I bet DTV has a large number of HR20s just sitting in some location waiting to be recertified. It seems that when a CSR can't fix the issue over the phone, they schedule an exchange wether it's warranted or not. I had mine exchanged twice for issues that I know are software related but they insisted in doing it. A friend of mine is on his 3rd exchange and the same and newer issues continue.
Patiently waiting for 2007.
Interesting you should say that. D* called me today on another matter, and I started asking some questions of the CSR, who seemed fairly knowledgeable. He said they should not be sending out 2-3 HR20s to people who are having problems, because they are going to have the same problems over and over. So he said the CSRs doing that are making a mistake. I am just paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it.
I grilled him a little more, and he denied there are any widespread issues with the HR20, but when I mentioned the 5 software downloads already, he slipped and noted that there were issues for a percentage of boxes (he didn't say what he meant by that). I have no doubt that demand for these boxe is strong. On the other hand, if this were a smooth launch, the availability issue would no doubt be lessened because D* wouldn't be scrambing around trying to meet demand. After all, if some people are going through 2-3 machines in the quest for one that works, that has to be causing some sort of blip on the distribution plan. It's hard to believe demand is WAY beyond what D* expected, after all the time they had to plan this launch, and they aren't exactly a start-up.
After initial sputtering, my original box is now working at 99.9 percent effectiveness (picture and sound dropouts the only real problems). But that doesn't mean I am confident it will continue on that path (although it's nice in the meantime).
Of course, the CSR also mentioned the 100 national HD channels we're all going to have by 2007. We'll see.
Finally, when I mentioned there was a forum where the admin had a close contact with D*, the CSR quickly interrupted and said, "He doesn't have any official connection with Directv. Those guys don't know what they are talking about most of the time." Caught me off guard. When I mentioned that the person in particular did know exactly when the software downloads were scheduled, he backed off a bit, but held his ground. Interesting, velly interesting.
Things just seem to be getting weirder and weirder with the HR20 launch and all its facets.