My Dish Network VIP622 was dying slowly (kept rebooting multiple times per day) and occassionally would squeel and buzz and make very loud annoying noises while crashing (poor thing).  Luckily, Dish had finally started their external hard drive feature for the receiver where you can archive recordings to an external USB 2.0 hard drive.  I was worried at first that the recordings were married to the receiver and I'd lose everything if I replaced my receiver.  It just seems like the way DRM is going these days, that's the route they'd take.  (Sort of like how Sirius' "DVR" Stiletto 100 player doesn't contain the ability to notify you of when artists are on (the Stiletto 10 can) because the benevolent music biz decided that would encourage piracy.)

Anyway, Dish Network pleasantly surprised me again.  I plugged my replacement receiver in, plugged the hard drive in and it told me "This hard drive was used on another Dish DVR, would you like to convert its contents to work on this DVR?"  I hit yes and now I lost absolutely NO archived shows!

Thanks, Dish!

Now the question is with the wording there, can you convert it back?  How many times can you convert from one receiver to another?  Can you only convert between receivers you own?  I would guess the answers would be (in this order): yes, some limited amount, and yes.  They can't give away the farm here.  The movie and TV industries would blow a gasket whether or not "trading hard drives" ever could possibly become a piracy problem (that's even MORE complicated than trading VHS back in the day).  I mean it's not like you want to just go give away your $100 hard drive to people.  And the data on the drive is encrypted and who knows if even the mighty Norton Ghost (I refuse to call it Symantec Ghost) could image it successfully.  And lastly, when you copy a show to your receiver, it's removed from the hard drive, necessitating recording it again for the original owner, which makes piracy even more difficult (but is also not very intrusive to the legitimate user -- good balance).

Anybody got any answers?  I'm curious...