Freeview HD PVR recommendations

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by TomAVF, Jan 4, 2012.

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  1. TomAVF

    TomAVF
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    I was hoping for advice on a good PVR to replace my mostly deceased Panasonic DMR-EX73 DVD/HDD recorder (so I also need a new DVD/Bluray player eventually!) - water damage down the aerial wiped out the tuner, can you believe it? DVD and HDD playback still work, at least, but I could take the opportunity to upgrade to Blu-ray.

    Anyway, my wishlist is:


    1. Freeview HD
    2. Reliable recording
    3. Playback currently recording program and pause live tv features
    4. Export recorded video (SD at least, HD would be nice) to USB HDD for backup/freeing up HDD space/playback on other systems when this one dies!
    5. WiFi included ideally
    6. BBC iPlayer ideally (and lovefilm)
    7. Usable UI without too many frustrations (the Panasonic one was fine)
    8. As cheap as possible (ideally < £200)
    9. Blu-ray player included would kill 2 birds, but obviously reduces options a bit!
    10. One press ff over ad breaks would be nice, like the panasonic had
    Not particularly bothered about recording 2 programs simulatenously or streaming video from elsewhere, though those features are fairly ubiquitous anyway.



    The LG HR600/650 looks like a good option covering all that, if the firmware problems have been fixed (for 2), although it fails on 7 possibly. The Humax HDR box is great, but fails on 8 and 9. Any other good options?


    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  2. iaint

    iaint
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    Hi.
    The DigitalStream?
    1. It is.
    2. Seems to be; few complaints. Rare issue that causes a recording to continue indefinitely and fill the drive. Never seen that myself, and it should be fixed anyway.
    3. Can do both individually.
    4. Can export both SD and HD (HD encrypted to only play on DigitalStream units; this is a FreeviewHD certification requirement). Need a USB HDD 160GB or more though.
    5. No WiFi; use a WiFi bridge or some HomePlugAV boxes.
    6. Hopefully coming in next firmware, when BBC testing gets its finger out. No Lovefilm though.
    7. Aside from deleting recordings, it seems fine. The manual on the other hand could use some revising.
    8. £200 from JL, the 320GB version is available cheaper elsewhere.
    9. Nope. And avoid the LG HR; it appears to have many many problems. And avoid the similar Samsung models for the same reason.
    10. Difficult; ad breaks tend to be different lengths of time. But FF is configurable between (IIRC) 30, 90, and 120 second jumps...
    Note also the option of the Humax HD-FoxT2 + a USB harddrive connected to the back.
    1. Yup.
    2. Think so.
    3. Think so.
    4. Think this records everything encrypted, but if you copy an SD recording to a second HDD, it'll decrypt it. Could be wrong though.
    5. No WiFi; think there's a dongle, or WiFi bridge or HomePlugAV.
    6. Yup, via the Humax TV Portal.
    7. If previous models are anything to go by, should be fine.
    8. Seen a managers special on humaxdirect site for £70, plus however much you want on a USB HDD.
    9. Nope; see above rationale.
    10. Not sure about that.
    Does this help atall?
    --
    Regards, Iain.
     
  3. Captainkremmen

    Captainkremmen
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    The LG (and equivalent Samsung) models have some pretty poor reviews and major usage issue currently it seems. Personally I wouldn't buy their current models, but feel free to head to somewhere that has them (say John Lewis) and check them out for yourself.

    On your points:

