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Old 03-22-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
Klaatuu
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Decision time: H34 or THR22?

I've been with DirecTV for 10 years, and in all that time I've had a DirecTivo R10 (2 in fact). There's a lot I like about the Tivo software, though I'm not dead set on having it on my next DVR. I'm very technically savvy in general, and am not afraid of change or learning something new.

I'm at a point now where I need to replace at least one of these units, maybe both. I've been reading on these forums and looking at DirecTV's site to try to decide between two of their units: the THR22 and the H34. They both have features that sound good. The THR22 has, of course, the Tivo software so I'm pretty familiar with what I would be getting with it. I'm much less sure, not sure at all in fact, what I would be getting, and more specifically missing if I were to go with the H34.

So, if I could request your input on a comparison of the two, and what someone who likes most of the features of the DirecTivo interface would be missing, as well as features I may not be that familiar with will enjoy by changing to the interface present on the non-Tivo DirecTV DVR's.

A few of my own likes and dislikes first.

• I like the 3 channel lists: favorites, what I receive, and all. I dislike that DirecTV insists on adding channels to my receive list so I have to go in and clean it out every couple of weeks.
• I am ambivalent about Suggestions. I don't use them, and have it turned off so don't care one way or the other if this is present or not, as long as it can be turned off.
• Wishlists I like but don't use all that much, though I do like that I can have the unit automatically record a movie or something regardless of what channel it may be shown on.
• Season Pass, of course, I love. I don't think I've ever had more than 50 in my list however.
• I don't care about parental controls or any of that stuff; I don't have any kids, and am too old now to have any if I wanted anyway.
• The more hours of shows I can have, the better. I tend to build up many, many hours of shows that end up on the DVR for months before I get around to watching them.


Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:23 AM   #2
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You need to compare apples to apples. The HR34 is a whole home media server, not a standalone DVR. The latest equivalent model to the THR22 would be the HR24.
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:32 AM   #3
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While I understand your point, I'm not planning to get the HR24. Hence my request for comparisions of the two models I mentioned. Thanks anyway.
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:55 AM   #4
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The biggest pluses of the Tivo don't seem to have much importance to you, Suggestions and Wishlists (that actually work!). The HR34 has more tuners and more storage space than the Tivo. So unless you really like the Tivo interface I'd say the HR34 is your answer.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:27 PM   #5
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The HR34 also has access to more video on demand, works with the iPad app and the DirecTV desktop app, has a HD UI and more storsage. I agree with midas that you don't place a high enough value on the TiVo UI to give up the added features of the HR34.
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Old 03-22-2012, 05:29 PM   #6
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I agree with the esteemed members from Ilinois and New Hampshire.

In fact, I forgot to mention in my previous post that I would have recommended the HR24 over the THR22, so the 34 is a no-brainer, IMHO.

The only down side is that you will be unlikely to be able to get TWO HR34s from D* as I believe the business model is to provide one plus a regular H24 (non-DVR) for all other outlets.

The $3 whole home fee is obviously less than the $5 TiVo fee too.
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for the opinions all. I was just a bit concerned going the non-Tivo route from all the people saying how they don't like the DirecTV DVR's interace, but it sounds like maybe it's not as bad as some try to make it sound.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:43 AM   #8
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It's not bad, just different.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Klaatuu View Post
Thanks for the opinions all. I was just a bit concerned going the non-Tivo route from all the people saying how they don't like the DirecTV DVR's interace, but it sounds like maybe it's not as bad as some try to make it sound.
Having 2 DTiVos, then 2 HDTivos, followed by and HR21/22 mix and now finally 2 HR24, the olny thing I truly miss from the TiVo day was what could be hacked in and Suggestions (only during the leans months of regular programming).

If you love the TiVo interface, your path is clear. Otherwise I would go for an HR...especially in a multi-unit situation. There's IS more than just a UI on the table here.
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Old 03-23-2012, 03:29 PM   #10
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You need to compare apples to apples. The HR34 is a whole home media server, not a standalone DVR. The latest equivalent model to the THR22 would be the HR24.
The HR34 can be used as a standalone 5 tuner DVR or in a "Whole Home" blending of additional HDDVRs or HD receivers.

