DirecTV question

Does the HR20 integrate OTA channels via antenna and record them seamlessly the same way the HR10-250 does?

Mine did. I don’t use it anymore – DTV now supports my local channels in HD – but it worked pretty well once they upgraded the HR20 to support it.

Yeah, it is an adventure. When we moved a couple of months ago, I called DirecTV (I’ve been a customer since 1995) and said that I was moving and wanted to cancel my service. This normally gets you sent right to a customer retention agent who’s job is to keep you from leaving DTV. Heck, I had to talk to three people to cancel my Sunday Ticket NFL package, and they were throwing all kinds of deals at me to keep me from canceling that. But I got someone, said we’re moving in a month and I need to cancel my DTV service, she asked if I wanted to move it or just cancel, I said cancel, she said OK what date do you want it shut off? I told her, she said sure, thanks, bye.

I hung up, puzzled. We pay our bill on time, we’ve been subscribers since 1995, etc. So I waited a day, called again, said I wanted to cancel, this time got a lady who asked why I wanted to cancel and I told her, truthfully, that Time Warner Cable in my new city was offering a really good deal and some free HD-DVR hardware. She said, well, that IS a good deal, but let me see what I can do for you, since you’ve been a good customer for a long time. In a few minutes she had set me up with 2 new free (not even a handling charge) HD-20 HD DVRs, upgraded 5 lnb dish, free installation, free HD programming package for a year. I felt like I could have gotten more, like free HBO, if I’d pushed, but the two free HD DVRs and the HD package for free for a years was good enough I just accepted.

From what I hear, if you get through to customer retention and are nice to them, as opposed to demanding, and tell them you’re considering your options (and the cable guys are always offering great deals,) and you have in mind specifically what deal you’d like - e.g., a free HD DVR and the HD package for a year - the odds are good you can get a great deal. But you may have to call a couple of times.

I’m in the same boat as others, I need to upgrade my 3LNB dish and need to replace my CRAPTACKULAR Sony-HD300 receiver to something that doesn’t suck.

I’m aware of the laggyness of satellite technology, but are there any receivers (or something else) that can speed up the menu/guide system? I want to rip my eyes out waiting for my current guide to catch up to my moderate remote control clicking speed. There are times I just turn off the TV because I can’t stand how slow my menu/guide is.

Yep. DirecTV doesn’t have our local PBS or CW stations in HD and the HR20 records them fine off my antenna.

No. It’s basically just like TiVo, except you can’t actually hold one while watching another unless you actually record the first one. You can only record two shows at a time, and the only way to watch something different is to watch an already recorded show.

Denny, they must have upgraded TiVo. I haven’t had it in a while. Thanks for the info. Overall, I agree with you that TiVo is better, btw. I just think directv is (far too slowly) closing the gap. The differences also annoy me much less now that I’ve grown accustomed to them. At first they REALLY annoyed me though.

Still, if you use HDTV, in my experience Directv is the best thing out there, and it’s not even close. You have to put up with their equipment, unfortunately, but even that isn’t expensive like it used to be. At most, you have a $100 start up fee for the equipment you lease (not buy). However, I’ve been told (in another forum) that you can in fact still buy the equipment if you want.

Thanks fuzzyslug and Denny. It looks like now might be a good time to upgrade then before the start of the fall season fills up our current Tivo.

That always my issue with an upgrade. What about all that TV queued up that I haven’t watched yet? :)

My HR20 is coming tomorrow and i’m also very concerned about losing Tivo and having the family adapt (“won’t anyone think about the children!”). However, I found 2 great guides at DBStalk (i never heard about it until yesterday). This makes me feel much better about the transition.

[B] TiVo to HR-20 Survival Guide[/B]

Hard Drive Usage Meter (%)

Dual Buffers - TiVo lets you press the down arrow to alternate between two channels, each with a 30-minute buffer.

There is also some good information for workarounds here:
[B]Undocumented HR20 (Plus HD DVR) Tips & Tricks[/B]

A Harmony Remote eases the transition from Tivo quite a bit. The DirecTV remote layout is horrible. With a Harmony 880, I can put most of the functions in logical spots, same places they were in on Tivo.

Running my HR20 with a Seagate external ESATA 750GB now. Seems extreme at the moment, but once more channels are in HD, the space will go away much faster.

How easy was the setup, Denny?

Of the Harmony remote? In general, it’s very easy. You just type in the name of each of your components, then choose which ones you’ll use for each operation (for the DVD/HD-DVD selection, you choose “set the TV to VGA, set the receiver to Game, use the receiver for volume, use the Xbox 360 for playback”).

The only difficulty comes when you have a quirky piece of equipment, like my older DLP set which has HDMI but doesn’t have a discreet HDMI remote code. Then I had to play around till I figured out I could just add a “set to DVI, then go to next video input” command at the end of my “Watch DVR” or “Watch BD on PS3” configurations. But for most setups, you don’t need to dive in at that level.

Sorry, I meant the external harddrive.

