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HR20 in Pittsburgh


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6 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   munangst

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 09:21 AM

I've been with D* for a while (~5 years) and have had a DTivo the whole time (Sony T60). I recently upgraded my TV to a HD-capable set and wanted to upgrade to a HD receiver/DVR, but wasn't too hot about paying $400 for a HR10 when Comcast is offering a pretty sweet deal around here if you are switching from satellite ("Digital Plus" + HBO + Showtime + DVR for $50/mo. for the first 12 months). So I started calling D* retention to see what I could get.

Initially the CSR offered me an HR10 + 5LNB dish + std. installation for $19.95 s/h and a 2-year programming committment. She actually recommended that I wait about a month, because the HR20 was going to be rolled out nationally by the end of Sept., and then I could get the new DVR instead of the "old slow" HR10. Well, we like our TiVo boxes, so I said no thanks, I'd like to set it up now and get an HR10, and if we have to switch down the road we'll deal with it then. She said that was fine, and when I pressed her a little more I was able to get her to throw in an OTA antenna as well. All was good until she went to set up the install date...earliest available was Sept. 25 (i.e., almost a month away)!

I reluctantly took that date and the CSR said she would e-mail the local installation contractor to see if they had any earlier dates available that weren't showing in the computer. They were supposed to call me within 24 hrs to confirm, whether they had a newer date or not, and also put me on the "pending" list, so if there is a cancellation or they get extra room in their schedule they can move me up.

Nobody called, so two days later I called back retention. The earliest date was now Sept. 20 (i.e., 5 days earlier) which is still a long time. The CSR had to put me on hold while she called the local installer...when she came back she said that the reason why there were no earlier dates available is that the installation contractor has already allocated their entire inventory of HR10s to scheduled installs. So, they have to wait until they get their shipment of HR20s in before they can do more HD DVR installs. If they get their shipment in earlier than 9/20 they might be able to do me earlier, but no promises.

So I guess we are going to get an HR20 after all...hopefully they will have worked out the kinks that I'm reading about in the other threads by the time it gets installed. In order to tide us over (and see how bad it is) we had Comcast install their HD DVR service (Motorola DCT6412). And, let me tell you, it's no TiVo...the box gets sluggish from time to time, sometimes it glitches and stops showing video until you switch to a recorded program & back to live TV, and the UI is awkward compared to the TiVo UI. (i.e., if you are recording something on tuner A and watching it, and you ask it to change the channel, on the TiVo it will automatically switch to tuner B if that tuner isn't also recording a program...on the Comcast DVR it brings up the "your recording will be cancelled if you change the channel" dialog unless you explicitly swap tuners first.)

I also asked the CSR specifically about some of the HR20 shortcomings vs. the HR10. She talked to her supervisor and came back and said that according to their training materials, the HR20 should eventually have "all the capabilities of the R15". She claimed this included dual live buffer, although from what I have heard the R15 does not have them. I think she was confused about what I meant by the feature (even after I explained it).

Along the way the CSRs have also offered me various discounts & comps, so at this point I have:

* $10 off Total Choice Plus for a year
* 2-for-one premiums (HBO + Cinemax for the price of HBO) for a year
* free Showtime for a month
* free HD DVR, 5-LNB dish, OTA antenna, and installation (the last CSR comped the $19.95 s/h charge) in return for a 2-year committment ($300 ETF, prorated monthly)
* once the HD DVR is installed, free HD programming pkg for 4 months

Not bad...almost brings the total price down to the $50/mo that Comcast charges for their crappy DVR service.

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#2 OFFLINE   munangst

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 09:33 AM

Forgot to mention...on the 2nd call to retention, the CSR offered another option if I really wanted an HR10. I could go through the retail channel (Best Buy, etc.) and purchase an HR10, 3LNB dish, and OTA antennta out of their inventory. D* would set me up with an installation appt (which might be ~1 week away, but probably sooner than the 9/20 date for the HR20) to get it set up. They would reimburse me up to $399 for the package...so if I could find the HR10 on sale somewhere for $299 I could probably get everything for free, otherwise I might be out $50-$100 depending on how much the dish & OTA antenna are.

