got new fvrt200 - some questions?

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by happyhiker, Mar 18, 2006.

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  1. happyhiker

    happyhiker
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    Just bought an FVRT200 for spare tv. I'm used to a TiVo so maybe these questions might seem silly, the FVRT seems good, it records etc but the interface is a bit weird and I'm hoping some one knows how to get round some odd design 'features'.

    When you go into the guide, you get white writing on a blue and white background. Well thats just plan daft ! You can't read some of the white writing, is there a way to change the background picture or just get rid of it ?

    Also, major annoyance is when you go in to the guide, or calander and then want to go back to Live TV can you just go back ? Or do you have to reselect a channel to go to, even if its the one you just watched ? TiVo just has a live tv button. With the FVRT you seem to have to navigate back to the guide, then pick a program, am I missing something ?

    Also on a similar note, when browsing the guide to record, once you record something in the record screen, you can't go back to the guide at the point you were. IE if browsing by channel, I pick something to record at 8pm on ITV, to record something else I need to go back into the guide from the start, and I end up browsing by Time again, and when I switch to channel I go back to BBC1, not ITV and the time slot isn't 8:00 anymore. Thats very annoying If I want to record 3 programs in a row on ITV4 which is way down my channel List (not that ITV4 has ever showed three thiings I've ever wanted to record but you get the idea) .

    I know the FVRT isn't a TiVo and I wasn't expecting it to be as good, but these just seem like basic interface design flaws.

    Finally, can you easily extract the programs off the fvrt to a PC, or is it really hard?

    Any help appreciated.

    Once I've played with the FVRT more I might post a comparison between it and a Tivo, somethiing I'd have like to read before I bought one. But i need to get used to the FVRT first to give it a fair view.

    chhers,
    HH
     
  2. ROYOLD

    ROYOLD
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    To return to where you were in Guide from the record screen just click the cancel button. Repeated clicks of the "cancel" button will take you back thru menu to the original programme you were viewing. Dunno why the call it the "cancel" button it should more appropriately be called "return".

    There is no USB connection of the Digifusions so it isn't easy to transfer to a TV. I archive anything I wish to keep onto one of my dvd recorders.

    There are several postings on the Digifusions 100, 145, 150 and 200 on altering the screen backgrounds, fitting a larger HDD and various other tweaks etc.

    I don't mind the white text on blue backrgrounds so haven't bothered with any of this but there are several postings. Most of them under the Digifusion FVRT 100 (do a search) and also on the Digital Spy forums.

    The Digifusions are not comparable to a Tivo, they are not meant to, and priced accordingly.
     
  3. tech-no-idea

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    Can I archive programmes saved on the hard disc to DVD recorder on the 200?

    I am taking my Digi 95 back to argos which had constant interference on the picture & the longer we had it the worse it got.

    Plugged my old Daewoo bog standard Freeview box in just to check the signal and its fine.

    Is this a Digifusion problem or is it a case of a one off dud?

    I am hoping to buy a 200 today/tomorrow dependent on info received of course!
     
  4. Spok

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    If I were buying a PVR today, the Digifusion range would be at the very bottom of the list, along with the Panasonic. The design of the user interface on these machines is very bad, as can be seen from the above post.

    We own a Pace Twin and it is an absolute delight to use for all our family. So much thought has been put into its design, rather than throwing the interface together just to get the machine on the shelves as soon as possible.

    Sadly the Pace Twin is now only available second hand, but it is still receiving OTA updates from Pace.

    Of today's Freeview PVRs, only the Topfield is worth considering. It is fairly well designed and allows you to install TAPs - small software plugins that change its fuctionality. A lot of TAPs are freely available on the Internet from users who have found the need for a particular feature that was missing.

    Spok.
     
  5. ROYOLD

    ROYOLD
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    The Fusion 90 and Fusion 95 are not made by Digifusion. Yes you can archive recordings made on the Digifusion FVRT200 to your DVD recorder - either to the dvd recorders hard disk or direct to DVDR. You could also with a non hard disk recorder transfer them to DVD-RAM for editing if you own a Panasonic, JVC, Toshiba, Hitachi or Samsung dvd recorder which supports this format. Or DVD-RW for a Pioneer etc.

    For Spok. It beats me how you can say a certain PVR or DVD recorder is no good when you don't own such a machine or haven't tried it. I have five hard drive PVR's including the Topfield 5800t and the Humax 9200T. The Digifusions are the easiest to use of all these PVR's. Granted that they do not have all the facilities or capacity of the others but this does not make them useless.
    BTW the Fusion 90 and 95 are single tuner PVR's.
     
