Customer Reviews: Dish Network ViP922 High Definition Dual Output SlingLoaded DVR
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on November 5, 2010
I was silly enough to sign up for Dish Network based solely on the availability of this SlingLoaded DVR. As a long-time Slingbox user I imagined that it would be nice to have Slingbox features integrated with a DVR. What a big mistake! It turns out that the integrated Slingbox capability is cripled intentionally by Dish Network so it is not possible to use the desktop SlingPlayer client with the VIP 922 (the feature is disabled); Dish requires that you login through their web site and use the buggy and slow Flash-based SlingPlayer instead. This is a problem if you use 64-bit Windows and Internet Explorer since the web-based SlingPlayer is not supported on 64-bit Windows (Sling recommends using the desktop SlingPlayer, which can't be used with the VIP 922). I know that Sling has been trying to get people to use their browser-based SlingPlayer for a while, but I never liked it and always preferred the desktop SlingPlayer because of its low impact on screen real estate. Not supporting the desktop SlingPlayer client was a major disappointment for me.

To add insult to injury, the VIP 922's advertised UPNP/DLNA client feature is cripled as well. I was hoping that I could replace my old Buffalo LinkTheater with the VIP 922 for playing video files hosted on my home network, but the VIP 922 does not actually support video playback (only audio and photos appear to work) even though the introductory/help screens on the device itself suggest that video playback is possible (I'm suspecting they disabled the capability at some point); when I asked support about viewing video files they kept on thinking I was trying to copy recorded shows off the DVR, demonstrating that they really did not understand UPNP/DLNA.

It seems like everywhere I turned with this DVR I ended up disappointed. In terms of features compared with other DVRs I have used I thought it was ho hum. In the end it turns out that the biggest issue for me was the lack of fine-grained video/audio control:

1. The program guide menu ran to the edges of the addressable display area, which ended up bleeding quite badly beyond the viewable area on the television screen. There was no fine-tuning available for the image on the DVR so we couldn't see the logos/channels on the left side of the program guide. This was never an issue with previous settop boxes and I can't tell if it was just poor interface design on the part of Dish Network or a problem with the video output.

2. The system was not able to control audio output so it would send audio over HDMI even though we were using the optical output. This caused an annoying echo if the volume was not turned down on the television since the audio signal was being sent to both the television and the receiver; I should have insisted on using component cables but the installer really wanted to use HDMI. Dish Network support was unable to help us figure out how to control the audio output although it seems like such control should be available via the menu; Let's just say that the menus weren't exactly easy to navigate so it is possible that such control is available (the same goes for video) but I had to give up after a couple hours spread over a couple days.

Overall, I must say something about Dish Network customer service: I have never dealt with a company whose approach to Customer Service is so antagonistic. I realized in less than a day that I had made a mistake with the purchase of the VIP 922. They insisted that the problem was with me and that I needed to work with Tech Support to figure out what I was doing wrong. Most people I spoke with were unfamiliar with the Slingloaded technology and I spent a lot of time explaining what a Slingbox is and how it is supposed to work (and why the VIP 922 was not working for me). Initially they were even unwilling to take back the VIP 922 and replace it with a normal DVR (they wanted to charge me for the privilege and extend my commitment). I finally found someone at Dish who acknowledged that they had cripled the Slingbox functionality intentionally and that it was not going to get fixed, but they were still hoping I might find a way to make it work for me. I never found a way to make it work for me (I got angry every time I would try) and now my short unhappy relationship with Dish Network is finally coming to the end. I learned in the end that when a company makes a big deal about customer service ratings/awards on their web site, most likely it is because they have terrible customer service and they are trying the "under new management trick".

