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24 posts


Topic # 25734 30-Aug-2008 13:30
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Hey there!

I've just purchased a fantastic home theatre system, and I'm very chuffed about it all!

Quick Plug: Stereo World on Dominion road in Auckland are fantastic!!!  Wont go elsewhere in future (within reason).

Anyhooo - I almost purchased a panasonic HDD recorder with the package, but didn't like the budget GUI that it provides... The look 'n feel of the interfact was clunky, and I just think that if I set up a jukebox full of music, I'd be scrolling for 10 mins to find the song I want... and I don't know if it does playlists or what.

So, I decided I would do some research over the coming weeks, and see if I can figure out what the best option is to provide me with the ability to record TV (perferably in HD), and setup all my music on a 'jukebox'.  I had a quick look through the forums, and didn't find anything.

So, I'm off on a new learning adventure.  My 'system' is a panasonic system, so the panasonic HDD recorder was tempting, but just doesn't cut the mustard yet.

The questions really are...

Should I buy a HDD recorder?  If so, which one?

Should i buy PC / laptop, and set it up to record TV, and play Jukebox using a media center app?

...or maybe I should buy a mac-mini (and have the learning curve)

I'm not an audiophile, or anyphile for that matter - I'm just Joe Average, wanting to spend below average dollar :).

So, what are your thoughts?

PS: I'll just be sticking with freeview -so dont bother with MySky type suggestions :)


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138 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 160878 30-Aug-2008 13:40
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Well there are currently only two ways of recording HD in NZ currently: MySky HDi (with its associated costs) or an HTPC with DVB-T card(s) (with its associated setup effort).

Also, I don't know if current DVD recorders have any sort of 'jukebox' function, some may be able to play music off a USB drive though. An HTPC is the only device that will provide full flexibility (I include the Popcorn Hour under 'HTPC' as it still requires a computer to serve TV).

So it depends on how much you want a spend, but you will really need at least a grand.

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  Reply # 160889 30-Aug-2008 15:02
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OK, so it has felt like hours of painful research, but the clock is trying to tell me it's only 30mins.

I can buy a pre-built HTPC from Promax, for example, for $1500.

I can build a suitably spec'd PC with a tuner card, and GB-PVR, and fiddle till it all goes... not quite sure how I'd hook it all up but I'm sure with enough planning, and fiddling I'd get it sorted.

However, I'm still quite sure I could buy a simple HDD Recorder with a nice UI in it for playing back the content.

What is it that I'm not quite getting here?  There are numerous DVD Hard Drive recorders that have HDMI interfaces / cables etc, and claim to 'handle' 1080i/p.  Surely, this means, I've got all I need?

My only real complaint with the panasonic DVD HDD recorder I was looking at today, was that the UI for selecting your video/music to play back was too simple, and didn't look as if it would scale at all well to handle 100+ songs.  (ie. no categories etc).

There are a bunch of these DVD HDD recorders on trademe, and what not... my big problem now is that I can not find any videos anywhere that demonstrate the UI.  I guess I'll have to try going to some 'real shops' tomorrow, and demo thier HDD recorders.

Am I missing something?

Surely, something like this will do what I'm looking for:


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Master Geek

  Reply # 160901 30-Aug-2008 16:21
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Products such as that Sony may have HDMI outputs and 1080i upscaling, but they don't have digital tuners so are still recording in analogue, and the pricture quality will suffer greatly for it. This goes for all the huge amounts of DVD/HDD recorders avaliable in the market today, they are all really previous generation technology with no digital (and therefore no HD) support and no EPG.

Hence why I said MySky HDi or an HTPC are the only current ways to record HD TV.

Now if your not bothered about HD or digital then sure, get a DVD/HDD recorder. But in my opinion they are now out of date technology.

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  Reply # 160920 30-Aug-2008 18:04
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Got it... that explains why the guy at Stereo World told me the DVD recorder wouldn't actually record in HD.

So... I can buy / build a HTPC for $1000+, or I can buy a DVD/HDD recorder for $400.

HTPC gives me an interface that is 20 x nicer, and the ability to record in HD.  (assume that's all I use it for).

HDD/DVD recorder is cheap.

Question: HDMI... nothing more than a high-speed interface?  If so, I might get a super-cheap,

There's a HDD/DVD recorder on TradeMe for $40ish.  The DVD player is up the waazoo, but I don't care - I only want it for recording / playback, so it's perfect.

I think, long term, I'd love an HTPC, but it seems like an enthusiast sport, and I don't think I've got the time for hobbiest PC building.  I think i'll get a cheap DVD/HDD recorder for the short term, and build up my knowledge and ultimately build a low(ish) spec HTPC.

I'm gonna post on another thread, but I wonder if I can just get a DVB-T PCMCIA card for my unused Compaq NW8000 (laptop).

Big question... are there any HDD / DVD recorders out there with a 'nice' interface? ie. categorisation, playlists, etc?

Last question... MySky HDi... only available for Sky subscribers right?  ie. I can't just go and get one of these units, and have cake and eat it?  I'm not a Sky subscriber, and aren't about to be.

I'll go and have a play with recorders at the stores tomorrow.

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Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 22

  Reply # 160939 30-Aug-2008 19:05
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There is already a Freeview|HD compatible STB (no EPG though I believe) that apparently can record HD to a USB drive. And there is also a DVB-T/DVB-S combo STB with PVR that hopefully will be coming to the NZ market. Just some other options to consider.

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  Reply # 160945 30-Aug-2008 19:51
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I've emailed that first crowd to see if it has an EPG, and emailed the second crowd to see when the Hyundai is coming to NZ.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 161535 2-Sep-2008 13:46
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Cool. Please let us know how you get on. Cool

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 161641 2-Sep-2008 17:53
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In reply to my question about the Vantage, the Managing Director of replied to say:

"The Vantage has an EPG but only Now & Next is shown. We are working on a Full EPG."

In reply to my question about the Hyundai, they replied and said:
"The Ah-3110 is coming soon. Give us your contact details if you want more information"

Seemed like a strange reply, seeing as I had just asked for more information, and they had my email address...

Either way - now you know what I know!

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