Dish Gives Prospective Customers Preview Of Its Stellar Service

Mystern encountered this error message, which reads “Acquiring satellite signal,” while strolling by an unmanned Dish Network kiosk at a Utah mall.

Mystern writes:

“I thought it was a rather apt representation of the service you typically get from Dish. In addition to the service for the display being out entirely, there is no representative manning the kiosk to assist with problems. Maybe he’s outside fixing the position of the dish?”

If you’ve subscribed to Dish, how often does a message like this pop up on your screen?


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  1. kathygnome says:

    We were satellite subscribers for around 15 years and our dish got knocked out of alignment once. But we do live on cape cod and it was a nor’easter with 70mph wind gusts.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      I’ve had DishTV since this past September and it’s been flawless. No issues whatsoever and this includes today’s snowstorm.

  2. shadowhh says:

    It happens all the time during very bad thungerstoms.

    Other than that, it doesnt really happen.

  3. SomeWhiteGuy says:

    My grandmother has had her dish for several years and the only problems she has is when the thunderstorms first move in. After that, it’s smooth sailing. We even had reception during Hurricane Katrina and Gustav when we plugged the box into the generator.

  4. seth_lerman says:

    If the dish is properly installed and aligned then it doesn’t happen often. And when it does, for short periods only during the worst of the “crap” being between you and the satellite.

  5. toddkravos says:

    We ditched Dish for TWC (stop judging already) when they wanted 199.99 to ‘fix’ the dish.

  6. osiris73 says:

    Oh, it happens once maybe twice a year lasting about the length of the severe thunderstorm that’s causing it. There have been two occasions when we got lots of snow and I needed to go brush the snow off and everything was fine. Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my Dish Network service.

  7. marcusdiddle says:

    Have had Dish Network for 3 or 4 years now. Have only lost signal a handful of times, under the harshest of weather conditions. Can’t complain about that.

  8. kc2idf says:

    Historically, it has happened less than the Internet (provided via Road Runner, i.e.Time-Warner Cable) has gone out. Recently, the Internet has become more reliable and Dish Network less so.

    The reduction in reliability on Dish seems to have gone hand-in-hand with a recent upgrade, which involved moving to an HD receiver and a different trio of satellites (61.5, 71.7, 72 in place of 110, 119, 121). I notice that the new dish is smaller (ergo lower gain), and I also suspect (though have not confirmed) that they are using denser modulation on these eastern birds than on the older, western-located ones, which will mean that a given dip in signal is more likely to cause corruption to the payload. I do know that they are using a denser codec (AVC in place of MPEG-2) which exacerbates these payload corruptions when they do happen.

    For the most part, when I’ve seen the message, it has been trying to tune a signal on the 61.5 satellite, which is the oldest of the three.

    I’m probably going to have them come out to have a look at it sometime soon. For the most part, though, it really hasn’t been bad.

  9. GrayMatter says:

    The important part of an antenna installation is that the mount not twist (rotate). Side-to-side vibration will not cause the antenna to lose signal. So, as long as your installation is sturdy in the torsional directions, even wild vibrations will not cause you to lose signal.

    And, of course, there must be signal at the antenna. Heavy rains will attenuate the signal, but as most of the people are saying, that is only for a short time. Snow accumulation will also absorb the signal, so you must be able to clean the dish. Just don’t cause it to rotate.

  10. cashxx says:

    Rarely……was happening often for about 2 weeks when the wind would blow and adjusted and tightened the dish and haven’t had any issues since. If you get bad thunderstorms with dark clouds then it sometimes goes out as well. But all in all not often.

    I’d like to switch to FIOS to get everything on one bill, but can’t afford too. Dish I am running 1 HD TV with DVR and it has a 2nd tuner and I have that split to 3 other TV’s. That is costing about $60. If I switch to FIOS and have to have a box for every TV its going to be $115 plus depending on choosing standard or high def. High def would be closer to $140 or so.

  11. mrscoach says:

    We have had Dish for 9 years, and only in the worst of storms did we ever lose signal. It always came back relatively quickly, depending on the severity of the storm.

    When we had cable we would lose service for hours, several times a month sometimes. Only when the cable company drug their workers out of their comfy houses and fixed the problem did we receive service again.

    I’ll take the rare Dish outage over cable any time.

