Please could someone knowledgeable help me choose some equipment?!

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foxyjo

Guest
Hi from a newbie

I am absolutely desperate and have millions of pieces of paper scattered everywhere, in an attempt to find the perfect set of 'components'.

What I want seems quite simple, but I'm finding it hard to narrow all the various items down to the easiest and simplest set-up.

This is what I'm looking for:

DVD Recorder (preferably not the very cheap end)
Hard drive - something that will record about 40hrs
Freeview box which receives DAB, EPG, has twin tuners and 2 Scarts

I've looked at just about everything there is on the market, and even considered the Topfield TF5800 (I think it's called), but that seems too technical for me at the moment.

I've also checked out the Sony RDR-HX(D?)710, as it does everything I want except it doesn't have twin tuners (1 digital and 1 analogue), nor does it receive DAB.

Total budget between £300 & £400. The cheapest combination I've found seems to be a PVR with separate DVD Recorder, but I really am confused and need a bit of guidance by someone who knows their stuff.

Anyone able to help? :lease:

Many thanks.
 

Richard46

Active Member
foxyjo said:
Total budget between £300 & £400. The cheapest combination I've found seems to be a PVR with separate DVD Recorder, but I really am confused and need a bit of guidance by someone who knows their stuff.

Anyone able to help? :lease:

Many thanks.
Hi Foxyjo

Given your requirements and budget I would say that you have come to the right conclusion there.
I like the Topfield but it would blow most of your budget and although I think the belief that you need to be a techie geek to work the Toppy is not true, it is true that to get the best out of it a bit of computer linking; downloading files etc is needed. If you have the time however there is a strong Toppy community over on ToppyUK to provide advice.
Alternatively have a look at the Digifusion FVRT200, not used it myself but seems to be relatively trouble free. That should leave you cash for a DVDR. Cannot help you there as they are not something I use; except on a computer.

Richard
 
F

foxyjo

Guest
Hi Richard

Many many thanks for your advice.

I just checked out the Digifusion on a few review sites and happened upon someone saying that the LP compression on the set was crap - am I right in thinking that if I use the standard SP setting, this will mean that I get apprx. 40hrs of storage, whereas the EP/LP provide more?

Also, and this is only because I could not find the info elsewhere, this Digifusion box can receive DAB, yes/no?

I've just found it for about £165 online, so my budget isn't being stretched at all...at the moment.

Thanks again,
Jo
 

ROYOLD

Well-known Member
I presume by DAB you mean Digital Audio Broadcasts.

All the PVR's and STB's will only receive the Freeview Channels. If the Digital Radio Channel is listed on Freeview then it should record it. I haven't done this on mine as I never listen to radio channels on PVR. This is the current list of the channels on Freeview :

http://www.dtg.org.uk/retailer/dtt_channels.html

I use the Digifusion for recording Freeview TV programmes and if I need to keep any permanently I transfer to DVD by connecting with scart to dvd recorder. Don't use the compression. Never have. It causes problems - deleting recordings mainly.

Bear in mind that you cannot connect any INPUT sources to the PVR's - they are OUTPUT only. (This excludes the aerial input of course.)
 
F

foxyjo

Guest
Hi ROYOLD

Thanks for the advice. I should clarify what I asked in the first place - what I'm looking for is all the features (DAB (yes, DAB, not Digital Radio), twin tuner etc.) in as few units as possible (hence considering the fancy Sony box).
What I've found is that there are only about 2 Freeview boxes which receive Freeview AND DAB, so I was trying to find a PVR which also received DAB, but they don't seem to exist. It looks like I'll have to forego that particular feature and buy a separate DAB radio. Exactly like you, I came to the conclusion that a PVR + DVDR would be the best route, so that I had the ability to make hard copies of stuff.
Thanks for the advice about compression - after having read that it wasn't too good, I'm still confused as to whether an advertising blurb reading "UP to 40hrs" means up to 40 hours IF you compress/use LP. Obviously I don't want to buy an 80GB drive if I can only get 40hrs by using LP.
The output situation is only needed for the DVDR, unless you can enlighten me as to why I might need Inputs???

Thanks again,
Jo

P.S. In your opinion, is there anything else 'better' (yes I know it's all relative) than the Digifusion, for about the same price?
 

