Pros Good PQ, small footprint, Decent GUI
Cons Misses recordings, audio dropouts.
Summary Well, I've owned this box for three weeks, and already three software updates in the middle of the night. Biggest problem/issue: It will record a show, but when you go to play it, it freezes up at a black screen with the counter along the bottom stuck at 0:00. It's a known issue, along with others (just check out www.dbstalk.com for details). The latest software update, 10/4, release notes say they "black screen of death" isn't even fixed yet, but it should happen less. How can you release a piece of hardware that requires three software updates in three weeks? Didn't someone beta test it? And this is a machine that has been delayed for months during 2005 and 2006. They should have stayed with Tivo for their software, rather than giving the money to NDS, which also is owned by Murdoch.
David, trust me when I say that there are a lot of unhappy Directv customers out there regarding the HR-20 glitches so far. Granted, when it works, it's great. But if a DVR can't record a program and let you watch it 99-100 percent of the time, it's really not a DVR. At least not yet.Updated
Directv continues to download firmware fixes/upgrades to the HR20, and mine is now working (fingers crossed). But others are reporting ongoing reliability issues (on www.dbstalk.com). Today, Directv began its latest firmware update, and this one finally unlocks the over-the-air tuner (which had been disabled). There are several other "fixes" and some great new features (that get into Tivo territory). Still missing: Dual buffers so you can pause one show and watch another, and vice versa. Not sure if it will be added, but if they get the reliability issue really fixed for everyone, and the OTA and new features work, then this will be a winner. But so far, in 4 months, it's not there yet. Interesting to see how this will all shake out with yesterday's announcement that News Corp. is trading Directv to Liberty Media. Have no idea if Liberty will continue to use News Corps. DVR strategy, or look to other strategies (maybe reconnecting with Tivo?). Anyway, as I said initially, of this DVR becomes reliable, I think it can be a winner. The jury is still out, but the verdict looks more favorable than back in September.
Pros Records DirecTV MPEG4 channels
Cons No Over-theAir Capability Yet, Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
Summary DirecTV brought this HD-DVR Out loaded with software bugs that even Bill Gates would be ashamed of! Now DirecTV subscribers who lease this box are the beta testers for DirecTV. There have been four software updates in the last month. Some day it MAY be a reliable and dependable DVR, but now you will have to put up with a less than reliable product. If you have an H10-250 and can receive your local HD channels OTA, stay away from this DirecTV beta product until things stabilize.
Pros There are none that I can find
Cons The manufacturer of this machine should be fired and sued
Summary Ok, 105 of us as of today. You need to email the CEO of the company and tell him about it. I have his email and I have been in touch with him and am still waiting for a replacement for this unit/. It is trouble every single day with something different and the engineers cannot fix it.
So write immediately to
Be polite but firm. This is a damn disgrace.
I have had 6 count em units and have had direct tv people at my home on 10 different occasions. they changed the antenna, the wiring and the units every time and still can't figure it out.
They are a public company and I do not yet want to go public with this. But I will if we do not get satisfaction within the next two weeks.
At that time I will have a list of all of the financial people who track the company.
This is inexcusable.
Pros Fast program searches, functional interface, easier full-season recording
Cons Lackluster interface, documentation
Summary I've only been using the HR20 for a couple of days so far, but I've easily set up all my season program settings and fully tested all the DVR features. For the most part, it was necessary to do so just to learn how everything works, since it is quite different from the older Tivo interfaces.
The interface is just a plain blue, instead of the nice animated graphic backgrounds used on Tivo's interface. This is kind of a trivial point, since it doesn't affect the use at all. In fact, I think this interface is a little easier to get around in. I guess for the $300 I paid at Best Buy (lease price), a plain interface is just fine. From what I understand, the comparable Tivo unit is more than twice the price.
The documentation needs improvement. There is very little to help you learn how to use all the DVR features and the differences between recording single shows and full seasons, and nothing to explain differences from Tivo, which would be nice since I can see many people changing over because of the value. I found out after speaking to someone at Directv while activating the card, that they now have a channel 1000 which shows how to do many tasks and tricks. This is ok, but it would be nice if they put more of this into the getting started guide.
Setting it up was easy enough. I was up and running in 10 minutes or less. Within 12 hours, the DVR menu had all future programming available, but it does take awhile before many shows become available. Before that point, you may not be able to set up some season show recordings, since it takes awhile for the guide to fully update. A couple of shows I could not find were there the morning after setup.
The storage capacity/recording time is excellent, and I have not run into anything that doesn't meet or exceed expectations other than the visual appearance of the interface. I'd highly recommend this unit to anyone wanting a great HD DVR.
Pros Picture looks good. Interface isn't that hard to understand.
Cons Buggy behaviors, no cool Internet or networking options like Tivo, first boxes were dead.
Summary This has been a frustrating and disappointing expereience.
The first 3 boxes were dead on arrival... the installer spent over a day at our house (bless his heart).
The HDMI output is buggy... sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The HDMI cable and TV have been tested with a DVD player and they are not the cause.
Playback of recorded video is often out of synch with the video.
The thing is not as smart as Tivo, recording all episodes of a show when told only to record new ones.
Overally, I feel like I am a beta-tester on something I paid good $$$ for.