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DirecTV's New HD-DVR

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the lots-of-pics dept.

80

Earl Bonovich writes to tell us that he recently had a chance to take a look at DirecTV's new HD-DVR, the HR20-700. His results are posted over at DBSTalk including several pictures and videos. Some of the features include high definition output, dual SAT tuners, dual ATSC tuners, wired RJ-45 ethernet port, external SATA connection, and a 300GB SATA internal hard drive that can hold 30 hours of MPEG-2 HD, 50 hours of MPEG-4 HD, or 200 hours of standard definition video.

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80 comments

Bettuh be careful DirecTV (2, Informative)

i_am_the_r00t (762212) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941256)

Or Tivo will Smack you down! look at what happened to Dish Network yesterday...

DirectTV has nothing to fear from TiVo (4, Informative)

mkraft (200694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941375)

DirectTV and TiVo came to an agreement [tvpredictions.com] earlier this year where DirectTV agreed to support the DirectTV TiVos until 2009. In return TiVo and DirectTV agreed not to sue each other for any DVR patent infringements.

So DirectTV won't suffer the same fate as Dish.

Directtv HR20 manuals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15975558)

The manuals are online right now. I don't know if it's by mistake or not but they're at:

Quickstart Guide:
http://www.directtv.com/see/pdf/DTV007522_HDVR_Gui de_LR.pdf [directtv.com]

User Manual:
http://www.directtv.com/see/pdf/060508HR20UserGuid ev1_0b.pdf [directtv.com]

Its probably a mistake so who knows how long they will last.

it's a good start, (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941257)

It's a good start to get a peek at this new DVR. Unfortunately, if consumers were to base their choice on listed features, capacities, and pictures of the unit (they already barely do that, the DirectTV would be another DVR with really beefy meaty specs... and would be a top candidate for a great addition to the Home Entertainment Center. But, this isn't really the review I'm looking for.

I want to know (after using TiVo now for almost ten years, happily ever after):

  • how responsive is the interface?
  • how ergonomic? (TiVo's a hard act to follow on this one)
  • how often does the machine crash and burn, or just plain lock up? (any comcast DVR users out there?)
  • how well does it handle season passes with options of first showing, multiple channel, etc. (once again, TiVo is a hard act to follow on this one)
  • how well does it do video? any mosaics?, dropped frames?
  • are there things like "wish lists"? (TiVo does this wonderfully)
  • and, since we're talking about TiVo here too (apparently by my post), are there any impending lawsuits and injunctions against DirectTV for infringment upon TiVo's patents?

This is just a partial list... but virtually none of which are really covered by the review in enough depth... too much to ask of one reviewer. I've been burned by the "wow" factor of a Comcast box (from a review), and now would wait for more concensus.

And, as an aside, does anyone else find it really annoying technology is going the way of PVR's becoming the providers' commodities rather than manufacturers? Assuming this new PVR is the greatest thing since sliced bread, it still wouldn't be enough of a draw to switch providers -- it's more than a little annoying to find that if you like x, y, or z about some PVR, you have to switch to that provider? WTF?

Interoperability with EVERYTHING (including over the air (OTA)) broadcast has been and continues to be one of the biggest draws for me with TiVo, though there's many indications of providers trying to shut TiVo out. Sigh.

Re:it's a good start, (2, Interesting)

phorest (877315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941294)

I have the HR15 recorder and like it a lot. Never had TiVo so I can't answer your questions. The reviewer does give some encouragement about the UI and the lag-time improvement and some of the other UI features/improvements.

There's no reason to be overly critical of new hardware like... TiVo is the best... Myth TV is DaBomb, etc. I'll admit it's my first DVR but what that thing can do is outstanding. I'll never watch broadcsat TV the same again! Put me down in the I like what it does category PERIOD.

I want to find out more about the eSATA and ethernet connections. My HR15 has ethernet but is disabled with no eSATA anywhere to be found. Does TiVo have anything similar?

Re:it's a good start, (1)

NoodleSlayer (603762) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941322)

I believe part of the deal DirecTV and Tivo recently struck to continue supporting the DirecTivo units included a patent sharing agreement.

However I haven't heard of one person that had a DirecTivo that "upgraded" to the new DirecTV DVRs that was happy with it, and I've heard of more then a few that dropped DirecTV altogether because of it.

Re:it's a good start, (1, Informative)

phorest (877315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941328)

how responsive is the interface?
A little slow.

how ergonomic? (TiVo's a hard act to follow on this one)
Fine by my standards.

how often does the machine crash and burn, or just plain lock up? (any comcast DVR users out there?)
Never locked up yet (almost a year now).

how well does it handle season passes with options of first showing, multiple channel, etc. (once again, TiVo is a hard act to follow on this one)
Don't know.

how well does it do video? any mosaics?, dropped frames?
Almost as clean as the original broadcast.

Are there things like "wish lists"? (TiVo does this wonderfully)
Whatever those are?

Re:it's a good start, (3, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941497)

how well does it handle season passes with options of first showing, multiple channel, etc. (once again, TiVo is a hard act to follow on this one)
Don't know.

Are there things like "wish lists"? (TiVo does this wonderfully)
Whatever those are?


These are the things that TiVo users have a very hard time giving up, simply because they work so beautifully. "Season Passes" allow you to set the device to record any showing of a show (or specific ones if you want), with control over whether it records first airings and/or reruns and how it deals with shows that air on multiple channels. "Wish Lists" are search/record filters that you can set based on title, actor, director, genre, etc. So you can say "Record any Kubrick movie" simply by adding a director wishlist for Kubrick. On top of this, many users (though not all) also enjoy the "Suggestions" feature, whereby the TiVo autorecords shows and movies that it thinks you'd enjoy based on your previous recording/rating history. Of course, these recordings are the lowest priority and roll off the savelist in case it needs the space for something you've specifically requested it record. This feature is great on DirecTiVos because of the dual-tuner feature--it can almost always go off and record something else, even when you're watching something on the first tuner.

