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1068 posts

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  # 221350 3-Jun-2009 16:09
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LOL, yeah. That's why we're not in Auckland any longer. A bit more civilization up there but nothing we miss :-)




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  # 225032 14-Jun-2009 21:03
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I don't think that HDD/DVD recorders are obsolete. I have 2, and if one died it would be replaced fairly promptly.

Storage is infinite insofar as I can keep burning material to blank DVDs (at about 50 cents a throw) to make space on the 320GB hard drive in the primary unit. However, I am guessing that you want the 1TB to have a large archive of material, on tap when you want it. I looked at this, and the two options seemed to boil down to (1) a home theatre PC; or to avoid the hassle of this (2) a dedicated media player.

I went with option 2 and bought the Western Digital HD media player from Dick Smith on sale (sale price was $249). It has 2 USB ports for drives (either flash drives or hard drives, and will power 2.5" USB drives - more than that and you need an external HDD with a powerr adapter). If you plug in two drives it will scan and make both accessible, and supports a wide range of formats (all the way up to 1080p). With external HDDs up to 1.5TB already, and 2TB shortly, that means that you can hang 3TB off it (shortly to be 4TB).

Haven't had much of a play with mine, but so far it seems to work well. It has a remote and a basic (but easy to use and functional) menu system. I encoded 3 DVDs I had recorded off sky and burned to DVD on my recorder to test it (1 in xvid, 1 in divx and 1 in h.264) to test it out and they all played fairly well. Use something like Fairuse Wizard to do the encoding and you can queue them up and let the PC batch process while you sleep, or just (apparently) copy as giant VOBs if not to worried about disc space. I currently have a 500 GB drive connected, and that's enough for more than 450 films at fairly good (1GB each) encoded file sizes - drop the file size to the more traditional 700MB and add a pair of 1.5TB drives and you could get several thousand films there.

Process is record on recorder, burn to disc, encode and transfer to external HDD for media player. You can then either keep the discs in a folder stored somewhere if you want regular DVDs, or use erasable ones and re-use once the encoding is done if you prefer.

As well as the WD Box I have, there are others like Popcorn Hour that are as good or better. As a solution it's not phenomenally expensive, and is easy to use. Does this meet your needs?

Next step for me, recoirding in HD since the media player can handle it. This can be (trivially) done for Freeview, but Sky is a bit more problematic ........ (there may be a way, but it looks like specially imported and darned expensive parts, and a well specced dedicated PC to hook up to the Sky box, may be the only solution).



 
 
 
 


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  # 225039 14-Jun-2009 21:28
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JimmyH: I don't think that HDD/DVD recorders are obsolete. I have 2, and if one died it would be replaced fairly promptly.


They are obsolete in the respect that none will work with any of the digital TV broadcasts in NZ. Unless you're wanting a 4:3 letterboxed analogue broadcast you need to hook the DVD recorder up to an external STB and to record any broadcasts.

This in itself it totally beyond the capabilities of many people and also means to record shows you need to remember to set up two devices which is just cumbersome.






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  # 225156 15-Jun-2009 09:39
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JimmyH, thanks for your comments. Your rig sounds interesting. Any chance of emailing or faxing some rough sketches of the way you have the various elements connected and set up? You can email me via the button above my posts, and I can give you my fax no. Your hardware definitely sounds like the sort of thing I could put together. For me, building a suitable computer is the easy part - incorporating it into a home theatre combo is the bit I'm having trouble visualizing.

Cheers

geekIT




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  # 225351 15-Jun-2009 19:34
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I can email a sketch if necessary but it's not complicated as I may have made it sound. The media player is a small box about the size of two cigarette packets. It has an HDMI port out at the back which plugs into the TV, power adapter, which plugs into the mains, and a USB port (2 actually) into which an external harddrive or USB stick with the media files on it plugs.

There are some pictures of it, including a one of it hooked up, here:

http://the-gadgeteer.com/2008/12/08/wd_tv_hd_media_player_review/






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  # 225357 15-Jun-2009 19:50
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Thanks for the link. I think there's definitely a future for this sort of gadget....




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  # 225442 16-Jun-2009 00:07
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does anyone know how to replace the 250Gb HD of the DVD\HDD recorder with a 1 TB HD ?

