HD Directv receiver recommendations?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Heath_E, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. Heath_E

    Heath_E Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello everyone,

    I've been away from the forum for quite some time so, needless to say, I am way behind on the current goings on in the HT world. I am finally ready to upgrade to a high definition Directv receiver. This has been spurred recently by the addition of ESPN HD and some NFL Sunday Ticket games being broadcast in HDTV. Anyway, which receivers do you guys recommend? Hopefully there are some out there that don't have chroma problems, as this currently drives me nuts with my Phillips Directv/Tivo unit. Also, are there any HD Directv/Tivo units out there, or on the horizon? Finally, when making a recommendation, please let me know where the best place to buy is. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  3. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I had a Hughes clone stb for almost 2 years (mine was the Toshiba 3000). It is a good box for Directv HD reception.

    It is lousy at ota reception, does a nasty 480i to 1080i upconvert for non-HD channels, and has been known to melt access cards. It requires endless chicken dances to get local HD channels to come in, as it won't tune to the channel unless it has guide data stored for that channel. Just doing a scan will make the channel show up in the list of scanned and available channels but a ridiculously complicated and tedious procedure is necessary to get that channel into the guide so it can actually be watched.

    Once you finally succeed in getting the box to actually tune to and display a local ota digital channel, it had better be a pristine signal with no multipath whatsoever or you will be subjected to constant pixilating, freezeups, and audio dropouts.

    If local ota reception now or in the future is of no possible concern, the Hughes is viable if you can keep it very well ventilated and/or add a computer fan to it. Otherwise it should be avoided like the plague.
     
  4. Heath_E

    Heath_E Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm not really worried about OTA HD, as I live outside New Orleans which is a technological blackhole. It will be a miracle if my son's son gets to enjoy ota here.
     
  5. Todd Schnell

    Todd Schnell Second Unit

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    Heath I can't help you with choosing a DirectTV receiver but, unless your well out of N.O. you should be able to get NBC & CBS HD OTA now. I'm actually just out of Nawlins, & get OTA HD with my Dish 6000 receiver no problem.

    Todd
     
  6. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Heath,

    Don't know if you noticed but I'm in Fresno, the literal armpit of California, and have 9 local ota digital channels. Granted, only 2 of them are passing the HD signal from their respective networks (ABC and NBC) but that gets me almost the entire ABC prime time (all comedies and scripted dramas, most movies of the week), a majority of the good shows on NBC including ER and Boomtown, and MNF in glorious high definition.

    If I've learned one thing in this home theater addiction it's to never assume I will never want or need some new technology or capability.
     
  7. Heath_E

    Heath_E Stunt Coordinator

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    Todd,

    I'm on the north shore now. Before getting local channels from Directv, I used to struggle to receive analog locals with a nice outdoor antenna. My thinking was that I stood no chance with ota HD. Also, I wasn't aware that we had both NBC and CBS HD here. As I said before, I have been uncharacteristically out of the loop in recent time.

    Steve, point well taken. I am going to try to indentify a nice receiver that does a good job of both Directv and ota. Then it will be time to scale my antenna tower again and do some more experimenting.
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  9. Todd Schnell

    Todd Schnell Second Unit

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    Heath,

    You should be able to pick these up then. I'm using basic rabbit ears for now. I hear ABC was also hoping to have their DTV up this month. UPN in Slidell is also up & running digital. I think Fox is shooting for the end of this year to go on the air.

    Todd
     
  10. Jacques C

    Jacques C Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are looking for a OTA tuner as well as a Directv reciever, there is some consensus that the Zenith 520 (NOT the 420 which is OTA only) and the Sony HD200 have the best OTA reception available. The Zenith and Sony are the same innards with some small differences in outputs. Both do component, VGA, and DVI, though.
     
  11. Mirko

    Mirko Agent

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    I notice that the price for a new subscriber set-up on Direct TV goes way up if you include a HD receiver. I am thinking of just getting a 3 room unit with TIVO but without the HD. Then, in the future, I may add the HD receiver, especially if the prices come down some. Am I on the right track?

    Thanks
     
  12. Heath_E

    Heath_E Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Heath,

    After nearly 2 years of frustration trying to get local ota digital stations on a Hughes clone box I decided to get really serious. My box was a Toshiba dst-3000 and I had a protection plan from DirecTV. One day it refused to respond to the remote for hours at a time. I called DirecTv and they sent out a brand new Hughes E-86. It responded to the remote but still wouldn't get a stable picture on any of the 9 local ota digital channels.

    In a weekend frenzy I tried new downleads from my roof antenna (which got fine analog reception), two different new antennas with and without amps.

    I finally went to CC and bought a Zenith 420 ota-only box, just to see if another brand of box would work. It got all but 1 of my local ota digital channels just fine (the 1 bad one, I later found out, had an encoder problem at the transmitter). The next day I returned the 420 for credit toward a Sony HD-200 since they were out of the Zenith 520. I finally getting solid reliable ota HD reception with none of the constant problems that plagued both Hughes-made boxes.

    There's a long thread over at AVS' HD-hardware forum now reporting that Hughes/DirecTV is now switching over to a box made by LG Electronics, who also mfg the Zenith and Sony.
     

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