After a slow start, DISH Network has released quite a number of digital converter boxes lately. Now they have announced the DTVPal DVR, a digital video recorder for over-the-air broadcast television.
I’ve written before about the DISH Network DTVPal, a $59.99 digital converter box with some of the best features of any converter box available. DISH Network later released another converter box, the EchoStar TR-40 CRA, with a price $20 lower than the DTVPal. This was somewhat confusing because the TR-40 CRA was exactly the same unit as the DTVPal!
Last year, EchoStar announced the TR-40, their $40 digital converter box. It had the best feature set of any converter box and the $40 price made it free with government coupon. But then the TR-40 was postponed and the DTVPal was released, a different converter box that EchoStar priced at $59.99. The TR-40 remained a separate product that they promised for later release.
Now the TR-40 has been reborn as the TR-40 CRA.
There were persistent rumors before the DTVPal digital converter box was released on June 26 that DISH Network had already signed up Sears and Radio Shack as national distributors. But neither chain sold the DTVPal after the introduction. The DTVPal remained available only through the official DTVPal website and through some smaller, local retailers.
Just as I had predicted, the reviews for the DISH Network DTVPal digital converter box are beginning to appear. CNET has now published the latest DTVPal review. The review is quite extensive and examines the DTVPal in great detail. They seemed very impressed by the DTVPal and especially liked the program guide. Their main criticisms seemed to be video quality (which they described as a notch below other converters) and the overcomplicated remote control. I’m familiar with that remote control (the same one is used by DISH Network for their satellite receivers) and I personally don’t agree with them. I was also surprised by the video quality comment; that contradicts other statements I have heard about superior video quality. Their conclusion is that the DTVPal is the top choice for converter box, unless you prefer the simplicity of the RCA DTA800. It’s a good review, so be sure to take a look.