My ageing Sony DVD/HDD recorder is reaching the end of it’s life (I keep getting ‘HDD Error’ messages, and even though it does work more than it doesn’t, it’s just too unreliable for recording). In the meantime, I've found some tutorials for opening up my Sony and replacing the SATA cable, and/or the hard drive itself. First I'll try formatting the drive I guess. But ultimately it's time to upgrade anyway.
I am looking for any advice to help me decide what to buy.
Currently I have:
* Samsung LA40B650 LCD TV (with inbuilt Freeview)
* Philips Surround Sound System (real cheap, cost like $300 from DSE years ago, doesn’t have HDMI or even Toslink connections)
* Sony RDR-HX910 DVD/HDD recorder (250Gb, no HDMI connection, is component to tv)
* Sky digital decoder (standard grey Pace box, not MySky, connected to Sony via scart-svideo, TV via scart-component)
I have programmed a Harmony 785 to make it all work with the single remote. We use the Sony to watch DVD’s as well as record analogue TV (Freeview is built in the TV so can’t record it) and Sky. I have networked the tv to my main desktop pc in another room (Ethernet cable). I have a wife and two kids who also use it all.
Ideally, what I’d like to have is a setup that allows me to:
* Record Freeview and Sky channels in the best quality possible onto a HDD
* Watch DVD’s (and/or Blu-ray)
* Two tuners would be good
* Record stuff saved on the HDD to DVD/Blu-ray (of less importance I guess)
* Is easy enough for wife and kids to use (although I guess having the Harmony remote means this is easier, even with a more complicated set-up)
I’ve done some research and no one replacement box seems to provide me with what I’m after. They all seem to have advantages and disadvantages. Ideally, I’d like to not increase the number of boxes involved.
As far as I can tell my options are:
* Panasonic’s DMR-BW880GZK Blu-ray Recorder with Freeview – is $990 at Jb Hifi, so expensive. I assume it’ll get cheaper in a month or two when Panasonic release their 2011 range? This seems to be the closest thing to what I’m after. I can plug Sky into it (only composite/s-video, but better than nothing). Has a 500Gb HDD which is good too. No ability to take recordings onto an external HDD.
* Panasonic’s DMR-XW380 DVD Recorder with Freeview – much cheaper, is $644 at JB Hifi. Again, might get it cheaper in a few months (or am I making that up?). Except it doesn’t have Blu-ray (I don’t have anything else that records or plays Blu-ray yet), and doesn’t record to DVD directly, or from HDD to DVD in HD, and only has 250Gb HDD (which seems small given recordings to HDD will be in HD). Again, not ability to output recordings onto an external HDD.
* Freeview PVR box (like Magic TV, Ultraplus, JCMatthew) which records onto a HDD. But this means I’d need to either need to buy a new surround system to get a decent dvd player, or buy a standalone dvd/blu-ray player – thus adding another box. They also don’t seem to have inputs, so I’d have no way to record Sky. The Vu+ Duo ($830!) seems to be the only one that takes a Sky card (http://www.freeviewshop.co.nz/digital-satellite-receiverpvr-p-626.html) which would reduce boxes (presumably I could then ditch the Sky digital box), but I’m wondering if the wife and kids would cope with such a set-up.
* MySky – unsurprisingly, this certainly seems the best ‘recording-Sky’ option. However still leaves me with nothing to play DVD with.
I guess if I replaced the cheap Philips surround sound system with something decent, I could use that to play DVD, and a Freeview PVR to record Freeview. However I’d still be left with no ability to record Sky.
The only way to record excellent quality Freeview and Sky seems to be to get MySky AND a Freeview PVR machine. Does anything have that sort of setup? That sounds like it would get confusing fast, especially to those in the house who are less technology minded.
At the moment I’m leaning towards one of the Panasonic recorders.
Any comments/assistance appreciated. Please let know if I’ve misunderstood something, or if there are options that I’ve not mentioned. Thanks.