It might be time to let go of an old satellite receiver.

Here’s a story from my past. I have a feeling some of my longtime readers will understand where I’m coming from.

I’ve been poking around home theater technology for a very long time. Since I was a kid, actually. I’ve seen fads come and go, from open reel tape to 8-tracks and cassettes… and when it came to television technology I’ve had too many VCRs and cable boxes to count. I don’t remember their brands or model numbers. This one or that one had a cool feature, but they’re all far in the past.

Around the middle of 2006 I made the decision to jump into high definition. At that time DIRECTV was the unquestioned leader in HD… they had I think six full-time HD channels. Yeah, I know. I made plans to trade in my old TiVo-based DVR for a high-definition model.

The box that changed things altogether

Right then in the summer of 2006, DIRECTV was transitioning from its TiVo HD DVR to a new design that they’d developed in-house. I had my reservations but I jumped into the new technology.

Earl Bonovich

I took delivery of the HR20 DVR, similar to the one you see above. I have to say, the first few weeks it was an unmitigated disaster. It wouldn’t work for more than a few hours without a reboot and you couldn’t count on it for even the most basic functions. Sometimes you’d go to change the channel and it would just stop working.

I’d already been pretty active in online forums by that time but getting help from the user community was crucial for this DVR. Secrets were traded, tips were exchanged, and by the winter of 2006 there was an active program for online beta testing. Things got better.

Here’s why I bring it up

The DIRECTV HR20 DVR wasn’t just a box for me. It was my entry to a community. I still have friends I made because of that box and its stubborn unwillingness to do anything well. And it’s the first and only time I seriously thought, “someday I’ll get rid of this box and I’ll miss it.” I did get rid of it a few years later. I don’t miss it, though, because the friends I made stayed around.

The moral of the story

Over the course of the last few years, a lot of folks have been asked to upgrade their DIRECTV receivers. Standard-definition hardware is now obsolete. If you still have old SD receivers they don’t pick up many channels anymore. DISH has done similar things in the past too.

It’s not limited to pay-TV boxes, of course. I recently read that any device running Android 7 or lower would stop working on a lot of web sites. Apple, usually known for aggressively obsoleting old devices, has walked away from pretty much any iOS version before the current one. You can still use almost any iPhone made in the last four years, but before that you’re on your own.

Some folks take it as a badge of pride that they hold onto their tech for a long time. I get that. It’s good for the environment and it helps you save a little money. I’m that way myself. But, there comes a time when you really have to move on.

If you’re still clinging to an old pay-TV receiver, an old phone, or any piece of home theater gear more than five years old, it’s time to upgrade! Solid Signal has everything you need and we can get you completely modernized. Just shop the great selection at Chances are you’ll find something you’ll like even better than what you have now.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.