Tag Archives: DirecTV

DirecTiVo to be Released Soon?

Recently it seems that satellite TV provider DirecTV accidentally released some information about the DirecTiVo, which used to exist, went away, and then was brought back, but has been “in the works” for around three years now.  Users over at the DBSTalk forums began reporting that the DirecTiVo briefly appeared as available for purchase on the DirecTV website for sale at $99.

According to the reports, the user interface looked more like the old TiVo HD as opposed the newer Premier.  That makes sense since the thing has been in development for so darn long.  Not much else is known, but I would assume it will contain the standard two-tuner hardware and not much of any ground-breaking features.

I had the original DirecTiVo and loved it, but had to replace it to move on to HD TV.  The HR-23 box is far from terrible, and actually is pretty good, especially compared to other cable DVR’s.  It has home networking capability, a 500 GB drive, and USB and eSATA ports that allow for additional external drives.  That said, I am sentimental for the old TiVo UI and if the hardware is comparable to the HR-23 then I will be plunking down my $99 for the new DirecTiVo.

The Simple Functionality that DirecTV Still Lacks

directv logoA few days ago I had a DirecTV HR23 box go belly-up.  I awoke one morning to the smell of melted plastic.  I didn’t open the box, so I don’t know what went wrong, but it was obviously something bad.  Despite having no LED lights on the front panel there was still power – although it wouldn’t even try to boot up.  But, as long as the power cord was plugged in, the smell and a chirping sound (which probably was from the hard drive) continued.

DirecTV has always had excellent customer service, at least in my experiences.  This was no exception – they were ready to send me a new HR23 via priority shipping.  The box arrived in two days, along with a paid label to send back the old DVR.

Setup is simple – just plug in the old connections that are already in place.  Of course, you need to call DirecTV to activale the box, but that isn’t a big deal either.  It’s after that step that you see where DirecTV, and every other DVR (as far as I know), are lacking.

What do these cable and satellite companies need to add?  Backing up all of your recorded shows would be nice, but we have seen how difficult a netwrked DVR has been for Cablevision.  What I noticed when re-setting-up my HR23 was a glaring lack for backup of personal settings.  I had to, once again, add all of my season passes, set my video preferences, re-enable my network settings, etc.

Is it too much to ask that all of these personal settings be backed up by the provider?  Or at east that they provide a path for backing them up locally to a networked PC?  After all, the HR23 has ethernet and shows up on our home network.  It seems like a simple update to add backup of personal settings.  More importnantly to the providers, it doesn’t seem like anything that would cause them to end up in court.

This seems like a minor addition to the software package of any TV provider.  Still, it doestn’t seem to be mentioned by anyone as an update that is on the roadmap.  I know that I would seriously consider moving to one that decides to add it.


Samsung & DirectTV: One Box to Rule Them All

One of the main purposes of CES is for major business alliances to either be started or finalized, One such alliance was announced between Samsung and DirecTV involving multiple set-top boxes. A major irritation with having a multi TV home is it requires you to have a box either cable or satellite for each TV, well if you are a Samsung owner and DirectTV subscriber this problem maybe coming to an end. At CES 2011 Samsung and DirecTV announce an alliance which will allow a consumer to have one central server for multiple TV in a home. This is done by using the RVU protocol this protocol uses the combination of DLNA and [UPnP]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPnPAVmedia_server) both industry standards. No longer will you need a separate box for each TV.

This will be first available on certain Samsung smart TVs, the LED D6000, LED D6400 and LED 6420 series which should ship to stores in March. The central server will allow each TV to receive separate live programing. You can also record and play recorded program from it on to any connected TV. You can also use it to access content on any personal media player or computer that is on the same local network. It can be updated at anytime thru software update. Meaning that additional services can be added over time. It allows secure access of copyright material by the use of DTCP-IP (Digital Transmission Content Protection over Internet Protocol.) The RVU protocol can even work with 3D TV.

