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DirecTV Whole-Home DVR Goes Live Nationwide
DirecTV Whole Home DVR
May 17, 2010 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
DirecTV’s Whole-Home DVR has been in beta testing for a few months, but is now live nation wide for just $3/month.
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Posted by Kenneth Lawson  on  05/18  at  02:57 PM

Now THAT is interesting. I notice they really didn’t tell you anything about how its hooked up, or if it sent HD to all the tvs, and what kind of capacity the DVR has,
Actually they left a lot of details out of the promo.


It is a idea I’ve had for some time, how its implemented is the issue. and how robust it is in the real world. Hopefully they also improved the gui and user experience along with the new features..

  Still not enough to take me away from my Dish Network..

Posted by Brian  on  05/18  at  02:58 PM

I’ve had this in my house since about the first week they announced it in my area (Denver metro) and the only minor complaint that I would have on this is when using the 30-sec skip feature it tends to lag just a bit. 

Overall though it’s great.  We use the DVR in our basement and can watch programs on the 2nd floor in our bedroom.  Not bad for when we are too tired to head to the basement and fire up the big system but wanted to catch the program from the previous day or farther back.

Brian

Posted by Kenneth Lawson  on  05/18  at  03:12 PM

I interested in how that its network the tvs, and how easy it is to ad a tv, and are there issues with remotes on different tvs,?  What kind of cabling and how long of a run can it handle?

Ken Lawson

Posted by Brian  on  05/18  at  03:30 PM

Kenneth,

The guys that set mine up were quite entertaining.  Basically I had a lot of the questions you had and they really only knew which end to plug into where to make it work.  Because of the complexity of my system I needed to be home to make sure it worked when they finished, so I assisted with part of the install.

I’m at work at the moment, but when I get home and have a second I’ll be glad to provide greater detail on how it works if you are interested.  I probably knew more about the way it worked than they did once I saw it.

From memory, there’s some devices that DTV calls SWIM that changes the four LNB signals off the sat dish into a single stream.  Once the lines are plugged into the main DVR it creates it’s own private network over the RG6 cable that I had running through my house.  I know there was some CAT5 cable involved, but I can’t remember the specifics on it.  I do know that the SWIM devices sit before each of the HD boxes.

I know the signal levels have to be much higher than previously, so they had to “tune” my dish a bit more as well.

Anyway - let me know if you want more info.

Posted by YoSappy  on  05/23  at  03:33 PM

I just called DirecTV and they want to charge me $150.00 to come to my home and correctly connect the necessary network hardware for this service to work properly.  So, you guys are incorrect when you say that there is no new hardware required.  I already have a perfect functioning home network with all my DirecTV HD TVRs hooked up to the network; but, DirecTV says that is not good enough because they have to re-wire some things.  When I pressed them to be EXACT in what needed to be done, of course, they leave that up to the installers.  So, somebody is full of malarky here when it should cost me nothing.  Also, I would never let DirecTV go within 100 miles of my network simply because not one of their so-called service people could install my Dish when I moved.  I had to contact a Professional Audio / Video Installation Company because DirecTV Technicians were not insured to go onto my roof.  WHAT A CROCK!  That’s why they say they offer STANDARD Professional Installation, which translated means, we punch a hole in your wall and install a Dish on your wall.  That’s it.  Anything else is considered Non-standard Professional Installation.

Posted by Brian  on  05/23  at  11:52 PM

YoSappy - I’m not sure where you picked up that someone said there were no new boxes needed.  If I alluded to that I apologize.  You may need new equipment depending upon what you have because the system does only support the newer systems for the most part.

The re-wiring was minimal on my end.  I’m not sure I would trust what the guy on the end of the phone says over the installer.  When I had called initially the person on the other end didn’t know anything about the system.  It took him several minutes to find a source of information and he was reading it to me as he was learning about it.

The DTV installers in your area may just be sub-contractors that don’t have the right type of insurance, which of course makes no sense, but that’s going to be my guess.

