DIRECTV whole-home DVR service fills void left by TiVo

One feature I really missed when I got rid of my TiVos and switched back to DIRECTV was the ability to record a show on one TiVo and watch it back on any other TiVo. It wasn’t perfect (wireless transfer was slow, you couldn’t pause in one room and resume in another and you couldn’t delete a finished show if it was recorded on a remote TiVo) but it was good enough to get by.

Since dropping my TiVo service, other services like AT&T’s U-verse and Comcast’s Xfinity have overcome the shortcomings I previously mentioned and offered a true (well, at least better) multi-room viewing experience.

But still nothing with DIRECTV. And I can’t switch because I am married to DIRECTV’s exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket.

DIRECTV finally jumps in the game

Finally, about a month ago, I received a flyer in my DIRECTV statement announcing whole-home DVR service. It boasted the following features:

  • Record shows on one DVR and watch thm on any TV in your house
  • Begin a show in one room and finish watching in another
  • Manage DVR lists from any TV connected to an HD receiver
  • Get more storage – twice as much as cable
  • Record 2 live shows while watching 2 different recordings

I was instantly sold and immediately called DIRECTV to activate the service. Turns out there’s a bit of installation ($158 worth to be exact) that needs to be done followed by a $3/month charge but I wasn’t going to let that get in my way. Especially since Noobie was picking up the tab.

DIRECTV whole-home DVR service

Before I go on, let me qualify the $158 charge. Remember, when I mentioned that my TiVo had really slow wireless transfer? I was worried about the same thing with DIRECTV. But the $158 you spend eliminates that problem. DIRECTV installs an ethernet coaxial adapter, called a DECA, on each of your receivers which allows your programming to be transferred along your existing satellite wiring (which is extremely fast) without the need for any additional wiring.

Once the DECAs are in place and a minor adjustment is made to the head of your satellite dish, you are good to go. Well, at least you should be good to go.

Houston, we have a problem

I debated long and hard whether or not I should dedicate a separate blog post to this but in the end decided against it. Instead let me air my dirty laundry as briefly as I can right here. The installation experience I described above was a complete nightmare for me. Nothing worked right after the initial installation, the technicians were anything but customer friendly and my wife and I spent countless hours and days calling DIRECTV trying to resolve the problem. Finally, someone at DIRECTV was able to determine that the service package I had with DIRECTV was an older package that was incompatible with the whole-home DVR service. The solution was to rebuild my service package from the ground up which took about 5-10 minutes and completely fixed the problem.

All’s well that ends well

Luckily for DIRECTV, the end was worth the means. I absoluely LOVE the whole-home DVR service. And with two HD DVRs I can now seamlessly record, start, stop, pause and delete a show in any room in my house with a connected receiver.