  6. Spok

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    That's a bit of an assumption. As it happens, I have tried the Digifusions 150 and 200, and I have tried the Humax and the Topfield - hence my comments on these machines.

    So I stand by what I said earlier and would be happy to argue my point that, IMO, the Digifusion PVRs are very badly designed. So badly designed that they are extremely frustrating to use.

    Perhaps such a discussion would benefit those who have not yet tried these machines and who want help in deciding which to get.


    Spok.
     
  7. LV426

    LV426
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    Having had experience of:
    - Pace Twin
    - Panasonic
    - Humax 8000
    - DigiFusion FVRT200

    I'd have to agree that the UI on the Twin surpasses the rest by a length.

    However, I still place the Fusion at the TOP of my current list. This is because the finest UI in the world is worth nought if the software stack under it is unreliable. Unreliable, to me, does not mean necessarily having predictable problems that are easily worked around. It means unpredictably failing to make a usable recording, locking up, or similar "fatal" activity.

    The Humax 8000 is good in this respect but so basic in function as to be frustrating to use. The Fusion FVRT200 in my experience is utterly reliable. And as I place reliability as the most prominent factor in this decision, then irrespective of its UI (which actually, I don't find that bad), the Fusion takes top billing.
     
  8. Spok

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    I am convinced LV426 had a Pace Twin that was just plain faulty, hence the long list of problems he has had with it. The hardware in the early Twins (when they were being sold for £350.00) is not the same as that in the later ones. How else can we account for some Twin users having heaps of trouble, while others, like us, have had hardly any trouble?

    We have a later model and it has been very reliable throughout. It records and plays seven days a week, all year round. In the thirty months we have been using it we have lost just two recordings, in the early days, due to the old zero length recording bug. That bug was in an early software release and has long since been removed.

    The latest software revision makes the Pace Twin the best PVR out there, providing you have a machine that was manufactured after September 2004.

    When you are using a device, such as a PVR, day in and day out the design of the user interface soon begins to count for a lot.

    Having to make do with no repeating timers, or no useable bookmarks, or no chase play, or dropping back to live at the end of a recording if you do have chase play, or needless disk space reservation, or no resume playback, or slugish response time, or... These things soon begin to eat away at you, until you eventually start tearing your hair out screaming - "It doesn't have to be this way!"


    Spok.
     
  9. happyhiker

    happyhiker
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    interesting the digifusion's not rated I did extensive research about 3 months ago, and the fvrt 200 seemed to come out top just above the Humax 9200.(not counting the Toppy as its too expensive, I'd get another tivo If I was willing to spend that much) Whats changed? I'm going to get a PVR for my parents, is the FVRT200 not the best choice then ? (Guess I should have asked this before I bought one) The interface is very important for my parents, who still haven't figured out how to program a vcr yet .

    Thanks for the tip onthe cancel button BTW.
     
  10. LV426

    LV426
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    It's only certain/few people who "don't rate" the Fusion 200. The UI is somewhat garish, but it's fairly intuitive. I don't put it anywhere near the level of the (otherwise not so good) Pace Twin but it is certainly not the worst I've seen. And it is reliable which counts for a lot.
     
  11. kjt2004

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    Chaps

    All i can say is i have owned the FVRT100 for some 12-18 months now and in that time i have had only 1 lock up after the area had a power cut, and it just need powering off and on again.

    It was more frustrating going round and resetting all the clocks in the house:eek:

    It has never failed to record a program, the wife and child can use the menus easily and the PQ is very good .

    I admit we only bought it to replace a VCR and record some soaps (her indoors) wildlife docs (me) and of course (OC, ONE TREE HILL, DAWSONS CREEK ) and any other teenage angst series for the daughter.

    It has never let us down and saved us a time and money buying tapes, finding them etc.

    The only thing i dont like is the background marble effect on the menu but i can live with it:D
     
  12. Spok

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    More than garish, it would seem.

    And not that intuitive either.

    I agree the Digfusion FVRT range is not the worst candidate for poor design, that acolade has to go to the Panasonic. However, it comes pretty close.

    I mention the Topfield because its design shortcomings can be removed by these TAPs. The 250GB version is available for under £300, which may be similar to the cost of a TiVo but don't you have to pay a subscription on top of the initial price?


    Spok.
     
  13. ROYOLD

    ROYOLD
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    I wonder just how many elderly people can be bothered installing taps (which has to be connected to a PC for this). I haven't installed a single one. It's bad enough having to download the updates from a PC.