  12. dmolavi says:

    I’ve only seen it once in 3 years of service, when 14 inches of show and ice got piled on the dish.

  13. BenjaminCachimbear says:

    We’ve had dish for 2 years now, and it’s gone out maybe 6-8 times. And we get some really really bad weather here where I live in Louisiana(And watching any of my dvr’d stuff from my droid is freakin amazing). Now what I do have a problem with is my AT&T DSL, It constantly goes out, for instance I’ve been rocking a 400bps(that’s 400 bits not bytes) connection since New Years Eve when we had a really terrible storm(I’m paying for 3Mbps.. the max available in my area); and I just keep getting the runaround from support.

  14. Nighthawke says:

    If you keep your dish in good shape as well as prune the branches that hang over it, you will get good service until mum nature steps in and puts some thick clouds between you and your dish.
    This will happen to any satellite owner.

    Oh, and unplug the blasted receiver when it storms, that will save you the grief of dealing with a fried receiver. Awhile back they switched from the 3-pronged power plugs (which was best in dealing with surges or grounding issues) to a double insulated 2-prong which is just begging to get slapped by a lightning bolt.

    Oh, and use a good power strip designed for home AV systems. Don’t go cheap on investing in some kind of protection for your major investment.

  15. pezjohnson says:

    It hardly ever happens to us. Yes there is a time if there is a bad thunderstorm, but it has to be really bad for it to block the signal. And I’ve never had a problem with their customer service.

  16. NettyM says:

    It used to happen a lot for us but then we upgraded and got a new dish installed so it only happens during really bad weather. When the weather’s that bad, I don’t want to be in the rooms with the TVs anyway because of all the windows, so I rely on radio and wireless internet for information then anyway.

  17. DJ Charlie says:

    Twice in the last 5 years. Both times due to extremely heavy snow/ice storms in the area.

  18. MedicallyNeedy says:

    My comcast goes out more then my dish network did.
    Comcast’s uses dishes to get some of their signals.
    It’s not every channel going out at once, usually just the one I’m watching.
    Comcast does have more HD channels because so many of them are quadrupelicated through the channel guide.
    As soon as they don’t agree to rollover my promotion rate, it’s back to Dishnetwork for me.

  19. synimatik says:

    Dishnetwork service is ok. However, their inability to properly provide local sports to somer areas is astounding. Their customer service has been fine as well. They’re better than cable, I can say that much. But if you want to get local sports you might be out of luck. Their system thinks upstate new york is new york city. Despite several calls and twitters over 2 years, NOTHING was done or even attempted to resolve it.

  20. TooManyHobbies says:

    We had Dish for about 15 years. We’d have outages of 5 to 10 minutes perhaps twice a year. Even during thunderstorms, it wasn’t too bad. It had to be raining like hell, or have a particularly lightning-filled, black, angry looking cloud get right in front of the dish to cause a cutout.

    By contrast, the cable TV in the neighborhood when we moved in would sometimes go out for hours or days at a time. Sometimes it’d go out on Friday evening and they wouldn’t bother coming in over the weekend to fix it. Yeah, it was a podunk system.

  21. janeslogin says:

    It happened to me several times a day until they finally gave up and gave me a new installation with new hardware. Now the whole system freezes up, average about once a day, and must be ‘power booted’ then we see the message.

    I think Dish is a good product with really, rally bad service

  22. Starfury says:

    I’ve only had this happen when there was a rainstorm front passing through that blocked the signal because it was so heavy. One restart later and it’s reconnected. Overall I’m very happy with Dish..but then I just send them a check every month and they provide me with TV. I don’t have to call them ever.

  23. DanKelley98 says:

    I’ve had it once during some very wet, large-flake snowfall. But I knew that could happen going in. Outages are far and few….and don’t appear to be any more frequent than what I experienced with Comcast.

  24. Erich says:

    Living in California, the only time I’ve had actual problems with the service was a few years back, when we had thousands of wildfires in the state. During the summer, there was so much smoke and ash in the sky that we couldn’t get a signal.

  25. njack says:

    The only time I ever get this message is when I need to step outside to brush the snow off…

  26. njack says:

    h Phl, d y vr wrt dcnt str?

  27. Donathius says:

    I live near a mall in Utah and I only ever see this happen during really heavy snows (maybe 3 or 4 times a year). Usually it’s because the dish got a lot of snow on it. They do offer a cover, but I didn’t feel like paying the extra $40 for it.

