Tiny and fast
From top to bottom: H25 receiver, HR44 Genie DVR, HR24 DVR
If there was one word to describe the HR34 Genie DVR, it wouldn't be "small." The HR34 towered over its fellow DVRs sporting huge fans on the sides. It was the Incredible Hulk of DVRs... not slender, but mighty powerful. DIRECTV takes a quantum leap here with the HR44, which is even smaller than an HR24. It's really only a little bigger than an H24 receiver, except it has large vent areas on the left and right. The front panel size is almost exactly the same size as the H24.
Without those massive fans, it's quiet too. It's barely noticeable even in the quietest room. It doesn't win the silence crown -- that still belongs to the C31 Genie Client -- but it comes mighty close.
The secret is simple: this is the first DIRECTV DVR to use a power supply "brick" instead of having the power supply in the box. This seems to be the direction that DIRECTV is going with all its products, since the H25 and C31 Genie Client both use power bricks. It makes sense, because it cuts down on cooling requirements and also makes the power supply easier to replace. Someone must have noticed that the power supply is among the most common points of failure in older DVRs.
The brick is different from those used on the H25 and C31. It uses a different connector and is a 12 volt, 4 amp power supply.
DIRECTV DVRs all got a speed bump with the increase of the HD menus last year, and even though the HR34 was fast enough, it was never as fast as the HR24. That changes here as well. The HR44 is hands down the fastest DVR we've ever tested and we've got the video proof at the end of this review. It's almost impossible to press buttons faster than the DVR will respond.
The increased speed is obvious whenever you're using the menus. It's still a little slow to tune channels because that's a consequence of using satellite technology. You'll also find that the C31 Genie Client is faster when using the HR44, since it gets a lot of its menus from the Genie DVR as well. It's a welcome improvement and puts DIRECTV right on top of the DVR game.
Forget about long reboots, too -- the HR34 was notorious for 20-minute reboots especially if it was getting new software. The new HR44 never took more than 6 minutes to boot up, and usually took about 4 minutes. What a difference!
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