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Mild first impressions of the HR10-250


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56 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   dswallow

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 12:44 PM

I received my HR10-250 on Thursday 4/22 and promptly set it up and activated it with a phone call to DirecTV.

I really haven't spent a lot of time with it yet. I'm hoping to do that this weekend. But as I'm sitting here, the most obvious first impression I'm having of it is that "it's just like my previous SAT-T60."

It works the same. It generally looks the same within the UI. Of course it handles HD and OTA ATSC channels, too, but otherwise, it's just a DirecTV TiVo.

And that's probably the best thing about it. (Well, HD too!)

For me the most important step was getting my season passes back in there, which I was able to do Friday night after enough guide data had downloaded and the system indexed it.

I still find one time I have a conflict with 3 programs needing to be recorded at the same time. So I have to either settle for letting my SD DVR grab one of them, or watch one of them live using a different receiver. I also subscribe to ExpressVu which gives me east/west HD networks, so I do have the ability to watch one of them live at a different time, too.

My real problem right now, is for the last 2 nights none of the shows I watch have had new episodes, so there's really justnot been anything I care about watching. So I've left the unit on some OTA stations while I've been on the computer or doing other things, just so I can twiddle with pausing and rewinding and all that. But I haven't.

HD in and of itself isn't fascinating anymore, since I've had HD receivers for over a year. What's going to make this unit great for me is when some programming comes on that I watch regularly and I can just not worry about rushing home or rushing to the TV if I want to see it in HD. How it helps me get back to real life is going to be the important aspect of this unit; something I've had to sacrifice on occasion to watch HD live for more than a year. In fact for the last month as shipment seemed imminent, I started caring less and less about watching my shows in HD, because I wanted to get back into depending upon the TiVo to catch them. Admittedly after 3 weeks of delays, I was starting to want my HD back a lot, so I found I was beginning to care about getting home in time to watch certain shows live.

The only bug I can see so far is that the channel logos have not populated. I'm not really sure why that is. For we've seen some beta system screenshots where the logos exist. Perhaps there's just different logos and it'll be a while before they're sent to the units. Seems strange, though. Even the manual doesn't show channel logos -- but the space for them on the "Now Playing List" is still there. Maybe that's not really a "bug" though.

With the DVR's, new and replacement channel logos only show up after a reboot; I guess they're downloaded with phone call updates, though they might be service data download now. But for whatever reason they only reload on a reboot. So I'll reboot every few days and keep checking.

But otherwise, the guide works; the OTA stations are all there; the tuners seem at least as good as my Zenith HD-SAT520 receiver; the picture looks great; all the pause/ff/rew fuinctions work as expected, just like the SD counterpart.

What I hate to say is that it's kind of boring in a way. :) But I guess that's also why that's good.

My only disappointment comes from not having native rate output format options, where the output format changes to match the source format of the program. I prefer this since it'd let me tune to SD channels and get a 480p signal to my display, which then let's me non-linearly stretch the image to fill the 16:9 area. Some purists hate stretching. I hate stretching linearly. But I really like the non-linear stretch on my Fujitsu P50. I rarely find cases where something looks odd because of it; it's almost strange, because even off to the sides, I'd expect people to look fat like they do on a linear stretch, but it's so rare they actually do.

I'm told though that there's good hope for native rate support to be added to the unit in the near future. But in the meantime, it's really not too big a deal to push a few buttons on the remote to switch the output format as required.

It's a small price to pay for the added TiVo functionaility on HD programming.

Now I have one OTA channel that's occasionally difficult to get good reception on, and I'm anxious to see how my luck holds when a program is on I want recorded. The primary issue here is the station is broadcasting using a temporary transmitter at extremely low power (0.125kW). I should be amazed I get it at all from 30 miles away. But come June or so it should move to it's real channel location and be transmitting much closer to full power.

The only hiccup I had was my own fault. I forgot to put the access card in before calling for activation, so I had to insert it and reboot while on the phone. And it's while staring at the screen and holding on the phone that you realize the bootup process on the unit is a bit longer than typical on the SD counterpart. :)

Otherwise, so far, everything's functioning exactly as advertised.

Now one thing I know I'm concerned about I realized when entering my season passes; almost everything had an HD counterpart, so now I'm facing the ~30 hour HD recording limitation of a 250GB drive. So I know I'm wanting to add more space when it becomes evident that is easily done, and probably only when the 400GB drives are easily obtained.

I had 240GB on my SD DVR, and it's a pleasure to let shows sit for weeks or months and watch them when opportunity arises with zero concern anything will get lost because space is needed.
Doug Swallow
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#2 OFFLINE   Dan L.

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 02:15 PM

Doug

Does the OTA guide go out 14 days and is it complete and accurate?

