DirecTV’s Whole Home DVR Now Available ($3)

Dave Zatz —  May 14, 2010 — 28 Comments

After several months of private testing, followed by an open beta, DirecTV has formally introduced their whole-home DVR service. As a fan of the ‘hub and spoke’ digital distribution model, the MoCA-based solution looks quiet compelling. Of course, DirecTV subscribers would need at least one HD DVR. But each additional room (up to 15!) can be outfitted with a less pricey HD receiver to schedule or view recordings from the primary DVR. Free would be nice, but you really can’t go wrong a low $3 monthly surcharge.

Thanks, Jon!!

28 responses to DirecTV’s Whole Home DVR Now Available ($3)

  1. TiVo’s MRV functionality is lapped once again. Sigh.

  2. That’s cool!! Now my kids wont be in my room watching their taped shows.

  3. Ryan Roat (RSR) May 14, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I like the premise of the MOCA solution: dual tuner satellite signal and network connectivity on a single coax, but I assume Directv’s not just handing the hardware out. What are the costs of such hardware?

  4. I wonder how/if this will work for those, like me, that use MoCA for their home networking. In other words, will using this system with other MoCA adapters lead to network collisions.

    Otherwise, sounds like a great solution. And to Dave’s point, Tivo, is a whole-house DVR really that hard to implement? I’d gladly give up the HDUI on my Premiere boxes for this type of solution.

  5. Ryan, I’m not a DirecTV expert by any means the service ordering wizard makes it looks like the base fees are $200 for a HD DVR and $100 for each HD Receiver, probably plus some monthly service charge or additional rental fees.

    Gilbert, Can’t imagine it’d be a problem. These are all MoCA certified as your stuff probably is too and a base MoCA network supports 16 devices I think.

  6. No kidding Dave! TiVo’s MRV needs a serious update. Not only are the streaming HD videos slower than real-time (even over a wired network, using TiVo HDs), but there’s no ability to schedule something in another room. Frustratingly, if you try to tape something in one room only to find out that both tuners are already in use, there’s no way to schedule that show on another TiVo without walking to the other TiVo, and you can’t see the To Do lists on other Tivo’s to verify that something will tape… Though I love the streaming music, Netflix, the UI, and the ability to copy shows onto the PC, and though I’ve been a TiVo owner since 1999, I think the ones I’ve got will be my last unless there’s a big improvement soon. And I’ve stopped recommending TiVo to my friends in favor of the cable-supplied DVRs.

  7. What is also interesting is that DirecTV is using DECA technology to do RJ45 over the SWM for the data transfer. No extra wiring needed other then the SWM. This is great for non-techie folks

    I think that’s something important to point out!

    http://www.highdefforum.com/directv-forum/101990-deca-directv-ethernet-coaxial-adapter.html

  8. Finally. It’s been years since they started talking about this. FWIW, TiVo’s MRV tech was lapped in 2002 when ReplayTV introduced room-to-room streaming.

  9. Also worth noting (beyond Jon’s comment #7), which I didn’t have time to hit (day job followed by quick weekend get away – at airport now), is that you can add tuners by adding HD DVRs. So something like 2 HD DVRs and 2 HD Receivers would offer 4 tuners, supporting 4 rooms.

  10. Caleb Clauset May 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Very interesting… TiVo has been the primary reason why I’ve kept cable, but this may be enough to break free. It would mean a separate device for Netflix, but I haven’t been impressed with TiVo’s Netflix implementation.

  11. I like the idea of “quiet compelling” products. Will it work with my 2yr old?

    More seriously though, you’d think Tivo would be embarrassed by now. I’m almost embarrassed to admit I’ve been a Tivo customer since 2000. And given their history with the S3 and S4, I don’t believe they’ll turn things around without a massive culture change. How is Tom Rogers still in charge?

  12. Never fear; TiVo will do fine even without true whole-home functionality. They’re adding Twitter support, which is awesome, because I’d much rather use my TiVo to tweet — I can use my iPhone to watch shows.

    Obviously, I jest. I think TiVo has lost focus on the core TiVo experience. They are bolting-on unrelated features instead of making it easier for users to watch shows when ever and where ever. I think I see why DirecTV keeps delaying TiVo roll-out — TiVo can’t do what other DirecTV DVRs can.

    Just as Rich W commented, I’ve been a TiVo user for 10 years and owned almost that many TiVos, but my 2 remaining TiVo HDs will likely be my last unless something drastically changes.

  13. I did the beta testing on this, it worked OK for me but you really need the new DECA set up I think. Powerline and wireless ethernet are not fast enough for HD programming. I am debating if I want to spring for the DECA set up ($99 plus $49 install). I might wait a month or so and see what deals are being offered to current D* customers, I have read some people were already getting the install fees waived. As for new customers the DECA install is included along with a SWM set up.

