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have had hr20 for 2 days now. already I want to return it ;(

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by linuxworks, Jan 8, 2007.

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  1. Jan 8, 2007 #1 of 53
    linuxworks

    linuxworks Legend

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    I just recently upgraded from directv tivo (3 yr old unit, I'm not sure what series it is but its hughes dual tuner with a simple round dual lnb dish). I have had reasonably ok service from directv for the last 3 yrs and just recently got a 32" lcd tv and so, of course since SD now looks unwatchable (was that part of the plan?) I wanted to see what directv has for HD.

    I had them upgrade my dish to 5lnb since the plan was to retain my old direct-tivo (as a backup or at least long enough to get my old programs off and onto tape or dvd) and then use the new HD 'tivo-like' box for all new shows and get used to using that.

    I have very mixed feelings about the current state of HD programming and what passes for HD content in various rescaled and re-res'd forms. mpeg artifacts galore on some stations and yet others are crystal clear. but anyway, I'm not so much ranting about the content, but about the equipment and software readiness.

    I have an hr20-700. yes. maybe that says it all?

    like I said, I've been using the directv-tivo dual tuner model for about 3 yrs and maybe 2 yrs before that I got the very first tivo series1. I know how a dvr -should- work, I guess, at least in terms of reliability.

    well, twice so far (in 2 days) I've lost shows. a show would appear on the list mode and it would let me select it. it would blacken the screen for a few seconds acting like its about to start playback and then it immediately comes up 'do you want to keep or delete this?'. HUH?? like a null or stub recording. but when I go back to list view, I can still see it. it was recorded and I know it was. in fact, I was watching bits of it as I was switching between it and other programs in the list.

    one thing that might have caused the bug to appear - I had paused the show while it was live and it got 'stuck' somehow. it wouldn't unpause. I could go back to list mode and select other shows and watch parts of them, pause them, select others, watch them, etc. but now the one that was being recorded live. I don't think 2 buffers were being used at the same time, either, fwiw.

    ok, so it got stuck somehow in being able to WATCH the show while it was being recorded. ok, I could maybe deal with that, so I let the half hour finish and then went back to the list view to see the show listed there and completed (no 'r' symbol near it). ok, fine, right? I should be able to select and now watch it since its no longer realtime?

    no. same deal as before. a few seconds of black and then 'do you want to keep or delete' message again.

    frustrating. ok, what do you do when you see weirdness in the pc world? you reboot. and better than that, you do a controlled reboot. ok, fine - find the restart recorder option and hit '-' and then wait 5 minutes or so. yup, wait. ok...

    hr20-700 has now rebooted and I see live tv again. lets check the buffer. go to list view.

    can you guess?

    the program is now gone. not even listed.

    (is it recoverable, btw? is there a maintenance mode that someone can remove the delete-me flag or something? or am I asking/hoping for too much here?)

    this is my 2nd day with it. I don't see much reliability here, to be honest. maybe some of it was pilot error, but I'm not sure it was my fault, really. I NEVER gave an ok to a delete dialog box. yet I lost a show I cared about. brand new hr20 - fresh out of the box only a day or two ago.

    what should I do?

    I'm thinking of cancelling and going back to my old SD tivo (sigh) and just waiting until things get better (all over) in the HD world. I'm not sure I want to pay to be a guinea pig or beta (alpha??) tester.

    have others joined and then wanted to cancel so quickly? can it even be done? I'm just not sure this thing is ready for prime time, as they say. I can see a WHOLE lot of non-performance in the months ahead with this box and software.

    what should I do?

    /bryan
     
  2. Jan 8, 2007 #2 of 53
    Wolffpack

    Wolffpack Banned User

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    Bryan,

    You're seeing known problems with that unit. Needless to say, it does have it's share of problems. Since the activation of this unit committs you to DirecTV for 2 years I would call them immediately and cancel and tell them you will return the unit.

    You should probably also read through some of the problems on the HR20 forum at http://www.dbstalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=112.

    You may also be interested in a poll and the comments posted on that poll at http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=75177.

