is anyone happy with their pvr ?

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by jtfab75, Jul 18, 2005.

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  1. jtfab75

    jtfab75
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    got the dvd recorder,got the LCD tv,got the glass stand, all i need is a good pvr.
    is anyone happy with their pvr,i'm thinking off getting the pace twin tuner but thats too old now and panasonic (my prefer choice thou not the price) is a turkey.
    other makes have bug faults or overheating,so what out there is good.

    please help :confused:
     
  2. MartinImber

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    Still quite happy with my Twin and you can get them for £115 off Ebay now
     
  3. LV426

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    Pace Twin (in my experience, not Martin's) is a total lemon; unreliable and riddled with software bugs, but it does have a really nice UI. Mine
    a) creates its own interference causing huge bit error rates (and hence glitches) from what is actually a totally clean input signal
    b) freezes on playback when it encounters certain fade-to-black scenes
    c) has a tendency to lock up while recording, which fills up the hard disc with an unwatchable file

    Panasonic, in my experience, is a total lemon. Mine froze up completely overnight (not every night) at 04:05 meaning you can't rely on it to record >1 day ahead. Very slow (although I gather a OTA update has cured this) and an apalling UI.

    No experience of others - only what I read on the web - except

    Humax PVR8000-80 : Dead simple, single tuner, limited, therefore, in functionality, but otherwise flawless, 100% reliable (up to now).

    Further comment is gleaned from the web. These are all twin tuner devices:

    Sagem: quirky UI and limited functionality, not 100% reliable
    Fusion 200 (new model): reliable, quiet, some people dislike the UI. Avoid earlier (100 and 150) models.
    Inverto: early indications were good, but now they are in mass production it seems to be another lemon.
    Topfield: Most highly specified (and most expensive). Varying degrees of reliability. Not totally fault free.

    See here:

    http://www.emsee.co.uk/pvr/
     
  4. Maff et1

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    I'm very happy with my Topfield. Normally after spending 300 quid I go through a phase of wishing I hadn't. The toppy, however, still feels like good value.

    It's rather sensative to signal quality issues - weak signals cause much weirdness - however after sorting that out I have never had a missed / corrupted recording.

    Trouble with forums is you tend to spend alot of time reading peoples problems, not much comment is made about things that just work.

    The toppy has a dedicated forums here: www.toppy.org.uk presumably the other devices do aswell.
     
  5. MartinImber

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    Twin issues

    Fade to black sticking - happens very occasionally but only with C4 and Andromeda - never anything else and was also sporadic.

    Poor signal - usually to do with the jumper between tuner 1 and tuner 2 getting loose or bad connection.

    Improve reliability by using a protected power supply
     
  6. AndyCCC

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    The toppy is my first pvr, and although I've only had it a couple of weeks (after swapping a faulty unit) I'm very happy with it - so much more flexible, and better quality than a VCR. Have quite happily recorded two programmes while playing back a third. The toppy is lacking some ease of use and has some annoying quirks, but most features that it's missing can be fixed by adding in 3rd party applications (TAPs) via USB. No ethernet, but connection via USB can usefully allow you to transfer files to PC for editing or transfer to DVD (not got round the file format conversion myself yet, though plenty of others have).
     
  7. captain747480

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    I'm happy with my Topfield. It has performed flawlessly since I got it two weeks ago and I have not suffered with a single bug.

    There are, however, two features which some people have referred to as bugs which are as follows:-

    1. When chase playing a recording, when the recording ends you are automatically taken to live TV.
    2. When using the EPG if you change EPG channel the PIP display changes channel and you lose any channel buffering on the channel you were watching before going into the EPG.

    As far as I am concerned these are not bugs (a bug is when the software doesn't do what it is supposed to) the system has been deliberately designed to do these things.

    Both can be annoying but can be alleviated (although (1) cannot be fully avoided) by using a TAP (3rd party application) which can be easily loaded onto the unit using a PC and USB cable.

    Another area to be aware of is signal strength and quality which can affect the way the unit operates e.g. missed recordings but again this, in my opinion, is not a bug.

    Captain747480
     
  8. njp

    njp
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    Ah, the old "It's not a bug, it's a feature" defence! I guess all software writers resort to that at some point. I know I did. But #1 in particular is so clearly incorrect behaviour that it is at the very least a misfeature. And I think people are entirely justified in calling it a bug.
     
  9. mark.king

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    Ive got a toppy and my main complaint is the sound is not brilliant and I use it via the optical out. Having to go to archive just cos you have pressed stop is also a bit over the top. I do use the bookmark tap but this still seems a bit untidy. The unit does feel like it is worth at least £100 less than it cost
     
  10. Cyril

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    IMHO the only real PVRs that exist in the UK are TiVo and Windows Media Centre.

    For reasons why the UK TiVo is SOOO good (ancient in hardware terms, but years ahead software-wise) go to www.tivocommunity.com.