Are there any problems what so ever in recording OTA?


Thanks Dan

#3 OFFLINE   dswallow

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 03:33 PM

Does the OTA guide go out 14 days and is it complete and accurate?

Are there any problems what so ever in recording OTA?

The only aberration I've seen so far is one I know I've read about somewhere recently. Last night on CBS, the OTA station was showing Joan of Arcadia in the schedule, but the DirecTV-delivered SD channel was showin some sports thing or another. Unfortunately I forgot to go look at the guide data for the CBS HD channel, so I don't know if it was equally wrong or if it was correct.

I haven't really looked into the why of it more, but it's one thing on my list because obviously that sort of erroneous guide data can become a problem, especially in markets that love to pre-empt network shows. At least in NYC that's kept to a minimum, except for these local sports things.

According to the unit it's only got guide data through May 6 so far; I looked at a few OTA channels and I see stuff into May 7, and it's still trickling new guide data, so we'll see if it get sup to the full 2 weeks.
Doug Swallow
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#4 OFFLINE   BrettStah

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 04:26 PM

Thanks for the review. It's basically what I expected... it's a DirecTivo that can record HD stuff. Those expecting anything else may be disappointed, but if it's relatively stable, and can record HD stuff, it'll be a welcome box to have once we jump into the HDTV market later this year. I plan on probably keeping at least 2 of my existing 3 DirecTivos to record SD stuff. If the prices on these things drop enough I'll wind up probably getting 2 HD-Tivos so that I can split the 4 main networks between them.
Brett

#5 OFFLINE   John Corn

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 05:38 PM

Doug, nice review.

Has there been any talk of when D* might offer a new customer promo for the HR10-250? I'm ready for a change.
Have a Great Day! :) :flag:

#6 OFFLINE   dswallow

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 05:44 PM

Doug, nice review.

Has there been any talk of when D* might offer a new customer promo for the HR10-250? I'm ready for a change.

I've heard nothing. I wouldn't expect them to do a big new-customer push until there's sufficient product in the channel, though. Nothing like pissing off a new customer with non-availability of what you're enticing them with, right? :)

Rumor is this thing costs about $650 to manufacture.

I doubt a new customer deal could possibly be offered below $500 without some major assurances of programming income. I could see, however, one day DirecTV offering it cheaper tied into Total Choice Premier and one or more of the sports packages. Those types of customers tend to be valued highly by DirecTV and probably warrant more incentive spending to get them.

I don't think there'll be easy availability of this thing till around July/August.

Curiously just what season(s) is that just in time for? :)
Doug Swallow
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#7 OFFLINE   John Corn

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 05:52 PM

Thanx Doug, I'm in no hurry, but I will probably jump at the first promotion D* TV offers. :) It's killing me because I wanted MLB EI so bad when I was with Dish, now they added it and I didn't get it cause I figured I would probably change providers when the opportunity arose.
Have a Great Day! :) :flag:

#8 OFFLINE   Steve Mehs

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 07:18 PM

First off, excellent review Doug! The HD DirecTiVo sounds just like the SD one which is good and doesn't surprise me at all, hopefully it will continue to remain solid as a rock. Have you tried any of the codes, specifically the 30 sec skip code, if so do they work? I don't have an HD set, but I've never been so excited about any piece of HD hardware before like this.

Enjoy the HD DVR Doug!
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#9 OFFLINE   bonscott87

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 10:43 PM

And reports off the Tivo forum are that an extra hard drive *can* be added and that dealers are already working on mounting brackets to sell.

Also it was reported that it will do it's call to Tivo over PPP, just like a SD-DirecTivo.

Basically it's just an SD-DirecTivo that can record HD. Which is perfect. I'll be waiting until fall at least for the price to drop, but it's on my Christmas list for sure. :D

#10 OFFLINE   dswallow

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 10:51 PM

Have you tried any of the codes, specifically the 30 sec skip code, if so do they work?

I haven't tried it myself, but a friend who went to Value Electronics to play with the unit they'd gotten as a gift from DirecTV before ours got shipped tried it and it worked. I'm gonna go watch my first recorded season pass program now, so will try the 30 second skip. I actually have never used that before over the 3 years I had my SAT-T60. ;)
Doug Swallow
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#11 Guest_WayneB_*

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Posted 25 April 2004 - 05:23 AM

How quick/slow is the guide ? The series 1 D*Tivo is painfully slow scrolling through the guide. Is the HD*Tivo any quicker ????