    The problems you mention are ones many see but others don't. Seems obviously from your post you didn't expect you were entering into a beta test program of this unit as some state "everyone" is aware the HR20 is in beta.

    You've had it for 2 days. Call DirecTV tell them to take it back and tell them to cancel your two year commitment otherwise you'll contact your BBB and your State's Attorney General's office for false advertising. Don't be afraid to ask to speak with supervisors and don't be suprised to be hung up on or disconnected in your quest to return your unit. Seems that SOP for DirecTV these days.

    Please post back here with your progress as I'm sue there are others that would like to take the same approach.
     
  3. Jan 8, 2007 #3 of 53
    Wolffpack

    Wolffpack Banned User

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    Oh, ya, hey budy, welcome to the forum!!!:welcome_s
     
  4. Jan 8, 2007 #4 of 53
    linuxworks

    linuxworks Legend

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    thanks for the comments, WP.

    I had read somewhere that you can cancel if you do it in the first few days. I wonder if there is truth to that or not. usually there is -some- evaluation period on things like this, no?

    also, I didn't sign anything that stated I was in a 2yr contract. I was aware that I'd be comitting to 2 yrs but the paper that the installer brought out was a simple work order for an install and said nothing about 2 yrs anywhere on it.

    I wonder if a verbal, over the phone, is binding? legally?

    in fact, twice I've tried to get them to put in writing (even in just an email) what they were offering me as a pkg ($2 off this, $10 off that, free the other thing for 6 months, etc). I never got THAT whole thing in writing either, so how do I know what I'm actually signing up for? seems that they'd have this down better than this (?)

    I'm so on the fence about this. for 3 or so years I've been more or less happy with directv. granted it was with a tivo unit and also I was using an old glass crt tv that did 480i natively (heh). life was 'good' back then. the 'trouble' didn't start until I got an lcd tv, saw how BAD sd tv is and then decided to try directv-hd to see if that's the right way to go. it did seem to be, even in spite of all the bad press about the hr20.

    one thing that was an all out mistruth - I asked if the sd channels would look better if I 'upgraded' and the csr said they definitely would. and in her experience, they got better. I only half expected this but I was hoping that sd would at least equal if not better the older dish and receiver. guess what - sd is now WORSE for some reason.

    my config is a 5lnb dish on my balcony going to the hr20-700. from there I'm using an included hdmi cable to my sceptre 32" lcd tv (from costco, only a month old).

    with the hdmi connection, I did eliminate all analog transport issues (ghosting, bleeding of signals in s-video, etc). but now the video can appear to have a VERY blocky effect. an mpeg artifacting effect. almost like displaying a color gradient on an 8bit (pseudocolor) display (that's 256colors, not 8bit/channel!). its a very annoying effect, trying to make use of limited bitstream bandwidth or color allocation.

    regardless of what is causing it, the end effect is that sd content now looks WORSE on my digital tv with the new setup than it did with the digital tv and an s-video connection to my old setup (tivo).

    what have I gained? not much. very little HD content and some of it is fake (the tv says its 720p but it looks aweful and they're not kidding anyone by encoding a poor signal in HD encoding). I also 'gained' an unreliable disk based recorder. and I have to wait and hope and pray that these new channels in mp4 will make all this suffering worth it. but who knows WHEN this will happen. until then, I pay for what I have - which isn't a whole lot, to be serious.

    I'm usually pretty good at adapting to new tech toys and such. I write embedded software (have done so on many previous jobs) and so I know how the software SHOULD work and what kind of reliability I should get from it. again, tivo set the bar very high and was extremely reliable for the 3+ yrs I've had it.

    I have no doubts that this new dvr will work out the bugs. or die trying ;) but is it FAIR to ask us to suffer thru it and also be locked into 2 yrs of possibly this??

    I'm worried about this. I want to make this work but I don't have a good feeling about this. I do NOT want to 'have to live with this' and rationalize and make up excuse after excuse for a product's poor performance. (I shoot photos semi-professionally and one camera I use a lot is the panasonic. it takes a LOT of abuse from its user base about noise levels and its users constantly have to make excuses for the poor sensor designs. this reminds me quite a lot of that experience - if you buy into the hr20 dvr - you'll either be cursing it or just making excuses for its bad behavior.

    again, I don't know what to do next about this. I guess I'll call retention tomorrow (monday) and see what they say...
     
