Decent PVR or DVD recorder?

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by StuR6, Nov 27, 2010.

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  1. StuR6

    StuR6
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    Hi

    I've been asked to hlep a mate buy a recorder as they liked my setup - however unfortunately they don't have a dish, so no Freesat option. Now I was thinking they either needs a twin Freeview DVD recorder or just a PVR; probably the latter, as they do not need to burn to disc and can play dvd's via their PS3.

    However I was super confused when I saw mention of Freeview HD - what is this?So, considering we want good quality, but not complex. We don't need a DVD burner or player really - but would a 12 month old Panny do a better job than some PVR's? All we want here is to record 2 channels, and be nice to have pause TV. So what are the top options, but ideally getting a deal? budget circa £250.

    Was thinking options were:
    Humax Fox HDR T2
    Panny XW380
    Humax PVR9300 T
    and unfortunately the decent Panny XS 350 is not normal coax aerial too is it?

    Anyone seen a back to back review of PVR's recently?
     
  2. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    Freeview HD is not available everywhere yet so you would need to check availability of the signal in the appropriate area.
    However it can be reasonably assumed to be coming, so it makes sense to make any purchase done now capable of receiving it.

    Receiving HD requires a unit to have a DVB-T2 tuner.
    Previously recorders had DVB-T tuners - which cannot receive HD.

    In your list above you have a mixed bag of PVR's, both SD and HD and a DVDR

    The first two in your list are HD capable and have twin tuners.

    The second in the list is a DVDR.

    The third in the list is an SD twin tuner unit - not capable of handling HD.

    The 'S' in the XS350 signifies that it is for satellite and therefore, as you surmise, not for connection to a normal aerial.
     
  3. StuR6

    StuR6
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    Thanks Gav, you've confrimed most of my assuptions. If you take a peek at my sig, you'll note my own kit is reasonable, but reliant upon sat dish.

    What I am confused over is this Freeview HD stuff. I understand you can buy the humax freesat box with hdd, for circa £250 (which in essence will do what my tv does, but with added hard drive). And what we are seeing here, is that you can now get a freeView hdd box for £290 - i.e. it costs more. So why does it cost more; does it do more?

    Because i have zero knowledge of the freeviewHD stuff, i am merely assuming. As i understand, freeview comes down the aerial; and what we're looking at here is HD being pushed down that signla too. Is it not an inferior signal to that of freeSAT? Basically, should I be telling my mate to be buying a dish and forget freeView for now? I've heard mention9 of upscaling, or improving the image on these new freeviewHD machines - hence Im wondering if they are really recieving an inferior source.

    Ok, lets assume you answer my above question and describe how freeviewHD is just as good as freesat (so dont get your mate to buy a dish). My next question is: Which freeviewHD box to buy? The Humax PVR), or get a DVDR Panny capable of burning to disc? Does one of them do pause live tv better etc?
     
  4. StuR6

    StuR6
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    Bump.

    So, am I wrong to assume Freesat is better quality than FreeviewHD? And is FreeviewHD merely costing more (rather than the same) than Freesat, becuase it's new?

    Thanks
     
  5. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    Indeed the price has nothing to do with the quality of the respective platforms and is no guide to it.

    Pricing is a complex of marketing factors.
    If there is a difference, the most likely explanation is that Freeview HD is a new innovation and HD freeview tuners have only recently come available and so can command a price premium for the moment.

    There are not many HD channels on either Platform and I believe there are differences in the channels line up - so you should check that out... if it matters.
    Otherwise the quality can broadly be considered equal.

    Going back to your earlier post... Regarding upscaling - You can ignore that as an irrelevancy.
    Upscaling is not a reason to buy anything at all.
    It is largely a piece of overblown hype.
    Flat panel TV's have their own scalers and it is not necessary to have them in a source device.

    HD sources do not require upscaling as they are already 'full scale'


    Regarding which class of machines to choose - It is the first decision to make.
    PVR's are easier to use, cheaper, but cannot permanently archive to disc and cannot play discs.
    DVDR's [ of the HD sub-class] are much more expensive, more complex, but can archive and play discs.

    One point to be made is that all HD Freeview PVR's have exhibited teething troubles are cannot yet be said to be stable.

    Freeview BDR's/ DVDR's have shown to be the only stable HD freeview recorders so far.
     
  6. StuR6

    StuR6
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    Thanks Gav; so much to cover...
    Ok, they're equal. That makes life easier IMO. I perosnally would buy the cheaper SAT format, but they cannot get a dish on the rented house. So therefore it merely becomes a 'value' issue of if they want normal freeview versus HD.

    Ok, upscalers. I'll try to be careful with my wording, but as I understand it, TV's have deinterlacers - something they used to be poor at, and have since got better, but will never be as good as a CRT. As for upscaling, this is merely the 720dpi etc, and is probably a bit of a fallicy? I guess you'd have to see those indepth AVF reviews to know what works, but typically it is the dedicated kit (not tv or pvr intergrated) that does a good/ok job. Right/wrong?

    To archive or not. Personally I like it, but my girly mate may not want to. However her fella likes the idea - I reckon he should pay the difference. I like the idea of plug, play and simple pause for non-tech savvy folk.

