The first sign of the new look is on the warning/welcome screen that pops up as soon as you click any of the menu buttons on your receiver. Besides touting a new "lighter" color scheme, the feature they tout the most is the fact you can now easily see what the colored buttons on the remote are for. That's it?
What I've noticed so far:
- multiple episodes of the same show now show up in the list as one item with a folder icon next to it (replaces the old right-facing arrow)
- help text on what the colored buttons are for have moved from directly under the minimized live picture (upper right) to the strip along the bottom of the screen. Yes, more conspicuous, but it now seems like we've lost some vertical space that otherwise should be used to display program info. The six lines of program info seems overwhlemed by everything else on the screen, and now the space under the minimized live picture is dead space.
- the lighter colors (lots of white and light blue) definitely brightens the interface up from the old dark-blue-and-gold scheme (I guess the Cub Scouts sued to get their colors back). The drawback to the new light-and-airy scheme? You're completely overwhelmed by it when catching up on your recorded shows at night in a darkened house. It's as if someone turned all the lights on again, and it takes a moment for your eyes adjust enough to read what's on the screen.
- Navigating through programs (play, ffwd, rewind, skip) brings up a newly designed progress bar overlay across the bottom of the program image that I swear is twice as big as it used to be. So much for trying to fast forward through sporting events... you lose the bottom third of the image (and therefore stats and scores) thanks to this new progress bar. ick.
One remote control trick I've learned for the HR20 is the ability to put markers on a recorded show to easily skip back to them next time I watch. Here's how:
During playback of a recorded show, pause the recording and press the green button to creates a bookmark. You'll see it show up as a little notch on the progress bar. To move to a bookmark, click the menu button and then select the desired bookmark from the menu and the HR20 DVR jumps directly to the scene you bookmarked.UPDATE: A couple more "hidden" features to the HR20 as announced in DirecTV's e-newsletter:
- Group Play—Play recorded shows continuously, one after the other. Press "Play" on a folder of recorded shows in your Playlist to enable this feature.
- Display Options—Your grid guide can now page up and down faster. To enable this feature, press "MENU", then go to Help & Settings > Setup > Display and turn "Scrolling Effects" OFF.