It will act just like an HDDVR and feed content to other HD receivers. The only thing that it does that the other HDDVRs won't do is feed RVU capable TVs without the need of a sat receiver.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:22 PM   #11
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We really only use 1 tv so the whole home was not a big thing for us. We also don't stream to devices. We have just been waiting years to get a new unit because the Tivo software makes it for us. We were stuck with as SD D* unit for about 2 years and hated the software. It was slow, dragged and would delete and record randomly on occasion. Having the TIVO software back made it for us.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:19 PM   #12
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Coming from DirecTiVo and having both the HR34 and an HR24, If you are not going to do MRV then get the TiVo. DTV DVRs are way worse than TiVo in almost every aspect. No dual buffer, trick play is a joke, misses recordings, records same show over and over, limited series links (season passes) (we have already run into that limit on the 34) terrible search, only one sort of guide, and not the useful one of TiVo.

It may be a DVR from DTV but it is no way a TiVo.

Just last night my lovely wife and I were discussing selling the DTV HD units and going back to our DTiVos.

If the THR22-100 had MRV I might consider it. I would still be super leery of the hardware not being up to snuff for the TiVo interface.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:26 PM   #13
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Jerry, I don't know what universe you're describing, but it isn't the same one I'm in. The HRxx series does have dual buffers, trick play works, I've missed many recordings on the HR10 that my HR21 picked up, and search is much more flexible than TiVo's. If you don't like the HRxx UI, that's fine, but operationally, the HRxx series does more and does it, for the most part, better than the THR22. I will admit that the HR21, at least, seems a bit slower in response to commands than the THR22.

The THR22 is a fine product for what it is. But I just don't understand the "everything else is crap" mantra I keep reading from others.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:26 PM   #14
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You're way off base, Jerry. I don't have any of those issues on any of my HD DVRs, including my HR34.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:21 AM   #15
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Do you need 5 tuners? Reading the DTV forums, the HR34 is getting some complaints from HR2x users as the HR34 SW is not mature. If your OK with being a HR34 beta tester it probably the best answer long term. Otherwise a HR24 may be a better option. Do want to share shows from one DVR to another? If so, you need the DTV DVR or go cable and TiVo.

With all that said if you have been happy with a R10 and don't care about Multi-room-viewing, I'm not sure if learning new interface is worth it. If you want the bells on whistles on top of a DVR you'll need to go cable and get a Tivo Premiere.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:22 AM   #16
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The HR34 doesn't have the latest software with the new guide. I wish I didn't have it either, it's not all that.
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:08 AM   #17
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I don't have an HR34, but do have a Premiere Elite and an HR-24 running DirecTV's new HD interface, and I'll give you my opinion.

A little background: for several years we've been running HD Tivos and DirecTV HD-DVRs side by side, in part because of the different programming options and in part because, when we first went to satellite I was (needlessly, it turns out) worried about loss of reception due to weather. For the last couple of years we had a Tivo Premiere HD and the HR24. As both Tivo and DirecTV were getting ready to debut their latest models with 4 or 5 tuners, DirecTV also rolled out its HD interface and Tivo updated its HD interface.

Over the years we found ourselves always watching on the Tivo rather than the DirecTV device if we had a choice. That wasn't by way of any deliberate decision, just that we seemed to prefer the Tivo experience. Maybe it was the interface, maybe it was the remote, maybe it was the menus, I'm not really sure, and I can't recall myself actively debating whether to watch a show on one device or the other; we would just use the Tivo because we liked it better. Until the advent of the 4-tuner Premiere Elite, we still watched shows on both devices, because sometimes there were more than two shows we wanted to record at any one time.

So when Tivo and DirecTV introduced the Premiere Elite and the HR34, I knew I'd get one of them because of the additional tuners, and we had to decide.

The new DirecTV HD interface improved that experience, and unlike the Tivo interface it is all HD. Tivo still uses SD for menus dealing with the Tivo itself, like selecting which channels go in your favorites, etc. But Tivo uses HD for all the menus related current or recorded shows and for searching.

There are obviously programming differences. DirecTV has far more HD movie offerings and more and better sports. My local cable provider does have more of the non-movie channels in HD than DirecTV, but not Sunday Ticket. Comcast's basketball and baseball packages don't have as much HD as DirecTV.

