Re: DirecTV HR21 Pro - released yesterday?
I had an HR21-100 DirecTV HD receiver installed day before yesterday. I am upgrading from a Samsung SIR-T160. Because I have a monitor only HDTV and needed an over the air antennae connection, which the HR21 does not have, I left the SIR-T160 hooked up.
When the technician doing the install turned the HR21 on I remarked on the poor quality picture and asked him to tune to an HD channel. He said, "This is an HD channel." He thought the picture looked perfect. I thought that the colors looked washed out and overall resolution was severely lacking. We were using the HDMI connection so I suggested we try the component cables. The picture got worse. We switched back to the HDMI and then reinstalled my old receiver using the component cables. Turned the old box on and tuned both receivers to the same ESPNHD channel. As soon as we set the TV to the input for the old receiver the difference was immediately apparent. Where the statistics line at the bottom of the screen was barely readable with the new receiver, they were clear and crisp on the old one.
Flipping the video inputs of the monitor back and forth between the 2 receivers the differences in picture quality became painfully apparent in nearly every subjective category. Color saturation is especially lacking in the HR21. The resolution from the HR21 can't compete with that of my standard def DVD player and is far below that of the SIR-T160. Up till now the installer had been thinking that I'm just some nit picky weirdo. The first words out of his mouth upon seeing the picture produced by the old receiver was, "Wow!"
2 years ago I tried 'upgrading' to the H20 receiver only to send it back and wait for the next model. It seems that the wait was in vain. My personal opinion is that the MPEG 4 codecs are not as good/mature as MPEG 2 codecs. DirecTV says that I'm the first to complain about the quality of the new HR21 and they are sending me a replacement unit thinking that possibly the one I have is defective.
I'm curious to know if there are others who have 'upgraded' from a third party HD receiver to one made by DirecTV who are experiencing the same let down as I.
I've not yet read your review of the H21 but shall just as soon as I'm finished here.