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The Shadow Knows!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe it's just Monday morning or maybe the time is overdue for a rant of my own.

I have been an early adopter for as long as I can remember. When I was younger and didn't have the money to be an early adopter, I would read manuals and tech journals (and later, forums like these) and pretend I could buy the latest and greatest.

I remember soldering together a composite video output cable for my Atari 800 so I could feed it to a VCR and have some record of the artwork I created. That same Atari had an acoustic coupler hooked up to it (some of you young'uns might want to look that term up) through a homemade cable. Not that I had anyone to call, but I wanted to see if it could work.

I bought the very first portable CD player sold in the US in 1986. It didn't have enough battery life to play a whole CD and if you didn't carry it like a waiter carrying a dessert tray it skipped.

I could go on and on. I've had various successes and failures, and picked the wrong horse plenty of times, too. (Does ANYONE else remember the Sega Master System?) I'm sure I'm not the oldest early adopter here but I'm pretty sure that unless there's a 100-year-old ham radio nut on these forums, there have been early adopters for a lot longer than any of us have been around.

My point is that if you are experiencing problems with your HR20 or members of your household approving of it, THAT'S WHAT AN EARLY ADOPTER IS. There have been several threads to the tune of "D* is making beta testers of its paying customers." I say HOGWASH. I'd say worse but it would be edited out by the moderators anyway. You all need to learn the difference between beta testers and early adopters.

Here's the way I see it.

-It's impossible to pretend there haven't been problems, and don't continue to be problems, with this unit. From what I can see they are less severe than the R15 was at this point and more severe than TiVo was in its 1.0 form.

-There have always been problems with hardware and software that need to be addressed once the product is in the wild. The difference is, instead of claiming that's the nature of the beast, D* is actively working on it.

-Unfortunately we are at a point where STBs, especially this one, are so complex that it's very hard to test all the functionality before release. From what I can guess, the complexity of the HR20's operating software is probably on par with early versions of Windows, which were far worse (again, I remember Windows 2.1. What a pile of horse pucky that was.)

-Also unfortunately, the market is so cutthroat that there is simply not enough time for adequate usability testing in pre-release. This is why company after company, including Google, MS and Yahoo, release "beta" versions of software to try to pin down usability and feature issues.

-For those who read the previous and thought, "Yeah, but those guys don't charge for their beta versions", you are correct but you still have to buy the hardware to run them.

-For those who thought, "Yeah, but I'm paying every month for this buggy thing", call Retention. They seem perfectly willing to give you rebates to keep you on.

Bottom line before the flame-fest begins...

I say again, THIS IS WHAT AN EARLY ADOPTER IS. You get to see the products, warts and all, before other people. You pay too much for a product that will probably be free in six months. You deal with spouse issues, equipment issues, customer service issues. You hate tearing your home theater apart for the umpteenth time because it might be an HDMI cable that's causing the thing to hiccup, and YOU HAVE TO KNOW...

but you have to admit that you're doing it because you're a tech head and you're glad to have the toys to play with. I say, STOP WHINING! Let's use this forum to help each other figure out the workarounds and report the bugs, and stop acting like spoiled children.

Let's remember how cool this technology is, even if it would be cooler if it worked right all the time.
 

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I guess I missed that part about the early adoption program that DirecTV disclosed when I purchased this box and signed up for a 2 year commitment.

Oh that right, there is no early adoption program, there was no disclosure about the HR20 having lots of issues. It has nothing to do with Beta or Early Adoption, I just expect a DVR to Record what I tell it to, play, rr, ff, pause and not crash 99.999% of the time.
 

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The Shadow Knows!
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
btmoore said:
I guess I missed that part about the early adoption program that DirecTV disclosed when I purchased this box and signed up for a 2 year commitment.

Oh that right, there is no early adoption program, there was no disclosure about the HR20 having lots of issues. It has nothing to do with Beta or Early Adoption, I just expect a DVR to Record what I tell it to, play, rr, ff, pause and not crash 99.999% of the time.
As you go through life you will see this pattern repeated over and over -- early release products are often like this. If this is really the first time you've ever bought a breakthrough product within the first three months of its release, I apologize to you for the problems you're having, as you didn't expect them.

You might want to look inside yourself and ask if you are really the sort who is comfortable buying things so early in the product cycle. There are those of us who expected this and even enjoy the struggle (most of the time).
 

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lamontcranston said:
As you go through life you will see this pattern repeated over and over -- early release products are often like this. If this is really the first time you've ever bought a breakthrough product within the first three months of its release, I apologize to you for the problems you're having, as you didn't expect them.

