Pros: Better picture than cable (but not as good as Dish or an HTDV outdoor antenna).
Cons: No 5.1 sound, ENDLESS BILLING PROBLEMS, 3/1/2012 increases made PrismTV more than DOUBLE Dish cost!
After 10 years of Cox Cable TV service that got worse as their rates went up and internet service that got so bad I switched to DSL, I was ready for anything that might be an improvement. Considered a Dish until a few neighbors shared their bad experiences.
Before I go any further with this review of PrismTV, here is an opinion about ALL TV service providers: They bait us with temporary limited-time pricing (read the tiny print). Once we have the service, the rates rise repeatedly.
Based on my January 2012 comparisons, PrismTV services (which arrive through your telephone lines) are much higher than similar services available from cable or satellite TV services. Aside from lower rates when comparing PrismTV to DishTV, Dish provides 5.1 surround sound and lets you buy the equipment instead of paying monthly rent for the rest of your life. Thus, as CenturyLink keeps raising my monthly fees (as they did recently and have announced they'll do on 3/1/2012), I have reached a point where I will dump PrismTV. Before I discuss my 2012 plan, here's how and why I switched from Cox Cable to PrismTV in November of 2010 so you'll know what to expect if you choose PrismTV:
On 11/2/2010 I received a promo mailer from CenturyLink about PrismTV and a bundle that would give me unlimited landline long distance calling to USA, Canada & Mexico, 3MBPS DSL internet, 170 channels of Hi-Def TV with the ability to record up to 4 shows simultaneously (2 in HD), watch recorded shows from any connected TV, callerID on TV screens, and more … all for about $100 including taxes. I phoned CenturyLink and was told my package would be $112/month tax included.
11/10/2010 discovered that my current DSL internet service was cut-off at 6:30AM even though the installer was supposed to do that at 1:PM while he installed the new package. Despite being a 5 hour ordeal, and after using the system for less than 12 hours, I have already learned the following:
TV Picture Quality. All my 4 TVs have 1080i capability. Every one of them now has a better picture than I have ever seen from a cable provider. The absolute BEST picture I've ever seen on my TVs came from testing an RCA ANT1400 indoor antenna which sells for under $15 on Amazon. Uncompressed signals is why an antenna will always surpass cable or satellite compressed signals.
Contrary to the CenturyLink installers choice of using Coax to connect the set-top boxes to each TV, I changed all the Motorola set-top box feeds to HDMI because he and I both had trouble matching the set-top box aspect ratios (16x9) to the TVs and because I believe HDMI delivers better signals than Coax or RGB. One of the set-top boxes is actually larger than the others because it is also the DVR (a/k/a PVR). Although it is barely audible, I can hear the Western Digital 320GB hard drive inside the Motorola VIP1232 DVR. Channel changing is the fastest I've ever seen (virtually no lag time like with Cox Cable or even my indoor HDTV antenna). You also get picture-in-picture (PIP) so you can watch one channel and preview others. I haven't had PIP on any of my new LED flat screens but missed that feature since donating my old rear projection TVs that had 2 tuners.
Recording TV. You can record up to 4 shows simultaneously (2 HD or 4 in Standard definition) from any TV in your home. Capacity is up to 133 hours of standard broadcast or 37 hours of HD shows. Doesn't appear to be a time limit for advance programming because you can set the DVR to record an entire TV series (with or without re-runs). When watching recordings you can skip through commercials in 30 second increments by pressing the FWD button. You can set the DVR to record shows 1 of 4 ways: Instant recording (red dot button records what you're watching), Guide button lets you see show listings for today. Select one and record. Below the Guide Topic is Search. Scroll and select that and you’re in a mode where you select the first few letters or numerals of a show you want and the search engine instantly guesses at possibles. Select the one you want and set it to record. The fourth and final way is to manually select a date, time and channel to record. Due to the bandwidth required for HD shows, you are limited to watch or record 2 HD shows at the same time. However, if you have a need to watch or record 3 or 4 at a time, simply select an non-HD channel for shows 3 and 4. Example: In Vegas NBC-HD is channel 1003 and non HD is channel 3. So if I am recording CBS-HD (1008) and ABC-HD (1013) I can still record the show on FOX channel 5 (vs. 1005 in HD) and watch the NBC show on channel 3. When watching or recording non-HD shows or channels you might be surprised to see that the image quality is still very good because it is a digital signal. However, non-HD shows (or commercials) will appear in the 4x3 mode (vs. 16x9 for HD). This means your wide-screen HD TV will have black bars on either side of the picture when non-HD shows or commercials appear.