We went the Tivo route, got the Premiere elite, and now we find ourself not watching the DirecTV device much at all. If it weren't for Sunday Ticket, we would say bye to DirecTV, despite how much nicer and more responsive its customer service staff are. I've never had anyone impolite from either Comcast or DirecTV, but the DirecTV people always seem more willing to offer something extra. I had waited and hoped that the long-announced DirecTV HDTivo would have all the latest bells and whistles, but while all the reviews make it sound like a good unit, it is also basically comparable to the Series 3 Tivo HD that I'd discarded as out of date.

We're delighted with the Premiere Elite. But the DirecTV HD-UI and programming are great also. So you really can't go wrong either way. I just find that I like using the Tivo more.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:24 PM   #18
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Jerry, I don't know what universe you're describing, but it isn't the same one I'm in. The HRxx series does have dual buffers, trick play works, I've missed many recordings on the HR10 that my HR21 picked up, and search is much more flexible than TiVo's. If you don't like the HRxx UI, that's fine, but operationally, the HRxx series does more and does it, for the most part, better than the THR22. I will admit that the HR21, at least, seems a bit slower in response to commands than the THR22.

The THR22 is a fine product for what it is. But I just don't understand the "everything else is crap" mantra I keep reading from others.
OK I get up and turn on the system. No dual buffers in the DTV units, dual buffers always in the TiVo units.

Trick play "works" marginally. Herky jerky FF and Rewind, Sometimes a FF just jumps to the end of the program. Delay in 30 second skip. Usually unusable 30 second slip.

Never had a THR22. Maybe it too is somewhat crippled as a DTV product. The hacked DTiVo and the Series 3 just plain worked all the time every time.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:09 AM   #19
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OK I get up and turn on the system. No dual buffers in the DTV units, dual buffers always in the TiVo units.

Trick play "works" marginally. Herky jerky FF and Rewind, Sometimes a FF just jumps to the end of the program. Delay in 30 second skip. Usually unusable 30 second slip.

Never had a THR22. Maybe it too is somewhat crippled as a DTV product. The hacked DTiVo and the Series 3 just plain worked all the time every time.
The "herky jerky" trick play is largely due to MPEG-4 compression. The new tivo's trick play is not very smooth either.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:26 AM   #20
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So let's compare apples to apples?

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You need to compare apples to apples. The HR34 is a whole home media server, not a standalone DVR. The latest equivalent model to the THR22 would be the HR24.
Forgive me if I should start a new thread but since you referenced an apples to apples comparison of the H24 vs. THR22 I'm hoping that we can finish that here. I'm an existing DirecTV subscriber and have been a long time holdout for the DirecTV HDTivo. I solved the issue of too few tuners long ago by getting a 2nd DVR. I have an old DirecTV Tivo R10 and a newer SD DirecTV DVR. The DTivo is 3 years older than the DTV but still has a superior interface and reliability. The DTV crashes 1x/week and misses recordings more often than not. I'd like to upgrade the DTV DVR but not sure whether to go with the HR24 or THR22?

With the THR22, it sounds like the big things I'd miss out on are Whole Home and remote iPad viewing. I'm planning to get an Apple TV box to handle streaming video with either DVR. Some factors for me:
  • Is the stability of the H24 significantly improved over previous models?
  • Is Whole Home worth it? Will I also have to upgrade my DTivo R10 to use it?
  • One of my favorite Tivo features is jumping between the 2 tuners. I can't do that on my current DTV DVR and there seems to be some debate on whether it's possible on the H24. I might be willing to sacrifice Whole Room for that alone.
  • Does the THR22 have the same access to DirecTV On Demand?
.

I was underwhelmed when I compared the THR22 to the U-verse or standalone Tivos, but the feature gap vs. the HR24 seems pretty small. Thoughts?
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:39 AM   #21
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I can comment on the HR24 for you.

-My HR24s are stable, so I wouldn't worry about that particular issue.
-Whole home is very nice!
-2-tuner switching works well on the HR24, but it isn't always active, so it will shut down the unwatched tuner after a couple of hours.

