I thought I'd chime in about Dish and recent posts. First, to learn a ton of stuff about Dish, the place to go is www.dbstalk.com
where there are forums on all kinds of satellite stuff, both DirecTV and Dish network.
I think that there has been a lot of good discussion about DIsh network in this forum. I'll give you my recent experience to add to this:
I'm a long-time Dish subscriber in Lynchburg and prefer DIsh to DirecTV. I use the term prefer because both companies have strengths and weaknesses, and I prefer DIsh network, and agree that their HD package is better. However, the Directv football package is MUCH better! So, it's what you like. visit a firend who has the other (or both if you have none) and compare the two, then go where you feel more comfortable is how I look at it.
I have two 811 (MPEG-2, non DVR) receivers and a Vip-622 (MPEG 2/4 DVR). I really like the Vip-622, it really kicks. I haven't had any problems with it, other than a lack of time to explore all the features. SD quality good, HD quality great.
Regarding reception/dish1000/new channels, etc, here's what I've learned:
For my site, I've had trouble with getting the Dish1000 (existing D500) to see all 3 satellites (110/119/129). I've got a pretty tough site, and ran out of patience with trying to get all 3. I'm pretty good, but it's not what I do for a living, so my skills are limited. I ended up using my Dish1000 to pull in the 129 satellite, leaving 2 dishes. No spousal objections, so I'm in good shape and have pretty much optimum signal. easy to do as well. I'm going to use an old single-LNB dish I bought from ebay and install my D1000 gear at my parents' place in coastal N Carolina. WIll try again with a more southern exposure and hopefully better results.
The HD programming packages now offered include VOOM. Anyone who currently gets HD but not VOOM could call Dish and change their package (for pretty much the same money or exactly the same money) and get the VOOM channels included. They're all in one package now. The only additional HD programming you can get are the premium packages HBO and Cinemax. You'll get all the MPEG-2 HD vchannels available. My 811s now pick up most of the HD channels as there aren't too many MPEG-4s out there at this time. You may need to see satellite 129, I don't know if all of those are mapped to 61.5.
From my research, I understanda that Dish will continue HD MPEG-2 support and NOT convert the exisitng MPEG-2 channels to MPEG-4, alienating the existing base. The deal is that future channels will be MPEG-4. And yes, local progrm info is available if you subscribe to local channels. So, if you're getting OTA HD, you need not wait for HD locals, just get your existing locals and send your OTA HD into the sat box. It works great.
I hope this is helpful to all. I've got 24 HD channels (not counting locals) in my house and can't wait for more!