The hard drive in the DirecTV DVR's (all models) have ALWAYS spun as soon as power was applied and continuously thereafter.
In the past, there was no live buffer being recorded when the unit was on standby. And the program guide was totally stored in RAM so if the unit was reset or powered down the entire guide had to begin again from scratch. So at that time there was seemingly no reason to keep the drive spinning.
Now, a copy of the program guide is stored in a disk file as well as being in RAM so after a reset the customer doesn't have to wait 12-24 hours to see what's on in a few days. Also, the "live" channel (usually the one last watched) is also being recorded and kept in the 90 minute "live buffer". These two features alone necessitate the need to keep the drive spinning all the time.
Modern hard drives are designed to be left spinning continuously as they are when they are installed in a file server. The only concern I would have is placing the DVR on an unstable surface or allowing it to be moved or bumped (kids, dogs, wife with vacuum cleaner, etc.) while it is powered on. It should be treated like any other computer containing a hard drive.
Incidentally, if you are nosy the R22 (which is the same hardware as an HR2x) and an R15 take about 25 watts of electricity. Powering down the HDD would probably save only a minimal amount of power although maybe it would earn the thing an Energy Star rating.
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