#12 OFFLINE   Steve Mehs

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Posted 25 April 2004 - 09:12 AM

That's good news! Wayne beat me to my next question about the EPG. Is it any faster when it fills, compared to the SD units?
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#13 OFFLINE   dswallow

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Posted 25 April 2004 - 11:00 AM

No it's not any quicker; but my unit is still getting guide data, so until it's done filling up that and dealing with indexing it, I'll withhold final judgement that it isn't going to be faster than this right now.
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#14 OFFLINE   CAL7

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 10:12 AM

What can you tell us about its idle state? If it is "off", do the HDD or fan appear to run? Does it idle down on its own? (Forgive the 921-paranoid questions :) )

#15 OFFLINE   dswallow

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 03:27 PM

What can you tell us about its idle state? If it is "off", do the HDD or fan appear to run? Does it idle down on its own? (Forgive the 921-paranoid questions :) )

There's really no such thing as idle with a TiVo. The standby mode shuts down video output. Supposedly the standby mode on the DirecTV TiVo units stops recording the 30-minute buffer of whatever 2 active tuners are on (but I've not confirmed this myself -- I never put my unit in standby).

The fan is always on if the unit has power. The CPU is always running, of course. The satellite tuners always have to be active to receive guide data that's trickling in. So there would be heat generated, hence why the fan is always on.

I will try to check out standby and recording tonight; I've never had a hard drive power down into a sleep mode on a TiVo and really wouldn't expect they'd have any reason to do that on this unit, either.

The unit never enters a standby mode unless you tell it to.
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#16 OFFLINE   hongcho

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 03:41 PM

The 30-second skip "secret handshake" thingy works. :P I am using it.

I gave up on the DirecTV guide and sticking with the TiVo guide ("List Guide").

I am just surprised that more of the indexing and scheduling aren't done in the background.

Hong.
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#17 OFFLINE   Throwbot

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 05:33 PM

There's really no such thing as idle with a TiVo. The standby mode shuts down video output. Supposedly the standby mode on the DirecTV TiVo units stops recording the 30-minute buffer of whatever 2 active tuners are on (but I've not confirmed this myself -- I never put my unit in standby).

The fan is always on if the unit has power. The CPU is always running, of course. The satellite tuners always have to be active to receive guide data that's trickling in. So there would be heat generated, hence why the fan is always on.

I will try to check out standby and recording tonight; I've never had a hard drive power down into a sleep mode on a TiVo and really wouldn't expect they'd have any reason to do that on this unit, either.

The unit never enters a standby mode unless you tell it to.

Could you give us an indication of the fan / harddrive noise?

#18 OFFLINE   JLucPicard

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 12:07 AM

I currently have two of the Phillips DirecTV DVRs. The remote has the functionality of controlling either box without affecting the other. As I watch way too much TV, I do not plan on removing either once I get the HD version.

My question to dswallow (or anyone else for that matter) is, will the Hughes remote not affect the Phillips boxes, or will I most likely have problems with the remotes affecting the other boxes without blocking the signal at the front of them?

Sorry, its late, so I hope I'm making sense.

I'm getting so pumped reading about this stuff, but I'm also afraid I'm too late to get one of the new boxes any time soon. I really want one in time for football season, though I don't know if the Sunday Ticket package will be broadcast in HD - anyone know?

Great forum! Thanks.

#19 OFFLINE   dswallow

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 12:34 AM

I currently have two of the Phillips DirecTV DVRs. The remote has the functionality of controlling either box without affecting the other. As I watch way too much TV, I do not plan on removing either once I get the HD version.

My question to dswallow (or anyone else for that matter) is, will the Hughes remote not affect the Phillips boxes, or will I most likely have problems with the remotes affecting the other boxes without blocking the signal at the front of them?

Sorry, its late, so I hope I'm making sense.

I'm getting so pumped reading about this stuff, but I'm also afraid I'm too late to get one of the new boxes any time soon. I really want one in time for football season, though I don't know if the Sunday Ticket package will be broadcast in HD - anyone know?


The HR10-250 remotes have 9 possible addresses just like all DirecTV DVR's (and standalone TiVo's, I believe). Out of the box, it's set for remote address 0, which is like a "global" setting and it would control any DVR, so you just have to go to the system information screen, set the remote for the address you want (one unused by your current setup) and set the HR10-250 to recognize it.

DirecTV is planning on having 8 HD NFL games a week as part of NFL Sunday Ticket.
Doug Swallow
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#20 OFFLINE   dswallow

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 12:40 AM

Could you give us an indication of the fan / harddrive noise?

In a completely quiet room, I really don't hear the fan. I do hear hard drive activity, not so much a hum or anything like that, but the movement of the servo/head assembly.

I can't really compare it to the SD DVR, since I replace the drives in my SAT-T60 with Samsung drives that were absolutely silent. Someone has done a casual test with a sound meter: http://www.tivocommu...threadid=171464
Doug Swallow
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