Most helpful customer reviews
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful.
Decent Tivo replacement but you may need the "B-Bands"!
We installed a DirecTivo in 2001. When in 2008 Tivo announced they would produce a new, HD DirecTivo we were delighted, and opted to hold our HD upgrade until it came out. Time passed, and passed and passed and the new Tivo went off to live with Duke Nukem in vaporware land. Finally pulled the string on the purchase of a new AV receiver, a new 46in LED TV, and this DVR. Now it is installed and working, how does it compare to our old Tivo?
First, a warning: the HR24 DVR is designed to work with a SWM dish. That's single-wire multiswitch, a single black coax cable from the dish. If you have what our installer called "a legacy installation," aka Multiswitch, characterized by TWO cables from the dish, then in addition to the DVR you need a pair of "B-Band converters." These are small boxes that go inline with the coax cables to convert something to some other thing. There are no B-Band converters in this box. They are available from Amazon, just search on "DirecTV B Band Converter" and you'll find them. If you have two cables to your old DVR, order a pair of them at the same time as the HR24. I was lucky, my installer had a spare pair in his truck.
I got no kickback from DirecTV when I said I had ordered my own HR24; except that they refused to schedule the installer until I had the box in hand and could read them the device serial number. They admitted that the Amazon price ($199) was the same they would have charged. The installer said that customers who order the MRV (multi-room viewing) option will get an HR24, but those who don't (I hadn't) would get "whatever we have." Which might well be the slower HR23. So I was right to get the HR24 from Amazon, but if you are going for MRV, you may as well get DirecTV to send it with the installer.
OK, now we've used it a few days, how does it compare to Tivo? Well, darn it, it's just fine! The only Tivo feature it lacks is that it doesn't record "suggestions" of shows it thinks we might like. I kind of miss being able to go through the Suggestions folder every few days to see what Tivo found for me.
The user interface is not as polished to look at; the menus and dialogs are square-edged and rather crude looking. The button layout on the remote is kind of bizarre and arbitrary compared to Tivo's "peanut" -- but the response time to button-presses is fine. There are four levels of fast-forward instead of three, and #3 is too slow and #4 is too fast. There is a 30-second forward skip that Tivo had as an easter-egg feature. The "skip backward" function goes back 6 seconds instead of 8. There's a Back button that takes you back through successive levels of menu, and that's very convenient (Note: the Harmony One universal, if you opt for that, does NOT have this Back button; you have to program a soft-button for it.)
Although the search function is designed differently from Tivo's, it has pretty much the same abilities to find programs. There is a nice feature TIvo lacked: when viewing the detailed info on a recorded program, you can select "cast and crew" to get a quick search on the names of cast members, to find other programs they are listed in. There's also a "you might like" search that is sort of a replacement for Tivo suggestions.
All in all, DirecTivo die-hards do not need to fear the HR24. If you are tired of waiting for a new DirecTivo to emerge from the vapor, go ahead and make the jump. It's fine.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful.
Great DVR - Just Impossible to upgrade
I have been a DirecTV customer from the beginning. Over the years I have owned many different models of DirecTV receivers. When the HD DVR's first came out, you actually had to purchase them for around $1000 each. Since then, DirecTV has made continuous upgrades and improvements.
We currently have 7 HD DVRs and 1 HD receiver in our home. We utilize the "Whole Home DVR" feature and just love it. Three of our DVR's are the HR24s. We also have some HR21's and HR22's.
One of the first things you will notice about the HR24 is the responsiveness to remote control actions. (On some of the older units, you sometimes had to wait for several seconds after pressing a key to actually see something happen. When using the RF remote control feature, this delay could cause the user to believe that the command wasn't received. You would then press the key again which would cancel the original command. Very frustrating...)
The HR24 will work with existing dual-coax multiswitch installations. If you are still using a multiswitch (instead of Single Wire Multiplex), you will probably need to use the "B-Band Converter" dongles on each coaxial input.
For customers who have already converted to SWM, you do not need to use the B-Band converters. In addition, you only need to use a single coaxial cable. This is great since most homes are only wired with single coaxial runs.
Another benefit of a SWM installation is that all connected DVR's can communicate with one another over the same coaxial cable. This makes it extremely easy to set up the "whole house DVR" feature. Older receivers (HR20, HR21, HR23) required SWM adapter dongles for networking and whole-house DVR integration. The HR24 does not. It is a very clean and simple installation. Power, a single COAX input, and HDMI output to your TV.
Here is my complaint regarding DirecTV. You simply cannot purchase the most current hardware from DirecTV. For example, if you order an additional receiver from DirecTV, you may actually receive an H21 or an H22 or some other refurbished receiver. What a crock. The only way to get what you want is by ordering on Amazon. Can you imagine if you went down to the cellphone store and renewed your 2 year service agreement and they gave you an old StarTac cellphone from years ago? It's insane....
Anyway, here is what I would recommend...
Sign up for the whole house DVR service if you don't already have it. DirecTV will come out and retrofit your installation with the SWIM module (if you don't already have it.) They may also replace some or all of your DVR's to insure that all of the receivers are compatible. If you have a network, they will connect one of the receivers to your LAN and then ALL of your receivers will be able to download movies on demand. It is really great.
Here is a neat trick...
If you need a network connection (for a WiFi access point in a room for instance), you can actually TAP into the network by plugging your network device (access point, computer, etc.) into one of the CAT5 jacks on the back of the receiver (if your receiver has 2 CAT5 connectors.) Note that the H24 does not have 2 connectors. But, the H20, H21, and H22 do!
Summary: The H24 is the best HD DVR ever. DirecTV blows cable away. But the lack of a hardware upgrade path for valued customers really bites.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful. See all 100 customer reviews...
First let me say that this is a really nice DVR and the company selling it on Amazon charged a fair price and shipped in a timely fashion. However, if you "buy" this item on Amazon, be aware that you are not buying it outright. I know that this seems counter intuitive but as far as DirecTV is concerned you cannot "own" these units you can only lease them (hence the monthly lease fee that continues on your bill after "buying" the unit). This came as quite a surprise to me when I recently moved and DirecTV demanded that I return the unit to them. They told me that I did not/could not have bought it and that it belongs to them. Just a heads-up to those of us who think that this purchase is like any other on Amazon. You can pay for this DVR, but you will not own it. I know, it is still doesn't make any sense to me either.