I don't really see it that way. What I find frustrating are situations like this. I had been a loyal customer for several years and liked their service, so I recommended it to a friend. He got the new DVR. Mine then promptly died and I got one that was even older than my current model (but the same model number with the same anemic hard drive). As a loyal customer, I found it really frustrating that he got a new one and I got old crap.
In my opinion, that is a mistake on DTV's part. When I inquired about it, I was told take the old crap or go somewhere else. I wasn't given any options. My friend was guaranteed a newer model.
Even new customers aren't guaranteed a newer model. I had a friend sign up, he got an HR22 and H24. Now, if your friend got the HR34, that is different.