DirecTV HD DVR:It's your receiver!
I have been reading so many complaints and posts about DirecTV and their HD DVR's that I finally decided to make all of you aware of what is really happening.
To begin with, it is not your TV set and very likely not your dish. It is your receiver. The HR20 and HR21 receivers are just not very good.
These receivers use MPG4 signals and are compressing to the point where the clarity is really affected. I have an HR21 (my 6th receiver in the last 10 months) and I also have an HR 20 (non DVR) sitting right next to it. Both are hooked up to my 60 inch SONY TV, HDMI etc. Long story short the picture is not even close. The HR20 (no DVR MPG2) is so much clearer it is really sad. Not only is the picture on the DVR worse, it has many glitches that are not fixable. This is not an opinion it is a statement of fact. I have sat down with several people that probably have forgotten more about this stuff than any of us will ever know and they have explained the problems. Basically these units have a flaw that can not be repaired by software upgrades. It's would be similar to a computer company releasing a computer that had a fatal flaw that was not fixable by upgardes. In addition the compression with MPEG4 is such that the quality of the signal is really affected.
I am writing this post so any of you who have been going crazy with replacement receiver and technicians coming out don't keep wasting your valuable time. It won't matter. Your options are to live with it(yes including the system not recording from time to time), go to DISH Network (fewer HD channels they don't even have local HD in Las Vegas) or you cable company (I know!)
If you have the ability to get OTA local HD the quality is so much better, but often because of the transmission locations you can only get some of the local networks. If you can get them you should do it. At least you'll have the highest quality HD signal for your local broadcasts and it's free.
Also keep in mind if you keep getting replacements receivers from DirecTV you need to make sure it does not extend your contract without you knowing it. They tried it on me but I pushed back on it so they dropped it. Ask before getting any more replacements
Anyway hope this answers some of the posts I have seen regarding the picture quality as well as the unit functionality.