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A compendium of HR2x software problems

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by Syzygy, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. Syzygy

    Syzygy Hall Of Fame

    Dec 5, 2005
    Because I always forget to do that. Maybe I'm hoping the channel will be close to what I want. (Duh.) So I go into the Manual Record interface, see that the channel is nowhere near what I need it to be, Exit from the interface, select the channel, and then go back (left arrow or Back key?).
  2. drill

    drill Legend

    Jun 28, 2006
    syzygy is dead on here.

    the biggest problem with the HR series is that the "real-time" kernel, isn't real-time at all. the hardware is either underpowered for the amount of stuff the kernal has to handle, or the sw kernel is so poorly coded, the hardware can't keep up.

    no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig --- its still a pig. the HR series has a lot of features that are cool (lipstick), and a lot of limitations that aren't very cool. but the underlying hardware/os combination (pig) just isn't up to the task.

    until directv fixes the platform by rewriting the sw kernal so that it will run on the hardware directv has produced, or replace all the hardware in the field with something faster, we as users are stuck with a DVR that is sometimes frustratingly unresponsive, and with features that perform some functions in a "check box" but not useful manner.
  3. eileen22

    eileen22 Godfather

    Mar 24, 2006
    I am still using one HR10-250 (on a SD TV), and a HR20-700 on an HDTV. I also just started using a R15 a few days ago. While I will admit that the DLB is a big plus for the TiVo unit, overall, I much prefer the functionality and GUI of the HR20. That said, I have definitely had more problems with the HR20 in the 18 months that I have had it, including having to get a replacement unit after only 4 months (HR20-100 replaced w/HR20-700).

    The big difference in why I prefer the HR2x GUI is the fact that you can use all of the DVR functions (set up recordings, browse playlist, etc.) while keeping the current program playing in the top right corner (I'm a multi-tasker). Another BIG plus for me on the HR20 is the ways you can browse the guide into the future, this is unbearably slow and cumbersome on the TiVo. Even my ancient Ultimate TV had the capability to move forward 12 hours in the guide.

    So, as someone who rarely watches any live TV and a lot of recorded programming, I would have to respectfully disagree with the OP - overall, I like the HR2x much better. I just wish for more stability.
  4. RunnerFL

    RunnerFL Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    But a "--" deletes recordings, folders, items from the todo list and items from the "Series Manager". Along with the use in a channel number for OTA the "-" key is a key I use very often. I wouldn't want it to be "clear". I do agree the remote needs a "clear" button but I don't think the "-" button should have to go away in order for "clear" to be available.

    Nice list btw, some good points!
  5. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    I look at your list and, as Stuart noted, see a mix of issues. Many, perhaps most, are simply individual preferences and you will find at least an equal number of people who feel just the opposite that you do. For example, the 50 series link limitation. That is no limit at all for me as I don't think I have ever had more than ten. However, it would also have no effect on me if it were to be increased to more than 50, so I would not object unless that resulted in a higher cost to implement (which would effect me).

    There is a well maintained wish list for the HR2x series, and that is probably the best place to note desired changes/improvements in the system. DirecTV has in fact implemented a number of features from the wish list, they are paying attention and are responding. By focusing attention in one place, it is easier to maintain and track, and easier to see the progress made.

    For the Tivo versus DirecTV approach to DVRs, DirecTV is also responding to that by working with Tivo to implement an MPEG4 capable DirecTV compatible DVR. While it does not interest me, I fully hope that it does meet the expectations of those who have a preference for the Tivo design and implementation. Then we will have the best of both worlds, what more could we ask for?
  6. Syzygy

    Syzygy Hall Of Fame

    Dec 5, 2005
    In live TV, I understand there's autocorrection applied.

    In a recording, it's not. My box (not yours?) is so slow that it can't stop playback immediately.
  7. RunnerFL

    RunnerFL Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    This is one I definitely agree with you on. There's nothing worse than getting 15 mins into a show and realizing that the 16th minute you watch is actually the 25th minute of the show. If the progress bar matched the amount of what was actually recorded I'd know as soon as I start watching to delete the recording and not waste my time.
  8. rudeney

    rudeney Hall Of Fame

    May 28, 2007
    I am also a 30+ year veteran in the software industry and I can tell you that I have never produced a single piece of software that made all of my users happy. There were always customers disappointed in something. If I gave them 50 parameters, they wanted 100. Had I given them 1,000, they'd complain it was too many. Response time was almost always too slow, but in the event that it was very fast, users would complain that there was not enough "interface feedback". The good news is that the development is not over; D* seems to be committed to continually enhancing the product.