Reruns. When you program the DVR to record an entire TV series the system does a "good" job of avoiding the recording of reruns. I believe it would work perfectly were it not for the fact that the Guide sometimes shows 2 different names or numbers for the exact same episode so the TV networks may be to blame for this flaw.
Watching Recorded Shows. You can access any shows you've recorded from any of your connected TVs. If you want to change rooms while watching a show, simply push the pause button and then you can turn off that TV and set-top box. Go to another TV, select that show from your recorded show library and you'll see a button that asks if you want to continue playing where you left off. I've tested it numerous times and it works perfectly.
Audio. Stereo sound is one of my major disappointments with PrismTV. As a former Cox Cable TV digital HDTV customer, I grew accustomed to enjoying 5.1 surround sound through my Home Theatre System when watching many prime time shows. After a few days with the CenturyLink system, I realized that I wasn't hearing ANYTHING from my rear speakers. After testing my HTS to be sure it wasn't at fault, I phoned CenturyLink and was told that this system does not offer anything but a stereo audio signal. The tech at Centurylink basically told me to change my HTS settings from 5.1 to stereo so I'd hear audio from all 5 of my speakers. I enjoy 5.1 when using my Blu-Ray player or watching movie DVDs with great soundtracks so I'm not planning to make the change unless I can program my Logitech Harmony One to go through all the setting changes to and from stereo to 5.1 surround sound. While trying to diagnose the lack of surround sound I did discover 1 positive feature. Although you can only feed the video signal to 1 TV from each set-top box, you can have multiple audio outputs. In other words, I was able to feed audio via HMDI and optical (digital) output at the same time.
DSL. Used my smartphone with Speedtest (Nexus One) and I’m getting 2794kbps download and 666kbps upload which is only slightly off from the 3Mbps & .5Mbps I’m paying for.
Gateway Features. The Cisco DDR2200 has 4 Ethernet ports so I disconnected my NetGear 2000 Wireless Router and by simply moving my Ethernet cables to the Cisco, all my printers were instantly back online although it did change the IP address for one of them. WEP security is pre-loaded. If you log into the Cisco Control Panel you can change the WEP from 64bit to 128bit and also change your password. You log into the control panel via your internet browser using 192.168.1.254 with ADMIN and PASSWORD as the UserID and password. The gateway also has 2 USB 1.1 ports and the unit can sit vertically or horizontally. According to the Cisco spec sheet, it can handle up to 128Mbps of HPNA IPTV signal over existing coax TV lines in your home. According to my installer, I'm getting a total of 26Mbps bandwidth that will allow me to watch or record up to 2 HD shows at a time. Your bandwidth may vary based on distance from your home to the junction box in your neighborhood.
Phone Service. Haven’t called anyone yet in Canada or Mexico but all the local calls sound great and the callerID on TV screen has already proved to be a nice convenience. You can turn this feature off or on by pressing the yellow "A" button on remotes. View your phone call Log by pressing the red "C" button on remote. I'm still looking for the remote button that will order a pizza. APRIL 11, 2011, BILLING PROBLEM CHAPTER 1: Just informed by a CenturyLink manager that the free unlimited calling does NOT include calls to Canada or Mexico. I wasn't told this until 6 months AFTER I was given incorrect info by a CenturyLink salesperson and AFTER they billed me $17 for 2 short calls to Canada. In other words, document EVERYTHING you hear or read when you deal with CenturyLink. When I complained about the incorrect information, CenturyLink did credit my account for the 2 Canadian calls.