ROYOLD

Well-known Member
I never use anything except SP recording on the fusion. Probably get 40 hours on that with the 80GB drive. My HDD has never been less than 40% free as I transfer regularly to DVD but some forum members seem to record massive amounts "etaf" remarked recently he had almost filled up the drive.
The "better" well known models are the Topfield 5800t PVR and the Humax 9200T PVR - The latter two have larger hard drives than the FVRT200 but they also seem to have more problems. Failed to record, not picking up BBC channels (now fixed) on the Topfield and reports of no sound with recordings on the Humax. Seems like "yer pays yer money and takes yer chance". I use the fusion machine most days of the week and apart from the havoc caused by the recent clock change it is mostly very reliable. Same comments seem to apply on the reports on Digital Spy Forums.

Some people assume that they can record VHS tapes onto the PVR hard drive from their vcr but no external source recordings can be made. Now someone is bound to come up and say "Well you can do this with a Tivo" - I think the Tivo is the closest to heaven you can get!
 

Philly112

Well-known Member
Maybe you should try and get to see some of the boxes in action??
The members here are generally a pretty friendly lot (myself excepted) and I'm sure someone here would let you look at their equipment :eek: (and even their hifi/digibox if you asked nicely)

I have not contributed to this thread before, but have a Digifusion 200, and can pretty much echo all of Royold's comments over the last couple of months.


Phil
 

mike7

Well-known Member
foxyjo - I can only assume you want the DAB radio bit so you can receive local radio stations. The audio quality of the radio stations on Freeview is vastly superior to DAB. Most stations are in stereo which is not the case with DAB. Check out the DAB section of the Forum. You will find that 'hi fidelity' it is not !
 

Cyril

Active Member
AFAIK the best PVR for recording radio is TiVo.

However, on your budget a FVRT200 and a Thomson 7000 DVR/DVD player is probably the best you can do.

I would up your budget and go for a TiVo networked to your PC for DVD recording.
 

solwood

Active Member
I have the Digifusion and actually its me who has filled the machine not ETAF. OK most recordings we do are in SP the highest quality and to fill the machine it is about 40 hours in this setting. IN SP the quality of the recordings is exemplary. ( we currently have stored about 4 movies, The compression issue is if you want to compress a recording (either after watching it or just to save spece) tried it once takes ages and see no use for it! LP or EP recordings do drop in quality - LP is still better than VHS but does occaisionally go blocky.

You can select recordings in the more compressed modes.

The machine also reserves space in advance for weekly recordings (actually thats part of the reason why it is nearly full) by my reckoning it reserves space for the next 2 weeks worth.


Problems - the fan is noisier than I would like (returned first one because it was exceptionally loud) , it has frozen twice whilst getting the EPG and once mucked up a MOTD recording by locking up and recording all night. When switched off and on at the mains nothing was actually recorded. Most problems revolve around the night time update of the EPG. This has happened twice in 3 months. Royold has not had this problem but he does switch his equpment off overnight and just leaves the Fusion box on once a week. Oh and the logic of the switch to GMT confused the box see the other Digi fusion thread.

Would I reccomend it - yes - its easy to use, picture quality is excellent. But do bear in mind we are all to some extent beta testers and there will be bugs (just look at plasmas and LCD's!!!). These are new products and the more you give the consumer the more functionality we want. Without having seen the topfield or Humax I cannot say if it is better. If you can wait I am sure they will just get better but for now the fusion has 2 tuners, chase play, 30 min buffer on the channel you are watching (pause & rewind live TV) watch a previous recording whilst recording 2 other. We rarely watch live TV now!!! Oh one other bug - in theory if you a recording a program you can switch to that channel, rewind it and then watch it whilst it continues to record. Sometimes I cannot rewind (I have no idea why) - so I just watch something else in the library ;-))
 
F

foxyjo

Guest
Thanks everyone - all advice much appreciated.