Re:it's a good start, (2, Informative)

phorest (877315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941540)

From your description the HR15 has "season passes" down.

For instance, I am able to record any show I choose either first-run or even repeats. I can have it "Keep till I delete" or set it so it overwrites the oldest item in the list. I don't typically use it for repeat shows, but I have used it for series like "24" and "House" where I just want the first run showings. Though one time I did something stupid and chose to record "Seinfeld" (any showings) as a test and my recorder was filled up in about 2 weeks with 80 Seinfeld episodes.

I do wish I could tell it to grab only Frankenheimer movies -or- Orson Wells movies etc... If it does do that that would definitely be a plus

Re:it's a good start, (1)

buysse (5473) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942569)

There's one other aspect to season passes. Say I want it to record BSG. I also have something else set to record at the same time one week. If I override it, and don't let it record because I'm watching something else (or I tell it to record something else), it will pick up that episode of BSG when it repeats for the second time Tuesday, at 1AM. You queue things based on priority, but it's smart enough to not record something of a high priority that will repeat in three hours so it can pick up a low-priority show that doesn't repeat. I'm really curious - can the DirectTV box do this?

Oh, and BTW -- it can do a director wish list that will record everything directed by a certain people, or starring a certain actor, or where the title contains a word, etc.

Re:it's a good start, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15952860)

If I override it, and don't let it record because I'm watching something else (or I tell it to record something else), it will pick up that episode of BSG when it repeats for the second time Tuesday, at 1AM. You queue things based on priority, but it's smart enough to not record something of a high priority that will repeat in three hours so it can pick up a low-priority show that doesn't repeat.


You state this in your Battlestar Galactica example, but then contradict it in the next sentence.

Tivos absolutely are NOT "smart enough" to not record something because it knows that it will record again in 3 hours. It only does that because you have explicitly overridden the original recording. As you state, the To Do list is populated based upon the priorities you give Season Passes (including auto-recording wishlists) in the Season Pass Manager.

(BTW, I have 2 lifetimed Tivos and love the interface, though would like some more geeky options.. Because those aren't offered, I also have a non-Tivo hard drive/DVD recorder to edit recordings before burning to DVD.)

Re:it's a good start, (1, Offtopic)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941332)

Let's see if I can answer your points

  • how responsive is the interface? - Pretty good
  • how ergonomic? (TiVo's a hard act to follow on this one) - Fantastic
  • how often does the machine crash and burn, or just plain lock up? (any comcast DVR users out there?) - Never
  • how well does it handle season passes with options of first showing, multiple channel, etc. (once again, TiVo is a hard act to follow on this one) - Excellent
  • how well does it do video? any mosaics?, dropped frames? - Perfect quality, just like my normal satellite receivers
  • are there things like "wish lists"? (TiVo does this wonderfully) - Yep, very handy
  • and, since we're talking about TiVo here too (apparently by my post), are there any impending lawsuits and injunctions against DirectTV for infringment upon TiVo's patents? - Doubt it

Of course, I have a DirecTiVo... which they no longer sell. The fact they made them is why I don't think DirecTV will be sued. TiVo still gets a ton of money from DirecTiVo users.

I love my DirecTiVo. I think it's the best TiVo that was made at the time. Pure digital quality, tons of channels, Dolby Digital, record two shows at once, etc. It's a fantastic little machine. No home media and such, but that's OK, the dual tuners more than make up for that.

But you can't buy them any more from DirecTV. And DirecTV is moving towards MPEG4 which means my box is obsolete.

I plan to stay with my box as long as I can. When it no longer works, then I know exactly what I'll do. I enjoy DirecTV so if I can use one of the new Series 3 TiVos with DirecTV I will. If I can't do that and Dish starts offering true TiVos, I'll go there. Otherwise, I'll go to cable with a Series 3 TiVo.

I've had DirecTV for years and I loved the service. I didn't think anything would get me off it. Then they sold me a TiVo. They sold me the very device that changed my loyalty and will probably cause me to dump their service some time in the future.

I still think they seriously botched the whole TiVo deal. They should have advertised them. You should have been able to get a DirecTiVo for $50 on new accounts, or even better for free. Practically force 'em on the consumer. Consumers would have loved it. They would have struck a big blow against Dish. Their customers would be very loyal.

"Why pay $300 for a TiVo when you can get one from DirecTV for free that will record two things at once?"

They had their chance. They screwed up. Even if it was a 6 month promotion, they could have signed up enough people to make a ton of money off the monthly fees and have so many people tell their friends about it that it would encourage more sign ups later.

DirecTV: Not wanting me as a future customer for over 2 years

When I move to a new place, my guess is that I'll switch to cable and buy a series 3. The fact is the main reason I like DirecTV is because my local cable company has been terrible ever since Comcrud bought them. The local channels look better with an over the air antenna some times, and the cable channels look just as bad (if not like a VCR with bad tracking). If the area I move to has decent cable service, then my main reason for going with DirecTV will be gone. Combine that with my loss-of-TiVo and they will lose me as a customer.

I don't want a DVR, I want a TiVo.

Sorry about this long post, this is a touchy subject

Re:it's a good start, (1)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941502)

Of course, I have a DirecTiVo... which they no longer sell.

Not true. Three days ago my new HR10-250 DirecTiVo was installed. It is just as much of a Tivo as my old SD DirecTivo (an HDVR2).