    1. Humax - YES, Digitalstream - YES
    2. Humax - YES, Digitalstream - YES (although dependent on broadcaster getting the timing signals right. Most do, but Channel Five still have problems when it comes to split films.
    3. Humax - YES, Digitalstream - YES.
    4. Humax - YES, Digitalstream - YES. (The Humax can be made to export HD recordings too with the use of a wee bit of hacking in the guise of Foxy).
    5. Humax - NO, Digitalstream - NO. (You can get round this with either Homeplugs or a WIFI Bridge connected to the ethernet port).
    6. Humax - YES, Digitalstream - NO (However BBC Iplayer is due as soon as the BBC enable the stream, which is expected in the next update. No Lovefilm though).
    7. Humax - YES, Digitalstream - YES. (Both boxes very easy to use. My mother in her mid 60s gets on well with the DS).
    8. Humax - £199 for a refurbished 500Gb model via HumaxDirect, around £230-£250 brand new, Digitalstream - £199 for the 500Gb model from John Lewis with a two year guarantee. 320Gb model around £170 from various places. Refurbished models sometimes on Ebay and Amazon cheaper too.
    9. Humax - NO, Digitalstream - NO. (I prefer separates anyway as if one breaks, you don't lose both).
    10. Humax - NO, Digitalstream - NO. (However both machines have skip features, so you can skip adds with a few presses of the skip forward button. On the DS this is adjustable from 30 secs to 2 minutes).
     
  4. ruz

    ruz
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    The guys have given some great advice.

    From my perspective I have been looking for much the same. I asked the question 8 months ago and no one unit appeared to do what I wanted and be stable.

    I waited for switchover and asked again and pretty much the same answers have come back with the digital stream and Humax the leading recommendations.

    No one box appears to do it all, unless you pay mega bucks and then I'm not sure one device is stable for all needs.

    I believe the DS and Humax are based on much the same foundations, however, the Humax does have some extra streaming and IPTV capabilities (the humax portal). However, with the DS 8203 around £160 (although could be sold out now) and the Humax fox t2 around £240, the question is are you prepared to pay an extra £80 to have the IPTV and streaming?

    At £160 the DS appears the outstanding choice in my mind, especially with iplayer and maybe some server capabilities promised in the next update. Note, I see the DS also has an ethernet port and so I hold out hope of more IPTV functionality in the future.

    In my mind the gap in functionality between the DS and Humax is closing, with the DS catching up fast due to great development on the firmware front, however, the price is not closing and so it seems a no brainer if price is a factor in your judgement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  5. petrev

    petrev
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    Hi

    DigitalStream - Next Update to have BBC iPlayer enabled and DLNA/UPnP Client - This will allow streaming AVI-DivX/XviD files to the DHR but is not a server so no watching recordings elsewhere vie Ethernet.

    The DS DHR is currently the only HD PVR confirmed on AVF to have both channels 111 and 112 working correctly.

    Humax owners need to confirm current status but I haven't heard anyone saying they work - may need a FW update to comply with latest D-Book 6 standard ?

    Pete

    ps.
    112 is a Sport program at the moment repeated around the clock (pretty uninterested personally)
    111 is CCTV x3 Channels and has some interesting content ??? though mostly not "must see".
    see Post HERE
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  6. TomAVF

    TomAVF
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    Thanks everyone.

    Interesting about the DigitalStream - from my research, I had concluded that it, like the TVOnics box, could not export video to an external HDD (the user manual says that external USB drives are only for photos and music). Has this feature been added in a firmware update? Does it also read video via USB, and if so, in what formats? If this has all improved, I think the DigitalStream could well be my best bet.

    Regarding the LG, despite the poor reviews, it does seem to have dramatically improved. The forum thread on here about it - http://www.avforums.com/forums/freeview/1464456-lg-hr600-anyone-have-one-3.html - seems to conclude that the problems have now been sorted out. The included Wifi and Blu-ray make it extremely good value for money if it works well (although I can only find one place with it for under £200 now).

    I had considered the option of the cheaper Humax with a separate HDD, but decided that the limitations would be slightly annoying (e.g. can't pause TV while recording), and it apparently won't decrypt even SD recordings (my requirement 4), even if you attach a hub and 2 HDDs.
     
  7. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    It can pause live TV provided you enable the option. Using a non standard firmware it can decrypt but not with the Humax firmware.

    The hd fox T2 can be made to decrypt HD on copying to usb as well as SD. (FOXY)
     
  8. TomAVF

    TomAVF
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    Are you talking about the HDR-FOX T2 recorder or the HD-FOX T2 receiver? The latter only has 1 tuner, so you presumably can't watch another channel, let alone pause it (or can you, if it's on the same mux?). Also, I'm aware of the HDR-FOX's ability to export SD video, and HD video if you use FOXY, but what about the HD-FOX (with USB HDD)? Are you saying that with non-standard firmware, the HD-FOX will save the SD video non-encrypted in the first place, or do you have to use 2 USB HDDs with a hub?

