Looking for DVD Recorder for use with sky subscription

willie45

Standard Member
Hi
Please help. I have just had ordinary sky installed. I want a dvd recorder which will allow me to record from sky and pause live tv, and make dvds of programmes I want to keep and to play on other DVD players. I don't really want sky+ which I believe wont let me make DVDs anyway. (I understand that I need a HDD recorder to do this ?) I am not even sure if all DVD recorders will let me record from sky or not.

I don't know much about this stuff and I don't want to spend much more than £250 if possible. I read some threads and some I didn't understand and some were quite old so all help appreciated greatly.

I should probably point out that I have not terrestrial ariel where I live and am not able to get one put in easily which is why Freeview is no use for me and was one of the major attractions of sky. I can't get cable either.
Thanks in advance

Willie
 

kenfowler3966

Active Member
All dvd recorders will record from sky, it is just a matter of setting the epg in sky to autoplay the programme you want to record, whilst setting the dvd recorder to record from the skybox at the same time. As most programmes are a series the series link function on th epg meams you only have to set it once and the recorder should have a daily or weekly function in the timer recording to also allow you to only set it up once for the whole series.

To pause live tv you would be best using a machine with ram disks rather than rw, although I believe some of the better machines can do this on rw as well now. But ideally you should look for a machine with a hard disk, as this is the best way to pause programmes, and gives you much more capacity for recording.
An 80 gig machine will record about 18 hours at best quality, compared to 1 hour on a dvd, you need to seriously reduce the recording quality on a dvd to even get 4 hours let alone more. I find that I often have 10 or more hours on the hard drive still to view with the machine starting up to record all the time as new timer events start. I hardly ever record to ram, just archive the programs I want to keep to write once dvd-r at around 15p each now after editing out the ads, over-run etc on the hard drive. For best quality on dvd you want to keep the length recorded to under about 2hrs 15mins if possible.

Once you have a machine with a hard drive, either tivo, sky+ or a recorder, you can watch tv in a completely different way. I spend about 20 mins on a saturday morning checking what is on the following week, adjusting the sky epg and timer settings as required and record every programme I want to see.
You then have the option to ignore the schedules and watch the programmes at a time to suit you, you never miss a programme you want to see, and you never have to watch adds again
Even if you want to see a programme say starting at 8:00pm, set it to record anyway, and start watching after 8:15. You can skip through all the adds and watch it in 45 mins catching up just about as it ends.
 

willie45

Standard Member
Hi

Thanks very much for your help on this one both of you. I wonder if you have any particular machines you would recommend ? I have noticed people commenting favourably on the Toshiba RD XS34 and wonder if this would suit my needs. I haven't seen this model for sale though, only the RD XS32. Is this the same model ? Does it do the RAM things you mention? Would you recommend any other model?

Thanks again

Willie
 

xxxx

Active Member
Whatever you do, be sure to get one with a hard drive. Don't even think about getting one without. The difference in ease of use for time-shifting (which is what most people use these recorders for) is staggering. DVD-RAM is a waste of time when compared to a hard drive.

Some models have built-in compatibility with the autoview function in the Sky programme guide which allows for complete automation of recordings, with series links, without the need for any extra equipment such as the device mentioned above.
Other models have GuidePlus+ which also allows for automated recording.

Both of these options have been very extensively covered in these forums.
 

willie45

Standard Member
Hi Again

Sorry to be a pain. I have taken on board the comments made above but I am not too sure what models have the feature to make recording from sky epg the easiest. Does this mean that I should buy one with an EPG of it's own? Can anyone recommend a model which will allow me to do this?

Also I notice some have Freeview included and I wonder if this would be a hindrance as I do not have a terrestrial aerial where I live and do not wish to get one. I am wondering if by having freeview included it would confuse the process and make it more difficult to operate.

I was put of the tohiba mentioned above by a few unfavourable reviews I read and now I am wondering if the Panasonic DMRES20D might be the answer. However I also read in on of the threads that this does not have an EPG and so the programs recorded are a bit hit and miss to find.

Oh dear! I am a bit confused. Sorry to be so ignorant but I could do with some more help here.

Willie
 

xxxx

Active Member
Some recorders have a built-in EPG. Of these the only one worth having is GuidePlus+. So if you want a built-in EPG get one with that. This has a few issues with losing guide data on some Sky boxes (can normally be solved by rebooting). Also some channels aren't covered.

Many other recorders (most in fact) are compatible with the Sky EPG autoview feature that will switch the digibox on, select the right channel and start a recorder recording, if it has been left in that mode. This is usually known as auto-record or auto-sat or auto-sat record or similar. To see whether a recorder has this you will need to download the recorder manual. This can have a few issues with RGB connectivity due to needing to use the AV2 socket. You also have to remember to leave both boxes in the right mode.

You should also do a proper search of these forums.
Both subjects have been covered very extensively here.

Just a thought, but as you have a Sky sub why not get the Sky+? If your sub includes premium channels you won't have to pay the monthly Sky+ fee and this would take care of all your time-shifting problems. You can then just add any cheap DVD burner for making permanent copies.

If I paid for a premium viewing sub with Sky I would certainly have a Sky+.
 

willie45

Standard Member
Hi XXXX,

Thanks for your help here. I have had a look at the forums but found the discussions a little confusing because I didn't really have any knowledge of the equipment features being discussed. I take it from your posting that there is little difference between the recorders which use the sky epg and ones that use the Guideplus. I did notice some comment on one of the forum postings to the effect that if the recorder had an epg of its own then finding what is recorded on the HDD is much easier because it displays as a menu. Is this right?