Re:it's a good start, (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941543)

The problem with this is that it's already an obsolete device. DirecTV started moving their HD broadcasts to MPEG4 last year (everything, including HD was MPEG2 previously). My understanding is that any new HD local channels (and possibly any new HD channels period) that get added will be MPEG4, which the HR10-250 doesn't receive. So you have a handful of HD channels that the HR10 currently receives, and those are likely to be the only HD channels it ever receives.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941923)

You're right - I have a H20 DirecTV receiver right now, which made my H10 obsolete since I need a device which can pick up the new mpeg4 broadcasts. I will say the DirecTV broadcasts in mpeg4 look like garbage on any TV larger than 26 inches. HD was supposed to look better, not worse. My OTA signal here in Denver is crystal clear - but I can't get a few channels here without installing an external antenna on my roof, and I don't want to do that yet. I really want a Tivo series 3 and be able to use it with DirecTV, but I'm sure that will never happen now which disappoints me.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941522)

So, just to clarify: All of your answers above are based on your use of a DirecTiVo and have nothing to do with the specific device yagu was asking about? Correct?

Re:it's a good start, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15942234)

I can't believe you're the only comment so far to point this out. That redundant, offtopic comment has been modded up "Insightful" and "Informative." Everybody knows how well TiVo-based DVRs work. The questions were about DirectTV's new HD-DVR, not DirectTiVo.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942397)

Yes, my comment was technically off topic, but it was modded up for a reason. I wrote it for a reason.

I like my DirecTiVo and I am really ticked off at them for ditching TiVo. My comment was written to remind people that DirecTV used to have TiVos which they abandoned sale of (they still support them, thankfully), that nothing is as good as a TiVo (not that I've seen yet, most have been laughably bad), and that DVR things for DirecTV users have gotten worse since you can't get a true TiVo (unless you are willing to pay through the nose for the HD TiVos that this new receiver is meant to replace).

It's not an answer, but it was a valid point that I felt fit there. DirecTV abandoned great units and replaced them with units that were perhaps adequate. Why did they do this? Almost certainly profit. You know what? I'd gladly pay 3x the DVR fee if I knew that I could get new TiVos from them that would continue to work (as opposed to mind which is basically on a death watch while they roll-out MPEG4).

Re:it's a good start, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15943207)

Yes, my comment was technically off topic, but it was modded up for a reason.
It has also been modded down, thankfully.
I wrote it for a reason.

I like my DirecTiVo and I am really ticked off at them for ditching TiVo...

It's not an answer, but it was a valid point that I felt fit there.

The first part of your comment didn't fit there because it misleads the reader into thinking you are answering the interesting questions asked (about DirectTV's new HD-DVR). Instead, you gave answers about TiVo that everybody already knows.

Many people want to know how well DirectTV's new HD-DVR works. Not everybody just dismisses every non-TiVo DVR without even trying it. It may suck, but you don't know that yet.

You could have made your point without the first 20% of your comment. Thankfully, your comment has been modded 20% off topic so far.

Re:it's a good start, (2, Informative)

frusengladje (990955) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941690)

One thing that's mentioned in the review that I found annoying was the lack of dual buffers for the live tuners. This feature on the DirecTivo's allows you to have a 30 minute buffer of what's currently on each of the tuners (assuming you haven't changed the channel recently). Comes in quite handy, especially during football season, or other times when 2 sports events are on at the same time.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941734)

Direct TV's retention department is laughably bad. You'd think they would want to keep customers, but what they offer is a joke.

You can still get a DirecTiVo from DirecTV (2, Informative)

DestroyAllZombies (896198) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941928)

Don't sweat it ... I have a brand new DirecTiVo now because my old one died last week. When I went through customer service they noticed I'm a TiVo customer and offered me another one. It only works if you already have TiVo though.

Isn't the fantastic interface a TiVo thing and not DirecTV?

Re:it's a good start, (3, Interesting)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941335)

how ergonomic? (TiVo's a hard act to follow on this one)

I guess you haven't gotten the TiVo KidZone update yet. I have a branded Series 2 unit that got updated like a week ago. Response time has been thoroughly shot to hell after this update. It has taken as long as five seconds to pull up the program guide. Sometimes hitting the TiVo button with hang the unit for about 30 seconds before I'll finally get a "action could not be completed" error. At least the TV pass-through still works, so it's not like it freezes up the display. I've also had two spontaneous reboots since the update.

I've also noticed a variety of small bugs. For example, if a show has been previously unrated, the first Thumbs Up works, but instead of the normal Thumbs Up sound, it sounds a "Not Allowed" sound.

I'm just hoping they roll out fixes soon.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

mjensen (118105) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941439)

Ditto, but I noticed a lot of lag even before the Kidzone update. I press buttons fast though. While a screen is loading I know what it will say, and press the next button I need. This isn't allowed though, until the screen completely loads. Bummer.

Once a month or so, my Tivo locks up for about half an hour. The LED flash shows its getting the signal, just not doing anything with it. After the half-hour or so, everything returns.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941357)

You said:

Interoperability with EVERYTHING (including over the air (OTA)) broadcast has been and continues to be one of the biggest draws for me with TiVo, though there's many indications of providers trying to shut TiVo out. Sigh.

