Ultimate item to go with your HDTV
Like many, I had an HDTV that I watched little HDTV on.Not because of lack of programming available, but because having to watch commercials or watch TV on the network's schedule prevented me from watching LIVE HDTV (we owned three low definition Tivos prior to this purchase).
Yes, DirecTV doesn't office some of the home media options or folders on their Tivo boxes, but those are mostly peripheral offerings.Nothing does what this unit does as well as this unit does it period.This unit takes Tivo and HDTV to the next level! Two recording sources.Real-time conversion to all TV formats.Same Tivo interface we all love plus a more traditional satellite box guide view.Off-air and satellite reception.There's a reason why this unit won best of show at CES.And something I wasn't aware of, you don't have to purchase the $300 lifetime subscription with DirecTV DVRS.
When I first purchased this unit, I thought I would have trouble justifying a $1000 spend.Now that I have it, even my frugal wife understands why I bought it and the HDTV I purchased last year.
Great DirecTV/Tivo combo, but not without glitches
On a good HDTV monitor with an HDMI connection, the video from this receiver is just stunning.
There are several things you should know:
1 - '30 hour' refers to HDTV recording capacity. For normal, non-HDTV programming, you'll get much, much more than 30 hours.
2 - For some reason, DirecTV has not upgraded the software to Tivo Series 2. That means no folders grouping together saved programs, no support for the USB ports (no broadband connection, you MUST use a modem), no Home Media Option or video sharing.
3 - There's a bug in the digital audio output which causes digital audio to fail with some amplifiers. Fortunately, my amp was firmware-upgradeable to be more forgiving about the audio format. From what I've read, the receiver fails to send proper headers on the audio and sometimes (when you're changing channels, going forward or backward) this causes audio to cut out completely. I found that I needed to restart my amp to get audio back. DirecTV does not acknowledge this problem.
4 - Over time we've seen more little audio and video glitches than I've ever seen with any other model Tivo or DirecTV receiver. Nothing serious, but kind of annoying.
5 - There is very little HDTV programming available on DirecTV at the moment. Unless you live in LA or NY or you're rural enough to qualify to receive distant stations, you're unlikely to be allowed to get the LA or NY HDTV feeds of local channels. This is a government restriction, not DirecTV's fault. There's one PPV channel in HD format, and there are HD feeds of HBO and Showtime plus a few other things. Definitely check with DirecTV to see what you'll be able to receive before jumping on this.
6 - DirecTV is working on bringing out lot more HDTV programming, including local network stations, but the rumor is that in order to do this they're going to switch to a new compression format that this receiver won't support. It's too early to say whether they'll provide a graceful upgrade path or will stick you with a thousand dollar receiver/recorder that can't receive the bulk of their programming, but consider yourself warned.
TiVo is the best!
Just got my HD TiVo about 3 weeks ago. I had a "regular" TiVo for about 2-1/2 years...it's one of the few products I could sell if I had to be a salesperson. I LOVE being able to watch what I want, when I want, and being able to skip past the ads so easily.
TiVo is so intuitive - both the on-screen interface and the layout of the remote. I can use it in the dark, left-handed or right-handed, without even looking at the keypad.
TiVo is especially awesome for HDTV - much of the programming is repeated, so being able to have a large selection of programs available is a huge plus.
My only complaint is that 30 hours of HDTV is a little skimpy. But so far, no problems...I only choose very special programs to set to "save until I delete". I don't need to watch THAT much TV. And if it gets to be a problem, I'll probably order an upgrade kit from weeknees.com to give me another 22 hours and I'll be set.
Everyone I know who has TiVo says there's no going back - and I feel the same way. Those who have other DVRs/PVRs like them, but those of use who have TiVos LOVE them! :-)
... Read more