popularity of high-definition satellite content has prompted providers like DISH
Network to release newer HD receivers for their customers. Dish Network's latest
entry is the ViP222, an advanced MPEG-4, dual-tuner high definition satellite
receiver that provides independent video content to two televisions - one high
definition and one standard definition. The appearance and operation of the ViP222
is very similar to the earlier ViP622
(which we reviewed earlier this year) minus the DVR (Digital Video Recording)
its bigger brother (the ViP622), the ViP222 does not include an internal
hard drive for DVR functions. However, in virtually all other aspects it is functionally
the same and greatly resembles its older sibling in form, fit and function. The
design offers an intuitive and easy to use graphical user interface (GUI) with
an integrated Electronic Program Guide (EPG). This makes it simple for users to
see what programs are available. An advanced search features allows users to find
specific programs by keywords and genre.
independent video outputs (TV1 & TV2) are available on the ViP222. TV1
supports one of four resolutions (480i, 480p, 720p, or 1080i) including high definition
depending on the type of connection being made. HDMI, component, s-video, composite,
and RF are all supported. The unit cross-converts all source material to the selected
output rate. For example, SD content can be displayed using the HD outputs, but
it will certainly not look as good as an HD picture. The HD signals are output
in the form of analog component video as well as digital HDMI. S-video and composite
video are inherently limited to a (480i) standard definition picture. TV2 only
supports composite and modulated RF, so only standard definition (480i) video
is available for this output. Too bad the ViP222 doesn't have both outputs
in high definition.
ViP222 has front panel lights indicating the TV Mode (Single or Dual).
A green light indicates TV1 is active and the blue light indicates TV2 is active.
A set of ten buttons are behind a closed door on the right that include Power,
Mode (Single or Dual), Navigation (Up, Down, Left,
Right and Select), System Info, Info, and Menu.
The left door has a slot for a future smart card.
ViP222 measures approximately 3.5 H x 16 W x 13 D and requires
some free space around the unit to prevent overheating. We placed an Active Thermal
Management Dual Cooler under our receiver to keep the temperature in check.
It can get quite hot under normal operating conditions when confined. We were
happy to see Dish added vents around the chassis design unlike the ViP622 DVR.
Our ViP222 was installed with a newer Dish 1000 design mounted on the side
of our roof. This is a slightly newer version than the one that was installed
with our ViP622 DVR receiver. The installer did an excellent job mounting
and pointing the dish to the trio of satellites. The RG-6 cable was neatly tucked
under the eaves to protect it from the elements. While only one output from the
dish was used with our ViP222 receiver, additional outputs are available
for other receivers, thanks to the built-in multi-switch. All three LNBs are enclosed
into a single sealed unit connected to the arm of the dish assembly. Pointing
the dish can be difficult especially for the multi-satellite units. Having a professional
install the dish can save you a big headache and be a great time saver, especially
for those lacking experience.
The rear panel of the ViP222 has dual LNB satellite inputs, an antenna/cable
input, and two modulated outputs (TV1 & TV2). Using the combiner/separator
adapters, only a single cable is required from the satellite dish, making installation
simpler. An additional combiner separator can also be used for the terrestrial
antenna input to combine the additional line (total of 3) into a single RG-6 cable
down to the receiver. The ATSC antenna input can be used to receive over-the-air
8-VSB digital transmissions, which means local high-definition broadcasts can
be received for free. We connected our large Terk TV-38
terrestrial rooftop antenna and received a very strong signal from Mount Wilson.
The two satellite inputs receive signals from the triple LNB Dish 1000 antenna.
This allows the receiver to tune in two satellite signals simultaneously. Finally,
the RF output can modulate the baseband RF signal (Audio/Video) on a select number
of channels defined by the user.
