Instant Rewind clarification sought.

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by Faust, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. Faust

    Faust
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    Having just got Sky+ there is one feature that puzzles and troubles me slightly - that feature being Instant Rewind, and yes I know the topic has been covered before but I would appreciate some clarification. I am right in assuming that IR records a set amount (user controlled) of whatever channel the Sky+ box is tuned to in a buffer? Is that from the start of every programme or just from the time the digi box was tuned to that particular channel? If it is doing this then is it not going to be very wearing on the Hard Drive to have it constantly spinning and recording. For the time being I have turned mine of until this issue has been cleared up to my satisfaction.
     
  2. Shagga

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    Hi Faust,
    My understanding is that yes it records the time set by yourself(Up to 1 hour) and it only records from the time the tuner is set to that channel. NOT everytime a programme starts.

    Hope this helps
     
  3. johndon

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    AFAIK, the instant rewind is essentially 'reset' each time you change channel so the length of time you've got the buffer set to restarts on every channel change. You can test this very easily by changing channels and then trying to rewind immediately - you'll find that you can't.

    As to the wear on the hard disk, I've had instant rewind switched on since the day it became available (can't remember exactly when that was) and I've had no problems at all.

    HTH

    John
     
  4. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    I'd agree with the two posts above and say that the buffering only applies to the current channel you are tuned to - and only from the time that you began viewing that channel.

    One of the new advantages of the 'two channel' recording update, is that you can now save what is in that instant rewind buffer by hitting the record key. That option was never available before. I find that quite useful - if I take a phone call, for example, hit pause but the phone call goes on forever - then I have to go out, I can hit the record button and keep what's in the buffer for viewing later. That happens quite often for me - but I have to remember that the function is there of course ! I keep forgetting (this stuff is such a quantum leap from how I watched telly before).

    If you are worried about the Hard Drive, and want to switch instant rewind off, then you can revert to what we used to do in the old days before instant rewind was available - make your own instant rewind. As soon as you start watching a channel, then immediately hit the pause button. Wait a second and then hit play. At any point further on then you can immediately rewind because the HD is buffering it - though only so far back as to your first pause point of course. I used to do that for the Grand Prix - hit pause at the start, then I can rewind after the first corners incidents to see them again. Now we have the option to hit record and keep it too.
     
  5. Jeffers01

    Jeffers01
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    I'm not convinced turning the instant rewind feature to 'off' actually stops the disc spinning (which is the real potential wear on the disc). I'm sure I can still here it spinning.
     
  6. Starburst

    Starburst
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    The disc spins 24/7 as long as there power of course.
    Since the greatest shock to a hard drive is the power surge and spinup from 0 to 5400/7200 rpm it is evident that HD lifespans are increased if kept spinning and not stopped as and when recording is required.
    In that respect turning Instant Rewind off could increase the lifespan of the hard drive since the mechanics of controlling and moving the heads would be reduced but it would be pretty hard to prove in a domestic situation:)
     
  7. Jeffers01

    Jeffers01
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    Does it still spin when in standby? If so what is 'standby' for. Power saving for not pumping out the signal is minimal I would suspect. Also I assume that any recordings planned will not occur if the unit is in standby mode when the recording is due to start. Easy to check I suppose.
     
  8. STOWITBELOW

    STOWITBELOW
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    I'm sure Starburst's right, it's ALWAYS spining (unless unplugged). I'm sure if in standby or otherwise planned recordings occur. In fact I'm also sure you can turn the box to standby whilst recording & it continues, & when it's finished it then remains in standby. In other words, I'm not sure what standby's for either ! Perhaps the Red light uses less power than the Green one !
     
  9. Merritt

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    With regards to standby - it appears that the video / audio output circuitry is turned off even if the hard disk and signal decoder isn't...

