lives forever changed when we installed our Dish Network ViP622 DVR into
our A/V system. The new design leveraged from years of experience with previous
generation DVRs and includes the latest advancements in video processing and storage
technologies. So it was not too surprising when Dish introduced the new ViP722
High Definition satellite receiver to complement their lineup. This new DVR receiver
sports a black exterior not to confuse it with the earlier, yet still very worthy
silver-colored ViP622. Other than the color and the capacity (hard drive
size) of the ViP722, it is virtually indistinguishable from the ViP622
in terms of functionality. The new ViP722 offers storage for up to 350 hours
of standard definition programming and up to 55 hours of high definition programming
or any combination of the two.
Dish Network ViP722 DVR is capable of decoding both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 video
streams, with the latter providing more efficient usage of the available bandwidth.
In addition to spectacular high definition video produced by the ViP722
comes the accompanying 5.1 audio (when available) that gets recorded on the DVR.
The unit has
two satellite tuners and allows the viewer to select from one of two viewing options,
Single or Dual. The Single mode supports a single television
for viewing content. In this mode the viewer can take advantage of Picture-In-Picture
(PIP) and watch two live satellite programs or one terrestrial channel and one
satellite channel. The PIP mode can have a small or large window or can have both
pictures side-by-side. The position of the PIP window can be moved in any one
of nine predetermined positions. Users can record two live satellite programs
and one terrestrial channel while watching a prerecorded program. The Dual
mode allows two TVs to be used with a single ViP722 unit. One television
can be a high definition unit while the other is limited to a standard definition
(480i) picture. The users can independently view and record programming on the
two televisions. The second remote included with the ViP722 operates using
RF (Radio Frequency) communications with the ViP722, so it may be used in
another room where the second television is located and still completely control
the DVR features on the ViP722. It is even possible to have both television
viewers watch the same prerecorded program and have complete independent control
of the content.
the ability to record up to three channels simultaneously (two satellite channels
and one terrestrial channel) while streaming up to two prerecorded shows to two
separate televisions (using the Dual mode) is an amazing feat. This technology
has changed my viewing habits completely, as I no longer have to plan my schedule
around program times nor worry about setting up a difficult to use video recorder.
This technology completely obsoletes my old VCR and DVD-based recorder while offering
superior audio and video quality. Furthermore, navigating through prerecorded
programs using the ViP722 DVR is very easy, especially when jumping forward
through commercials or jumping back to a missed scene.
Our ViP722 was installed and connected to the newer Dish 1000 unit mounted
on the side of our roof. This is the same dish we used with the ViP222 unit we
reviewed late last year and is a slightly newer version than the one that was
installed with our ViP622 DVR receiver. The installer did a great job mounting
and pointing the dish to the satellites in the Southwestern sky. 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 ViP722 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 ViP722 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. There is also a red light for each TV zone that indicates when
a program is recording. A set of ten buttons are behind a closed door on the right
flip-out that include Power, Menu, Navigation (Up, Down,
Left, Right and Select), System Info, and Mode
(Single or Dual). There is also a USB interface that we use with the AV700E PocketDish
portable media player, which allows customers to take their recorded content on
the road, but is limited to non-HD recordings.
The ViP722 has the ability to lock specific channels from the
viewer using a 4-digit numeric password. This became an issue for me when my 8
year old daughter recently figured out how to use this DVR. Locks can be based
on program ratings (PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, or NR/AO) or specific ratings containing
Violence, Language, Nudity, or Sexual Content. Users
can also lock out specific channels, Adult, or PPV (Pay-per-view) channels. The
buttons on the front panel of the receiver can also be locked to prevent curious
little fingers from changing the settings.
The rear panel has five female F-connectors, four of which are inputs and one
that is an output. The two ATSC antenna/cable inputs are designed to receive over-the-air
or cable 8-VSB digital signals, which means local high-definition broadcasts can
be received with this unit using your outside antenna. We connected our large
Terk TV38 terrestrial rooftop antenna and received a very
strong signal from Mount Wilson. The remote antenna input on the back of the unit
is designed to receive commands from the TV2 UHF Pro remote also included with
the ViP722. Since this RF remote works through walls, the second television
can be commanded from a completely different room in the house. 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.
