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236 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 93849 30-Nov-2011 22:08
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so, I've still got an old heavy curvy tube TV, and bunny ears, and a VCR (the most recent one to crap out on me)... I'm thinking about getting a DVR, but I'm not sure what else I might need.

do these new things (Freeview boxes, DVRs, etc.) need any plugs not on these old TVs?

do I need a Freeview box if I get a DVR which doesn't list itself as having Freeview? or are all DVR tuners for digital TV? is "Freeview" essential--you have to have either a DVR that mentions it in the specs, or a separate freeview receiver?

is "my freeview" different to freeview? (I see one product state "Twin Freeview HD Tuners", while another says no such thing, but has a little jpeg indicating "My Freeview")

some are tagged "PVR" some say "HDD recorder" -- should this mean anything to me? aren't these just words for the device I'm looking at? aren't these the same? is this apparent inconsistency important somehow?

if I'm ever in a flatting situation where I don't have an aerial on the roof, can I not use bunny ears anymore? will I always need a roof aerial?

how important are brands? all the big name rip-off electronics stores only advertise a $600 Panasonic DVR unit...for whatever reason. JBHiFi seems to have a wide selection, with enviable features (external storage, USB, etc.), but of brands I've never heard of.

why is what Aussies can get different to ours? is their digital TV significantly different somehow? (jbhifi.co.nz doesn't list two cheap and impressive models on their .com.au site)

are there any other complications I should be warned about?

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236 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 552025 30-Nov-2011 22:20
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also, is it possible to store/watch on PC, or is what is stored only able to be watched through a TV?

I'm not sure whether to get a DVD/DVR or just a recorder -- has anyone run out of space? do you like being able to burn DVDs, or are you able to move to external storage and delete from the recorder? Is there some feature(s) I would regret skimping on? are there features that would be a waste of my time (e.g., a TB drive rather than a 250gig that is USB capable)?

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  Reply # 552029 30-Nov-2011 22:32
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You could look at a tivo for $299, which is a freeview harddrive recorder / PVR. You can also copy off the tivo onto your PC with the home networking package, if you need to clear the tivos drive.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 552063 1-Dec-2011 00:28
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mattwnz: You could look at a tivo for $299, which is a freeview harddrive recorder / PVR. You can also copy off the tivo onto your PC with the home networking package, if you need to clear the tivos drive.


does it waste space auto-recording like MySky? and can that 'TiVo tapes things it thinks you might like' thing everyone talks about be disabled?

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  Reply # 552075 1-Dec-2011 07:31
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Yes, there are several options that the user can set, including whether or not you want it to record things you may 'like' based on your 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' and recording choices. I have never run out of space yet, you can set the auto delete options for each recording.




Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman





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Master Geek


  Reply # 552272 1-Dec-2011 14:23
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scuwp: Yes, there are several options that the user can set, including whether or not you want it to record things you may 'like' based on your 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' and recording choices. I have never run out of space yet, you can set the auto delete options for each recording.


is everything trapped/encoded on the machine, though? you eventually have no choice but to delete?

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  Reply # 552351 1-Dec-2011 17:41
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The first thing you need to do is to establish whether you live in the Freeview|HD broadcast area or not. Freeview|HD are the terrestrial broadcasts received by an aerial, like your rabbit ears.

Go to www.freeviewnz.tv and look over their maps. If you are not in the terrestrial broadcast area then you will need Freeview Satellite or a Sky subscription.

do these new things (Freeview boxes, DVRs, etc.) need any plugs not on these old TVs?

I'm not quite sure what you're asking. If you wish to stick with the CRT, please tell us what model it is. It will say on the back. Different CRT TVs will have different plugs as their best input. Some of these like S-video and HD over YPbPr are not supported by many devices.

do I need a Freeview box if I get a DVR which doesn't list itself as having Freeview? or are all DVR tuners for digital TV? is "Freeview" essential--you have to have either a DVR that mentions it in the specs, or a separate freeview receiver?

For terrestrial broadcasts you have little real choice other than to get a Freeview|HD / MyFreeview|HD receiver or a Home Theatre PC because the electronic programming guide is in a format that generic devices don't support.

