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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a software engineer, and I just don't get it. It's not like they are installing software on machines with potentially different hardware/configs or anything else. It's all the same hardware, and it's the same code, and it's (likely) too early to be hacked, so what gives?

I understand the occasional dead box. A cord tears, a solder comes loose, etc. But, if you experience a problem, why don't I? And, vice versa?
 

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It's just the sheer amount of different data sources. MPEG4, MPEG2, HD, SD. Things in one market may be encoded slightly differently than other places, although D* is in the process of updating encoding equipment. On top of all that, you have many different ways the HR20 can be used, lots of different scheduling scenarios, other hardware that has to interface with the HR20 correctly (HDMI issues). There's just a buttload of variable situations that not everyone may encounter.
 

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ProfLonghair said:
I'm a software engineer, and I just don't get it. It's not like they are installing software on machines with potentially different hardware/configs or anything else. It's all the same hardware, and it's the same code, and it's (likely) too early to be hacked, so what gives?

I understand the occasional dead box. A cord tears, a solder comes loose, etc. But, if you experience a problem, why don't I? And, vice versa?
your a sw eng and u ask that question? You have never found a problem that only occurs with a unique configuration that the customer has? If not than ya havent been in the industry long enough. One time a sw problem we had only showed up in an environment were a poorly shielded connector was being used, seemed to cause an interrupt that had never been encountered by the device driver.
 

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spidey said:
your a sw eng and u ask that question? You have never found a problem that only occurs with a unique configuration that the customer has? If not than ya havent been in the industry long enough. One time a sw problem we had only showed up in an environment were a poorly shielded connector was being used, seemed to cause an interrupt that had never been encountered by the device driver.
I also write code and to be perfectly honest with you, I would be extremely embarrassed if I pushed out this shoddy code work. It is hacky at best and falls WAY short of even qualifying as a beta test release. I like how you fix some stuff with "trick play" and introduce pixelation when using it. Where is the quality control testing? Is it even being tested at all? If I may get saucy for a second here, I would say those silly geese are not testing every aspect of their attempted patchwork.

In my case, when a customer calls into technical support that happens to stumble upon a bug that left QA, I can easily track it down and reproduce it. The ones that have me thrown through a loop are the ones where the hardware is the one that is causing the actual problem. With that being said, if all of these problems that we are seeing is in fact due to the hardware being crap, well then we are in some sh*t now aren't we?
 

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In all fairness to DirecTV...

Most of us got an incredible, if not unrefusable deal on our new dishes and DVRs. DirecTV claims this is nearly a 700 dollar box. I am not complaining about the price I didn't pay for mine.

I would submit to you all - that in exchange for these great deals, we are in fact, the testers. At least that is how I have viewed it since the retention CSR gave me an incredible deal.

Now I understand this is unofficial and DirecTV would never agree to this publicly- but as long as I know DirecTV is working on fixing this stuff, I don't mind being an unofficial tester. The price was right.

HOWEVER- Had I forked out a couple hundred bucks for my setup. I would be pretty irked right now.
 

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jaywdetroit said:
I don't mind being an unofficial tester.
But now is not the right time. Had they released the box in May after the season, then fine, let some of the bugs get worked out over the summer. But in the middle of the fall season with so many serialized shows is the wrong time to give users a box that might mess up their recordings.
 

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From my experience, most programmers are pretty conscientious about their code. Their managers however often have a "ship it so we can get the revenue, we will fix the bugs in the field as the customers find them." attitude. Hell, just look at Microsoft. They just fixed 26 bugs in an OS that is what, 4 years old? It’s easy to talk about bug free software, not so easy to produce.
 

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I too had to fork over the 299 dollar testing fee. If they were to toss me the sunday ticket gratis for the troubles and all of my effort calling and reporting issues, I would be happy. But no dice yet....
 

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jaywdetroit said:
DirecTV claims this is nearly a 700 dollar box.
This still bugs me, sure I cannot use it after I dump D* for the next big thing but, they claim to me that the box is worth 1k and I am getting a super deal paying only 299.99 for it and then a monthly lease fee. However, in the end, they get the equipment back and keep my 299.99 and then resend out the unit that I returned for another 299.99 to the next sub to get an HD DVR. Good deal? For who?
 