Standard A/V outputs (Composite video, L/R Audio) are also provided for TV2 as
well as s-video. Unfortunately, no digital or high definition outputs are available
for TV2, although high definition content is downconverted. The analog component
(Y/Pb/Pr) and digital HDMI outputs support all available video rates (480i/480p/720p/1080i).
The composite and s-video outputs for TV1 are limited to 480i. The optical toslink
output carries the digital audio to the preamplifier or receiver and fully supports
5.1 audio for those programs that carry it.
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. A calling history is stored
for reference and can be cleared by the user. Dish requires the phone line to
be connected to monitor pay-per-view activity, so this is a feature that they
added and surprisingly useful. A wired ethernet connection also exists on the
rear panel and has recently been activated by Dish to provide DishONLINE Video
On Demand services.
the DISH on Demand services, Dish Network takes a bold new step for delivering
media through wired broadband recently activated on the ViP722. This gives
DISH a big advantage over other set top boxes, allowing them to stream content
through a high speed internet connection and opens the door for a huge selection
of movies for its customers. The New Releases category has 19 selections,
Dish Theater has 168 movies, and the After Hours (Adult Content)
has a whopping 250 titles. Who needs to go to the video store when a large selection
of titles are available on-demand. However, prices can be steep depending on the
Dish Network has a great new feature that allows its customers
to plug in an external USB hard drive and transfer recorded content to it directly
from the DVR receiver. Dish customers are asked to pay a one-time $39.99 "activation
fee" for this service and is a small price to pay for a powerful feature.
All DVRs on the account will have this feature enabled once activated. Once configured,
customers won't have to delete their favorite shows from the DVR to make room
for new ones. Instead, simply transfer the content to the external hard drive
and play it back later. The transferred programs can be moved back to the DVR
or played directly from the external drive. The user interface is intuitive and
easy to use.
We connected an inexpensive 500GB drive to the ViP722 receiver
using the USB 2.0 interface on the back of the unit. We purchased this drive online
for less than $120. Once the drive is connected, the DVR identifies it and asks
the user to proceed. The user is required to format the hard drive (through the
ViP722 box) to properly accept the encrypted files from the DVR. The formatting
only takes a few minutes and requires the DVR to reboot once the formatting process
is complete. This is all automatic after the formatting has been initiated. This
feature is one of the best attributes of the ViP722 DVR.
supports two TVs and therefore includes two remotes for independent control of
the receiver. The remotes look to be the same as those provided with the ViP222
we recently reviewed. The TV1 remote is an IR design that requires clear line-of-sight
to the receiver. The IR output level of this remote is impressively high and has
no problem controlling the receiver from virtually any location in the room. It
bounces off surfaces quite well and doesn't seem to have a problem getting the
signal to the receiver. The TV2 remote is a combo IR/RF remote and has the ability
to send commands using both IR and RF (radio frequencies) so that line-of-sight
control is not necessary. The remotes have full DVR control to quickly navigate
forward and backwards through the prerecorded programs. The 30-second Skip
Forward and 10-second Skip Back buttons provide the user with a fast
and efficient way of moving through the recorded content. Additional controls
include Stop, Play, Record, Forward and Reverse
(4x, 15x, 60x, 300x), slow motion and frame-by-frame (forward and back) and up
to 1 hour Pause each for TV1 & TV2. Unfortunately, neither remote is
backlit or glow-in-the-dark, so you will be out of luck when the lights go out.
