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Dish Network releases DTVPal Plus, promises better reception

Dish Network adds a third DTV converter box to its lineup, the DTVPal Plus, which offers the same functionality as the TR-40 CRA, but with improved reception.

The new DTVPal Plus is just like the TR-40, except it costs more and offers an enhanced tuner.
The new DTVPal Plus is just like the TR-40, except it costs more and offers an enhanced tuner.

Way back at CES 2008, Dish Network announced a DTV converter box called the TR-40 that was going to cost $40, include an electronic program guide and it seemed like it was going to be a simple, cheap choice for buyers looking to handle the upcoming analog-to-digital TV transition. Shortly afterward, the TR-40 became the DTVPal and the price went up to $60. Then the TR-40 CRA came out, which was exactly the same as the DTVPal, except it cost $40. And, as of now, you can buy both products from the DTVPal Web site, essentially giving you the option of donating an extra $20 to Dish Network for exactly the same product. If you're confused, don't worry--so are we.

Now, Dish continues to muddy the waters with the DTVPal Plus, which is essentially exactly the same as both the TR-40 CRA and the DTVPal, except it includes a more sensitive tuner and costs $70. A DTV converter box with a stronger tuner might be worthwhile for some buyers, but we're disappointed Dish hasn't been more forthcoming about the company's DTV plans. Buyers of the original DTVPal may feel slighted since they only had to wait a couple months to save $20 (on the TR-40) or have the option of buying a box with a stronger tuner. And while we're on the the subject, what's up with the TR-50, Dish?