  5. Jan 8, 2007 #5 of 53
    baimo

    baimo DBSTalk Club Member

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    If I was you, I would cancel
     
  6. Jan 8, 2007 #6 of 53
    Tom_S

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    Sorry to hear about your problems. I have had the HR20 for about two months now. Since about the time the FA release came out. Now, I don't push my HR20 hard like some do, and after some early problems it seems to have stabilized. I had to do 2 RBR's just after I got the 5lnb dish up but since then nothing. Have not lost a recording either.

    You might want to give it more than two days. If I gave up immediately I would not have realized that it can work properly as well.
     
  7. Jan 8, 2007 #7 of 53
    PlanetBill

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    This happened to me last night, argh!
     
  8. Jan 8, 2007 #8 of 53
    bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

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    I noticed you said you use HDMI. Try using component and see if things look better. There could be an issue with the HDMI version on your TV (it's quite common). SD in general looks better with an HR20 then previous DVRs but it's not universal.

    Also, with a screen as small as yours SD shouldn't look that bad at all unless you're only sitting 5-6 feet away or something. If you haven't already you sould have your HDTV calibrated so that your picture will look tons better. It is amazing how much better your picture can look after just an hour with Avia or similar calibration disk.

    What's the brand and model number of your HDTV by the way?
     
  9. Jan 8, 2007 #9 of 53
    Wolffpack

    Wolffpack Banned User

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    I agree with bonscott87, give component a try versus HDMI. You may be surprised. Also using a calibration DVD to adjust the brightness and contract could also help. Seems factory settings for those typically don't cut the mustard for good PQ.
     
  10. richlife

    richlife Hall Of Fame

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    I see you got the standard moaners advice to bail. :nono2:

    I had my HR20 for two days, had many problems, called to get a replacement; with that in the works, after a reformat, called back to say the HR20 was working fine and have had only minor problems in the past two months.

    There are problems, but the HR20 has been a really good plus for my HD experience (I'm a new HDTV owner also -- one day between receiving the TV and receiving the HR20). I basically watch/record HD about 90% of the time.

    I wouldn't jump immediately, tho Wolfpack said do it now while you can. If you were to have major problems, call and get them documented, you can always call BBB or your state Attorney General and get satisfaction if done within your warrenty period. If you're willing to review the forums, accept some problems (and even some lost shows) and wait for the "good" software update, then I'd suggest you got to standby ("off" on the remote), unplug for at least 30 seconds and try again. If that doesn't help, do the reformat (on the front panel, press Record and Down) and if that doesn't do it, do a Menu - Help & Settings - Setup - Reset - Reset Everything to totally flush your machine and do a complete new install and setup. All this can be done over 3 -5 days and then you can decide if you want to pack it in.

    Until you decide to stay or go, I would avoid doing a lot of personalization/customerization because reformats and Reset Everything will cause the loss of all you save including saved recordings. Also, I suggest you avoid adding Networking or even plugging in ethernet (or even adding OTA unless it's critical to you NOW) -- too many variables can make it difficult to determine if you have real problems with the core HR20 function.

    If you use HDMI, be sure to run your complete setup (starting with Reset Everything) with the HDMI cable disconnected using Component for the setup. When the setup is complete, go to standby and plug in HDMI. I have both HDMI and Component working admirably, and this is what my original installer told me.

    This is a great set of forums, but much of the info offered is provided without any individual configuration and setup identified, so it's really hard to pick and choose what might apply to you and what you should try. I wish you luck and welcome!
     
  11. APBIDDLE

    APBIDDLE Cool Member

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    Oct 12, 2006
    Take a look at the list of recorded programs, and look at the "% remaining" above. I have noticed that when it does this, at least on mine, it says 100% remaining, which means there is nothing on the drive except the listing. The equivalent of an empty file on a PC. A RBR wipes these out, but it seems to restore recording capacity for a while.