If you want Slingbox functionality for a DVR you have to get a real Slingbox and connect it to a DVR. It all seems so silly and unnecessary: by combining a Satellite DVR with a full-featured Slingbox functionality and a robust UPNP/DLNA client, Dish Network could have had an awesome all-in-one media device; instead they ended up with a disappointing mess.
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on May 3, 2010
The new VIP-922 incorporates the Sling player that replaces the TV2 output that the 722 and 622 had in the past. In order use the Sling player you have to log into your account at DishNetwork and view the Slinged content through Dish's website. That makes the service very slow and to top that if you want to sling the player to other members in your house you have to provide your account password. The 922 is still pretty buggy with missed recordings, Lockups.
The new menu is pretty nice but if you are buying this player for the Sling then you will be pretty disappointed in how it works.
TV2 output on the 722 and 622 allowed a second TV to access content from the receiver but the 922 has replaced this with the Sling. Save your money and stay with the 722 or 622.
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on May 27, 2012
This information is current as of Sunday, May 27, 2012.

We "upgraded" from a 622 to a 922 reviever. WE got our's through DISHNET so we signed a two year agreement.

First thing that went wrong ... out of the wild blue the receiver will lose all of it's program schedule - and won't come back for literally days. DISHNET support has no solution. So, they sent us a new 922 receiver.

We got it overnight via Fed-Ex.

Plugged in the new reveiver and everything was just fine until the software update downloaded into the box. At that point the remote control no longer worked with it and the touch-panel on the front of the box no longer worked.

DISHNET sends another replacement (second replacement). Got it two days later. Same thing happened.

DISHNET sends another replacement (third replacement). Got it two days later. Same thing happened.

DISHNET sends another replacement (fourth replacement). Got it two days later. Same thing happened. This time DISHNET support tells us we are doing something wrong. So, they send another new box and the technician comes out. Same thing happens with the technician - and he finds out that this is a well known problem - there is a "bad bunch" of 922s out on the market. He tries to get us to "downgrade" to a 722 - but DISHNET wants us to sign-up to a NEW 2 YEAR AGREE to D-O-W-N-G-R-A-D-E our box. I say not only "no! BUT HELL NO!!!" The technician leaves, they send us ANOTHER NEW 922.

The fifth replacement 922 showed up Friday afternoon. My wife is in the front room on the phone with DISHNET again right now. Exact same thing just happened with FIFTH replacement 922 receiver. So, they are going to send us a SIXTH 922 - but this time they want the TECHNICIAN to come out again.

There is NO WAY IN HELL that we are going to sign a new 2 year agreement to DOWNGRADE our equipment. They can keep sending new 922's until Hell-Freezes-Over.

As soon as our current agreement is completed, WE ARE SWITCHING BACVK TO CABLE TV.
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on May 22, 2011
UPDATE 2011-11-10
This thing amazes me. Today, you try to change the channel and the menus, the oppressive ones which come at you at both the top and bottom of each channel, change nicely. Does the tuner change so you can watch another channel ? Nope. Took me 15 minutes to get control of it again.

Tonight trying to sling to iPad in my own house. Can't get it to play stuff, click play and the tuner comes on and plays whatever channel is on the tuner. What comes on the pad ? nothing.

Regularly try to click play to sling to the pad and it fails. It always takes two tries to get it to play anything.

The is the worst piece of technology I've seen shipped in years.

UPDATE 2011-08-15: They are shipping me a new one as it has died. First the sling quit working several times then when I finally got time to sit in front of it for debug, we found that it couldn't even do basic functions like change channels any longer. Lost hours and hours of shows I'm behind on. This thing is not much more than junk. I will try once more with the replacement they are sending.

KEY: If you are not tech savvy and really willing to fight with a piece of technology, forget this piece of junk. Seems every couple generations of DVRs, Dish creates a clunker. This is one of them. That said, I kept my VIP 622 around and thankfully it still rocks after 5-6 years.


OK, I've been a Dish Network customer for a long time with at least 4 DVRs from them now. I just added the 922 next to my VIP622 which I was generally happy with. I wanted the Sling functionality so I decided to take the plunge. It works but is marginal at best.

I've used the sling functionality heavily the last 2-3 weeks. After much pain getting it to work initially it has served me fairly well though defects are rampant. I have used the iPad client heavily and the Mac Firefox config regularly.

