Originally Posted by teejay44
Please do give us report.....I have been holding off on a HD dvr for cost to drop, but do miss being able to skip commercials....
I have now lived with an HR20 for about a week. As a devout, rabid UTV user, I thought it might be useful to share some reactions.Installation
The installation was flawless. The techs showed up on time. Three hours later, I had a complete, professional installation of a new dish in a new placement, double cable runs for three TV setups (HR20, UTV, and Tivo), and, of course, a new HR20-700S. Everything worked properly from the start. I'm impressed.
The picture quality is astounding.
SD is SD, but SD picture quality is better than UTV. (I suspect this has more to do with moving up from S-Video to Component than anything else.)
Slip, not skip
The interface is tolerable. In general, it's not as good as UTV, but not as bad as TIVO. Some specifics:
Better search than UTV
As others have pointed out, the 30 second Skip is actually a 30 second slip. It's faster than fast-forward. I timed it several times. It takes two seconds to gobble up 30 seconds of real-time. I had hoped I would be able to report that I got used to it. I haven't. I never realized how long and how irritating two seconds could be. A three-minute commercial break takes 12 seconds. It's unnecessarily irritating. I don't understand why D* implemented it this way. At 15:1 speed, you don't register the commercials, anyway. I hope they fix it.
Difficult to manage series recordings
I was surprised to find that I like the HR20 search implementation better than the UTV's. Instead of the UTV's quasi-keyboard (ABCDE), letters and numbers are arranged in a 6x7 matrix. In Title searches, each button press brings up relevant titles from the guide (in TIVO fashion). The only sour note is that there seems to be about a half second delay between button presses. It slows down entry of search characters considerably.
Other search functions are Person, Keyword, and Channel.
Handling of previous searches is much better than UTV. I don't know the capacity, but so far I have 25 previous searches, in alphabetical order, that I can scroll through and repeat with a button press.
In all cases, the search function is much faster than the UTV's.
I'm still working on this. Instead of the UTV's All Upcoming Recordings display, the HR20 uses a To Do list. The problem is that all scheduled recordings do not show up on the To Do list. (I still haven't figured out which types of recordings appear, but it makes it hard to manage series recordings.)
If you want to change a series record for a different time or channel, you can't do it until you find the original recording in the To Do list or the Guide and delete it.
Maybe I just don't understand the interface logic, but it seems like a lot of unnecessary fuss and bother.
OTA quality & integration
I ran across an interesting omission. The unit let me schedule a recording on a channel I don't get. I found out about it when I tried to play the recording and there was nothing there. It then informed me why I didn't get the recording. I should have been notified when I tried to schedule it in the first place.
OTA quality is outstanding. Picture quality is as good as sending the RF feed directly to my TV. I think the tuner is better than the one in my Sony XBR. (The local PBS station, KCET, breaks up constantly with the XBR tuner. It is rock-solid with the HR20 tuner. Both tuners are fed with the same antenna.)
The integration of OTA and DBS channels is elegant. All channels appear in the same program guide in a logical fashion. There are two ATSC tuners and two DBS tuners. Output from all tuners can be recorded. I don't know if this means you can record four programs at once (2 ATSC and 2 DBS). I haven't tried it yet.
BTW, I am feeding the XBR ATSC tuner and the HR20 ATSC tuners simultaneously with a simple antenna splitter. That way, I can still watch live OTA on the XBR tuner if all other tuners are tied up. Works like a charm.
This is probably not the fault of the HR20. The HR20 provides four resolutions: 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i. Each of these resolutions is available in three formats: Crop, Stretch, and Pillar Box. My XBR has four formats: Zoom, Wide Zoom, Full, and Normal. That's 48 possible configurations. It was a bit overwhelming, at first.
I think I finally got on top of it. I've found that I can leave the XBR on Full format and forget it. If you set the HR20 to Native Mode, it automatically produces the picture format and resolution it receives. The only time I have to change format is when I receive a letter-boxed SD program. Selecting the Crop format produces a satisfactory picture.
on the receiver
The key to setting up the resolution/format is actually documented in the User Guide (p. 84): Resolution made simple: Set the resolution to the highest number your TV supports by pressing the RES key [This refers to the 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i keys
]. If you then set the HR20 to native mode, everything falls into place. This may be old stuff to professionals, but, as a newbie, I found it very helpful.
Bugs (Software Upgrade: Ox168, Downloaded: 6/14/07)Go-live bug
Slip, then Back-Skip can break the aspect ratio
This is driving me nuts. If you press Stop during a recording or if you delete a recording, the whole system reverts to the last live channel tuned. There seems to be a conspiracy in the universe to make this happen when the last channel tuned is broadcasting a commercial at about triple the SPL of what I have been watching. I am constantly getting blasted out of my seat. This is dumb and intolerable.
Auto-record broken in Title search
This one seems to happen when you are watching out of Native format (e.g., you change to Crop format to see a letter-boxed SD program). If you do a few skips (slips) and a few back-skips, the aspect ratio is actually broken. The picture is stretched vertically into no standard format. (It is frightening to see William Shatner with a face that is three times taller than it is wide, instead of the other way around.) You have to find a 1080i program and switch to it then return to the recording you were watching to restore the aspect ratio.
A few tips
At first, I thought there was no auto-record function on the HR20. If you do a Title search for a program that is not yet in the guide, you seem to reach a dead-end. There is no auto-record option. I am trying to get around this by using a Keyword search to enter a title. If the program is not in the guide, there is an auto-record option available. I don't know if this works. I'll have to wait to see if I get my desired recordings in a few weeks.
This is a wonderful resource for getting up to speed on the HR20:
. Here are a few tips from this document that I found useful:
Ring of fire
Turn off Animation
The HR20 has a circle of very bright LEDs on its face. They flash and chase each other during certain operations. (I am not amused.) You can dim or turn them off completely by pressing the Left and Right buttons simultaneously on the receiver.
5.1 Dolby Digital
The interface runs faster if you turn off Scrolling Effects.
If you are running your audio through a 5.1 receiver, you have to set it up manually. The default is not 5.1.
In general, I'm happy I made the switch. (Did I mention that the picture quality is astounding?) The unit feels like it is in a late beta stage. I hope D* will work out the bugs soon. The picture quality makes up for the inconvenience.