The HR44 may not be flawless, but mine, at least (-700) has been very, very good. Having used many HR models starting at the HR20-700 (an amazing DVR after a few software releases until even it became too processor/memory starved to keep up with all the latest bells and whistles), the 44 is not just better than all of them in terms of speed, reliability and annoying bugs, it is dramatically so!
I had a hard drive start to go bad on my HR20-700 after 5 years...does that make it "plagued", or does it deserve a gold star for 5 years of 24x7 operationi? Starting in 2007, I've had HR20-700, HR20-100, HR21-200, H21-200 and now the HR24-200 and HR44-700. In all these years, I've had exactly one hard drive go south. (and it didn't outright die, just started to show issues, I cloned it to a new drive and away we went ...it was external, btw).
I'll agree that the older HR2x series DVRs got to be really problematic in and of themselves as time wore on, but not specifically the hard drives. They became horridly slow, very inconsistent in their performance and utterly incapable of properly running cjrrent versions of the software well. They were getting bad enough that I was considering moving to a different provider. Much of the frustration with this equipmente was a result of very sporadic performance and near constant rationalization and outright denial from the user community. One couldn't get help because nothing would really help. It still amazes me that well established problems could so easily be swept under the rug with a "What! Me worry", Alfred E. Newman mentality. I know that has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way....and it should have.
Now that the 24 and 44 are well established, all I can say is that the 44 is really, really quick and has been, to this point quite reliable and consistent in its performance. The 24 isn't as fast, but still runs circles around the 3 DVR models that I replaced. (20-700, 20-100, 21-200).
The 44 isn't perfect, but it is so good that most typical users are unlikely to notice anything out of order. I can note a few things in the firmware that aren't right, but they don't ruin the user experience.
I don't see any reason the few remaining minor issues (compared to the overall performance of the box) won't get fixed in the long run. That was not the case with the HR20/21 series. There were major issues, they were legendary among those experiencing them and they never got fixed. They were both annoying and frustrating and ruined the user experience for me.
So, while there are plenty of things to complain about, the 44 doesn't strike me as one of them, and my 24s don't seem to be an issue either, just not as fast as the 44.