Well, from the article:

dual ATSC tuners

Looks to me like you might not have any problem getting at least local HD, OTA broadcasts if you live in America, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan or South Korea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATSC [wikipedia.org]

Re:it's a good start, (5, Informative)

ebonovic (996524) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941436)

I will try to answer your questions...
  • how responsive is the interface?
    So far the interface is just as responsive, if not better in some areas, then any of my DTivo units
  • how ergonomic? (TiVo's a hard act to follow on this one)
    If you are comming from a long time experience with the TiVo interface, it is going to take some time to get used to. It took me about a month to get used to the new GUI (on the R15 which is the same core GUI)... now that I am used to it.... If find both's systems interface very easy to use.
  • how often does the machine crash and burn, or just plain lock up? (any comcast DVR users out there?)
    Several weeks into it now... have not had a sigle crash, burn, or lockup... I have yet to have to reset the unit for any "negative" reasons.
  • how well does it handle season passes with options of first showing, multiple channel, etc. (once again, TiVo is a hard act to follow on this one)
    So far... so good.... I have only had one repeat record and that was an episode of Stargate yesterday... which just happened to be the 100th episode, which was the foundation for the 200th episode... so I am not sure if Sci-Fi tweaked with the data a bit, and the HR20 simply identified it as a first run. I have several of the popular shows that are on all over teh place... Stargate, CSI, Law&Order... so everything has been exactly as I have expected it to be.
  • how well does it do video? any mosaics?, dropped frames?
    I am not seeing any mosaics, drop frames, or anything wrong with the HD video... granted I haven't been counting the frames or anything like that.
  • are there things like "wish lists"? (TiVo does this wonderfully)
    Yes and No... there are keyword searchs available.. but they are definently not as powerfull or the same as wishlists.
  • and, since we're talking about TiVo here too (apparently by my post), are there any impending lawsuits and injunctions against DirectTV for infringment upon TiVo's patents?
    As a few others have noted, they re-upped the contract for a few more years, that specifically included patent discussion.

    For some more discussion and answers to your questions... come on down to www.dbstalk.com that is where I have been living for the last few days....

lawsuits? (1)

mehu (92260) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941523)

and, since we're talking about TiVo here too (apparently by my post), are there any impending lawsuits and injunctions against DirectTV for infringment upon TiVo's patents?
I think the more important question here is, are there any impending lawsuits from DirecTV against their own customers (or just anyone, actually) who happen to own something that DirecTV considers to be "pirate access devices"?

Hell, an HD-PVR with an ethernet jack could ITSELF be considered a piracy device. Better watch for the MPAA as well.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

BSonline (989394) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941534)

(any comcast DVR users out there?)

I have the dual tuner motorola HD box provided by Comcast. S'posedly, it's the best they have to offer. I had the cable guy out a few times with the following complaints, and he gave me these answers: 1) Occasionally, I'll turn the machine on and there will be no sound or picture. The menus will still work and come on screen, but nothing else. Answer: Activate a prerecorded video and then exit. Sometimes the tuner locks up, and you have to do this. Actually, to me, it sounds more like a decoder problem... 2) On Demand is rediculously slow. Half of the time, it gives me a time out error and locks up. Answer: Yeah.. eh.. that is why it's still free. I guess they don't want to charge for the service until they get it working. 3) So, I see an ethernet port, 2 usb ports, and a firewire port. Not to mention a slot in the front. What's up with those? Answer: Oh, that's so you can hook a computer up to it. There's 3 different options, so that anyone with a computer can hook up and download the videos they have recorded. They aren't activated yet, though. The slot is a card reader, so you can pay for services on a credit card. It doesn't work, though. This is the "just released" box for my area. I'm too lazy to go look at the model number, but they only started carrying it 2 months ago. Motorola's site lists everything working on the box, although the "card reader" isn't for credit cards. Comcast is the worst cable company I've ever dealt with. The first intall technician couldn't even figure out the cable... red to red green to green, etc was just too complicated for the man. Not to mention he mixed inputs and outputs. No training for the employees, and equipment that is so screwed up it's not worth the trouble. I'm moving in 2 months to Loisiana, and I'm getting the dish.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

BSonline (989394) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941549)

Sorry about the huge paragraph. I keep forgetting to use the "br" tags.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

popeye44 (929152) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941738)

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/How_to_use_a_Motorola _DVR [wikibooks.org] I've had a motorola dvr for almost 2 years with comcast and I've had HDTV for 7 months. So far I'm pleased with all of it. However my first box did crash, Second box had HDMI but it wasn't setup correctly and I had no indicaction or manuals of how to make it work right. I took that box back and got a new one. The tech at comcast's office showed me how to access the more "pro/advanced" features and since then the new box has been excellent. When I first got the last box which I use now it was slow for a couple weeks. Now it's responsive and works much better. It's a much better box than some people give it credit for. I too am disgusted that I can't use anything but firewire to get video off it. However it's not critical for me as I tend to watch things and delete them.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942616)

Right now I have Time-Warner Cable TV (note: TWC is being taken over by Comcast). Used to have DirecTV in New Jersey, moved to Houston, TX, and decided to try TWC since they had their new DVR functionality.

In a word, TWC DVR's suck big time, especially compared to Tivo. The first units (we have two, both made by Scientific Atlantic) crashed frequently. When they weren't crashing, the sound would be frequently out of sync with the picture of a records show. After two weeks of that, we took the units back and got their newer, HDTV compatible models. The crashing is better (they've only crashed once in two weeks) but the recording is still bad. When recording two shows at the same time it is almost guaranteed that one will be messed up.

The worst thing (seriously, worse that the above) is that there is no search feature. None. You can browse, meaning you can page through list after list, and you can sort by channel or alphabetically by the name of the show, but that's it. With Tivo, you can create keyword searched, actor name searches, category searches, etc., and search out for about one month ahead. Without the ability to search and program recordings days or weeks before they are scheduled to air, the DVR is almost worthless.

Needless to say, I am switching back to DirecTV so that I can get my Tivo back. Because of my experience with TWC, I would have a great deal of skepticism about anyone else's so called DVR. Simply the ability to record a show to hard disk does not make a DVR.

comcast DVR comments (1)

e40 (448424) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943166)

A friend has a comcast (I have 2 DTivos). He regularly complains of things (shows being recorded that he did not ask for, shows not being recorded that he did ask for). He's one of the smartest people I know, so I doubt it's user error. He called customer support one evening. They said they'd look into it. What they did was remotely reset his box. Problem was, he already did it before and he was in the middle of recording some programs.