    This did not happen, at least to me, until the last update. I am going to grit my teeth and wait for the next one.

    Alan
     
  12. richlife

    richlife Hall Of Fame

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    I noticed the same thing -- and I caught it while the game was still live. The recording was set up (file set up) and the file time showed a recording, but the % left never reflected any space taken. At least I got to see the end of the game.
     
  13. Wolffpack

    Wolffpack Banned User

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    So what exactly can he try out with all of these things to avoid? Kinda like trying out a new car but being told to keep it below 10MPH so bad things don't happen. :D
     
  14. linuxworks

    linuxworks Legend

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    thanks for the reply.

    I have not done a -formal- calibration but I have calibrated it by eye. I am a semi-pro photographer and I actually do have a 'puck' for my photoshop screen calibrator (colorimeter) so I do know what you mean by calibrating. I spent quite some time doing whatever cal I could do, short of using an actual puck. I don't think this is my problem though as I'm not running with stock settings (defaults) on my tv.

    the tv is not videophile quality but it seems good enough. 32" sceptre and the hdmi input DOES seem to work and work well. ok, not real well IF the sharpness is set too high. I am seeing some real pixel mapping bugs when I try to change the sharpness - I've never seen THAT happen before! I might shoot some photos of this to demonstrate what I'm saying. but if you look at the hdmi output you can see ALL the artifacts and blocking of the mpeg stream to the point where its so distracting you end up watching the mpeg 'effects' more than the content itself! its now the tv watching experience I was hoping for. its delivering FAR short of where it should be now, imho.

    when I use svideo it does some natural smoothing (bluring) that actually seems to help smooth out the digital artifacts a bit. but of course at the loss of quality in color and sharpness. seems its a balancing act to get the right amount of sharpness and yet NOT create blocky artifacts or at least try not to highlight them so much.

    I have not tried component yet and I'm not sure I want to. the dvr is in another room from the tv and I have a small hole poked thru the wall (heh) to run the hdmi cable thru or the s-video+spdif cables thru. if I have to run decent component cables plus audio that just won't fit thru the hole I have created ;) minor issue but I'd rather run all digital than have to fall-back to an analog interconnect!

    /bryan
     
  15. linuxworks

    linuxworks Legend

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    I'm TRYING to make this work. I am not happy about even CONSIDERING cable or dishtv. but I feel I was promised a set of goods that are not really being delivered.

    that's good to know. I just worry that if I accept this beta-test box that things may NOT improve later on and I will have lost any leverage I might have by doing an early 3day cancel. (btw, any truth to the rumor that you DO have 3 days to cancel with no 2yr penalty?)


    I don't honestly see ENOUGH quality hd content to record yet!

    I'm usually in favor of giving things a real chance but I also don't want to be locked in if I exceed my 3day trial..

    the unit is brand new! literally brand new - they ran out of hr20's and so the installer had to come out a 2nd time to actually bring the unit. the first install was JUST the 5lnb dish and wiring.

    there just hasn't been enough 'gremlin time' to justify a reformat and reinstall.

    does not sound fun.. this loss of data and 'work' (my time) is one MAJOR reason that I can't wait to go to mythTV or similar where I have SOME control over what goes on under the skins. the whole idea of 'this file is yours to view IF we allow it' really unnerves me. the fact that files got deleted without user error on my part AND that they are not recoverable is unforgivable. just plain bad software engineering (I'm a embedded software/firmware person by trade, btw).

    agreed - I won't even think about networking. in fact, I'm not sure what it buys me. I don't plan to do the viiv thing, ever.

    /bryan
     
  16. macEarl

    macEarl Godfather

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    Have you turned off, pulled power for 30 seconds, then bring it back up?
     