You might want to look inside yourself and ask if you are really the sort who is comfortable buying things so early in the product cycle. There are those of us who expected this and even enjoy the struggle (most of the time).
Yup.

Anyone buy a car in its first year on the market?

Can you say guinea pig? :D
 

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I agree with your post lamontcranston. I have also always been an early adopter (anyone remember the Amiga CD32 game system?). There are ALWAYS problems with new products like this on the market.

My take is that as long as it does its basic functions out of the box, I'm happy. After that, each new bug fix or improvement is a plus.

I wouldn't call the HR20 a revolutionary product. It's more like a rehash but I'm confident that once the bugs are worked out and OTA is enabled, Tivo is history. In its current state right now, I'm pretty happy. The quick reaction time in the menus for me is a BIG plus.
 

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The Shadow Knows!
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Chris Blount said:
I wouldn't call the HR20 a revolutionary product. It's more like a rehash but I'm confident that once the bugs are worked out and OTA is enabled, Tivo is history. In its current state right now, I'm pretty happy. The quick reaction time in the menus for me is a BIG plus.
Revolutionary might be pushing it, but I struggled for the right word to use. I think that it's important to realize that this is a completely new product built from the ground up to have the same UI as other products, probably with a large amount of new code. It performs all the same functions as the R15, plus it decodes MPEG4 (ok, not perfectly), records 3-5x as much data in the same time frame as a SD DVR, and includes hooks for Ethernet, e-SATA and OTA. That's a lot of new stuff (even if it doesn't all work yet).
 

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I've early adopted many gadgets/software apps, and there have been hiccups, but for the most part, a quick return or download got it going fairly quickly. I remember spending 12 HOURS on with Gateway tech support installing my first multimedia kit in a 133 mhz PC. Guess what? When the 12 hours was over, it worked. And kept working until I junked it. So I know about early adopting, even though I am not a techie by trade.

But this time, the complexity of the product means a fix isn't a simple few quick steps away (or even 12 hours on the phone with tech support), and that's what's causing such consternation among users. I doubt Joe Sixpack who ordered an HR20 had any idea he was an early adopter. Just someone buying a new DVR. I had a hunch there might be a problem or two, but nothing like this... so many complications and variables. Just my POV.

Out of curiosity, I went over to the E* forum to read about the 622, and while there are problems, it seems a lot tamer in terms of the customer hostility. Any ideas? I really don't know the answer.
 

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I'm sorry, but I can't accept your thesis.

We are NOT early adopters. The high definition DVR has now been around for years, in fact, we've purchased a different version of it from the same company. And please don't tell me that it was actually "made by someone else". DirecTV slapped their name on it and it was DirecTV's choice to jettison that platform and go with a different one. Given that decision by DirecTV management, they at that time assumed the responsibility to provide a box that worked as well as the one they chose to no longer offer.

Shoot even ECHOSTAR can release a box these days that works better than the HR20.
 

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Godfather
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Early Adopter???????????????

DVR's are a pretty mature product....this isnt some new fangled device. Its D* decision to create their own box versus using the tried and true TIVO, its their decision to use MPEG 2 and MPEG 4 at the same time.

Early adopter is buying a 50" plasma for $20,000 back in 1998...

Buying the HR20 is not considered an early adopter....the product is widely avail and very cheap in the realm of HD DVRs...

As I have said in my other posts, I really like the HR20 and like it more than TIVO, but it needs to be stable and consumer polished.

Kind of like buying a hybrid car and then having it lock up on the highway on you, missing the passenger door, not having the headlights activated so you cant drive at night and only being able to listen to the radio between 1-4 PM...

Just not acceptable....
 

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Chris Blount said:
I agree with your post lamontcranston. I have also always been an early adopter (anyone remember the Amiga CD32 game system?). There are ALWAYS problems with new products like this on the market.

My take is that as long as it does its basic functions out of the box, I'm happy. After that, each new bug fix or improvement is a plus.

I wouldn't call the HR20 a revolutionary product. It's more like a rehash but I'm confident that once the bugs are worked out and OTA is enabled, Tivo is history. In its current state right now, I'm pretty happy. The quick reaction time in the menus for me is a BIG plus.
You're take is right on the money Chris!
 

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The Shadow Knows!
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
cookpr said:
Kind of like buying a hybrid car and then having it lock up on the highway on you, missing the passenger door, not having the headlights activated so you cant drive at night and only being able to listen to the radio between 1-4 PM...

