It is high def and the quality is much better than cable.
The software is no match for Tivo. I started with DirecTV because of the Tivo service the company offered on its DVRs. Now Tivo and DirecTV have parted ways. As of 2009, the DirecTV created DVR is still no match for Tivo.
DirecTV needs to improve the usability and speed of its DVRs.