Typically companies do not do things like this. I know the Dish PVR-942 is no longer available on the market but it has been an absolutely fantastic addition to my entertainment center, which by most people's standards is pretty laughable, but it suits my family well for what we need. I don't "use" the TV enough to go gung-ho crazy about 7.1 channel receivers or speakers from space shuttle material or thinking that using Monster(tm) cable is going to improve a digital signal.
Anyway, out of anything in our living room, it is definitely one of the only 'splurges' I've done.
Today, I was offered the new VIP-622, which is essentially the 942 with updated components, real MPEG-4 support, an added ethernet port, and a couple others additions, for "free". Sure, they charge until they receive your old 942 unit, but the end result is $0 spent for a new VIP-622 and a new Dish to receive the new 'birds' they launched into space recently.
I was mainly interested in the MPEG-4 support since as a codec, it uses so much less hard drive space than MPEG-2. I know 90% of the channels on Dish Network will still be MPEG-2 for a long time, but I guess I am just a drooling fanboy for MPEG-4. I do believe the 622 has a bigger hard drive too. I already subscribe to the HD channels, so the HD channel subscription requirement doesn't really matter to me.
So it makes me wonder - either someone figured out how to decrypt the contents of the 942 hard drive, like they did with the earlier models, or someone was threatening to sue EchoStar due to them claiming at one point or another that the 942 would be able to do MPEG-4 with an upgrade. Either way, as long as there isn't any fine print, I think I'm going to do the exchange. As long as my HDMI connection works on the 622 with the upgraded firmware, I'm golden.
I guess I'm just used to getting screwed over by companies when a new product line comes out and they abandon all support for the older models. I hate stuff like that. It makes me long for my original Rev. A Intellimouse Explorer that was huge compared to the later models, and the original Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard that most everyone hated, but a small cult of people, with me included, loved.
You can read more about the upgrade exchange at one of my favorite websites, DBSTalk.