Re:it's a good start, (1)

annakin (994045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15945007)

Interoperability with EVERYTHING (including over the air (OTA)) broadcast has been and continues to be one of the biggest draws for me with TiVo, though there's many indications of providers trying to shut TiVo out. Sigh.

Maybe TiVo is shutting themselves out?

The first thing I noticed when using TiVo in late 2001 was that it needed dual-tuners. That only took 5 years.

Meanwhile, I first saw an HD DirecTivo over 2 years ago. Can you get an HD Tivo right now? Nope. Not out yet.

And when the series3 does come out, it's not going to have any HD inputs, so there goes your DVD player, your X-Box, your satellite tuner, and...come to think of it, your premium cable channels as well.

TiVo'ed? (2, Interesting)

ZPWeeks (990417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941260)

This isn't EchoStar, but could they nab DirecTV, too? It'd be a shame to launch something just to have it shot down. (that said, the EchoStar case *did* take EONS before a ruling.... and it's already been temporarily suspended...)

Re:TiVo'ed? (1)

guyjr (180613) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941293)

Nope... DTV and TiVo have a reciprocal agreement not to sue each other over patents. DTV still supports the older DTiVo boxes by not deactivating the service, while TiVo doesn't sue DTV. That's my understanding at any rate... get more info at www.tivocommunity.org

No ATSC for you, check back later! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15941295)

The ATSC Tuners....
Yes.. as of this moment, they are disabled.... I don't know why they are... all I know is they are. From what I have been told by the HR20 team... that they WILL be enabled, in a relatively short time frame... I was told a "month", but until the date is more solid... I'm not going to post it.


For this reason alone, I think Sony's DVR [cnet.com] is preferable.

Re:No ATSC for you, check back later! (2, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941455)

For this reason alone, I think Sony's DVR is preferable.

It's a Sony, so whatever you do don't plug it into your computer.

Re:No ATSC for you, check back later! (1)

bommai (889284) | more than 7 years ago | (#15944226)

I have this Sony HD-DVR and love it. It suits me best because I don't subscribe to cable or satellite. I have OTA antenna and this box gets its program guide through the local PBS analog carrier wave. There are no monthly fees. The interface I was told is not as elegant as Tivo but it works. I bought this box for $499 and it is mine to keep - there are no monthly fees and this box has amazing HD quality. It also has a cable card slot if I want to get encrypted cable. It has a QAM tuner for unencrypted cable. However, Sony has canceled this model and they have not replaced it with a newer one. I think there was not a big market for this because most people that want a DVR got them through satellite company or cable company. For me, this is not feasible because I don't want to subscribe for cable or satellite.

External SATA Hard Drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15941315)

The question on my mind is what penalty might exist for bringing your own video data storage along. Do hard drives attached to the external SATA ports suffers any penalties? Can they be swapped back and forth without losing any access to content? That is, are external SATA hard drives like VHS tapes so far as flexibility of swapping media?

Another question: Does DirecTV pull a TiVo and make content you have recorded on your purchased hardware expire?

Re:External SATA Hard Drives (1)

annakin (994045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15944953)

>Another question: Does DirecTV pull a TiVo and make content you have recorded on your purchased hardware expire?

On my series2, selecting "Keep until I delete" keeps it forever. So I'm not sure what you mean.

Directv doesn't have to worry about Tivo (1)

Araxen (561411) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941323)

IIRC, the terms of Directv's contract with Tivo is that they don't have to worry about being sued by Tivo for DVR tech.

Do the outputs work?` (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941348)

It doesn't say in the article, but I wonder if any of the outputs actually work. On my DVR (a Motorola), there is an ethernet jack, SATA port, USB ports and Firewire ports. The only one that works is one of the (two) Firewire ports.

Re:Do the outputs work?` (3, Informative)

ebonovic (996524) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941402)

All of the VIDEO/AUDIO outputs are enabled at all times. The eSATA is not enabled at this time The Ethernet is "powered" and initilized, but there is no communication on the network from the device. The USB ports are also not enabled. There are disucssions going on how to use the eSATA port to it's fullest. The Ethernet is going to be in part for the future use with BroadBand VOD The USB Ports are at least slated to be used with the future DirecTV2Go product (no eta on that though)

Let's hope the interface is better (2, Informative)

orson_of_fort_worth (871181) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941397)

As an owner of both a DirecTV Tivo unit and a DirecTV Plus DVR, I can attest to the fact that the Tivo's interface is miles ahead of DirecTV's homegrown option in terms of usability and features. My hope is this will improve over time.

Looking better all the time... (1)

TheRealStyro (233246) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941434)

This will be a nice DVR once they get all the features active and working. After that I may just have to reconsider getting the service with HD...At least until this HD-/BD-DVD drama plays out.

Tivo or DirecTV (2, Interesting)

turb (5673) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941467)

Now that this box is out is seems that many a DirecTV customer (including myself) is weighing their options and it seems to be coming down to two things:

1) Switch to cable and *HAVE* a choice of series 3 Tivo / build a Myth, etc....

or

2) Stick with DirecTV on hardware that's dictated to the customer, offered by a company with a less than stellar reputation for customer satisfaction.

Hmm is it any surprise that #1 seems to be the popular choice?

Looking at it deeper, when customers of DirecTV who have Tivo systems have been utilizing the programming, Tivo is effectively the interface to the TV for them now. It is well put together. It works. It's intuitive. Universally they like the interface. Even my non-technical wife is the same, and way back when we sunset our series 1 tivo I was told spot on, the only acceptable upgrade was something with Tivo, so getting an HR10-250 was a no brainer. (o darn!)

But as time went forward and the features of the series 2 Tivo have been kept out of DirecTV Tivo offerings, my displeasure with DirecTV has risen. I've always found it amazing that direcTV never enabled any of the home media capabilities even tho the Tivo hardware in our direcTV box could have done it. Customers begging for it, begging to pay for it even ... and they say no?

