Please help me recommentd a PVR for my parents

xilog

Active Member
My parents are taking the step to digital (Freeview, not Sky.) I'm well up on home cinema and Sky stuff but know sweet FA about Freeview. We have chosen a plasma with built-in Freeview tuner but are stumbling over the choice of PVR. There seem to be so many out there with varying descriptions that I'd appreciate a little input from the people who know, i.e. you guys.

Their requirements are simple
  • PVR that can record 2 programmes at once
  • not much recording space needed (anything over 40 hours will be more than enough)
  • single RGB scart output
  • easy to use EPG, point and record like Sky+, maybe with repeat function or series links if these exist on Freeview


Please help :)
 

sandancer

Standard Member
i`ve had the topfield 5800 pvr for a couple of months now,excellent machine,easy to use & quite similar to sky+
it may be a bit pricey for you,the lowest 160 gigabyte hdd machine sells for around £220 i think
 

xilog

Active Member
Thanks, I took a look at that one and it seems like a good choice. Is the EPG really easy to use? They're not the most technologically savvy people in the world, I still have to reprogram all of their electronic clocks twice a year :)
 

PhilipL

Member
Hi

Alternatively the Humax 9200T, around £170.00 online so cheaper than the Topfield. The Topfield is great if you like to tinker as you can upload other bits of software to it to add or change the functionality, you can't with the Humax but that's okay as it works pretty good anyway.

Very easy to set a recording and it will pad recordings automatically (when you tell it from the setup menu) so you never miss the end or the beginning.

The EPG is very easy to use, you just find the program you want then press Enter, job done.

Regards

Phil
 

Richard46

Active Member

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
People often mention the Topfoield, and then go on to mention customising it with TAPs. And then add that you can't do this with other machines. All of which is quite true.

But it often ends up being wholly misinterpreted. You don't HAVE to tinker with the Topfield. It works, probably better than any other machine, just as it comes.

You can improve it further if you care to; but it isn't necessary.

In fact, with the addition of the correct selection of TAPs, you CAN get the Topfield much closer to doing "series link" than you can with anything else. If you want to.
 

xilog

Active Member
Thanks for all the help folks, both of these look to fit the bill perfectly, and the Humax will probably win on price.

Cheers :)
 

tichtich

Active Member
Unless you're in a hurry, I would recommend waiting for a PVR with the "Freeview Playback" logo. These should be available soon (though the manufacturers have been saying that for the last 6 months or more). They should be easier to use than the current generation of PVRs, as they'll have proper series link and the ability to adjust recording times to match last-minute schedule changes and late-running programmes. True, not all channels will initially be providing reliable data (if any) to enable those features. But at least you'll be able to use them on some channels, and hopefully eventually it will be most of the channels. Humax and Topfield claim they will be adding these features to their existing machines. But I think it would be unwise to rely on that.

Still, bear in mind that the "Freeview Playback" logo will be no guarantee that the PVR will be easy to use or free of serious bugs. It all depends on the design and quality control of the software. Personally, I don't think any of the existing PVRs are as easy to use as they should be (though I only have direct experience with the Topfield 5800).
 

yetanotherbob

Active Member
I have both and for sheer simplicity out of the box the Humax 9200T is probably the best for your needs (although I do like to fiddle my Topfield :D )

As for the Freeview Playback, Humax will undoubtedly address that with an OTA when it becomes universally available (AFAIK only the BBC are transmitting the necessary codes at the moment anyway)

Bob
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
IMHO the Humax 9200T is great except for the combination of on-screen menus and the peculiar button placing on the remote control makes using out the box a royal pain.

I've set-up a number of task-oriented panels on my Pronto learning remote, after which I am happy with the Hummy :smashin: esp. the off-air and recorded image quality and, even when two programmes are being recorded, it'll do it's best to let you view a third on one of the in-use mux.
 

Trist

Well-known Member
Unless you're in a hurry, I would recommend waiting for a PVR with the "Freeview Playback" logo. These should be available soon (though the manufacturers have been saying that for the last 6 months or more). They should be easier to use than the current generation of PVRs, as they'll have proper series link and the ability to adjust recording times to match last-minute schedule changes and late-running programmes. True, not all channels will initially be providing reliable data (if any) to enable those features. But at least you'll be able to use them on some channels, and hopefully eventually it will be most of the channels. Humax and Topfield claim they will be adding these features to their existing machines. But I think it would be unwise to rely on that.