For Freeview Satellite you can use generic devices because the EPG is available in a generic EIT format too.

is "my freeview" different to freeview? (I see one product state "Twin Freeview HD Tuners", while another says no such thing, but has a little jpeg indicating "My Freeview")
"MyFreeview" indicates a product has twin tuners and an internal hard drive and supports the MHEG-5 EPG. If a product does not have twin tuners and an internal HDD then it isn't a serious recording setup and won't have "MyFreeview" on the front. The MyFreeview satellite receiver may not be being advertised as having twin HD tuners because there are no free to air HD Freeview broadcasts on the satellite.

some are tagged "PVR" some say "HDD recorder" -- should this mean anything to me? aren't these just words for the device I'm looking at? aren't these the same? is this apparent inconsistency important somehow?
PVR, DVR and HDD recorder can be interchangeable marketing terms. Beware that not all HDD recorders being sold support the EPG, which makes them not very usable as you must manually set up timer recording.

if I'm ever in a flatting situation where I don't have an aerial on the roof, can I not use bunny ears anymore? will I always need a roof aerial?

Rabbit ears will only be good enough for Freeview|HD reception if you are in a strong signal area so even if you are in the Freeview|HD broadcast zone you might need a new UHF aerial installed. If you're in West Auckland for example the rabbit ears may be enough.

how important are brands? all the big name rip-off electronics stores only advertise a $600 Panasonic DVR unit...for whatever reason. JBHiFi seems to have a wide selection, with enviable features (external storage, USB, etc.), but of brands I've never heard of.
NZ is a small market with high entry costs so no main brands other than Panasonic have bothered with Freeview. The quality of some Freeview approved products is weak as QA does not seem to be a big part of the approval process. The $600 Panasonic unit with a DVD drive in it is overpriced and under specified, I would not advise buying it. They also make a better but more expensive unit with a DVD/Blu-ray read/writer drive and larger HDD.

why is what Aussies can get different to ours? is their digital TV significantly different somehow? (jbhifi.co.nz doesn't list two cheap and impressive models on their .com.au site)

The Australian terrestrial broadcast system is different from and inferior to our own so the two are not mutually compatible.

also, is it possible to store/watch on PC, or is what is stored only able to be watched through a TV?

Due to pressure from content providers the Freeview certification process disallows copying the recorded transmission stream off the HDD, and external drive recordings are supposed to be downscaled or encrypted. It is possible some recent models may be encrypting the recordings on the internal HDD too but nobody has opened the box to check.

Somebody hacked the MagicTV 3600TD firmware to allow copying recordings off the HDD via the network but that is the exception. Otherwise it involves removing the HDD or buying a Panasonic unit with a disc-writer. It is possible to play transmission stream files on a PC.

The odd one out to all this is the Tivo which although supporting Freeview|HD broadcasts is not a Freeview unit. It does not use the Freeview EPG so it is missing the EPG from Maori and Prime stations because of their hostility towards TVNZ.

I'm not sure whether to get a DVD/DVR or just a recorder -- has anyone run out of space? do you like being able to burn DVDs, or are you able to move to external storage and delete from the recorder? Is there some feature(s) I would regret skimping on? are there features that would be a waste of my time (e.g., a TB drive rather than a 250gig that is USB capable)?

There is only one MyFreeview|HD unit with a DVD drive and I don't recommend putting money towards a DVD drive in 2011. DVDs are poor quality and significantly inferior to the original broadcast stream in most cases. Writing to Blu-ray is much better quality but more expensive, but having the original file is best.

How much HDD you'll want depends on whether you want to keep recordings on the unit. If you just watch and delete then size doesn't matter too much. If you want to keep a catalogue of recordings then 500GB will fill up. It most cases it would be possible to install your own larger HDD but that would invalidate the warranty.

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  Reply # 552358 1-Dec-2011 17:59
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Lykho:
scuwp: Yes, there are several options that the user can set, including whether or not you want it to record things you may 'like' based on your 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' and recording choices. I have never run out of space yet, you can set the auto delete options for each recording.


is everything trapped/encoded on the machine, though? you eventually have no choice but to delete?


No you can copy to the PC using the homenetworking package, so you don't have to lose anything you have recorded. You can also convert to ipad format with teh right software. You can also buy an add on diskdrive, but no point if you have the home networking package.

The tivo can be set to turn off the 'suggestions' so it doesn't record what it thinks you may want to watch. You can just set it to record what you want, or setup a season pass of a series.

PS the only channel not in the tivo EPG is Prime. Maori has now been added.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 552382 1-Dec-2011 19:30
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mattwnz: the homenetworking package


what does that cost? I don't see those details on their website. (is anything involved in this not a one-off cost?)



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Master Geek


  Reply # 552383 1-Dec-2011 19:32
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bfginger, I try to reply to you and it keeps telling me
"Error: Sorry. Your post does not have the correct open and close tags."



