issue - bad hardware or not pointed correctly. I had a bad antenna head that had similar symptoms. It took multiple service calls to resolve it - all they wanted to do was reboot the system instead of sending someone out, and I went through 3 techs before one of them was willing to climb up & replace the head. Had other bad experiences as well.
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