When it comes down to it, one can get the same programming as DirecTV over cable. The cable companies on account of the FCC and the cable card standard effectively have to play nice with the Series 3 Tivo or other hardware. The cable card standard has enabled choice.

DirecTV ... well if they are effectively going to force folks away from the well loved Tivo enabled hardware and only allow people to use the "one true hardware" that comes down to them from DirecTV, then they are going to force me and many others away as customers. As with many things it's about choice. The world of cable has choice, DirecTV does not. No Tivo choice, then it really starts to add up to a great big 'screw'em' sort of result for DirecTV as they switch over to MPEG4 and sunset their older hardware.

Companies that take this sort of brutal approach and ignore their customers like that just don't survive for long in today's world. It's another great example of open vs closed, and yet again, open wins.

Maybe they will get it right this time, maybe not (2, Informative)

Sithech (858269) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941621)

TFA shows (between the lines) how poor the programming is in the current DTV-+ box compared with the old DirecTivo. DirecTV's proprietary unit became our only choice after the DirecTivo died - and that meant:
  • Having to reboot at least once a week because of system freezes
  • Losing the ability to select between first run, re-run, or all episodes of a series
  • A lagging and unresponsive playback interface
  • No ability to see the title of a series episode unless you have more than one recorded
  • Frequently being told that you can't ask for something to be recorded because the 'list is full' of things automatically set to record in two weeks
  • Tech support whose only answer is 'press reset'.
Maybe they will update the software on our boxes to fix these (finally) if they have done it in their HD box. My advice is - get the Tivo HD DirecTV box if it's still available before DirecTV sticky you with only their own proprietary choice.

Re:Tivo or DirecTV (1)

carlivar (119811) | more than 7 years ago | (#15944991)

When it comes down to it, one can get the same programming as DirecTV over cable.

No you can't. Not if you want to follow your favorite out-of-market NFL team. DirecTV has the exclusive NFL license. To watch my Chicago Bears I am stuck with DirecTV. They know this and it is why they pay oodles of money for the license.

Ethernet port? (2, Insightful)

tji (74570) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941547)

An ethernet port gives all sorts of interesting possibilities.. I wonder what they have planned for this?

How about:

- Content sharing to other DirecTV devices. My primary TV is downstairs, I would like a small satellite HD playback unit that can access content on the main DVR (don't the Moxi DVRs do this?).
- PC integration, access music and photos from my PC for display/playback through my HDTV+Stereo.
- Basic internet access via unit, WWW browser for display on HDTV.. sometimes this could be handy.
- Access guide data, firmware updates, PPV requests, and other DirecTV content via the Internet. This could eliminate the need for a phone connection to the unit.
- Additional storage on network (NFS, SMB) drives. Store content encrypted.

Somehow, I doubt they will be as aggressive as I'm hoping.

Re:Ethernet port? (1)

ebonovic (996524) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941820)

FYI: The Guide Data and the Software Updates are all done via the SAT connection... no phone connection needed for those.
PPV via remote still needs the phone, but you can also purbahse via the website. (and if you do that you can watch the PPV on any of your receivers)

Re:Ethernet port? (1)

coop247 (974899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942252)

Ok, so you're saying the only need for the phone line is when ordering movies, no other time (my phone line isn't close to the TV)? Can the ethernet port be used as an alternative to the phone line? Does the ethernet work, or have any purpose?

I realize DTv claims weather has no effect on the signal, but in Cleveland we can get some pretty good snow storms, have you ever had any problems?

Good review, I started looking at DTv when Adelphia got bought out and they took away my NFL network. Thanks for the help.

Re:Ethernet port? (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942691)

I realize DTv claims weather has no effect on the signal, but in Cleveland we can get some pretty good snow storms, have you ever had any problems?

Snow build up on the dish can be a problem, especially wet snow. Personally, I keep a spare ice scraper around in the winter although I'm sure you can buy a heater or rig something up with heat tape if you want.

 

Re:Ethernet port? (1)

ebonovic (996524) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943822)

Right now, no the Ethernet can't be used to completely replace the phone line (regarding PPVs).

The phone is used by DirecTV to validate location of the box (making sure it is on the phone line as your main box, for mirroring requirements... however as far as I know... it has been a LONG time since they have regularly done that).

Weather does have an issue... but in "general" non-freakish storms should little to no effect on your signal.
In Chicago during the winter we occasionally get that "wet slush" snow, that sticks to everything and just builds up.... during those storms I usually have to go out and brush the dish off... maybe once a season at best.

Som really really hard rain storms will block the signal too, especially if is a major "lighting/electrical" storm as well.

Re:Ethernet port? (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#15944189)

Weather should not be an issue at all with your satellite reception, provided the installation was done correctly. Here in Texas, we call some of our storms "Texas Turd Floaters", since some downpours will pretty much float your car down the street to the nearest gutter drain. I have to wear my shades at night while watching TV sometimes as the lightning flashes around the uncovered window edges. And I've never lost my sat reception.

More than likely, your dish was never peaked properly to the number of satellites carrying your programs. On sats 110 and 119 you should have at least a signal strength of 90 or above. For the HD sat programming (mine is 129 but other providers probably mirror on other sats), 75 is pretty damn good but you should get at least get 60. I also use an HD antennae for the local HD broadcasts. Also, the LNB(s) used on your dish will affect your quality of service as well. Some even go bad over time and need to be replaced. Sometimes, even the wrong combination of LNB(s) and number of dishes were used in the installation. I have 1 dual (1 sat) and 1 twin LNB (2 sats) which bring in the 129, 110 and 119 respectively. Some installers will use 3 1 sat LNB(s) on the same dish when they should have put up another dish and peaked the 129 separately from the 110 and 119. That's why some people lose some channels but other programs remain at times (like in inclement weather and such).