    Then again I am in the over seventies brigade.

    Do not purchase a Topfield for your elderly parents if they are not all that technically minded. The simpler PVR's like the Digifusions are easier to manage.
     
  14. happyhiker

    happyhiker
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    thanks for the feed back, my parents have far too much gardening to do to spend time installing TAPS(it took me months to teach them email).

    The Humax which was the second choice seems to be unreliable from other posts and no chase play is a bit of a killer.(does it do resume play instead of scenes though ?)

    Looks like the DigiFusion is the best of a bad bunch, I'll let them play with mine and see how they get on with the interface, hopefully the long awaited SW update will change the background screen, I guess I could always unload the HD and plug it into the PC and change it If I/they can't live with the screen.

    Also, I shall continue in my smugness as a proud TiVo owner, safe in the knowledge that dispite being 5 years old it's still WAY ahead of the other PVR's:rotfl:
     
  15. ROYOLD

    ROYOLD
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    Yes - the Humax 9200 will resume play from where you stopped it.

    Pressing the Play button twice in succession, either by accident or design will take you back to the start of the recording! This has frustrated me a few times on the Humax after using FF.
     
  16. tech-no-idea

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    Thanks for the advice chaps,extremely interesting as a total novice.

    Just one further question, would you buy the Humax 9200 or the Digifusion 200?

    Cost obviously comes into it & I can pick up a Fusion 200 for £179.00 from Woolworths but the Humax comes in at £205.00 @ Martin Dawes.

    Also as someone stated earlier I didn't realise the Humax didn't have the "Chase" facility on it.

    Is it worth paying the extra for the Humax?

    I must admit I am more than a little wary after having to take my Fusion 95 back although I understand the 200 is a better model/machine altogether.

    Cheers in advance.
     
  17. Spok

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    During our period with the Digifusion FVRT 200 we got to know it very well. We wondered if we would get used to its 'foibles' over time and learn to live with the 'strange' user interface. We found the opposite. With each day's use that passed came more frustration. As an example, for chase-play on the Twin, which we use quite a lot during sporting events, we just go to the Library and start playing the programme. On the FVRT 200 you -

    (Quoted from the manual)

    Go to Record menu, highlight the programme you wish to watch and press Play on the remote to take you to the channel being recorded, then use Skip Back.

    This has to be madness. For a start, if it's a football or tennis match you want to start watching while it is still recording, you are in serious danger of seeing the live score before you eventually get back to the beginning of the programme. And the process is so long winded.

    And those 'Scenes' it insists on dropping down at five-minute intervals every time you try to access a new recording. Don't they just drive you nuts?

    And why can't it display more information about the recordings you have made, such as the channel it came from, etc.

    One particularly annoying feature of most of the current PVRs is the way they display the remaining disk space. When you are recording television programmes, being told you have 8.2 GB of space left is totally meaningless. On the Twin the Disk Time remaining is shown in Hours and Minutes, which is far more useful. This is shown in both the Library page and the Timer setting page, not buried away in a 'Disk Information' page, as it is on some.


    Spok.
     
  18. LV426

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    I'm going to be pendantic here and repeat myself. This bit:
    (which actually, I don't find that bad)
    is just an opinion which I don't expect everyone to share. Nevertheless, my elderly female neighbour finds her FVRT200 easy to use and that speaks volumes. In any event, it has to be considered in the context of the alternatives. The Pace Twin is not an alternative for two reasons:
    - it is discontinued
    - it will only record one thing at a time

    I have said all along that the UI of the Pace surpasses all the rest. That I don't dispute. It's the rest of it (and the fact it's discontinued) that discounts it.

    The method of attaining chase play on the FVRT200 is a lot better than that used on, say, the Humax 9200*.

    Finally, I must place this bit:
    the Fusion takes top billing
    back into context. And the context was:
    as I place reliability as the most prominent factor in this decision, then irrespective of its UI (which actually, I don't find that bad), the Fusion takes top billing


    ____________________
    * You can't.
     
  19. snail

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    Only having had the 200, but with no problems either technical or UI related in over 6 months use, and 12 months of a 100 prior to that, I would recommend the 200.

    Snail
     
  20. Spok

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    LV426, I don't wish to be argumentative. My point is that I am angry about these big companies (Digifusion, Humax, Topfield, Panasonic, Inverto et al) seeming not to be bothered with producing a really good user interface to make these powerful machines as easy to use a possible. As I have said elsewhere, it is as though they are competing with each other to see who can come up with the most annoying user interface.

