"Plethora of software bugs makes it all but unusable"1.0 starson by yadba
Pros: Great picture when viewing (limited) HD content
Cons: Bugs, bugs, bugs; 1 live buffer for 2 tuners; cumbersome user interface
Summary: I obtained a DirecTV HR20-700 receiver from Best Buy in early October. If I knew then what I know now about this receiver, I would not have done so. The box should have had "BETA UNIT" printed in large block letters on it.
I talked to DirecTV before I bought the HR20, and they assured me that it was a good, stable unit. Ha! I should have looked here first, but that was almost two months ago, and there would not have been a lot of postings yet. Potential buyers, take heed.
I have called tech support numerous times about problems with this receiver. I was told that DirecTV was aware of the problems, and was working on software upgrades, but was not given a release date.
At one point, I was sent a replacement receiver. That didn't help though, because the HR20's major problems are with its software, not its hardware (I can't help but wonder if DirecTV has their programming done off shore). Luckily, the 90-day "warranty" hadn't expired, so THIS TIME I didn't have to pay shipping charges to replace a bug-ridden receiver that technically belongs to DirecTV.
The BIGGEST (but hardly the only) problem with the HR20 seems to be with the ToDo list. It NEVER accurately shows what is scheduled to record, and often does not record the shows I have scheduled. Sometimes the orange light on the front panel indicates that it's recording something, but I can't figure out WHAT it's recording -- nothing shows in MyVOD or ToDo. The recent time change threw the ENTIRE schedule off by an hour.
I have to RESET the receiver frequently (several times a week), as it becomes unresponsive to commands from the remote and/or front panel. Or the picture goes blank. After resetting, the guide takes 24-48 hours to rebuild completely.
The "Channels I Get" feature has not been implemented yet.
Audio and video get out of sync. Sometimes, the audio starts dropping out every 5-10 seconds. After rewinding or fast forwarding, there is a noticeable delay before the audio kicks in.
On the subject scanning forward and backward, the HR20's definition of "fast" is anything but, even after pressing the buttons three times. And the 30-second "commercial skip" is nothing but a pre-programmed 30-second "fast" forward (not an instant jump like Dish Network's DVR).
In addition to the HR20's bugs, I am also very disappointed in its user interface. Many of this receiver's features are cumbersome to use. You have to press the "Guide" button TWICE before you actually get to the channel guide. The guide only shows 6 rows at a time. There are only TWO Favorites lists, and they are tedious to switch between. There is little, if any, customization available. In some places, the "Exit" key doesn't exit, but works instead like the "Back" key. And so on...
I noticed comments in other postings about the HDMI port going bad. I have not experienced that particular problem (yet), but it might explain something the installer told me when the system was installed. She claimed that connecting the receiver to a high definition TV using the (supplied) component/YPbPr(G,R,B) cables was preferable to using an (unsupplied) HDMI cable, because "those HDMI cables always 'go bad' on me". At the time, I thought that was an odd statement, and I of course used the far superior HDMI cable anyway, but it makes me think it might have been the receivers, not the cables, that had gone bad on her.
This weekend, I got sick and tired of dealing with the HR20's bugs. I deactivated it, and went back to the stability of the TiVo SIR-S4080R that I was using before the HR20 nightmare began. It's great to have the smooth, easy-to-use interface back, and the dual tuner buffers (accessed via the "Live TV" key). The only thing I didn't miss was TiVo's Thumbs Up/Down buttons (does anybody use these?).
Until its numerous bugs are resolved, I consider the HR20 all but unusable.
As a result of my HR20 experience, I am on the verge of terminating my long-standing relationship with DirecTV, and switching to Dish Network. I do plan to check for user reviews of Dish Network's ViP622 receiver first!
DirecTV should be ashamed of themselves for foisting this product on consumers before it had been tested. It would serve them right if thousands of other loyal customers also dumped them as a result.