It also allows them to “push” content to a separate, reserved area on the hard drive. The “Dish On Demand” feature has pay-per-view selections available on an immediate basis, and a day after installation, presented me with six HD movie PPV choices. The menu shows pricing and availability within each movie’s particular PPV “window.” Once a movie’s PPV window expires, it’s deleted from the partition, and another PPV movie is automatically downloaded to take its place.
The connection also provides for additional free content to be “pushed” to the box, which during the mid-August review period consisted of mostly SD (but a few HD) Olympics recaps and replays.
Featuring the well-designed TV Guide on-screen programming guide, the 722 makes it fairly easy to get to your favorite channels. A recent system upgrade added a new HD Channels-only favorites lists, joining the All Channels and All Subscribed lists. Four additional user-customizable favorites lists are provided. The various setup and configuration choices are logically laid out, and PPV, “pushed” programs and recorded DVR programs are all available by pushing the DVR button on the remote.
The 722 comes with two remotes. One is a combo IR/RF remote for second zone control and the second an identical remote that features IR only for use in the main room. If you don’t need the second zone SD functionality that the 722 provides, then the RF/IR remote can be used in the main room, allowing the box to be hidden away in a cabinet, for example. Both remotes feature identical layouts, with large color-coded function buttons, cursor keypad, and backlit device selector buttons, and are generally easy to use.
During setup, the box provides aspect ratio adjustment and resolution adjustment queries. Once adjusted correctly for your HDTV, the remote control’s Format keys are used for aspect ratio adjustment—for example, stretching a 4:3 SD program to fill the 16:9 screen (I personally never do that, but I know that many HDTV owners much prefer to watch their SD programs that way).
This is by far the best-performing and most fully featured HD DVR on the market. The external hard drive capability will be a boon to dedicated couch potatoes. With 1TB external hard drives available that cost well under $150, expanding the box’s recording capacity by a factor of three for a total cost of well under $200 will give you a whopping 165 hours of HD recording capacity. Dish is continuing to add more national HD channels, with 17 added in August alone (and they’re striving for 150 by year’s end), as well as adding more local SD and HD channels to their lineup (69 HD local channels markets as of August). Also, in August, they began to offer select PPV movies in Blu-ray quality 1080p (the sci-fi movie I Am Legend starring Will Smith was the premiere offering). While Dish does offer a lesser-featured, but just as well designed HD DVR model for free with their HD packages, the $50 additional cost to upgrade to the beefier ViP722 is a no-brainer.