DirecTV will roll out new MPEG-4 HD DVRs in "early 2006":
Thanks for your patience while we researched this issue. We've got good news! We're almost ready to begin rolling out local HD programming. We expect to be serving at least 12 cities by the end of this year (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington, D.C.). We will be adding more cities soon after these and gradually expanding our coverage to even more cities over the next two years, as we deploy new satellites that use state-of-the-art MPEG-4 technology. The local channels we offer will carry a mix of digital standard-definition and HD programming.
Customers who have DIRECTV HD equipment and want to receive local HD programming from DIRECTV will be eligible for an MPEG-4-compatible receiver replacement at no cost after we launch local HD programming in your city. (If you want to replace your HD DVR, you will need to wait a bit longer. Our new MPEG-4-compatible DIRECTV HD DVR receiver is expected to be available in early 2006, after we roll out our local HD programming to our first group of cities.)
More details will be available as we get closer to launching the local HD service in your area, so watch your local TV, radio or mailbox for upcoming announcements or visit DIRECTV.com/HD
Thanks again for writing and stay tuned to DIRECTV.com for the latest news and information about HD programming.
DIRECTV Customer Service Escalations
Long story short, it looks like (1) I'll have to wait a little longer to get a HD DVR, and (2) I'll probably wait on the DirecTV branded MPEG4 unit rather than jump in with a HD Tivo DVR.