The "Upgrade"

After 12 years with DirecTV, the last four or so of which with the DirectTV HD Tivo HR10-250, I finally let them "upgrade" me to their own HR21 box.

DirecTV broke their deal with Tivo a few years ago and built their own DVR box. When not enough users switched, they rolled out new HD channels that only worked with their own DVR (and not with existing base of Tivo HD DVRs). DirecTV has been pushing HD Tivo users hard to switch, and gradually pulling channels from the HD Tivo, until today it has almost no HD channels anymore.

They have been hassling me for months to switch, but as they started shutting off HD channels on my HD Tivo, I finally relented.

They installed a new dish and HR21 box last week. It's been a disaster so far. Beyond the horrendous UI compared to Tivo, it freezes, locks up, is buggy, slow, and often unresponsive. Buttons don't do what they're supposed to do, or are erratic. The remote is flaky. It won't control the volume on my DENON receiver (Tivo remote did).

There are audio problems and video burps, especially on the "new" HD channels (such as HD local). I have yet to have it make a flawless HD recording - they all have some amount of drop out and other artifacts, missing hunks, etc.

Scheduled recordings don't record. The list goes on.. and this is after just ONE WEEK!

People that have never had a Tivo box may put up with the clumsy user interface, since they don't know any better, but nobody is going to put up with fact that their TV doesn't work anymore.

People speak of Vista being a fiasco for Microsoft - This situation with DirecTV's HR21 is far worse. DirecTV may never recover from this. Cable companies and Dish should be jumping all over this with a "fix your broken DVR campaign" making it easy to switch - they would clean up. They could convert 90% of HR21 users within a year.