The iPad has worked far better than the Mac.

The sling functionality often fails to connect to the box, though it almost always works the second time. I have good up speed 4Mb, I have gigabit network from the Sling to the outside world. It often jitters mid stream using "Better" choice for quality, moving down to lesser quality does not help. It often just burps and you lose 20-30 seconds of audio/video in a second. It doesn't buffer, it just jumps ahead. Goofy. I'd far rather see the thing buffer up a bunch while I wait. Watching sling video and trying to jump ahead is miserable, the lag on the 30 second skip is impossible. If you are forced to start over a recorded show and you will be forced to do this when it craps out, sometimes it restarts where it died, sometimes you go to beginning with crazy bad fast forward functionality.

The whole use the client in the browser is bad, bad, bad, once you go full screen there does not appear to be any way to adjust where you are in the program, pause, nothing, you have to hit escape and fall back to the browser display and try to click little, and I mean very little buttons from sitting across the room. FAIL. There must be some hot keys of some sort to fforward and rewind but if there are, I can't find them. Some quick googling was not helpful.

I've seen funkyness mentioned elsewhere with the remotes working on and off occasionally.

The support from Dish ? forget it, you are on your own, most of them haven't a clue what "sling" means.

So, when it does work well, and occasionally it does, I can watch live TV and DVR recorded shows very happily slung across the web. I'd say it works good about 40% of the time, haphazard the other rest. I will say it is good enough that I've not returned it but if I didn't desperately need the sling functionality I'd have shipped it back.

It does goofy stuff with shows which have been setup to record and are in progress not showing up as being available to watch no matter what you do. This is bad when the Bulls game goes long and you tape shows after it to make sure you get the full game. One program ends, you head to the next show to watch the remainder of the game and it is nowhere to be found. Note, sometimes after it finishes taping they do show up the next day. So it has not lost them but it is keeping them hidden away just to jack with me :-)

The new user interface is bizarre, instead of highlighting buttons selected, it uses a little cursor like arrow so it looks like you are using a mouse but of course you are not. The speed of the guide and menus is HUGELY improved over the 622. The horsepower here is nice, all menuing and channel changes are very quick when using the remote and the DVR normally. This is one of the few things I am quite pleased with.

The dang box does not come with a manual, like the only stuff they ship with it is a BAD debug manual and some remote control setup pages. I contacted installers and they say there is one online, I beg to differ having looked heavily, they promise to find it and email me one. They email within 24 hours to say there isn't one and you have to use the dvr help screens. These are terrible and impossible to scroll as you have to click down constantly. This is the one piece of functionality where the horsepower makes no difference. The help feature is a dog and completely useless.

I know there is far more to add here. I will edit and clean up in the coming days as I continue live with this half baked DVR. Thankfully the some of the good ingredients are in here but marginal at best.

Oh and remember, they announced this box and its functionality in January at CES, they said they'd ship them around May of last year, they missed this by like 6 months so they had about a year to work on this mess. Dish really let me down with this one.
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on June 22, 2011
Don't waste your money on the 922. I've had all my recordings wiped out 4 different occasions.My receiver one time said it was 210% full with one recording.I'm on my 2nd receiver. Tech service is clueless. There are too many software issues. Broadband connection problems.There are times I've waited a 30 minutes after turning on the receiver before programing appeared.So I had to do a hard reset many times. I wished I've kept my 722. The only reason I switched was because they told me I would double my HD recording capability. Now I understand from the Dish forum comments that 1/2 of the 922 hard drive is hidden and filled with Dish stuff such as Video on Demand, etc. I'm very disappointed !
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on November 26, 2010
As a professional A/V installer I work with everything out there in the Greater Philadelphia market. The Dish 922 box is by far the best Stock DVR out there. and It's not even close. Let's start with the basics.

