The Daily Ping

Somehow, Ryan has written over 1 million Pings; Paul, just 60.

April 11th, 2000

DISH and DISHPlayer

When we moved recently, I decided to throw aside the shackles known as cable TV and start in our new place with DISH Network. They were running (and may still be running) a promotion that offered free installation and equipment with a one-year service agreement that came out to just a few dollars a month more than I was paying for cable. I decided to upgrade the free equipment to the DISHPlayer (a hard disk recording unit that’s the same idea as ReplayTV or TiVo) and I was good to go.

I ran into a number of problems my first week with the installation of the satellite dish and actually getting programming, but it’s been working for almost a week now and my viewing habits have changed totally.

The first major improvement over cable is channel selection. With Cox Cable at our old place, we had a ton of channels, but they were all unwatchable (like the Dulles Airport Flight Arrival channel and about four channels with singles ads). Now I get perhaps the two most important channels there are: the Game Show Network (Card Sharks every day!) and Noggin (old school Sesame Street at 2am!). Plus, with Dish 500, I get local channels on the same dish as the rest of my programming.

But the really nice thing is the Personal TV option. Yes, it cost me a little extra money up front for the equipment and there’s a $10/month charge for the option, but being able to pause and rewind live TV is alone worth the price. Factor in incredibly easy programming that allows me to simply say “Tape Family Ties and both episodes of Saved by the Bell each morning on your hard drive,” it’s just incredible. I get about 8 hours of recording space and don’t have to worry about messing with blank tapes. And if I see something I want to keep, recording from the Personal TV unit is the same quality as recording directly from the dish.

Where the Personal TV is really nice, though, is just in how it changes your everyday viewing. I used to work my meals around certain shows and the times they were on, but now being out a few extra minutes doesn’t mean missing the beginning of a new episode. For instance, tonight we got home at about 7:55. A show we both liked started at 8, but we had to make dinner. No problem — I had it set up to automatically record. We finished making dinner at 8:20 and we could start to watch the 8 o’clock show, even though it wasn’t yet done recording. We basically rescheduled the showing of That 70’s Show by 20 minutes. Perfect. Throw in a button that skips ahead exactly 30 seconds (the length of most commericals) and you have an all-in-one unit that changes how you view television.

The guys at work have convinced me to buy a number of items over the last two years, but this one may be one of the better ones they’ve suggested. Thanks, guys. 🙂

Sure, I watch a bit too much TV, but damn it, I’m American. I’m entitled.

(BTW — this is Ping Number 100! Time flies…) -ram

Posted in Miscellaneous

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