Still, bear in mind that the "Freeview Playback" logo will be no guarantee that the PVR will be easy to use or free of serious bugs. It all depends on the design and quality control of the software. Personally, I don't think any of the existing PVRs are as easy to use as they should be (though I only have direct experience with the Topfield 5800).
That's the the info there.

I've had a PVR on my shopping list for a while but a lack of cash has meant I haven't picked one up yet. I'm in no major rush so personally I think I'll sit tight and see what new PVR come out in the next 8-12 months (if I can hold on that long :rolleyes:). There doesn't seem to have been many new devices recently (especially top end ones) so hopefully there's a batch of brand spanking new ones due to come out in the near future.
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
>hopefully there's a batch of brand spanking new ones due to come out in the near future<

I'm sure there will be...'going digital' has allowed the TV manufacturers to avoid the awful (for them) prospect of customers buying a telly and basically keeping it till it fell to bits.

Now they can use the normal bait & switch marketing tactics of getting you on a never ending treadmill of purchasing again and again because each product is designed to omit that one 'must have' feature which would keep you satisfied with it for years and each year's model range has some new/improved thing you never knew you needed until marketing paid a celebrity footballer to endorse it.

Plus they can exploit the consumer's desire to show off - 'Only 1080i?! Oh dear, how embarrassing for you..."
 

Richard46

Active Member
>
I'm sure there will be...'going digital' has allowed the TV manufacturers to avoid the awful (for them) prospect of customers buying a telly and basically keeping it till it fell to bits.

Now they can use the normal bait & switch marketing tactics of getting you on a never ending treadmill of purchasing again and again because each product is designed to omit that one 'must have' feature which would keep you satisfied with it for years and each year's model range has some new/improved thing you never knew you needed until marketing paid a celebrity footballer to endorse it.

Actually in the case of PVRs the market has changed very little in the last couple of years. Main "development" has just been the arrival of lesser featured cheaper models.

Richard

Edit; that could all change any time of course. ;)
 

Kosmische

Standard Member
Can I recommend that you get your parents a Tivo? They're not hard to find on eBay still and they really are easy to use. My partner who's not remotely interested or adept at AV stuff has no problem at all with the Tivo. Also, the padding facility is excellent and it's the only PVR AFAIK that has a fully functional season pass (as Tivo call it) facility.

Admittedly it can't record two things at once as it's only got one (analogue) tuner.

Re the Topfield, I wanted a twin tuner machine myself a while ago and bought a Topfield. I really hated it and can't imagine your parents would find it remotely user friendly. Coming from a Tivo, I found it not remotely user friendly and having a fairly aesthetically horrible user interface. Also, I found it incredible that the Topfield website actually had to help folks find out how to check their scheduled recordings since it was almost impossible to see how, just from the onscreen menus. In fairness to Topfield, they may have sorted that now. Anyway, I quickly went back to the Tivo and haven't been tempted since, having learned to live with its own shortcomings (there aren't many).

:)
 

Richard46

Active Member
I found it incredible that the Topfield website actually had to help folks find out how to check their scheduled recordings since it was almost impossible to see how, just from the onscreen menus.

I find it difficult to believe that many people would have trouble working out that choosing -Recording - Timer Setting was so counter intuitative that support was needed to find it. :)

NB for anyone considering the TIVO do not forget that it either requires a £10 a month subscription or a machine that already has a lifetime sub. Lifetime sub otherwise costs £200 on top of purchase price.

Richard
 

nwhitfield

Well-known Member
Also, I found it incredible that the Topfield website actually had to help folks find out how to check their scheduled recordings since it was almost impossible to see how, just from the onscreen menus.

Well, there's nothing like that on the Topfield web site; there is a FAQ on the Toppy.org.uk website, which is presumably what you're referring to.

I find it amazing that someone could cite the presence of comprehensive FAQs on another site as some sort of failing. A bit like the weirdos who pop up and claim it can't be easy to use because the manual has lots of pages in it.

We put FAQs on the site because they're there to help people; sometimes we err on the side of including things that most people know, other times we err the other way, forgetting things that we think are pretty straightforward. We are, after all, only human.

To infer anything about the Topfield from the selection of FAQs on a third party site really isn't going to give you useful information.

Nigel.
 

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