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First let me say that my only contact with D* is as a normal customer. If their competition offered a package with better PQ and equipment for a similar price then I would certainly be tempted to jump ship. FIoS started laying fiber in my cul-de-sac yesterday and I have looked at their Motorola DVR and priced up the possiblities, if the HR20 doesn't improve by the time Verizon comes active at my home then I could be saying goodbye to D*.

My take on the HR20 is that there was pressure to get it out on the street from upper management. The competition have HD DVR's, of varying quality, D* was commited to leaving Tivo and developing their own hardware and software. It seems that any Beta program they had wasn't broad enough, maybe too few testers with a limited scope. Then they released it, with the OTA functionality switched off, on the West Coast, why didn't they delay further release when problems started popping up? Either someone under-estimated the significance of these issues or someone higher up over-rode the concerns to get the box out nationwide and to reduce the effect on the stock price. Ok Microsoft are able to delay the release of Vista to get it right first but they are (almost) a monopoly. D* didn't have that luxury, every month without a DVR capable of recording all their channels would see more churn and fewer new customers.
Using regular customers as Beta testers is just not on, apart from the problems, niggles etc being made public D* don't have any real information on who is getting which problem, what equipment they have, what stations they watch and so on. In all it makes it harder to debug.
Overall I think it is an excellent design, the UI is intuitive and the quality of the picture is certainly better than the old HD Tivo with SD channels. There are niggles which should be fixable in a future version - lack of dual buffering is the obvious one but I would also like to see closed captioning made easier to use (why not use colored button to toggle it on/off as only the blue has a function while viewing). An option to switch Picture in Guide off, giving more lines for the guide information would also meet with much approval.

I am a bit concerned with the latest release, 00xDC, which has fixed one major issue with the so-called BSoD but has introduced a new one with "trick" playback. This shouldn't happen, it seems amateur almost like an OpenSource project where many people are working without proper oversight and co-ordination.

Having said all that I am optimistic that the HR20 will be a fully viable product by the end of this year, hopefully with OTA active as well. If D* need a Beta tester for the HR30 then I'll gladly volunteer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
But, I go back to my original point. The software is the same. The hardware is the same. FOr people in the same markets, the signal is the same. So, why are there differences in the reported errors.

In Windows, things crash because there are too many variables. Card A driver clashes with App B. I understand this. I hate it, but I get it. Not to mention, Windows is so huge, the complexity so enormous, there will always be bugs.

But, my HR20 has the same hardware as your HR20. My HR20 has the same software as your HR20. Why would mine freeze while playing back Bones, and yours not? Because I'm using Component, and you are using HDMI? That's hard to buy as a reason. Because I have a Pelican input switcher, and you don't? Even harder to believe.

Maybe I don't understand fully how the AV stuff works, but if every one uses the same kind of output (Component, HDMI, whichever), why would it matter what the other end is plugged into? Isn't that cable a one way communication? I mean, I get that there might be a bug with the HDMI output, or Component, or (gag) S-video, but why would there be a bug when connecting to a Toshiba, or a Sony?
 

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ProfLonghair said:
But, I go back to my original point. The software is the same. The hardware is the same. FOr people in the same markets, the signal is the same. So, why are there differences in the reported errors.

In Windows, things crash because there are too many variables. Card A driver clashes with App B. I understand this. I hate it, but I get it. Not to mention, Windows is so huge, the complexity so enormous, there will always be bugs.

But, my HR20 has the same hardware as your HR20. My HR20 has the same software as your HR20. Why would mine freeze while playing back Bones, and yours not? Because I'm using Component, and you are using HDMI? That's hard to buy as a reason. Because I have a Pelican input switcher, and you don't? Even harder to believe.

Maybe I don't understand fully how the AV stuff works, but if every one uses the same kind of output (Component, HDMI, whichever), why would it matter what the other end is plugged into? Isn't that cable a one way communication? I mean, I get that there might be a bug with the HDMI output, or Component, or (gag) S-video, but why would there be a bug when connecting to a Toshiba, or a Sony?
The only thing common with each user is the HR20. EVERYTHING else is a variable. The MPEG4 and MPEG2 data streams in each market, the satellite signal strengths, the temperature and air flow surrounding the box, the cleanliness of the AC voltages, the cables connected to the box, and what A/V equipment the box is connected to. In fact, if there are 100,000 boxes installed a plausible claim would be that 100,000 DIFFERENT environments and scenarios exist for each box.
 