Setup- Amazingly easy. It automatically syncs a unique RF ID w/ it's remote... That's right Folk's It's stock remote is RF... no need to point... and it's a killer remote. It even has the codes to control My Krell HTS pre-amp. That's simply unseen in any other stock universal remote That I've seen. The 922 is also the first DVR I've seen with a friggin remote locator!!... Yest it will make the stock remote beep If you've lost it.
My $1500 control center / universal remote cant even do that.

The guide / menu.- This is where the 922 kills even Tivo. This is the best looking, easiest to use / most common sense functional DVR menu in the business. Comcast, Fios, and DirecTV aren't even close. The DVR view alone will knock you out. Between the slick graphics for each show .. but even better is the percentage bar showing how much you've viewed each show. The conflict resolution screen is awesome... you will want to set up conflicting recordings just so you can play with this. :) And Dish's DVR's have never let me down ... they always record my shows, and find the next one when I've skipped one.

Favorites: By far Dish's DVR's manage your favorites the best. Simply hit guide and it pulls up the last guide you were in.. hit it agian and you can select between 4 custom lists.. you can name them such as "DADS, MOMS, KIDS" whatever. and you simply select all the channels you want to see in them. You'll have this setup day 1. DTV only does 2 custom lists and they are a hassle to select between and setup. Comcast does none, and Fios one list? Even Tivo only does 2 lists.

PIP (picture in picture) - Remember that old feature that was so big on TV's in the 80'/ 90's - Now nobody who has a set top box can do it. - Unless you have a Dish Network dual tuner box. You can quicly swap between tuners - even leaving one paused. and you can do PIP with all the typical adjustments. NO other DVR out there does this. (Comcast has the buttons for it on their remote - but they don't work.)

Picture/ audio- The one thing I wish Dish did that Comcast(only on their newest model) / DTV / Tivo do is Native mode. But regardless of that I have no complaints of the PQ on either 720, or 1080 mode. (I typically leave it in 1080i) PQ is probably a tossup w/ DirecTV. Audio wise- another small shot due to a lack of a Co-ax digital output. (not an issue if you are only using HDMI for A-V) But Dish is the only DVR w/ SRS's audio leveling technology built in. (helps with TV commercial volume spikes)

Reliability - Another strong suite w/ Dish's DVR's I've never had one die on me, and I very very seldom have to reboot them. Your probably reading this right now as you wait for your HR24 to reboot. :) - I am updateing this review now owning the 922 for over a few months - and it has not needed a reboot yet.

SLING!!! - OK I see some other reviws saying the sling is not as good the original. I don't know about that because this is the first sling device I have owned. BUT I use the iPhone dish network app all the time - It works great as a remote, as a DVR setter, and you can watch either live TV - or a DVR recording right on the iPhone. I only have basic DSL service at home (not a big internet junkie) but the Sling has worked fine since day 1. I was able to keep checking in on football games while out shopping with the wife and kids the other day. <--- very cool! (at least I though so)(she didn't) My daughter loves the sling app because she can take the ipod touch up to her room and watch some of her shows. She thinks it's super cool since she has no TV in her room. (and won't for awhile!)

Connectivity- It also manages external Hard drives very easily. No need to buy an overpriced - special branded drive.
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on April 8, 2011
We have been Dish customers for 10 years, and have gone through at least 8 different models of the DVRs. We still have a VIP 722 and that has been a solid and reliable workhorse, with gradual feature upgrades.

This VIP 922 was something I was itched to get my hands on, and I got one in mid-2010 when it just came out. Sling features was cool, but low res from remote. This can be due to slow DSL upload speed detected, but I don't know.

The user interface is beautiful, and love the additional features in grouping and categorizing recordings. Too many other features I haven't tried yet.

However, it has not bee very reliable. I get multiple hangs every week with only 1 - 2 hours a day watching. Sometimes I can't browse up or down in program guide (just stuck), sometimes can't progress into future time slots to the right (e.g., at 9:30am and scrolling to 10am). Dish Service rep always just give a simple "press the reset button." So I have become very good friend with the "reset" button. It's just frustrating.

