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Upgraded to two THR22-100's


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#1 OFFLINE   Gary McCoy

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 02:15 PM

Just two days ago the installer showed up and replaced my two Hughes HDVR2's with two new THR22-100's. They replaced the old 18" oval dish with a new 24" Slimline 3.

The HDVR2's have been in use since 2003. Basicly I got tired of repairing them, the hardware was terribly unreliable (six total repairs in 9 years on two receivers), the Series 2 TiVo software was great. In 2007 I added a TiVo HD (Series 3) and high gain UHF rooftop antenna to my main TV, to allow me to DVR the literally dozens of digital OTA channels in the SF Bay area. I frequently find that the subchannels contain more compelling content than the main HD channel, which is all that DirecTV supplies via the dish.

So far, so good. The two THR22's took overnight to acquire enough program listings to allow me to enter 2/3rds of my Season Passes. The other third cannot be entered because they are between seasons and do not exist in the program listing, which is a tad annoying.

IMHO the THR22 is an odd amalgum of Series 2/Series 3 features, along with a few unique features. They are the first TiVo's I've had with a visible disk capacity indicator, for example, which I like. (My TiVo HD has not had an update in a long time, and is lagging pretty far behind the Premiere models.)

I don't really care for the bright blue LEDs on the front panel, and setting the display to "dim" hardly made any difference.

The image is great on the dozen or so channels I actually use a lot that are now in HD. I have the old Total Choice Plus package with local channels - not that I need the locals, but they were part of the bundle.

So far, I'm pleased with the upgrade. It's costing me another $5/month, and $344 for the new equipment.

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#2 OFFLINE   Gary McCoy

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 02:56 PM

Three days into the upgrade, and I have some comments and observations.

1) Search is simply broken. My wife likes WNBA basketball games, and they do in fact broadcast 4-6 of these per week this time of year. But when I do a Category search using Sports: Basketball, which worked fine on my Series 2 DirecTiVo, I get nothing on the THR22-100. Then when we search online on our PC at the WNBA page and find out when the scheduled games are, we put the guide into TiVo LiveGuide mode, and we find that those games ARE in the listing and DO have the Category settings "Sports" and "Basketball".

DON'T tell me this is a listing problem, either. The same games could be searched on and found with a Series 2 DirecTV HDVR2 receiver. It's a bug in the THR22-100.

2) The remote prefix codes are different. I used to use the SAME TiVo remote on both my Series 2 DirecTiVo HDVR2 and my Series 3 TiVo HD, by simply setting one as DVR 1 and the other as DVR 2, and switching between them with the 1/2 slide switch on front of the remote. That does not work any longer, the HD TiVo does not respond AT ALL to the THR22-100 remote, and vice-versa.

This is severely annoying. I was certain this would work, because the peanut shaped remotes are very similar in appearance. The wife did adjust to the new remote after some initial confusion, and in the spare bedroom HDTV she is now using the new remote, with the HDTV speakers.

YES I have a Harmony remote and YES I got it to work with both TiVo's. But when I watch HDTV in the family room, I use the 5.1 sound, and the Harmony controls the HDTV, the 5.1 Denon reciver, the Toshiba HD-DVD player, the Panasonic BluRay player (also used for streaming content), and the two TiVo's. The wife watches basketball games on the same big screen, but only with TV speakers, and doesn't care for the "thumping thing behind the couch that shakes the house", otherwise known as our subwoofer. So she uses the TiVo remote, not the Harmony.

So she is unhappy with the fact that she has to pick up one of two peanut-shaped TiVo remotes, and she has to remember which one goes with which DVR, and if she is wrong, nothing happens. Then she precedes to make me unhappy.

So I'm less pleased than I was before. How long has the "Search" function been broken, and is DirecTV aware of the problem, and is there a fix underway?

#3 OFFLINE   Gary McCoy

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 01:12 AM

OK, I figured out what is going on, I think.

