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Questions on D*'s HD DVR Receivers...

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by DaGnome, Feb 10, 2008.

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  1. DaGnome

    DaGnome Mentor

    Mar 16, 2005
    Ok hoping someone who has this receiver can answer this question...

    First I've tried the searches, but all I seem to find are questions about 'how to', or 'issues'... but nothing about features or specs ;(

    First.. I'm currently an E* customer, thinking about switching to D* now that I have my HD TV and the rest of the setup..

    I've got one 50" HDTV in the main room, and 3 other TV's in various other rooms in the house. The Main TV is currently being fed directly from my E*'s Receiver Component video outs... I have a 2nd output, coming from the Coax out, going into the wall, which in turn goes up into the attic, into a standard cable splitter, and back down to the wall outlets in the other parts of the house.. in effect 'back feeding' my other rooms.. I use a RF remote to control the Recever when in the other rooms.

    1) My first question, and probably my biggest.. is do ANY of the D* receivers (HD DVR only), have a Coax output? The Rep on the phone said they did.. but I happend to see one today in a local retailer (the HR21 I think it was), and it does not have a coax.. in fact none of the receivers they had do. If not.. does anyone know of a solution to 'downconvert' another output (assuming the receiver has one) to a coax signal? I can find lots of converters going the other direction.. but nothing that converts a digital down to coax.

    2) HDMI output. Exactly what is output from the HDMI on D*s receivers? I have heard that some of E*s receivers only output Dolby 2.0 through HDMI and that I'd have to use the optical audio out in order to get 5.1 Dolby. Is that the same on D*'s receivers?

    3) Models... I see from the forums above there seem to be 2 different models..HR20 and HR21, but both seem to have 2 flavors HRxx-200 and HRxx-700, what is the difference? Are there any other HD DVR units? Not sure what I should be asking for from D* when I call to setup my service... I can't seem to find any 'spec' sheets (which would answer a lot of my questions).

    Any help would be appreciated.. right now I'm still on the fence between D* and E*... Price are slightly lower with D*'s current promotions... D* has better selection of HD that I watch... but E*'s receiver seems to be more detailed (not sure if it's better yet). The ability to watch TV in other rooms without any extra fee is a big deal to me at the moment.

    Thanks in advance guys.
  2. convem24

    convem24 Icon

    Mar 11, 2007
    1.) There is no coax output. If you want to you could get an RF adaptor. This would take RCA to Coax and let you do something similar that you did before with E*

    2.) Audio and Video are always outputted with HDMI. It should pass 5.1. If anyone else has any thing to say on it please give us some input.

    3.)The HR21-700 and HR21-200 are both the same. Just different production lines (ie different distributors).

    In terms of the dual tuner receivers from E* I am sure that you are aware that if you do not have the phone line hooked to them you pay $5.99 additional per dual tuner receiver which makes D* and E* receiver costs roughly the same as having separate receivers from D*. I don't have any phone line hookups so I don't care either way. There might be an additional $10 off for 12 months besides the current $10 off for 12months. Since you are thinking of switching from D* to E* there might be additional savings that D* can offer you. All you can do is ask.
  3. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    Sep 5, 2006
    Allen, TX
    1.) Is coax the only available output you can use? S-video, Composite, Component, HDMI are all active.

    2.) HDMI passes whatever the station is outputting...2.0 or 5.1 usually.

    3.) HR20 has OTA, but the the HR21 doesn't.
  4. DaGnome

    DaGnome Mentor

    Mar 16, 2005
    Thanks guys... At least I've confirmed that the D*rep I talked to was incorrect about the coax out :( (And yes that is the only wiring the house has, I'm backfeeding my other rooms and am unable to rerun lines thru the attic, my roof supports really hard to maneuver around if not impossible in some parts of the attic.)

    Good to know about the HDMI, I think E*s problem was/is a hardware bug but I've been unable to confirm as of yet.

