A high definition journey

Reliability of the Homecast DTR9200

, posted: 19-Oct-2009 15:23

The Homecast HT9200DTR has been fantastically reliable*, with all recordings occurring as they should, graceful and quick recovery from power cuts, and 100% glitch free audio & video (as far as I can tell). I have been in hospital a bit recently, and it was nice to come home and find all my programs waiting for me, and a friendly on-screen reminder that the hard drive was 90% full (I have been deliberately filling the drive up with dozens of shows as part of the testing process).

The more I use it, the more I appreciate the simplicity of the unit. I am a bit of a gadget-head, and though I love tweaking and tinkering, the fact is, that Homecast have covered off 95% of functions you would expect in a device like this, for 95% of average ‘Joe Public’ users. If you don’t want to spend a zillion hours playing with it, and you just to use it, then it is a great choice.

The remote control has taken a little getting used to still – it works okay, but the button pushes need to be clear and concise, and you can’t operate it from extreme angles away from the unit. I will set it up with my Logitech Harmony 525 Programmable Remote soon, and see if that is better.

When I first set the unit up in a dead quiet room, I was a little concerned about the noise, but now I do not notice it. It is not excessively noisy, but if you like your devices to be absolutely whisper quiet, then you might not appreciate the low-but-discernible fan noise if there are no other sources of noise in your home. As soon as you have any content playing at any level of volume, it is unnoticeable.

Despite these few incredibly minor annoyances, I would definitely give this device a 99% rating for usability and reliability, which are two metrics that are going to be really important to most users, especially your mom and dad when you give them a new DTR for Christmas. (You know you can’t leave them using a VCR forever, with the analogue switch-off looming in a few years!).

* With the exception of a seemingly one-off freezing glitch that occurred the first time (but not subsequent times), that the hard drive became full. Please note though, that I received a pre-release unit, with a different model & size of hard drive to what is on sale in New Zealand, so this may have been part of the issue.

About the author: Tony Hughes is a self-employed financial & IT consultant, based in Hawkes Bay. As a busy, working parent of young children, I am enjoying the family & child oriented content available on Freeview, as well as the odd Sci-Fi series as well (Primeval for starters!). I often find I miss shows, as I do not glue myself to the tv every night, so I am looking forward to trying out the Homecast PVR from Freeview.

Other related posts:
Recording, Series Link & Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) with the Homecast HT9200DTR
Setting up the Homecast HT9200DTR
What I expect from MyFreeview|HD








Comment by Handle9, on 20-Oct-2009 09:38

Definitely setup you Harmony remote, it makes a huge difference from the crappy one that comes with the unit. Once I setup my Harmony remote it significantly improved the experience.


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What is this blog about?

Welcome to MyFreeview|HD Review! It’s almost like a “reality show” online. For the next four weeks we are going to follow three people experiencing high-definition digital TV, recording their experiences with three different MyFreeview|HD devices. This blog is sponsored by Freeview but the blog posts are by no means influenced by the company. Here is how it works: I had to chose three people from the Geekzone community to try and report their experiences with the devices, broadcast quality and anything else related to using the service. So I found my three candidates and each received a different model, courtesy of Freeview. Here are the reviewers: Suzi Heath (Magic TV 3500 DTR), Tony Hughes (Homecast HT9200DTR), Scott Palmer (Zinwell ZMT-640 PVR), and Nick Parfene (JCMatthew DVT-320T).

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