Well are you going to take the lid off and play around ?
Would love to have the ability to run the laptop screen directly off the USB port of the receiver if one can find how to decrypt the info on the hard drive as its recorded. If it can be played back through the normal outputs why not the USB ?
Most definetly. I didnt know any of them had a USB port, I only really looked at the Echo' 5000 dvr, which seems quite unremarkable apart from its high price tag. If the HDD is easily removed and replaced as you say, then this opens thing up. I was thinking that perhaps this may eliminate the need for a PC card to playback to, maybe some cleverly designed software may do the job via serial port on the receiver to a port on the pc.
The echostar 5000 does not have a USB port but the 7000 does. I own a 7000 and am very happy with it.
In Echostar's case, there is specific steps taken to prevent direct access to the data on the HDD (and there is also no digital-video-out port). This is due mainly to pressure from the providers and owners of encryption systems.
The formatting of the harddisk is also proprietory - i.e., replacing it with a larger-capacity general PC unit will not work.