I guess that Echostar/Dish Network decided to roll out a new version of their software onto my satellite receiver recently. There has been talk of it on the forums, but I’m still wondering just what benefit this software supposed to have to me.

I only noticed that the software update had taken place because the receiver is now completely unable to play back a HD show while it is recording it. As an example, I was recording 24 in HD last night but wasn’t watching it. About 45 minutes into recording the show, I turned on the TV and started to watch. I tried to, anyway.

After selecting the show from my recording list, the information bar appeared, superimposed on a black screen. A minute or two later, the screen went to static. I assume that the system rebooted. I was able to start the show playback again, but the recording had obviously stopped. I needed to manually start recording the rest of the live program, and I missed several minutes between the two separate recordings.

This morning, while setting up the kids’ morning Disney shows, the receiver wouldn’t start. The lights on the front panel were in their normal lighted state, but the picture wasn’t there. Eventually, the system rebooted. The lights flashed off, then all of them on, and then off again. A few moments later, they came on and the picture showed the receiver attempting to find the satellites.

It’s disconcerting that this is happening so often. Even if it needs to happen, it should do it once in the middle of the night, not when I’m trying to use the receiver.

What’s more bothersome is that the system doesn’t seem to be tested at all. The only benefit I’m seeing to the entire upgrade is the addition of an “HD” graphic in the guide on channels that have HD programming. I wasn’t really hurting by not having this. As a matter of fact, reading through the release notes for the new software, no single feature in the list is something I would really want. It’s a pretty empty update and it’s broken a lot more than it offers.

I wonder if there’s any way to go back to an old version of the software and stay there until they’ve worked the kinks out of the new system.