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View Full Version : Questions about DirecTV and Digital Video Recorders



macro
03-01-2006, 12:16 AM
We've had quite a few discussions about television here before, but I couldn't find an answer to my question. I am a DirecTV subscriber and am wanting to invest in my first digital video recorder (DVR). The model being sold at Best Buy and Circuit City is a new model put out by DirecTV themselves (Model R15). The cost is $100, but if you'll commit to two more years of service, they'll rebate the cost. (EDIT: As of 3/1/06 the rebate offer applies to new customers only.)

The problem I am having is that all the reviews I have read about the R15 say that it is crap and that I should get an older model that uses the Tivo software if I can get my hands on it. The Philips DSR708 seems to have gotten great reviews since it came out in December 2003. Ebay has some for sale at less than $100, so that shouldn't be a problem.

My question is this: If I buy a Philips DSR708 DVR with Tivo, will I have to pay an extra fee to DirecTV and a monthly subscription fee of about $12 to Tivo, as well? If so, can I avoid the dual fees by just going ahead and buying the R15 that DirecTV is supporting? Will DirecTV even let me subscribe a Philips DSR708 at this point?

One more question: Can I feed the audio and video signals out of a DVR into a DVD Recorder and burn to DVDs? The guys at Best Buy say yes, but I'm not going to put blind faith in what they say.

I know I could get some of these answers by calling DirecTV, but I don't trust them to shoot straight with me on some of this. I suspect they would say things to push me toward their new R15. I'd rather just get my answers here, if possible, so thanks in advance for any insight any of you can give.

KronoRed
03-01-2006, 01:02 AM
My question is this: If I buy a Philips DSR708 DVR with Tivo, will I have to pay an extra fee to DirecTV and a monthly subscription fee of about $12 to Tivo, as well? If so, can I avoid the dual fees by just going ahead and buying the R15 that DirecTV is supporting? Will DirecTV even let me subscribe a Philips DSR708 at this point?

One more question: Can I feed the audio and video signals out of a DVR into a DVD Recorder and burn to DVDs? The guys at Best Buy say yes, but I'm not going to put blind faith in what they say.

Nope, the DirecTV DVR fee replaces the Tivo fee, you don't have to pay Tivo at all.

DirecTV will activate the DSR708 (good model by the way) they still support UltimateTV and they went under years ago.

Strangely enough the best buy guys ere right about this ;) the DVR has multiple video outs for DVD recorders.

You're wise to avoid the r-15, it's a piece of crap.

macro
03-01-2006, 11:08 AM
Thanks for that information, Krono! I think I'll look for a DSR708 and go for it! Anyone else have anything to contribute?

RBA
03-01-2006, 02:06 PM
Starting today the Directv receivers at Best Buy, Circuit City, etc will be under a "leased" contract. You still will have to fork over the dough, but you have to return the receivers back to Directv when you cancel service.

creek14
03-01-2006, 03:49 PM
Personally, I'm glad I leased a DVR vs buying.

Three, count 'em three, hard drives have crashed on our DVR. I was glad to take them all back to Time Warner instead of it being my problem.

The last one they gave us (a new model) seems to be holding up well.

macro
03-01-2006, 06:24 PM
Well, I just got off the phone with DirecTV and I'm really not too happy. They said they would activate the Philips DVR, but I had to commit to two more years of service and pay $20 for another access card. Furthermore, they informed me that if I ever cancelled my service, even if it were beyond the aforementioned two-year period, any and all equipment I have had activated would have to be surrendered to them, even if it were purchased through a third party such as a neighbor or ebay. This is the leased contract deal that RBA referred to.

I can understand the two-year agreement requirement if they give you a new receiver, but they are going to require that just for activating any "advanced" reciever (ie one with DVR), regardless of where it came from. And they said they don't transfer access cards from existing activations over to third party equipment, although they have done this for me in the past.

I told them that I was going to have to take some time to let all this sink in, but that I feel that these new policies are heavy-handed and unfair. I went on to tell them that I had been a DirecTV customer since 1994, and I have never considered moving elsewhere...until today. And yes, I threw the name "Dish Network" out there.

At this point I'm not sure what I want to do. I don't want to shell out $80 for a two-year-old Philips Tivo receiver and then another $20 for an access card, only to have the thing crash before my new two-year commitment is up. But I'm not too excited about using DirecTV's new R15 DVR, either, because of the bad press it has gotten.

I think I will do something tomorrow that I have never done, and that is go to a store and get a demonstration and some information about Dish Network. That's how offended I am at DirecTV's attitude they're coming with with their new policies.