Either way, if anyone is having sat reception problems in general, call your dish support and have them peak the dish(s) properly or replace a diplexer (which combines 2 sat signals into 1 for the receiver) which go bad sometimes too. Line of sight for the dish might be ok during a winter install, but changes quite a bit in the summer when foliage grows back and a brisk wind knocks the trees around. Also, tell them to properly ground your dish if not done so already.

Re:Ethernet port? (1)

coop247 (974899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942444)

One more question. I didn't see this mentioned in the article, but can you record two shows at the same time and/or record one show while watching another? Specifically can you do this when both shows are in HD? My cable HDDVR can do this and it's very nice.

Thanks.

Re:Ethernet port? (1)

ebonovic (996524) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943828)

Most definently.. You can record 2 HD, record 1 HD and 1 SD, recod 2 SD.... all at the same time as watching something that already has been recorded. You can also record 1 HD or 1 SD, and watch an HD or SD live at the same time

Re:Ethernet port? (4, Interesting)

PoitNarf (160194) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941949)

From what I have been reading in the forums, they are planning on doing some interesting stuff with the ethernet connectivity.

* VOD via Internet (handy since it's pretty hard to implement through Sats)
* There is PC integration planned with Windows Media Center and Vista
* There is a content sharing schema in the works. It's called the HMC (Home Media Center). It will consist of a server device which is connected to the phone line. All of the receiver nodes will communicate with the server to access stored content. All the receivers will also only need 1 coax connection to the server.

Re:Ethernet port? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15942053)

No comment ;-)

AC because of slashdot anti-disabled policy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15941557)

does knep mbEH BEH vor

fyeh gasp
 

mngggg
 


vor

vor

VOR

--

BIS!?!!

Re:AC because of slashdot anti-disabled policy (3, Funny)

chefmonkey (140671) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941659)

How did you get ahold of the Vista speech recognition technology? I thought that was still in internal trials at Microsoft...

Re:AC because of slashdot anti-disabled policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15941761)

He's running Mac OS 9.

Big Deal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15941576)

I got an HD-DVR from my cable company months ago (Scientific Atlanta 8300HD). Plus I can add an external hard drive to mine (400 GB).

Nothing New (1)

Evets (629327) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941626)

The feature set does not sound any different than the HDTivo that I've had for years. It does sound like the user interface has been upgraded, but nothing that would make me or anyone else that has an HDTivo upgrade. Even the capacity is the same. How is this news?

Re:Nothing New (1)

NSIM (953498) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943786)

What's different is that this device supports the new MPEG4 sattelites which is how DirecTV will deliver new HD content and give you access to local stations HD feeds without requiring OTA. The TIVO based DVR only supports the older DTV sattelites and cannot be upgraded because of the change from MPEG2 to MPEG4 encoding with the new sattelites. I'm going to wait and see whether DTV offers new HD channels that I actually care about before I make any change as I can get all my locals in HD already and the HD content available on the sattelites is rather underwhelming at the moment.

Tivo Series 3 won't be able to work with Directv (1)

unsmashed (530825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941652)

It looks like this will be the only option to record the MPEG4 HD shows on Directv. Looking at the back of the Tivo Series 3 - http://www.zatznotfunny.com/PSN/Series3-back-3.JPG [zatznotfunny.com] - there is no way to bring in an existing high definition signal. Directv is moving to MPEG4, and are slowly squeezing Tivo out of existence with them. If I were Tivo, I would make sure that my Tivo Series 3 box can have a HD input (HDMI input?) so all the Tivo diehards (which I am one - I have 3 Tivos in my house all networked together on a HAN (Home area network - hah!)) can still have the Tivo interface they've come to love, while supporting Directv as they evolve. Tivo forever! ... (unless it doesn't work with the MPEG4 Directv equipment... *cry*) Anyone else have an idea how we can feed Directv w/ HD into the Tivo Series 3's?

nice jpeg (1)

annakin (994045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15944937)

Hahaha. I just looked at that jpeg of the series 3. The only input is coax?! Not even yellow RCA? They must have done that on purpose.

Re:Tivo Series 3 won't be able to work with Direct (1)

syates21 (78378) | more than 7 years ago | (#15946047)

The short answer to how do you do "HD-in" is that you don't. I'm not aware of any consumer-grade offering that can take a raw, uncompressed HD signal like you get with component video, DVI, or HDMI going to you TV and do anything useful with it. All the existing boxes I've ever seen worked with compressed signals. I think the data-rate on raw DVI video is still prohibitive.

DirectTV just lost my business because of this (3, Interesting)

FatherOfONe (515801) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941699)

I just moved and was evaluating between the big three and I was a DirectTV customer for 8 years and a DirectTV (low def) Tivo customer for 3 years.

I would LOVE to have stayed with DirectTV, but the fact that they severed their deal with TIVO and will NEVER upgrade their current HD/TIVO box killed the deal. I honestly don't care what this guys says in his review, the difference is significant and it is like comparing a Honda to a BMW. Yes they both have similar features, but you are either a Honda guy or not. The Honda guys will say all day long that their car is feature for feature as good, but they don't own a BMW.

So that left me with Cable and their DVR; in hopes that the Series 3 will be out soon. After working with this giant piece of crap for a month now, I can say that I am counting the days until the new Tivo series 3 comes out.

Now as far a cable VS sat goes, I can say that even Digital cable isn't near the quality of signal that my DirectTV signal was. The cable "fans" seem to disagree saying that "digital is digital" but that isn't the case for me. In my opinion, and I am willing to show just about anyone this; the quality kind of breaks down like this. (10 being the best).
1080P signal with BluRay input = 10
1080i or 720p signal input = 7
HD station on cable in standard format, normal DirectTV signal or good DVD (LOTR) = 6
Digital Cable = 4
Standard Cable = 3

Again, this is my opinion, but EVERYONE I have had over to look at this tends to agree. I still have my old TIVO and some stuff on it to compare so it makes it somewhat easy to compare the signals. What would have made me happy and I would have paid far more money for it would have been if DirectTV would not have killed their deal with TIVO. Also, it would have been great if they would have started to offer more HD content. But for some reason they decided to partner with Microsoft... I hope that works out for them as well as it has for every other company that has partnered with Microsoft...

