What kind of failures do DVRs like the HR34/44 experience?
Don't have either one, but if they're like the other HRs, it could be anything. Usually (at least in my experience) it's not the HDDs that fail, it's the HRs themselves for all kinds of reasons
I ask because my R15 failed last December after about 3-4 years from a hard drive failure. At least I think it was a hard drive failure. It got replaced by an R16.
See what I mean? That R15 could have failed for a variety of reasons and yet the HDD gets the blame.
So I'm thinking with an HR44 external hard drive and external power supply there might be a good chance the HR44 itself would last a long time. Heck it even has two remote control interfaces, if I'm not mistaken. A power supply or remote control failure is recoverable and a hard drive failure is theoretically preventable.
I don't think anyone here will be able to tell you how long an HR will last. I've still got three 20-700s that run quite well and they date back to 2007. I've had 20-100s, 21-100s and a 22-100 and none worked. The 22-100 did work for a week. So, I've got a bias against any HR ending in 100. But, now I have three 24-100s that work very well. Go figure.
I understand D* will likely always marry external drives to the HR. Anyway, it just seems like the HR44 makes investing in long term storage setups more likely to be worth the time and expense.
Hmm, if you don't care about expense, I've got a way to do it so you can actually archive content. Still not foolproof, but pretty close.