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DirecTv adds Tivo-like Channel Toggle

September 15, 2009

Great news appeared on my DVR this morning — DirecTv has finally added the much coveted Tivo feature of Channel Toggle to the HR21-100.  This is a feature which has been on the Tivo for the long time and a lot of users who upgraded from the MPEG-2 Tivo HD receiver to the newer HR21 (MPEG-4) lost the feature in the “upgrade”.

Channel Toggle gives you the ability to switch between two channels and still have the ability to pause both.  Because most of the HD DVR units now have 2 tuners they allow you to watch one show while recording another.  In the case of the HR21, you could watch one show and then go back to the recording of the other to simulate the Tivo behavior.  With this new firmware upgrade, there is no need to be recording on either tuner to switch between the channels.  This makes channel surfing and switching much more dynamic.

Basically, it means you can easily watch two different programs and skip commercials.  For example, if this had been added as early as last night, I would have been able to watch Jay Leno’s first show, pause it before a commercial, switch to Monday Night Football and then back to resume Jay Leno’s show when the game went to commercial.  It’s a tremendously convenient feature to have and something that I’ve been missing ever since they took my Tivo away.

As with the Tivo, you can activate this feature simply by pressing the Down Arrow.  Similar to the “Prev” button, it will switch to the previous channel.  The difference is that when you now use the Down Arrow, you will keep your buffered recording on both channels (in other words, you can still rewind on both channels live).  So, if you have the HR21, just stop using the “Prev” button and start using the Down Arrow — convenience surely shall follow!

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