The THR22-100 is basicly an older DirecTV DVR called an R22, running TiVo series 3 software. It does things s o v e r y s l ow l y. In fact, any function you can name is noticeably slower on the THR22-100 than it is on my vintage 2007 TiVo HD.

The problem I reported in my second post above is better today. Remember how I had noticed that the channel listings for the basketball games I was searching for were actually there, but it could not find them? That was absolutely correct, and it is repeatable behavior, and consequently if you own a THR22-100, you will want to take every alternative before dooing a restart, because it will literally take days to get back to 100% functional.

I'm not sure whether the tables that the receiver uses for searching the listings are downloaded from the server afterwards, or if the receiver is building the search tables with background processing, but the result is that it will take an extra day or two after the channel listing download before all of the many search features are working.

This is a bad design, pairing all the features of Series 3 TiVo with slower DVR hardware. There are at least two newer faster DirecTv DVRs that are not available with the TiVo software.

Had I known what I know today before I paid my money, I might have made a different choice.

#4 OFFLINE   frankygamer

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 08:00 AM

I'm surprised you haven't been slammed for not doing your research. That's the only help you'll get here. Once baseball season is over its all going back and I'm done with DirecTV. They can have my cancellation fee. Its less then 3 months service for me so I'll be ahead by month 4.

Already transitioning programming to the Tivo elite. Its nice to be back on the most powerful DVR out there. Makes the hr34 look like a senior project

#5 OFFLINE   sbl

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:44 AM

The THR22 is based on the HR22 (same as HR21 except for disk size). This was the current model when TiVo began their porting effort.

I have both a THR22 and an HR21 and find the THR22 to have a noticeably faster UI.

I disagree that a restart will make it take "days" to regain functionality. That is simply not true. It might be that if initial indexing had not finished that it starts over, I don't know. But once the indexing is done - and it's the same way that the standalone TiVos do it - a restart loses you nothing but about 10 minutes of use time.

DirecTV has been quite clear on what the THR22 is and isn't. If you simply saw "TiVo" and imagined what you thought it would be, I don't have much sympathy for you.

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#6 OFFLINE   frankygamer

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 06:24 PM

Steve, so you think it is reasonable for someone to come to this forum and read through pages of information to know what a thr22 is and is not? Add me to the stupid list thinking a new Tivo box from DirecTV would have features from last decade like mrv at some point. Silly things like technical support and continued development to make it a product worthy of Tivo's name. Where was it made so clear this was hr10 with no feature updates ever? Trust me if the was an asterisk by the thr22 saying it was a mpeg 4 hr10 i never would have bought it. Add to that DirecTV claiming Tivo has complete control of SW is just a load of you know what.

I think forums like this are great but saying someone should come here for the truth and not DirecTV is a joke. Then blaming Tivo for lack of features is just the kicker of this whole debacle. Tivo should have never let their name be associated with such lame product. Tivo lite yes, Tivo no.

When i bought my Tivo elite, i didn't have to scour internet websites to see what box could do. When or if ever a gen 5 Tivo comes out, wouldnt you assume it would be a premier with more features? Not a gen5 box with 5 year old sw?

Yes i expected better from dtv and Tivo, stupid me.

#7 OFFLINE   sbl

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:39 PM

I didn't say that at all. When DirecTV offered the THR22, the web page describing it had a chart of features across the models - you would have seen that the features you wanted from the current SA TiVos were missing. You could have also read the "First Look" here that went over the THR22 in detail.

You've been a member of this forum a year longer than I have. This suggested to me that you'd have at least a passing familiarity with the many discussions here of the THR22, its saga over the years, and what it wasn't going to be.

Steve

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#8 OFFLINE   Gary McCoy

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:49 PM

Steve, I did my homework and I know of the chart you speak. I knew I was not getting a whole house DVR and I knew I would not have five tuners and I knew that I would not be able to start playback in one room and finish in another.

