Dish says I can record two shows at once. So why can’t I?

By | December 15th, 2016

Jim Jacobs’ Dish hardware isn’t working. He’d like the company to fix it or let him out of his contract. Why won’t it?

Question: I became a Dish Network customer a few months ago. Prior to my signing a contract for Dish service, I received an installation appointment confirmation, which reviewed the services that I was agreeing to purchase. Included was the following statement: “Your receiver(s) will provide video service on 3 TV(s), will allow you to view HD content on 2 TV(s) (requires HD programming) and will enable you to watch or record up to 3 live show(s) at once.”

After the service was installed, I found that I could not simultaneously view one program and record two others. There are many times when I can’t watch a show while recording only one other show. This is not satisfactory. I’ve made several call to the Dish customer service people. I’m going to digress for a moment and say that, for the most part, I have found the Dish customer service people to be superior to what I’ve experienced from its cable competitors.

My issue, however, seems to be beyond their ability to provide a solution that is acceptable to me. They have offered to install a “Hopper” device and provide a solo receiver to replace the current SD receiver that works with my current DVR 722 HD/SD setup. Doing so would result in installation charges and additional monthly recurring charges.

I contractually agreed to a price for viewing or recording three live shows at one and believe that Dish should honor it. Can you help? — James Jacobs, Tampa, Fla.

Answer: Dish should have honored its agreement with you. A look at its website shows that the preferred fix is the Hopper, a device that can now record up to eight channels at the same time. Where do people find the time for all that TV?

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Fixing this should have been as simple as sending Dish your agreement and reminding it of its contractual obligation to let you at least record three channels. Upgrading you to a better service would have worked, but you didn’t want to pay extra — nor should you have to.

A brief, polite email to the company should have cleared this up. So why didn’t it?

I suspect Dish wasn’t motivated to fix the equipment you had because it felt you would go for the “upgrade.” This would mean more revenue to the company and a higher subscription fee, which, for a company like Dish, would be a “win-win.” Well, mostly for Dish.

Had Dish failed to serve you, I think you would have had a strong breach-of-contract case and could have terminated your service without paying any fees. Perhaps that would have been the best solution for you.

You could have also tried these executive contacts at Dish. And in fact, that’s exactly what you did. After I shared the names and numbers with you, you contacted Dish.

The company agreed to send a technician to your home at no extra charge to fix your hardware. Problem solved.

  • sirwired

    Huh… Not that it makes any difference, but I wonder… was his device broken, or did the tech just install a Hopper gratis?

  • EvilEmpryss

    … Or did they install something they knew wouldn’t work in order to drive the upgrade (or at least more service calls)?

    Paranoid, maybe, but with some of the skeezy tactics some companies use it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

  • jim6555

    The $200 installation fee for the Hopper was waived. My monthly bill increased by $2, a small price to pay for a much better system.

  • The Original Joe S

    Just because everybody is a snake, out to shaft you, doesn’t mean you are paranoid!

  • Bill___A

    It says 3 shows at once, only two of them can be HD. So one can’t record one HD program and record two other HD programs. Although I am glad that the hopper was a solution, the information presented to us readers needs to be more specific. As an FYI, pretty much all systems make a distinction between “HD” content and “standard” as it affects the capacity of the delivery system and the storage

  • Holly Wilson

    I work for DISH. I am sorry you had this problem, but I am glad you were able to get a much better system for a small price increase.

  • jim6555

    The previous system only had two pathways available for recording and watching. I could either record two shows simultaneously and not watch another show or record one show and watch one show. There was no distinction between HD and SD. With the Hopper system, 16 HD/SD pathways are available for watching or recording and it works on every TV set in the house.

  • Bill___A

    Thanks for the clarification. Seems like the hopper system is a big improvement.

  • PsyGuy


  • PsyGuy

    If they are really after you than it’s not paranoia.

  • PsyGuy

    That, sounds completely plausible.

  • Mel LeCompte Jr.

    We’ve had Dish for around 20 years or so (since they came to the area we used to live in). They have always had great customer service for us.

    One time my wife lost her job and we were in a bind, falling behind by a few months on our bill and disconnected. A very compassionate CSR was able to waive the past due amounts and get us back on track. I didn’t even ask for this– I had called for specific instructions on how to mail the receivers back to the company, when the rep asked if she ‘could see what she could do to help us.’

    Takeaways from my experience:

    1/ USA call center employee that spoke clear English
    2/ this employee was given the ability by her company to ‘think on her feet’ and actually have the power to help the customer, rather than just having to stick to a script

    Two reasons we are still loyal to this day.

  • greg watson

    Wowser ! So nice to not have that problem. There are some shows, that I enjoy, that I miss a few episodes………………….., but my life won’t end. They will probably show up on Netflix ($7.99 / mo.)
    sometime down the road. I record Nothing, Zero, Zip, Zilch. There is more to life that TV shows &
    movies, although I am a big fan of both in the winter.

  • joycexyz

    They didn’t do the right thing. They were obligated to make his current system work as promised. Instead, they installed a more expensive DVR system and are charging him more. And I wonder how long that $2/month will be in effect? Wanna bet it goes up after a few months, or, if he’s lucky, a year?

  • If one were to make a one-time purchase of a TiVo, one can record two or three over-the-air HD programs at once depending upon which unit is purchased. Then, $15 a month for their service.

    Throw in Amazon Prime and/or Netflix for $10 a month each and you never have to be harassed or ripped-off by these satellite and cable TV outfits ever again.

    In three years we’ve saved well over $2,000, AND have not had to deal with these blood sucking service providers. Oh heaven!

  • PsyGuy

    Isn’t doing what they are supposed to do, doing the right thing?

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