Costs. Introductory pricing is good for the first 6 months. Depending on the exact package you choose, your total cost may go up after 3 months, 6 months or a year. My package was originally quoted to me by phone at $112/month including all taxes and I understood that it would go up will go up by $20 after 6 months. However, I was also told that CenturyLink keeps phone service rates and DSL rates at same pricing for 5 years for new customers. I was not told anything about installation charges. When my first bill arrived it included the first month of service I had already received, advance billing for the next month plus $29.75 in installation charges. Suddenly my expected bill of $112 had turned into a $270.40 balance due. BILLING PROBLEMS, CHAPTER 2: It took several emails and phone calls but my balance due was reduced to $91.29 total and I was told it should stay that way. My next bill was $101 and after numerous emails and phone calls, I was told that the $91.29 had been some kind of mistake. Last month it changed to $102.42/month. In other words EXPECT BILLING ERRORS AND CHECK YOUR BILL EVERY MONTH.
There are also Referral Fee discount coupons available that offer you $50 off your bill for each new customer you refer and the person you refer will save an extra $10/month for their first 6 months of service.
Remote Controls. I expected a few problems reprogramming my Logitech Harmony One remote control but was determined to try because I have been spoiled by the touchscreen and lit buttons that control my best TV, Home Theatre System, Blu-Ray Player and VHS/DVDR. Much to my surprise, Logitech already has the Motorola VIP-1232 PVR in their device database and everything seems to be working perfectly. My CenturyLink installer programmed the remote controls for each of my other set-top boxes so they turn both the TV and set-top box on or off at same same. Programmed TV shows are recorded without having to leave the DVR set-top box on all the time. Each set-top box is a Motorola VIP1200 and in case you mix up all your remote controls, they are interchangeable between the VIP1232 and VIP1200 units.
Glitches. After a full month of use I have experienced a few bugs which I attribute to the Microsoft Mediaroom software which runs the entire PrismTV system. Several times I've pressed PAUSE while watching a recorded show and and when I press PLAY nothing happens. Each time, I cured this by simply exiting back to live TV and then revisiting the recorded show which then continues from the paused spot. One of my STBs (set-top boxes) suddenly indicated that I had only 2 recorded shows when I knew I had 11. The only thing that fixed this glitch was rebooting the STB by unplugging the power cord from the back for about 10 seconds. If you think of each set-top box as if it were computer, you might understand why they need "rebooting" from time to time. Fact is, this system is basically a server (DVR) and workstations (each ste-top box). I've had to reboot thr set-yop boxes a few times when commands got slow responses or TV picture became distorted. Simply pull the power plug from the back, count to 10, plug back in and then watch it go through the dots & logo screens for the next 2 minutes until it goes back to live TV.
Installation. PrismTV uses both the telephone line to your home and coax cables (cables in your walls) to each of your TVs. If your home was pre-wired with coax, most of the changeover is done by the CenturyLink techs from outside your home. They will also change the connectors on each cable inside your home because this system uses both the center wire and the shielding wire to send/receive the signals to each set-top box and TV. If you have 3 or 4 TVs, expect the installers to take 3 to 5 hours to complete your PrismTV installation. This should include them programming each remote control to power your TV and set-top box at the same time. Be sure that either the installer or you label each remote control because unless you have identical TVs in your home, the PrismTV remotes aren't interchangeable as far as controlling your TV functions.
