I've tried to include every design deficiency, annoyance and plain stupidity in the HR2x software that I could recall. Except for the DoublePlay item, I've experienced each of these defects with my HR21s (two in succession), and as far as I can tell none of them have been fixed yet. (The fact that search results unavoidably include VOD shows and channels you don't get is intentional, driven by marketing.) A few lucky people may not have seen everything I've seen; maybe they use fewer features, or maybe they have a box that's fast enough for their tastes (the HR20s are said to be faster).
I haven't included complaints about cosmetics; these would be purely matters of opinion. Most of these items (but not all) are better on a TiVo, but the main intent of this list isn't to praise that elegant DVR interface, but rather to indict the HR2x's. To defenders of the D* faith: Please, please refrain from the usual (and predictable) denials.
••• Slow Reaction
• A new Series Link or Autorecorded Search can take days to correctly schedule all its recordings
• An Autorecorded Search re-executed from the Prioritizer usually returns very few of the possible matches
• Missed recordings are still happening (even when the Series Link is long-established)
• The entire UI is so slow that keys are ignored, or acted on too late (and it's probably not because the hardware is inadequate)
• Press-and-hold functions work only sometimes
• Press-and-hold functions, when they work, take way too long to engage
• Press-and-hold functions sometimes engage when you least expect it
• Instant Replay goes back only 5 seconds, and sometimes takes 2 or 3 seconds to act, leading you to press it too many times
• You can't pause a recording on the right frame unless you anticipate and press the Pause key early
• All remote button presses are ignored for the first few seconds after playback starts
• Entering letters with the numeric keypad frequently generates mistakes
• Series Links are limited to 50 (and the interface is even slower if you use all 50)
• No way to tell what channel the background tuner was on when nothing is recording
• DoublePlay won't continuously buffer the background tuner (after two hours)
• Big separate partition to hold PPV/VOD shows you'll never buy
• Unsupported add-on disk storage (eSATA) disables the internal disk drive and is subject to erasure
• Manual recording is unnecessarily difficult, requiring too many keypresses
• No way to enter a 3-digit channel number when recording manually
• Manual recording can't be used to capture what's in the foreground buffer
• End-padding of recordings is limited to certain arbitrary amounts; for example, pads of 3, 4, and 10 minutes aren't allowed
• Start-padding of recordings is even more limited (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 minutes); 15, 20 and 30 minutes would be nice [new]
• The only way to see a long Prioritizer item (without the "...") is to make it do its (usually ineffective) search
• History list gives incorrect reasons for a show's cancellation or deletion
• Neither channel name nor number can be seen in the History list 'til you view the detail screen [new]
• Search results don't always include all matches
• Search results in general include all channels: VOD shows, PPV channels, and all the channels you can't get
• Person and Keyword searches produce lists that contain channel numbers but not channel names
• Keyword searches are limited to 50 characters, and the TTITLE and CCHAN operators are unnecessarily long
• There have been no improvements for keyword search expressions in spite of many good suggestions
• Channel searches require that you know the first few letters of the channel name; you can't search for Red Zone, for example
• Autorecording based on keyword searching records PPV channels and a few channels you can't get
• Search-result lists refresh themselves for no reason, and sometimes restart from the beginning
• The list of Recent Searches is limited to 25, so you must frequently recreate them [new]
••• User Interface
• No dedicated Slow Motion key
• No dedicated Clear key; Exit clears, but might dismiss the program you're watching
• The Dash (-) key is wasted on a useless "Recorder OK?" function; it could've been the Clear key
• The Dash (-) key can be pressed twice to delete items from some lists but not from others [new]
• The Active key is another wasted button; it also wastes your time when pressed by accident
• Autocorrection after FF goes way too far backwards after all 3 speeds (and when pressing Pause in live TV)
• Stepping after a pause requires multiple presses of the >> button
• The progress bar does not go away by itself when you single-step
• The progress bar covers 15% of the screen (TiVo's covers about 3%)
• There's no way (like TiVo's backdoor) to make the progress bar disappear by itself quickly
• Pressing Play twice to make the progress bar disappear often makes it reappear instead [new]
• The progress bar shows a recording as complete no matter how much of it was lost to rain fade
• Closed Captioning uses only low-resolution fonts with jagged edges (maybe "Subtitling" is better)
• Closed Captioning does not stay on during FF1
• Show's full name (without the "...") isn't shown in the blank area at the top of the To Do List or the History list
• I'd miss TiVo's backdoor elapsed-time display if I didn't have a plasma TV
• The Format key can't change the way an HD channel is displayed when the TV Ratio is set to 16:9, yet it cycles through all the options
• Too many keypresses required to get to the To Do List, the Prioritizer, or Manual recording
• No way (Ch up/down?) to go directly to the previous/next detailed show description in any list
• Returning from a detailed show description to a list takes too much time refreshing the list
• Now Playing doesn't remember where you were [new]
• The Prioritizer doesn't remember where you were [new]
• Recent Searches doesn't remember where you were [new]
• No menu remembers where you were in it [new]
• No way to skip to a given date in the To Do List [new]
• No way to go quickly to the top or bottom of Now Playing [new]
• No way to go quickly to the top or bottom of the Prioritizer [new]
• No way to go quickly to the top or bottom of Recent Searches [new]
• No way to go quickly to the end of the History list [new]
• No way to skip to a given date in History [new]
• Occasionally jittery sound (brrrpp) and picture
• Screen saver is jumpy and gets interrupted by flashes of an unrecognizable full-screen image [new]
• Search for Titles: Kool & the Gang is listed only as "& the Gang, Kool"
• Search for Titles: Jackson 5 is listed only as "5, Jackson"
• Any bug fix is usually kept secret, referred to only generically as "UI Polishing" (for example)
• The HR2x user interface is an award-losing interface.
Most of these problems have been reported over and over by many users. While they haven't been fixed, several unrequested and fairly useless features have been added.
Here's why I haven't gone to another provider (I'm definitely NOT staying for the sports packages):
In August 2004, I started subscribing to DirecTV after buying an HR10-250 for $900 (plus $100 for a UHF antenna). I had been a Comcast HD subscriber, but Comcast was refusing to sign a deal to carry the local ABC affiliate in HD. The clincher was that D* had an HD TiVo; no one else did.
I thought the HR10-250 would be a long-term investment. Then, in August 2005, just a year after I started using it, DirecTV announced it would not be using TiVo as its supplier for high definition DVRs, going instead with NDS in a deal which would divert revenue from DVR rentals more directly to DirecTV. In February 2008, DirecTV subscribers were informed they would need to upgrade to its (inferior) NDS equipment if they wanted full HD service. This pair of actions broke faith with customers who, like me, joined DirecTV mostly because of the HD TiVo.
After adding ESPN2 HD to their MPEG-2 channel lineup on 8 Sep 2005, D* added any other new HD channels only to MPEG-4 satellites my HR10-250 couldn't see. In February 2009, D* began to gradually delete their existing MPEG-2 HD channels. (So far, HDNM, UHD and SHOH have disappeared from the HR10-250's view.)
My wife continues to use our HR10-250, mostly for SD even though it's attached to an HDTV (Sony tube), because its interface is so friendly and fast. Eventually we hope to have two MPEG-4 TiVos.
Removed "One-touch recording can't record a buffered show if it's (almost) over" -- I can no longer duplicate this; it works great.
Added 16 [new] items
Edited by Syzygy, 08 September 2009 - 12:40 AM.
Added more items