thinking of a PVR

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by andrewq, Dec 18, 2004.

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  1. andrewq

    andrewq
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    i have been experimenting with a freeview box, primarily to see if i could get a picture at all. when on analogue i was getting ghosting and lines on the picture. even with the present ariel i'm getting pretty good pictures, the picture thro' the RGB scart is stunning. my question is will a PVR reproduce the same quality pictures, ie record RGB quality. Obviously when i record on my VCR all i get is composite video.
     
  2. Whyshirley

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    Yes - though I can only speak from experience of the Humax 8000T box. This records the actual Freeview digital bitstream, so the quality on play back should be absolutely identical to the off-air picture - I certainly can see no differences at all. It also seems to perform better with dodgy signals than does my old Phillips On digital box. I don't know for certain that all freeview PVRs record the actual bitstream, but I would imagine they would.

    :smashin: IMO, highly recommended!
     
  3. domtheone

    domtheone
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    Well I'll be getting one of those in 6 days time so that's certainly good to hear :D
     
  4. father alice

    father alice
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    the Thomson pvr has just had its update, so can now chase play etc. along with all the other advantages of a twin tuner. Definately an improvement over the humax. Digifusion is still due theirs "any day".
     
  5. raydawson

    raydawson
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    The problem with the Humax is that it only has a single tuner so you have to watch what you are recording, or not watch anything on Freeview.

    The Fusion and Thomson are both twin tuners so you can either record two channels at the same time and watch a previous recording, or record one channel and watch another.

    I have the Fusion and am very happy with it.

    Cheers,

    Ray D
     
  6. PAH

    PAH
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    I've just picked up a Fusion from the local Currys for my dad for crimbo. Even though it reports signal strength to be at only 60%, the freeview picture is a lot better than the analogue signal through the same ariel. Seeing as my TV (Samsung LCD) is a bit fussy about the quality of the source, I might be tempted with the FVRT200 version that's supposedly out early next year.

    It seems to be on par with the better channels on my NTL (i.e. no noticable pixellation), though I haven't had the chance to test it with any footy yet. Certainly a lot better than the old OnDigital. Monkey can probably vouch for that as well :D
     
  7. Arcahngel

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    Have you looked at the Sony HX-RDR900? It's a combined HDD/DVD recorder. The Sony HQ+ recordings are staggeringly good - playback is better than broadcast, by the time the Sony DSP has cleaned up the picture for recording. It also has progressive scan output. Worth a look if quality is your primary concern. Comes with a 160GB drive (23hours at HQ+ settings) Downsides - it's not cheap and the interface is clunky.
     
  8. alex.lake

    alex.lake
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    Looking for a PVR as an interim measure before going for a full media centre in about 12 months time.

    This is to supplement a TV with integral VCR.

    I want to be able to pause live TV and to be able to record 10-20 hours onto a built-in HDD. What I'd really like is an integral DVD player, but I want it now!

    I don't think twin tuners are a must, so it looks like Fusion FVRT100 and Humax PVR8000T are in the frame. The Thomson device looks too hideous for my consideration.

    One thing we'd really like is the ability for the display to show the time (our previous set up of TV + VCR had a convenient clock on the front). Does anyone here know if the fusion can do this? Obviously the Humax can't!

    The Fusion seems to have a smaller HDD, but uses compression to get twice the recording time of the Humax. Is this compression really noticeable?

    Also, it's a shame we can't transfer DVD or Camcorder footage onto the box (that'll have to wait for the MediaCenter).
     
  9. PAH

    PAH
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    The Fusion has a display on the front, which displays the current time by default. It also records around 20 hours in normal mode (with picture quality pretty much as good as the source), with up to 40 hours in extra compressed mode. I wouldn't really bother with the extra compression unless it's for soaps or other watch and wipe programmes, as the quality is noticably worse (think Video-CD quality). Not something I'd want to tape a film in and watch it back.

    There is a couple other Fusion boxes on the horizon. The FVRT200, which is the same deal as the FVRT100 but has twice the storage space and probably the capability of plugging in external USB drives for even more space. There's also another box which does the same as these but has a built in dvd player (sorry can't remeber the model name).

    The hard drives can also be replaced for lots more storage space, but not something recommended doing whilst it's still in warranty.
     
  10. alex.lake

    alex.lake
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    Thanks.

    I'm beginning to think that my needs would be better served by a DVD recorder such as the Panasonic DMRE55 (available in multi-region form for £200).

    However, there's a catch (isn't there always?!). One of the things I'd like to use it for is transferring footage from my DV camera - so the DMRE65 which has a DV-in might provide better quality.... (I'm popping over to the DVD recording forum to ask!)
     
  11. PAH

    PAH
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    Yeah, I was going to get my dad a dvd recorder (prices are similar to the fusion for the bottom end panasonic/pioneer) but even I was confused about all the different formats, and I'm supposed to know a bit about this stuff!

