"Don't buy this device!!"0.5 starson by Eric Allen
Pros: Records HD programs (sometimes).
Cons: Often freezes up. Often fails to record programs.
Summary: Before buying this device, I was a TiVo owner for 8 years. Not once in that time did my TiVo ever freeze up on me, nor did it ever fail to record a program it was scheduled to record. But in just 4 months time, DirecTV's HD DVR has managed to do both of these things repeatedly.
Sometimes, doing something as simple as rewinding live TV will cause the TV image displayed to freeze, with no way to unfreeze it other than turning the device off and back on (which, of course, flushes the live TV cache).
Other times, the device will silently fail to record shows. When it does this, it still lists the "recording" in the program menu; there is no way of knowing that the show was not actually recorded until one tries to play it. My wife spent a good deal of time talking with DirecTV support staff about this problem, and it is apparently caused by buggy "software updates" DirecTV sends to the device from time to time. Once the device receives such an update, and begins to drop scheduled recordings, the only way to fix the problem is to perform a 10+ minute reboot. After the reboot, new shows are again recorded properly (until the next software update) but the programs it failed to record are lost. Moreover, there's no way to know when DirecTV will choose to spam your device with yet another software update; they give you no warning. Having had a TiVo for so long, I have grown accustomed to recording all shows and watching them time-shifted rather than watching live TV. The fact that this device does not record reliably makes it almost unusable for me.
What's more, when setting a season pass for a show played on both HD and non-HD channels, there is no way to instruct the device to record only HD versions of a show! It'll often record an episode on a non-HD channel and ignore the same episode when it appears on an HD channel!
I have been a subscriber of DirecTV for several years, and I was quite satisfied when I had a DirecTiVo unit. Because of my horrible experience with this new device, I am saving up for an HD TiVo and switching to digital cable as soon as possible. The HD TiVo price tag is high, but given the competition, I can see how TiVo gets away with it. I used to love DirecTV, but it is simply inexcusable that they ever allowed this device to ship. They really should have kept their partnership with TiVo. If you are thinking of switching to an HD DVR and you don't want to pay for the HD TiVo, you'd be better off sticking with your old DVR than buying this thing.