    The reason I say that is becuase I have a PS2 plugged into the RGB in port and I can only use the PS2 when the sky+ box is in standby.... However, sky+ can still record whilst the machine remains in standby i.e. it can record whilst I am playing with my PS2.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  10. Starburst

    Starburst
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    Exactly:)
    Only the video/audio outputs are disabled and that's why the power consumption in standby is virtually identical to when the SKY+ is turned on. I suspect the standby option just helps people who have daisy chained devices or using splitters to feed a TV and SKY+ output overrides other devices when switched on.
    SKY+ is a recorder (obvious I know) and it has access to hundreds of channels that broadcast 24/7 and gets sporadic updates via satellite all of which means it needs to be "alive" all the time.
    Having SKY+ in anything but standby when the family isn't at home or doing something else means you can not record anything which is the basic reason that domestic TV recorders were invented in the first place:)
     
  11. Faust

    Faust
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    To take this a step further then. I go out to work in the morning and leave the Sky+ box tuned to lets say for argument BBC1 - not sure whether having Sky+ box in standby or turned on makes a difference to IR. Are you saying then that Sky+ will be buffering constantly (whatever time setting you have it set to) from morning to night? It must do if you follow that argument to its logical conclusion i.e. being able to rewind live tv - as an example if the IR time is set to fifteen minutes, it has to be constantly updating the last fifteen minutes of the channel it's tuned to, for however long it's tuned to that channel. In other words it can never stop, unless that is time itself stops. Surely if the HD is recording 24/7 this must surely be knocking hell out of the HD or if not, then significantly reducing its lifespan. I think I'll keep mine turned off until this one is settled once and for all.


    :confused:
     
  12. Starburst

    Starburst
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    IR doesn't work if the box is in standby.
    If the SKY+ is on (green light) then IR will buffer upto 60minutes of whatever channel it is tuned into.
    There is no doubt that constant writing to a HD will increase wear in the mechanical parts anyway) and therefore reduce the potential lifespan.. However the question is if this reduction is of any great concern when viewed against the potential lifespan of a HD that is used in a PC for example and subjected to perhaps daily (or hourly depending upon which windows you use) reboots:)
    I suspect the benefits of 24/7 spinning in reducing the shock and wear to the drive mechanism counters any potential loss incurred in 24/7 writing.
    Having said all that I do not use IR as I do believe it puts an unnecessary strain on the HD and complicates an already convuluted OS.
     
  13. Faust

    Faust
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    Well I'm with you there, I too have IR turned off, and I have not found it a hardship without it, indeed, up to now I have not encountered a situation where I wish it had been activated. As for PC hard drives, although I use my computers a fair bit I have never (touch wood) had a HD failure. I expect longevity from products I buy, so would not wish to hasten the end of my Sky+ HD. When I say longevity, with the exception of a PC, which I change every four to five years (due to advances in the technology) I expect an electrical item to give me a minimum of eight years trouble free service. To date I cannot think of anything that hasn't, with many giving double that.
     
  14. Starburst

    Starburst
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    I've only had one HD failure and that was the HD in my first PC, think it was a 850meg unit, boy have times changed:)

    I did have a TV that went through 3 £600 tubes in 5 years though and much to my annoyance this damn SONY rear projection is still going strong after 7 years.
    Can't buy a Plasma until this one breaks:)
     
  15. Merritt

    Merritt
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    :lease:
    I really can't believe what I am hearing here!!!

    Modern hard disks of equivalent size cost around £60. If the HD fails in the first year, sky should replace it under warrantee. After the first year, if it fails buy another one!! You paid £200 for the privilege of a Sky+ box with a hard disk and now you're not using one of its best / most useful features?

    :confused:

    Steve
     
  16. Starburst

    Starburst
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    I do not consider IR to be the best or most useful feature of SKY+.
    I also do not suffer from failed recordings or any of the other hiccups other users on this and the DS forum complain about, coincidence?

    Perhaps if there had been ONE instance in the last 30 months when I was watching "live" telly and I wished I could have watched a momment again I might feel differently but there hasn't been so why worry:)
     
  17. Faust

    Faust
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    Firstly, you are not hearing, you are reading. Secondly, I fully endorse Starburst sentiments re: having IR turned off. I tend to do what it says on the box i.e. make your own channel. As such most of my viewing has been pre-recorded, therefore IR is somewhat redundant. You state in your post that if the HD fails within twelve months Sky will replace under warranty - what they are tending to do in practise is replace the entire box with a refurbished one, I don't want that. You go on to say that if it's outside the warranty period then for a modest outlay I could replace the HD myself. You are however missing the point. If either of those scenarios were to happen, then the Sky+ box would not have met my criteria for longevity i.e. the "eight year rule".
     
