Welcome to DishnetworkSucks!
UPDATE: I finally told Dishnetwork to take a hike. Boy did it feel good! So the story below is now past tense, but I wanted others to know of the terrible experinces I had with Dishnetwork.
Here's my story:
In the three years of service, I'm now on my 4th box. The first standard box (box #1) lasted 2 years. However, during that time, the stereo decoder quit. All of a sudden one day, everything is in mono. I checked all the connections, but nothing had changed. It was just the output of the box was mono, and on one channel only. About a month later, the S-Video output also went dead. So for awhile there we were watching RF and mono. Finally the HD boxes were supposed to be available "soon.". They told me that if I put my name on the waiting list, not only would I get the box the fastest, but I'd get it for $149. Good deal I thought. So that's what I did. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. After several months of waiting, I called. I was told "soon." I waited another month. I called and got another "soon." The third time was the charm and I was told the HD boxes were available. So we scheduled a date. However, during that conversation, I was told the box would be $249. I said no way! I was told $149. We argued back and forth for about a hour. I know what the man told me because I had written it down on an old bill that I used to get our current account number when I called and was put on the list several months earlier. (You know the stupid voice prompt system won't let you go anywhere w/o a phone number or account number.) After some time, and a transfer to a "supervisor" I was told they'd give it to me for $199 if I agreed to the autopay option. I was told I could quit the autopay option at any time. I agreed to autopay, but only if they agreed to the $149 I was told 6 months earlier. After several more minutes of stalling, they agreed. Great, we reached an agreement. I couldn't wait.
So the box (Second, or HD box #1) arrives and I install it. Mostly a direct replacement for the old box. The Antenna (which I initially installed myself) just hooked up to the new box. After getting everything working, I was very impressed. I have a Samsung DLP TV and the reception was outstanding. Both on the dish and off air (OTA) were superb.
We were in HD heaven. Then one day, just before a big weekend, I sit down and turn on the set and started watching for about 10 minutes and the picture froze. Waited a few minutes and nothing happened. So I turned off the box and TV and started over. Nothing. So I called Dish. Wait on hold for about 15 minutes. Finally get through and we go through the drill. You know what I'm talking about if you have Dish. Reset the box. Unplug the receiver. Be sure the outlet is on. We go through all this. Then I'm told I have to transfer to "advanced" technical support. I wait on hold again for about 10 minutes. Get "HD technical support." We proceed to go though most of what we already did. I told the guy, we did all this already. He says we have to do it again. So that's what we do for about 30 minutes and the final determination is that it's dead. A regular Einstein. So much for watching TV this weekend. I send them the box back, they send me a new one. We are out of service for about 5 days.
Get the new box, (Third box overall, HD box #2) plug it in, go through the setup and all is great again. Okay, no problem. It happens. I move on. ... For about 3 months. Guess what? It happens again. And once again, right before a big event. In fact, I'm watching the pregame show and sure enough, the picture freezes. I go through the routine, cause I remember from last time. One time the picture did come back for about 15 seconds. Then froze, then nothing. So I call Dishnetwork. Waited on hold for about 25 minutes. When I get through, we go through the drill. Reset the box. Unplug and replug the box. Be sure the outlet the box plugs into is active. I try to tell the woman, I was just watching and it froze. Obviously the outlet is good. Once again we have to go through all this. Then she says, "Oh, you have the HD box. You need to talk to advanced technical support." Oh goody, I get to go through it all over again. And again, that's exactly what happens. After another 30 minutes, they agree, and tell me to send it back,and they will replace it. This is about 6 months after the first box arrived. However, this time, they are going to charge me $25 to send me a new box. $25!? What for? I'm told that's the charge for a new box. I asked what the warranty was on the box. They said a year. I said it's not a year old yet, and they said, yes, that's why they are sending me a new box for no charge, but I have to pay $25 fee. I said that's not acceptable. We argue for about 45 minutes. In the end I'm told they will waive the fee "this time" when I use the words "Magnuson Moss Act."
Finally I get the new box, (Fourth box overall, HD box #3). Again, 5 days without service. When it gets here, we plug it in and set it up. Picture is great, things are back to "normal." ... For about 3 months. Once again, one day I'm watching the TV and the picture freezes.
That's right. It froze again. Now I'm pissed. This is ridiculous. I call Dish. I wait on hold for about 45 minutes. When I finally get through, I'm transferred to advanced technical almost immediately. There I wait for about 10 minutes and finally get a person on the line. This person is different. He listened and didn't make me go through the whole routine with him on the phone. After our initial talk, he said to unplug it and let it sit. I did. We went through all the problems we've had with this hardware and offered some small talk to make the time go by. We talked about 20 minutes. Finally he said let's plug it in again and try. So that's what I did. Sure enough the box came back to life. He also suggested that I put the entire entertainment system on a UPS. I told him I had had my electrical system checked about after the 2nd HD box when bad, but it's all perfect. He still suggested a UPS. I bought the biggest one Sam's Club sells the next day.
So far, it's been working, but that's only been about 2 months since the last time it died.
Is this the extent of my displeasure with Dishnetwork? Not at all. We still can't use our Vonage phone line with their equipment. About 8 months ago, after one of the boxes died, we ordered Voom. Their box worked fine and worked with our Vonage telephone system w/o a single hitch. However, their quality of HD is abysmal. Only one channel was true HDTV and the rest were all uprated. Don't waste your money on Voom if you are after great HD PQ (Picture Quality.) So we got rid of Voom w/in 3 hours of it being hooked up and when back to Dish. However, we can't use our Vonage phone line. Which means we have to order PPV online or over the phone. Which they charge $1 extra, plus, most of the time the online PPV doesn't work. It just gives an error message.
There is also the problem of the box just deciding it needs to download new software. We'll just lose picture, it'll go to the "acquiring signal" and then proceed to download new updates. What's all that about? Want another one? Ok, get this; one day Dish calls me up about 9 months after I got the first HD box. What are they calling me for? To tell me the HD boxes are in and to schedule an appointment!