April 04, 2005

DirecTV's HD TiVo a No-Go?

Should you get DirecTV's high-definition TiVo [CNet video] to go with your new HDTV? This Washington post article urges caution:

Maybe not just yet. That $999, TiVo-based "DirecTV HD DVR" won't be able to tune in the high-definition network broadcasts DirecTV plans to offer by the end of this year. The company will transmit those sharper versions of ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and their ilk in a more efficient video format that, in turn, will require new receivers.

Price to upgrade to the new receivers: Unknown.

08:38 AM in High Definition Gear | Permalink


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We are very interested in further updates on this subject. We recently produce an HDTV show that will likely rely on TIVO for viewership.


Posted by: Alexander Muse | May 5, 2005 2:44:52 AM

Knowing that DirecTV would roll out a product that would make current HD PVRs obsolete, I decided for the moment to live with my lo-def Sony DirecTV PVR and opted for the non-PVR DirecTV HD box.

Two surprises:

1. I continued to get dropped pictures using the HDMI input. DirecTV customer assistance insisted that the television or the HDMI plug was bad. I have used the same plug and TV input with the HDMI output on my DVD player without ever experiencing a problem. After visits from customer service personnel to fiddle with the dish, with no change, another call was made by DirecTV's own service man. After moving up the chain, DirecTV finally acknowledged that the HDMI output should not be used since there were known issues which they hoped to fix with a later software upgrade. I switched to component output. Now, a couple of months later, the dropouts are occurring with this output as well, but ONLY on the HD stations. I expect spending another month attempting to have this issue resolved.

2. I purchased the DirecTV HD receiver in May 2005, at full price. In mid-October, I received a postcard advising me that by purchasing this equipment, I had committed to a 2-year contract with DirecTV and that should I ever downgrade my package (which is NOT a basic package) or drop the service, I would receive a hefty fine. First I ever heard of this. More calls to DirecTV and a supervisor got me nowhere. Apparently, when I picked the box off the shelf at Best Buy and bought the unit at the counter, a salesman was obligated to inform me of this commitment. Didn't happen.

What is even more peculiar, if I had been a new customer and sent in a coupon to get $100.00 off the price, I would (according to the fine print on the coupon) have committed myself to a 1-year contract at the basic level.

Beware, I was told that any upgrade of equipment (including PVRs) commits the purchser to a 2-year contract at the existing level of service.

Needless to say, as one of the earliest adopters and a loyal fan of DirecTV, I am put off by these high-handed tactics and poor quality of product that DirecTv is now offing on their customers. I suspect this is part of NewsCorps means for improving profits.

Have any others run into these problems?

[excuse cross-postings]

Posted by: Mike | Nov 17, 2005 8:04:41 AM

Yes that is correct. I liked your comment. I too belong to the same profile and this was of great help.

Jessica Towery

Posted by: Jessica Towery | Feb 7, 2006 6:10:53 AM

I bought my H20 receiver from DirecTV and when delivered by the installer, I wasn't informed about the 2 year contract. Not even by the source.
Since the installation, I've had three replacement receivers. They got so hot they eat themselves. Lots of apologies and mispoken words about a lot of people having the same trouble.
The HDMI cables are more trouble than the high price tag is worth. I had dropped signals and finally went back to component cables. So far it's been holding MOST of the time. In my Panasonic plasma, the same circuitry handles both. Citcuit City service claimes a lot of problems with the HDMI cables and to stay away from them if possible.
It looks like I'm due for another receiver as it went out again this morning. Bad receiver tied to a bad contract.

Posted by: Ron Shirk | Apr 2, 2006 2:12:19 PM

Thanks for this great post. You've got some really good info in your blog.
Chris Scanlon

Posted by: Chris Scanlon | May 5, 2006 1:41:39 PM

This blog posting was of great use in learning new information and also in exchanging our views. Thank you.

Sally Wade


Posted by: Sally Wade | May 13, 2006 5:06:22 AM

I recently purchased the HR-20 hd reciever. Since that time I have been able to access my closed caption or get wide screen viewing because my hr-20 remote overrides my tv remote. After spending hours on the phone with directv I was told that i could not return it because I had a 2 year commitment (new news to me). I assked to speak to a supervisor. I was told that they were all busy and would called my back. After waiting 4 hours I gave up. After 7 years with directv I feel ripped off by them. Be warned, Directv has litte or no concern for loyal customers, all the want is your $$$$

Posted by: Tony | Nov 27, 2006 4:21:26 PM

I just need to pass on info about how decevious DirecTV's business practices are - cancelled in January ("cancelled") they started rebilling in August (they now claim that I "held", not cancelled, completely untrue) and never received a bill for the phantom services which went to collections because we had moved and they didnt have our new address (since our intention was to not use them going forward anyway) and it cost us a home loan because of the credit blemish. WORDS OF WARNING - do whatever ever you can to avoid these guys, they are evil. I guess that's what happens to companies with major cash flow troubles.

Posted by: RB | Oct 9, 2007 7:59:36 PM

I have to agree with the previous two posts! I was robbed by DTV the same way - assumed I was cancelled - hadn't had service in 6 months - and all of a sudden I get a bill. I had been on Verizon for the whole time, guess I'm lucky I didn't move or would've been screwed like the prior post - sorry to hear that. I agree - RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN FROM DIRECTV!!! And if they have a credit card or yours, you might want to think bout cancelling it and getting it replaced - they will chrage it for all kinds of things without you knowing.

Posted by: rk | Oct 9, 2007 8:05:48 PM

The Satellite TV industry is taking a page from the Cell Phone providers. Any time you take an upgrade in equipment or special pricing, they slap you with a 2 year contract that has no repercussions if they fail to deliver the service or it's crap. BE AWARE, tell them up front you don't want a CONTRACT and get it in writing. Quite frankly, if they can't provide a service that entices customers to stay, they should get out of the business. I'm fed up with being held hostage by a growing number of parasites who have no idea who the customer is.... NO MORE CONTRACTS.... Maybe if enough of us stand up and shout, they will get the damn message...

Posted by: AC | Oct 19, 2007 6:41:45 PM

i think directv is goo have had no p-roblems with them and great service

Posted by: emason | Feb 17, 2008 12:12:52 AM

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