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This is from Phil Swann's column today. Comments?

Rumor #3
DIRECTV decided on purpose to release a smaller number of HR20 HD DVRs to generate more demand and buzz.

The Truth: Not quite. While it's true that the new high-def recorder is in short supply, DIRECTV actually did not foresee the incredible demand at launch. In addition, despite public comments to the contrary, the satcaster was not certain that the receiver was bug-proof when it was first released. Consequently, better to release a small number of units so it could work out the kinks in relative quiet.


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As for the bit about the HR20.

I agree with the first half of it (being in large demand, instead of trying to generate demand by keeping it at low stock... ala game consoles for the last year)

As for the second half... keep the number low because of "bugs" and working them out. I personally don't think that is the case......
I can't verify what Directv knew before releasing the HR20, but it sure feels that they knew about the problems. As for the shortage, I don't know, it could just simply be supply/demand issues. But it does smell slightly fishy.
I pretty much agree with Earl on this.

I do not believe that D* had the foresight to limit production due to potential bugs. I do believe that D* has held off putting pressure on their suppliers based upon the issues and complaints that have cropped up. If I were in their shoes I certainly would.
Anybody know how many HR20s were shipped and are actually in usage at this time? Also does D* ever release stats on how many subscribers have the HD package. It would seem that by reading the forum threads that almost everyone is having problems, including me. Are there really a lot of us or are we a minority of D* subscribers?
kenmoo said:
Anybody know how many HR20s were shipped and are actually in usage at this time? Also does D* ever release stats on how many subscribers have the HD package. It would seem that by reading the forum threads that almost everyone is having problems, including me. Are there really a lot of us or are we a minority of D* subscribers?
During their up-comming quarterly webcast... you may hear some of the numbers... but don't know for sure.

They do usually announce their core subscriber count, and those that are HD subscribers.... but I don't recall if they have ever gone into details about how many of a specific model is beingused.

As for "everyone" having problems.... that isn't the case.
There is a good deal of users out there that have not having any problems.
(Please don't turn this thread into "I am having Problems / I am not having problems")
Sorry, Earl. I didn't mean everyone is having problems like it sounded. I was thinking that we are reporting problems on this forum and it seems like that. In reality there are probably a lot more users out there with no problems and we are a minority. That's why I asked about the number of units shipped and/or in use. It seemed to fit the topic with D* limiting the units based on bugs which I do not believe is the case. I think it is a supply and demand issue myself.
I'd love to see numbers. Game cube, for example, has sold 21 million units. That's an average of over 300,000 per month (I'm sure it was much higher in the early years after launch). With that sort of production, DirecTV could give every single HD customer a HR20 in about four months (even the ones who aren't interested in a DVR of any sort--majority, I'd suspect; and the ones who will shoot you if you approach their HR10).
Earl Bonovich said:
As for the bit about the HR20.

I agree with the first half of it (being in large demand, instead of trying to generate demand by keeping it at low stock... ala game consoles for the last year)

As for the second half... keep the number low because of "bugs" and working them out. I personally don't think that is the case......
Agreed.
The hold-back rumor makes no sense to me.

I think that the HR20 was released to market probably a bit before it was ready, because there was a clear demand for a recorder that would handle the new MPEG4 locals.

Every day that passed without them having it available would mean a potential customer loss to cable/dish/FIOS. So they got the darn thing out there, and are working furiously both to ramp up production and squash bugs at the same time.

The limited supply does not ramp-up demand. It makes it more likely to lose existing and potential customers to competitors.
bwaldron said:
The hold-back rumor makes no sense to me.

I think that the HR20 was released to market probably a bit before it was ready, because there was a clear demand for a recorder that would handle the new MPEG4 locals.

Every day that passed without them having it available would mean a potential customer loss to cable/dish/FIOS. So they got the darn thing out there, and are working furiously both to ramp up production and squash bugs at the same time.

The limited supply does not ramp-up demand. It makes it more likely to lose existing and potential customers to competitors.
Unless of course those existing customers visited this forum. After reading the hotly contested debate here, they could just take a wait and see approach, to determine if the HR20 problems, even if they are relatively small compared to units out in the marketplace, are smoothed out soon.

Earl mentioned earlier not knowing the actual number of units out there. Apparently, HDTVfan does know, since he has posted them in other threads.

Having said that, it would be really interesting to really know how many HR20s are really out there in subscriberland, and what percentage really have problems (of the serious variety). Don't think D* will be releasing those numbers at their upcoming quarterly confab. But it would be fascinating to know how it all shakes out, where the truth really lies. I mean, that kind of honesty could clear the air, but D* would never admit to any sort of widespread HR20 snafu, it's just not good/smart PR.

I wonder if the trade press will start to cover this, with details that go beyond speculation? All we subs wants is an honest assessment of the situation. But that's not in the cards, is my guess.
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I think an awful lot of HR20s are going to folks with no prior HD DVR.

I am one of them--in fact, I had no HD viewing at all prior to getting my HR20.

We tend to be more patient than some because of this.
tstarn said:
Unless of course those existing customers visited this forum. After reading the hotly contested debate here, they could just take a wait and see approach, to determine if the HR20 problems, even if they are relatively small compared to units out in the marketplace, are smoothed out soon.
Certainly. I am one of those existing customers, and that is exactly my approach. Since I have an HR10-250 and receive all my OTA channels fine, there's no compelling reason for me to upgrade.

I do know that many folks don't want to go to the trouble of dealing with OTA, though. To them, HR20 availability is important, and allows D* to compete with cable and FIOS here (though their HD DVRs have their own sets of issues).

I'm waiting and watching, especially since I'm near the end of my latest commitment with D*. Keeping an eye on FIOS as well.
lguvenoz said:
I pretty much agree with Earl on this.

I do not believe that D* had the foresight to limit production due to potential bugs. I do believe that D* has held off putting pressure on their suppliers based upon the issues and complaints that have cropped up. If I were in their shoes I certainly would.
I agree, I think it's pretty apparent D* doesn't let bugs slow anything down.

As far as the demand being so high, i don'think that's a surprise to anyone.
I don't beleive they deliberatly limited supply but allowed a release with the full knowledge it would not be able to meet demand, so they could spin it in a way most beneficial to them....

Sounds normal to me.
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