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  • UPDATED: DIRECTV and Samsung's RVU solution



    For the original "Hands On" review of Samsung's RVU-capable TV, click here.

    It's been a little over two months since my initial review of the Samsung Smart TV with DIRECTV RVU support. In the meantime, Samsung has released the 2012 models. I'm hoping to do a review of RVU with a newer TV but for now, let's compare apples to apples.

    It's been a busy time for the HR34 Super DVR. The biggest change came with the introduction of HD menus similar to those used on the other DIRECTV HD receivers. This was a welcome change. A menu doesn't mean a lot, but it was beginning to chafe me a little bit that my "lesser" DVRs looked all modern and this one did not.

    More importantly, significant work has been done on the RVU client and I have to say, it's almost to the point where I could enthusiastically endorse it. Fast forward and rewind have improved dramatically, although they're not as smooth as an HR24 DVR. The whole system feels more responsive as well. I'm really pleased with the direction that they're going here.

    A while back I had an issue with Samsung's 1028 firmware, and for the most part things have settled down there. After a long stretch with Samsung's tech support didn't solve the problem, I tried a basic diagnostic tool: I unplugged the TV and plugged it back in after 30 seconds. This solved the problems I had, and while the problems come back occasionally, all it takes is an unplug/replug and things are back. For the record, I haven't seen the problem come back for about 10 days now.

    I have seen spontaneous reboots from the television, but they are similarly rare and not limited to RVU. I've seen such reboots on Netflix and MLB.TV as well.

    It's ... almost... there. There are still some concerns, but they are now more in the "occasional" category. Sometimes something doesn't behave quite right, but the system has been stable and is looking more and more like the kind of product you'd trust to the general public.

    I do miss the color buttons and that's a problem as the guide still shows a menu that asks me to press red, green, and yellow to move around. My RC70 remote doesn't have a green or yellow button. However, I got this information from some friends at DIRECTV and it works great:

    Use FF and RWD to +/- 12 hours in the Guide
    Use Dash - key to get Guide Options in the Guide
    Enter replaces the Blue key for MiniGuide

    Probably the biggest complaint is that my HR34 now has nice shiny HD menus but the menus on the RVU TV are still blurry. They look like the HD menus, all nice and black, but they're fuzzy like the old blue ones were. I suspect this is to make them load faster, but I can't help thinking the RVU client should have the same menus as the server.

    I also notice that if I set the RVU input to the same levels as the HDMI input, the RVU is dimmer, especially on menus. Samsung TV's have an auto-dimming feature to increase contrast and although you can set the option to "off," it never really turns off. I suspect that it's a little more aggressive on the RVU input than it is on HDMI. This is a known pet peeve on 2011 Samsung TVs across the board.




    DIYers should also note that the PS18 Power Supply is no longer available. A replacement is expected but DIRECTV hasn't released it. In the meantime, instead of the DECA and Power supply, use a Cinema Connection Kit; the results will be the same.

    In the coming months I expect a lot from the Samsung RVU TV, and I think the 2012 TVs with their dual-core processors will also make a big difference. I've also heard the occasional rumbling about a standalone RVU adapter for older TVs, but so far nothing concrete.

    .

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    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Stuart Sweet's Avatar
      Stuart Sweet -
      Like what you've read? Leave a comment!
    1. BIllFRI's Avatar
      BIllFRI -
      Wow! It seems MANY sites that offers 4K UHDTV information (good quality that is!) is diminishing OR its taking everyone a very long time to get the ball rolling again. I see this last post was a few years ago.

      We're in 2016 now, and I simply wanted to share my experiences with what's going on lately with 4K and more specifically AT*T/D1recTV's implementation.

      For me, the HR34 and a S@Msung (RVU Equipped!) TV is ALL that I needed to begin watching 4K from those birds in the sky.

      Here's what I wanted to emphasize perhaps more so than share - there is an INCREDIBLE amount of a VERY, VERY steep learning curve between that company that has the birds in the sky, their installers, and MOST OF ALL their tech support. Here's my example:

      The tech was UNAWARE that the newER S@msung (with built in RVUs) _ONLY_ required the HR34 and NOTHING more. It took TWO techs to understand that. I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it was to demonstrate and prove it to them! You simply use the TV's menu to switch between HD and the (virtual) D1recTV RVU input.

      My output from the HR34, HDMI (out) into HDMI1 (input) on the TV. That's IT! NOTHING ELSE!!!

      Caveats: If you use an A/V receiver and want to listen to the 4K content through your A/V equipment, hopefully your new TV will have PCM/Dolby Digital out or you'll only be able to use the TV internal speakers. (Why? HDCP2.2 ??? "That Company's" newER copy protection.) If you DO decide you want to fish the HDMI->OUT from the HR34 and through your A/V receiver, THEN up to the TV, it will NOT work due to that protocol.

      This may be just a tad-bit of updated information, but I hope I've convinced SOME to _NOT_ let D1recTV MAKE you add their new little G33nie box if you have a newER TV with the built-in RVU. You do _NOT_ need it/them! (Save a couple of $$, anyway.)
    1. BIllFRI's Avatar
      BIllFRI -
      Wow! It seems MANY sites that offers 4K UHDTV information (good quality that is!) is diminishing OR its taking everyone a very long time to get the ball rolling again. I see this last post was a few years ago.

      We're in 2016 now, and I simply wanted to share my experiences with what's going on lately with 4K and more specifically AT*T/D1recTV's implementation.

      For me, the HR34 and a S@Msung (RVU Equipped!) TV is ALL that I needed to begin watching 4K from those birds in the sky.

      Here's what I wanted to emphasize perhaps more so than share - there is an INCREDIBLE amount of a VERY, VERY steep learning curve between that company that has the birds in the sky, their installers, and MOST OF ALL their tech support. Here's my example:

      The tech was UNAWARE that the newER S@msung (with built in RVUs) _ONLY_ required the HR34 and NOTHING more. It took TWO techs to understand that. I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it was to demonstrate and prove it to them! You simply use the TV's menu to switch between HD and the (virtual) D1recTV RVU input.

      My output from the HR34, HDMI (out) into HDMI1 (input) on the TV. That's IT! NOTHING ELSE!!!

      Caveats: If you use an A/V receiver and want to listen to the 4K content through your A/V equipment, hopefully your new TV will have PCM/Dolby Digital out or you'll only be able to use the TV internal speakers. (Why? HDCP2.2 ??? "That Company's" newER copy protection.) If you DO decide you want to fish the HDMI->OUT from the HR34 and through your A/V receiver, THEN up to the TV, it will NOT work due to that protocol.

      This may be just a tad-bit of updated information, but I hope I've convinced SOME to _NOT_ let D1recTV MAKE you add their new little G33nie box if you have a newER TV with the built-in RVU. You do _NOT_ need it/them! (Save a couple of $$, anyway.)

      Lastly - I was told: "I didn't tell you this, but..." 2016 is going to EXPLODE with 4K content - if your current TV is dying on you and/or you're sitting on a fence to move to 4K, '16 is the time!