The reason I did not go for Sky+ is because I do not subscribe to the full packages and would have to either pay £260 for installation and then £10 per month or else pay for multiroom, get a free installation and pay £46 per month.

I am still not sure if I bought a DVDR with the Freeview facility it would conflict with the sky signal or not. Can anyone help?

Oh and also could you tell me what the "RGB issues with connectivity due to having to use the AV2" socket means please?

Thanks again for your help

Willie
 

GeeDoubleU

Standard Member
Panasonic dmr-es10 works excellent. Attach the dvd recorder via your 2nd scart(VCR) socket on your sky box, then use the sky personal planner only to set your recordings. The DVD recorder has a Ext-link button that puts the dvd recorder in standby and when the sky box switches to the program set in the sky program planner it sends a signal to the dvd recorder to start recording, it then stops the recorder as well.

Only downside is the vcr scart socket on the sky box is only a s-video scart connection and not a rgb scart so quality isn't as good.

The other opton is to use both the sky personal planner and the DVD recorders timer and attach the sky main scart output to the DVD record input which are both RGB scarts.

I've had mine for 6 months and it works great.

DVD RAM disks allow pause live tv, but they won't play on my cheap dvd player in bedroom, but do play on my laptop.

I won't pay for Sky+ as I am an existing premium subscriber and they are asking £89 plus £65 installation just for the 40GB model.

I also can't wacth recordings on my laptop during my daily commute with Sky+.

If it was free then great but I'm not paying for out of date technology.
 

willie45

Standard Member
Hi

Thanks for the advice folks. I have decided to buy the Panasonic DMREH50 multi region recorder. This has a program guide with it but I note that it will not always work well or indeed recognise some of the channels I receive from sky. So can anyone confirm that I can use the EPG on sky to run the recorder so that it switches it on and off as required and that this will override the program guide in the panasonic?

In other words is it the case that I can just use sky to control what I record as long as I have the recorder on the right mode?

Thanks in advance for your help to this newbie

Willie
 
F

Frank01

Guest
The UK version of the Panasonic EH50 does not have a programme guide. Check the Panasonic website. As far as recording from Sky goes - I would just set the DVD recorder to record at the same time as the programme is on - remember to set the Sky box to this channel and do not turn it off. There is a lot of good information on this site as to how to set up your connections ( RGB scart recommended)
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I believe the new Pansonic range coming out soon will have a programme guide, so it might be worth waiting to see what prices they are ? The Pioneers have GuidePlus which a lot of people use with great success.
 

xxxx

Active Member
willie45 said:
I take it from your posting that there is little difference between the recorders which use the sky epg and ones that use the Guideplus. I did notice some comment on one of the forum postings to the effect that if the recorder had an epg of its own then finding what is recorded on the HDD is much easier because it displays as a menu. Is this right?

Oh and also could you tell me what the "RGB issues with connectivity due to having to use the AV2" socket means please?

To use the autoview record function from the Sky EPG you generally have to connect the DVDR to VCR scart output on the Sky box. This output only has composite video and not RGB (it doesn't have S-Video either). This isn't the end of the world but it can result in a slight loss of quality in the recordings.

As far as the built-in GuidePlus+ EPG goes: yes, it will give you recordings that are labelled automatically.

It's not easy to choose between the two EPGs as they both have advantages and drawbacks.
Ideally one would want a DVDR that supports the Sky EPG autoview recording function and that also has GuidePlus+ built-in. I don't know of one.
 

xxxx

Active Member
JohnG said:
Anyone know how these Phantom+ thingies work ? It seems too good to be true :D
They are good devices but don't forget that many DVDRs and VCRs have the function already built-in.
 
M

mildred

Guest
JohnG said:
Anyone know how these Phantom+ thingies work ? It seems too good to be true :D


It works as I said before very well.

It sends infrared commands to your recorder when you have programs on your Sky/Freeview personal planner which need recording.
You first have to program the Phantom device with a few commands from your DVD recorder remote control before it is installed.

After that, anything that is in your personal planner will be recorded without having to program the actual DVD recorder. Simple. :D


It plugs in the VCR scart socket of your Sky or Freeview box, it has a loopthrough to allow you to connect a SCART cable to your DVD recorder.
The infrared sender rests on top of your Sky box, and is magnetic so it will not move about.

I have one, and my sister now has one, and is using it with her Sony RDRHX 510 DVD recorder.
 

willie45

Standard Member
Thanks to all of you. Last questions (really) are:

1. Am I right in saying that if I buy the Panasonic and fit the device mentioned by mildred, all I need to do is to line up my programme planning on sky and leave it to the box?

2. Does the panasonic have one fitted or not? If it does not and it works as mildred says, I will buy one this week.

Finally,

3. Once I have everything recorded on the Panasonic HDD will there be a menu of what is where so I can find it easily or not?

Thanks again for the advice and help,

Willie
 

xxxx

Active Member
If you are thinking of buying a Phantom then you should buy a DVDR/HDD with GuidePlus+ to go with it. That way you will have both options.
If you insist on buying the Panasonic (this seems a bit silly as it is about to be replaced) then you should download the manual beforehand in order to see whether it has the autoview recording function built-in or not. The manual will also explain what sort of menus it has.

All recent DVDR/HDD machines have some sort of menu for recordings, with a thumbnail of the content. The ones with GuidePlus+ will give the programme name and source also. Others will just give the time and date and leave you to name the recording as you wish.
 

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