"Does the job, but at a cost"3.5 starson by ranron
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).