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Need upgrade advice

872 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  beavis
I've read a LOT of posts of this forum, but it's been hard to figure out what to do in my particular situation. I know you folks will be able to give me some advice.

I've been a DTV subscriber for more than 12 years. We're not big sports fans, but we have the Total Choice Plus and HBO/Showtime/CineMax packages (so we pay about $111 a month).

Last fall we suddenly lost the HD channels on HBO & Showtime. At the same time we had a lot of strange problems with the receivers. I actually thought we were having a problem with our multiswitch and replaced it, but that didn't have any effect. After doing some research here, I finally figured out that it was all due to some DTV software changes, in preparation for switching everything over to MPEG4. It took more than a week for things to get back to "normal", and the HD channels were still gone.

Here's my current hardware:

* HR10-250
* RCA DVR40 (2), DVR80 (one of these has been upgraded with a larger hard drive)
* Sony SAT-HD200 (used for just OTA HD now, not activated)
* Oval 3-LNB dish
* Terk BMS-58 multiswitch

The HR10-250 is leased, all of the other stuff is owned. I have 2 cables going to each of the 4 DirecTivo boxes, allowing recording of 2 things at once.

I know I need to upgrade this stuff to get back HD, but I've been holding off to see what you folks have experienced. Since I've already invested a lot of money over the years for equipment, I hate to spend more than necessary to get back the HD channels. I also REALLY like the Tivo interface and hate to give it up, but it looks like I don't have much choice.

I know I need to upgrade the dish to a 5-LNB model (probably a Slimline) and get a Zinwell WB-68. I'm planning to keep at least 2 of the older Tivo boxes (since they are plugged into non-HD sets anyway). Will those still work with the WB-68?

So what do you recommend for a replacement for the HR10? I'd like to be able to see the local HD channels if possible, so I'll at least have something to watch during those rain-fade periods (and that's the time you want to keep an eye on the weather).

Also, I'm hoping to get some kind of deal from DirecTV on new equipment. Any suggestions on how to approach customer service?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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I can verify that the older DirecTiVos will work great with the WB-68. The boxes see it as a regular multiswitch. As for replacing the HR10, DirecTV will likely give you a HR21 for free to get you off the HR10; this is a deal that many on here have received. You can ask about getting the AM21 add-on to the HR21 for free, as that will allow you to watch over-the-air HD, but since Chicago has local HD channels on the bird your fight for free may be harder. The AM21 normally costs $50, so you might just spring for it if you really want it.

To "deal" with customer service, just call and ask. By adding HD service and receiver, you will receive the 5LNB dish automatically. Your existing wiring should work great, so the install hassles will (hopefully) be minimal.

If you call to get an upgrade deal from the HR10-250 to an HR20 or 21, I believe they are taking back the HR10-250s (so as to NOT upgrade them again later if they remain on your account - they didn't used to require turning the HR10-250 back in).

I believe the HR10-250, in addition to still being able to record HD OTA, has a much larger capacity for SD recording than either of the (non-upgraded) DVR40 or DVR80s.

If you can call them and get an acceptable deal on an HR21(0) upgrade without having to use the HR10-250 to deal, I would hang onto the HR10-250 over the other DirecTiVos. I just don't know your particular situation and whether you could get what, to you, would be an acceptable price on an HD DVR upgrade.

Hope things work out real well for you!
You should still be able to receiver the 9 HD channels that are transmited in Mpeg 2 with the HR10-250. They should continue to receiver those until those channels are completely migrated to mpeg4 and the mpeg2 are shut off. So far the only channels that have been migrated from mpeg 2 to mpeg 4 is the west coast LA locals if memory serves.

What are your levels like on your signal meter on the hr10? It's days are definitely numbered but you shouldn't have lost any functionality yet.

As was already mentioned the only replacement for an HR10 is an hr20 or hr21. The -100 or what ever just indicates the MFG and the only functional differences are the hr21 doesn't include OTA tuners and requires the AM21. The HR21's are also all black.
You still should be able to get HBO and Showtime. I know I lost them also but I had to go back into the menu and find channels then go in there and put them back in my favorites. Give it a green thumbs up. For some reason it has happened to me a couple of times now.
vikefan said:
You still should be able to get HBO and Showtime. I know I lost them also but I had to go back into the menu and find channels then go in there and put them back in my favorites. Give it a green thumbs up. For some reason it has happened to me a couple of times now.
Nope. I found HBOH and SHOH down below channel 100. When I go to HBOH, it says I need to call customer service. SHOH says something about the Game Lounge not being available. Huh?

I scanned through everything else, but I can no longer get ANY HD channels on the HR10-250.
101 programming showing when trying to view a channel from 110 or 119 is either the LNB, external multiswitch, or the receiver isn't outputting the 22khz tone required for switching to 110/119.
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