"Quite a change from Tivo, but a competent HD DVR"4.0 starson by dcis_steve
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.