However...I am well-informed but more confused than ever and slightly put-off by fan noise and missing programmes :confused:

I've come to the conclusion (another one) that DAB is causing too much of a headache, and with mike7's excellent advice I think I will plump for a simple radio box thingy instead of trying to get it into the 'mix' with various bits of equipment. (By the way, it's not for local radio...what's that then? haha)

My latest idea is to drop anything to do with hard drives and go for a simple (at the moment) set-up of a DVD Recorder that has integrated Freeview. Now then, as I'm completely new to all of this, I now need some basic advice on what I can and can't watch/record. 1) If I am recording a digital channel, can I watch a different digital channel at the same time? 2) If I am recording a digital channel can I watch an analogue channel at the same time? 3) Is there anything I can't do, that I would normally be able to do with a VCR/TV situation?

I phoned the local Sony shop and asked if there was a DVD Recorder (+integrated Freeview) with twin tuners, as in my novice-like state I am somewhat bewlidered and bothered and confused as to whether I need a twin tuner to do the things I asked above. The guy said "You won't find ANY DVD Recorder with a twin tuner", so I kinda guessed that it's not necessary?

AAAARRRGHH!!!
*collapses on floor*
 
F

foxyjo

Guest
Philly112 said:
Maybe you should try and get to see some of the boxes in action??
The members here are generally a pretty friendly lot (myself excepted) and I'm sure someone here would let you look at their equipment :eek: (and even their hifi/digibox if you asked nicely)

I have not contributed to this thread before, but have a Digifusion 200, and can pretty much echo all of Royold's comments over the last couple of months.


Phil
Bwahahahaha @ "I'm sure someone here would let you look at their equipment". All photos to [email protected]

:rotfl:
 

Richard46

Active Member
Hi foxyjo

Right; if you do not want local radio then I doubt that you need DAB. Any freeview box (assuming your signal is OK) will give you about 24 digital radio stations in better quality than DAB. See here .
Frankly DAB is rubbish; well its fine for a kitchen/bedside radio but that is about it

As for how many different things you can watch and record simultaneously. If we are talking Digital Freeview you need one tuner to watch something and one more for each thing that you want to record. Exactly the same as applies to Analogue. e.g. You can watch one analogue on your TV and record something else on a VCR because they both have an analogue tuner.

So answer to question 1 is No if you have a DVD recorder with one Freeview tuner. This is because you do not (I assume) have a digital tuner in your TV; just one in the recorder. As the Sony man said you will not find one of these with 2 freeview recorders.
With the same piece of kit the answer to question 2 is yes; because you do have an analogue tuner in your TV. You could watch terrestial (Channels 1-5) on that while you are recording digital on the box.

If there are actually many boxes with even one Freeview tuner; a DVDR and NO hard drive I do not know. I suspect they are quite rare. If you want to do even a moderate amount of recording for watching when it suits you I would advise you to think again about the hard drive option. DVDs work for this but just do not offer the same convenience. e.g. no checking for space on disks; remembering what is on disks; looking for disks etc. The hard drive is always there and even 40 hours is a lot, lot, more than you will get on a DVD even if you use compression.

Regards Richard
 

Richard46

Active Member
foxyjo said:
Bwahahahaha @ "I'm sure someone here would let you look at their equipment". All photos to [email protected]

:rotfl:
You can read about my equipment below; but thats as far as it goes; :D
My AV kit looks much better than I do in any case.
Richard
 
F

foxyjo

Guest
Hi again Richard

Thanks again, and you're absolutely right of course. I was doing a bit more head-scratching earlier and also came to the conclusion that a DVDR + a twin tuner PVR HAS to be the only way to go (especially as the digital TV will have to wait until another year), and I still get the hard drive bonus that I had carelessly flung aside in my desperation :-/ I was secretly thinking about how annoying it is to have the usual 'what the hell is on this disc' situation, so a small hard drive will be perfect.

The DAB info is most interesting - the way they go on about it, it sounds like the best thing since sliced bread. But point very well taken, and much appreciated.

And so..tadaaa...I've decided on a Sony RDRGX210 DVDR and a Sagem PVR6240T - about £160 & £130 respectively unless I find them any cheaper. This will enable me to have the option of the GodAlmightyTwinTuner :D

Just one more question - will it be a nightmare to connect the DVDR to the PVR in order to record to DVD? Or is it just a simple SCART and away you go?