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To me the simple point is releasing "a not ready for prime time" (unreliable) box with LESS functionality than 3 year -old existing technology (D*TV HR-10) -- meaning no active OTA tuner, no dual buffers, etc. -- and this is "acceptable" to many of you out there??? Boy, talk about gullible consumers -- no wonder D*TV thought they could get away with this!!!!!
 

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perilous said:
To me the simple point is releasing "a not ready for prime time" (unreliable) box with LESS functionality than 3 year -old existing technology (D*TV HR-10) -- meaning no active OTA tuner, no dual buffers, etc. -- and this is "acceptable" to many of you out there??? Boy, talk about gullible consumers -- no wonder D*TV thought they could get away with this!!!!!
Absolutely. I got two free HD DVRs that I don't have any problems with at all. I will take that any day. I wouldn't recommend the early adopter process to just anyone however, particularly the unwashed masses.

Who I feel sorry for are the ones who paid $1000 for an HR10-250 12 months ago. :nono2:
 

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ProfLonghair said:
But, I go back to my original point. The software is the same. The hardware is the same. FOr people in the same markets, the signal is the same. So, why are there differences in the reported errors.

In Windows, things crash because there are too many variables. Card A driver clashes with App B. I understand this. I hate it, but I get it. Not to mention, Windows is so huge, the complexity so enormous, there will always be bugs.

But, my HR20 has the same hardware as your HR20. My HR20 has the same software as your HR20. Why would mine freeze while playing back Bones, and yours not? Because I'm using Component, and you are using HDMI? That's hard to buy as a reason. Because I have a Pelican input switcher, and you don't? Even harder to believe.

Maybe I don't understand fully how the AV stuff works, but if every one uses the same kind of output (Component, HDMI, whichever), why would it matter what the other end is plugged into? Isn't that cable a one way communication? I mean, I get that there might be a bug with the HDMI output, or Component, or (gag) S-video, but why would there be a bug when connecting to a Toshiba, or a Sony?
i asked the same question a few days ago. the only variables that i see would be temperature and type of connection, ie hdmi or component.
 

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Alvin Nuckleglazer said:
i asked the same question a few days ago. the only variables that i see would be temperature and type of connection, ie hdmi or component.
Could output resolution also be a variable?
 

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ProfLonghair said:
Maybe I don't understand fully how the AV stuff works, but if every one uses the same kind of output (Component, HDMI, whichever), why would it matter what the other end is plugged into? Isn't that cable a one way communication? I mean, I get that there might be a bug with the HDMI output, or Component, or (gag) S-video, but why would there be a bug when connecting to a Toshiba, or a Sony?
To address just one variable of hundreds, HDMI is a two way interface. The sending device polls the receiving device then enables the appropriate outputs. This has caused some issues with some displays.
 

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jaywdetroit said:
Most of us got an incredible, if not unrefusable deal on our new dishes and DVRs. DirecTV claims this is nearly a 700 dollar box. I am not complaining about the price I didn't pay for mine.
Regardless of the "deal" we got on the DVR, we all spend close to, or more than a hundred bucks a month on D* service. Many subscription business models subsidize equipment in order to stimulate recurring monthly incomes. Look at cellular and the discounts on handsets you get for signing a 1- or 2-year contract.

D* isn't doing us any sort of special favor giving us a "discount" on the box. The box is there in order for them to charge us a monthly subscription. Without the monthly sub, the box is literally worthless. (At least for the HR10, it could function as an OTA HD DVR)

I wish people would think a minute before suggesting we've been the beneficiaries of some benevolent and altruistic largesse on the behalf of D*. They give us the equipment to ensure continued subscription, plain and simple.
 

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matto said:
D* isn't doing us any sort of special favor giving us a "discount" on the box. The box is there in order for them to charge us a monthly subscription. Without the monthly sub, the box is literally worthless. (At least for the HR10, it could function as an OTA HD DVR)
$5 a month for a $700 box - that's a long time before D* hit a profit line. OK, some people paid $300 up front, but it would still take 80 months before a real profit kicks in. That's over six years, by which time the HR50 will be in pseudo-beta, and it will 2160p resolution that causes the bs0d.
 
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