    I'm not discounting your opinion, and I agree that many of the items on your list are serious issues, but you seem to be slanted a bit toward TiVo. Personally, I have never owned a TiVo. I had UltimateTV and then the new D* DVR's. Maybe I would feel differently if I had another frame of reference. As it is, I am satisfied with my D* DVR's. I do wish they didn't have some of the shortcomings, bugs and design flaws that they do, but they meet the needs I have.
  9. Syzygy

    Syzygy Hall Of Fame

    Dec 5, 2005
    Darn! That's an item I forgot to put in my list! (But no, it's purely a wishlist item and not a bug. In fact. it's a perfect example of a design decision -- that I disagree with -- carried out without any bugs in it that I know of.)

    • No way to shut off the sometimes annoying PIP display; I prefer quiet, and I'd rather not have to worry about the effect of accidental keypresses on the little window

    (As a matter of fact, I'd much rather have no PIP and use the real estate for more information. Are you reading this, TiVonians?)
  10. Sartori

    Sartori Legend

    Nov 15, 2008
    "Please, please refrain from the usual (and predictable) denials."

    Wow, don't know what to tell you, sorry your having so many issues. There, unusual and non-predictable....
  11. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Yes, you did .. Your response was "Missing the point."

    So what is the point? For a few seconds at the end of a program you can't hit record and get the program? :scratchin

    All you have to do is rewind into the program (or as RACJ2, perhaps even the program before that if desired) and hit record. It records it INSTANTLY. The record light even comes on.

    Are you sure that last second recording didn't simply get stored to disk and the red light didn't come on because there was no reason for it to do so? Pressing the red button to record works .. Even works better than TiVo because TiVo (1) wouldn't record the 90 minutes, but instead some apparently random number of ~43 minutes (full buffer) and (2) TiVo would bridge programs, always using the full buffer rather than starting at the beginning of the show when it made sense to do so.
  12. Syzygy

    Syzygy Hall Of Fame

    Dec 5, 2005
    It didn't work that way when I tried it -- admittedly a while ago. So I'll try everything again, and report back with an edit.

    (Answering now for proximity to your post.)

    Agreed, TiVo almost always records too much, and its buffer is almost always too small. I didn't say my TiVo was superior in all respects. ;)

    [edit] Got back from the fast-food restaurant, tried to capture two half-hour shows, both already finished, and I got 'em!
    To re-emphasize, Doug's right and I'm (gulp) wrong. I'll have to remove that item from the "compendium."

    Details: At 6:20 CT, I rewound back at top speed to around 5:10 in the foreground buffer and used the red Record button to capture the 5:00 local news; then I FF3'd forward to about 5:40 and, while still in FF3 mode, used the red Record button again to capture the 5:30 national news. QED.
  13. Ken S

    Ken S RIP

    Feb 12, 2007

    Stuart may be a moderator on this forum and a "fan" of DirecTV, but I have always found him to be fair and honest when confronted with their problems.
  14. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    WooHoo, the Washington Generals score!
  15. Nicholsen

    Nicholsen Godfather

    Aug 18, 2007
    Syzygy, a brave post, and a useful discussion.

    Stuart, a tip of my hat to you.

    I notice that many of the posters critical of the HR2x are (or were) software professionals, or have formal training in computer science. I consider myself in the latter camp, and find the HR2x system to generally be a kludge.

    One issue that hasn't been raised is that the HR2x design is getting long in the tooth in computer years. I think new hardware with a more powerful processor and more memory may be required given the inefficiencies in the code.

    I am also hoping the new TIVO box will have newer (and more powerful) hardware, and no dongles!
  16. bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

    Jan 21, 2003
    Nice job. I'll just comment on a few items. Note that I don't dismiss your issues, but simply point out that it's either not an issue for others or a simple work around.

    I personally have never seen it take more then 24 hours. Everything that matches in the next day is there almost instantly. I certainly don't care if it takes another day to snag the next 2 weeks worth. It records the shows which is what counts.

