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How to Use an External Hard Drive with a Dish Network DVR Receiver

written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/12/2011

Using an external hard drive with a Dish Network DVR receiver is easy to do if you have the right equipment. Find out what type of Dish Network receiver you need to use an external hard drive as a DVR storage extender and learn how to set up your equipment.

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    Facts About Using an External Hard Drive with a Dish Network DVR

    One of the most useful features of Dish Network receivers is the ability to extend your DVR capacity with an external hard drive. However, while many Dish Network receivers have a USB port on the back, not all receivers support the addition of an external hard drive to extend DVR storage. In order to use this feature, you must have an HD Dish Network receiver such as the DuoDVR ViP 722 or 622 or the Solo DVR ViP 612 HD satellite receivers. When you have a receiver that supports the feature, you can connect a Dish Network compatible external hard drive with up to 1 terabyte (TB) capacity by USB 2.0 to increase your DVR space.

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    Selecting an External Hard Drive for Your Dish Network Receiver

    Since you need an HD Dish Network receiver to use an external hard drive to extend your DVR storage space, it only makes sense to have an HDTV and HD Dish Network service as well. Also, keep in mind that you will need to pay a one-time activation fee for the external DVR storage feature, in addition to your regular Dish Network service fees. Also, you can only connect one external hard drive at a time to your HD Dish Network satellite receiver. However, you can switch one external hard drive out with one another as often as you like.

    Most name-brand external hard drives are compatible with HD Dish Network receivers with the DVR storage expansion feature. To be on the safe side, select a model from Dish Network's list of compatible external hard drives. If you decide to select an external hard drive on your own, you must choose a drive that has an external power supply, supports USB 2.0 and has a capacity between 50 GB and 1 TB. Different HD Dish Network receivers support different hard drive capacities, so consult your receiver's documentation before you select an external hard drive.

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    Setting Up an External Hard Drive with an HD Dish Network Receiver

    If there's any data on the external hard drive that you'd like to keep, back it up on separate media. Connect your external hard drive to the back of the HD Dish Network receiver with a USB cable. Ensure that the external hard drive is connected to the power source. Then call Dish Network to activate your external hard drive. The Dish Network will prompt you to format the external hard drive and restart the receiver. Select "Yes" to reformat the external hard drive for DVR storage. Remember that this will delete all the data on the drive.

    Once the reformat and restart is complete, press "Menu" on your Dish Network remote. Select "Multimedia" and then "USB Storage." Select "Send to Device" to transfer programs from the Dish Network receiver's DVR to the external hard drive. Select "Manage Device" to view the programs stored on the external hard drive. Use this menu option to play, protect or delete the DVR recordings whenever you wish.

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