 
 
 
 


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  # 225474 16-Jun-2009 08:32
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ada101: does anyone know how to replace the 250Gb HD of the DVD\HDD recorder with a 1 TB HD ?


At least on the Sony one I had you can't. The recorder will only accept the original HDD.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64



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  # 225532 16-Jun-2009 10:49
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That's an interesting question. Did you know that there are several reliable computer programs that will clone a hard drive, absolutely byte-for-byte, to another drive? I regularly use Acronis True Image for this, but there are others that work well.

The cloning process is irrespective of drive size, so that it's possible to clone a 100gb drive up to a 200gb, but it's also possible to clone a 200gb down to a 100gb, provided that the 200gb drive contains less than 100gb of data.

The only reason that I can think of that would prevent a recorder's drive being cloned in this way would be something in the recorder's BIOS (basic input output setup) that might regulate a drive size and make. At least, I'm assuming that these devices have some kind of motherboard, which implies that they'd also have a programmable BIOS chip.

LOL, I guess I outta take the back off my Sony RDRHX250 (if that's the right model name-can't see it from here) and have a look.

Any Sony (or other) engineers here who might have access to circuit diagrams or service manuals for modern hdd recorders?




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  # 225537 16-Jun-2009 11:01
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I found my service manual on personafile.  You could try there but I didnt see the model you refer to.

http://personafile.com/Sony-Home-Entertainment-Digital-Recorders-RDR-HX900-P027242001180.htm



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  # 225543 16-Jun-2009 11:20
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Posting my last comment prompted me to return to JimmyH's remarks about the Western Digital Media Center. Just took another look at the review and I realized that the device is virtually identical to Western Digital's line of 'My Book' external hard drives. In fact the case only varies by having two USB ports and the HDMI port.

Obviously Western Digital have found this hardware format to be fairly port-able for different purposes. The My Book devices come with inbuilt backup software, which I always delete because it's only trial version stuff and it's easier to drag-and-drop backup files to the My Book icon. So I guess that if the device is a Media system and not a My Book, it'll have a different software package as well as the extra hardware connections.

As far as the media content is concerned, I note that my Sony (RDRHX250**?) has a USB input socket on its front that I've never used. It'd be handy if it were possible to move files to and from the Sony to USB external drives, like the My Book, as it would then be possible to keep one's media library on one or more large external drives, thus avoiding the need to replace a recorder's hard drive with a larger unit....Hmmm

Later: Thanks for the tip, Ockel, I'll check out your link. Strikes me that the circuitry would be similar for all models....? **Ooops, got my model wrong - it's the RDR-HX950 with a 250gb hdd.

Later still: Ockel, are you sure you're not talking about a handbook or guide? It's rare to find a proper "service manual" on the manufacturer's website. These publications are usually only available to service companies. I'm not saying that a "service manual" won't be up there somewhere in cyber-space - but I wouldn't expect to be able to download it from any 'public' Sony site. Apart from any other factor, they cost money, and I'm sure Sony don't want the 'great unwashed', ie, you and me, learning all their hardware secrest :-)

BTW - it is just me or do some of you folk also get hair-tearingly frustrated with ALL Sony websites? These guys might be good at building hardware but their software skills need a complete makeover. I mean, I've sometimes spent a hour at Sony NZ trying to find a Sony product that I not only own, but that I have sitting right in front of me whare I can see all it's product numbers, barcodes and such, but still can't find it on their website. And their manuals......sheesh, don't get me started. POOR SHOW, MR.SONY!!!!




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  # 225707 16-Jun-2009 21:44
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There are many sites that specilize in the pirating of the service information, and rightly so when the manufacturers refuse to sell it to you IMO...




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  # 225734 17-Jun-2009 06:37
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geekIT:
The only reason that I can think of that would prevent a recorder's drive being cloned in this way would be something in the recorder's BIOS (basic input output setup) that might regulate a drive size and make. At least, I'm assuming that these devices have some kind of motherboard, which implies that they'd also have a programmable BIOS chip.


Thats what I read when I looked into it a couple of years ago. It is an intentional thing done by the manufacturers to stop people from buying smaller HDD models and then simply putting a bigger HDD in. A few people had tried it with the model that I had and not been able to get it to work.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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