Network requires that the phone line be connected to the receiver and if you happen
to have caller ID from your phone company, the phone number and caller identification
is displayed on the top of the screen when the phone rings. This is a great feature
for those who cannot hear the phone when it rings. Dish requires the phone line
to be connected to monitor pay-per-view activity, so this is a feature that they
added and surprisingly comes in quite handy. The ViP222 has a wired ethernet
and USB connection on the back panel, but it is currently not being used.
supports two TVs and includes two remotes for independent operation. The TV1 remote
is an IR design that requires clear line-of-sight to the electronics box. Surprisingly,
the (TV1) remote has a very strong IR output making it useable virtually anywhere
in the room. The TV2 remote has the ability to send commands using RF (radio frequencies)
so that line-of-sight control is not necessary. In this case the (TV2) remote
can be used in another room away from the main unit since it has the ability to
transmit through walls. Remote #2 has a switch to change the UHF frequency in
the event a different frequency is needed. The remote comes preset to the A position
(IR/UHF Pro Band A), but can be easily changed to position B (IR/UHF Pro Band
B) by removing the battery cover and accessing the switch. Pressing the System
Info button on the receiver will display the remote address information. Each
remote has four mode buttons for controlling SAT (satellite receiver), TV (for
a TV), VCR (for a VCR or a DVD player), and AUX (auxiliary, for a
second TV, a VCR, a tuner, an audio amplifier, or a second DISH Network satellite
Our ViP222 connected to our Mitsubishi LT-52133 LCD flat panel using the
HDMI interface. This provided both high definition video and two channel audio
to our display. We configured the ViP222 to output 1080i, which was converted
by our display to 1080p. This configuration is very simple compared to our ViP622,
which has many additional components. We wanted to keep this system as simple
as possible while still benefiting from the high definition video quality offered
by the ViP222.
Users have the option of paying to access local channels or can
use an external antenna to receive locally broadcasted stations. We opted for
the latter since we have a large Terk rooftop antenna
installed as part of our system. Scanning for active local channels is simple
and only requires the user to press the Scan Locals button. Our setup found
51 local channels to watch. Unfortunately, when using an external antenna the
Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) does not display any useful information about
the programming for these local channels. That is the advantage of using Dish
Network for the local channel service.
The HDTV Setup menu provides an easy way to define the HDTV
connected to the ViP222. Users can specify the Analog Type, which
selects the type of antenna input (Offair, IRC, HRC, or Cable), TV Type
or display format (1080i, 720p or 480p, or 480i), and the Aspect Ratio
(16:9, 4:3 #1, or 4:3 #2). Once the users changes the TV Type setting,
the unit will switch to that display mode and prompt the user to confirm the setting
just in case the display is not capable of displaying the selected mode. If the
user does not confirm the setting, the ViP222 will switch back to the previous
mode. These settings will optimize the way the ViP222 utilizes the antenna
input signal and maximize the video resolution to the display.
There are six different Guide Display options available to optimize
the amount of information displayed on the screen. Depending on the screen resolution,
users may want to increase the amount of guide information shown. Three different
levels (Standard, Enhanced, and Extended) of the screens have a preview window
in the upper right corner that allows the viewer to see the current channel while
looking at the guide. The other three screen options have the guide without the
Once the Guide Display setting has been defined, pressing
the Guide button displays the Electronic Programming Guide. On each successive
press of the Menu button the remote selects one of three modes (All Channels,
All HD Channels or All Subscribed Channels). Since our display has excellent 1080p
resolution and was large in picture size, we opted for the Extended-Partial
Guide with video. This gave us the most information on the screen while still
being able to preview the current channel in the upper right corner with good
Parents can lock out certain program material based on ratings, violence,
language, nudity or sexual content. When trying to access any blocked channels,
the user will be prompted to enter a password to view the channel. This is a great
feature for those with younger children.
The ViP222 is a powerful set-top box that is designed to deliver top quality
high definition programming from Dish Network's extensive offerings as well as
local terrestrial broadcasts. Both the HDMI (digital) and component (analog) outputs
can provide high definition video or standard definition video. Having spent almost
a year with the DVR capabilities available on the ViP622 and the newest
ViP722, it is tough to live without them. However, DVR functions aside,
this receiver has all the great attributes of the ViP622. The dual TV outputs
allow users to have two televisions connected to a single box with independent
control of the each. Alternatively, users can use a single television with picture-in-picture
also has their DishHOME Interactive TV, which displays six channels at
once and gives users access to on demand entertainment such as games, shopping,
news, sports, weather and customer service. The data link is actually through
the phone line, so it can be slow at times.
Our ViP222 has been installed for the past 3 months and the performance
and stability has been excellent. Having been a user of the ViP622 my expectations
were high with this new unit. Dish has done a great job with the ViP222
by leveraging much of the same functionality taken from the earlier ViP622.
If you need the DVR capability then the ViP622 or ViP722 is your natural
choice. However, if you can live without this feature, then the ViP222 is
certainly the way to go.