In need of a decent quality PVR

kidloco46

Novice Member
Hi guys,

Im really in need of quality PVR, or decent DVD recorder with a HDD, more tempted by a PVR now as I dont think ill get a DVD Recorder with good enough DVD playback quality for my liking. (I am a REALLY fussy sod by the way:D )

Now I have tried the following so far


Sony RDR-HXD860

couldnt tell you how dissapointed I was with this, the Freeview quality was well below what my internal unit on my Panasonic TX52 TV gives, way, way below, and therefore the recording were pretty bad as well, I then tried the DVD playback, I was expecting it to be on at least a par with my Pioneer 575a (i think thats what it is :) ) but it was terrible, jaggies everywhere, and i tried scart, component and HDMI.

Cant believe the reivews this machine got.



TVonics 160gig

After the fiasco with the Sony, in which I had to sell it on ebay as the shop wouldnt take it back (only lost £10) I thought id pick up one of these from Tesco as they take anything back.

Dont know wether mine was faulty but it had a very strange picture, again very pixelated and far from the qualty of the inbuilt tuner. took it straight back for a full refund.



So this leaves me with a problem, I really want a PVR but I just cant find a single one with a picture qualty the same as my TV one, im using decent cables, a £60 QED silver ref scart cables and Mark Grant HDMI cable.

I was looking at the Topfield as it gets very good reviews off this forum but am really worried about getting stung again, failing that the only other option I was considering was the Panasonic DMR-EX75 as I figured it would prob have the same digi tuners as my TV.

Has anyone got the same TV and has a PVR they can reccomend that is of the same quality


cheers
 

nwhitfield

Novice Member
The Topfield is pretty good, but when you're connecting an external source, remember that you may have to change the settings on the TV to get a good picture; for example, with the component connection to my TV I get a great picture, but it's much improved - especially on the low bit-rate channels - by turning down the 'sharpness' setting on the TV, which otherwise exaggerates the digital artefacts.

Nigel.
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
The substantial difference you describe, between the onboard Freeview tuner and an external Freeview source may well be down, in part, to connection type. It's unlikely ever to be equal, but done right, you should get it fairly close. Perhaps with the next device you try, you should persevere a little longer (while keeping an eye on your consumer rights timescales) with different connection types. The most common cause of very poor images is the (inadvertent, often) use of composite video (CVBS) as opposed to, say, RGB.
 

kidloco46

Novice Member
The substantial difference you describe, between the onboard Freeview tuner and an external Freeview source may well be down, in part, to connection type. It's unlikely ever to be equal, but done right, you should get it fairly close. Perhaps with the next device you try, you should persevere a little longer (while keeping an eye on your consumer rights timescales) with different connection types. The most common cause of very poor images is the (inadvertent, often) use of composite video (CVBS) as opposed to, say, RGB.
Yeah I figured cabling would have a lot to do with it, the Tvonics was very strange, in composite the picture was truly terrible, when I flicked to RGB it was nice and clear but it was like the Gamma settings were maxed out, even the black on the menus was a light grey, which of couse made the picture un watchable, I tried messing with my TVs settings and swappign between AV channels, but to avail :confused:
 

markbigears

Novice Member
The toppy is very easy to use and gives a totally stunning picture, I was really suprised and i'm a picky old git!
 

PhilipL

Member
Hi

The Humax 9200T is also a good buy. It has the same hardware in as the Toppy but looks better (in my opinion), is a bit cheaper, and people seem happier with it as it comes out the box, whereas the Topfield seems to have several things needing to be done to it by the way of installing TAPs to overcome certain limitations, if this aspect of being able to customise appeals than the Topfield is good, but didn't appeal to me.

Picture quality is super, and via RGB is better than the TV's own built in Freeview tuner (Panasonic LCD TV). Recording, like the Toppy is simply the data stream saved to the disc so playing back recordings gives you the identical quality.

Humax should be the first to come out with a software update to enable Freeview Playback (a new spec to make Freeview recorders more like Sky+ boxes).


a £60 QED silver ref scart cables and Mark Grant HDMI cable.
Without being rude £60 on a SCART lead is a huge rip off, and with an HDMI cable that's all digital the picture quality can not be altered by the cable, as it will either work or will not.

For SCART leads, £15-£17 is as high as you ever need to go and this still gives the manufacturer a healthy profit!