    I could just imagine the ear-ache I'd get when he tried using the wrong blanks, or tried taking anything but a DVD-R to another dvd player and expecting it to work. So I took the easy option and went for one of these instead. I'll find out over crimbo if it was the right choice :D
     
  12. father alice

    father alice
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    As stated, the thompson has just recieved the latest OTA update, so can now chase play (plus 21 other "features"). ie you can start watching a program that is currently being recorded. A feature missing from the humax and fusion at the moment. Full details of the update on digital spy forums.

    Shame it looks so ugly :rolleyes:
     
  13. Spok

    Spok
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    The Pace Twin is still available (now at rock bottom prices) and, IMO, is still the best Freeview PVR out there. I recently bought my 75 year old father one and he loves it. Living on his own he likes to watch television, especially at this time of year, so a PVR is just what he needed.

    The Pace Twin is so easy to use, yet it has many features that the Thompson and Fusion (even after their update) still don't have. Pace put a lot of thought into the design of the Twin and have produced an excellent piece of kit. My wife and five year old daughter have no trouble using ours, and that says it all.


    Spok.
     
  14. dnfharris

    dnfharris
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    I am intrigued. My Pace Twin has started giving lots of problems (freezing etc) and I was looking at the Thomson. I can't see anything the Pace has that Thomson (now) doesn't. What do you find extra?
     
  15. Spok

    Spok
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    I know this reply is a bit late, considering your post was in January. However, even now (August 2005), after the release of more PVRs, the Pace Twin is still the best. Read my contributions to This thread for a list of features the Twin gives you above the competition.

    One big plus is the ability to resume any recording in the Library from where you left off. This, amazingly, is not available in such an easy to use form on other machines.

    There are bugs in the Pace Twin, as with all of them, but they are not too serious and hopefully will be fixed in the next download.


    Spok.
     
  16. Cyril

    Cyril
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    Are you sure? This seems such a basic thing for machines to have.
    TiVo has had it since version 1.2 in 1997! And I think ReplayTV had it as well!
     
  17. LV426

    LV426
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    I see Cyril is spouting TiVo again. (Yawn)

    In case it escapes you, what TiVo does not do, is record the unamended digital bitstream as broadcast. Freeview PVRs , Freeview DVD:Rs and (presumably) $ky+ all do exactly this. So you get to watch 100% broadcast quality when you play back.

    As for the Pace Twin.......it's bugs are plenty serious enough. And the hardware, in many examples, isn't much better. Whilst it may have the best UI and one of the best feature lists, this is of no use if the damned thing doesn't record what you want it to. Avoid.
     
  18. Cyril

    Cyril
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    Of course I know that! TiVo has plenty of other flaws too. AFAIK it was the first PVR along with ReplayTV.

    I had both in 98 or 99.

    I just cant believe a basic feature is left off most UK DVRs if what the OP said was true!

    And you have hit the nail on the head.
    It doesn't really matter if you have broadcast bitstream recording if the damn thing does not record what you want.

    I record a lot of radio off Freeview, so EPG metadata is very important. PQ somewhat less so.
     
  19. aberj6

    aberj6
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    Well I bought a Digifusion FVRT200 on Thursday from Currys (£180).

    80GB HDD, Twin tuner, etc, etc.

    Spent a lot of time investigating the different twin tuner model and settled on this as it was £30 more than the Thomson for double the disk size and a nicer looking box. Anyway the most used site for me was http://www.emsee.co.uk/pvr/

    Hope it is of some help
     
  20. Spok

    Spok
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    LV426, I have a theory about why our Pace Twin works flawlessly for weeks (sometimes months) on end and then will crash two or three times in a week, usually when coming out of standby to record, filling the disk with a zero length recoding.

    We have a 'favourites' list of channels which contains about 20 channels. The other list is the default 'All channels' list. Sometimes the machine gets switched to 'All Channels' and left there. Then, I think, it starts to crash. Put it back to our shorter list and all is well again. It could be a memory problem, not being able to cope with the 70 odd channels found in the 'All Channels' list. What do you (and other Twin users) think?

    The other big issue Twin users complain about is the momentary picture freezes while the sound continues. We do get these, but very rarely. When we first got the machine they were quite frequent. Then we put in an 80GB drive and they become much, much less. So rare now they are no problem.


    Spok.
     
  21. Spok

    Spok
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    Cyril,

    Being able to resume any recording in the Library from where you left off, at any time in the future, is, indeed, a basic function you would expect. Of the current Freeview PVRs (Digifusion 100, 150, 200, Thompson, Humax, Topfield etc) only the Pace Twin does this. And in a household of several users this is an invaluable function.

    I seem to becoming the only remaining Twin lover here. I keep an open mind and look carefully at new PVRs as they arrive. I have not found one yet that comes anywhere near the brilliant design of the Pace Twin user interface.

    Just look at the new Panasonic, which is painfully slow, or the (new) Digifusion FVRT200. Being asked about scene creation every time you enter the Library would drive me nuts.


    Spok.
     
  22. pr1uk

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    you make the twin sound so good i am almost tempted to put an hard drive into mine and try it again. i remember one thing apart from it screwing up recordings the guide was so so slow to load.
    i like a lot of people are still hoping for another sofyware upgrade to sort all the buys.
     
