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Friday, 09 December 2011 09:12

New DirecTV TiVo HD DVR finally arrives

Written by David Stellmack

tivo

Only for subscribers in 10 cities to start with

After years of waiting and hoping, DirecTV has finally released a new HD DVR powered by TiVo. The new HD DirecTiVo is model THR22 as has been rumored. What it offers, however, might not be what DirecTV subscribers that are TiVo fans were really hoping for.

To start with, DirecTV has soft launched the THR22 in only 10 cities initially, and subscribers in those 10 cities can order the THR22 starting today. Subscribers in other cities will have to wait till sometime after the first of the year. DirecTV has not been specific on their full launch plan for the THR22 beyond saying, “The TiVo HD DVR from DirecTV will be available nationwide in early 2012,” which could mean just about anything with all of the delays that the release of the THR22 has encountered.

As for the THR22 itself, it is a TiVo and it runs the TiVo OS, but not a version of the latest release. Instead, it uses something that looks and acts very close to a slightly enhanced version of the TiVo interface that we saw in the last version of the older standard definition TiVo models in the 2.xx family. The receiver itself is built upon the DirecTV HR22 platform, but from our understanding these are new boxes, not recycled or used units with the TiVo software loaded on them. This news has already thrown a red flag up for some.

In addition, it lacks a number of the features found in the latest generation of DirecTV HD DVR offerings. For example, it lacks 3D support, DirecTV on-demand streaming, multi-room support, You Tube streaming, and those are just the major differences. It does not offer the additional services and streaming offerings found in the latest generation of TiVo.

The THR22 comes with only a 500GB hard drive, which is pretty much standard for DirecTV DVR models. It can support the add-on AM21 terrestrial HD tuner and can record from it. It supports recording of all DirecTV MPEG 4 encoded satellite streams. It offers two-tuner support with the ability to record two shows while watching a third show. It comes with the TiVo peanut remote, but it is DirecTV remote compatible only, so you can’t use the high-end TiVo slider remote with keyboard with it.

Despite all of this, if you still want the THR22 it is going to cost you $199 plus shipping and you have to agree to a 2-year commitment for it. In addition, as with DirecTV receivers the THR22 is leased, which makes the possibility of upgrading it tricky at best. The unit is subject to a TiVo/DVR fee, of course, as well as the monthly receiver fee.

Given all of this, there will still be many that want it and will gladly upgrade to it; while others believe that it is a release with a very short life span. as its feature set simply isn’t as good as what is offered by the latest DirecTV DVR units. Still, with the ability to upgrade the unit, should it become more popular than expected it is possible development and upgrades could be headed the THR22’s way, but it will have to become popular and DirecTV will have to move a lot of units before they will choose to do more with the TiVo platform. In its current release state, however, it may just be far too little and far too late.


David Stellmack

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