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DirecTV Plus HD-DVR Coming

My research into HDMI and newer receivers led me again to check out DirecTV's HD DVR offerings. Though I'm located in Erie, my service location is in Pittsburgh1. Thus, I get Pittsburgh local channels. Pittsburgh's local channels have apparently been available in HD over DirecTV for some time now, which means I can watch shows most nightly television shows in HD, along with sports programming like the Masters, some Steelers games, etc. Woot!

DirecTV Plus HD-DVR ReceiverI currently have a DirecTiVo2. The TiVo isn't capable of doing HD, so it will have to go. DirecTV offers a fairly new "DirecTV Plus HD DVR" available, but you must wait 2-3 weeks before they'll send you one as it's new and in high demand.

I called Best Buy, and they have them in stock. I ordered. Since I can return it locally, it's a no-risk sort of deal. Then I found out that the "Plus" HD DVR requires a five-LNB satellite dish. While my cabling is set up for HD, the dish itself is only capable of receiving the "older" DirecTV HD signals3 It's a matter of putting a new dish on top of a pole, and that will be done Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the receiver/DVR arrives.

The next steps will be to call DirecTV and tell them I wish to drop my TiVo billing and to add my DirecTV DVR. Why they charge for that is beyond me, but since I've been paying for the TiVo monthly4, it's not a big deal.

The only real downside I can see is that I'll be losing the TiVo. The interface was intuitive and it worked really well. I never used the "thumbs" or the "recomendations" systems, and because it was a DirecTiVo, I could never use many of the other features that Series 2 TiVos could do, like TiVo2Go or anything involving the network. Heck, the USB ports aren't even enabled.

Still, I've heard decent things about the DirecTV DVR interface. From what I've read, it's not as good as TiVo's (what is?), but it's also nowhere near as bad as some of the other DVR UIs out there. There will be a period of adjustment, but things should go smoothly.

The receiver itself is capable of storing 200 hours of SD, 30 hours of MPEG-2 HD, or 50 hours of MPEG-4 HD. It has a program guide, pause and rewind of live TV for 90 minutes (which beats the TiVo's 30 minute playback), bookmarks, search and record, 480i/p, 720p, and 1080i output via HDMI, Dolby Digital 5.1 capable, optical audio output, season passes (or "Series Link"), etc.

The guy installing the five-LNB dish is doing so at a substantial discount because Erie doesn't have locals (let alone HD locals), so many people trade in the five-LNB dish for the smaller three-LNB dish. Thus, the guy has a few new-in-box 5LNB dishes sitting around. I'm basically paying only for installation.

If I decide to return the new DVR and go back to the TiVo after it's all said and done, then it's simply a matter of plugging it in. The new dish will work with the "old" DirecTiVo.

Footnotes

  1. Because Erie's local channels are not available via DirecTV.
  2. A TiVo with a DirecTV receiver.
  3. Which, I believe, didn't include local channels in HD.
  4. Originally $9.99, then it dropped to $4.99, and is currently $5.99 per month.

10 Responses to "DirecTV Plus HD-DVR Coming"

  1. For an extra $9.99/month, I can get seven more HD channels: ESPN, ESPN2, Bravo, TNT, Discovery HD, HDNet, and HDNet Movies.

    I'm not sure it's worth ten bucks per month. The locals in HD are included in the basic Total Choice Plus package, and that's all Carey and I will likely ever watch.

  2. I went through the same exercise several months ago. I was a DirecTivo owner and liked it but ultimately dropped DTV for Dish. One problem with DirecTV is they wont hook up your system without a land line, when I moved into my new house I went cell only. Second, Dish has more HD channels. Third, their 622 receiver is very nice, nearly as good as a Tivo IMHO.

  3. Greg Smith said on November 19, 2006:

    One problem with DirecTV is they wont hook up your system without a land line, when I moved into my new house I went cell only.

    Not true. This receiver doesn't need a land line unless you order PPV movies and, soon, will be able to integrate via your home network.

  4. The same is the case for Dish, you don't use the phone line unless you need to order PPV. But DTV wouldn't even install it without a land line. When the installer showed up he said he wasn't allowed to install it unless he could hook it up to a phone line initially (same thing the person on the phone said when I ordered it, but told them I had a phone line just to see if I could get away with it at install).

    When the Dish installer came he just said I wouldn't be able to order PPV but installed it without complaint.

  5. Greg Smith said on November 19, 2006:

    But DTV wouldn't even install it without a land line. When the installer showed up he said he wasn't allowed to install it unless he could hook it up to a phone line initially (same thing the person on the phone said when I ordered it, but told them I had a phone line just to see if I could get away with it at install).

    DirecTV uses local satellite businesses. They outsource their installs. So far as I know, it's not their policy at all to "require" a phone line. Some of the TiVo models require a phone line, but that's how TiVo has always worked, and that too is unrelated to DTV.

  6. The phone line is "strongly desired" by DTV for PPV and other items. I was able to get my installer to not care after some coaxing ("I never use PPV, it's a rip-off." is what that amounted to).

  7. Adam Knight said on November 22, 2006:

    The phone line is "strongly desired" by DTV for PPV and other items. I was able to get my installer to not care after some coaxing ("I never use PPV, it's a rip-off." is what that amounted to).

    Yeah, but my "installer" is just installing the dish. He's not being paid by DirecTV, he's being paid by me.

  8. Had a few questions:

    My friends are telling me the 5-LNB is a beast and their installer wouldn't install it on their roof. Is it really that heavy/big/problematic? I'm looking at a Chimney installation which should handle anything.

    They also said one of the satellites is so low, unless you live in a field you won't get the signal, true?

    Does the Box require a separate subscription like TIVO or is that just part of the monthly DirecTV fees?

    I have a 2-LNB DirecTV setup for Standard TV, I assume I'll be needing to rewire the works to handle HD.

    Thanks.

  9. P. Smith said on November 28, 2006:

    My friends are telling me the 5-LNB is a beast and their installer wouldn't install it on their roof. Is it really that heavy/big/problematic? I'm looking at a Chimney installation which should handle anything.

    It's larger. Ask the installer(s) in your area. I had mine installed on a pole in the ground.

    P. Smith said on November 28, 2006:

    They also said one of the satellites is so low, unless you live in a field you won't get the signal, true?

    No. They're at the same height in the sky but at different angles across the sky, from 99° to 119° I believe.

    P. Smith said on November 28, 2006:

    Does the Box require a separate subscription like TIVO or is that just part of the monthly DirecTV fees?

    It requires a monthly DVR fee. Why, I don't know, but it does. šŸ˜›

    P. Smith said on November 28, 2006:

    I have a 2-LNB DirecTV setup for Standard TV, I assume I'll be needing to rewire the works to handle HD.

    I don't know. My 3-LNB dish had four lines out of it and received all HD channels except the MPEG-4 local channels. It required no re-wiring at all.

  10. WE JUST BOUGHT THE DIRECTV PLUS HD DVR AND WE ALREADY BOUGHT A TRIPLE LNB OVAL DISH THINKING THAT'S WHAT WE WERE GOING TO NEED. PRESENTLY WE HAVE DIRECTIVO & A DUAL LNB DISH WITH A TERK OTA ANTENNA FOR LOCAL PROGRAMS. WE ACTUALLY GET LOCAL HD PROGAMS, THIS SYSTEM WORKS GREAT. MY QUESTION IS, WOULD THE TRIPLE LNB W/TERK OTA ANTENNA WORK WITH THE NEW HD DVR? ā“


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