DirecTV HR34/700 1080p HD DVR receiver

Reviewed by:
Chris Thompson,
Solid receiver, good performance even on networked receivers. Intuitive and easy to use.

Familiar DirecTV user interface and design, beats UVerse and Comcast in my opinion

4 of 5

We recently upgraded to the new 5 tuner DirecTV HR34 HD 1080p DVR receiver. It’s definitely an improvement from our old UVerse DVR receiver, which I felt was slow and clumsy. Let’s go over some of the key features in this review and why I say you’ll consider it a step up.
DirecTV HR34-700 front
If you’ve already read this article and are looking for details on the 0x547 (1351) software update, click here to skip to page 3.

We obtained our receiver via a contract with DirecTV. I was shopping at Fry’s in Northern California and signed up at the DirecTV booth in the television section. The agent who helped me was knowledgeable, she had been with DirecTV for several years and could answer all my questions. Supposedly DirecTV just started offering this receiver in our area, so I thought it would be another good review opportunity. I signed a 2 year contract because we needed installation and I know it’s included for free when you sign a contract. Although I had to pay about $120 up front for the newer HR34 receiver, we ended up getting an all inclusive deal for $47 a month for the first year. That’s the middle of the road channel package, HDTV service, the HR34 (which is shared over a coaxial network) and 2 HD receivers. Not bad considering UVerse was charging us over $100 per month and not delivering on a good user experience. The second year does go up to about $60 per month which is still reasonable, then after 2 years we can elect to cancel. After having service for about a month now (which includes a couple months of free HBO, Showtime, etc) we’re pleased with the service, selection, and receivers. I listed the old HR24 receivers below that are available on Amazon, at these prices I’m not sure why you wouldn’t go for the new HR34-700 instead. The more expensive one is the receiver & DVR, the cheaper one is just a receiver only.

The Goods:
Of course one of the biggest differentiators about the HR34 is the fact it has 5 HD tuners, which virtually eliminates DVR tuner anxiety. Our last UVerse receiver could only record 2 HD shows at once, which caused issues on Sunday nights. I had to watch football in standard definition a few times, which was unacceptable. 1 Terabyte of storage means no storage anxiety either, that’s good for 230+ hours of MPEG4 video (channel bandwidth varies). Among other nice features include a built in temperature monitor, and a learning remote which is intelligent for once.

No optical audio out? There’s a digital coaxial audio out at least, but what if your receiver doesn’t support that?
DirecTV HR34-700 back

Very stable
We are coming up on a year with the HR 34 and it is more stable now than when we first purchased it. DirecTV is good about sending updates and just the other day I noticed a new user interface feature. Over the last few months, the receiver had frozen twice and needed to be rebooted (the reboot button is conveniently placed under the front right side access panel). It takes a while to reboot and sometimes needs to rebuild the index which can take 15 minutes or more. Reboot the receiver once a month and I predict you’ll probably never have an issue with the unit. Next page >>