Just tried 3 new things with my HD DirecTV recievers.
a) Video on Demand
b) External HD
c) Media Share
All three are "beta"
Video on Demand
Pretty new feature for Directv. But it worked pretty well. Comes in over your IP conection. I have cable internet and the speed it comes in is greater than the speed it plays at, so there is no lag time. You can start watching immediately. (They said you had to download 60% to ensure this)
Pretty decent selection and 95% of it was free. There was nothing in HD at the moment.
Once it's on the machine it plays just like every other media (shows up on playlists, etc)
HR 20's have 250 gig internal hard drive. And you can't save HD to any medium (in HD) to archive. But you can hook up an external HD with SATA interface and use it. You can swap back an forth between the 2 by shutting down and plugging/unplugging the external.
Since their is no limit to the number of externals you could buy/use, you can archive as much as you want/can afford.
I paid about $175 for an internal drive and an enclosure. First time I ever tried that. It's not hard, but it's certainly not easily swappable. So I may just look for cheap externals in the future.
The MAJOR caveat.... at the present the content is tied to the HD DVR it was recorded on. You lose that DVR..... your stuff won't play on other DVRs. Hopefully DirecTv figures a way to allow you to use on a machine at same location.
If your DVR is on internet, it recogizes your networked computers and can play pictures and or music from those computers as a slide show. Looks like it has to come from your My Documents folder. It shows a video choice but didn't recognize/play and videos.