HDD/DVD Recorder for Sky - out of date and need advice

AJStevens

Standard Member
Hi everyone,

I currently have a Pioneer DVR-5100H (this is circa. 2003!), a Sky HD box and a Sky+ Plus 160 box (multiroom), I've replaced the Sky+ 160 with a Sky HD 1tb, it's just arrived and I want to record off somethings I can't obtain on DVD or online.

It's been a while, but the Pioneer is still working, but the picture is awful, I've tried both Scart outputs on the Sky HD (one for Decoder/VCR and the other for TV), I've also tried changing the Scart option to PAL from RGB, no change.
It looks a little fuzzy, the EPG wording in white/blue is unclear and onscreen "titles" in red etc, corner channel logos again look fuzzy/blurry.

Connecting the scart to the TV, the picture looks fine??

I read somewhere the Pioneer's scart input is not RGB, is this what's causing this problem? Is this the type of quality composite (Yellow, White and Red connectors) gives and what the "PAL" setting gives?

Wish I could just split the HDMI and record that, but nothing accepts an HDMI input.

The Sky HD box does have S-Video, and so does the Pioneer, so I tried that and the picture is much better, still when opening the EPG, the bottom Red, Green, Yellow, Blue options look a little "ghosted", but at least all the white writing isn't fuzzy anymore.

Is S-Video my best bet? If so, the new Sky HD 1TB box doesn't have S-Video, but it has specific Composite output now, will that likely be ok/same?
Is there anything I can do to get Scart to work, or anything cheeky with HDMI?

Do I need a new DVR? Looks like Pioneer gave up making them, shame I'm used to its interface :-(

Most important features to me are:
HDD and DVD Recoder (Saves to HDD and can write to DVD, or write a HDD saved/edited program to DVD is the important one).
Most versitility in inputs it can record from (Scart, S-Video, Composite, Component? HDMI?)
On screen editing to strip out adverts etc.
Finish a DVD (Blu-ray?) to be read in other players
Biggest possible HDD size
Supports writing to Blu-Ray? (Not vitally important)
DNLA (server and client, would be a nice feature, not vital but worth having)

Don't care about freeview, I have SKy, and in most cases if it has freeview, it presumes it's the freeview you want to record and has next to no inputs! argh!

Looking in Dixons/Currys whatever they are now, it appeared to be very confusing, not a lot of inputs, and there are DVD Players with HDD Recorders, suggesting they can only record to the HDD and not onto discs?? Sometimes only from the freeview??!!

Can I get some recommendations, is S-Video the best I'll get? Or can you recommend a UK DVR to suit my requirements? Appreciate the help.
 
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Gavtech

Administrator
Most important features to me are:
HDD and DVD Recoder (Saves to HDD and can write to DVD, or write a HDD saved/edited program to DVD is the important one).
Most versitility in inputs it can record from (Scart, S-Video, Composite, Component? HDMI?)
On screen editing to strip out adverts etc.
Finish a DVD (Blu-ray?) to be read in other players
Biggest possible HDD size
Supports writing to Blu-Ray? (Not vitally important)
DNLA (server and client, would be a nice feature, not vital but worth having)

See post number 2 in this thread.

I would be recommend the same solutions to you as there.

What you will find is that these day RGB input is disappearing from recorders ( RGB is the best and most desirable analogue input option achievable) as the 'closure of the analogue hole' as it is called, proceeds.

Recorders will not have Component inputs (as it is referred to - even though RGB IS a component form of signal)... and HDMI inputs on recorders is forbidden.

So the first two devices mentioned in the other thread are single tuner SD recorders which will have RGB input capability.

If you want the higher functions that you mention (Bluray write-ability, DLNA, very large HDD) then you will need to go to the new generation Twin HD tuner device mentioned there.

In line with typical development these devices do NOT have RGB input capability ( there is large discussion about this elsewhere) but users have reported extraordinarily good results when copying from sky , despite this limitation.
 

AJStevens

Standard Member
Gavtech, thanks for your reply.
I'm looking at the EX83 or DWT800 as a new addition.

Blast the industry.... it makes no sense, penalizing people who just want to still use a "VCR" at home. It won't stop pirates who rip DVD and Blu ray and use TV capture devices for PCs... sigh.

I'd still like to play with my pioneer a bit, why does the EPG lettering go blurry? Is it some copy protection? If I plug the scart into a TV the picture is fine.
Do I need to hack up my scart cable?

Changing the RGB/PAL option didn't change anything, I've tried both starts sockets on the Sky HD box.

I also tried a female scart to composite cable and tried a composite input on the Pioneer, same thing.

Can someone explain what is happening here?
The new Sky HD 1TB box only has HDMI, scart and composite outputs, so would like to understand the problem. Is composite that bad? Games consoles used to use composite, don't remember it being like that.
Could it be something to do with the Scart passthrough? Interference?
I notice at first connection its pretty poor, then after 5 - 10 secs appears a bit worse on clarity of words/logos onscreen.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Gavtech, thanks for your reply.
I'm looking at the EX83 or DWT800 as a new addition.