    It will take Topfield about 5 years to catch up with TiVos feature set.

    I think I will still be using TiVo for the next 5 years unless a Windows Media Centres come down to £200 or less.
     
  11. njp

    njp
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    I'm afraid all my (brief) perusal of that site showed me is that there are a lot of TiVo users in the USA, and that they like meeting up for lunch.

    TiVo users seem to be evangelical in the way that Mac users often are. Very irritating for the rest of us. I'm sure it's a fine machine (it was the subscription EPG business model which put me off in the early days - is that all ancient history?) But seriously, Topfield 5 years behind? I have the greatest difficulty imagining what possible additional features TiVo possesses which could take even a modestly talented group of developers 5 years to produce. Please enlighten me.
     
  12. blindlemon

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    There are over 30,000 very happy TiVo users in the UK too :)

    I don't know anything about the Topfield, but here are a few of the TiVo features made possible by it's database-driven 14 (20 for Sky) day EPG:-

    - Search by Title, Genre, Actor, Director, Keyword...
    - Season Passes - similar to Sky "Series Link" but works properly
    - Wishlists - setup a wishlist and have anything that matches it automatically recorded!

    And if you have installed a network card:-

    - Direct extraction of video to your PC
    - Control the TiVo over the internet via TiVoWeb
    - Have 2 TiVos co-operate with each other to manage clashes
    - Almost limitless hacking possibilities

    Add to that the fact that you can now expand a UK TiVo up to 800gb (990 hours of recording at "basic" quality) and the fact that TiVo works with Aerial, Sky, Freeview or Cable and you may get some idea why TiVo owners are a happy bunch :)
     
  13. madasahat

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    but tivo is a dead product thats like saying ooo win 3.1 is brilliant yes in its day it was good but for shear quality and ease of use and flexability its got to be a toppy
     
  14. figoagogo

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    I have a Humax Single Tuner PVR - and its brilliant.

    The PQ (via S-Video) and Sound (via optical) are excellent! All I miss is a second Tuner and the ability to rewind live TV, and then record what I just missed - if that makes sense :confused:
     
  15. njp

    njp
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    Nice features, and relatively simple to implement given a well designed (XML based?) EPG. But don't you have to pay £10 a month for the EPG, and download it over the Internet or via a modem? That's £120 a year! I can buy a slightly less functional (but still highly useful) PVR for that! With no more to pay, ever.

    Tell me more about Freeview compatibility. Are you saying that TiVos come with built-in Freeview tuners, and can do bitstream recording from them?
     
  16. blindlemon

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    If you buy a TiVo with a lifetime subscription included (around £350 from eBay) then you won't ever have to pay the £10 per month for the sub :)

    TiVo's don't have a builtin Freeview tuner - hence they can be used with Sky/Cable too - but you can get a Freeview STB for £35 these days.

    They also don't do "bitstream" recording - which I view as a benefit, as it allows you to select the quality of the recording based on the programme - so, for instance, you can record movies at "best" quality, and kids' programmes at "basic" - saving a lot of disk space :smashin:
     
  17. njp

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    Are TiVo really committed to providing the EPG in perpetuity, to a market that they appear to have abandoned?

    How does the TiVo control the STB? Can it control two STBs? Is it really as seamless as you'd like me to think?

    And I definitely do not view the lack of bitstream recording as an advantage. Your "best" quality will be worse than mine, and personally I never wish to record anything at less than "best possible"! Presumably, this also means that the subtitles don't get recorded.
     
  18. Cyril

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    I expect so as it would be disastrous PR for them if they were to drop out of the UK completely.

    They now have a lot more cash due to a deal with Comcast and are by far the strongest PVR brand in the USA.
     
  19. Cyril

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    This depends on your source and your equipment.

    The UK TiVo can now have an SDI mod, and along with mode 0 bitrate modifications it is quite possible that the TiVo could produce a better digital output than your analog RGB output, despite not having the bitstream.

    Subtitles are an achilles heel for digital sources for TiVo though, as you either record them with or without.

    Analog subtitles are OK with the UK TiVo though.
     
  20. Cyril

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    Thats crazy! Its you guys who are using the PVR equivalent of win3.1 in 2005!!!!!

    The current UK TiVo has a feature set that no other PVR in the UK comes close to matching except for Windows Media Centre.

    Its a bit like saying the latest Linux version, Windows XP or Mac OSX , if available in 1996 was rubbish!

    TiVo is still 5 years ahead software-wise!
     
  21. Cyril

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    Oops.. you should check out the UK section of tivocommunity.com.
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=248346

    Check out Sandertons post at the end. I think he gives the best explanation.

    The difficulty is in providing metadata for a database that allows intelligent searching and conflict resolution and prioritisation.

    Wishlists, season passes and suggestions have flexibility that most people would never dream of. I am guessing even most tiVo users dont fully utilise these features.

