"Disappointing loss of key functionality"1.5 starson by stevelisadez
Pros: Recorded program list. Easy to delete recorded programs.
Cons: Only 1 live buffer, FF/Rew inconsistent, choppy and hard to place accurately in the program.
Summary: After 2 weeks using the new HR20, I switched back to my older HR10. DirecTV chose to eliminate the dual live buffers which is, in my opinion, the single best feature of the TiVO based DVR's. TiVO based units also had a great FF/REW feature which adjusts for speed and reaction by backing up slightly when the Play button is pushed, accurately getting to the point in the program where you want to be. These two features of the TiVO units made the receiver very nice to use. DirecTV eliminated both with the HR20. The FF/Rew on the HR20 gets nearly impossible to use when the unit is doing anyting else at the same time. If the unit is multitasking (recording another program, down-loading data, etc.) while you're trying to use FF/Rew, knowing when to push the PLAY button is guess-work. The unit will jump ahead in the program (back if in Rew.) anywhere from 20 seconds to 2 minutes from the point you push play to the point the program resumes at normal speed. In addition, the FF/Rew speeds are noticably slower in the HR20 than the HR10. Sometimes (not all the time, which is disturbing in itself) the HR20 FF is just bearly faster than normal sppeds. The HR20 has no way to skip ahead in a recorded program or live buffer. There is 30-second FF and the 3 speeds of FF/Rew, but you can not jump ahead to the "tick marks". You can not jump to the end. You can not jump to the begining. With the TiVo based unit it was possible to "watch" a program while in the single-speed FF. Thsi was nice for getting through a sports program where sound wasn't necessary time was limited. The poor picture quality during FF and jumpyness of the HR20's FF does not allow this.
2 functions in the HR20 owners manual don't work: Dimming of the front panel lights and the "Channels I Get" list. Reception via off-air anteanna has been disabled.
HR20 requires 2 button pushes on the remote to get to the program guide. If there is any single function that should be accessed with a single button, it's the program guide.
HR20 has Caller ID which is nice, but deleting entries in the log is a pain. Deleteing 1 entry requires 5 clicks on the remote. The unit then goes back to live TV. Each subsequent entry to delete starts from sratch. If you've go 5 entries in the caler ID log to delete, that would require 5 x 5 remote "clicks". Why the system doesn't go back to the log after a delete is beyond me.
There are several minor inconviences in the programming that could be over-looked or considered "O.K." in exchange for some of the minor benefits like the nicer recorded program list and book-marks. The lack of dual live tuners and a FF/Rew function that does not work well, however, makes this unit a poor substitute for the HR10. Unfortunately for me, the HR10 can not get my local channels through DirecTV, and I'm too far from the networks to get them consistently over-the-air. DirecTV has forced me to chose between a sub-standard receiver and HD locals channels. For now, I've chosen Standard Definition locals and the TiVo based receiver. Hopefully, DirecTV will improve the HR20 programming soon.
It seems to me that DirecTV did not bother to get user feedback before releasing the system. Or, perhaps they got the feedback and chose to disappoint their customers.
Bottom line: Unless you absolutely NEED local channels in HD and the HR20 is the ONLY way to get them, don't even consider the HR20.