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HR10-250 DirectTV HD Tivo DVR Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
4.5 Stars
Value
5 Stars
Overall
5 Stars

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Every year new words that represent the latest way people speak are added to dictionaries. Sometimes fad words are added because they are used by a large percentage of the "groovy" population. Product names are included that have become generic terms for an entire genre of goods. (Think: facial tissue or Kleenex?) A new product word that can be found in your Funk & Wagnall's is TiVo.

Additional Resources
• Read more about DirecTV here.
• Read other HD DVRs, Satellite Receivers and Cable Boxes from Moxi, TiVo and many others here.

What was once a name for a small brand of digital video recorders (DVR) has become the term for DVRs in general. TiVo is also commonly used as a verb to describe the digital recording of a TV program with any PVR hardware or software. So well known is TiVo, it has been mentioned on all the hit television shows and accepted as the standard by which all other DVRs are measured.

The DVR is a consumer component allowing users to capture TV programming digitally from antenna, cable or satellite and save it to internal hard drive storage. DVRs with TiVo service function like VCRs, but use non-removable hard disks and have sophisticated software to record and manipulate programming. The electronics and software programming was created by TiVo Inc., a company started by veterans of Silicon Graphics and Time Warner's Full Service Network digital video system.

TiVo recorders have seen many upgrades since inception in 1999. Significant software upgrades and hardware technologies (larger hard drives, integrated satellite receivers and a home media option to play digital music and view slideshows in various rooms) have emerged. When news broke that long-time partners DirecTV and TiVo were planning to release a high definition satellite recorder, TiVo aficionados were ecstatic. Since the first announcement of the October 2003 release date, calls poured into DirecTV and TiVo. Both companies knew they had a captive audience, and they wanted to make sure they delivered the best product available to market, so beta testing ran on for what seemed like years.

Unique Features - The October 2003 release date was pushed back to January 2004, and then March, April and finally June. Wait speculations included TiVo wanting to produce an OpenCable-compatible HD TiVo, which would be an integrated HD TiVo/cable box following industry standards. Other thoughts were design changes, such as the inclusion of four tuners for recording two programs at the same time. Some believed that there were so many bugs, it took more time than the designers expected. In any event, the delayed roll out of the DirecTV HD
TiVo units has been hotly discussed in places like the TiVo Community Forum online.

The unit comes with a 175-page manual, "peanut" remote control, and cables for composite, component, S-Video, HDMI and HDMI-to-DVI connections. Outputs are two USB2 ports, one serial and one IR (all four reserved for future use), one component video, one HDMI, one S-Video, one composite video, one stereo audio, one optical digital audio, and one modem jack. It's noteworthy that this is the first DirecTV unit ever to offer HDMI interface. The reserved USB ports that have been used previously in Series 2 TiVo units for the Home Media Option are not enabled at this time, but plans to open up streaming photos and audio to the HR10-250 are intended future upgrades. In fact, it won't be long before XM Radio can be streamed wirelessly from a personal computer through TiVo to your home entertainment system. As far as inputs, there are only a coaxial 11F jack and two satellite LNB connections.

The DirecTV HD TiVo is a HD satellite receiver and recorder in one. This combination is packaged in a rather small silver case. It is simple in design with a few control buttons on the face and lights to display the current video output format and recording status. Features include access to HD and SD DirecTV programming, as well as off-air ATSC digital broadcasts from the same receiver in digital form. The aforementioned four tuners (two OTA and two satellite) allow recording of two sources at the same time while watching a previously recorded third show from a 250 GB hard drive that stores up to 30 hours of HD programming or up to 200 hours of SD (or a combination). The TiVo software has many features that I have come to love, such as a 30-minute buffer of live programming to pause for bathroom breaks, instant replay to review an amazing touchdown pass and numerous fast forward and rewind choices. Popular features such as the Season Pass option to record an entire season of shows is included, as well as the many search functions for finding and recording a show.

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