NOTE: Although each Motorola VIP1200 set-top box allows for TV hook-up via RGB, Coax, Ethernet or HDMI, I found best picture via HDMI and more importantly you CAN NOT use more than 1 of these connections at a time or you'll get screen freezes or blackouts at random. In other words if you try to hook Coax to one TV and HDMI to another coming from the same set-top box, you'll have problems. Just to see what would happen, I swapped the VIP1232 and VIP1200 between 2 TVs. Per instruction by my installer, I unplugged the power cords from all VIP 1200 units and booted the VIP1232 first. Then as you plug in and turn on each VIP1200 they get recognized by the VIP1232. By the way, the VIP1232 DVR contains a WD 320GB SATA hard drive which you can see through the vents on the top of the unit. When I saw the hard drive label, the geek in me instantly wondered if I could install a larger hard drive to expand my recording capacity. Experience has also taught me that WD hard drives are not as reliable as Samsung or Hitachi drives but time will tell. The software that controls everything between your VIP set-top boxes is Microsoft's Mediaroom. You'll see the logo during the boot sequence of each set-top box. HDMI Cable NOTE: HDMI cables on the web and in retails stores range in price from $2 to over $100 for some of the Monster brand. DO NOT BE FOOLED. Retail clerks love to sell the expensive Monster cables. I found 6' HDMI cables on amazon for $4 that are HDMI V1.4 which is capable of transmitting 240HZ, 3D and 7.1 sound. Be careful to avoid buying HDMI V1.1 or V1.2 cables if you want the best picture and sound quality. V1.3 cables should satisfy you unless you have one of the latest TVs with 3D capability. I'm using a $4 HDMI cable to go from my Blu-Ray to my newest Samsung UN55D7000 TV and the picture & sound are fantastic.
BILLING PROBLEMS, CHAPTER 3: Although I signed up for Auto-Pay on their website, CenturyLink never charged my credit card for January 2011. When February came, I contacted them and was told of a problem with the website that would be rectified. Then, instead of processing my January payment, they added a $10 late fee to my account. Despite my emails and phone calls (including one to CenturyLink CEO Glen Post, CEO using mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ) NOTHING has been rectified. All I get are email promises, phone promises and annoying phone messages but NO ACTION. They have labeled my account as PAST DUE and failed to Auto-Pay my January or February payments. They finally corrected this error on April 10, 2011 and refunded the $10 after weeks of emails and calls.
APRIL 6, 2011 UPDATE: After several days of watching recorded shows where the picture either froze or went mosaic (garbled pixels), I did what I thought would restore everything to normal.:
1. Unplug ALL the CenturyLink devices including the Gateway, DVR set-top box and other set-top boxes.
2. Plug-in the Gateway and wait until you see 2 solid green lights near the bottom of the row plus 4 other flashing lightss and 1 solid green light at top of row.
3. Plug-in the DVR set-top box and turn on that TV. Rebooting the DVR should go thrrough the normal sequence of seeing 2 dots, Microsoft Mediaroom, CenturyLink logo screen and then normal TV show appears.
4. Using your remote, navigate to see your list of recorded shows. If you had some and they're now gone, it means your system needs a firmware update which is accomplished by phoning CenturyLink Support and asking for it. That entire procedure is handled from their offices and takes about 15 minutes.
If you're still having problems you might have a defective DVR. In the 5 1/2 months since my Prism was installed they've replaced my DVR once and a friend also had his DVR replaced 2 weeks ago. Motorola makes this piece of equipment so I can't blame CenturyLink for it's failures. Despite these 'hiccups' I still feel that this Prism system beats everything else available today and CenturyLink Support has been excellent.
APRIL 9, 2011 UPDATE: CenturyLink has added a new feature which allows programming your home DVR via internet access from any PC or smartphone. You simply log into your CenturyLink.net online account, select Prism TV and then highlight any TV show from the grid that looks like a page from TV Guide. Note: Logging into online account requires creating a CenturyLink email address and password unless you already have one.
6 MONTHS LATER ... Aside from the biling errors and having to reboot the STBs a few times, I am VERY happy with PrismTV from CenturyLink and also happy to receive 1 bill a month that covers TV, high speed internet, land line phone and unlimited long distance calls to US/Canada/Mexico. If CenturyLink maintains the quality of services and doesn't waste additional hours of my time EVERY MONTH with billing errors, I will keep these utilities for a long time.
10 MONTHS LATER ... Aside from the usual need to reboot a set top box every few weeks when a picture freezes or appears distorted, I'm still much happier with PrismTV than I ever was with Cox Cable. However in the past month there have been 2 partial service outages that resulted in all of some of the TV channels delivering a "frozen'" image instead of normal TV. First time it happened I would switch to a channel like NBC or CBS and the show would be fine for about 10 seconds and then suddenly freeze. When it happened a few days ago, none of the channels numbered 1000 through 1099 worked but everything above 1099 worked perfectly. Very strange. in both cases, the problem lasted less than 2 hours and I confirmed with tech support and with a neighbor that it was an area service problem and not just at my house.
