Dish DTVPal DVR (ex-Echostar TR-50) Official Speculation and Order Info Thread - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Last updated: Feb 20 @ 11:05am

The "DTVPal DVR" is now available and shipping from dishdepot.com. This dual-tuner, HDTV DVR is $279 plus tax and shipping. There are no subscriptions, no monthly fees and there are no advertisements.

Update: As of February 20, Dish Network has temporarily halted shipments to new customers.

The Dish Network DTVPal DVR is a dual-tuner HDTV DVR that supports SD and HD channels from an off-air antenna. Satellite and cable (QAM) are not supported. The DTVPal DVR allows you to watch one HD channel while you record another; it will record two different HD or SD shows while you watch a third, previously recorded show. You can also use pause (up to 1hr), instant replay, and rewind on live programming. Recording capacity is 30 HD hours and 150 SD hours with a 250GB hard drive. The bundled IR remote includes buttons for 30 sec skip, 10 second replay, and supports four speeds of fast forward and reverse, slow motion, and frame-by-frame advance.

The DTVPal DVR features an electronic program guide (EPG) with 8-days of program information from TV Guide On Screen (TVGOS), when available. TVGOS is distributed by CBS affiliates across the country, and should be available to 90+% of the U.S. population by February 17. You can check here to determine whether TVGuide service is currently available in your area. If TVGuide service is not available, the DTVPal will display the more limited program information -- typically 24-72 hours worth -- offered by your local broadcasters via PSIP. If TVGuide service is available, but does not have information for a particular channel, then the PSIP information from that broadcaster will be shown instead.

The DTVPal DVR supports keyword search and closed captions, but lacks many features found on more modern TiVo, DirecTV, and Dish Network satellite DVRs. Features absent from the product include dual channel buffers, saving from buffer, external storage expansion, multi-room viewing, remote scheduling via web and mobile phone, picture-in-picture, picture-in-guide, and guide filters / favorites. Most notably, the DTVPal DVR relies on time-based recording rather than name-based recording; it lacks season passes and the ability to record only new episodes and ignore repeats.

All recording on the DTVPal DVR is performed with VCR-like timers, created manually or set automatically through a program guide selection. When you select a show in the program guide, you are given the option to (1) create a reminder, or (2) schedule a recording in that time slot: once, daily, weekly, or M-F. You have the same options when selecting a show with keyword search. A list of all existing timers is shown on the DVR -> Daily Schedule screen, where you can cancel, edit, or add a new timer for a single or repeating (daily, weekly, M-F) recording in a specific time slot.

The DTVPal DVR has RF, composite (RCA), component, and HDMI video outputs; it has analog stereo and optical (S/PDIF) audio outputs. Output via component and HDMI is selectable 480p/720p/1080i through a menu. All outputs are active simultaneously and the box will downconvert HD channels to SD through composite and coax for older televisions. There is no Firewire output, and no way to directly download recordings from the DVR.

Despite initial reports to the contrary, USB external drive expansion is not yet supported. Software updates to improve and expand functionality will be made available for download over the Internet using the DTVPal's ethernet connection -- in fact, the first software update with minor fixes is already available for download.

The DTVPal DVR has a 90-day warranty. All sales from dtvpal.com are final. Dish Network does not give refunds on the DTVPal DVR, although it will replace defective units if you are within the 90-day warranty period.


If you own this product, have questions about this product, or would like to read user reviews, please see the DTVPal DVR Owner's Thread. This thread is only for order / shipping issues.


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Credit for this image to Crave.
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post #2 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 01:45 PM
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post #3 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 01:55 PM
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This looks like the perfect solution for me. Now how much?

Also I wonder what the chances are for user upgrades of the internal drive (ala Tivo).
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post #4 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nire View Post

This looks like the perfect solution for me. Now how much?

Also I wonder what the chances are for user upgrades of the internal drive (ala Tivo).

I don't think it will matter. The remote for the TR-50 is identical to the remote for the Dish VIP722. Same animal. Which leads me to think that he TR-50 is based on the VIP/622/722. If so and the USB ports are enabled as they can be with the 622/722 there will be no storage limitations. Meaning you can add any number of USB hard drives for archiving. You should be able to archive to your hearts content. As well as playback from the external drives.
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post #5 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 02:50 PM
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I just watched the cnet video review. The TR-50 U/I is identical to the Dish VIP622/722 U/I. So it looks like the TR-50 may be something as simple as the VIP622/722 DVR sans satellite tuners. I use the OTA tuner in my VIP722 and the performance is excellent.

