Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
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My unit is one of the first one (I bought it like the week it came out). It is an RCA unit and it has been going strong since then. I did mod it up to a 120 gig harddrive, but then went and used the original hard drive in my server as the boot drive until it started to act up just a couple weeks ago (since put in a 160 gig mirrored RAID configuration to act as the boot drive). My unit originally had a Western Digital 40 gig hard drive model WD Performer 450AW "Home Entertainment Hard Drive". Manufacturer date of 26 Aug 2000 and a WebTV P/N 150-14543-021 (I have the harddrive right in front of me).
However, I am going to retire it and move onto HD. I have a brand-new HR20 "DirecTV HD Plus DVR" unit. I am awaiting install of the new dish. It actually kinda sucks as I've really did like my UltimateTV and it has served me faithfully these past 6+ years. However, it is starting to act up plus the modem recently got nuked (stupid me went and unplugged the unit, but did not think to also unplug the damn phone line when I left for Wisconsin this past month for over 2+ weeks.) I guess I better start dumping stuff I want to save onto my Pioneer DVD recorder's harddrive.
As for picture quality, the UltimateTV actually did look very good even on my big 55-inch Mitsubishi Diamond series TV. However, the TV does have a built-in digital tuner and after watching many programs on there, the HD does look friggan amazing. One of the reasons going with the HD DVR is that it will record programs off the tuner as well as the satellite, which will be nice. I hope DirecTV does come through with their promise this fall of "100+ HD channels".
It does suck that the DirecTV HR20 does not have PIP nor a "true" 30-second skip, but at the same time the damn DISH ViP622 does not have a "jumpback" feature either. Those are probably two or three features that I've used the most often, to the point that the little pictograph on those buttons on my remote are worn off! Speaking of remote, I've got a good look at the remote with the HR20 and I don't like it nearly as well as the one that came with the UTV unit. They got the "transport" controls (the play/pause/rewind/FF/skip/etc buttons) way up high on the remote that make them difficult to reach unless you hold the remote way up near the top, but that make it uncomfortable to hold it. If they switched the placement of the transport control buttons with those of the menu control buttons, it would be so much nicer. May have to go and invest in one of those "universal" remotes such as Philips Pronto, so I can program in my own button placements.
I like the idea of disconnecting/unplugging the UltimateTV before "turning it off" service-wise. I'll have to keep it hooked up in my setup, but not connected to the satellite so I at least can watch and dump off the programming that I currently have saved in it.