First 10 minutes with a DIRECTV HD DVR

I have had TiVo for over 7 years. Quite a few TiVo DVRs have been connected to my TVs over the years, including my HR10-250, which is our family’s TV workhorse.

Yesterday, for the first time in my own personal DVR history, I connected a non-TiVo DVR to a television in my home. With the impending launch of new HD stations from DIRECTV, and my own personal need to have a better understanding of DIRECTV’s HR20, I installed one yesterday.

I cannot yet comment on my experience with using this box, as I have still not recorded a single thing. (I’m bringing the box to the office today to get it upgraded.) However, I can report how surprised I was by how utterly IMPOSSIBLE it was to program the universal remote to my system. Now that I have overcome my issues, perhaps this will help someone else:

1) Don’t even TRY to program your remote to a stereo unless you have first programmed your TV into the remote. I don’t need my DIRECTV universal to program my TV. I need the remote to control the volume/mute on my stereo receiver. There are 7 codes for my stereo, but the one that seemed to work ONLY turned the thing on and off. It would not control the volume or mute! Drove me NUTS. After some web searching, I discovered that the DIRECTV remote will not allow you to program volume/mute on a stereo,unless and until you have a TV programmed in. So I programmed a random TV into my remote, and voila! the volume/mute on the stereo worked without my doing anything more.

2) You may need to download the remote’s programming manual from DIRECTV’s site. My HR20 did not come with a remote programming manual, because (in theory) the on-screen instructions are supposed to be enough. But check this out: My Samsung TV has no fewer than 24 possible codes…but on screen, it showed about 9 of them, followed by “….” and it didn’t display the rest. Maybe there is some magical way of seeing the rest of the codes on screen, but it sure wasn’t obvious to me.

So now that I have my remote programmed, I am excited to start using this thing. Rest assured, though, my HR10-250 will still have the prized spot in my entertainment cabinet, and I’m quite sure that no one else in my family will even touch DIRECTV’s HR20 for many months, if not years to come.

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