"Great for its niche low-budget "no-monthly fee" market"4.5 starson by dave_gordon
Pros: Record two shows at once
Easy to program, simple interface
Incredibly fast (360x) fast -forward or lower, makes checking programs a snap.
Cons: No input to box to use for recording other things like from a security camera, VCR or DVD player. I bought it because I thought I could also use it for my security camera.
Summary: I understand that it does not match up to the Tivo that you have to pay $400 for a lifetime membership for or $13/month. But are we really comparing apples and apples or apples and oranges. I think they are different beasts and overall the DTV Pal DVR is a great value for the money. I live in Los Angeles and get around 48 channels over the air and I don't want to pay monthly for cable for the rest of my life. That really adds up at say $50/month ($600/yr), year-after-year! I've had my box for about 6 months, I think and I have saved the cost of the box itself. So at least to me, there is no deal like this. On the other hand if you don't mind paying $13/month for the basic fee to Tivo, then maybe this is not for you. That adds up too. If you live in an area where there are lots of free channels, you can't go wrong with this.
Here are some Pros that there was no room to enter above:
The commercial skip (yellow) button on the remote makes it a breeze to skip over commercials. I absolutely LOVE this feature. It's worth the price of the box alone to be able to watch any show and skip over all commercials (albeit one at a time).
Here are some CONS, that there was no room to post above:
No input to box to use for recording other things like from a security camera, VCR or DVD player. I bought it because I thought I could also use it for my security camera and that would save me about $400, but I later found out that it doesn't have the capability.
The online menu doesn't show the details for most of the shows where I live, and I live in LA, so you would think we would have the best. I have it set to the right zip code, because if you don't set that properly, you'll get no menu details at all.
I did have the problem with the box shutting down by itself in the middle of programs that some other people complained about, but I fixed the problem by updating to the latest firmware and changing some settings in the setup. I had the wrong zip code programmed in it. I actually had my 'correct' zip code for where I live, but the DTV Pal DVR box doesn't want that. It says in the manual that if you live in Los Angeles, you need to use zip code 00002, which is strange since its not my real zip code. I think they should call it a city code or something, to avoid confusion, because anybody would think it actually means their own zip code. I actually suffered and cussed out the box for about 6 weeks before I simiply sat down one day and researched all I could on the box and found out about all of the people having problems too and finally found the solution in some forum somewhere. Now, I'm very happy with the box. But I agree 100% with the other reviewers that say the customer service is HORRIBLE. I called them about my problem and they had no solutions at all. I had to do it on my own.
The only real complaint that I have other than that is that the channel selection menu works too slow. I want to be able to pull up the menu and scroll quickly, but it is a somewhat slow process that I have not yet found a solution to other than simply going to tvguide.com and looking up my programs there instead of the DTV Pal DVR menu, because its more complete and faster.
I still rate the product a 4.5 out of 5 stars despite all of the problems I have had, for the simple fact that there are no truly direct competitors on the market for this product and for the additional simple fact that all of the problems that I have had have been solved or have a workaround, like just using the Internet with my computer to look up shows quickly, rather than rely on the poor menu on the TV Pal DVR box.