    You have any details on this one? Perhaps examples of what you are searching on? I have a couple searches I run all the time for sports and they pick up everything for the next 2 weeks every time.

    Examples? It's been nearly 3 years since I've missed a recording that wasn't my fault.

    This is probably covered best in the DP thread. But so long as you use the remote it'll keep buffering forever. I'd think if you're going to be away from the other tuner more then 2 hours perhaps you should just record what you want to go back to, especially since the buffer is only 90 minutes anyway. ;)

    Tivo does the exact same thing. Has for at least 8 years.

    Tivo allows anything different? It didn't the last time I used Tivo (I've had several Tivo's since 2000). They were always the "standard" 1, 2, 5, 10 and so forth. So no difference here unless the latest Tivo HD units allow for something different.

    The minus key is used as it is on any other remote or device, to enter a dash in the channel number. It *has* to be there. It also double's for some other functions when not entering channel numbers.

    Personal preference I'd say. Man the loooooong threads on the Tivo forum back in the day complaining about how far back autocorrection goes. At least on the HR2x they spent an entire early CE getting feedback from the community on how far back it should go. They would make a change and ask everyone's opinion that week and then adjust it based on feedback.

    Anyway, on this one you can't satisfy everyone and there are plenty of complaints on how much Tivo does this too.

    About 1000% more info then I've ever seen out of Tivo. ;)

    I'm not getting on you here but the main reason for the HR10-250 going obsolete was actually the move to MPEG4 and new sats that it can't tune to.

    This is also why I never spent $1000 on one. It was only a month or two after it was released that word got out on the move to MPEG4 and new sats. I knew the HR10-250 couldn't do MPEG4 so why waste my money on getting one. So I waited until the HR20's first release (3 years ago this month) before getting an HR DVR.

    I wish you good luck!
  17. narrod

    narrod Godfather

    Jul 26, 2007
    I'm exhausted just reading your post. :)

    I'm used to this interface and have to remember how to do things on the rare occasions I use my one remaining HR10-250. I don't care if they don't add another feature. Just keep it stable and dependable and I'll be happy.
  18. drded

    drded Godfather

    Aug 22, 2006
    Tucson, AZ
    I hate to be the realist here, but this looks like yet another "Tivo Is Wonderful-HR-2X Sucks" threads we've seen so many of. This one is perhaps a bit more eloquent, but bottom-line, it's Tivo vs. HR-2X bashing all over again.

    As several posters have said, if you like Tivo so much, enjoy your lovefest and spare us the bashing of a machine many of us like.

    As an experienced programmer, you should know most of your points are very subjective in nature, certainly not objective. You also know that programming resources are allocated and limited. Project managers have many decisions to make and all won't please everyone.

    Thanks, however, for the nicely worded post. Sadly, the Tivo-loving still shows through.

  19. Sartori

    Sartori Legend

    Nov 15, 2008
    You go right ahead and keep being a realist:)
  20. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    That is some claim to fame :D.

    OK, cheap shot (and just kidding). I know that the point you are making is not that you are a bad software designer, but that perfection and pleasing everyone is nearly an impossible goal to reach.

    I think if we could magically meld all of the good features of the HR2x series with the DTivo, we would still have a DVR that, while an improvement, would hardly live up to the standards we want it to, or at least the standards the OP wants it to.

    I also think that what made Tivo Tivo was two things:

    1) solid reliability

    2) visionary ergonomics

    These are two things each of which is rare outside of Tivo or Apple. Of course Apple has strayed from perfection quite a bit in the last 5 years IMHO, although maybe not so much in reliability as in the visionary aspect (with wacky design choices).

    But then so has Tivo, except their failure is in undermining their own reliability. 6.3 was a Katrina-scale disaster, undercutting if not gutting that solid reliability. And the clever and fresh take on functionality of the HR2x seems to take much of the bite out of the visionary aspect of the Tivo interface, which wasn't all that great for the first 3 years it was around, either, if memory serves. It took v3.0 before Tivo ever got it right.

    But I am optimistic toward the future, because we have DTV doing a lot of things right that Tivo was too arrogant to even consider, and Tivo setting the legacy ergonomic standard bar pretty damned high. The competition is therefore strong, and DVRs will improve rapidly and significantly--at least up until the point where DOD and VOD are dominant, and the classic DVR model of local HDD storage seems about as relevant as the IBM Selectric is today.

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