The Best Things in Life Are HD

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At a Glance
  • Hughes HR10-250 200 Hour

Watch and record high-definition content--even scrambled programs--with the DirecTV HD DVR.
Watch and record high-definition content--even scrambled programs--with the DirecTV HD DVR.
Who needs human companionship? I don't, now that I can receive, watch, and record high-definition television programs with one box.

Premium HD

That box is the $1000 DirecTV HD DVR, which contains four tuners (with two satellite and two antenna connections for over-the-air digital TV) and a built-in DVR with TiVo. Multiple tuners means you can record two HD shows at once (including premium, scrambled content like The Sopranos)--and watch another, prerecorded show simultaneously. Sweet! The 250GB hard drive holds about 30 hours of HD programming or 200 hours of standard-def. The only bummer is the general lack of great HD content--there are only so many times I can watch a lemur preen on Discovery HD. But receiving and recording HBO movies in HD is pretty darn cool.

The device lets you switch between 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i resolutions. The box even does an admirable job of turning regular, unappealing 480i into a crisp 480p image. The remote looks just like TiVo's and includes a handy button for switching between wide- and full-screen modes.

The device seamlessly integrates digital over-the-air channels and satellite channels for smooth surfing. DirecTV's eight current HD channels are all grouped together for easy locating.

In fact, the only problem I experienced was sluggish performance of the on-screen guide and TiVo menu (DirecTV says it is aware of the problem and that it is working on improvements). Also, the box isn't particularly attractive, but that's just nitpicking at this point.

Costly Solution

The DirecTV HD DVR ain't cheap. Plus there's the cost of service and installation (which varies, depending on your setup). The best package--all channels, HD content, and TiVo service--will run about $100 a month. Cut out 20 Starbucks Venti Frappuccinos per month, and you're set.

Cost aside, the DirecTV HD DVR is the best way that I've found to watch and record HD--and learn a thing or two about the Madagascar spotted lemur in the process.

HD Receiver and DVR

DirecTV HD DVR HR10-250

DW verdict: A godsend if you want to TiVo high-def content.
Price when reviewed: $1000
Current prices (if available)

This story, "The Best Things in Life Are HD" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Hughes HR10-250 200 Hour

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