This is a special post at the request of one of my readers, Glenda Laine, who wants more details on the local channel options mentioned in the previous blog post. That is the only topic for this post, so if you aren’t interested, feel free to skip this one.
OK, so you are interested….this only applies to Direct TV DVR service and not the Direct TV TiVo units nor DISH service. If you do not have a Direct TV DVR, this won’t help you at all.
We actually have a number of Direct TV DVR/TiVo units on our account. There are basically three types of Direct TV DVR, not counting the old TIVO units that Direct TV used to use.
First is the HR20-700. This unit has the digital TV channel (DTV) capability built in. If you have this unit, the local DTV broadcast channels are available in the setup menus. You win. We have one of these at home and it works great!
Second is the HR22-100. This unit does not have DTV built in. There is also an HR21-100 which I think is very similar, but perhaps less capacity. For this unit to have DTV capabilities, you need to add an external device called the AM21 Off Air Tuner. This is available from Direct TV (on phone or website) and costs $50. You might find one elsewhere (Craigslist or EBay for example).
To use the AM21, you remove the power cord from the DVR and plug it into the AM21. Then there is a cord supplied to connect power from the AM21 to the DVR. Also there is a USB cord that you connect between the AM21 and DVR. This carries the signal to the DVR. You also need to connect an over-the-air antenna to the AM21 so that it can get the local channel DTV signal.
Once these connections are made, you can then use the menu to setup the local channels by entering the zip code. (If you move from point to point, be sure to use the reset option first to remove the settings from your old location). Then it is as if the local DTV channels are part of your satellite package. You can record, watch, view the guide, save shows, etc. All seems to work fine.
For RVs, you might want to get an Omni directional digital TV antenna to replace the directional batwing. That way you don’t need to reposition the antenna as you change channels. I am going to look into this and will post details if I find out what will work.
There is a new Direct TV DVR out that can record 5 channels at once. This unit is the HMC (Home Media Center) DVR. I don’t know much about it, so I have no idea what it does for local DTV broadcasts.
I hope the above information clears up any questions.