This is fairly bleeding edge technology for DTV, so I wouldn’t be too hard on them yet.

Posted by Greg  on  05/24  at  12:06 PM

I can add a little to this. Like Brian, I have been beta testing this since it was first offered. My DirecTV system is an slightly older 4 wire HDTV dish (NON SWM) , and uses the 4 X 8 multi-switches (2 of them off splitters for our 12 receivers (DVR’s count as 2 receivers, I have 4, plus an older HD Tivo) When I rewired my house, I included CAT-6 to all media locations. I have all 4 DVR’s as well as the (2) Standard HD-receivers connected by their LAN connection to my Network 24 port switch. Thru the software in DirecTV they can all see the recorded content and playback, EXCEPT the older HD-Tivo.

From research, in a build where there is not a standard network or CAT-5/6 in place at Media locations, DirecTV would replace if necessary the Dish, replace the existing Multiswitch with the required SWM (multiswitch, SWM -8, SWM-16), and add the LAN to RG-6 adapter (DECA) at each needed Room box location (correct box required). Also, one of the DirecTV receiver’s will need to be connected to the internet if you want to do remote viewing ( please correct me if I’m wrong on this )

Keep in mind that there are several wiring senarios that may be needed based on a curent Dish and or equipment setup.

From experience, I can tell you that it work great, and the WAF is out of this world! My wife started to watch a show the other night and paused it, went into our Bedroom, and started right back where she had left off.

My 2 cents worth.

Greg

Posted by Steve Crowe  on  05/24  at  12:39 PM

@Greg, @Brian

Would either of you guys be interested in writing a review or hands on article for us? email me if you wanna set something up .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Jw  on  05/26  at  11:20 AM

Just to add a little more, if you already have HD service and your STB’s are H21 or higher for non-DVR’s and HR20 or higher for DVR’s it’s likely you don’t need add anything if you just want to run MRV over your existing home network.  While Directv’s “officially supported” networking method for MRV is DECA there is a path available to activate MRV without upgrading to a SWiM (single wire)/DECA setup.  The trick is that if you go the unsupported home network route, don’t expect Directv to help you troubleshoot network problems.  If you’re not a networking do it yourself type person I highly recommend going the DECA upgrade route.  Also, I believe they will also swap out any non-MRV capable receivers as part of the upgrade fee. 

I have been very happy with the service since they worked the trick play issues out just after the beta started.  I began with it running on my home network with very good results but have since switched to a DECA network that I installed myself.  The performance of both setups is very similar (at least in my experience).

Posted by Mike  on  06/04  at  12:41 PM

I just had this system installed in my houise last week.  I had to pay the $150.00 for the SWM/Deca install.  To me it was a bargain because I only had one RG-6 line available in two of my rooms.  This saved me from running a second line and Cat-5 to two rooms which would have been difficut and ugly.  (Slap foundation and cathedral ceilings)  Installers nigthmare.  So we were looking at out ouside cable down the walls and over the roof. Glad I held off running those lines.  I have 3 HD DVRs now all connected so I have a lot of recording room and the whole home DVR works exactly as advertised.  I love it!

Posted by West  on  06/04  at  06:42 PM

Now if they’ll just figure out away to simultaneously record in H264 and xport to iTunes. I’ll be able to watch programs on my iPad on the subway.

Posted by FarmerBob  on  06/08  at  06:38 PM

I have had this capability in my house with SD and DISH since 1995 using modulators and UHF Remotes. The Remotes is what has kept me tethered to DISH. All my gear is in the Media Room and distributed throughout the house and grounds from there with a separate antenna line for the UHF Remotes. I would liked to have used DISH’s UHF piggyback method, but I am transmitting Full Spectrum RF and the two can not work on the same line. Then when HD was available, swapping out the DVRs I discovered that the on board RF outs on the DISH gear (3HD & 3SD modulators + my 8) gave us great SD (including security cameras) & HD that can be had at any TV’s in the house, without a dedicated STB at each location, just by putting the set on the appropriate channel. This set up gives us access to all the tuners, triple (Quad on a Dual OTA module box) redundant Locals. Everybody has their own DVR/Channel with a couple leftover.

