Reviewers sometimes complain about Dish Network, but most call its DVRs among the best available. Though it's no longer the most advanced DVR Dish Network offers, and while it lacks the elegance of TiVo's user interface and electronic programming guide, the Dish Network ViP722K has a lot of things going for it. Pluses include the ability to have recordings on its hard drive integrate with Google TV, so that they show up in search results for users of devices like the Logitech Revue (*Est. $100) -- though that carries with it an extra fee (*Est. $4 per month). Another plus is that the output of the two tuners can be sent separately to two different TVs. The ViP722K's hard drive can hold 55 hours of HD programming or 350 hours of standard-definition fare. All of the typical DVR features -- including a true 30-second commercial skip -- are included. The response is generally described as very fast.
Most reviews predate changes that saw the DVR rebranded as the DuoDVR ViP722K. Basic functionality remains identical; however, Dish Network added the capability of remote programming via a website or a mobile phone. The over-the-air tuner that was part of the original Dish Network ViP722 has been removed, but you can add a module (*Est. $50) that provides two such tuners, for four tuners altogether (two satellite, two over-the-air). The other significant change is that you can now add an external hard drive, and Dish Network has dropped its enabling charge for that feature. While there's technically a lease upgrade fee, there's typically no upfront cost to subscribers who want the ViP722K.
Dish Network subscribers can also opt for the more advanced ViP922 SlingLoaded HD DVR (*Est. $200 plus $10 per month). All subscribers -- including new ones -- are charged the lease upgrade cost, so the ViP922 is notably more expensive. However, it adds a larger hard drive for up to 140 hours of HD recording, a significantly upgraded user interface and Slingbox capabilities to stream recorded content and live programming from the DVR to a remote PC via the Internet. If Sling capabilities are on your wish list, you can also add those to the ViP722K via an accessory Sling Adapter (*Est. $100).
All professional reviews are of the earlier Dish Network ViP722, but they remain largely relevant in measuring how the DuoDVR ViP722K stacks up -- just ignore any discussions of the built-in over-the-air tuners for local TV. The best are found at PCMag.com and CNET. Both are packed full of details, yet not to the point where they become overwhelming. User discussions at DBSTalk.com and SatelliteGuys.us are also helpful and include lots of information about the latest "K" version of the DVR.
PCMag.com is impressed with the Dish Network ViP722, naming it an Editors' Choice. Recording capacity is cited as one big plus, as is an interface that's clean and easy to use. While this report is not extremely long, all of the important details are well covered.
Review: Dish Network ViP722, Brian K. Neal, Jan. 11, 2008
This report is long and detailed. CNET names the ViP722 an Editors' Choice, saying, "The Dish Network ViP622 and 722 are among the most fully featured and versatile high-def DVRs you can buy today." One negative with this review is that it is based on the site's look at the since discontinued ViP622, which was identical except for color and a smaller hard disc.
Review: Dish Network ViP722 HD DVR, David Katzmaier, Feb. 19, 2008
This busy support forum for Dish Network's DVRs, including the DuoDVR ViP722K, is chock-full of news, views and reviews. Posts also deal with likes, dislikes, problems and solutions.
Review: ViP612/622/722/722K DVR Support Forum, Contributors to DBSTalk.com
Though not as busy as DBSTalk.com -- and dedicated to lots more than the DuoDVR ViP722K and other DVRs -- there's plenty of good information to be found in this forum. Technical discussions, fixes and how-to hints can be found in a subforum.
Review: The Dish Network Forum, Contributors to SatelliteGuys.us