Thanks
Jo

P.S. I DID read about your equipment, but as it was all/mostly double-dutch to me, I decided that the most attractive part of you must be your brain/mind. External appearances are over-rated anyway ;)
 

Richard46

Active Member
foxyjo said:
Just one more question - will it be a nightmare to connect the DVDR to the PVR in order to record to DVD? Or is it just a simple SCART and away you go?
Hi Jo
Well hopefully it should be; but as I think I said above my knowledge of DVD recorders is limited, so no guarantees from me. You might get a more definite answer over on the Digital Spy Sagem forum. here . There are some pretty knowledgable people who own Sagems there.
foxyjo said:
External appearances are over-rated anyway ;)
Thats what I keep telling myself. :D
Regards Richard
 
F

foxyjo

Guest
Richard46 said:
Hi Jo
Well hopefully it should be; but as I think I said above my knowledge of DVD recorders is limited, so no guarantees from me. You might get a more definite answer over on the Digital Spy Sagem forum. here . There are some pretty knowledgable people who own Sagems there.

Thats what I keep telling myself. :D
Regards Richard
Oops, sorry, didn't remember the bit about your DVD knowledge. Hey ho, it's getting ordered anyway. Can't be doing this for another day!

Thank you so much for your patience and time. I can't thank you enough...and everyone else too.

Cheers all :smashin:
Jo
 

Richard46

Active Member
Hope you enjoy your new toys Jo; trouble is if you do it's a slippery slope; there is always something better. Regards Richard
 
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foxyjo

Guest
Haha @ "slippery slope" - yes, I know. I'm already planning the day when a Topfield will grace my house....but until then I think I can tolerate the chosen set-up/spec :cool:

Am fetching one of my new toys later - the Sagem box - and can't wait to ensconce myself in/on the sofa while everyone freezes to death round their baked potatoes and rockets. Just hope they keep their equipment protected :D

All the best, Richard.
Jo
 
F

foxyjo

Guest
Hi again Richard

Just a quick note re: "there's always something better".

The Sagem has already gone back to the shop, due to 1) screen freezes 2) the EPG selecting more than one programme at a time in some cases (even where only 1 is selected) and 3) hours of unselected programmes being mysteriously recorded. I mean, 'Moonlighting' isn't so bad, but I really don't want 'Home Improvements' every day, thanks ever so...

So I went out and treated myself to the Glorious Humax 9200 :clap: Ooh, I can even record radio :D

Jo

P.S. I noticed you're a lecturer - what's your subject(s)? (If you don't mind me asking...?)
 

Richard46

Active Member
Hi Jo

Well I have read a million complaints about something not recording on their PVR; you must be the first to complain about recordings you dont want; trust you to find something different.

The Humax is definitely a step up from the Sagem; It is still very new of course so dont be put off by a few minor glitches; frankly all the PVRs have some problems; even Toppy's.

Regards Richard

What do I do; see personal message
 

Richard46

Active Member
PS Jo further to above post

Just heard there may be a problem on the Humax with sheduled Radio recordings from standby. Might be an idea to leave box on if you have anything important coming up. Until it is sorted anyway.

Richard
 
F

foxyjo

Guest
"...trust you to find something different"
- Mm, well...it wouldn't have been so bad if the extra recordings had totalled less than 2 hours :(

Humax is definitely a step-up - everything about it (yes, it's already set up and running!) is far superior to Sagem, and pound-for-pound it is by far the best value (in my humble opinion). I won't be put off by the glitches (it will take a HUGE amount of wrong recordings to put me off), and thanks for mentioning the radio 'anomaly'; I'll bear it in mind.

Thanks again
Jo

P.S. The instructions mention connecting the PVR to the TV with both a Scart lead and RF lead. I didn't have an RF lead, so just used the Scart and everything seems fine so far. I couldn't understand why it would need both unless the RF suggestion was an alternative, so I suppose I'd better check if it records successfully!
 

Richard46

Active Member
foxyjo said:
P.S. The instructions mention connecting the PVR to the TV with both a Scart lead and RF lead. I didn't have an RF lead, so just used the Scart and everything seems fine so far. I couldn't understand why it would need both unless the RF suggestion was an alternative, so I suppose I'd better check if it records successfully!
Hi Jo

Without the RF you will not be able to get analogue any more; but with a twin digital tuner you may not need it. With it you could record two digital channels and still watch Channels 1-5 on your TV's tuner.

Regards Richard
 

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