I must also repeat what I've said about billing problems. My bills have been fine for the past 5 months but a friend I referred is still finding mistakes on his monthly bills (his jumped from $120 to over $180) so again I suggest you check your CenturyLink bills EVERY month.
11 MONTHS LATER (OCTOBER 14, 2011 UPDATE): Other than rebooting every so often and a few CenturyLink service "hiccups" the overall PrismTV experience runs GIANT circles around everything I had with Cox.
DECEMBER 14, 2011 UPDATE: Just noticed some minor changes/improvements while watching a recorded TV show. The time bar (shows you minutes/seconds past & forward when you fast forward or rewind) is less intrusive, meaning it lets you see more of the show. Since the system operates with Microsoft software, I suspect there will be other minor improvements as time goes on but frankly, it works so well now, I'm already very happy and as the recent TV commercials, once you see and try PrismTV, I doubt anyone will want to stick with Cox Cable.
JANUARY 21, 2012 UPDATE, BILLING PROBLEMS, CHAPTER 4: Just received my 1/7/2012 bill and it jumped from $102.42 to $173.51 which prompted me to contact billing. After 4 phones calls and over a dozen emails exchanged, my total bill was adjusted to what I was promised during my initial setup, which was $20 higher than a year ago.
Maybe I should be happy about paying ONLY $123 but it feels more like I was on death row and got a last minute reprieve from the governor. After reviewing alternate services from Cox, Dish and Direct TV (all of which appear to be as deceptively advertised) I will spend more time researching ways I might be able to eliminate all of them by buying my own equipment for a fraction of what they are charging to rent. I've already found one piece of equipment that eliminates paying for extra set-top boxes but the ActionTec MyWirelessTV Kit does not work with PrismTV (I tried). It does work with Dish or DirectTV. If any other equipment works for me that can lower overall TV costs, I'll be happy to report it here for everyone.
JANUARY 20, 2012, BILLING PROBLEMS, CHAPTER 5: Just received am email informing me to expect a letter next week by U.S. Mail saying that a "Prism price increase would affect new and existing customers." In my opinion, this means that all the TV ads for PrismTV are working so CenturyLink is going to raise prices to pay for thos eds and becausse they think consumers will be dumb enough to accept even higher costs for a Tv picture that is inferior to a $30 indoor antenna and antiquated stereo sound. NOT ME! I'll be switching to something else as soon as possible and probably saving over $700 a year while getting better picture and 5.1 surround sound.
I have also noticed that as TV ads for PrismTV have increased, I have noticed a slight deterioration in TV picture quality and a major slowdown in how my internet pages load. I attribute this to the possibility that CenturyLink is adding more subsribers to hardware that is being affected by heavier loads. Bottom line is that I'm now paying at 20% more than a year ago, service is not as good as a year ago and they are raising rates AGAIN by up to 28& for ALL CUSTOMERS on March 1, 2012.
I did a quick calculation comparing Dish rates to CenturyLink PrismTV and with the upcoming 3/1/2012 rates, PrismTV cost will be MORE THAN DOUBLE the cost of Dish TV services.
Goodbye CenturyLink ... HELLO DISH Network !
FEBRUARY 2, 2012 UPDATE: Today I made the switch from PrismTV to Dish Network and here's what I've already learned and seen:
1. Installation. CenturyLink team of 2 installers took over 6 hours to install PrismTV. One man from Dish took less than an hour to install the dish and have it ready to watch TV.
2. Picture Quality. Until today I thought PrismTV was unbeatable. I was wrong. I can now count the hairs on the heads of newscasters because the HD picture from Dish is better than Cox Cable or CenturyLink.
3. Audio. Even commercials are now enjoyable because Dish delivers crystal clear 5.1 surround sound, not antiquated stereo like PrismTV.
4. Programming. On screen menus are somewhat different but can perform ALL the same functions. Dish internet programming is faster and easier plus when you search for or select a specific TV it offers you episodes that you can watch on your computer. Dish also has apps for tablets and smartphones that let you set the DVR and watch shows from your smaller mobile screens. PrismTV has neither.
