HD receiver w/hdmi for Sony LCD television

I am thinking of switching from Time Warner to Direct TV. However, several websites have posted quite a few negative reviews for the Direct TV HR20-700HD receiver that replaced the HR10-250. Would appreciate the views/suggestions of Audiogon members that are using the HR20-700HD receiver.
Thanks in advance for all responses.
Your only other option is to buy a used HR10-250. There are no other alternatives. The 250 will not decode MPEG-4
broadcasts. Most folks who complain about the 700 have been using the 250 which is a better machine. It seems folks who are not used to the Tivo interface have been a bit happier with the 700. I've been a DirecTv customer for a very long time. There picture quality and customer service have both gone down hill over the last several years. I don't recommend them to anyone. I'm hanging in until AT&T deploys FIOS in my area and then I'm dumping satellite.
Ditto on Narrod's comments.

I've been with DirecTV for 10 years and watched quality drop, advertising increase 300%-400% and prices escalate.

I'm waiting for Time Warner to put in fiber which is supposed to be this year. I already use Time Warner for internet and get consistent 6MBPS downloads and speed test results. 10MBPS is available for an additional $10.00 month.

Best of all, when fiber is installed I can access same programming as DirecTV, retain my same internet speed and get telephone service in a bundle for less than $100.00 month.

The main strength of DirecTV is signal to noise, on my system there is virtually no noise at all. Local cable with copper (as it is now) has continuous noise, making it unacceptable at this time. I hope their promise for super quality service is a reality or I'll be stuck.

I have both an HR10-250 and an HR20-700. I'm a big fan of TiVo, which the HR10-250 provides, but the HR20-700 has its own set of features that better the HR10-250. There is no question in my mind that TiVo provides better capabilities for searching for future programs. But if you don't have TiVo now, the HR20-700 is a very nice machine.

Incidently, I had never before had reason to try the HDMI output from my HR10-250, because it connects to a Sony 36 XBR CRT. When I bought the Sony 32 XBR LCD for the bedroom, I discovered its HDMI output doesn't function. HDMI from the HR20-700 to the Sony LCD is spectacular for HD.

Also, whereas I had believed the local ABC and NBC affliates in Santa Barbara blocked HD, the HR20-700 with its new 5 LBN dish receives HD from those affliates. It's a matter of locals using a different compression scheme as I understand it.

Bottom line: I don't hesitate in recommending the HR20-700, but if you're a TiVo fan, I'd keep at least one TiVo-capable receiver on one of my sets.

I am with Dish Network. They have had MPEG 4 a bit longer and most of the bugs are gone.
I was with D* for 10 years. I just got tired of how they treat 100-a-month (tv/only) subscribers.----Oh, I got more tired of the false promises--for more HD. When mpeg 4 was announced 2/3 years ago I was expecting more HD but instead all the bandwidth got sucked up for locals. I had to have a rooftop anyway/from the early days.----THEN---
I read a TWC brochure and saw they has Stars/C-max in HD. That got me interested. I found out they had more HD for less. I ain't a NFL package guy, so they had more for less of what I wanted. I didn't have to buy my DVR and it has the hdmi-out. I know the first Sat.dvr cost a grand;which was to high for me. I'm sure the SA8300hd is better. and much faster.--(I also had Voom and basic D* for about 5 months) I also wonder if D* has added ch.9 for LA?? Cable doesn't make big fake-promises, imo,so we now have ch.9.-hd. It will cost a lot to go back to D* and all my equipment will have to be changed out.--I do pay $8.30 per mo. more, but did I mention the Tennis ch??

About three months ago I finished up my home theater showroom (in my house)and used the opportunity to upgrade several pieces of gear, incl. an HR20-700HD. I ordered it online through Best Buy, then picked it up at the local Best Buy. After 2 or 3 frustrating hours trying to get it to work I went to Cnet and found it's 3 out of 10 rating and pages of angry reviews from frustrated users. I then spent another hour on the phone with a DirecTV rep, trying to get it to work. He finally realized that I had gotten one of the earlier versions from old Best Buy stock. He sent a brand new version by second day air and took the original one back. The new one has worked pretty much flawlessly and I am still finding out all of the amazing things that it is capable of doing. Another maddening example of a defective product being released before it is ready. It's not surprising that it was made by another Rupert Murdoch company, instead of one that had years of experience, such as Tivo. They finallly got so many complaints, and realized how much money and bad PR it was costing them that they seem to have fixed all the bugs.

Last night I switched back and forth from the ESPN HD cast of the Twins game to the recorded version and could not find any real difference between the two in audio and video quality. I have the HR20 set to 1080i output run via 35' HDMI cable to a Sony VPL-VW50 Pearl projector to a 92" diagonal screen. A lot of the quality of the picture seems to depend on the quality of the feed that DirecTV gets from the providers. ESPN HD, Discovery HD, and one or two others are consistently better than the other HD channels. The picture quality is still stunning on all of them, just a tad better on some. I also recently got the 5 LNB dish (free install) and now get local HD Denver channels, which varies even more than the nationals in picture quality, again seeming to indicate that the issue might be more about the quality of the feed that DirecTV is getting. DTV is soon to launch 2 new satellites with over 100 new HD channels coming on. It will probably take them a few days or weeks to get all the bugs out of that setup and tweak it to good quality levels.

I have been with DTV for over 10 years. Their customer service has recently greatly improved. One of their main pluses is their sports packages, incl. MLB, NFL, NASCAR, etc. They also have other perks, such as many of the XM Radio channels, with outstanding fidelity, if you want to play commercial free music without changing CD's or managing playlists, etc.

Anyway, if you are going to get one of their HD receiver/ recorders, be aware that they are $300 up front, then you lease the gear for $4.99/ month, $5.99/month for DVR service fee, and $9.99/month for HD Access. Be sure that you call them and order direct from them, and insist that you get new stock. Overall I am happy with the A/V quality and service.
My charge was $199 without a monthly lease charge, because the $199 is in effect a prepaid lease. DTV continues to own the HR20-700, and should I terminate service the unit must be returned to them. I saved the box. I already had HD service in another room, so there is no extra charge for service to additional rooms. My HR10-250 is unable to access the ABC and NBC local HD stations, though I could receive ABCW and NBCW HD if they were blocked by the local affiliates.

As I understand it, the $199 price is available only once every six months.