    Thanks
     
  9. Captainkremmen

    Captainkremmen
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    Digitalstream can export both SD and HD recordings to an externally connected HDD, however HD recordings are encrypted and can only be played back on DS hardware. Also the drive must be at least 160Gb in size and will be formatted by the DS in the Linux XFS filesystem, which can make copying files to a PC running Windows a bit convoluted if that's what you intend to do (NOTE: You'll only be able to playback and edit SD recordings on a PC as the HD recordings remain encrypted).

    As for playback, the DS will playback music, photos and AVI (DIVX/XVID) video files from a USB hard disc or USB stick and soon, vis DLNA.
     
  10. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    HD FOX T2

    All Humax pvr tuners can demux two channels at the same time from the same mux/transponder. On the twin tuner pvrs recording two from the same mux/transponder only uses one tuner.

    On the HD FOX T2:

    The second channel has to be on the same mux but you can time shift it. For instance you can record any HD channel and at the same time watch and time shift any other HD channel. Unfortunately once the existing recording has finished you can back up the timeshift buffer and watch it but unlike it's big brother you can't record it.

    Not tried it but afaik the non standard firmware can create a virtual usb drive and decrypt recorded content by copying to that. It kids the HD FOX T2 it's really a HDR FOX T2 :D Like the HDR FOX it has to be recorded first.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  11. TomAVF

    TomAVF
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    Thank you all for the excellent and detailed information!

    One last questionette - will the HDR-FOX T2 copy recordings to a NTFS or FAT32-formatted USB HDD, or does it require a linux filesystem of some (as the HD-FOX T2 does, and the DigitalStream requires XFS)?

    It's now between the DigitalStream 500GB (£165 for an ex display model on e-bay, £199 from JL) or the Humax HDR (£199 for a refurb from Humax). Has anyone seen these cheaper anywhere (or the same price completely new)?
     
  12. iaint

    iaint
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    Hi.
    Believe the Humax requires ext3. NTFS write in Linux (most of these boxes seem to run Linux) is hardly robust, and FAT32 chokes on large file sizes. Files can get pretty big when HD recording is involved...
    --
    Regards, Iain.
     
  13. petrev

    petrev
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    Hi

    HDR-T2 with modified FW apparently will write to NTFS otherwise FAT32<4GB or EXT3 for larger.
    There are free sortware solutions for Windows to read EXT3

    DS DHR-8203U 320GB from Currys £180
    DIGITAL STREAM DHR8203 Freeview+ HD Recorder - 320GB buy online | Currys

    Amazon had a few DHR returns but they seem to have gone now !

    Pete
     
  14. ruz

    ruz
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    The Lg seems a decent spec (but no optical out and a lower size HD) but people do seem to have had issues with it (not sure if they are sorted out and stable yet). I came to the conclusion if I wanted a blueray player I'd go for a playstation3 which also has some online functionality (the playstation network) and obviously the gaming aspect.

    So again with the LG it is this, is having the blueray worth the extra £50-80 (i payed £160 for my DS), again my view was you could get a dedicated box for that price with no doubt better connectivity and functionality, in much the same way as you can get a dedicated IP settop box, if that is your thing.

    I think if there was one single stable box that did it all and didn't cost the earth and was stable there wouldn't be all the discussion in this forum. :)
     
  15. TomAVF

    TomAVF
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    Thanks all. I've ordered the DigitalStream from JL for £199 (I decided £165 for a refurbished unit might prove a false economy).

    Any ideas when the iPlayer firmware update will be available?
     
  16. petrev

    petrev
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    Hi

    The MHEG Software update (latest iPlayer support) is with The BBC for compliance testing as we speak . . . So could be anytime ! ! ! :rolleyes:

    Pete
     

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