The VIP622/722 are very highly rated DVRs. If the TR-50 comes to market it should be extremely well received.
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post #6 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 04:59 PM
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Very interesting, sounds like the new echostar hardware company is looking to expand beyond dish and expressvue
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post #7 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 05:27 PM
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No monthly fees ? I may have to talk the wife into this one - her biggest complaint right now is that she either gets the pretty HD picture or she gets the DVR.

Guide data via ethernet - now THAT'S cool (for a non- DBS DVR, any way) !

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

Being A Beacon of Knowledge in the darkness of FUD
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post #8 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 07:55 PM
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First post in HD land, hey all.
Does anyone know if a person can just program this thing like a VCR, or DVDR?

"eliminate the pesky VCR-style manual "timer recordings" (you remember: "8:00-9:00pm / Thursdays / channel 4")."

I'm one that actually like those "pesky VCR-style manual timer recordings" Hey, I've been doing it for 25 years now, I suppose I could get used to the guide type programming, but do you think it will have a manual mode, for guys like me?
Other than that, it sure sounds better that SD DVDR recording.
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post #9 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

First post in HD land, hey all.
Does anyone know if a person can just program this thing like a VCR, or DVDR?

Yes, the Echostar software allows for manual DVDR-type recordings, although I doubt you will use that feature after you've had it for a week.
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post #10 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 08:22 PM
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Thanks bfdtv, you're probably right, but it's always nice to have manual programming to fall back on. Besides I kind of like to overprogram an event. Since some programs run a few minutes long, or if a event is going to be after a football game, I'll record 1hr extra, to make sure and get the end. I don't know how the schedule type programming would know I wanted to overrecord by say 2 min one time, and 1hr the next.
This might be a dumb question, I didnt see it adressed anywhere though. What recording format does this machine use? In DVDR land I've read threads talking about HD on DVD. On those threads they talk about 3X and AVCHD, along with MPEG2 and MPEG4. What is the format on the HDD in this product? Thanks.
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post #11 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 08:57 PM
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That's the beauty of the Dish DVR software. It will start early and end late with user selectable time extension 1 min or 1 or more hours - you can choose. It is very flexible. It will also let you decide if you want to record all episodes or only new episodes of a particular program. You also get to set priority for each record event.

My parents barely learned to program their VCR. Now that they have had the HD DVR from Dish they actually record programs. It is that easy to do. You will never go back to the old method of manual programming once you live with the new software. 2 of my old DVR's from Dish that I have had for years automatically received the recent software updgrade this year and I have really enjoyed the new interface. Of course I also have 2 DVR's that are so old they are no longer compatible with the new software.

I will purchase a couple of these when they release.

JD
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post #12 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Garci View Post

QAM would have been nice.

As cable companies move channels from analog to digital, and encrypt all their digital channels except the local broadcast channels (NBC, ABC, etc.), third-party DVRs will need to use CableCards or the downloadable solution for authorizing access that the cable industry is pushing towards. Maybe Echostar doesn't want to try to deal with that just yet, but wants to try for the OTA market right now anyway. Maybe later they'll have another model that accepts QAM and has an appropriate authorization mechanism.

They don't even say anything about the TR-50 being analog cable ready, so it must be digital only (no NTSC).
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post #13 of 3326 Old 01-07-2008, 09:48 PM
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The OTA channels should always be available in clear QAM in cable. Those who don't want to deal with ugly antenna would find QAM tuner useful. Besides, I have not come across TV or DVD Recorder in 2007 that sports an ATSC tuner but not QAM. All the TVs / DVD Recorder that advertise as ATSC equiped turns out to have a QAM tuner too. I suspect this one will have a QAM tuner eventually.

The first post mentioned the TR-50 has a NTSC tuner. So it should be analog cable ready as well.

Given that it has the functionality of TiVo HD and no subscription. I believe it will be priced at a premium. I still hope the price can come down by Nov.

BTW, this thing is ugly as HELL!
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post #14 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdskycaster View Post

That's the beauty of the Dish DVR software. It will start early and end late with user selectable time extension 1 min or 1 or more hours - you can choose. It is very flexible. It will also let you decide if you want to record all episodes or only new episodes of a particular program. You also get to set priority for each record event.

My parents barely learned to program their VCR. Now that they have had the HD DVR from Dish they actually record programs.
JD

It doesn't sound like this unit will have the same guide as the Dish unit - it's just a TVGOS like thing - that doesn't have all the niceities of the Dish guide.
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post #15 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by biker19 View Post

It doesn't sound like this unit will have the same guide as the Dish unit - it's just a TVGOS like thing - that doesn't have all the niceities of the Dish guide.