    Now that is an important fact - thanks. Sometimes they fix that via software updates right? But sometimes it requires different hardware? Hmmmm. So ditch the £300 humax T2 and look at more stuff like a £400 XW380? Got anything cheaper in HD in mind?

    FreeVIEW BDR's - are those worth it?

    Therefore, can you recommend some Freeview (HDD) DVDR's?
    (ideally one or two HD and one regular)

    She did mention a Freeview DVD player, with hard-drive to record to, for a mere £250. But fairly certain that was not HD, and did not burn to disc. The latter feature is not important I am sure. Yet when I just looked for a Tosh DVD freeview recorder, it was £400 for a HD model. Might have been the RD99t; no idea.

    If talking about DVD HDD recording devices, I'm used to Panasonic being good. So their ok freeviewHD machine would be? Are we back to the XW380? Nothing older?

    So if budget is an issue, then you think we best forget freeviewHD and Alternatively, I guess rather than buying a cheap Freeview DVD recorder, its better to get a proven PVR like Humax9300 and buy a DVD player seperately??!??

    Is there such thing as a DVD player (not burner) that has twin freeiew+ tuners, a HDD, but not the added disc burner function (ie cheaper)????
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  7. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    Crt's in effect deinterlace the tv transmission in front of your eyes. The first field is scanned to the screen building say the odd lines, the second field fills in the gaps with the even lines. The screen is built from phosphors which once struck with an electron beam stay illuminated for a short period designed to be long enough for both fields to be displayed taking 1/25 second.

    720dpi is an output resolution not a display or transmission standard (it stands for 720 dots per inch). A image with 1440 x 1440 pixels output at 720dpi to say a printer will be 2" square.

    720P video on the other hand has 1280 x 720 pixels and normally is sent at 50 fps. How may dpi it has depends on how big the TV is that is showing the signal.
     
  8. StuR6

    StuR6
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    Cool, Exactly graham, they're different topics are they not. And therefore upscaling is to do with dpi, no? And by filling in those missing dots, where did they get those from? An educated guess? Not expecting an answer on that really.

    Back on to topic if we can, and as in bold above. Cheers guys.
     
  9. StuR6

    StuR6
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    Ok, think we've narrowed this down then. Either a cheap old Freeview+ box like a PVR9300 , or they should go the whole hog and get the Panny XW380 for a fault-free HD experience. Thanks
     
  10. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    No upscaling increases the physical number of pixels by estimating what's missing from the surrounding pixels using an algorithm. Photoshop can do the same with a digital picture using different algorithms (Bicubic Sharper is generally reckoned to be best for upscaling)

    If you watch a SD transmission on a Full-HD TV the source has up to 720 x 576 pixels the picture has 1920 x 1080 pixels (The TV has upscaled the picture).

    The only twin tuner freeview dvd recorders afaik are the hybrid ones made by Panasonic (the top of the range ones have bluray burners) and they are very expensive.
    If you watch a 1440 x 1080 HD transmission the TV scales the picture to 1920 x 1080 pixels again

    If you watch a 1920 x 1080 Full HD transmission the TV displays the picture without scaling although it will deinterlace it as with all interlaced sources.

    In all three cases the resolution of the display in dpi is the same it's just that all the pixels in the first two cases are not real.

    If you watch a 1440 x 1080 source on a HD-Ready TV the TV scales it down (removes pixels) to match how many pixels there are on the screen. Usually around 1320 x 768 pixels.

    The only twin tuner dvdrs are the freesat and freeview range made by Panasonic with the top of the range ones having bluray burners. These are really hybrid pvr/dvdrs and cost a lot of money.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  11. StuR6

    StuR6
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    Thanks Graham; I knew what you meant about the resolution, but I might have used the wrong termanology; but it does come back to a best guess by the software surely.

    Most importantly you've said only Panasonic do a twin tuner (for our Freeview requirements here); oh! Not even Sony can do a duel recorder? Thats terrible. So the Panasonic is the one to get if you're interested in getting Twin tuner FreeviewHD.

    Many thanks :thumbsup:
     
  12. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    Personally I would forget dvdr and go for a twin tuner freeview hd pvr with usb export.
     
  13. StuR6

    StuR6
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    like.... ?

    I thought there was a view that the new FreeviewHD PVR's are buggy? Or you reckon this will be fixed VERY soon via updates, rather than replaced kit?

    I take the views here quite seriously and try to read and understand everything everyone says. For preferences I make my own decision, so chose my warm panny over the well recommended Sony tv's out there. But facts, like freezing up or other bugs, that is something I really appreciate as feedback. (assuming we've narrowed down the list of contenders - which we have I think). Then I can give a reasonably informed bit of advice to my mate.

    (personally I'm waiting to buy a bluray burner to replace my DMREH50).
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2010
  14. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    Pretty well all kit has a few bugs at launch. Even the legendary Topfield 5800 did. (random loss of sound on recordings being one and failure to survive a power cut being another)

    Mostly the bugs don't stop the pvr being used especially if there are workarounds. Many won't affect the majority of users like the problems with the Humax twin tuner aac 5.1 sound when used with a AV system.

    Panasonics are not bug free either.

    Read the threads and decide if the current problems will affect you.
     

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