Regards

Phil
 

scoobies

Novice Member
Hi,

I am suprised you were disappointed at the PQ of the Sony 860. My dad has the 860 with a Sony 40W2000 LCD. I think the picture looks fantastic with the 860 giving a slightly better picture than the TV's onboard freeview (Using HDMi).

Anyway - you are where you are.

As everyone says the main choices are the Humax 9200 and the Topfield. I have the older Humax 8000T and that give a great picture. Alot of my family and friends have the Humax 9200T and it gives a very good picture. Seen the 9200T on a hig end Pioneer plasma at my my mates and looked very good (again slightly better than the internal tuner.) I have no experience of the Topfiled so cannot comment.

Good luck
 

markbigears

Novice Member
I'm using my Toppy as it came out of the box, no TAPS as yet and find it excellent to use and you can already rewind the live TV.
 
G

gogsboy

Guest
I'm using my Toppy as it came out of the box, no TAPS as yet and find it excellent to use and you can already rewind the live TV.
What he said...few niggles (which PVR doesn't) but can use out the box and pretty reliable with it
 

IanSimmons

Novice Member
People seem happier with [the Humax] as it comes out the box, whereas the Topfield seems to have several things needing to be done to it by the way of installing TAPs to overcome certain limitations.
I can't agree, I'm afraid... I can only think of one thing that the Humax does out of the box that the Topfield doesn't, and that's auto-padding of recordings. Many (most?) people run happily with it as it comes. The Toppy unmodified still has more timers (70 vs. 50), has been reliable much longer, supports folders (a big plus), MP3s, and has a better USB interface (from what I understand). However it is the ability to enhance it which, for me, is worth the extra money on its own; though the other features (as well as a 250Gb option) are good enough to make a difference.

P.S. The Black Panther edition looks quite nice..!
 

kidloco46

Novice Member
as for the cables comment, I have to dissagree mate, I went from a £20 QED cable to the £60 QED and noticed a huge differance, and it only cost me £17 off ebay :D

I know what your sayign with regards to the HDMI, but the Mark Grant cable was reasonably priced and has very solid connections, some of the cheap ones fall out if you so much as look at them funny.

So it seems its defo between to Toppy and the Humax, I actually think the Toppy looks nicer when its in black, Think I will take the plunge on payday, shame Tesco dont sell just it case im not happy, will have to take a slight risk I think.

wheres the best place to get it from, superfi ?
 

markbigears

Novice Member
Buy it direct from the distrubutor TURBOSAT (based in sittingbourne, Kent), excellent service and back up support and will price match, well they did with me anyway.
 
The QED SQART AV2115s are always half price on Ebay (£29.99 + £2.20) from fill_your_boots.

Even if they don't make an appreciable difference to your PQ they are rather attractive and have a high WAF ;)

I've used the seller before and they are very good for QED stuff :thumbsup:

Bob
 

PhilipL

Member
Hi

as for the cables comment, I have to dissagree mate, I went from a £20 QED cable to the £60 QED and noticed a huge differance, and it only cost me £17 off ebay
Over the distances involved it is extremely unlikely there was any difference in picture quality, and the nature of replacing one lead with the other means you can't do any quick comparisons like for like. There is one real reason why some will see a huge difference from a cheap to an expensive SCART and that is because the cheap one has less wires and so doesn't support RGB. Plugging in the dearer one and suddenly the TV switches to RGB mode because it then gets the signal.

Also the trend for gold plated connectors (at a cost of 5p per plug!) to try and justify the high cost and market them as “24K Gold plated” just means when connected to the more typical nickel plated sockets sets off a reaction between the dissimilar metals causing a slowly degrading electrical connection, of course they don't tell you this on the packaging.

So it seems its defo between to Toppy and the Humax, I actually think the Toppy looks nicer when its in black, Think I will take the plunge on payday, shame Tesco dont sell just it case im not happy, will have to take a slight risk I think.
I don't think you will go wrong with either, my personal choice was the Humax, mainly because people are happy with the software it comes with out of the box and to me it looks neater. The Toppy is more flexible and customisable with various TAPs, but reading on the Toppy forum it seemed you had to install a collection of TAPs to work around various issues and people were recommending this or that TAP but on with this or that firmware etc, and I didn't really want another piece of kit that encouraged me to spend more time tinkering with it than using it! I’ve a PC for that :)

Other considerations to take into account, the Humax has a fan which runs (newer models turn the fan off in standby), this can add some noise, whereas the Topfield is fanless. However when reading the Toppy forums there were several posts of users modifying the Topfield and adding fans as they were getting very hot, so not sure having no fan is a benefit considering the rising temperatures and boiling hot summers we get in the UK now.