Blast the industry.... it makes no sense, penalizing people who just want to still use a "VCR" at home. It won't stop pirates who rip DVD and Blu ray and use TV capture devices for PCs... sigh.

I'd still like to play with my pioneer a bit, why does the EPG lettering go blurry? Is it some copy protection? If I plug the scart into a TV the picture is fine.
Do I need to hack up my scart cable?

Changing the RGB/PAL option didn't change anything, I've tried both starts sockets on the Sky HD box.

I also tried a female scart to composite cable and tried a composite input on the Pioneer, same thing.

Can someone explain what is happening here?
The new Sky HD 1TB box only has HDMI, scart and composite outputs, so would like to understand the problem. Is composite that bad? Games consoles used to use composite, don't remember it being like that.
Could it be something to do with the Scart passthrough? Interference?
I notice at first connection its pretty poor, then after 5 - 10 secs appears a bit worse on clarity of words/logos onscreen.

RGB is only available from the TV scart of the skybox.

The industry in general and sky in particular prefer you not to copy especially in high quality so do not make it easy for you.... so there is some odd internal sensing and switching involved.
I have no access to a skyHD box so cannot check any of these factors - but apparently to get RGB out of the skybox for copying purposes, you must enable 'Scart Control'( in addition to selecting RGB as the output form of course.)

Now this makes no sense to me whatsoever - as scart control usually involves pins which are required for RGB use - so if using a scart for such control then you cannot use it for RGB ... but whatever underlies this nonsense conflict, that is what you need to do.

Another problem may be that there are different incarnations of skyboxes.
I have been used to some boxes (not sky) that are not capable of outputting RGB and HDMI at the same time, because RGB is the source for the HDMI interface and it has to be switched to one or the other - and if switched to HDMI then it cannot be used for outputting to scart.
That limitation will depend on box internal configuration, but as far as I know it does not apply to SkyHd boxes.
 

AJStevens

Standard Member
Hi Gavtech,

I'm definately coming out of the "TV" Scart socket on the Sky HD box, but changing the Scart Control On/Off and RGB/PAL appears to make no difference.

The Pioneer 5100H has two Scart sockets, one that is for the "TV" and is Out only and supposedly RGB, and another AV1/Decoder Scart connection which the symbol suggests is both an input AND output.

I've tested this and it does appear to have some bi-directional properties, connecting it to a Scart switchbox which has a "VCR" port, allows you to simultanously view the "VCR", while at the same time sending another input of the switch box to the "VCR", but between the "VCR" and the Scart switch box is just a single Scart cable.

Obviously, I'm not using a VCR, I'm using a HDD DVD Recoder, but principle appears the same.

This presents me with two questions, firstly, this bi-directional approach must surely NOT be RGB, RGB can't go in both directions simultanously, can it? This must the the PAL/composite signal, which on a Scart connector there are seperate pins for Video In/Out, Audio Right In/Out and Audio (mono) In/Out.

This probably explains why people say this connection on this HDD DVD Recoder is NOT RGB.

This might also explain why changing the Scart Control and RGB/PAL has no effect, as the only signal the HDD DVD Recoder can understand is the PAL version.

We're still left with why I'm getting the blurry text on screen, could it be the SkyHD outputs the PAL signal to the Pioneer 5100H HDD DVD Recoder, the HDD DVD Recoder then retransmits this same signal back down the same Scart cable on the opposite set of pins to the SkyHD box, which frankly it's not expecting to get this which somehow upsets it and interferring with the original signal to the HDD DVD Recoder? A kind of feedback loop?
 

Gavtech

Administrator
I should have done this sooner.

I became aware that I did not recognise the Pioneer model number. - As you say it is an early model, albeit sophisticated for its time.

So I have checked out its specification... It does not have RGB input capability.

Therein lies the problem.
So when you try to input RGB - it will fall to composite which runs in parallel with RGB.

The machine has S video input at best - and you would get a considerable improvement if you input this form ... but I am given to understand that skyHD boxes do not have this option now? You would have to check that out to see if it is an output option.
 

AJStevens

Standard Member
Hi Gavtech,

Yes, it's done well all these years, it was pretty high-end at the time if I recall correctly.

Ok, so it does auto-fail over to Composite/PAL then... still I need to work out what's happening to the picture (and ideally fix it).

My Sky+HD box does have S-Video, though the SKy+HD 1TB and newer models have done away with it, and while it is a much improved picture, the EPG writing is clear and not moving/shuddering, there is still a bit of ghosting I can see it most clearly when viewing the EPG and seeing the colored buttons at the bottom for Planner/Anytime/Search etc., there looks to be a ghosting of the outer circle of the coloured buttons (Red, Yellow, Blue and Green).