  18. Merritt

    Merritt
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    Fair enough, I understand that the requirement for IR is subjective... keep it turned off if it isn't something you use, however, I have now had Sky+ installed for over a year and I use all its features very regularly. I have never had a failed recording, erased recording, dolby dropout etc.

    Faust - I think you are being unrealistic with your 8 year rule. Infact, any small claims court in the UK would laugh at you if you tried to claim against a manufacturer of a £200 unit because ANY part of it had failed between its 2nd to 8th year.

    I know that a lot of electronic goods do last reliably for a long time, however it is unrealistic to EXPECT any cheap, mass produced piece of electronic kit (especially with high speed moving parts inside it) to be 100% reliable for that timeframe.

    I understand that you want your kit to be reliable (as do we all), I also understand that if you can minimise the risk of failure, then you are prepared to turn certain features off, however, I do think you need to be a little more realistic when it comes to life expectancy of electronics!!

    Steve
     
  19. Faust

    Faust
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    Two Sony t.v.'s one recently replaced for widescreen, but still working - 18 years young, both faultless.

    Two separate system hi fi's one Technics one Kenwood 17 years young and both have been faultless.

    One microwave oven 25 years young, bulb recently blown, ah! things don't last like they used to.

    One PC eleven years young Windows 3.1 passed to relative and still in use.

    One Hoover 21 years young - occasional belt and filters needed.

    I could go on, but I think I've made my point. I look after things with great care in the hope they look after me, and in the main as you can see they do. It has never been my intention to go before any DJ to complain about goods not lasting as they should, it's simply a criteria that I endeavour to keep to.
     
  20. Merritt

    Merritt
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    Some of those things may have cost you £200 at the time but I doubt very much you could buy them for that now. Cheap, mass produced electronics these days are not designed to last... its not profitable!

    The trends in technology means that the manufacturers are using the latest and greatest where possible to reduce costs. An example of this is with semiconductors (present in most modern day kit but in very little kit 20 years ago).

    To reduce costs, manufacturers use a smaller process semiconductor technology to get a greater yield from their dies hence making each part cheaper. The positive points to doing this are much greater than the negative points, however one of the negative points is a requirement to drop core voltage levels to cope with the smaller process. The upshot is a much greater current requirement for the parts which creates more hotspots on the device, more stress to the supllying/surrounding components, larger current specs on the power supplies & voltage regulators and therefore an increased likelyhood of failure.

    Im afraid they don't make em like they used to..

    Steve
     
  21. Faust

    Faust
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    You depressed me now with that scenario. Another point is this, you don't even know who is making the product anymore. Take a Sony VCR as an example. The model I own (four years old) is still produced. However, the model you can buy today does not look or feel as robust as the one I own. After doing some research I find that Sony no longer make this VCR, and it is in fact made by Samsung. The public still assume they are buying a Sony product with all the perceived prestige and premium pricing that goes with it - not that there's anything wrong with Samsung products, but one could have bought the badged Samsung for literally half the cost. Surely the public are entitled to transparency?
     
  22. Starburst

    Starburst
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    I read a while back that due to the drop off in demand for high profit margin VCR's there are now only 10 companies involved in making them and none of them are owned or controlled by the major brands that we have grown up with and assume represent quality both in build and performance.
    All the major brands now out source product manufacture to the far east under contract to companies we have never heard of which explains why they have been able to produce sub £100 DVD players etc when two years ago you would have been paying over £200. Also explains why the supermarket chains can get their mits on dirt cheap hardware and be in a position to dump faulty goods and replace with new since it is cheaper than repairing them!

    There is still high quality goods out there but the difference in price between cheap and cheerful and high end is so vast many people can't justify the extra cost.
    I personally still think you get what you pay for especially with consumer electronics but there is no denying there are bargins to be had if you don't set your expectations too high:)
     
  23. Merritt

    Merritt
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    You've brought up an interesting point regarding Sony products... about four years ago I bought a Sony Wega 28" widescreen TV. In the first 6 months it was changed 5 times due to failure of different components. I thought I had been extremely unlucky (the 5th unit was fine) however I now know of at least four other people that had problems with their identical WEGA screens.

