I'm located in the SF Bay Area and I just got Voom installed.
I currently have HD service from DirecTV (RCA DTC100), OTA (RCA DTC100 and HiPix), and Dish (Dish5000 and Dish6000), so I've started doing some performance comparisons. Here are a few notes from using the system for 24 hours.
1. From Northern California, the Voom satellite is VERY low in the sky (about 15 degrees). I have all of my dishes for DirecTV and Dish in one place on my roof, but the installer couldn't see the Voom satellite from there because of low trees next door. We ended up installing it on the roof of secondary structure in my backyard which had a clear shot to the east. The installer said he already had been to two installations where he could not see the bird from any point on the properties.
2. The OTA antenna the installer brings is inadequate and electically incompatible with the VOOM dish. It's a powered fixed position antenna, but you absolutely need a rotor here to get a decent number of channels. Also, the OTA antenna is diplexed with the VOOM signal onto one piece of coax, but the OTA antenna is powered through the coax, too. In other words, the OTA and Voom antennas are incompatible on the same coax unless you want dueling DC on the coax. We installed the OTA with a separate powered coax just to test it, but to no surprise it was really bad, only picking up the strongest local station. (BTW, to have a separate OTA coax input if you have a powered OTA antenna, you'll need to remove the diplexer on the back of the Voom Motorola STB. This works fine.)
3. The OTA tuner in the Voom Motorola STB has very poor reception sensitivity. I hooked it up my OTA antenna with a rotor, and found it to be essentially unusable in this area. To start with, the Voom receiver does not have a signal strength meter, so there is no way to aim an antenna, which is essential in this area. So, I aimed the antenna for a given station using the signal meter on the DTC100 (which is a poorer 8VSB receiver than the HiPix card), then tried to tune the same station on the Voom box. Out of 8 channels that I tried on the DTC100 (before I gave up), only 2 could be received by the Voom box. Given that the DTC100 is several years old, that was very disappointing since better 8VSB chip sets are available today. The installer said he had yet to do an installation where the OTA worked.
4. For sat reception, the Voom box suffers from occasional image dropouts and pixelation when there is very fast action (e.g. on Channel 100, their HD weather channel), similar to the effect you see when watching a football game with OTA ATSC when you have a marginal signal. It seems better now, but I'll be keeping an eye on it. Maybe my dish needs to be peaked. On a couple of channels, the picture is breaking up all the time. It may be that certain transponders are not coming in as well as others.
5. Sadly, the impedance of the component outputs is not a clean 75 ohms, and as a result you get ringing (i.e. 1- or 2-pixel wide reflections) on your HDTV display. It's mostly visible on my 50inch plasma, but I can see it on my rear-project CRT display as well. As a comparison, the RCA DCT100 and the Dish5000/6000 have much cleaner analog outputs and produce a crisper image. This ringing reduces the perceived resolution to about the same as EDTV to my eyes. The DVI output on the Voom receiver looks great, so I'm only going to use the box in DVI mode going forward.
6. The user interface on the Voom box is simple enough to navigate around. It nicely reduces the size of the picture when you look at the program guide (like an UltimateTV, but unlike a Tivo) so you don't cover up the video when you want to navigate. One annoyance is it is sluggish in responding to button presses, so I find myself going too far in menus all the time because I didn't think it responded and pushed the button extra times. There are very limited settings for video, etc.
7. The output format of the video (480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i) seems to match whatever you are watching, so your TV will keep changing modes as you tune channels. Unfortunately, the text for the user interface is really designed for 1080i, so when you tune to a 480i station, the text gets all crunched up. Not the end of the world, but it could have been done more elegantly.
8. I haven't done side-by-sides with HD content from DirecTV or Dish as yet, but nonetheless, it is a truly a pleasure to be tuning from one nice HD channel to the next. Some of the material is upconverted SD content, but a good chunk of it is true HD. It is particularly odd to see old black and white movies, for example, on the Monsters channel at very sharp resolution.
9. One annoyance is, like old Motorola DCT2000 digital cable boxes, the Voom box stumbles from one channel to the next, with the picture having lots of pixelation before it finally stabilizes. It is disappointing to see this in a brand new system. It's just sloppy engineering. None of my DirecTV or Dish boxes (SD or HD) have ever suffered from such problems, and until now I had thought such sloppy engineering was limited to cable TV. Maybe it is just Motorola.
10. The remote control is very simple, utilizing navigation rather than a lot of specialized buttons. Generally, I prefer this, but there are a couple of things missing. One thing missing is an "enter" button for channel numbers. So, you have to punch numbers and then wait for it to register the input. Given the sluggish response to IR, it is really easy to get out of sync with the number entry, since you don't know for a second if it received your button press.
11. The remote control has DVR controls for play, stop, fast forward, etc. Also, the Voom box has room inside for a hard disk. Hopefully, this is an indication that a future version will have DVR capability.
That's all for now. Bottom line is if you are an HD enthusiast, and don't mind the rough edges, Voom is fun because it has lots of HD channels. But, it doesn't provide any other benefit, and certainly will not replace you sat or cable TV service. I like the efforts to keep the interface and remote control simple, but sloppy engineering by Motorola makes it feel like a cheesy cable TV box instead of a sat box.
You need to use the DVI output, and forget using the OTA tuner unless you have very strong OTA signals where you are. Tell the installer not to bother putting holes in your roof for the OTA antenna.
It's a pity the engineering of the Motorola box is so poor. If Voom had a great box with HD DVR, this would have been a home run. As it stands, I suspect it will attract a very niche audience of people who must have HD.