Would I be less satisfied with my service if I swithced to Dish? Most people seem to be with DirecTV. Anyone here had both and can make a suggestion or give some insight?

Yachtzee
03-01-2006, 06:24 PM
Personally, I'm glad I leased a DVR vs buying.

Three, count 'em three, hard drives have crashed on our DVR. I was glad to take them all back to Time Warner instead of it being my problem.

The last one they gave us (a new model) seems to be holding up well.

Of course it could be the quality of equipment Time Warner is giving you. I still have Time Warner for cable internet and I have gone through 3 cable modems. I haven't had any problems with my Direct TV Tivo receiver, but then I've only had it for 1 year.

KronoRed
03-01-2006, 06:53 PM
You're already a customer Macro?

1-800-824-9081

Customer retention, tell them what you posted and mention DISH..a lot.

The DISH dvr is just about as bad as the R-15..sadly.

RFS62
03-01-2006, 07:10 PM
I switched from Direct TV to Time Warner after 9 years with Direct TV for one reason... I needed two high def dvr's and I didn't want to shell out $300 apiece for them. With Time Warner, I've gone through several of the dvr's, they always come right out and replace the ones that konk out, and it seems like they always do break down.

Plus, I believe Time Warner has more High def programming, at least they did a couple of years ago when I switched.

The stuff changes too fast and breaks down too often for me to spend hundreds of dollars to buy it, especially the high def dvr's.

919191
03-02-2006, 12:47 AM
Dish Network as of Feb 1 added about 15 or so channels to their HD pack. All the Voom, and ESPN 2. Their hi def DVR (I think the 622) costs 299 bucks to lease, up front, but they are having a 200 buck rebate on it starting April 1, I think. The new hi def recievers, the 622 and the 211 aren't without problems. I have the 211, and so far it's worked fine. There is a slight delay in the audio on my surround sound reciever- sometihing t do with the optical out they need to work out. I didn"t really need the DVR in the 622.

MWM
03-02-2006, 01:14 AM
DirectTV has out of town Bengals fans by the short and curlies. It's the only way we can watch the Bengals in our own home.

macro
03-02-2006, 09:01 AM
Dish Network as of Feb 1 added about 15 or so channels to their HD pack. All the Voom, and ESPN 2. Their hi def DVR (I think the 622) costs 299 bucks to lease, up front, but they are having a 200 buck rebate on it starting April 1, I think. The new hi def recievers, the 622 and the 211 aren't without problems. I have the 211, and so far it's worked fine. There is a slight delay in the audio on my surround sound reciever- sometihing t do with the optical out they need to work out. I didn"t really need the DVR in the 622.

Thanks for the additional input, everybody. 91, according to this guy (http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=50711), the $200 rebate is only available to existing model 921/942 customers. He says you must return one of these units to get the rebate. If it's true that the rebate is available to new customers, $99 net for a HD DVR is a great deal.

At this point I'm hearing from you guys and other places I read that apparently none of the new equipment is free of concerns. We can put a man on the moon, but...

919191
03-02-2006, 02:21 PM
Huh- I had an 811 and the CSR told me I could get that rebate- I just wasn't interested in the 622, but the CSR's are pretty clueless. The guys on those DBS boards are probably right. Bummer.


Thanks for the additional input, everybody. 91, according to this guy (http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=50711), the $200 rebate is only available to existing model 921/942 customers. He says you must return one of these units to get the rebate. If it's true that the rebate is available to new customers, $99 net for a HD DVR is a great deal.

At this point I'm hearing from you guys and other places I read that apparently none of the new equipment is free of concerns. We can put a man on the moon, but...

RBA
03-02-2006, 02:33 PM
Cal the Directv Customer Retention number, they will bend over backwards for you. Too bad you missed the free DVR's for existing customers on the Directv website last month. They were only charging customers the shipping cost, about $16 and it included free installation if you needed more lines connected.

macro
03-02-2006, 04:40 PM
Cal the Directv Customer Retention number, they will bend over backwards for you. Too bad you missed the free DVR's for existing customers on the Directv website last month. They were only charging customers the shipping cost, about $16 and it included free installation if you needed more lines connected.

Yep, I feel like I am literally a day late and a dollar (well, make that $99) short. :( And if I'd made this decision last fall, I could've had one of their units with Tivo.

Now that all this has shaken out over the past 24 hours, I have decided to not get a DVR. I'm hearing bad things about both DirecTV's model and Dish Network's stuff, as well.

