Dish Network Television
Dish Network - Direct Broadcast Satellite
Dish Network is owned by Echo Star Satellite, a company out of Englewood, Colorado, a public company with about 20,000 employees. Through Dish Network, Echo Star provides Direct Broadcast Satellite services to customers worldwide through its fleet of nine satellites. Echo Star's first satellite was launched in Sept of '96 and has since expanded to offer a wide array of digital video, audio and data services to customers across the United States. Echo Star was the first nationwide installation network dedicated solely to satellite TV systems. It was also the first to offer customers a satellite receiver with built-in PVR capabilities. Today, Dish Network offers subscribers local channels to all local markets in all 50 states.
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Echo Star is a complete communications solution, meaning that when you subscribe to their satellite service you're limited in the types of receivers you can choose from. In effect, you can use any satellite receiver you want, as long as it's Echo Star's. This differs from the model of their nearest competitor in the satellite TV market, DirecTV, for which there are a variety of third-party satellite receivers to choose from. However, the qualities of their receivers tend to be second to none, and you're assured of consistency and cutting edge technologies no matter which you choose.
Although there are very nice receivers available from third-party manufacturers like Sony for the DirecTV subscriber, the Echo Star product is consistent in their quality and pricing and you're sure not to spend good money on a complete dog of a set-top box that Dish Network cannot support. Since they were the first to develop the satellite receiver with a built-in PVR, they've had some experience and make the DVR 522, 625 and 942, which have the snappiest menu systems and controls in the PVR business. This means they're responsive and quick and when you select a function you're not left waiting seconds before the command is fulfilled. This can be a particular frustration when you've switched from different PVR systems and come to appreciate how well the old bug-free Echo Star line really do work.