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Recent Cnet Ratings on HR20/21 are Puzzling

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by dreadlk, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. RCY

    RCY Godfather

    Nov 16, 2005
    Well, I'd certainly hope that I could get a better deal than the ~199 typical cost for a HR2x at BB or Costco. I haven't had a committment in years now and should be a 3 heart+ kind of customer. So I guess I want my self-install and discount too. :)

    No problem with that. I'd rather do it myself too.

    This is certainly true. And as you said, its D*'s responsibility in the end for the system.
  2. Ken S

    Ken S RIP

    Feb 12, 2007
    No, I'm reporting there was a group of people that vehemently disagreed with any negative reports on the HR20 back then. They painted a device that you have admitted was buggy as being stable and they attacked in public and in private messages anyone who disagreed.

    I don't disagree that some people won't have problems with even the buggiest piece of hardware or software. There are a number of reasons that can happen including amount of use, type of use, number of reboots (i.e. doing CEs every week), and of course luck. There's also another biggie, perception...some people don't perceive things that happen as being problems.

    Oh, and at no time is anyone talking about perfection...that's a word that is thrown out a lot around here "nothing is perfect..." That's another way of trying to diminish the problems of others. No one is suggesting the HR2x has to be perfect...that's an impossibility.

    For the record, I'm not accusing you of telling anything other than the truth. Unfortunately, I can't say others in this forum have thought the same of me.

    Finally, no one seems to remember a previous thread on the CNet ratings when a group from here were trying to get others to go there and post positive reviews.
  3. studdad

    studdad Icon

    Aug 11, 2008
    Bingo. I figured this out early on and stopped using cnet reviews as a credible source. Although I have been very disappointed in the recent update (029b) I understand that the problem is not the hardware, but the software, so I would have to give the hardware portion of the unit high marks.
  4. bobcamp1

    bobcamp1 Icon

    Nov 8, 2007
  5. Nicholsen

    Nicholsen Godfather

    Aug 18, 2007
    I didn't write that, but I raise my glass to the man who did. I get half of my HD programming OTA already. My HR21-100 will be leaving soon.
  6. t_h

    t_h Icon

    Mar 7, 2008
    There are many truths and they're all relative. Most people pick one that works for them.

    Heres the rub. Overly enthusiastic truths create expectations in new customers who then discover that they experience a different truth. Then they come back to the forum mad about the delta between their expected experience vs actual. The truthiness of their experience wasnt truthy enough.

    When the new users truth doesnt match the truthiness level of others on the forum and complain about it, that makes them equally upset.

    The real truth is that a lot of factors are getting combined and consolidated to deliver a single product/service to the customer. The service provider CAN improve the quality and consistency of that by working with the sources and doing massaging within the system.

    What can really set one product/service offering from another is its resilience to unexpected circumstances and less than ideal conditions.

    As a comparator, I'm currently using high speed internet and have a series 1 tivo attached to cable tv. The wire, and I am not making this up, runs out of the side of the house, down a downspout and into the french drain system that routes water (and my cable) down to the bottom front of the property where it emerges and the cable gets connected to the cable company's junction box. I guess someone didnt want to trench a new conduit 20 years ago.

    Wire is 20 years old. What I can see of it has cracks in it every few feet. From what I can see all the external and internal house wiring is 20 years old, with the original connectors, splitters, etc.

    Yet on this old substandard wire, i'm running 8Mbs/2Mbs high speed internet and 40 channels of cable television with really no problems. The series 1 tivo was plugged in more than a year and a half ago and has reliably recorded a bunch of kids shows without ever rebooting or needing a restart to clear a problem. As far as I can tell, its never missed a show or blanked a recording.

    Yet it seems that a somewhat flaky component, connector, cable or wire, slightly misaligned dish or errant splat of guide data will make an HR miss shows, blank them out, freeze, reboot and do all sorts of other bad behavior.

    Yet through all of this, with far more sophisticated (and recent) hardware and software, the box cant detect and warn about these problems and/or work around them or even persist through them. The resilience and tolerance seem pretty low.

    Certainly the technology directv relies on is far more complex than what cable television uses, and complexity increases the chances of problems.

    But directv chose the technology to employ as part of their competitive strategy. Its up to them to overcome any issues with that more complex technology so that the customer experienced reliability is at least ordinary when compared to similar competitive offerings.

    When its not, you get bad reviews.
  7. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Dec 9, 2006
    If I understand your post: you're comparing SD to HD and "wired to wireless", correct?
    While being "the customer" would be the same, not much else seems to be.
    New encoding, new SATs using new up & down link frequencies, new feeds from local stations.
    I do understand the customer's view "if I poke button x and it doesn't work, I don't care why, just fix it".
    In the "Real world" though, there are so many "new things", comparison to using a 20 year old cable seems kind of "un/misinformed" [to me] as there is little "new" technology.

    [My gripe] If you're going to compare "x to y", to it on the "same field/court", as it will be a much more truthful/realistic comparison.
  8. billsharpe

    billsharpe Hall Of Fame

    Jan 25, 2007
    I had a Sears TV that DID catch on fire when I plugged it in. :eek2:
  9. t_h

    t_h Icon

    Mar 7, 2008
    You didnt.