I really wanted three things out a new reciever: 1) the DVR, 2) a 14-day advance program guide, and 3) an optical output so that I can get Dolby Digital 5.1 broadcasts through my surround system.

After doing more research today, I have purchased a Hughes Model HAH-SA reciever from an online site. The guy at Directv told me this afternoon that I could switch my existing access card over to this unit at no charge and with no contract commitments. I'll be getting two of the three things I really wanted (digital output and 14-day guide), and will have to just make do with the ol' VCR for a while longer.

The Hughes unit cost me $80 (free shipping), which is about what they've run on ebay, and I spoke with the guy behind the Web site and said they'd take it back if I wasn't happy. One apparent advantage to the Hughes series that this model comes from is that the program guide is really fast. I have the SD-HBH and the program guide is lighting fast. (I'm reading that the new Directv recievers are much slower. My neighbor has one of their new HD receivers, and I can vouch for that. It IS slow! The SD-HBH that I have has no optical output and only a three-day program guide, however.

I am very anxious to get this thing and get everything switched. It seems that when I call Directv, I never get exactly the same story regarding access cards and moving them over, etc., so I'll be holding my breath until the deal is done. The worst that can happen on that front is that they will make me pay $20 for a new card and commit to another year, but the guy today assured me that that would not happen.

macro
03-03-2006, 12:11 PM
Sorry to keep bringing this thread to the top, but just one more follow up to all of this for those who may be considering DirecTV DVR in the future...

I have done much reading about this, and it seems that despite the problems and bad press the Directv DVR Model R15 is getting, it still has more features than it's immediate predecessor, the R10 Tivo-based model that was discontinued a few weeks ago. The feeling among many is that, yes, it has its problems, but once the bugs are worked out a few months from now, it will be the better unit to have. That is why I'm standing pat for now and using the used reciever I just ordered as something to tide me over until I take the leap into DVR.

One other thing I want to point out is an irony in something I said in my original post in this thread. I mentioned that the R15 cost $100 from retailers but Directv will rebate that cost if you sign up for two more years. It turns out that that offer expired February 28. My post was completed at 12:16am on March 1, but I probably began it before midnight. That means that the offer was expiring as I typed the post.

:sleep:

The details on the "leased equipment" policy that RBA originally mentioned in this thread is that you pay your $100 (or more, depending on the model) just like you would have had to before March 1, but you no longer get a rebate of that amount unless you are a new customer. Furthermore, the money you're paying does not give you ownership of the equipment. It just gives you the right to use it (a lease) for as long as you are a Directv customer. Whenever you cancel service, you must give it back to them.

The nice part of this new system (as creek mentioned) is that if your receiver tears up after the warranty is out, it's up to Directv to replace or repair it. Most people will never need this, but I guess it will be good for those who do.

My problem with the new policy was that they plan to lay claim to any "advanced technology" equipment (ie DVRs and HDTV receivers) activated after March 1, even if it were purchased from a friend or off ebay. I guess they're saying "You can lease it from us or buy it from ebay, but either way, when you're done with it, it's coming back to us. We don't want this old stuff circulating any longer." Now that I've had time to cool off and think about it, though, there really is no use for old receivers and the like once you've cancelled service anyway, so it's no big loss. Regular recievers without HDTV or DVR are excluded from the lease program, as long as the customer is making a parallel move from one standard receiver to another.

It would appear to me that all of this is their way of taking total control of the equipment market and eliminating the aftermarket distribution through places like ebay. As technologies rapidly change, they can control who is using what, and that may just make things better overall.

Bottom line: Now that I've had time to let all of this sink in, I'm no longer mad at DirecTV. I do think the two-year agreement is too long, and I think they rushed the R15 to the market way too prematurely. But I can easily deal with those issues. :)

KronoRed
03-03-2006, 01:21 PM
My dislike of the r-15 is the non tivo interface and they fact that it is impossible to upgrade, the older tivo models you could easily though a new hard drive in and get more storage, and with a little reading you could hack them to trade shows between tivo's.

The r-15 will NEVER allow that, also the dual tuners don't work with dual buffers, big no no.

macro
03-03-2006, 04:24 PM
My dislike of the r-15 is the non tivo interface and they fact that it is impossible to upgrade, the older tivo models you could easily though a new hard drive in and get more storage, and with a little reading you could hack them to trade shows between tivo's.

The r-15 will NEVER allow that, also the dual tuners don't work with dual buffers, big no no.

Krono, you're right, and I should have clarified that once the bugs are worked out, the R15 will be a good unit for people who have never used Tivo and who just want to use it as-is without modifications. It does seem to be accepted that power users would prefer the older models.