View Full Version : Best HD DirecTV DVR for hacks?

01-01-2008, 06:00 AM
Is there a best DirecTV HD DVR out there? I'd like one capable of moddin and stuff. Mainly show extraction, and possible TivoWebPlus type interface. Anyone have any ideas on models? I really haven't researched much into this area yet.

01-01-2008, 10:39 AM
There are no known hacks for the DirecTV non-TiVo DVRs. The major difference among models is that the HR20 has an OTA ATSC tuner and the HR21 does not (but DirecTV is saying that there will be some sort of "external" OTA solution for the HR21 - the assumption is that it will be a tuner that connects by USB like a lot of those available for PCs.) The HR20 is very hard to get right now. Your best bet is to find it in a retail store such as Costco.

There are minor differences among HR20 submodels - the -100 has coaxial digital audio out and the -700 does not.

I will comment that SOME of the types of hacks we apply to DTiVos are supported as standard features on the HR20/21 - or will be in the coming months. You can already view photos and play music and see caller ID. In beta testing now are setting up recordings from the web and an on-demand feature. Supposedly the ability to play videos from your home network will be coming later.

01-04-2008, 10:02 PM
I will comment that SOME of the types of hacks we apply to DTiVos are supported as standard features on the HR20/21 - or will be in the coming months.
Can you extract shows to a computer? I like keeping an archive of some shows, like Robot Chicken. :) I have a Sony SAT-T60 w/network & cache card. It's so simple to run TyTool and click start server then I'm ready to extract any show I've recorded. I've also used the undelete feature a few times in TivoWeb. So really the main feature I use is show extraction. Can the HR2x models handle that?

01-04-2008, 10:37 PM
So really the main feature I use is show extraction. Can the HR2x models handle that?

Nope. When/if they do, I'm sure there will be some thick DRM added in also.

01-04-2008, 11:33 PM
Nope. When/if they do, I'm sure there will be some thick DRM added in also.

Damn. So if those don't, are there any older models that could?

01-05-2008, 12:14 AM
Show extraction is not available on any DirecTV DVR. Not yet, anyway. A year ago DirecTV talked about integration with Intel VIIV PCs, but left unclear what this all meant, and nothing has been delivered yet.

01-20-2008, 01:56 PM
A year ago DirecTV talked about integration with Intel VIIV PCs, but left unclear what this all meant, and nothing has been delivered yet.

That's incorrect. Plenty has been delivered in regards to the ViiV HR20/21 relationship. Streaming music, photos and video from a PC running ViiV on the HR20/21.

At CES they also announced that you would be able to view HR20/21 recordings on your PC via special software. No idea if this is only for ViiV or not.

They have never promised, or even hinted, that their working with Intel would result in the ability to remove shows from the HR20.

01-20-2008, 03:46 PM
I was referring to the "view recordings on your PC" specifically. Both Echostar and TiVo have options to move recordings to other devices - DirecTV does not. I'd guess that the newly announced PC Tuner for DirecTV may show at least some direction.

03-05-2008, 07:50 PM
... I'd guess that the newly announced PC Tuner...

OK Where can I find out more about this???

03-06-2008, 08:46 AM
OK Where can I find out more about this???

ever hear of google?:D
link1 (http://gizmodo.com/342342/directv-pc-tuner-photos-surface-online)
Link2 (http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/08/directvs-pc-tuner-is-real/)
link3 (http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=115062)

12-01-2008, 12:45 AM
Okay, now that some time has passed, has anything changed on the recommended models? I see they offer an HR22 now, but after reading a lot of poor reviews from Best Buy's web site, I'm very hesitant to get one of those. People talking about constant freezes and hard resets to temporarily "fix" it. Nothing would piss me off more than to have a DVR freeze and miss recording shows for who knows how long until someone actually tries to use it and notices it locked up. I also hear the reboots take about 20 minutes plus changing channels can take 4 or more seconds too.

Do all the HR2x models suffer from these lockup bugs? The uptime of my current Sony SAT-T60 is 35 days so far. It does have software 2.5.2-01-1-011, so I'd expect some issues with it. But at least when I have problems it just automatically reboots and returns to normal by itself.

Another question, if I purchased an HR20 from eBay, would there be any problems in activating it through DirecTV? Either if it had a card, or if I had to purchase one for it.

12-01-2008, 12:59 PM
I've had an HR20 for nearly two years. In that time I've had to hit the reset button about half a dozen times. Certainly it has been less reliable than the Series 2 DirecTiVo it replaced, but it reboots for a software upgrade about as often as it locks up.

I can't speak for the HR22, but the UI on the HR20 is about as fast as the UI on the HDVR2 running 6.2, and lots faster that the HDVR2 running 3.1.1c. A reboot takes less than 5 minutes.

Activating a DirecTV DVR purchased from eBay is a crapshoot. In general, you can't do it if the previous owner owed DirecTV money. If he didn't, you usually can.


12-03-2008, 09:51 PM
I've had an HR20 and a HR21 for somewhat more than a year. Very few issues.