Regards

Phil
 

Richard46

Active Member
,,,the Topfield is fanless. However when reading the Toppy forums there were several posts of users modifying the Topfield and adding fans as they were getting very hot, so not sure having no fan is a benefit considering the rising temperatures and boiling hot summers we get in the UK now.

Regards

Phil
Hi Phil

I think some at least of those who have added fans have done it because they have also fitted a bigger HDD or have ventilation problems. The Toppy certainly runs warm (great for chestnuts in the winter; just kidding honest :D ) and personally I would not put another box on top of it but I dont think there is any evidence that given decent airflow temperature is a problem.

Richard
 

Bearded_Malc

Novice Member
I run a toppy fan less. But I have raise it up to allow better airflow underneath and there is nothing on top of it. It doesn't get hot but I think allowing good airflow underneath is frequently overlooked.

As for TAPs, don't get the wrong impression, many people use the toppy as is. However as the toppy allows you the flexibility why would you want to? In general TAPs add features above and beyond what other boxes have. The excepting being padding which toppy doesn't have as standard but some do. But beside that you can add taps to quickly skip adverts, automatically record programmes on keyword searches, even set timers/searches via the net in case you suddenly remember in Spain that you forget to set a recording :).
 

Ron240

Well-known Member
Without being rude £60 on a SCART lead is a huge rip off, and with an HDMI cable that's all digital the picture quality can not be altered by the cable, as it will either work or will not.

For SCART leads, £15-£17 is as high as you ever need to go and this still gives the manufacturer a healthy profit!
Ok...im a few days late,but ive only just read this thread.

Have to strongly disagree with you on the Scart Cable question Phil. I regard the QED Silver Reference cable to be one of the best on the market,and it is definitely worth paying a little extra for,although you shouldnt actually need to spend £60 to get it.
With Scart, the signal is analogue,and more money does generally equate to higher quality and better picture,but as you say,the same is not true of an HDMI cable. You are however wrong in comparing a Scart with HDMI,for the purpose of either working or not.

Oh,i can happily recommend the Humax 9200T - a superb machine. :thumbsup:
 

PhilipL

Member
Hi

With Scart, the signal is analogue,and more money does generally equate to higher quality and better picture
Maybe, but not over a metre or so distance. Humans are funny creatures and we believe a lot of rubbish and marketing for example, DFS Sofa's having a sale on ending this weekend! You may know it's a complete con and all they are really interested in is selling credit and the sale doesn't exist, but a lot of people believe it completely and think they are getting a bargain of a life time :rolleyes:

With all the processing that goes on inside modern TVs the signal it receives is so far removed to what you see on the panel, that any very tiny differences in the electrons that flow over different cables would be impossible to see, analogue or not.

Oh,i can happily recommend the Humax 9200T - a superb machine
Well at least we agree on something:hiya:

As for TAPs, don't get the wrong impression, many people use the toppy as is. However as the toppy allows you the flexibility why would you want to? In general TAPs add features above and beyond what other boxes have. The excepting being padding which toppy doesn't have as standard but some do. But beside that you can add taps to quickly skip adverts, automatically record programmes on keyword searches, even set timers/searches via the net in case you suddenly remember in Spain that you forget to set a recording :).
Don't get me wrong, I think the idea of being able to customise the functionality is great, but only if you want to tinker. For me it was something I didn't want to spend the time investigating then having to debug issues when a TAP conflicted with something else or didn't work as expected requiring a search for different TAP.

The main functionality of the Humax works great, yes the padding favours only using a single tuner so you lose the padding on timers that follow each other, but when you know that (and I can see the logic why they would do that) you can work around it easily enough.

Regards

Phil
 

reforse

Novice Member
Don't get me wrong, I think the idea of being able to customise the functionality is great, but only if you want to tinker. For me it was something I didn't want to spend the time investigating then having to debug issues when a TAP conflicted with something else or didn't work as expected requiring a search for different TAP.
It really is not as complex as that. My tinkering has taken me about 2*15minutes and the 2nd 15mins was due to a firmware update that I didnt really need to do.
 

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