    As for the two receivers.. the OTA vs not... is that the only difference? I can't understand why a newer model would have less features than the old (or am I mistaken and the 21 is not newer?).

    Love these forums.. even at 2am I can get answers hehe
  5. jonaswan2

    jonaswan2 Icon

    Oct 29, 2005
    From what i've read on these forums, the HR21's software is not quite on par to the older, more experienced HR20's software (yet), but they are pretty much functionally equivilent other that OTA. Even that will be corrected, however, with a hardware add-on coming out later this year for the HR21.
  6. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Mill Creek, WA
    As mentioned previously you'll need an RF Modulator if you want to feed your DVR's signal throughout your house's existing coax.

    While the HR21 is newer, the OTA tuners were removed because few customers use off-air antennas and it saves some money. DirecTV will soon provide an add-on AM21 digital TV tuner for the HR21.
  7. convem24

    convem24 Icon

    Mar 11, 2007
    Litzdog is correct on the HR20 (-100, -700 models) and HR21 (-200, -700 models) differences. The HR20 series has ota and the HR21 does not even though the AM21 is a work around for that issue. The AM21 will be available??? We honestly don't know.
  8. Ken S

    Ken S RIP

    Feb 12, 2007
    You should also know that ALL of the outputs on DirecTV's receivers output the same content. You cannot have different programming output through the HDMI to your main set and through any of the other outputs to your secondary TVs. This differs from the Dish receiver functionality.
  9. convem24

    convem24 Icon

    Mar 11, 2007
    I am aware of it. There is no SD and HD separate tuners on the HR series. Thanks for the input!(I am not being sarcastic, this is actually important) That is something that DaGnome probably needed to know.
  10. DaGnome

    DaGnome Mentor

    Mar 16, 2005
    Yep I agree it's an important distinction.... E* calls it "Multi Room viewing", which lets you view one item in one room off say Tuner #1 and another show off Tuner #2 or PVR in another room.

    Luckily in my case, there is no one else watching TV... so having the same output on every TV is perfect in my case.. I just need to make sure I can output ANY signal to backfeed the house. I found some modulators finally that are a decent price and should do what I want.

    In case others are looking for a similar solution:
    I found a Phillips on Amazon for around $7-$15 (http://www.amazon.com/Gem-Tone-Records-PH61159-Modulator/dp/B0001GGXQI)

    and on Wal-marts site for those who want to just jump to a local store:

    Thanks again guys..... looks like I'm falling over my fence and landing on the D* side of things now :)
  11. convem24

    convem24 Icon

    Mar 11, 2007
    The modulator should do fine. I have a friend who is doing the same thing as you want to do and he has had no problems with this solution since the other tv connected to it is not on as the same time as the primary set. You only need to get an RF remote or get a universal remote for the primary set and use the RF remote that comes with the HR21 (Directv's HD-DVR). Good luck!
  12. raoul5788

    raoul5788 Guest

    May 13, 2006
    If you have a vcr that you are not using, and who doesn't, you can use it as the modulator.
  13. jodyguercio

    jodyguercio Active Member

    Aug 16, 2007

    #2) I dont know for sure but I think HDMI will only pass two-channel not 5.1. I have my HR20 hooked up via optical to my receiver and then red/white audio to my tv and the box set to DD. When the show is not broadcast in DD I get no audio via the HDMI but I do through the red/white.
  14. tomski35

    tomski35 AllStar

    Sep 7, 2007
    Why would you need a high def box to feed a standard def TV? Get a standard box and you'll have your coax.
  15. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Mar 4, 2006
    Herrin, IL
    Something is not right on your system then. I only have HDMI connected and get audio on all channels, regardless of audio type. It changes to DD5.1 when that is available and PCM 48 when it is not.
  16. paulman182

    paulman182 Hall Of Fame

    Aug 4, 2006

    And be missing several channels that are HD only.
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