    The hardware is ancient.
    It is the software implementation that is years ahead.

    The Topfield is probably the 2nd best UK PVR, but IMHO it is along way behind TiVo due to software.

    The Topfield hardware is 5 years ahead of course, so it has greater potential.
    Sadly it will take until 2010 for that potential to be 50 per cent utilised.

    TiVo is not perfect - there is still a HELL of a lot of software features that could be added to make it even more super slick.
    A few of these have been added to the USA models - TiVo to Go, Home Media options, though much more features have been added by hackers, many from the UK!

    Slingmedia.com is another interesting company that allows you to placeshift.

    PVRs are still very much in their infancy.

    It is a bit like having a modern 4GHz triple core PC running Windows 3.1 or DOS 6.

    The Topfield may seem like a fantastic invention, but it is capable of so much more if the software and the metadata EPG were further developed.

    I have been waiting for someone to come out with something better than TiVo since 2000!
    As soon as something comes out I will switch!

    My ancient UK TiVos take up too much space, use up too much electricity, the SDI mod and network cachecards are not cheap, it doesnt record digital subtitles very well, does not have realtime EPG updates etc...

    But despite its many faults there is still nothing that comes close.
     
  22. MarkE19

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    Well I doubt TiVo would have just updated all their UK EPG servers if they were about to pull the plug on the UK. Will they continue forever - well nothing will last forever, not even Sky! Plus TiVowere recently at a UK trade show showing off a Series 2 TiVo, so rather than pulling out they could be about to reenter the UK market with a new model :lease:

    Mark.
     
  23. MartinImber

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    Tivo would be more popular in the UK if they released a built in DVB tuner version with the capability to do bit stream recording.

    Bitstream is about 1.8 to 2GB per hour
     
  24. njp

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    Bearing in mind that my only interest is in Freeview, I'm having a hard job seeing how any TiVO, no matter how extensively modded, could produce a better output that what comes out of the Freeview STB feeding it (and I still don't know how that is controlled, by the way!)
     
  25. njp

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    I don't disagree with any of that. The key to the whole thing is the EPG, and I'm happy to accept that TiVo have a superior offering there. I confess to not entirely understanding who pays for the EPGs (there are 2, I think) used by the current generation of Freeview PVRs, but surely there are opportunities here both for TiVo to re-enter the UK market with an enhanced machine (including Freeview-equipped variants) and to make money by cross-licensing their EPG to other manufacturers?
     
  26. Cyril

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    TiVo is capable of recording from any source, so if the source was better than Freeview you could in theory get a better output.

    Of course it would be difficult to get a better output.

    The weak point is in the analog output to whatever you are using as your display.

    With SDI it is pure digital, so there is almost no quality loss.

    So it means you just have a different point where you lose quality.
    In the case of non-SDI equipment it is when the signal leaves the equipment to the display.
    If you have TiVo you will have some quality loss at the source input instead.
     
  27. MarkE19

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    TiVo can control a STB via RF in either of 2 ways:

    1. an IR blaster on the front of the box that bounces an IR signal around the room to be picked up by the STB.

    2. IR wands that you stick on the IR receiver on the STB

    TiVo has a massive database of all the IR commands for all the STB's available in the UK. As new boxes are released the databased is normally updated within a few days to cover the new STB.

    Mark.
     
  28. Cyril

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    I SO HOPE SO!

    I have been waiting for so long for TiVo to do so, but I guess they are more concerned with the bigger USA and Japanese markets where they are developing new software and hardware.

    They even have deals with Microsoft and the XBox 360.

    I guess we are just a bit too small a market for them at the moment.

    If I had a spare 10 million quid I would bring a new TiVo or a Topfield with added TiVo technology to the UK.
     
  29. ad47uk

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    I have got the Thomson DHD4000, once it is updated to the latest firmware over the air, it is not a bad box. Twin freeview tuners, 40Gb hard drive and a pretty decent guide, which seems better than the Freeview guide.
    It have got problems, now and again I go to use it and find that it do nto respond to any commands, so I have to switch it off at the mains.

    Of cause it is not PVR like the TIvo, but it works ok,
    I do not use it as often as I did because I now got the Pioneer DVR 530 and that is connected to the Sky box, so it does most of the recordingm but the Thomson still gets used for recording stuff from the Freeview channels, when the Pioneer is doing something else.

    I had a Humax for a while and that was a very good machine, reliable and very easy to use, only drawback was it only had one Freeview tuner.

    I blow it up trying to put a bigger hard drive in, for some reason it did not want to work after, Currys still took it back.
     
  30. Typical Janner

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    I thought that Sky have a significant holding in Tivo, and have done what they can to keep it out of the UK market so that they have a chance of flogging their (in many ways inferior) Sky+.

    Of course, I could be totally wrong :oops:
     

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