TV1 output supports 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i video formats. The unit cross-converts
all sources to the selected output rate. For example, SD content can be displayed
using the HD outputs, but it will certainly not look like an HD picture unless
the source is truly HD. The HD signals are output in the form of analog component
video as well as digital HDMI. S-video and composite video are also available,
but will not give you an HD picture. The TV2 output converts all sources to 480i
(standard definition) and can output content as a modulated RF signal or a composite
video signal. We were slightly disappointed that the ViP722 doesn't provide
a second HDMI interface for the TV2 output.
Our ViP722 was used with several other components to produce a true home
theater experience. The HDMI video from the ViP722 was routed through an
Octava 4:1 HDMI switch and then to an outboard DVDO iScan HD+ high definition
scaler. All 1080i content was scaled to 1080p for our Mitsubishi HC5000 full HD
projector. The ViP722 fully supports HDCP through its HDMI interface and
worked perfectly with our system. Video was projected onto a 100" 16:9 Stewart
filmscreen. The corresponding optical (toslink) output is routed through the same
switch and sent to our Parasound AVC-2500u preamplifier for decoding and then
to our Parasound HCA-2205AT five channel power amplifier. M&K S-150THX front
speakers, SS-250 surrounds and a pair of MX-350THX MkII subwoofers filled the
room with theater quality sound.
The high definition video quality produced by the ViP722 is absolutely gorgeous
and is very easy to control with an intuitive user interface. This latest receiver
is the flagship model being offered by Dish and it outperforms any receiver we
have seen thus far. Watching programs is fast and easy with excellent image quality.
No longer do customers have to waste time waiting for their favorite shows since
the ViP722 makes it so easy to record. Our unit has been installed for over
a month now and has been very reliable in our system. When selected, firmware
updates can be automatically downloaded from the satellite link during odd hours
of the night. This will keep the unit updated with the latest features and bug
fixes during off-peak hours.
resolution was very impressive on the ViP722, there were still some subtle
compression artifacts at times during fast action scenes. Overall we didn't find
them too distracting while watching programs, even on our larger screen. The issue
became even less noticeable on our 52" Mitsubishi LT-52133 1080p LCD flat
panel. It was not that they were not there, but appeared rather insignificant.
Dish Network currently offers a rich selection of over 70 high-definition
channels that cover a wide variety of sports, movies, concerts, news, lifestyle
and family entertainment. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show DISH Network's
President Carl Vogel said they have plans to launch four new satellites in 2008.
DISH's CEO Charlie Ergen added that the first of the four new satellites will
be launched in the first quarter of the 2008, expanding DISH's HD channel capacity
to 100. While consumers want more HD content, there is also a limitation on the
number of HD channels currently available.
over-the-air high definition channels can also be viewed and recorded using the
ViP722 DVR thanks to the built-in ATSC tuner. Picture quality for these
free local HD/SD channels is excellent. Customers who elect to pay an additional
$5.99/month for local channels through the satellite will get the local channel
information in the Electronic Programming Guide. While not necessary to watch
local content, it makes it much easier to select programs for recording on the
We have had the ViP722 installed for 2 months in our home theater system
and it has performed flawlessly for us during that time. The ViP722 will
be a welcomed component for those of you with a spouse who often find difficulty
operating the home theater equipment. This DVR has an effective user interface
with easy navigation and program access. Selecting programs to record with the
DVR is a simple process using the Electronic Programming Guide. The ViP722
has been well thought out and delivers the ultimate in high definition picture
quality with full DVR capabilities. Dish customers also have the ability to take
recorded DVR content (completely free of charge) on the road when using one of
the compatible ARCHOS
portable media players.
has set the bar high with their flagship ViP722 DVR. The recent firmware
upgrades (automatic through the satellite dish) give this already powerful receiver
more capabilities than it had just a few months ago. The ability to store content
(both high definition and standard definition) to an external hard drive through
the USB 2.0 interface is a fantastic feature. In addition, the broadband Video
On Demand service gives customers many more options for watching movies. If you
have been considering a DVR and have been trying to determine which is the best
for your high-definition display, Dish Network's latest ViP722 is the best
we have seen. This high definition DVR has become our family's favorite component.