I’m at odds with DISH and some of their tactics (Such as no longer willing to work on my roof where they put the dish, using OSHA as an excuse, to be worked out as soon as OSHA comes and evals my site.) and am looking for a possible replacement. When I started reading this, especially the detailed posts by those that have this new set up, and I am looking forward to the potential “hands-on article”, my interest was aroused. But see now other than a newer way to send the programming that involves added gear, of which I have been using modulators for years. I still remain very interested but see no advantage here to what I already have other than it not being DISH.

Posted by mbleigh  on  06/23  at  01:32 PM

@JW,

Would you be willing to share your *unsupported* method?  I consider myself to be pretty knowlegeable with networking, but not really up to snuff on sattelite tech.  I have network connections to both receivers (HR21 DVR and standard HD receiver) so I’m curious if I can just set something up with what I already have.

Posted by Jw  on  06/23  at  02:17 PM

@mbleigh

Basically the unsupported method is just utilizing your home ethernet network or a self-installed DECA network vs. having Directv come out to install/upgrade you to a single wire setup as well as a DECA network.  If you have both your HR21 and your HD receiver connected to your home network you should be good to go.  You would just need to contact Directv to have the Whole Home DVR Service activated on your account.  I would recommend checking out these links:

Enabling MRV on your home network:

http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=177590

Main MRV forum at DBSTalk:

http://www.dbstalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=137

I spend a lot of time on DBSTalk, at least in my opinion this is the best place on the net to find info as well as get questions related to Directv answered.

Posted by mbleigh  on  06/23  at  03:27 PM

What do you do in a situation where your HD Receiver does not have an ethernet port?  I believe that to be the case, I’ll double check.

Posted by Jw  on  06/23  at  10:39 PM

OK, sorry, I read your other post as you already had both receivers connected to your network.  The non-DVR HD receiver has to be a model H21 or higher.  The H20 stb’s that don’t have an ethernet port on them cannot be used for MRV.  If that’s what you have you’ll need to upgrade that box to either another HD DVR or a H21, H23, or H24 HD receiver to utilize the multi-room service. 

I believe that if you have Directv do the upgrade they would upgrade that receive at no cost beyond the install but you would need to verify that with Directv.  If you want to keep things running on your network you could just change out that one box and move forward.

Posted by mbleigh  on  06/27  at  03:09 PM

@JW,

Thanks so much, because of your help, I now have whole house DVR and saved $100!  You’re da bomb.  =)

Posted by Jw  on  06/27  at  10:45 PM

Not a problem, glad things worked out.  I didn’t think of it before but everyone with HD service through Directv should also call them up to ask for free HD service for 24 months.

They are currently advertising free HD for life for new customers.  What they aren’t advertising (to my knowledge) is that existing customers can possibly qualify for a $10 a month credit for 2 years.  The trick to it is you have to either already be signed up for autopay or sign up for it to get the credit.  Also if you already have monthly credits on your account for other things you may not qualify for the free HD until the existing credits expire.

Posted by Kenneth Lawson  on  06/27  at  10:51 PM

Dish Netowrk is now offer free HD for life,,,

Posted by filmex  on  06/28  at  01:47 PM

We have had this service for about a month now and love it. It’s wonderful to start watching a movie in the living room, only to pause it and watch the conclusion in the bedroom.

Over the years when we had Cox, we had to have a DVR in each room we wanted DVR capability, and even then would have to duplicate recording if we wanted to watch the same thing in different rooms.

Plus, the Directv HD DVR kicks the ### of the ATL/SCI unit that Cox uses, in virtually every facet. I’m mad at my self that we didn’t switch earlier.

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