DirecTV Preps ‘Pro’ High-Def DVR

9/06/2007 10:25 AM Eastern

DirecTV hopes to broaden its appeal to home-theater installers with a high-definition digital video recorder set-top -- called the HR21 Pro -- whose key features include storage for up to 100 hours of MPEG-4 HD content, twice the capacity of the operator’s current HR20 HD DVR.

The box, manufactured by Samsung Electronics, is scheduled to begin production toward the end of October. Distributor and retail pricing has not yet been set, according to DirecTV director of public relations Robert Mercer.

In TV ads and other marketing efforts, DirecTV has touted its forthcoming lineup of HD content as outstripping cable’s existing capacity. The direct-broadcast satellite operator offers 10 national HD channels today (plus NFL Sunday Ticket games) but expects to deliver 100 by the end of 2007.

The HR21 Pro unit offers a regular High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) connection, as well as an optical HDMI transmitter port for installations of 50 feet or more from a TV set. DirecTV claimed this feature is unique in the industry.

In addition, the Pro box has gold-plated electrical connectors and a brushed-aluminum, rack-mountable case for optional mounting in a professional rack or tabletop. The unit also includes a pair of low-noise fans.