    I originally bought Sony for the reasons you stated above i.e perceived prestige and premium pricing that goes with the products, but I have to say that I am much less likely to buy their products in the future because of the experiences I had with my Wega. :thumbsdow

    As for rebadging - I completely agree with you, the public should have complete transparency to know what they are buying. As far as im concerned, this shouldn't stop with electronics either... food companies for example that package a product into a premium brand whilst also packaging the same product into Tescos / Safeway packaging etc should also be made to disclose. In one way its almost 'passing off' in the same way as asking for coke and getting pepsi!!!

    Steve
     
  24. Faust

    Faust
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    I think I might have opened up a can of worms with this one, (although whose brand of worms I am unsure of) Sky+ is another example. I know as a fact that Pace outsource all their manufacturing to third parties. However, who makes the Sky+ box is a puzzle I have yet to solve, as Pace refused to divulge this information to me.
     
  25. Merritt

    Merritt
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    I might be able to find this one out... Im a Field Applications Engineer with a well known semiconductor company (that shall remain nameless for the moment)... I happen to know that we look after their account, so we'll know where the boxes are being built...

    Give me a couple of days and I'll PM you!

    Steve
     
  26. STOWITBELOW

    STOWITBELOW
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    I love to squeeze value out of my hard earned dosh, but think the argument for longevity for these goods is largely achademic. A friend bought a Vcr circa 1980 for £500 - a vhs by chance, rather than video 2000 or Betamax. One of the other formats would have been obsolete very quickly. But still, its size, wired remote etc means I believe it was consigned to the bin before it packed in. (despite the equivolent cost of over £1500 now). Maybe not stunning, but VCRs for less than £50 mean repair of older, less specified models is unattractive. Widescreen has similarly usurped 'conventional' Tv. Like Starburst my Sony RP TV (cost new, over £5k although not to me) looks shabby compared to the latest incarnation, or Plasma Tvs. In 5 years time we may be all sat watching full wall displays. Micro drives may offer true PVRs. It is a complete guess what we will be doing. It's not much of a guess to supose it won't be exactly what we are now. The point is, I'll be suprised if the instant rewind significantly alters the 'life-span' of my Sky+. Although seldom use it, I'll risk it.
     
  27. Faust

    Faust
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    I appreciate your point STOWITBELOW. However, it would be nice if you knew one way or the other whether or not IR has an adverse effect on the life of the unit. Surely that way the consumer could then make his or hers choice to turn it off or leave it turned on
     
  28. STOWITBELOW

    STOWITBELOW
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    Perhaps I'm naive but surely if it significantly reduced the 'life' they may say something. As mentioned, it's spinning anyway & the stoping /starting is whats 'wearing'. I realise they wouldn't advertise 'shortfalls' of one of +s big features. However the fact many PC hard drives have a 3 yr warranty suggests to me manufactures of these things have confidence in their wares. (Pcs may have a harder life than +). My Maxtor drive before I upgraded was boiling (can't be good). The replacement Samsung nice & cool. Maybe if I'd not have changed, I'd have had a replacement box by now. This was before I even turned IR on. I'm unclear what 'quality' Maxtor are - price suggests not sparkling. Perhaps a 'better' quality HD in + would resolve your concerns & Skys' warranty claims.
     
  29. krismcewan

    krismcewan
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    I think that sums up the Whole IR debate. If they had installed a good quality Hard disk then the failure rate would be less.

    As a PC engineer the biggest problem with hard disk failures is not over use or constant starting and stopping.
    Its overheating.
    Although the disks themselves are complex plates of magnetic data we sometimes tend to forget that the control systems are silicon chips that dont like heat to much.

    I have had lots of hard disk failures in my Job and most of them came out of Dusty Hot PC's without decent airflow.
    The same can be said of the Sky+ box.

    Make sure you have at least 3 inches clear at the top of the box for airflow and make sure your box isnt positioned next to a heater or radiator. This should help with heat build up.

    As soon as my warranty is up i am swapping my disk out for a cooler larger disk.

    Kris
     

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