I decided not to do this because it seemed like a pain and likely that I'd end up out $100 or so...but I was impressed that they were willing to go to this length.

#3 OFFLINE   jabd

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 10:46 AM

* free HD DVR, 5-LNB dish, OTA antenna, and installation


You don't need the OTA antenna if you get the HR20 and the 5-LNB dish. We have MPEG-4 locals here in Blitzburgh. Go Steelers!

#4 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 11:12 AM

You don't need the OTA antenna if you get the HR20 and the 5-LNB dish. We have MPEG-4 locals here in Blitzburgh. Go Steelers!


You may still want an OTA antenna (when active), to receive other digital broadcasts in your area, that are not available via the SAT signal
Earl - Gotta Love Karma

DIRECTV employee since April 2008.
All comments are my own. Unless specifically stated, my views do NOT represent the views of DIRECTV

#5 OFFLINE   munangst

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 11:27 AM

You may still want an OTA antenna (when active), to receive other digital broadcasts in your area, that are not available via the SAT signal


Exactly...there are several stations (e.g., WQED) available OTA in HD around here that are not offered via the MPEG4 local channels on the DirecTV SAT feed. I have also heard mixed reviews of the MPEG4 picture quality, so I wanted to leave us the option of receiving the local channels OTA rather than via SAT, especially since we live in the city and don't have much trouble picking up the stations. (I can get all of the major local stations OTA using an indoor unamplified UHF antenna, so I'm assuming that with an outdoor antenna mounted on the 2nd floor of the house I shouldn't have any trouble...)

#6 OFFLINE   khajath

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 06:29 PM

Not bad...almost brings the total price down to the $50/mo that Comcast charges for their crappy DVR service.


Now that you mention cable, please allow me to add in. I've seen people threat to leave DIRECTV for Dish, or from Dish to cable, and some actually switched. All regret later.

I try out the cable box that my neighbor have (Pioneer box), and they're totally garbage: slow, glitch, hang, not much feature.... And they actually pay much more than me after the first few months. Even the R15 at a year ago (first launched) is still much better than most Cable box that I've seen. And R15 is a very good box now, it has improved a lot, in my opinion. Hopefully Tivo series-3 will finally give cable company some decent hardware. With series-3, I don't know if you have to pay Tivo fee on top of DVR fee that most cable company charge. Either way, I'm not paying $800 for a receiver.

Given the state of the HR20 (just launched 2 weeks ago, relatively stable, accurate, and have lot of feature), I think what DIRECTV accomplished is quite amazing. To evaluate in term of the newly launch model DVR, I think the HR20 is the most stable & decent receiver. I am sure lot of people here remember how lousy the R10, HR10, UTV, R15, or all the Dish PVR were when they're first deployed (and some still are lousy).

I also see some people also state that the HR20 suppose to be significantly better and more reliable than the HR10, and DIRECTV have no excuse for having any flaw in it, giving that it's their long time business. I don't see it that way. To me, it's more like a newer model from a good car company (say Toyota or Honda). It definitely have more feature and advantages than the previous model. But in the first model year, it might have bug, that will eventually be worked out (hopefully shortly), and once so, will be head and shoulder better than the previous model, but more importantly, is a good & better car.

Using that analogy, cable company is more like buying a car from ..Renault or Peugeut (hope I don't offend anyone here, these cars are very popular in my native country, and they're total garbage). Look nice & promising on paper & catalog, until you OWN them, and newer model just mean more trouble, sometime forever.

You should definitely check out avs forum, the FIOS box on Verizon that use Motorola/Ucentric software is a disaster. If you connect an optical line to a crappy device, it's still a crappy device.

And we haven't even talked about the content & programiing here.

#7 OFFLINE   woody1173

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 04:48 PM

FYI, I got my HR20 installed here in Pittsburgh on 9/15. Works great so far.




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