Just not acceptable....
Apparently they had to recall the Prius more than once, and once it was because the darn thing could just stop working on you.

I'm glad my car doesn't run on this DVR's software, but then again, it's not a car, it's consumer electronics. I might be singing a different tune if I had to stake my life to it, but I don't.
 

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Godfather
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^^I agree, but the 'ONE' recall solved the issues....and maybe there were some additional service noitices that the consumer did not see that fixed minor issues.

But we are heading for what, software update 5?? With no apparent end in sight. Plus, these updates are attempting to fix problems that are very visible to the consumer.

My hope is this weeks update doesnt make things worse like previous updates. My hunch is the next update will be pretty large and probably calm the waters, but who knows. The sooner these updates end the better....
 

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tstarn said:
Out of curiosity, I went over to the E* forum to read about the 622, and while there are problems, it seems a lot tamer in terms of the customer hostility. Any ideas? I really don't know the answer.
To be fair the 622 has been out now for quite some time. At least 6 months I believe. No idea what bugs and stuff there were on release but Dish is known for pretty buggy receivers at launch. Let's see where the HR20 is when it's the same age as the 622.

I think you see more customer hostility toward the HR20 because DirecTV is replacing Tivo which is causing hatred and vile for some people. Dish never had Tivo so it's just another box in their line of receivers.

If you want another comparison, stop on over to the TivoCommunity for the HR10. Page after page of bug reports and problems that look pretty familiar. Same goes in the regular Tivo forums. Posts that the Tivo S3 isn't ready for prime time and so forth. That's what these forums are, places for people to vent and post their problems. Forums are always that way. Once the HR20 is a mature product we'll see how the forum is and where the product is.
 

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The Shadow Knows!
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
cookpr said:
^^ The sooner these updates end the better....
Maybe you mean the sooner the need for updates, the better? Surely you wouldn't be happier if D* stopped development now? I'm glad they are working on it. I know Wolffpack had a post a couple weeks ago suggesting that they were pushing updates out too fast, but I am glad to see constant progress.

Before the flames begin "Oh, you call 0xDC progress? That one nutted up my HR20 so bad it nearly cost me my marriage", yes I do. Important stuff was fixed promptly. Sure it could have been handled better but that's true of everything, I'd say.
 

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lamontcranston said:
I bought the very first portable CD player sold in the US in 1986. It didn't have enough battery life to play a whole CD and if you didn't carry it like a waiter carrying a dessert tray it skipped.

Let's remember how cool this technology is, even if it would be cooler if it worked right all the time.
CD music and players became available in 1983 in the US. :D
 

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The Shadow Knows!
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
cybrsurfer said:
CD music and players became available in 1983 in the US. :D
You are correct sir. I did know a guy who had this top-loading CD player with no display.. only a window to see the disc spin. This guy was not only an early adopter, he was wealthy.

To my knowledge -- please correct me if I am wrong -- the first portable, battery powered CD player in the US was the Sony Discman, which I first saw in the spring of 1986. It cost me almost a week's pay.
 

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cookpr said:
Early Adopter???????????????

DVR's are a pretty mature product....this isnt some new fangled device. Its D* decision to create their own box versus using the tried and true TIVO, its their decision to use MPEG 2 and MPEG 4 at the same time.

Early adopter is buying a 50" plasma for $20,000 back in 1998...

Buying the HR20 is not considered an early adopter....the product is widely avail and very cheap in the realm of HD DVRs...

As I have said in my other posts, I really like the HR20 and like it more than TIVO, but it needs to be stable and consumer polished.

Kind of like buying a hybrid car and then having it lock up on the highway on you, missing the passenger door, not having the headlights activated so you cant drive at night and only being able to listen to the radio between 1-4 PM...

Just not acceptable....
you are confusing early adopters of dvrs to early adopters of SOFTWARE that runs dvrs. in this case its the software that is completely new not the dvr itself.
 

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hdtvfan0001 said:
Perfectionists have no business even using the term "early adopter", let alone being one. :D
Is that Confucius?
 

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lamontcranston said:
You are correct sir. I did know a guy who had this top-loading CD player with no display.. only a window to see the disc spin. This guy was not only an early adopter, he was wealthy.

To my knowledge -- please correct me if I am wrong -- the first portable, battery powered CD player in the US was the Sony Discman, which I first saw in the spring of 1986. It cost me almost a week's pay.
http://www.sony.net/Fun/SH/1-21/h1.html

The D-50 was released in November 1984 (check the link). I know, because I bought one.
 
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