That, as they say, is a great question! Quite a few people ask about whether they can access Netflix streaming movies and other online content with their DISH system. As near as I've been able to figure so far, the answer is "maybe."
Finding a definitive answer to the whole DISH and Netflix subject is a bit challenging. Lot's of people obviously love Netflix, and it's hard to argue against that since they offer rentals of DVDs, television shows and other content for a very reasonable monthly fee.
They also offer streaming content via the internet that you can watch instantly on your computer and certain other internet-enabled devices. As many DISH customers are aware, many DISH receivers and DVRs are now able to connect to the internet, and it's quite reasonable for some of them to wonder if it is possible to access Netflix streaming content as a result.
The research I did on this subject indicated that things may be improving for DISH customers who would like to access Netflix streaming content, but first let's talk about how it evolved.
The release of the DISH ViP922 DVR seems to have opened the doors to the possibility of viewing Netflix streaming content on a DISH system. Some more technically-savvy subscribers were able to view Netflix content on their ViP922 by installing special software on a PC that could make Netflix content available to other devices on the same local area network (LAN). They would then access the PC from the DVR and reportedly be able to watch Netflix streaming content.
Not having a ViP922 myself (I have the ViP622), I never indulged in those kinds of experiments. They do, of course, involve a bit more computer know-how than the average consumer, and that was probably not a great solution for most people.
For those that are interested, what I read involved the use of software called "PlayOn" which enabled users to make their PC a DLNA-enabled device, and therefore able to serve up video content for other devices on the network to access, such as the ViP922 DVR in this case.
Google TV is a fairly recent development that made a big splash in the video world and DISH was one of the first (if not the first) to offer the service to their subscribers.
Since Google TV is not the subject of this page, I won't delve into all the details of how it works and what it can do, but it appears that the arrival of Google TV, and a subsequent update to the service may be the key to enjoying Netflix streaming content on your DISH system with minimal hassle.
Please keep in mind that none of this is guaranteed. I am not a DISH spokesman or employee or serve the company in any official capacity. I'm a long-time customer who really likes DISH and decided to set up my own website on the subject so I could write about it and also do some promotion of the company and their services.
As I pointed out earlier, I do not have a ViP922 DVR or Google TV, so all of this information is based on what other customers and hobbyists have written. The only way to be sure this information is accurate is to contact someone who has the knowledge and authority to answer questions about DISH service and equipment. You should be able to find out everything you want to know by calling 866-537-9648 if you are not already a DISH customer and you are considering becoming one.
OK, with that out of the way, let's get back to Netflix.
Google TV users have indicated that an update to Google TV which was released late least year has improved upon an application that's specifically written to access Netflix streaming content, making it much easier to watch streaming content from Netflix. In the particular case I read about, the Logitech Revue was the add-on device that was used to access Google TV.
Since the Logitech Revue is listed as a device that can be connected to certain DISH systems to enable Google TV, it may be that Netflix streaming content is now available to DISH subscribers that way. The Revue is highlighted on DISH's own web site and does indeed contain statements indicating that may be the case. Check out the document in question here. The first paragraph on the second page in particular.
Since DISH is in the business of generating revenue from subscribers who sign up for premium movie packages or rent pay-per-view movies, it might seem like a bad business decision to allow access to Netflix streaming content through a DISH system.
Not being a DISH CEO, executive or even an employee, I cannot speculate a whole lot about what kind of decisions are best for the company. What I do know is that this industry is constantly evolving. While DISH may be enabling access to a competing service like Netflix for now, they may also be preparing a service of their own which will compete and perhaps be even better than Netflix. Update, October, 2011: DISH introduces Blockbuster Movie Pass.
Cable TV viewers have had access to a huge library of on-demand content for a while now and that's surely not something the satellite TV providers like DISH have been ignoring. They have already started offering on-demand content via internet and I think we will see those offerings expand very significantly soon.
To sum up, it appears Netflix is indeed available for DISH subscribers who have the type of system that will accommodate a Google TV device such as the Logitech Revue. Again, that's not known to me as a fact, but everything I've been able to find out points in that direction and I hope that helps.