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Master Geek


  Reply # 552427 1-Dec-2011 22:13
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bfginger: Go to www.freeviewnz.tv and look over their maps. If you are not in the terrestrial broadcast area then you will need Freeview Satellite or a Sky subscription.


hmm, says it's "very likely" I need a "Freeview UHF aerial", so...does that mean bunny ears and ?non-Freeview? UHF aerials are no good?
(I'm in central Christchurch, just down the road from our broadband exchange, so I'd imagine reception is good for anyone with whatever the right receiver is.)

If you wish to stick with the CRT, please tell us what model it is. It will say on the back. Different CRT TVs will have different plugs as their best input.

Sharp CX51TXZ

For terrestrial broadcasts you have little real choice other than to get a Freeview|HD / MyFreeview|HD receiver or a Home Theatre PC because the electronic programming guide is in a format that generic devices don't support.

is an EPG necessary? (is there no VCR-style timer (merely channel and time, requiring not even so much info as the G-code)

you later write,
Beware that not all HDD recorders being sold support the EPG, which makes them not very usable as you must manually set up timer recording.


...being someone used to a VCR, this doesn't strike me as a horrific inconvenience, so I guess you're saying the device will work, it just won't have the more modern 'series record' type features reliant on the EPG
.

The quality of some Freeview approved products is weak as QA does not seem to be a big part of the approval process. The $600 Panasonic unit with a DVD drive in it is overpriced and under specified, I would not advise buying it.


is TiVo the way to go, then?
everyone has it at $300 right now (what they oxymoronically call a "super low price"). should I hold out for a Christmas sale, or is that unlikely to get any better in the short-term?

The Australian terrestrial broadcast system is different from and inferior to our own so the two are not mutually compatible.


bugger. thanks for that.


The odd one out to all this is the Tivo which although supporting Freeview|HD broadcasts is not a Freeview unit. It does not use the Freeview EPG so it is missing the EPG from Maori and Prime stations because of their hostility towards TVNZ.


so, people looking for the "full" experience, the full capability, would need to get a Freeview topbox/receiver in addition to a TiVo, but those who only watch and record prime rarely (e.g., myself) wouldn't need to worry?

There is only one MyFreeview|HD unit with a DVD drive and I don't recommend putting money towards a DVD drive in 2011. DVDs are poor quality and significantly inferior to the original broadcast stream in most cases. Writing to Blu-ray is much better quality but more expensive, but having the original file is best.


so, reading between the lines, are you saying that these devices can only burn media DVDs not data storage DVDs?

It most cases it would be possible to install your own larger HDD but that would invalidate the warranty.


so onboard storage is the only choice? (I see some products list 'USB for external drive', but they don't specify if you can transfer to and from these to the onboard drive, or if that is read-only)

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  Reply # 552431 1-Dec-2011 22:18
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$aus 90 for homenetworking, purchased from https://shop.mytivo.com.au/online/nz

The tivo cost $750 at http://www.mytivo.co.nz/, so $299 is a low price. Possibly they will have them on special it the future, but depend if you want it now, or buy it in the future when it may drop in price.

Primes EPG may be added in the future. Skys website says they will look at it in 2012

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  Reply # 552448 1-Dec-2011 23:32
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The Panasonic units will actually allow you to copy your TV shows to your PC via DLNA, then either watch it, or convert it to another format (throw it on an iPad etc) - so it's actually pretty usable. I don't know if it's 'over priced' as it does combine two devices into one unit, it certainly has its place.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 552456 2-Dec-2011 00:23
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Dunnersfella: it does combine two devices into one unit


or three? (freeview receiver, DVD player/burner, recorder. ...and, I suppose, a substitute for any sort of TV capture card for the PC like some people had back in the VHS days.)

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  Reply # 552477 2-Dec-2011 05:56
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The other thing not mentioned with the TiVo, you need a broadband connection, but I would say the TiVo is the unit to get, it's only downfall being lack of Prime EPG, but it can still be manually recorded.




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Master Geek


  Reply # 552644 2-Dec-2011 14:16
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trig42: The other thing not mentioned with the TiVo, you need a broadband connection, but I would say the TiVo is the unit to get, it's only downfall being lack of Prime EPG, but it can still be manually recorded.



so, lacking broadband, every channel is like Prime?--it works, but you have to set up recordings like a VCR?

also, does it do wireless right from the router, or do you have to have it plugged in to a PC? (I mean, your wireless is encrypted, so how does TiVo access it?)

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