David has reviewed TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."
Samsung's SIR-S4120R marks the company's first entry into the DVR market, and it's a doozy. This DirecTV receiver with a built-in 120GB hard disk and TiVo service is currently the highest-capacity product of its kind, and it's available now for $499.
Upside: The large hard disk holds 100 hours of programming--more than twice as much as competing DVR combos. TiVo's superb interface is integrated with DirecTV's program guide, there's no degradation in video quality, and the hard drive can record 5.1-channel Dolby Digital soundtracks. Best of all, the second tuner allows you to record one live show while watching and recording another.
Downside: The S4120R costs twice as much as lower-capacity DirecTiVo systems such as the Hughes HDVR2. Unless you subscribe to DirecTV's flagship $88-per-month Total Choice Premier package, you'll have to pay an additional $4.99 per month for TiVo service.
Outlook: Nothing beats DirecTiVo in terms of pure convenience, but potential buyers should also investigate the DVR options available from their local cable company. Hard-core DirecTV junkies who have problems deleting their old shows, however, should grab the S4120R in time for winter hibernation.