  17. linuxworks

    linuxworks Legend

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    I didn't try that yet. the only reset procedure I used was the menu-based one. that seemed like it should have fixed things. this wasn't a hardware lockup - and that's the only time (that I would agree with) that a HARD reboot would be needed.

    but to clear up software 'weird states' a soft reset should be all that is needed.

    and again, in 2 days?? should it be needed to 'clear out ram' in only 2 days time?

    wow. I can't believe this is considered an acceptable solution. suppose if you used MS word (ok, not a good example) ;) and suppose that every day you lost 1 key file. and that you had to reboot windows each day to unstick it (like win98 days). would THAT be acceptable given that the current state of the art is NOT that bad across other competing vendors?

    I find this 'solution' unaccptable for a 2 day old brand new unit.

    /bryan
     
  18. linuxworks

    linuxworks Legend

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    update:

    after about 2 hours on the phone with at least 5 diff people (call retentions, get first line, ask for retentions, talk for a bit with them, have them xfer me to tier1 tech support, then to tier2 then back to retentions , then they hung up on me ;(

    I called back, repeated the whole thing again and this time they didn't hang up. we worked thru my options and I TRIED MY BEST to get an hr10 but just no go. none to be had. no one could (or would) find one for me.

    so then I suggested we just back out the whole 'upgrade' and restore me back to what I had before (dual tuner direct-tivo hughes). yes, I lose HD ability via directv but at least I have my tivo back and I won't lose recordings like I have, so far, twice done on the hr20.

    given a choice of 'suffering' with sd and having ALL my recordings work as designed - OR going hr20 with HD but having a very iffy experience with it all - I guess I chose to go back to higher reliability even at the expense of some of the new whizzbang features (HD included).

    or I could find a used hr10 and go that route. expensive as it may be.

    or I could get an h20 (tuner only) and roll my own recorder but then I lose HD recording and the scheduler, as well. not very good as a solution.

    I -think- i was able to fully cancel out of my contract, though! I was inside the 3 days of my install - not sure if that mattered or not. I asked to stay with directv but just go back to regular SD pkg. the CSR guy said he could do that and would send me a return box for the recorder and I could keep the 5lnb dish and just use that as my SD dish (even though its bigtime overkill for SD use). at least, if I change my mind in 6mos and want to check back with how HD is doing on DTV, I'll have the dish already set..

    one comment was somewhat funny though. when I spoke with tier2 tech support they told me that their recommended 'fix' was to reset or even reformat the player. I told them that this is like having a broken arm and having to cut the arm off to fix it ;) ;) (well, sort of). ie, its NOT any kind of solution that should be done more than 1 or 2 times AT YEAR. I can see this happening a few times A WEEK and so I balked and told her that I am not willing to keep resetting the box and hoping that this time it won't delete my shows. she acted like I was not 'cooperating' and that I was refusing to follow her troubleshooting 'tips'. I wonder if she wrote down that I was a troublemaker of some sorts for objecting to having to continually reset the box...

    but she hung up on me and I ended up redialing and getting a more pleasant CSR guy this time ;)


    wow. what a trial by fire.

    sheesh.

    /bryan
     
  19. Wolffpack

    Wolffpack Banned User

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    Quite an experience isn't it. Hey, stick around here for another 6-9 months and watch the HR20. Within that time there should be some new HD content added and hopefully there will be a much more reliable/stable HR20 around too.
     
  20. linuxworks

    linuxworks Legend

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    Dec 27, 2006
    also, some people may not know this (I learned this the hard way, also): if you disconnect your DTV service on the hr20, the hr20 will NOT let you watch what was previously recorded and already on the hard disk!

    unbelievable!

    stuff that was 'ok' to record yesterday is now 'copyright violation' (or something like that - I forget the exact error message when I tried to play back a saved show).

    on 2 of my older tivo units (philips and hughes) I could ALWAYS watch my older saved shows. series1 would nag you but then let you watch saved shows. series2 directivo also let me watch shows even with no satellite wiring connected.

    apparently even SD shows are not watchable if you are not 'current' in your billing.

    yet one more reason to NOT choose the hr20. I've known about the 'all your bits are belong to us' [grin] but this really takes the cake! ;( ;(

    I may just have to give up on HD until HD wants to play by fair rules. or at least more fair, more like what I'm used to in the bad old SD content world...

    /bryan
     
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