End of the Road for DISH Network’s DTVPal DVR

Dave Zatz —  July 23, 2010

A few weeks back, on the massive AVS Forum thread, I noticed comments of what appeared to be DTVPal DVR close-out pricing. After checking in with a DISH Network spokesperson yesterday, they’ve confirmed that the DTVPal DVR (~$250, no fees) is no longer offered and there are no current plans for a replacement model.

The DTVPal DVR was an interesting product, but DISH (or is that EchoStar?) never quite seemed to work out all the kinks or get any sort of mass market awareness. Which is unfortunate, given it’s been the only modern, economical OTA ATSC dual tuning DVR available. Then again, the DTVPal DVR was more digital VCR than DVR in the TiVo sense as recordings were scheduled via time slot versus show. Also, limited guide data was provided over-the-air via TVGOS or PSIP.

I had hoped and assumed Internet connectivity would provide a path forward – with video on demand, better guide data, and perhaps a greater leveraging of their existing satellite DVR functionality (via network update). But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. RIP little weird ham hock tv cartoon mascot.

11 responses to End of the Road for DISH Network’s DTVPal DVR

  1. OMG that is an ugly logo. Little piggievision set with strange antennae!

  2. Many of the things they had planned for the DTVPal DVR never came to light. It was supposed to do IPTV for things like VOD. In addition it was supposed to do over the air subscription television. (Both reasons are why it was equipment with a smartcard.)

    I have a DTVPal DVR and it works well for me and am sorry to see it discontinued as it is very good at what it does.

    Scott

  3. I’m a TiVo owner myself, but I had hoped that the DTVpal DVR would turn into a usable (and fee-free) alternative for people like my parents. I’ve periodically checked up on threads on AVS Forum about it, and it never really became a stable platform. I agree, this is a damn shame, but I can only imagine with the cost sunk to make the thing, there wasn’t enough profit made to make it worth putting big efforts into fixing the problems it had. Dammit E*, you should have done better on this. It could have succeeded. :|

  4. I really had high hopes for that thing but completely missed its introduction. It’s always disappointing when something that should have a place in the world fails because it’s not fully realized in the final steps or in marketing. It just leaves one more company with a bad taste in its mouth, not willing to try again. I applaud them for at least making the thing and taking it to market, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned (assuming this wasn’t the plan, that is).

  5. John Falcone of CNET has a follow-up post wondering if Channel Master will continue to license and resell the DTVPal DVR hardware under their name. But I can’t see it going anywhere without someone continuing to tighten and evolve the software/experience. I doubt EchoStar will carry that torch.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20011472-1.html

  6. I’ve been corresponding with an EchoStar rep today who pointed out DISH stopped selling this unit online late last year. But it was the Sears blowout pricing ($125 – $150) which I noticed a few weeks ago that led to this post. I’m attempting to determine if manufacturing has entirely ceased on all names/brands of this product. Will provide an update if/when I get one from Echo or DISH…

  7. It was really like Dish was trying to go out of their way to make sure this little device failed. I liked it when I was using OTA HD.

  8. I have one of these. It’s not the most user friendly, and it’s kinda buggy, but the picture quality is great, and more importantly, I don’t have to pay $13 a month to tivo. Sad to see it go because if mine ever breaks, I won’t be able to replace it.

  9. To bad EchoStar didn’t make a go of this competition is always good. Now we are down to 2 choices for an OTA DVR either TiVo or a HTPC. I am currently using 2 HD TiVos for my OTA DVRs and might have picked one of these up if it looked like they were going to get the bugs out and continue support but it was pretty clear last year that wasn’t going to be the case.

    For those crying about TiVo’s price – yes it is more than the $250 that the DTVPal DVR was but Not that much more and given the difference is what a TiVo can do and how it is supported (my Tivos cost $500 each with lifetime service) it is certainly not the end of the world.

  10. The DTV Pal was a great idea. Over the air = no monthly fee. Plus instant replay and a hard disk to record your favorite tv shows and then fast forward through commercials. How did this not sell to ever person who doesn’t want cable or satalite? Isn’t there a company out there that would take this technology forward?

  11. the only good thing dish ever good was send me 2 units for the price of one – by mistake

    the units work perfectly, never had a problem with them

    firmware208, fixed just about everything, although there could be a few polishing tweaks a new firmware could provide

    i believe most problems are operator error, all in all my units have been a great sddition to my home
    if lucky channel master may come up with a firmware that we can use on our dtvpals, also since mine work so perfect maybe i should leave “great” alone, if an opportunity arises