"This DVR Sucks"on by robeerski
Pros Screen Saver
Cons Lockups, Software Problems, Crappy Guide, Very slow Menus, Only one live TV buffer and many others
Summary I have had TIVO for years and now DirecTV has shoved this inferior DVR down my throat saying that my old HD recorder would stop functioning and I had to upgrade (Ha Ha) to this new DVR provided by DirecTV.
When compared to the TIVO unit this unit is missing many features. It only has one live TV buffer where TIVO 2. It doesn't do suggestions. It only has one guide option where the TIVO has 2. It has no over the air tuner and I'm sure there are other missing features but these are the most obvious for me.
Many of the programs in the guide do not fit in the space provided. This makes it hard to use the guide to see what is coming up. You almost have to highlight each program to find out what it is. With the slowness of the guide this whole process becomes long and laborious.
Navigating the menus is very sluggish paging up or down or changing or channels in the guide take almost a second to refresh after each button press. It also seems to take a long time to respond to any button press anywhere. This is almost like it is either lacking in system memory or it needs a faster processor.
The 30 second skip is not really a 30 second skip but a 30 second fast forward. If I wanted fast forward, I would press fast forward.
The most frustrating problem I have experienced so far was last night. I was watching a show on live TV delayed by about 30 minutes. The DVR asked me if it could change channels to record a scheduled program. I assumed it would allow me to finish the last half hour on my current show while it started recording the newly scheduled one. WRONG, it changed channels and I lost the last half hour of the show I was watching.
Since it has only one live TV buffer, you cannot bounce back & forth between 2 live channels and expect to be able to pause. Sometimes I like to watch 2 live sporting events. I will pause one the watch the other for a bit then pause it and come back to the first. With one live TV buffer, this is impossible. When the channel gets changed it is always back to live.
I don't think the menu's or setup procedures are very easy to use or user friendly.
Now that I have described what I don't like about this box, there are a couple of things I do like. I like the 4 colored buttons on the remote that do different things in different areas like a soft button on a cell phone. I like the fact that it has a screen saver that engages whenever you pause the program for a long time. I think the favorites section with multiple levels of favorites is also nice.
I don't recommend this box to anyone. I guess it is OK if you have never had a good DVR and don't know what you are missing. I wish more people would voice their disgust at this horrible DVR and maybe DirecTV would release a better product or do what they used to do and just partner back up with TIVO who already knows how to build a great DVR. I hate this DVR so much in fact that I am thinking of changing TV providers to see if I can get something better elsewhere.
Pros Recording Capacity Meter; Able to program while still listening to programming & watching p.i.p.
Cons Tons of Bugs or as DTV calls them "Known Issues"; Constantly being tested; Using paying customers as guinea pigs (no joke)
Summary On paper this is a great unit, however after roughly 4 years as a DTV Tivo user, I decided to take DTV up on their offer to upgrade to the HR21 series. Wow, what a huge mistake!
This machine was so horrific, I honestly don't know where to begin. In theory outside of it's inability to perform wishlist autorecords (only tivo users know what I'm talking about), it should be a slight improvement to the sd tivo units, however it doesn't do what a DVR is supposed to do. What am I referring to?
1) Scheduled recordings were frequently blank. Yes, the program is in the "now playing" list, but there is nothing behind door # 1. You have no idea how much this disrupted our "Tivo spoiled" household.
2) We worked with DTV to the fullest, and after 7 units, we finally gave up and hooked up the old Tivo again. We were eventually told by DTV that we were far from alone.
3) The unit locked up constantly, and resets take 10 minutes or more to recover.
4) DVR's allow one to fast forward and rewind or even pause programming right? Well, not these.... DTV had a known issue for literally months while we had these units. During playback, we'd often fast forward through a commercial, only to lose control of it. Yes, it took over on its own, and didn't allow us to resume play. We'd sit there for minutes waiting for the fast forward wheels to stop rolling, look at one another and try to decide if we should throw it out the window, wait, or reset it.
4) Don't fall for the On Demand hype. Granted it's in Beta, but holy moly it's far from complete, and the install alone was a near logistical nightmare. Nobody in our area was even remotely familiar how to install the connection for this feature.