Lastly, I don't want to hear how this "new" device is "just like or better" than a TIVO. That is your opinion, and if so then that is great for you. DirectTV just lost me as a customer for it, and everyone I can influence will never use them for service again.

Re:DirectTV just lost my business because of this (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941973)

I would LOVE to have stayed with DirectTV, but the fact that they severed their deal with TIVO and will NEVER upgrade their current HD/TIVO box killed the deal. I honestly don't care what this guys says in his review, the difference is significant and it is like comparing a Honda to a BMW. Yes they both have similar features, but you are either a Honda guy or not. The Honda guys will say all day long that their car is feature for feature as good, but they don't own a BMW.


Yes, I'd have to hear raves from real TiVo owners to be convinced to switch to any other model DVR. I have the 10-250, and can pull in the local HD channels via a rooftop antenna (a little more weather susceptible than my satellite signal, but pretty good), so I'll stick with DirecTV until I can get a two-tuner HD TiVo for cable (either a Series III or Comcast's TiVo deal). Then it's "goodbye, DirecTV." I'd probably have been willing to stick with DirecTV longer, but the failure to roll out TiVo upgrades has soured me on DirecTV.

Directv HD can't match cable or OTA HD (1)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942018)

Well each cable company many do something different with regards to how it handles digital, but with Comcast Digital Cable in my area, the quality of the standard def digital stations is just as good as Directv or better; blocking and artifacts are evident on both (usually dependant on the channel as some channels are better than others on both systems. When it comes to HD content, Directv and its not so hi-def signals are left way behind with what I can get OTA and via cable. If it were not for NFLST, there would be no need for Directv IMHO.

Still missing the most needed feature... (1, Informative)

timecop (16217) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942306)

That is 5C-enabled firewire ports to allow archiving contents off the DVR.
What good is a 500? or whatever GB box when the only way to add new content to it is delete old recordings.
What if you want to save a show, the only choice is analog (SD) output, what a waste.

is it just me or does it looks cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15942330)

come on, for something nice and expensive get some better designers. it looks like some cheap chinese knockoff product.

false info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15942361)

take all he has to say with a grain of salt.

e does review not to help, nut to further hisown hidden ambitions, vveeerrryyy low.

http://digg.com/hardware/New_Directv_HD_DVR_finall y_released [digg.com]

false (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15942401)

take all he has to say with a grain of salt.

does review not to help, but to further his own hidden ambitions,(free stuff job etc) vveeerrryyy low.

if was honest about his agenda then it be ok, but he is not, so it is not ok

http://digg.com/hardware/New_Directv_HD_DVR_finall [digg.com] y_released [digg.com]

No Wishlist functionality no PIP (1)

toy4two (655025) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942585)

I would think this most basic feature of my old TIVO would be "cloned" on the HR20. I like to just type in the name of my favorite sports team and have the box collect all the specials, games, and news I want. I also like typing in Robert DeNiro and have it go out and find all his movies, then also capture all shows that review cars. Huge let down it doesn't have this. Minor let down is they STILL haven't included Picture in a Picture like the Ultimate TV boxes had years ago.

Re:No Wishlist functionality no PIP (1)

dspyder (563303) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943259)

I thought I would miss PIP from the UTV a lot more than I actually have. I'd gladly lose that to gain HMO, TivoToGo, etc. What I was watching in the PIP I can just record and skip through it when I want.

Best thing I like about Tivo is being able to get at the data I'm recording. Not to sound like an open source zealot (it pains me to agree with them), but a closed system will just make me feel locked in and limited.

I would like multiple outputs like some of the DishPVRs have. Although if HMO is quick enough over wireless (doubt it will be even with MPEG4) I could survive.

LA only? (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943968)

When I called DirecTV, they told me that this unit was currently only available in Los Angeles, and sometime "soon" elsewhere, though they did not have a date.

Capacity upgrades (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15944144)

To me, one of the most important factors in a DVR is if I can expand the capacity. I've done it with my Tivo and my DirectTivo. What are the chances of being able to install a larger SATA drive in this unit? Also, having a single 'live' buffer would probably be a deal killer for me; dual live buffers are an essential feature in my DirecTivo.

Obligatory MythTV post (1)

potuncle (583651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15944877)

I know MythTV (http:llwww.mythtv.org) isn't for everyone, but nowadays just about any linux n00b can get one running perfectly without all too much effort. Take a look at KnoppMyth (http://www.mysettopbox.tv/knoppmyth.html). For me it ran/installed straight off the CD and gave me a working ASTC MythTV box in a couple of hours. I've never paid for cable or sattelite, I just use a rooftop antenna and get all my local channels in HD. I like the complete lack of DRM with MythTV. I can burn anything in full quality to DVD if I want to. Automatic commercial skipping works very well for me.

Re:Obligatory MythTV post (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#15949938)

Its also a useless MythTV post... as MythTV (as it will forever be) doesn't compare to this box, since it neither does DirecTV SD, MPEG2 or MPEG4 programming.

Its comparing apples to... um... a loaf of bread. Both might be food, but not even close to the same thing.

Its just like everyone who mentions MythTV when Tivo S3 comes up -- not applicable. MythTV is great if you live in a city, have limited channels you watch or don't own an HD set. But its pretty much worthless if you need digital cable, satellite or get your HD anywhere but OTA. Which is, of course, virtually everyone.

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