  14. John P. Speno May 15, 2010 at 9:46 am

    So this is almost as good as ReplayTV? I’ve been waiting for something to replace those boxes when they die. Ours our almost 10 years old now.

    I’m curious about the requirements that state:

    Please note: Professional installation of your Internet connection is required if you have Whole-Home DVR service. Please do not attempt to connect your HD DVR to the Internet yourself.

    Why do you think this is? Why isn’t it as simple of plugging them in to my existing wired ethernet connections?

    Thanks.

  15. I just spent well over an hour with DTV trying to find out why I didn’t qualify for the Whole House DVR. While on hold and poking through the FAQs I found the point on “Professional Installation” being required. When support came back she had also found out that the DECA was needed. No where on the Web site does it say anything about needing extra hardware and installation. In fact there is a simple “Activate Now” button that’s not going to work for anybody but new installations that had this interface installed. Apparently the boxes will communicate over the COAX and not over your home LAN even if it’s wired. Bummer cause I don’t know that I need to spend $99 to have somebody come out and install a box I should be able to do myself.

  16. I assume that DirecTV doesn’t suffer from the same HDCP limitations of transferring HD protected shows from room to room like the Tivo does? I’ve got two Series 3 boxes on TW cable and since TW is flagging EVERY CHANNEL (except broadcast nets) as Copy Never it’s made my Tivo’s almost useless. Looks like DirecTV might be gaining a new customer. 10 years with Tivo now – RIP my old friend.

  17. @WLaddR: Not true. I have been using MRV with my R45 connected HR20 DVRs since the beta was released. Works great over Ethernet.

    WRT “Professional Installation” I assume they are referring to installing the SWM and DECA bridges. If you don’t use them, then I cannot see how this would be needed. Of course for most customers the value of the solution IS DECA, so may be a moot point :)

    @Rucker: Any of the HR20 or later boxes can work with MRV. As for DECA, I believe these devices bridge between the R45 and COAX for the older units…but I could be mistaken.

  18. just ordered, they are not budging on the $150 and are also insisting on a 1yr committment, or 2yrs if new box is required.

  19. @WB it’s my understanding you shouldn’t have to extend your commitment as long as you don’t require a new box (HR/H24). I’d double check with them as to why they are requiring you to up the commitement. As for equipment, you do need a SWiM system to make things work with DECA. Just about everyone that tries to activate online will be told they need to call in, being almost all installs over the last 2 years haven’t included all the equipment required for MRV. There are work arounds you can do to get MRV viewing via ehternet but you will still need to call in and work with a CSR to get it “Flagged” onto your account. There are directions posted on the DBSTalk fourm telling you how to go abotu it.

  20. Why should we have to pay extra for the whole home HD DVR when AT&T gives it away for free. The Beta was working well on ethernet at my home. they turned it of and I will not pay the gravey money fee to them to have it turned on. It should be free since we are paying so much now for the service.

  21. Stan, Since you were in the beta you should call in. I read they were giving it to beta testers for free. Maybe only rumor, but worth a call?

  22. Not only do you pay $3 per month, there’s a $99 “upgrade fee” and a $50 “installation fee” for the whole home DVR service. Would have been nice if they featured this on their website instead of springing it on me during my phone call with the DirecTV rep.

  23. Just had it installed and couldn’t be happier. 5 HD DVRs wired together with On Demand. Love it, love it, love it.

  24. I liked the service during the beta period, but I can’t believe they are charging for this service. Makes me want to switch to AT&T.

  25. Believe me you can get a deal. I called and complained about the HD for life for new customers. Before I was done, I had a new HD-DVR, free HD for the next 24 months, which saves 10 dollars and 2 more boxes. and 20 dollars off 2 more packages I have. So everything was going to cost me about $200 to install. You do the math. 3 boxes, 1 being an HD-DVR(normally 199 itself) free HD for 24 months(240 dollars of savings) and 20 dollars off of 2 other programming for 6 months(120 savings).

    I think that is worth the install.

  26. I had the installers come out 4 times and my hd reciever still will not work. I moved it from room to room they state it is the cabling. I moved a know good box to the bad box location and it worked for 20 hours. they need to learn what they are doing before installing it.

  27. OK

    I already have thier latest HD dvr units (2 of em) and 3 3rd hd receiver, already paying for all the added services and alreayd installed my own wireless hookups for the internet access functions, and the units are already hooked up across the RG-6 to the big dish on the side of my chimney, that they insisted their guy had to install, only to have him botch the work so i have a dented dish but things work: so i call to see about enabeling the whole house service feature for the extra monthly up charge only to be informed that there is a 200$ install fee that does not show up on their site where they advertise the service….
    SO What does it actualy take to make them all work together – is there a web site someplace that gives you the real facts?

  28. I just learned the same thing about the $200 fee last night when I called to order the new receivers. I was quite shocked that it was the first time I heard or saw anything about this additional HUGE charge!

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