    But it was long and not particularly to the point.
  10. bobcamp1

    bobcamp1 Icon

    Nov 8, 2007
    Sigh. That "same court" argument is wrong. In the real world, when people pay more for a newer, more advanced system, they expect it to work as good if not better than the previous systems.

    I turned in my HR20 and hooked my Series 1 Tivo back up to my old SD receivers. Suddenly, I could reliably record programs again. What's wrong with this picture?

    Quick, guess which device is consistently better at performing caller ID -- the $30 phone I bought at Wal-Mart or the $200 + $10/month DVR? Here's a hint -- search this forum for "caller ID not working".
  11. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Dec 9, 2006
    My first response would be: "I do understand the customer's view "if I poke button x and it doesn't work, I don't care why, just fix it"." [from my post]
    My second is "did you get your DVR for caller ID, or to be a DVR"?
    My third goes back to comparing a VCR to a DVR, since yes they both do the same thing, but the technology used is completely different.

    [For me] I don't care about caller ID, and my three HR2xs haven't missed a recording in over 18 months. [yes back when I got my first it would simply not record a show with no rhyme or reason as to why]
    Comparing SD [a 50+ year old system] to HD [which is still having teething problems starting at the broadcast station] seems to have only "viewing programs" in common.
    "Apples & Oranges"
    In a year or so, "apples to apples" will be here with the DirecTV Tivo, and not until then will there be a means for a valid comparison. Give each the same input, and then compare how each responds.
    Tivo may make a better product, but so far few [one poster has and I give them credit] have been able to support a true 'apples to apples" comparison.
  12. jjohns

    jjohns Godfather

    Sep 15, 2007
    I've always found that when someone has something they truly are satisfied with - they don't need to constantly tell everyone how great their experience is. If there are those that really really like, and are satisfied with what they have, they normally are content to let others go their own way.

    But here, there is a deep seated resentment against Tivo that lends itslelf to actually lashing out in a mean spirited way if one thinks their recorder has been slanted. Here it comes. . .

    It doesn't all add up - it's just a box.
  13. allenn

    allenn Icon

    Nov 19, 2005
    Based on the logic in this thread, it would be unfair to compare different makes of anything. Also, if an option does not work, it is ok as long as it does something. On that note, D* should stop all development and future releases for the Hr series of dvr's; because they record sometimes. If their feature set does not work, all is well in the world.

    I preferred my Hr10 to the current Hr series. Unfortunately, I like HD programming ; so what choice do I have but to accept the problems that currently exist?
  14. paulman182

    paulman182 Hall Of Fame

    Aug 4, 2006
    The phone is a lot better at making calls, too, but it stinks at recording TV.:)
  15. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    I just wanted to address this one bit.

    I believe that the issue here is that you're still using the 20-year-old wire to carry the signal it was intended to carry. The DIRECTV DVRs use bandwidth that older cables were not designed to carry. You're right, with the higher bandwidth comes a higher standard requiring that cables and components be correctly installed.

    You're absolutely right — that has been a problem, and will probably continue to be a problem until every installer, paid or unpaid, understands how critical good wiring is.

    I understand that the wiring part was not really the thrust of the argument; I just wanted to let you know I see your point on that bit.
  16. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    And while the DVR isn't yet perfect at recording TV, DIRECTV continues to work on adding phone features like media playing and widgets.
  17. Ken S

    Ken S RIP

    Feb 12, 2007
    Media playing and widgets are phone features? Nahh...I think they've been jammed into mobile phones in the same haphazard way they've been jammed into some DVRs. It's all about saying you have a feature...not whether it works reliably or not.
    If the new features cause the base functions to be less reliable...ahh well, there's always the next model.
  18. ATARI

    ATARI Hall Of Fame

    May 10, 2007
    Yep, it's always about adding marketing bullet points.
  19. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    Atari, point well made, but when hasn't it been about marketing bullet points? I suspect that cavemen were running around touting the advantages of flint and steel even when there was neither flint nor steel to be found.
  20. bobcamp1

    bobcamp1 Icon

    Nov 8, 2007
    1. I agree. So why do points 2 and 3 even exist? Either there is understanding, or there isn't.

    2. It doesn't matter, since neither function works reliably on the HRxx. Maybe I'll hook up my phone to the dish. It'll record just as many shows.
    Plus, if you advertise a feature, it should work. Period. Caller ID isn't rocket science -- hundreds of devices can do it and that technology has been around forever. But the HRxx can't even do that right.

    3. OK, so how much more time should we give D* to fix the HRxx? How many software releases have there been? How many new hardware boxes have there been? Units are still locking up -- and NEW problems (unexplained signal strength readings) are popping up. If D* were making VCRs, I have doubts as to whether or not they would work.

    Plus, if you want apples to apples, the Dish HD DVR is much more reliable. Peeking in those threads reveal minor issues.

    Finally, if you want to know why the CNET reviews are poor, just look at the first thread in this forum. A D*-friendly forum. Are the issues in that thread major issues, minor issues, or both? How many posts are there? Have there been at least 10 software releases with "stability" listed as an enhancement?

    I return once in a while to dip my toe in to see if anything has changed, and it hasn't. Too bad. I also hope that will change when DirecTivos return. But if I get bit by the HD bug before then, I'm off to Verizon or Dish.

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