  23. LV426

    LV426
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    Never used "favourites"; always used the full list. So, maybe. However, I've given up with it so can't confirm. It's in use in another room just as a receiver now - it doesn't even always do that as well as it's (ex Ondigital) predecessor. It invents it's own interference/bit errors when it feels like it. Despite having done the earthing modification.
     
  24. Spok

    Spok
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    LV426, what do you use now that your Pace Twin has been relegated?

    'Favourites' lists are very useful. Not only do they make the guide load much quicker, but I think reducing the channel count makes the machine reliable. We have a basic list, of about 20 main channels. A 'Kids' list, for CBBC and music channels etc., and a radio list. You can flick between lists very quickly using the green left and right arrow keys.

    The other big advantage (IMO) the Pace Twin has over the others is its excellent picture quality. To me this is important, especially as we are using a big 36" Toshiba television which lays bare the PQ of its input.

    And there are so many other little things about the Pace Twin which are great. For example, things like 'Disk Space Remaining' and programme durations are given in hours, minutes (and seconds in some instances). When you want to know if your scheduled programmes are going to fit on the drive seeing '91% Disk Free', as found on a number of other PVRs, is of no use to man nor beast.

    Editing a timer event couldn't be easier. You can just type in directly a Start, Stop or Duration time. Compare that to the irritating scrolling through time of some other machines. On the Pace, if you update the Start Time, the Stop Time is automatically updated to keep the Duration Time the same, exactly what you would want if a programme (such as Casualty) keeps changing its transmission time from week to week.

    And there are many more little things which have had so much thought put into their design. I could go on and on.

    When the novelty of a new machine has worn off and you use the thing day in and day out, ease of use becomes extremely important. In our busy world, where most of us are 'time poor', technology should make life as easy as possible.


    Spok.
     
  25. LV426

    LV426
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    Everything you say about the design is true; it is, I suspect, the best (or one of the.....) there is. However, all that counts for nought (IMO) if the damned thing either fails to record, or records glitches which make the result unwatchable. Both of which things mine did/does far too often. And it isn't signal; that's (digitally) clean according to every other box I've used. Only the Twin creates bit errors.

    After a brief and sorry encounter with a Panachronic Twin Tuner, I use a Humax single tuner now as a PVR. Whilst I lament the massive loss of flexibility it offers over the Pace - it has yet to fail to do what it's supposed to, in any way whatsoever.
     
  26. awhb

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    Same can also be said for the Fusion FVTR200; does exactly what it says on the tin and has twin tuners & 14-day guide too.

    :)
     
  27. LV426

    LV426
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    So I gather, and I may yet buy one. Just waiting for it to be out there long enough for issues to surface (if they do). After all, the Pace itself was seen as the canine's genitals for its first few weeks......
     
  28. Spok

    Spok
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    I hear that Digifusion are to release an FVRT 300 by Christmas, sporting a new, more user friendly interface. They have had a lot of complaints.

    The experiences people have had with the Pace Twin are interesting. I can assure you that we would not put up with a machine that continually failed to make recordings, or that had an unwatchable picture. We purchased ours quite a while after its initial release, when the prices had dropped to well below £200 (they sold for over £350 when they first came out), and I am sure the hardware had been updated. Maybe LV426 should have had his machine replaced.

    We never get any bit errors that affect pict or sound, even with a relatively low signal strength of around 47%. The picture is clean, sharp and free of any glitches. It seems to crash only if we use the 'All Channels' list, which may be due its inability to cope with 60 or 70 channels. Freeview was originally launched with about 30 channels. Maybe Pace thought it would not need to cope with any more than that.

    There are some other small niggles, like the machine dropping into 'Pause' when starting a playback from the Library, but this only happens about 1 in 15 times. It is one of the bugs I hope to see cured in the next download.


    Spok.
     
  29. Richard46

    Richard46
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    Must agree with everything Spok says about the twin. Since I started using a very short favourites list and with the latest software had almost no problems. Mine was ordered the first day they became available so is now getting on for 2 and a half years old. If anything the Twin PQ is slightly better than the Toppy but it is very close (and subjective).
    Finally passed the Twin onto my mother last week when my second Topfield arrived. We needed dual recording and more hard drive space. In fact I would probably have kept it and upgraded HD but my mums VCR packed in and the Pace with its excellent UI seemed the perfect solution and although she is 81 she was using it with no problems after only a short tutorial. I would not have risked giving the Pace to her if it was unreliable as it would have involved a lot of emergency dashes up the M11 !.
    10 hours is enough for her as she gets out more than I do :D .
    Love my Toppies but I wish they had the Twin menus and EPG. Actually one of the EPG TAPs (UKEPG) being developed for the Toppy looks a lot more like the twin EPG than the Toppy one judging by the beta version.

    Richard
     
  30. Alodar

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    Anyone know if Pace are still doing the upgrades for the Twin, as I've not received one for a long time.

    My current product data is:

    Product: LPUTPGFTD_01_08

    Software: Master: 1.7.62 Sep 10 2004 11:33:59
    Slave: 1.7.62 Sep 10 2004 11:37:26

    Resource: 1.1.15

    Boot: 1.4.2 (Master) 1.4.7 (Slave)
     

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