It’s the day many in the DIRECTV TiVo world have been waiting for, December 8. Today is the day DIRECTV has been promising as the release date for it’s “new” DVR based on the TiVo OS. And, according to both TiVo and DIRECTV it’s available. In limited release. In certain markets. Through DIRECTV only.
OK – we TiVo lovers will take what we can get, so this is better than nothing. Given the limited availability of this DVR and worldwide hard drive shortages, it sure smells like a “let’s get it out in 2011” Hail Mary. Since authorized DIRECTV retailers won’t get the box until next year, we here at weaKnees have yet to see a physical unit.
Next up, what actually is it? Well, the THR22 is largely an HR22 DIRECTV HD DVR running different software, and shipping with a TiVo peanut remote. Unfortunately, this means the hardware is a bit behind the latest and greatest, smaller-size, faster-running, DIRECTV HD DVR HR24, but, again, beggars can’t be choosers.
And there are some trade-offs involved here. On the plus side, you get the TiVo interface (no, not the HD TiVo interface on TiVo Premiere units, but the SD interface from earlier models). You can record MPEG4 HD channels on TiVo (finally!) and you get the TiVo peanut remote, instead of the rectangular DirecTV remote (more on the remote later).
On the minus side, no Whole Home DVR (also called Multi-Room Viewing, or MRV), no NOMAD or iPad support, no 3D, and some other issues. Now, this unit is capable, hardware-wise, of these options, so there’s a chance that TiVo and DIRECTV will update the software to enable these features over time. But, given the slow pace of software development on this project thus far, we aren’t holding our breath.
Details are still coming about this new release, and we’re sure there are a lot more questions about it than we’ve answered here, but here’s one more tidbit. The peanut remote for this unit will reportedly run DIRECTV IR codes, not TiVo IR codes. That’s good and bad. Current TiVo peanut remotes (including the TiVo Slide Remote) won’t work with this new unit, as far as we understand. But this special peanut remote WILL work with other DIRECTV HD DVRs. So if you have an HR24 and you’re happy with it except for the remote, getting your hands on the new peanut might be the answer.
For us at weaKnees, of course, some of us will be getting these THR22s, partly to learn about them more fully, and partly because we’ll opt for the TiVo interface over the lost features and speed of the HR24. Also, being weaKnees, we want to know how much capacity we can cram into these units. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know how upgrades will work. But we’re on the case, and we’ll post what we know, when we know it.
Meanwhile, we’re being told we’ll have an inventory of THR22 boxes early next year, when the boxes roll out nationally. We hope to be offering upgrades sooner than that.
Stay tuned. We’ll be posting more info here in the coming weeks.