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Dish Debuts First Digital-to-Analog Converter With DVR

Dish Network’s DTVPal DVR, a digital-to-analog converter box that offers digital-video recording functionality, will be available for preorder nationwide starting Nov. 19, with sales projected to begin in mid-December, the satellite provider said Tuesday.

And in a second announcement, Dish Network said it was offering a feature that will permit customers to convert their original HD receiver to DVRs with an external hard drive.

In terms of the digital-to-analog converter, the DTVPal DVR gives consumers the flexibility to watch over-the-air programming whenever they want via its advanced recording features – the same technology included in Dish Network’s ViP Series DVR receivers.  The DTVPal DVR also allows for viewing HD programming over-the-air in addition to standard definition digital programming, providing access to the best resolution available from local stations.

“The DTVPal DVR is the first product of its kind in the converter box market, and gives consumers not only the benefit of receiving digital and high definition signals, but also brings their TV experience to a new level with the ability to record up to 150 hours of standard definition or up to 30 hours of high definition programming,” Tom Stingley, Dish Network’s executive vice president of sales and distribution, said in a statement. “Now consumers who watch over-the-air programming don’t have to be tied to their TV schedules, but rather can enjoy their favorite shows at their leisure, on their time.” 

The DTVPal DVR joins Dish Network’s suite of top-rated converter boxes such as the TR-40 CRA, DTVPal and DTVPal Plus. Dish Network’s suite of digital-to-analog converter boxes were designed and engineered by Dish Network’s technology provider, EchoStar Technologies.

Although the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has not authorized the DTVPal DVR for its coupon program due to the box’s enhanced features, Dish Network has instituted an instant rebate that saves consumers an additional $10 over the $40 coupon value. The DTVPal DVR retails for $299, but with the rebate is $249, a savings of $50.

In its other news Tuesday, Dish Network said that itsViP211 and ViP211k DVR Conversion feature will be available at the end of November. The DVR Conversion feature offers customers the ability to convert their single tuner ViP211 and ViP211k into DVRs by attaching an external hard drive.

The DVR Conversion feature is an option for current ViP211 or ViP211k customers who want to experience all the benefits of Dish Network’s feature-rich DVRs with the simple addition of an off-the-shelf external hard drive.

“As a leader in high definition, Dish Network continues to expand its HD solutions for our customers, including finding innovative ways to take our existing technology to the next level,” Dish chief marketing officer Jessica Insalaco said in a statement. “Now customers ready to add in the benefits of DVR recording to their HD receiver can do so with ease, simply by plugging in an off-the-shelf external hard drive.”

ViP211 or ViP211kcustomers must call Dish Network to activate the DVR feature. Once activated, customers need to connect an off-the-shelf external hard drive between 50 GB and 750 GB. Customers can then access DVR menus similar to other award-winning DVR features, including name-based recording and search-based timer capabilities.

 Other features include a nine-day electronic programming guide, DVR functionality on both the satellite tuner and built-in OTA tuner, record and review conflict management, VOD capability, and the ability to play back a stored program while recording or watching another.

Customers pay a one-time activation fee of $39.99 to use the DVR feature.