"Very Good, but Don't Fix What Ain't Broke Yet"3.5 starson by annanemas
Pros: Large storage
All-at-once parental controls
Automatic Prime Time recording option
Cons: Small text on program guide
Can't find automatic shutoff option
Not enough free, On Demand programming
Summary: I'd recommend this for anyone who needs to upgrade from older standard def receivers now, but anyone else with a system that works should probably wait a while. Online video services don't really include anything worthwhile unless you pay extra. I couldn't find any option to resize the programming guide for larger, easier-to-read text. I also couldn't find any option to change or disable the automatic shutoff timer.
So far I like having three tuners instead of two and the automatic recording option for prime time so I didn't need to set a dozen separate timers. I also liked seeing the parental control option to block all channels at once. This will make it a lot easier when I need to make sure my teenage kids don't waste too much time watching TV during the day.
This is definitely an improvement over my standard def DVR 625 receiver, but I really don't think I'd see it as a critical upgrade worth spending a lot of money on. I also don't think this upgrade would be so critical if I already had a high-def system that is working. The only critical feature for me was upgrading to high def after buying a new TV, and I was able to get the Hopper upgrade for free by telling Dish Network I was planning to switch to Directv.