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Old 03-30-2012, 10:03 AM   #22
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Your TiVo R10 will not be able to use Whole Home.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:38 AM   #23
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Have the HR units ever come out with an actual slow motion feature yet? Last time I had an HR unit there was no "real" slow motion. Great during football games. Just curious.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:41 AM   #24
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Do you need 5 tuners? Reading the DTV forums, the HR34 is getting some complaints from HR2x users as the HR34 SW is not mature. If your OK with being a HR34 beta tester it probably the best answer long term. Otherwise a HR24 may be a better option. Do want to share shows from one DVR to another? If so, you need the DTV DVR or go cable and TiVo.

With all that said if you have been happy with a R10 and don't care about Multi-room-viewing, I'm not sure if learning new interface is worth it. If you want the bells on whistles on top of a DVR you'll need to go cable and get a Tivo Premiere.
i have a tivo premiere xl that i use for cable and an hr24 plus hr21 pro that i use for dtv. i love the 24 and i love the premiere. but the dtv tivo isn't enough to get me to bite!!
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:19 PM   #25
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Have the HR units ever come out with an actual slow motion feature yet? Last time I had an HR unit there was no "real" slow motion. Great during football games. Just curious.
No, you must hold-press a button to get slow-mo. It takes about 2 seconds to start once you hold the button and in practice I can't use it since it is too hard to get it to start at the right time. If you start it too soon, it takes forever to get to the key spot. And, if you want to watch something over again several times (like do your own replays in sports) - forget it - it's just too painful.

And, to the earlier poster who said the THR22 had poor trickplay that's just ridiculous. The THR22 has supersmooth FFx1 and very nice slow-mo. The jumpback works just as expected and dual live buffer is simple and functional. Even FFx2 is more usable than the D* HRxx series - many more frames are shown while forwarding to more easily follow the action (especially sports).

The D* fans who kept blaming MPEG4 for the jerky trickplay on the HR series now have to eat their hats since the THR22 proved it is just the software that's to blame - given that the THR22 runs on the HR22 hardware (which was much slower than the HR24).

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Old 04-01-2012, 09:18 AM   #26
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No, you must hold-press a button to get slow-mo. It takes about 2 seconds to start once you hold the button and in practice I can't use it since it is too hard to get it to start at the right time. If you start it too soon, it takes forever to get to the key spot. And, if you want to watch something over again several times (like do your own replays in sports) - forget it - it's just too painful.
Wow. Nothing has changed in that department since back in the HR20 days If the new THR22 has as good a S/W as the TivoHD, FF1, FF2 and slow motion work very smoothly.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:55 AM   #27
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Yep DirecTV is totally incapable of creating a transport system that matches what the entire rest of the world has been used to since around the time VCR's were invented. Among fixing many other things that have lingered since day one of their POS in house OS.

No problem whatsoever continuously cramming in a seemingly endless supply of superfluous BS that just keeps making their crap continuously worse though.

DirecTV needs to get the hell out of the imbedded software business and put it back into the hands of the people who really know wtf they are doing.

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Old 04-05-2012, 05:28 PM   #28
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Yep DirecTV is totally incapable of creating a transport system that matches what the entire rest of the world has been used to since around the time VCR's were invented. Among fixing many other things that have lingered since day one of their POS in house OS.

No problem whatsoever continuously cramming in a seemingly endless supply of superfluous BS that just keeps making their crap continuously worse though.

DirecTV needs to get the hell out of the imbedded software business and put it back into the hands of the people who really know wtf they are doing.
Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel .
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:40 PM   #29
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Yep DirecTV is totally incapable of creating a transport system that matches what the entire rest of the world has been used to since around the time VCR's were invented. Among fixing many other things that have lingered since day one of their POS in house OS.

No problem whatsoever continuously cramming in a seemingly endless supply of superfluous BS that just keeps making their crap continuously worse though.

DirecTV needs to get the hell out of the imbedded software business and put it back into the hands of the people who really know wtf they are doing.
I tend to agree. Or rather, I usually do not tend to agree (I'm just contrary I suppose), but, in this particular case, I agree.

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Old 04-06-2012, 11:27 AM   #30
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The HR34 doesn't have the latest software with the new guide. I wish I didn't have it either, it's not all that.
My HR34 got the latest guide about a week ago. You should be getting it very soon.
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