Dish Networks DISH Player-PVR 501 review: Dish Networks DISH Player-PVR 501

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good No extra fee for DVR functions; picture-in-guide.

The Bad Only one tuner.

The Bottom Line While it lacks some features found on competing satellite DVRs, this is a reasonable option for current Dish Network subscribers.

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Editors' note:
The rating for this product has been altered since the review's original publication. The reason for this is a change in our overall rating system for DVRs, and the fact that Dish Network has added a search function--a feature that we really missed during the original review.

The DishPVR 501, a combination satellite receiver/digital video recorder (DVR), is a step backward in many ways. Dish Network's previous DVR, the now discontinued DishPlayer, sported a much slicker user interface and a space-age remote. But the DishPVR 501 has the bare essentials: 35-hours of recording time and the ability to skip over commercials at the touch of a button. And it brings TiVo-like features to Dish Network subscribers without the extra $10-per-month premium that other combination satellite receiver/DVRs charge. The DishPVR 501, a combination satellite receiver/digital video recorder (DVR), is a step backward in many ways. Dish Network's previous DVR, the now discontinued DishPlayer, sported a much slicker user interface and a space-age remote. But the DishPVR 501 has the bare essentials: 35-hours of recording time and the ability to skip over commercials at the touch of a button. And it brings TiVo-like features to Dish Network subscribers without the extra $10-per-month premium that other combination satellite receiver/DVRs charge.

Back to the future
The user interface of the DishPVR 501 looks as if it was designed by an engineer who enjoys spending time staring at spreadsheets. The old DishPlayer and competing products that use the TiVo interface sport color schemes and fonts that look much more modern. But this is still a useful interface: a picture-in-guide lets you continue watching the current channel in a quarter-screen box while browsing a four-line channel guide. Turning off the picture-in-guide fills out the screen to six lines of channel guide.

The universal remote is similar to others from Dish Network, except that all the keys have been shrunken slightly. We found the location and small size of the Page Up/Down buttons to be a problem, especially after using the spacious remote that comes with the DishPlayer. But the silver color of the DishPVR's remote makes it stand out among the black remotes on the coffee table.

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Where to Buy

Dish Networks DISH Player-PVR 501

Part Number: DISHPVR501
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Max Recording Capacity 35 hour(s)
  • Type DVR
  • Tuner Qty 1
  • Type universal remote control
  • Type 1 year warranty