But I did not know that I was buying 5-year-old TiVo features that would never be updated. My Hughes HDVR-2's were 9 years old and got a long overdue software update in 2011 that added the "Recently Deleted" folder.

I did not know that if I started the exact same search on the brand new THR22 and the vintage 2007 TiVo HD, for a program on a local channel, that the TiVo HD would find it in 5 seconds while the THR22 takes 13 seconds. I never dreamed I would spend so much time staring at a clock icon and the message "Please Wait...".

I repeat (from the standpoint of an EE who has worked in new product design ince 1986) that pairing the powerfull, multi-featured software of the TiVo Series 3 products with the slower hardware of a Series 2 class DVR is simply a poor design.

Unfortunately, I don't have any choice, they have my money and I'll owe more unless I finish the 24-month programming commitment. Plus my wife has already made the transition from the "Real TiVo" remote to the "Fake TiVo" THR22 remote, and used up her tolerance for change for at least another two years.

So my THR22's are on trial for 2 years. Regular software updates need to happen that will improve both the responsiveness of the TiVo user interface and that clear up the software bugs. I personally would dump all the "DirecTV On Demand" stuff. I already own two HDTVs, two BluRay disk players, and a TiVo HD that give me more access to InterNet content than I care to purchase. I certainly will never use DirecTV On Demand, their offering missed the market by several years.

Hers's a suggestion for DirecTV: offer the customer the option of dumping all the bloated "On Demand" code in favor of a leaner, faster DVR with just the regular Series 3 features.

#9 OFFLINE   frankygamer

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:58 PM

So if you buy/lease a HR2x or HR3x DVR it's safe to assume DirecTV is going to support it with bug updates and feature updates. But if you buy a THR22, you better not expect anything then what you got out of the box. Or should I say the first update out of the box. Whatever did happen to Kidzone on the firmware shipped with the unit?

So let's carry the THR22 support theory to the HR2x, and HR34. Just imagine if the first HR20 didn't get a SW update for 6+ months? Then the 2nd tuner was never enabled, dual buffers never added? I think you would see (as we did) some very upset customers. Then the HR34 comes out and no HD GUI, Pandora, and buggy. What if the HR34 was never updated? So why can't a customer feel screwed over when the THR22 comes out and their is no bug fixes for 6+ months? In those 6 months you can't find a person from either camp who will discuss the unit openly. All DirecTV want's to do is swap receiver with a HR2x. TiVo is silent.

I wasn't surprised or really cared if whole home was supported or not. I don't think it's reasonable for a THR22 to talk to a HR2x. That's what Whole Home means to me What I do think is reasonable is providing THR22 to THR22 communication. So that check box didn't phase me much. I'm sorry but over time certain features that used to be consider 'special' become the norm. Would a THR22 with only one tuner be acceptable too? I don't think so. A DVR without MRV is the same

Add to that we know what the HW can do. There is nothing limiting the HW from pulling a show out of the MFS and send it out over the Ethernet port to another THR22. The only thing limiting this box is SW which is a DirecTV product subcontracted from TiVo. We know the TiVo SW is not incapable of this as TiVo has been doing this for years. Put an external drive on the THR22 let it run for a couple of days and then hook it up to a Linux box. what do you see? A Premiere filesystem not a Series 3. Read the log files and what do you find? references to MRV. I would be shocked if a TiVo developer doesn't have MRV working on the THR22 whether DirecTV asked for it or not. Engineers squirrelly bunch. Tell them not to implement something and they do it anyway. Whether it's on their own time or the companies.

You are correct, I should have learned my lesson the first go around and I didn't. Anyway there won't be a 3rd time.

#10 OFFLINE   sbl

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:45 PM

For what it's worth, the only reason I have a THR22 is that my wife valued the TiVo UI over everything else. She doesn't care about any of the missing features - if the HR10 couldn't do it, she doesn't want it. That's fine. I also have an HR21 so it's easy for me to side-by-side comparisons, as the basic hardware is the same.