***I could go on and on, but my guess is you likely get the point.***
In all, I convinced my family for multiple months it would be worth it to tough it out while DTV worked out the known issues, and continued to update their software. Well, a few months later, I've got the proverbial egg on my face, and would like to help prevent anyone out there from making the same mistake.
For what it's worth, we were assured by the DTV sales folks that all the "known issues" were worked out and fully resolved prior to signing up, so we felt even more misled after going through what we experienced.
In a nutshell, don't do it!
Pros Nice picture and sound (when it works)
Cons Very very slow menu/operating system
Sometimes sound doesn't match picture (3 or 4 second delay)
Begins deleting oldest recorded programs when 80% capacity is reached
Eventually crashes; losing all recorded programs
Summary I had a Sony DIRECTV receiver for 11 years with no problems. 2 years ago, I decided to get a plasma TV and go HD. By then, DIRECTV had broken ties with proven manufacturers (Sony, RCA, TIVO, etc) in an attempt to "make a buck" by manufacturing it's own equipment and adopting the "cheap cable box" strategy (lease and refurbish). Having no choice, I bought an HR20. The first thing I noticed was the slow menu system. I figured it was a small price to pay for DIRECTV programming and HD. 8 months later it crashed in the middle of the night during one of DIRECTVs over-the-air updates; I lost a lot of valuable recorded programs that I had not yet burned to DVD. The replacement they sent me was a refurbished HR22 (same as HR21, but black and without over-the-air antenna hook-up). About a week ago it happened again. This time after pausing intermittently when I was rewinding a program. That did it for me. After 13 years and 10K in business, the relationship ends. The bottom-line: DIRECTV's cheap unreliable equipment makes their great satellite programming a dismal experience.
Pros full features including one touch recording, sort features, mutliple ways to search/record programs
Cons no dual buffer, remote is over designed
Summary I upgraded from Direct TV's "standard" definition service to HD, with the HR21 dvr. I am very pleased with both picture quality and DVR functionality. Previously I had one of the TIVO dvrs provided by Direct TV, and am at a loss to explain the negative reviews. The new DVR has most of the features the old TIVO had, and many features that the old TIVO unit did not have, as follows: (Note, I'm not comparing the new TIVO units that you can buy seperately. Those maybe more full featured, but they don't work with direct tv and are expensive.) These include:
* one touch record from guide
* one touch to get to guide sorted by subject
* recent searches automatically saved
* ability to record a series or upcoming episode from list of previously recorded functions
* list of last 5 channels
* ability to scroll through the guide 12 hours at a time
* 30 second advance
* set your own bookmarts to recorded shows
* ability to jump back and forward to pre-set book marks (TIVO you could only go forward).
* set up shows to record on-line.
*show pictures and play music from computer to the DVR
* several hot keys that change function depending on what your doing (watching live vs. recorded shows).
Overall, I'm very happy and don't miss my old unit at all. With over two weeks of use (at the heart of NBA playoffs), I've recorded many shows without a hitch. There are some features that are missing.
* no dual buffer (you can solve this by recording the show you'r watching but it is clunky)
* remote, while full featured, is a litte over-designed (too many clicks and options)
* no "live tv" button
Pros Supports all 5 Satellites
Cons Slow, Illogical Menus, Slow and Jerky FF, worthless 30 second skip. Unreliable recording.
Summary Like many others, I was forced to deploy the HR21 in order to "retain all of my HD programming". I was somewhat pleased that DirecTV did not force me to turn in my HR250's, so I reluctantly agreed to let the installer come in and install 2 HR21's at no charge. I kept the HR250's activated, but for the last 6 months, I had tried to get acclimated to the HR21's and left the HR250's offl line. I had many problems with resets, shutdowns, and lost recordings on the HR21's, but over time (and numerous automatic firmware upgrades) the HR21's both seem to be stable. However, last week I hooked up one of the HR250's and what a huge difference! It really illustrates how bad the HR21 is. My biggest beef with the HR21 is that when watching NFL games, the 30 second skip search skips ahead 40 seconds, flashes the image, then rewinds back to the 30 second spot.. This is unacceptable, especially when you see a snapshot of the outcome of the play, then it goes back to where it should have stopped in the first place. All DVR functions are dog slow and jerky. The HR 250 playback and skip functions are fast and smooth. I hope DirecTV addresses these issues or offers a different unit that uses the same architecture as the HR250 with support of all 5 satellites.