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.
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.