My wife and I's interests in order are:
1) HD Movies and HD programming (i've been spoiled on hd and can't really stand sd anymore).
Well, both *claim* they have the most choices, but from my experiences with DirecTV (not D*, there is no such thing as DirectStar, while there is an EchoStar), you will get a lot more channels in HD than I have seen on my dad's Dish setup. It's been a while since I looked at the lineup I guess.
again, in comparison with my dad's Dish setup, DirecTV has them beat in picture quality as I can notice a BIG difference between DirecTV and Dish. I say that because Dish has a very bad habit of cramming as many HD channels as they can onto a satellite at the expense of bandwidth per channel. This causes the picture to look bad on Dish in my opinion. Every time I have looked at Dish's HD channels, I have not been happy at all with it.
3) Local networks in HD (not sure if this has to be local, just like seeing my fav shows on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox).
In Little Rock, AR, locals in HD is something that is severely lacking on Dish Network. You will have to check to see how many Dish claims to carry in your area. I am sure you will be disappointed. DirecTV has pretty much all of them usually in an area. Sometimes they will be missing one or two, but they try to get them all up.
4) DVR features, record time, and useability
This is something that people debate CONSTANTLY. I kinda like Dish Networks DVR, but its really a personal choice. No one person is going to say one is better than the other because of any one reason. To each his own kinda thing. I don't know how big the hard drives are in the Dish receivers, but DirecTV's are coming with 500GB drives now I believe.
5) Ability to "expand" dvr with external harddrive, also *the ability to export shows off the dvr to my computer for archiving* (via firewire or whatever - I currently due this on time warner's box with a firewire driver - if it can be done, i can figure it out).
With Dish Network, you have to pay $5 for the privileged of expanding hard drive size with one of your own. With DirecTV, you simply plug in an eSATA drive and you are good to go. This, however, disables the internal drive, so anything you had on it, you won't get to until you unplug the eSATA drive. As far as I have ever been able to tell, you can NOT at all hook up the DVR to a computer. The only way you are going to get the content off there is hooking it up to a VCR, DVD-Recorder, or something else that has RCA connections on it that you can record from. That is the ONLY way you can get content off the units. Its how they lock them down.
DirecTV DOES, however, have an application for your computer that, as long as they are networked up together, will let you watch DVR recordings on your Windows computer instead of sitting in front of the TV itself. This also allows your wife to watch one thing while you watch another. I don't believe Dish has this kinda thing.
Coming soon (not sure how long), they will have Multi Room Viewing where, if you have multiple DVRs or multiple receivers with network jacks on them, you can watch DVR recordings on those other receivers while someone watches something else on the main DVR that you are watching from. Its kinda like the pc app, but without the computer. I think Dish *might* have something similar to this in as much as you can watch stuff off the DVR in another room, but I am not real sure that is only if you have a coax from the DVR run to another TV in another room. DirecTV's solution is MUCH better from everything I have read and heard.
6) Price (knowing that I'll likely be getting a full package with every HD channel, special movie channels, dvr's for two tv's (maybe 3), and the playboy channel (is this in HD yet?)
I don't think playboy is in HD, but it is like $15 a month on DirecTV and Dish.
Price, well, you pay $5 for each additional receiver on DirecTV, but once for DVR (if you have more than 1 DVR, you only pay for the first one which is usually included in the rates). The full blown package for DirecTV is something like $110/month or so and includes all the movie channels. I think you still have to pay like $10 a month on top of that for the HD package.
I pay $105 a month roughly for the next to top tier of channels, sports pack ($12 or so a month, which I know you don't want), and $5 extra for the extra HD channels that aren't in the HD package. So, you can assume that premier will be more than $110 if you want to get HD or something like that. You can go calculate the price yourself at DirecTV's site. It's real easy. I assume Dish has something like that, too.
That covers it all I think.