    Among other things, I do design and write software. I know how important it is, before creating a single line of code, to sit down and think really hard about how the product is going to be used. These companies (with the exception of Pace) do not seem to have done this with their PVRs. Why?

    I keep banging on about the virtues of the Pace Twin, even though it is long since discontinued, in the hope that one day a company will come along and say, "Look, this is how it should be done. We can build on that". To use a familiar phrase - 'It's not rocket science'.

    I would like to ask LV426 if he considered the Topfield before going for the Digifusion. Did you try one out?


    Spok.
     
  21. LV426

    LV426
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    I couldn't agree more. The Twin UI was exemplary. I, too, worked in a role specifying utterly intuitive IT solutions for non-technical people.

    Sadly, though, it's a skill or a priority that is too often lacking.

    None of this helps in any way a prospective buyer of a PVR, though, when the article in question is no longer made. So we have to make the best of what there is. It's somewhat pointless (IMO) harping on about how good TiVo or the Twin might have been when neither is made any more.

    Topfield: Yes, I considered it and very nearly bought one, but at the time I was buying, evidence was that it wasn't reliable* enough. It is now, I understand. But I'm always cynical about "promised" updates/fixes until they are actually delivered. And, as I've said before, reliability* is my no1 priority. I'll live with pretty much anything else. If I were buying now, I might well get a Topfield.

    _________________
    * My definition in this context means, always making a watchable recording of whatever I ask it to.
     
  22. ROYOLD

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  23. happyhiker

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    I've been using the 200 for a few days now and I am getting used to the interface. The use of the cancel button to go back has saved me throwing the thing out the window and now I've set the remote up on my universal remote and put the Menu button in the same place as the TiVo button on the other remote I'm getting used to it. The UI is still badly designed, you'dve thought they would have beta tested the product at least internally to see if the design was annoying. Anyway it has recorded everything I've told it to, the picture quality is good. Even E4 seemed to be in widescreen last night, though in went back to 4:3 for adverts. So overall I'd say it works, its cheap, its reliable. The interface is badly designed(So's the remote) but its not unusable. I will still recommend it to my parents, but let them play with mine first. At the end of the day if the Humax is going to miss recordings then its a no go.

    Word to designers of these things, Look its not hard we want it to work, resume a record where we left of(no silly scenes), do repeat recordings, show time left on disk not megabytes, have a easily navigated EPG that doesn't keep bouncing up and down as you scroll down it,....in fact why don't digiufusion come round and look at my Tivo, I'll make them coffee and everything, then they can go away and just copy the interface. Tivo does everything, and you only need 4 arrow keys and a select button to control it, in fact all the pvr people should just copy TiVo, thats what MS did with the MAC and it seemed to stand them in good stead.:devil:
     
  24. snail

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    Ah, but if they 'copy' TiVo they'd have to pay license fees, which would put up the cost of the box, possibly to such an extent that it would then be financially unattractive to their customers. I think this is one of the two major dilemmas facing many PVR manufacturers, how to produce a user friendly box with all the features an average user will want, without infringing TiVo and Sky patents.

    Snail
     
  25. Richard46

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    I suspect the Digifusion interface was designed with sales demonstrations in mind rather than everyday usage.
     
  26. happyhiker

    happyhiker
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    yes thats a good point, selling it is more important that using it!

    I'm not sure what copyright TiVo have but they can't patent a sensible interface. I think TiVo actually do have excessive copyright patents out there though, but TiVo's well designed because it does what you'd expect, if you stop a play back then resume it starts from where you left off, if you hit back it goes back. Hit delete and it asks Delete, not Delete but defaults to Delete cos thats what you asked it. And The defaults already selected so you pick delete and hit select twice. They can't patent something like that. Patent the record what you probably like feature, patent the season pass patent the blue with cloud background but you can't patent common sense.

    The digifusion has Hit red to delete then hit green to confirm, and Red is Don't delete, so hit red twice and you cancel your delete (I think thats right).

    Anyway I should stop ranting now and go watch some telly.
     
  27. snail

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    You'd be amazed at what can be copyrighted and patented in the murky world of software. Xerox had a long running battle with Apple over the 'look and feel' of the Mac UI, who in turn did a similar thing to Microsoft, are just a couple examples of what can happen. Even if the plaintiff doesn't win it costs millions to defend and slows down the whole development process pending an outcome.

    For further evidence of the type of quandary PVR manufacturers might find themselves in, see this and this. Although these are old cases, they are still progressing slowly through the courts and it could be several more years before they are finally resolved.

    Snail
     

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