OK. Here is some serious info I was able to obtain from a very high level employee of Echostar. He is not a CSR or a Supervisor. Saying exactly who he is will kill any trust he has with me, so I'm not going to give any more details. But the info I got from him is completely legit. And this guy is a higher level E* guy than my other source. We talked for over and hour last night and here is what I can say in public...
1. The Superdish upgrade will include everything you need. Switches, power adaptors, RG6 cable runs (no receiver, of course). But it is required you have a professional install. No exceptions. Address "brokers" ;), who are receiving CBS-HD, are ship out of luck, unless you can find a professional who will play along. Anyone know one such installer in CT?! :D
2. The 61.5 and 148 birds will have ALL HD moved to the 105 bird within 6 months of November 15. That is the current plan. DISH wants to have every HD user upgraded to the Superdish by May 2004. Then, bye-bye 5000 HD Modulator. Note: this move could happen earlier than May.
3. It was confirmed that the 6000 receiver cannot downconvert HD and therefore will always output full 1080i or 720p via component and RGB. Period. That is set in stone. One more reason to hold onto it. The analog RGB is perfect for non-DVI equipped projectors. The 6000 is currently just $199 (w/8PSK but no 8VSB).
4. The 211 receiver is still on, but delayed due to Mitsubishi hemming and hawing. E* is ready to go with it, but Mitsubishi seems to be having issues. Situation developing.
5. The PVR921 is "Very buggy." It will be launched in a limited fashion. Don't expect it to be available at your local Sears until Spring, unless the bugs can be ironed out, of course. The biggest problem is crashing from doing too many things simultaneously. Those of you who went through hell with the 6000 or 721 receivers when they were first launched will understand what I mean.
6. The Firewire is not turned on because of serious software issues. They are only supporting the JVC30K and cannot get that to work "reliably" with it right now. They are working 24/7 to fix this and "it has nothing to do with Hollywood." I am concerned about this, because I could not get any ETA on when the Firewire could be turned on. It could be delayed for a very long time. But I was told flat out this is not a Hollywood issue. Hollywood seems to think tape isn't a factor anyway. (This info contradicts what I have been told by a lower level E* guy)
7. HD capacity for the PVR921 will be over 20 hours, but it is not recommended you go over 20 hours to avoid bug issues. That's about 10 movies.
8. 5C won't be used by anyone in 2004, except maybe PPV, which is not decided. HBO and Showtime don't even have it on the drawing board. Told ya!
9. E*'s cost for the PVR921, which has an MSRP of $999, is just over $1400! They are taking a loss on every single one they sell. Hence the monthly fee. Dealer cost is going to be $950. Yup. You read that right. Dealers will make only $50 on each unit they sell. Ouch.
10. The 811 was originally supposed to have Firewire. It was removed for a variety of reasons, including bugs that couldn't be fixed on time. Don't expect future models to have it.
So there you have it. That is what I know. All interesting news. Keep in mind that thing change, so a lot of the info above can be out of date down the road.
By the way, a useless statistic: There are currently 2,400 active DISH 5000 users.
11/2/2003 update and additional news:
Here is some Phone line hookup, Supderdish and free DVR510 news.
OK, I had a talk with my guy on the inside of E* this morning. I called after gettig a letter from E* telling me I need to hook up phone lines to all of my receivers. That story is about piracy. They need to stop people from having one account, spread over two locations. They will provide free wireless jacks to customers who can verify their receivers are at one location. You call them at 1-888-371-9077 and they will send signals to your receivers with numbers. You read them off and that verifies the receivers. You only pay shipping on the wireless jacks. Don't call unless you get a letter! No letter = no problem.
The DVR510 will be available to 2 year+ E* subscribers for FREE, as long as you sign a 2 year agreement. Now, this plan is new and may not be all done as far as details go. I'm not sure whch package you need to sign up for. There is DVR fee. :mad: I will look into this for myself. I'm not familiar with the DVR510, so I'll have to look into how good or bad it is.
Note: If you also go for the free Superdish, that will equal 3 years of committed service. That's a longass time.
The Superdish FREE upgrade offer will be around for one full year. It will not expire late January of 2004, so you can wait until Spring if you want. Those of you in colder climate areas needing a pole mount may want to do this. That's my plan. I'll need a pole mount.
Contrary to popular rumors, both types of Superdishes are being made and will continue to be made. They need both companies to make enough dishes to meet the demand. Both test out equally, so which one you get won't matter and you cannot choose. Ground pole installs are free with the upgrade, but only with a 4 ft pole. My guy inside will look into what it will cost for taller poles (I'll need one at about 8 ft).
They won't do chimney installs. They will do roof installs. That is not set in stone yet.
They are in the process of negotiating with Starz, NBC for Bravo and at least three other providers (he wouldn't say who) for HD content. HD-PPV will return on the Superdish.
I asked about the TWO TOWERS pan & scan HD debacle. He didn't see it himself and was unaware, but will immediately look into it. He was very surprised this happened. He's an HD guy himself and has last year's FELLOWSHIP HD-PPV broadcast recorded.
Last, the PVR921 will be released this year. They are being made, software is more stable, my guy has his demo unit and likes it a lot, but Firewire is still disabled and will be so through the Winter months.
That's all I have.