How'd you come up with TVGOS?

You may be confusing the fact that TV Guide was mentioned as the guide source. TV Guide is also the provider for the Dish satellite service guide. The TV Guide logo is all over the guide grid on my Dish VIP722 for example. But it is not, of course, TVGOS.
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post #16 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 03:19 AM
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How'd you come up with TVGOS?

You may be confusing the fact that TV Guide was mentioned as the guide source. TV Guide is also the provider for the Dish satellite service guide. The TV Guide logo is all over the guide grid on my Dish VIP722 for example. But it is not, of course, TVGOS.

It receives guide data broadcast on CBS and PBS stations which pretty much confirms that it's Gemstar/TVGOS but I'd like to see confirmation.

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post #17 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by TWinbrook46636 View Post

It receives guide data broadcast on CBS and PBS stations which pretty much confirms that it's Gemstar/TVGOS but I'd like to see confirmation.

Could be.

But if the cnet video is an accurate depiction of the user interface I can, as a user of both TVGOS and a VIP722, attest to the fact that it is not TVGOS. It is the same user interface as the VIP722.

cnet video here
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post #18 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 03:53 AM
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Since it's just a prototype they may have just shoved it in there for CES. It's not due out until the summer.

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post #19 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 04:00 AM
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True. But in that case I would probably simply introduce it with the placard listing its features. Not necessarily have a working model on the floor of CES. The "U/I" is the product.

Also the TR-50 is not the TR-40. The TR-50 appears to be based on the VIP622/722. For example same remotes. The TR-40 fits the government specifications for the voucher program. Which really makes it a different beast.
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post #20 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 05:21 AM
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jdskycaster said this unit might have the ability to record only "new" episodes of a program. Even though I've never actually used, or really know that much about Tivo's, can anyone confirm if the TR-50 would have this feature. It sure would nice to not have to rely on the (N) that the printed TV type guides prints. Sometimes in error. I always thought that would be a real advantage of Tivo. I'm not to sure about suggesting things though. I've got a hard time watching all the stuff I record now, I can't imagine if the DVR starts suggesting things.....Whooo I'd be filling up hard drives left and right, especially using HD.

By the way, does anyone know if this "guide" which is built into the TR-50 is the same "guide" that I have on my Vizio TV? It is quite handy, but I find it very inconsistent. Sometimes it goes out 12hrs, sometimes 3 days. For now anyway, I sure wouldn't want my DVDR to rely on that info. If someone could point me in the direction of a good thread about all the "guides" that seem to be out there, I'd be happy to read it. They really intrigue me, thanks!
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post #21 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 05:27 AM
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Features I would like:
* Dual RF input (antenna/cable)
* QAM support

Unfortunately, Echostar is unlikely to support cable, for obvious reasons.

If it is strictly OTA-only, then the price would have to be low to interest me (under $300).
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post #22 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 05:46 AM
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This is great news regarding the TR-50...

We currently have three Dish Network 622s (love 'em), but we'll be dropping their service after moving into a FiOS area: wife doesn't want a dish on roof of her new home and I can't take another year of DishHD-Lite. My solution was to buy a couple TiVo HD DVRs along with slapping a CableCard into our Sony HD DVR (TVGOS). Personally, I really like the Sony with free TVGOS...too bad it's only a single-tuner DVR. Anyway, I added up the cost of TiVo ownership and it wound up costing more than $2200 for the pair of TiVo HD boxes after adding 3-years of subscription fees, cablecard rentals, digital outlet charges and external eSATA drives due to the minuscule 160GB hard drive.

To be honest, 80% of the stuff we watch is on free over-the-air network television. My wife has no problem with our dropping our pay TV subscription and going with a solution such as the TR-50. I am very interested in hearing about the sales price, whether this unit will, in fact, use the free analog and digital guide data being supplied by GemStar (how long will it be free after launch), what Dish Network will charges for their subscription based guide data via the Ethernet port, etc.

I also plan to pickup a couple TR-40s too...
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post #23 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nextoo View Post

Could be.

But if the cnet video is an accurate depiction of the user interface I can, as a user of both TVGOS and a VIP722, attest to the fact that it is not TVGOS. It is the same user interface as the VIP722.

cnet video here

How would an OTA product ever get the same guide data available via sat? It can't be the same guide data unless it's delivered via ethernet - that's probably some down the road option. The UI might be the same but the data can't be. The only guide data avilable OTA is the info in the data stream itself (no future info, just about the show in progress) and the TVGOS available on some stations (usually PBS). I assume this unit will have access to the digital version of TVGOS cause the analog version will be gone in a year.
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post #24 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 06:32 AM
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It would make sense to access the digital TVGOS data stream. Reports mention 7 days worth of programming data. It would not be nearly as useful a device without future guide info.