Pretty much all HR2x boxes are leased. If you "buy" one from eBay you're likely to get hosed.

Roland Deschain
12-26-2008, 10:51 PM
Rather than start another thread, I'm tagging onto this one...

I just moved up from an old Sony 32" tube to a 1080p plasma screen, and need advice about changing my signal hardware.

We've had SD DirecTV for years, with a DVR40 DirecTivo box that we really like. Hacked, upgraded drive, etc.

So, my question is actually to ask for recommendations on the best HD hardware for DTV signals.

Things important to us:
*Drive upgradeability
*Dual-tuners w/one-hour buffering
*30-second skip

Also, I'm an I/T guy, so feel free to talk in geekspeak. No sugarcoating necessary. ;)

12-27-2008, 09:30 AM
Well, all of the current DirecTV HD DVRs pretty much meet this, except that there is only one tuner doing "live buffering" at a time. There are workarounds for this if "dual live buffers" is important to you.

Drive upgrading is a snap - easier than TiVo. eSATA is the supported option, but it's easy to replace the internal drive as well. If you connect an eSATA drive, the internal drive is disabled.

All have dual tuners with a 90 minute live buffer. 30-second "slip" is the default but you can change this to "skip" if you like.

Some additional goodies you get are the ability to view recorded programs on a PC (streaming), playing and streaming material from your PC to the DVR (Netflix, Hulu and more), and multi-room viewing is in beta. There's also Internet-based VOD and caller ID.

The downside - no hacks available that I know of, but for me anyway, I don't find I miss it (other than the coolness that is TiVoWebPlus). Many of the things we hack our TiVos to do, the DirecTV DVRs do out of the box.

When you call to "upgrade", you won't get to choose which box you get. The current models are HR21, HR22 and HR23 with the major difference being disk drive size. You'll get whatever the installer has on his truck. The only way to get an exact model is to "buy" the box you want at a retailer (Costco, BestBuy, ValueElectronics, etc.) and then have that used for service. I say "buy" in quotes because you are paying the "lease upgrade fee" - you do not own the box.

If you will be keeping your DVR40 in service, you'll want to make sure that they do NOT give you a dish with an integrated Single Wire Multiswitch (SWM), as the DVR40 can't deal with that. You'll need to insist on the older (and larger) 5LNB dish. (Some markets may require the 5LNB dish for locals.) Otherwise, the so-called "SWMline" (nickname) dish is generally preferable. SWM technology lets you share multiple tuners on a single feed from the dish. It is available built-in to a dish or as a separate module (which you must purchase yourself from a retailer) that connects to a 5LNB dish.

12-27-2008, 10:34 AM
Interesting.. you say multi-room viewing is in beta. Can you elaborate? MRV is the one thing that has kept me on a SD model. I have 4 SD models that I constantly use room to room.

12-27-2008, 09:13 PM
Join the dbstalk.com forum and look at the "Cutting Edge" subsection. You'll find out everything you want to know about MRV. I do not have the required configuration so it is not a feature I have paid much attention to. I think that, at the moment, you can "play" a remote show only on a H2x (non-DVR) and it is a streaming view, not a copy like TiVo. DVR to DVR viewing is said to be in the works.

I have used the streaming to and from PC and that works well.

05-18-2010, 08:55 AM
I have two of the new HR23 HD DVRs and once I got them both on the network with gigabit ethernet cable (wireless was too slow) I have been using the MRV feature beta, and it works pretty well, these units have some slowness on the remote control response times, even using RF instead of IR, with the IR sensor taped over, it still has some slow response, it seems that it is related to the on demand service, as without the network connected it seems faster. Anyway, the playing photos and videos and music from the PC (also in beta I think) it was very bad experience, not able to get any video working with vista or win7 out of the box, and so far two other add on softwares, still looking at third party add/ons for windows to get that working, but otherwise the MRV feature is nice.

MRV only works between the two new HR23 boxes, but any show on either DVR can be watched on either DVR, so all four tuners recording our shows for the famiy, can be watched from either of the two DVR's we have even watched two streamed shows at once, kids streaming a show from the Living room to the Den, while my wife and I streamed a show from the Den to the Living room, and no skips or any problelms. The 30 second slip feature is a little slower on remote viewing.


1. How do you change this to 30 second slip to 30 second skip anyone know?

2. Also if you know a good application to get streaming netflix to this box, or other streaming period from the PC with good software for windows 7 let me know, I would like to get that working, because it seems very slow and inconsistent at best.


05-18-2010, 08:04 PM
not to slight this site as it was invaluable to me while DirecTivo was hackable, but check this site out. I'm not smart enought to crack any of the new DVR's but anything that can be done with the new ones can be found at the site listed.

Also, sign up for the Cutting Edge.


the answer to your 30 second slip/skip can be found there too!

Space..... out!

05-22-2010, 09:02 AM
I use PlayOn (http://www.playon.tv/playon) to stream to my HR21. It supports Netflix. You will find lots of discussion of streaming tools at dbstalk.com