Monday, May 31, 2010

DirecTv: I've been a DirecTv customer for 13 years, and especially liked the years where I had a TiVo DVR from DirecTv. They currently broadcast ~150 full time National Channels in HD, far more than Dish or Comcast, but 2 months ago they turned off HD broadcasting using MPEG2 which uses 50% more bandwidth than MPEG4 which they now use for all HD broadcasting. The one TiVo model (the HR10-250) that received HD broadcasts was thus crippled, and although DirecTv offered to replace it with a model capable to receiving MPEG4 HD broadcasts, I held out for their current top-of-the-line model, the HR24. I'm glad I did. While the HR24 doesn't have a User Interface as simple and elegant as a TiVo, it performs better than their earlier HR20, HR21, HR22 and HR23 models. The HR24 feature set is listed here: I like its larger hard drive, and it has capability to use SWM (one cable to feed two signals rather than two) and DECA (allowing that one cable to also carry Ethernet. While it doesn't change channels as fast as a UVerse receiver, in all other aspects it's better. My HR10 has now been sold on eBay.

DirecTv claims a TiVo MPEG4 unit will be available in about 6 months. But they've lost all credibility on that score, as that promise has been in effect since September 2008.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Flying to Europe: I'm flying to Barcelona at the end of June, and hope the current lack of issues there from volcanic ash is the case then.