I do not believe that Echo is doing this out of benevolence to the end user. They are looking for monthly subscription fees for advanced features and most likely movie downloads and PPV services. Everyone knows that there is no money in selling the hardware alone.

JD
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post #25 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 06:38 AM
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Would it not be possible to take the TV Guide data OTA and wrap it up in the VIP622/722 user interface?

Quote:


...thanks to the EchoStar TR-50. For all intents and purposes, the TR-50 takes many of the features found on Dish Networks' excellent satellite DVRs (such as the ViP622 and 722) and brings them to antenna-based TV viewers.

From here:

NetworkingInfo.com
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post #26 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 06:45 AM
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......I do not believe that Echo is doing this out of benevolence to the end user. They are looking for monthly subscription fees for advanced features and most likely movie downloads and PPV services. Everyone knows that there is no money in selling the hardware alone.

JD

Exactly. For example as it relates to the TR-40:

Quote:


EchoStar Holding Corp SATS.O expects to initially lose money on analog digital television converters that it plans to sell for $39.99 starting in May, Chief Executive Charlie Ergen said on Monday.

The company, which was spun off from EchoStar Communications Corp (DISH.O: Quote, Profile, Research) last month, will sell the TR-40 box to anyone, including subscribers to rival pay TV services. The box helps analog TV sets to receive digital signals ahead of a Feb. 17 deadline for broadcasters to stop transmitting analog signals.

"We'll lose money initially," Ergen, CEO of both EchoStar companies, said on the sidelines of a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He did not say how much the company would lose on the boxes.

Ergen said he hopes the offering will help generate interest in EchoStar's satellite television services. "You're not going to make an impact by being the same as everybody else," he said.

from here:

Reuters
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post #27 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdskycaster View Post

I do not believe that Echo is doing this out of benevolence to the end user. They are looking for monthly subscription fees for advanced features and most likely movie downloads and PPV services. Everyone knows that there is no money in selling the hardware alone.

JD

Yep, I would expect to Dish Network will plaster ads all over the screen when using the free over-the-air Gemstar guide. Of course, I am sure Dish Network is more than glad to provide you with an improved/clutter-free guide via the Ethernet port for something like $6.95 per month. Likewise, I would expect E* will have a $39.99 USB Storage enabling fee (Dish Network 622/722 subscribers currently pay this fee) in order to use external hard drives...which, by the way, can only be used when subscribing to the Dish Network supplied guide.

Offhand, this still sounds like a pretty good solution for OTA DVRers. The Dish Network HD DVR is superior to TiVo and the guide certainly has to be less expensive than TiVo as well.
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post #28 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffjim4069 View Post

Anyway, I added up the cost of TiVo ownership and it wound up costing more than $2200 for the pair of TiVo HD boxes after adding 3-years of subscription fees, cablecard rentals, digital outlet charges and external eSATA drives due to the minuscule 160GB hard drive.

As we established over on TCF, you grossly miscalculated, because there are no HD fees, digital outlet fees, or SDV adapter fees on FiOS. Your real cost would be ~$1284 after three years, not $2200. Or ~$1683 with larger hard drives and extended warranties. That is compared to $1151 for two of the Verizon Motorola DVRs over the same three-year period.

That said, you can certainly save a good deal of money with OTA, because then you also avoid the $1607 + tax in FiOS programming fees for three years. You save even more over many other cable providers.
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post #29 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 08:36 AM
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I am really excited about the possibilities of the TR-50 as media extender. They don't say that the digital OTA tuner is ATSC only, but since the design is based on the 622/722 it probably is. Nonetheless, it does incorporate the same IPTV software as that found in the ViP series receivers, and they did announce upcoming DLNA compatibility with that series of recievers. This could be the beginning of the whole-house satellite reciever concept they have been working on for awhile now. The TR-50 will be sold under the Echostar and Sling brands, according to an article in Engadget. Could it also have Slingcatcher-like abilities? Would not surprise me at all.
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post #30 of 3326 Old 01-08-2008, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Echostar said products that integrate DVR and Sling functionality are in the works for 2009. I doubt that would be a feature of the TR-50.

I do agree the prospect of DLNA compatibility is quite exciting, though. The TR-50 is basically a ViP612 minus the satellite tuners, so presumably it should be able to support any feature of that box.
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