FEBRUARY 3, 2012 UPDATE: I returned the set-top boxes to CenturyLink store on Sunset in Henderson NV but did not bring the gateway so had to make a 2nd trip back to the store. Since I am retaining CenturyLink DSL and phone services, they gave me a Westell 7500 Modem which I took home and connected to the DSL phone line and plugged in my Ethernet devices. After almost an hour I had WiFi but no internet connection to my computer. Phoned tech support and after another hour on the phone, CenturyLink finallky figured out that NOBODY at CenturyLink had made the necessary changes to my account, which included "provisioning" the new modem. Then I was told by the tech that I still needed to speak with customer service because they had also failed to credit my account for the returned PrismTV equipment. Sixteen more minutes on the phone, a customer service rep told me I needed to speak with a different department and was put on hold again, which is when I gave up and emailed CenturyLink.
FEBRUARY 6, 2012 UPDATE: Received a phone call to tell me that my account still not squared away but they're working on it. In the meantime, I am happy to report that I enjoyed the entire SuperBowl 2012 and commercials with a fantastic picture and 5.1 surround sound thanks to my New Dish Network service.
FEBRUARY 7, 2012 UPDATE: Found first/only negative about Dish vs. PrismTV. While recording 2 HD shows Prism allowed me to watch a 3rd live channel in SD (Standard Definition). Dish only allows watching a show you've already recorded. However, with all my "toys" I solved that problem by switching to my JVC DVR which has it's own HDTV tuner and with a small RCA 1400 $15 indoor antenna attached, I get crystal clear NBC and FOX channels in HD so I can watch a 3rd live channel in HD while recording 2 HD channels through the Dish VIP722k DVR.
FEBRUARY 11, 2012 UPDATE: Despite the fact that I returned ALL PrismTV equipment on 2/3/2012, on 2/7/2012 my account still showed that I had ALL PrismTV service and was being billed for it. On 2/9/2012 I emailed 3 contacts at CenturyLink that have all tried to help me over the past 14 months of repeated billing errors. Since 2/9/2012, my billing went up even higher and then I was given 2 different other amounts to pay by 2 different people. In other words, CenturyLink is a GIANT billing NIGHTMARE and only a true masochist should do business with them unless you absolutely must!
Hello Dish Hopper & Joey ! ...
MARCH 30, 2012 UPDATE: I upgraded to the new Hopper and Joey on 3/29/2012. Here's what I've learned:
1. HD Picture quality with Dish Hopper beats Cox Cable and Centurylink PrismTV by a mile!
2. Hopper lets me record up to 6 TV shows at once.
3. Hopper Interface is HiDef, fast & looks great.
4. Audio is the clearest and loudest 5.1 surround sound for TV that I've ever heard, plus the system has a feature built-in to eliminate annoying commercial volume fluctuations.
5. Aside from watching different shows on each TV, you can "spy" to see what others in your home are watching.
6. PrimeTimeAnyTime (a/k/a PTAT or PTA) feature can automatically record all your Mon-Sat 8PM-11PM & Sun 7PM-11PM for NBC,CBS, ABC and FOX TV shows for you plus you can still watch/record 2 other shows/channels.
7. The Hopper set-top box is slimmer and sleeker than all prior VIP boxes. The Joey is much smaller than PrismTV receivers and includes both VESA and wall mounting brackets.
8. Remote Control finder. Next time somebody hides your remote, just go to the Hopper or Joey and press the button. Your remote will start beeping from wherever it's hiding!
9. Hopper includes free Sirius Radio
10. Channel changing is faster.
11. Cooling fan in the hopper is quieter than prior VIP box or CenturyLink box.
12. Hopper outputs can be used simultaneously (HDMI, RGB, Digital Audio)
13. Bluetooth built into Hopper so you can use a wireless headset for audio.
14. Logitech has the codes for Hopper so you can easily load Harmony remote controls. My Harmony One remote works great with Dish Hopper.