For the best quality, it's the S-Video, just a shame about the slight ghosting, maybe I need to get a better S-Video cable.

Probably time to get a RGB capable HDD DVD (or Blu-ray) recorder before they vanish completely.
 

Alan1973

Standard Member
Interesting discussion here! I also have a 5100H and am in a similar position. The unit has served me well over the years and is still 100% perfect,although I did have to purchase a new remote (the old one wore out). I`m with Virgin now,using Tivo but previously with Sky. Yes,there are limitations using scart and like you ,looking for an upgrade(thanks Gavtech for the information). How ridiculous not to be able to use HDMI as an input! Got to say though, I use scart to scart from Tivo to recorder then scart to TV for playback once I`ve edited the content. Probably like you I transfer to DVD for posterity. No, not as good as HDMI transfer but beggars can`t be choosers a? The old vigin+ box would allow copying whilst watching something else, like the sky box. But the new incarnation-Tivo has to remain on the programme being recorded. It`s a pain,but there you go. When speaking to both Virgin and Sky,most of their staff are unaware that copying is possible. Back to the subject- when watching Tivo via the 5100h the any writing is verry fuzzy bot the picture is fine,if not HDMI quality. Nice topic AJStevens,thanks for asking the question.
 

AJStevens

Standard Member
I splashed out on a Panasonic DMR - BWT800, these are hard to find but I managed to get an ex-demo unit for £399, not bad at all, unit's in mint shape. As I had hoped, sitting in the shop with a RRP of £800 or more no one is likely to touch it.

I set the Scart input to RGB ONLY and tada! The Sky is talking to it by RGB, and boy you can tell, no more fuzziness, plus a whole new hard drive to fill, and the DNLA is great, everything I "Archive" off to it, I can stream to any of my games consoles throughout the house. Not yet written anything to a disc as haven't needed to yet.

One word of warning... if you power off your Sky while still on the scart input on the BWT800, there's this "banging on drums" sound that starts and quickly ramps up, either turn it off or turn the Sky back on... really annoying if you forget.

I think I need to play with the scart cable, some pass through loop?

Still need to record off my items on my 5100H though, and would be nice to get it working, I'm thinking I need an RGB (Scart) to S-Video adapter, that should get the best quality to the 5100H. Anyone recommend a good one? I hear "passive" ones will give a black and white picture, don't want that.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Still need to record off my items on my 5100H though, and would be nice to get it working, I'm thinking I need an RGB (Scart) to S-Video adapter, that should get the best quality to the 5100H. Anyone recommend a good one? I hear "passive" ones will give a black and white picture, don't want that.

You do not need any special scart lead - A fully wired scart will function as an RGB scart OR as an S video scart.

It does not depend on the scart itself but what signal type the connected units are configured to send / receive.

The source unit needs to be configured to output S-Video and the recorder set to input S-Video.

(But see note at the end of post number 6 )
 

AJStevens

Standard Member
No, I meant to still make use of my Pioneer 5100H I'd need an RGb to S-Video adapter.

The Pioneer has no RGB Scarts, only composite, the only thing better than composite is S-Video, the Pioneer 5100H has an S-Video connector (round socket).

If I used an RGB Scart cable from the Sky box RGB Scart Socket into and RGB Scart to S-Video converter, then from there use an S-Video cable into the round S-Video connector on the Pioneer 5100H, I might get a decent enough picture to continue using it for some recordings, possibly.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
No, I meant to still make use of my Pioneer 5100H I'd need an RGb to S-Video adapter.

The Pioneer has no RGB Scarts, only composite, the only thing better than composite is S-Video, the Pioneer 5100H has an S-Video connector (round socket).

If I used an RGB Scart cable from the Sky box RGB Scart Socket into and RGB Scart to S-Video converter, then from there use an S-Video cable into the round S-Video connector on the Pioneer 5100H, I might get a decent enough picture to continue using it for some recordings, possibly.

You might - but it would probably cost you the cost of a cheap DVDR to do it.

RGB cannot be converted to S-Video without active electronics. Typically £70

Scart outputs from source devices can feed out RGB or S video or Composite all on the same socket (provided they support them ...and not all at the same time)

Using the kind of simple adaptor route that you are proposing, depends on the source box having the option to output S video.
If it can't, then this method cannot be used... which seems to be the case here.

Which means you would have to use an active adaptor from RGB to S-Video.
 

dmswfc

Standard Member
What is the best value DVD recorder that will allow me to transfer SD programmes from my Sky HD box so that I can view them elsewhere and upgrade to a 1TB Sky HD box?
 

Gavtech

Administrator
What is the best value DVD recorder that will allow me to transfer SD programmes from my Sky HD box so that I can view them elsewhere and upgrade to a 1TB Sky HD box?

That would entirely depend on what you mean by 'good value'.

If you mean cheap... then buy anything at the cheapest price you can find... but don't expect great performance or great reliability.

If you want the cheapest good quality then consider this.
 

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