DirecTV didn't really have a choice. The dual-chip HR20 design cost DirecTV almost $450 to build, according to a quarterly conference call, and that was more than they could provide at no cost to new customers.
Not disagreeing with you, just saying that the decision to use a different chip set in the HR21/22/23 vs. the HR20 was a bad one. Hopefully it's the last time that DirecTV does something like that. The recent Dish commercials/shoot outs of their hardware vs. the HR23 hopefully will be the last time they can do that, ever.
The HR21/HR22/HR23 were based on Broadcom's first DVR SoC with integrated MPEG-4. That chip made it possible for DirecTV to build a single-chip design, without OTA, at a much more reasonable $250 (HR21). Unfortunately, that SoC also offers half the memory bandwidth of the older dual-chip design, which translates to slower responsiveness and network throughput.
In 4Q 2008, Broadcom started shipping its second-generation MPEG-4 DVR SoC in volume. That SoC (BCM7400) doubled performance to support DVR designs with a high-definition interface and quad tuners. Dish Network shipped the ViP722K with this chip in April'09. DirecTV stuck with the old chip for the HR23 released in May'09, even though the new part would've eliminated most complaints about responsiveness.
Broadcom said last week that it was now shipping the final version of its next-generation BCM7420 to manufacturers. Originally announced at CES last year, this chip incorporates a significantly faster CPU and 2D/3D graphics, 1080p60 output, MoCA, robust power management for Energy Star compliance, and support for up to six tuners. Did DirecTV pass on the BCM7400 last year to wait for this new generation of SoCs? That would be great if true...but I wouldn't bet on it.
This Home Media Center Prototype which has been mentioned by Directv for 2 years is very close to becoming reality. It has a Fast Processor, a large hard Drive, 5 tuners to transmit to Clients (that don't have a hard drive thereby no storage capacity but are just Clients) that eventually will wind up inside of your Display Device in the future.
The On Screen Guide is probably 3 times Faster than the fastest DVR I now have. Faster loading (about 2 seconds) and lightning fast browsing of the Guide.
I want to reiterate that this is not the HR24 but a Futuristic Home Media Center that will be coming out shortly but not before the HR24.
DIRECTV is UPPING the ANTE in my opinion and is definitely looking towards the Future Market Share in making things simpler and easier and more functional it their Process of Delivering High Definition Content to the User as well as 3-D Content.
I wouldn't get your hopes up for that level of performance in a HR24. If DirecTV couldn't get the BCM7400 released in Oct'08 into a HR23 DVR shipped in May'09, how is it going to get a BCM7420/BCM7410 released in Dec'09 into a HR24 DVR shipped in late February or March?
Regardless...the next generation devices will likely have next generation internal components as well - certainly the on site prototype at CES was very noticably much faster in the guide, menu, channel changes, etc. It was one of the first obvious things seen there - speed!
From a support perspective, it would be advantageous for DirecTV to ship both platforms with the same SoC, but I just don't see how they do it and meet their 1Q'10 goal.
Edited by Ken_F, 13 January 2010 - 04:12 AM.