Pros A Nice HD Picture
Cons Numerious Shortcomings
Summary I made the major mistake of "updating" from Direc TV / Tivo HR10-250 to the new HR20. I am hugely sorry. This is hardly an upgrade. I would go back in a flash if I could.
These new units have multi problems in addition to a much less friendly user interface.
Things that are supossed to record do sometimes and don't at other times. I will have a show displayed as recored on my list only to find a blank gray screen when I try to play it. At that point fast forward is disabled
Trying to fast forward or reverse through a recorded program requires much patience. It is terribly slow and periodically locks up.
Fast forwarding commercials is also a challenge. Even on setting three it apppears slower than on my old unit. The HR 10 had a feature that when you stoppped the fast forward that it skipped back slightly. This was usefull. The HR20 skips forward (or in reverse skip further back). Therefore, you can have it skip a minute or two into the show. So you back up a hair onlt to have it skip and now you again have six commmericail to view.
This is a terrible PVR, Direc TV should be emabarassed. I recommmend waiting to see if this get resolved before buying this unit. If you own an HR10-250 don't even think about making a change.Updated
I was just informed that DirecTV has launched a new satellite which will provide a 100 new HD channels but, unfortunately, will changing to an HR 20. I'm concerned.
I, previously, purchased an HR 20 and tried for four weeks to make the adjustment for the previous HR10-250 TIVO based system. The problems that I encountered are too numerious to outline here (please read the other reviews) (ignore the occassional good review. I am very suspiciuos about who wrote these reviews and who they work for).
I finally junked my HR 250 and went back to the TIVO based HR10 as it appears many others did also.
But, the new satellite will require the switch to the HR20. I guess I am going to be forced to make a radical change. After being a DirecTV customer for many years, I am in the process of deciding between Dish Network or giving up my dish and going to cable. I realize that both will have less HD programing, but I will not be forced to again experience the frustration of the HR 20. There is no way I will do that.
Take it from someone who has tried this, the HR20 is worse than terrible. Maybe if DirecTV starts seeing major desertions from long term customers, they will wake up and do something about this. I know they had financial disagreements with TIVO but they should fugure out that it may be smarter to "kiss and make up" with TIVO and again produce a quality, user friendly, product than to continue tring to push this terrible HR20 on customers and in the process creating more and more customer dissatifaction.
Doesn't any one from DirecTV monitor sites like this to get customer feedback?
Pros Supports MPEG4, Remote is RF capable, Big HDD at 400GB, Nice assortment of connections
Cons No TiVo interface, Very very slow boot (from first power on), noisy fans and drive acoustics, Funky LEDs (may be a pro if you like it)
Summary The receiver uses the exact same "Advanced Programming Guide" interface as the other current generation DirecTV receivers with the addition of the DVR. The box itself is a tad wider and a tad thinner than the older model (HR10-250). The remote is now the same DirecTV remote with the white face and black rubber backing. This has RF mode so you can change the channels without having line -of-sight.
The biggest difference is the non-TiVo interface. I find that the new interface is suppose to be more easy to learn, but it is not as user-friendly. The feature set is almost "verbatum" from TiVo. Even the record start time and end time options are the same.
I like how the receiver has eSATA, USB, and Ethernet. If you connect the receiver to your network, the receiver will get a DHCP IP address, but at the moment that feature is pointless. There is also a 30 second skip feature, but not the same as the one on the TiVo. For example, when you select it, it basically fast-fowards the video by 30 seconds, not an instant jump. With regard to the 15 minute markers on the TiVo interface that can be skip to and fro, well on the DirecTV interface, you can't skip like that. You can only fast-foward upto 3x.
The hard drive is very nice. It is a Seagate 400GB 7200RPM drive on SATA. This might be why the receiver is very noisy especially when you are watching or recording video.
Finally, the system is very slow at boot up from a cold start, but warm boot (from standby) is fast. Switching between channels there is a one second lag with about another 1 second lag before sound comes in. I use the optical output, so I don't know if the lag occurs on the RCA stereo. There is no digital coaxial output, only optical output. The HDMI is HDCP capable, but the component output is also full-resolution, so if you don't HDCP you can use component. The resolutions you can select are 480i, 480p, 720i, 720p, and 1080i.
I almost forgot, the LEDs. There is a circular arrangement of blue LEDs right smack in the middle of the receiver where it the up-down-left-right-select buttons are. The lights either rotate lighting clockwise for fast-foward, counter-clockwise for rewiding, pulse during pause, or constant lighting otherwise. It really a matter of personal preference, but I think its annoying especially if you are in a darkened room watching movie. You cannot turn the feature off.
One final note, the receiver is nice update, but a downgrade in the sense that it has a crappy recording interface (takes learning time).
Pros Local HD Channels, Great Picture Quality, Faster Guide & Menus, Great 5.1 Sound, Standard Def Channels Are Clearer, & Great Natural Colors
Cons See Missing Features Link Below
Summary Here are some resources that may help you:
HR20 Installation Tips:
HR20 Tips & Tricks:
TiVo to HR-20 Survival Guide
Missing Features Ranked by Users:
Please note that many had problems with the initial software release in the first units that shipped. After 4 updates since September 2006, performance and reliabillity are much better.
Pros Not a single one
Cons Unreliable, unreliable, and unreliable
Summary David Katzmaier not only gave this product a 7.4 out of 10, he later had the gall to defend that rating. In that defense, he said: "The HR20 I've been using these past four months has functioned well, for the most part. It has missed a few recordings; it recorded a blank black screen a couple of times; and recently, it started experiencing audio and video dropouts, which, in a couple of cases, have made the program unwatchable."
This is a 7.4 product? No. What this is is a completely unacceptable product. My reliable HR10-250 suffers from very very rare audio dropouts, and otherwise works flawlessly. It is a good product. The HR20 is a boat anchor in comparison, and the fact that DirecTV is only a few months away from forcing it down everyone's throat, without even bothering to fix the huge list of bugs, is unconscionable. The fact that CNET's reviewer did not give the product the hammering that it obviously deserves has shaken my faith in what I have, until now, considered one of the most reliable review sources on the Internet.
"Huge disappointment"on by grwacw
Pros Absolutely None
Cons Locks up, not user friendly, UHF Antenna unavailable, the list goes on
Summary I have two HR10-250 receivers which are slow, but very user friendly. The HR20 is not user friendly and one of the biggest faults is the inability to swap tuners without retaining the last 30-45 minutes of programming - a real pain. The HR20 locks up constantly and needs to be reset - another five minutes per bootup. Also the literature says you can use a UHF Antenna with the HR20 but that is not true - in the set up menu the "Satellite-Antenna" choice is grayed out. I called Directv and they told me that this software upgrade will be available soon - like I believe that. Directv had the HR10-250 right in front of them and still failed with the HR20. It is horrible.