Sunday, December 09, 2007

Directv HD DVR

I have been a huge Tivo over the last four and a half years. We have taken this to the point where we had three Tivos in house. We have also been long time Directv subscribers. Sharon bought me a Directv receiver and dish as a Christmas present in 1996.

For our anniversary, I bought Sharon a flat screen for the master bedroom. In order to take advantage of the new screen, I needed to upgrade the receiver to a high definition receiver. This created a dilemma. The current receiver was a combo Directv reciever and Tivo unit. Tivo and Directv had a falling out a number of years ago. As a result, Tivo does not currently make a HD DVR that will work with Directv.

Whatever changes I made, Sharon wanted to still be able to record her soap opera and watch it in the bedroom. Unfortunately, almost all of the feedback that I could find on the current Directv HD DVR was negative. There is lots of feedback on-line about problems with the hardware and complaints about the interface.

To complicate matters more, Directv has launched two new satellites in the last year to support additional HD channels. To access these new channels, you need a new larger satellite dish. In the past, I have installed everything myself. The last time I upgraded, I just went down to Bestbuy and bought a new dish and put it up myself. Given the larger size of the new dish, Directv is not selling them in retail outlets anymore.

With really no other choice, I called Directv and made an appointment to have an installer come out and install the new dish and a HD DVR. The installer came out two weeks ago, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and we set everything up including rewiring all of the other receivers in the house to the new dish. Given the size of the new dish, I am glad that I did not try to put it up myself.

After two weeks, we could not be happier. We have not had any problems with the hardware. Although not as polished as Tivo, the interface for the DVR is solid. Sharon does not adapt to technology changes smoothly, but she has had few struggles getting used to the new interface. The picture quality with the new flat screen and the new Directv receiver is great. I am giddy at the ability to record HD content. It will be interesting to see if we have any problems with the hardware in the coming months.

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