Anyway, after all the DVRs I got, this was the most fully featured, but apparently lots of bugs yet to be worked out (as of early 2011).
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on July 21, 2011
Biggest purchase mistake I have ever made. Now I am locked into 2 year contract. I previously had a Vip622 for 5 or so years (and the 510 and 310 before that). It worked flawlessly. Decided to update to the vip922...months later it still won't record reliably...maybe 10% success rate. EVERYTHING is "stopped by STB reboot." After hours and hours on the phone...and waiting for techs to come to my house over the last month, no one has any answers. New Dish, new wires, second vip922 machine, on a UPS, house and dish grounding verified...2 vip211 (with HD's) record same shows perfectly...still 90% failure rate on recordings wikth the vip922. May record 3 or 4 minutes and the the end...or somethings in the middle of the show. It will record 100% of a show if you watched while it records. I wish it worked well enough for me to care that they removed Google TV integration or that "TV Anywhere" never works...just plays back live TV no matter what recording I try to playback. Last update from both the tech at my house this morning and my call into Dish after that: You have to make sure there are no schedule conflicts or the machine will reboot and not record anything until you reboot it again. Niiiiice. A tech at my house for 2 hours and 1.5 hours on the phone to be told that 100 times because I wouldn't take no for an answer. Now what? dish for 2 years and switch to DirectTV and pay double? I need to read up on how to get Dish to drop me.
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on March 19, 2012
I have now had the VIP922 for over a year, or shall I say, I am on my second VIP922 as the first one crashed. The VIP922 is loaded with glitches and trying to use it for remote operation, or the Sling thing as they call it, has been a bad experience, at least for me. It rarely works and has even caused the receiver to crash in the process of getting the remote feature to work. By crash, I mean it shuts down and must reboot including finding the satellite signal. The first receiver went into a loop and would not completely boot thus the replacement unit. I have also experienced many other problems with the VIP922 and calling Dish for help is a waste of time. It sometimes never fully records a program and will even start the recording process, shut down, and then start the recording process again. More recently, whenever I try recording a premium channel such as HBO, I get some stupid message that it is copy protected (I subscribe to all premium channels for which I pay dearly) and will not let me record until after I recycle the receiver a couple of times until the message disappears and I can once again set it up to record. Sometimes when using the remote with the Guide, it takes off screaming through all the channels until I click up or down to stop it. Speaking of the Guide, the channels are listed all over the place with no rhyme or reason. Why they can't be grouped together in some locigal sequence is beyond me, but back to the receiver. The VIP922 will also completely shut down on its own on occasion making me wait a full ten minutes or so until it reboots and finds the satellite signal. I also have an extermal hard drive connected to the 922, but this, too, doesn't always work as designed and I will completely lose what I thought I moved to the hard drive. That is to say, it will transfer some, not always all, of the recording I am transferring. I also fail to understand why this receiver was designed to stay on all of the time consuming lots of power where, here in Hawai`i where I live, electricty is the most expensive of any other state. Just imagine all the power wasted by other Dish subscribers throughout the US. All of this pertains to the VIP922, but I also own a VIP622, another disaster! I am on my fourth or fifth VIP622. Clearly, this equipment has been released without fully testing it. I have forked out over $12,000 to Dish network in the ten years or so I have been a subscriber and have had to contend with all of this nonsense. One would ask then why I stick with Dish. Where I live there are few other options to consider and we all know how it is to change to something else. I would strongly suggest anyone considering upgrading to the VIP922 to stop and consider the problems you might have to contend with as a user of this equipment.
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on February 22, 2011
Dish Network VIP 922 Sling Loaded Hd DVR It is a mistake to spend extra money on this receiver. I say so because I made that mistake. Sling operation is extremely poor both in video quality as well as software funtionality. I spent little over 7 hours on the phone with tech support and went through two units without any redress. Finaly, I was advised to wait for few weeks to see if the manufacturer may address the problems. Five months later I am still waiting
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