I don't think we'll ever know who is ultimately to "blame" for the relative lack of new features of the THR22. I'm not sure if we'll ever know if the THR22's software will get enhanced the way the HR2x (and TiVo standalone) boxes do on a regular basis. But history tells us that TiVo ports to other hardware have not generally been a success (see "Comcast TiVo", for an example.)

Steve

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#11 OFFLINE   camara

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 11:12 AM

This thread is perfect for me. I'm right now with a pending order for 2 THR-22s but having second thoughts about instead getting a HR34.
I've had SD directivos in the past, and never moved to HD DVRs from directv due to their sluggish response and bad interface.
My decision to finally go HD, since THR-22 became available, seemed well founded, and I was willing to sacrifice their maiming of tivo features (networking) for what really matters to me - ffwd and rev instant response, good, simple season pass and 'now playing' interfaces. I was getting 2 to be able to record 4 things at a time.
The information I saw that seems to change this is that the THR-22 is basically a bad port of tivo firmware into an obsolete hardware platform. I'd be OK without networking to get tivo-like experience but if I'm getting a sluggish directv dvr hardware in tivo clothing, it seems just another directv scam to keep tivo customers. Trying to convince us that their crappy DVRs were 'just the same' or 'better' never worked, now they try this?
Now the HR-34, supposing it is similar in response (or better) than this DVR in Tivo's clothing, it would be preferable, but there seems also to be limitations of the 'whole house dvr', like only one program being streamed at a time (i.e. daughter #1 watching Sesame Street prevents daugther #2 from watching Pretty Little Liars?) - so one would need more HR-34s or their current DVRs (which they won't tell which model you'll get - whatever scrap the installer brings).
It seems I should call off the install for the 'fake Tivos' and consider HR-34 or even just OTA, screw directv? I have no problem paying for their service and equipment, but they try so hard to enclose us in a smaller and smaller box that OTA + internet, with all the incoveniences, might feel liberating...

#12 OFFLINE   JBv

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:03 PM

This thread is perfect for me. I'm right now with a pending order for 2 THR-22s but having second thoughts about instead getting a HR34.
I've had SD directivos in the past, and never moved to HD DVRs from directv due to their sluggish response and bad interface.
My decision to finally go HD, since THR-22 became available, seemed well founded, and I was willing to sacrifice their maiming of tivo features (networking) for what really matters to me - ffwd and rev instant response, good, simple season pass and 'now playing' interfaces. I was getting 2 to be able to record 4 things at a time.
The information I saw that seems to change this is that the THR-22 is basically a bad port of tivo firmware into an obsolete hardware platform. I'd be OK without networking to get tivo-like experience but if I'm getting a sluggish directv dvr hardware in tivo clothing, it seems just another directv scam to keep tivo customers. Trying to convince us that their crappy DVRs were 'just the same' or 'better' never worked, now they try this?
Now the HR-34, supposing it is similar in response (or better) than this DVR in Tivo's clothing, it would be preferable, but there seems also to be limitations of the 'whole house dvr', like only one program being streamed at a time (i.e. daughter #1 watching Sesame Street prevents daugther #2 from watching Pretty Little Liars?) - so one would need more HR-34s or their current DVRs (which they won't tell which model you'll get - whatever scrap the installer brings).
It seems I should call off the install for the 'fake Tivos' and consider HR-34 or even just OTA, screw directv? I have no problem paying for their service and equipment, but they try so hard to enclose us in a smaller and smaller box that OTA + internet, with all the incoveniences, might feel liberating...


For the record, an HR34 can stream to three separate clients at the same time. The HR2x receivers are only capable of streaming to one client at once. The newer firmwares on the HR2xs have sped up the response quite a bit, not sure about the HR34 though. My THR22 is muuuuch slower than my HR24.
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