Got back from the Industrial location a few hours ago, with DVR in hand (or hands, rather). Had a pleasant chat with a few of the ladies that handled the exchange/upgrade, and they were curious to know what features were a priority for users like us. They even wanted my permission to forward my contact info to one of their marketing people!
Anyway. Got home and hooked it up. If you know your way around hooking up the Amino boxes, you'll have no problem with this, in terms of physical connections. Be aware, however, that it ships from the factory set up for SD, so you even if you are planning on using HDMI, you'll want to at least initially use the included RCA cables for configuration.
So, here is the configuration screen, accessed via the same hardware setup link from the Minerva main menu:
The TV configuration screen allows you to select aspect ratio and conversion mode:
Display screen allows you to select SD vs. HD resolutions, and output connection. Be aware, that once you set HD, it IMMEDIATELY switches to HD mode, and you have about 10 seconds to confirm it. Therefore, you need to already have your HDMI connection in place, and you need to set your TV's input to HDMI to even see the resulting confirmation screen, before it reverts back to analog/SD. All within 10 seconds. (Or, after it switches over and the screen goes blank on the analog side, you can just proactively click OK to make the confirmation.)
So after I made my connections and started flipping channels, I noticed I could not access any of the DVR functionality. I was puzzled for a few minutes, and was about to make a call to Surewest, when the screen went blank and the DVR display all of a sudden started counting to 100. I realized that this was probably a firmware update in progress, so I let it finish out. Several minutes later, it powered back on....but the TV (now on HDMI input) was still blank! I realized the the firmware update probably erased my connections settings, so I switched back over to analog SD and made my selections again. And sure enough, DVR functionality appeared as a result of the update.
Here is the unit on the top, while at 65% in its update mode. The unit is about 75% the size of a typical AV component.
Pausing live TV:
The interactive program guide looks the same as with the Amino boxes:
But if you highlight a show and hit OK, you get this popup menu:
Set Recording brings this up. As has been mentioned, this rendition of a series recording really just allows you set a recording based on time, with variable frequency. Just like the VCRs of yesteryear. Blech.
When you click Menu, there is a new "tab" at the top of the screen labeled DVR. Click that tab will bring you to this page, where you can review your DVR recordings:
So, after maybe an hour of use, I'm satisfied with it, for what it is (and that is, a basic DVR with very basic functionality that is worth exactly its current "beta test stage" monthly cost: free). I'm hopeful that they will have implemented the new features before they start charging for it.
And so goes life on the bleeding edge.