Oh. The external hard drive is a snap. You just shut down the HR20, unplug the power cord, connect the external drive to the HR20, and then reattach power and turn it on. It’ll format the drive and use it.

Just two things to note:

  1. Some people have had issues with the ESATA cable fitting well into the port on the back of the HR20. I just trimmed the plastic around the connector a bit with an Xacto to avoid any problems.
  2. The external drive replaces the internal, rather than supplementing it. So if you have recordings on the internal that you want to watch, you’ll have to unplug, remove the ESATA drive, and then power back up to watch them. (Going back and forth isn’t recommended.)

Yes, self quote, sorry. Anyone know of receiver guides with better than average response times? My Sony HD300 is so slow it’s painful.

So I just wanted to say the advice quoted in Jaq’s post above really does work. I followed it to the T (apart from asking about hearts, I figured as a new sdtv customer there was no point), and I got the Directv people to give me a 200$ credit, etc etc on the HDDVR, and that was on the first try. I backed off and was going to try again for more, but I have run into a huge stumbling block.

Essentially, the building I live in owns the DirecTV access, and they own the internet access if you go through them. Internet access is a flat 50$ a month, for pretty good internet (10mbps). DirectTV adds on 10$ a month from them, + the installation charges. Here’s where it gets awesome.

Installation of the internet and standard directv box was 100$ total. For the upgrade to SDVR, it’s a flat 250$ fee, for upgrade to HDDVR it’s 300$. Apparently that’s for the additional wire they have to run or whatever. That’s in addition to DirecTV nailing me for 50$ for the box (minus the 200 credit) and the increase in rates, which would put me at nearly 130$/month with basic HD and no HBOs or anything (which I don’t care about anyhow). That’s instead of the already astronomical 100$ or so I pay now for cable and internet.

I may end up with the living room tv with sdtv and nothing but a DVD player on the bedroom tv.

So, I can live with the current nonsense, but this does make me seriously consider Comcast and seeing what deals they have on the table. Also, it makes having a separate TiVo unit a lot more viable, since if I’m going to get nailed I might as well have the best possible service.

Is there a comparable way of dealing with comcast, or do they just not give a damn as was my experience with them in NC?

I’m not sure where you’re living, but my experience with Comcast up here in Maryland is that they are the pure black heart of all that is fucking evil on Earth. At one point when Comcast was feeling particularly insouciant, they accidentally disconnected my Internet connection twice in one week, requiring me to wait a week for an appointment, then take a half-day off work to meet the repair man each time. (The repair guy was full of helpful comments like, “Oh, the last guy totally mislabeled your set-up! No wonder the audit team disconnected you!”)


If they are going to run a cable, make sure they run TWO cables PER dvr so you can use the dual tuner on the HDR’s.

For residential Directv customers, the satellite has 4 cable outs you can run. if you’re planning more than that you’ll need a multiswitch that takes those 4 inputs and has 8 outputs. Might as well get it done in the beginning.

For what it’s worth, they never charged me to upgrade my dish to the MPEG4, nor to install the multiswitch. It did take several visits before someone listened and brought the appropriate multiswitch.

Comcast was the sole provider at the Camp Lejeune barracks, and they were pretty bad. Basically, they had a goldmine there, and they didn’t extend it nearly the concern and customer service they should have. It should have been so easy to do it intelligently, make more money, and provide great service when you have a captive audience that 70-80% needs internet at the least. They’re all in the same place at the same times! Time Warner when I lived in town was a relief by comparison.

So I think I am bluffing myself in thinking I will go to Comcast. I think the local setup here is ripping me off, but they are one time ripoffs unrelated to DirecTV. I guess they have no control over these people, but it seems to me that DirecTV would have an interest in working out a more reasonably balanced franchising thing with building providers like that. I hate being a captive audience, that’s all.

That’s precisely the problem. I guess the whole building is wired for directv from the dish on the roof. Meaning some additional wiring has to be done within the unit (300$ worth, apparently) to run that additional line. That’s for 1 DVR, AFAIK. That just seems ludicrous. Does Tivo on its own also require the multiple lines?

Oh, and I know they also offer the HD box from the local service, so I know the dish offers HD of some kind. Is that the kind of thing where I could just get an HD receiver from Directv, plug it in, and it would receive them from the same cable wire that I currently get SDTV? I could do without the simultaneous recording/watching thing if need be. It’s mainly for shows that play after I go to bed or while I am in the midst of a videogame or something.

It just seems like a fixed 300$ installation fee is so ridiculous it demands guerrilla tactics.

That sucks LK. Comcast drove me to D* as well. They actually came out to do the install on Saturday, but the guy didn’t have a part that he needed to install the new sat on my house. So they said it would cost $100 for the part and i’d have to reschedule. I had a fit with D* saying that retention promised me no fees plus i wasted my day waiting around. So i got the part free and got them to run new wiring to relo my old DTivo.

The new H20 DVR is ok, but Tivo is still the best.