The folks over at DBSTalk got an early look at DirecTV's latest HD DVR, the HR21-700. This unit appears to be an alternative to the HR20, rather than a replacement. The main difference between the HR20 and HR21 is that just like the HR21 Pro, the HR21 doesn't include an ATSC tuner for OTA HD broadcasts. This may be a problem for some because DirecTV doesn't offer all the HD locals in most markets. The HR21 also includes two Ethernet ports to eliminate the need for a switch when stacking multiple units, and is reportatly only available in a piano black finish. What really confuses us is that the MSRP is the same as the HR20, despite the lack of OTA tuner. Unfortunetly, the "first look" doesn't really provide much insight into the functional differences between the HR20 and HR21, but does say "Some sections of the HR21 setup menu seem to be faster than those on the HR20, while other parts are slower". The new unit does include faster chips so once the box hits the street we'll be very interested in hearing how the performance of this unit compares to the HR20.

Thomson leaves consumer electronics altogether