  28. morpheoush says:

    we’ve had Dish for 6 years and this rarely happens. The signal is strong except for extremely big storms, and those may only happen once or twice a year. I have never brushed the snow off the dish, as it is positioned really well and the stuff slides right off.

  29. Press1forDialTone says:

    When I lived outside the area of my town that Insight (now Comcast)
    covered with cable, I used their dish service which was based on a
    36 inch (yes, 36 inch) dish and my service was fantastic and completely
    reliable. Gee, I even was able to get storm information on the TV when
    the store was actually happening, imagine that! That dish rocked.

  30. Effington says:

    I switched to Dish from Comcast about two years ago and couldn’t be happier. I’ve lost signal maybe twice in that time period – less than how often my cable would go out over the same time span. But even through thunderstorms and blizzards, my dish service has largely gone interrupted.

    When you consider how much better their DVR is than Comcast’s, I would never even consider switching. Customer service through Dish has been top notch. My only major complaint is that AMC is not offered on the lowest tier.

  31. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t have Dish, but DirecTV. The only time I lose signal is during a very bad thungerstom (snicker) when the lightning is really going to town. After the electrical interference passes, the picture comes right back. Even really heavy rain won’t mess it up, unless it’s extreme. I’ve only had the rain thing happen once since I’ve had the thing.

    During the ice storm in 2007, I didn’t have any power except a tiny window on the third day of the storm. I knocked the ice off the dish and it was fine. Then the power went back out for 10 more days. :P

  32. jehurey says:

    Throughout this past summer, the DISH had begun to get out of alignment, and it got to a point in which it simply could not get a signal for two days straight, so we had to call to get somebody to fix it. Because I already had the insurance/maintenance fee (I think its like $6.00 a month on the bill), they only charged me $15 for that service visit.

  33. golddog says:

    I’m surprised they actually tried to hook it up to a live feed. The kiosk in the mall closest to me uses a looped DVD.

    My only complaint about DISH is the forced daily program guide and upgrade search that can’t happen in the background. After this is done you will see this screen each time, every day, although I schedule it for when I’m at work. But c’mon DISH…it’s the principle.

  34. fordprefect says:

    After a power cut. here in Central California (PG&E country) if anyone sneezes the power goes out. Otherwise, never.

  35. lettucefactory says:

    We have Dish. This has only happened to us once that I’m aware of, and it fixed itself in a couple of minutes. But we are lucky enough to rent a house with a big back yard that apparently faces the right direction; our dish isn’t under any trees and nothing really gets in the way.

  36. tooluser says:

    That message pops a few times a year for me.

    When I recently upgraded to HDTV, I called the main phone number on a Saturday at 11:00am. By 11:45am they had an installer at my house. I like that kind of service.

  37. lizk says:

    It happened to us constantly in the winter, especially when snow built up on the dish… climbing up on the roof to sweep it off was never a fun task. We’re unhappy cable subscribers now, but we’re less unhappy than we were with Dish.

  38. operator207 says:

    I have seen this error, but only when I was getting a new roof put on and they had to remove the dish entirely. The only other time is when an act of God comes around (really big storm).

    As for power, I have an older UPS I got from work (when the batteries die in a UPS at my old work, they would just throw them out. What a waste.) A 1400VA APC UPS. It holds power to the DVR for ~2 hours.

    I can still record in a power outage, provided the signal is still there.

  39. AliciaB_DISH Network says:

    Hi, this is Alicia Brink. I’m with the Executive Offices of DISH Network. If you need technical assistance out agents are here 24/7 to assist you over the phone. You can also follow trouble shooting steps listed on our website. Generally when you see a message like this, the system is aware of the issue and we try to re acquire signal. If the system does not do this automatically you can reboot the system by holding down the power button on the front of the receiver for 10 secs. The system will than reboot and try to regain signal. If you do have any other questions or concerns please feel free to let us know.

  40. elliemae says:

    hardly ever happens, except during snowstorms.

  41. BeckiB@DISH says:

    If you are constantly seeing this message, then your dish needs realligned. It can come on occasionally, such as when you have a bad snow storm or there is alot of moisture in the air. But you should not be constantly seeing this message.

    Becki Barned
    DISH Network Customer Service