There is no reason this same protocol could not be used with any smart TV and service provider whether they are satellite or cable. Of course that would mean that they couldn’t charge you five dollars a month of each box, but I am sure they will find a way around that problem. I look forward to a time when this is available through my cable provider, there are several boxes I would like to return.

Will We Ever See The New DirecTiVo?

When I signed up for DirecTV back in 2004 I received the, now legendary, DirecTiVo (the Samsung S4040R).  I loved it.  I almost cried in late 2007 when I bought my first HDTV and “had” to give it up for a DirecTV HD DVR.  Time marches on, though, and DirecTV and TiVo were no longer partners.

TiVo joined forces with DirecTV in early 2002 with units made by Phillips, Hughes, and Sony.  Later RCA and Samsung joined in.  Then in late 2006, when NewsCorp gained control of DirecTV, They phased out TiVo in favor of another NewsCorp company, NDS, which was already manufacturing DVR’s for the European market.

In late 2008, with NewsCorp out of the picture, DirecTV again announced a partnership with TiVo.  And, since then, we have waited….and waited….and waited.  Delay after delay has been announced.  It’s really gotten to the point where DirecTV subscribers are starting to think of it as gamers think of Duke Nukem Forever!

The latest release, which was scheduled for late 2010, has apparently been pushed to early 2011.  Rumors persist that beta units are floating around, but I know of nobody who has received one and requests to DirecTV are denied.

So, is this the ultimate Vaporware?  For that matter, after reading reviews of the new TiVo Premiere, do users really want it?  The current DirecTV HD DVR (the HR23-700) has a 500GB hard drive, which is more than most other DVR’s issued by cable and satellite providers.  The software (interface) isn’t that bad either.  I am starting to think that TiVo, as much as we all pull for them, are verging on extinction.  They seriously need to get their Comcast and DirecTV boxes out the door yesterday before the battle is completely lost.

Back With DirecTV…For Now

I canceled, well, actually, “suspended” my DirecTV account after the season finales of Lost and 24.  But, as many of you know, from my previous post about the NFL and Sunday Ticket, I was hoping to stay gone permanently.

I have had no problem watching the few shows that I actually do watch online.  And, with a media center PC sitting in my entertainment rack pumping HDMI video to my TV and SPDIF audio to my 5.1 receiver, the experience has been indistinguishable from DirecTV.  In July, I paid $29.95 to Versus Online and had full coverage of every stage of the Tour de France.  That is the only money I have shelled out for TV since May.

As I said in that previous post, though, the NFL will once again not be showing any games online (other than preseason).  Worse, it seems that this won’t change anytime soon either.

Per Wikipedia: Currently, American satellite provider DIRECTV has exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket in the United States until the contract expires at the end of the 2014-15 season.

Well, the other night I received a call from a friendly DirecTV rep who wanted me to turn my service back on and was willing to make a deal if I would agree.  I inquired about a deal on Sunday Ticket, but he couldn’t offer any more than the standard deal that anyone can get.  Probably I could have held out, asked for more or declined and waited for the next call.  After all, football season is still a month away.  They offered me $5 off per month for the next 6 months.  In 6 months football season will be ending.  For $29.95 I took the family package and I will pay only $24.95.  They also threw in three months free of Showtime, which I doubt I will use.  Of course, in reality I will pay more than $24.95.  There’s the $5 charge for HD service and the $5 charge for DVR service, but I am still paying $5 less than I was last Spring, so it’s not too bad of a deal.

When football ends I will be “suspending” the account again and maybe next football season I will get an even better offer.

GNC-2009-03-31 #464 Back in Honolulu

Austin Texas meet-up this coming Saturday.. RSVP today geeknews@gmail.com Well folks home long enough to get some clean clothes then I am headed to Texas. Will be looking for around 100 listeners to participate in some new media panels, will advise when I am ready to have those panels.

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