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-   Microsoft UltimateTV PVR (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/41-microsoft-ultimatetv-pvr/)
-   -   Might upgrade (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/41-microsoft-ultimatetv-pvr/1166173-might-upgrade.html)

lowjones 07-27-2009 02:12 PM

One tuner on my utv died. I am considering upgrading to a new receiver. Ideally I would like to get a dvr that works like the Sony or RCA dvr. What receivers will work? Should I wait for uverse. I have noticed that picture in a picture is gone. I also saw that the forward and commercial skip are slow. Any recommendations? Maybe I will just get my Sony repaired..


rak 08-23-2009 04:51 PM

I upgraded a few months ago when one of my 3 UTVs was getting sick. I got a really good offer from DTV to upgrade to HD. I ended up getting 2 of the 3 receivers free and the third one cheap. They gave me the latest hardware - 750GB drives in the receivers. I've used the boxes for as few months and I think the hardware is great and the software sucks. Searching is poor. Recording options and defaults are primitive. I need to reboot them often. The HD picture is enough of a benefit that I don't wish I didn't upgrade, but I can tell you that you won't like the way they work. I miss the PIP, but not as much as I miss having well-thought-out software.

JSap 08-24-2009 07:24 AM

Hi folks - I am thinking about switching from my UltimateTV receiver to a standard def DTV DVR, and I am looking for some pros and cons.

First of all, I really don't want to do it, but I think the hard drive is dying in my current unit, which I already sent away a couple of years ago for tuner replacement (and a HD upgrade), and I'm not sure if I want to put more money into fixing it again or buying someone else's used one, which might require more money put into too...

Anyway, I know that the 30 second skip works different on the DTV DVR's, and there is no PIP - any other cons???

Thanks for your opinions!


lgodave 08-24-2009 10:22 AM

Just a side note... While IDE drives are a little harder to find now days... they are rather cheap compared to "breaking in" a new DVR.

So if the tuners are still strong and you suspect the HD is becoming flaky you might consider the "con" of any DTV contract(s) you might be taking on with a new DVR.

JSap 08-25-2009 07:44 AM

How hard is it to replace the hard drive? And are there certain models I need to look for or just certain specs the drive needs to meet? Thanks!

lgodave 08-25-2009 08:22 AM


A Hard Drive Swap on an UTV is very similar to that of a Drive Swap on an average PC.

Even if you've never done it... it basically involves removing/replacing a few screws and data/power cables. With the UTV the important issue involve REMOVING THE ACCESS CARD before opening the case cover (which slots/pivots into the base of the case).

There is more details in the UTV FAQ and elsewhere for anyone wanting to get a visual idea of where stuff is inside a UTV and how best to remove the Hard Drive (I recommend removing the three screws on the Hard Drive/Fan housing and lifting the Drive/Fan out for easy access to the Power/IDE cables and the drive's screws).

As for models/specs to look for... A 120 or 160GB IDE Hard Drive (137GB Usable) would be ideal, larger IDE drives would be OK but are limited by the 137GB barrier. The drive should be set to Master and/or Single Mode to be recognized by the UTV and must support the ATA-3 Security Feature (Which isn't a problem on drives manufactured say in the last 5-6 years... before that you wanted to stick with Seagate and certain Western Digital drives... Maxtor Drives were not yet compatible (No ATA-3 Support).

Keep in touch.

guitars911 08-26-2009 07:48 AM

Here is a link to a web site that has step by step photos of the process. Just click the photo of your choice to blow it up a bit for a better view.


It's not that hard at all. If you run into troubles of any kind just post up your questions.

JSap 08-26-2009 08:13 AM

Thanks for the help guys - I am pretty computer savvy, so it should be pretty easy - I found a 160GB Hitachi drive for about $40, which is well worth it to keep the ultimatetv...

lgodave 08-26-2009 06:06 PM

The 160GB Hitachi is "new" right? I'd say that should be OK then. If it were a 5-6 year old "old" stock drive... I'd probably stay away or use the drive fitness test program (also in the FAQ... formally by IBM now Hitachi) to confirm ATA-3 Support before installing in the UTV...

JSap 08-28-2009 05:28 PM

Alright, keep your fingers crossed - I'm at 192 of 297 installing the software after putting in the new hard drive! I also moved my DVD player off the top and raised the unit up an inch - I don't know if heat had anything to do with it, but the unit was very hot when I pulled it out to start working on it tonight...

lgodave 08-29-2009 08:14 AM

No news is good news I hope.

If you didn't get a "fix/repair" error code that says something is wrong with your UTV/Hard Drive... then it most likely had the correct jumper setting. If the OS loaded... you should be home free with up to 110(?) hours (OS 3.8) for your System Info?

Overheating might show itself in picture pixelation/audio interrupts/very sluggish remote responses(?)... Making sure nothing is on top of or around the UTV (Open Air Space all around) is always best. (Question: Does your UTV's Access Card look a bit "toasty"? Good sign of heat build up.)

Besides making sure the Internal Fan is working and all the vent holes top/side/bottom are clean... you could add extra internal or external cooling fans to keep the UTV's temp down.

If you want any help with that... let us know. I've suggested using a PC Card Slot Blower Fan to UTVers in the past as a fairly quick and easy way of improving cooling without damaging the UTV case or adding any visual clutter (just some extra fan noise depending on the model).

JSap 08-31-2009 06:18 AM

So far, so good!! Software loaded fine and I am using it - 3 days without a shutdown, which is 2 more than I was getting before! I finally went in last night and fixed my channels - man, that is tedious, but I have to get rid of the 50 home shopping channels! Anyway, yes, the card looked 'toasty' (I was looking for a good word to describe it, and you nailed it!), so I blew out the dust and moved the DVD player off the top - I'll keep an eye on it and if it still seems hot, I'll think about adding a fan. Thanks again for all of the help - I really didn't want to switch, especially right before football season!

lgodave 08-31-2009 10:15 AM

Depending on what sound level you are willing to tolerate a simple USB Fan or Cooler Pad might be the fastest/easiest cooling option for a UTV. Moving air past the heatsink on the bottom of the UTV should make a noticeable difference in the amount of heat built up inside/outside of the UTV.

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