15. MyWirelessTV by ActionTec works with Dish Hopper but does not work with CenturyLinkPrismTV so you can add more TVs in your Dish home network without paying more monthly fees.
Bottom Line: As of today and IMHO, the Dish Hopper system beats all cable, CenturyLink and DirectTV offerings both in features, picture quality, sound quality and costs!
JULY 21, 2012 UPDATE: After 4 months of use, Dish Hopper & Joey just keeps gettting better as they add slight improvements to the interface via over-the-air software updates.
OCTOBER 13, 2012 UPDATE: After 7 months with Dish Hopper & Joey I decided to add a Sling adapter so I can watch TV from my desktop PC, smartphone or Nexus 7 tablet. Best price I could find was $49 on eBay. Plugged Sling into 1 of the 2 USB ports on back of Hopper and about a minute later the red light on Sling appeared. Downloaded the free Dish V1.4 app from Google play store to my phone and tablet. On my desktop PC, navigated to dishonline. Everything worked perfectly but I also discovered that you caan only watch live TV from one of the remote devices at a time. Picture and sound on PC, phone & tablet or in HD and as good as you can get on each device. Two days later I was unable to access live TV from the remote devices. Did the usual rebooting and unplugging of everything but didn't help. Finally did online chat with a Dish tech who walked me through confirming my Sling connection to Hopper. Still no fix but he gave me a clue when he mentioned enabling UPnP. Found a Microsoft utility called wmcsetup.exe that Monsoon's Vulkano and a few other similar devices suggest for remote TV so I installed it on my PC. Voila! Enabling UPnP solved the problem with PC, phone and tablet viewing of live TV. Did some resarch about enabling UpnP and found out you can also enable it by logging into your cable or DSL router. depending on your router, you may find the toggle switch labeled as "Enable an online gaming connection."
DECEMBER 29, 2012 UPDATE: Nine months with Dish Hopper & Joey and yesterday I discovered something that made me even happier with Dish. I wanted to add another TV without having to pay another $7 a month for an additional Joey. Already had an Actiontec MyWirelessTV MWT200 transmitter & receiver kit so I connect the Joey to transmitter with HDMI cable and used a short HDMi to go from there to TV. Connected the receiver to the new TV with HDMI and instantly had the same HDTV picture and sound on both TVs! Note: From past experience with the Actiontec device be forewarned that distance and obstructions (walls & floors) does affect reception. My current setup has the transmitter approximately 20 feet from the receiver with no walls in between.
Now I'm even happier with Dish Hopper & Joey than I was on day 1 !
JANUARY 19, 2013 UPDATE: Dish just raised my monthly bill by $15. They say $10 of that is due to a discount that expires after 1 year of my 2 year contract. The other $5 of the increase was explained as an adjustment due to Dish havcing to pay more for the channels they are providing. I'm not happy about the increase but still believe that the Dish Hopper & Joey system offers the best service and value over ANY other TV provider.
MORE IMPORTANT DISH NEWS ... Dish is now releasing a new/improved Hopper that has Sling Adapter built-in (built-in WiFi), faster processor (1305Mhz vs. 750Mhz), more RAM memory (2Gb vs 768MB) and you can take entire TV shows with you by transferring to tablets and smartphones. Hard drive in both models is 2TB. Units are same size and weight (16"Wx11.4"Dx2.05"H, 8LBS.). I got this info from the Dish people at the CES Show 10 days ago. They did not have any info about if or how people could upgrade a Hopper to the new one.
If you've read ALL THIS and still want CenturyLink PrismTV, I suggest finding a neighbor who has PrismTV so you can see exactly what to expect for DOUBLE the cost of Dish.
Most importantly, when anyone from CenturyLink quotes you prices and length of service contract GET IT IN WRITING AND DOCUMENT EVERY DATE, TIME AND PERSON YOU TALK TO or a year from now you might be fighting the same kind of time-consuming frustrating uphill battles I experienced with CenturyLink. Friends of mine switched to CenturyLink Prism when I did and have constantly had to fight battles by phone to get their billing adjusted. Last week they informed me that it recently went up to $170 a month (and for the billionth time, I told them to switch to Dish Hopper & Joey).