Originally Posted by L David Matheny
It would be interesting for someone with a healthy PAL to disconnect the HDD and observe the resultant startup behavior.
I've done this with my CM-7000 Pal, albeit by accident. I moved my HDD to an external enclosure, and once accidentally turned on the Pal while the HDD was off. The Pal started up just fine except all DVR options were grayed out on the menu. In other words, it acted more or less like a DTV receiver (like the TR-40 with component & HDMI outputs). Turning on the drive and rebooting the Pal returned everything to normal.
Presumably the Dish-branded Pal would work the same way. However, a recent poster also tried disconnecting the drive when his parents' Pal started to go out. He reported getting a message stating there was a problem with the drive: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1099071/the-official-avs-dish-dtvpal-dvr-topic/16180_20#post_23026806
. So perhaps there are a few minor differences between the Dish-branded and CM-branded Pals beyond cosmetics.
I've seen another minor difference between my Dish-branded (F208) and my CM-branded (F400) Pals. One of our local stations sends out a very long PSIP guide (at least on Sunday evenings). The Dish-branded Pal displays all the guide info (almost 6 days), but the CM-branded Pal only displays about 36 hours. (Other channels' guides are the same on both DVRs.)