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The DirecTV HR34 Home Media Center - A Work In Progress?

Hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend.

As I mentioned in my last post, we've opted to go with WOW for TV in the new house, while we figure out where we'll be able to mount a DirecTV satellite.

And when we do switch to DirecTV - probably in the next 2-3 months - we'll be getting the HR34 Home Media Center, despite the fact that it costs an extra $100 at signup, and the fact that message boards around the internet are calling it a "work in progress".

First off, it's (generally) only available to new customers at the present time, and I don't want to miss the boat on a 5-tuner whole-home DVR. Second... well... the original HD DVR from DirecTV was once a work in progress, too, and these days it's an absolutely rock-solid experience, with the absolutely gorgeous new DirecTV HD UI.

(The new DirecTV HD UI is everything I'd always imagined TiVo would eventually achieve... but these days they seem to spend more time and energy on patent litigation than on pushing the tech they pioneered forward.)

In recent months, DirecTV has given the HR34 the full "black and blue" HD UI, and they've been pushing software updates at a rate of about once every two weeks. The most recent one, 5/22, seems to have done the trick with most users - but others are still reporting problems, for instance with skipping during VOD, even the occasional missed or lost recording.

Maybe by the time I switch to DirecTV in the summer, the HR34 will be running as well as the standard HD DVR. But even if it's not, I'll happily pay to be a glorified beta tester for a "work in progress" product that could be this great, from a company that has demonstrated that they actually work and make progress on their "works in progress" - and they always get their products working correctly, eventually.

(Meanwhile, TiVo premiere owners wait for that second core processor to be utilized in any fashion whatsoever.)


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