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Topic # 28601 5-Dec-2008 12:49
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In researching the options for Freeview  HD PVRs I've come across a range of information from a wide

variety of sources. While this may all be obvious to many, I thought it might be useful to gather some

basic facts on this stuff together in one place for Newbies (like me!)

Please feel free to clarify and/or correct if I've made any errors, and of course the whole subject is a

moving feast, so details may well need to be adjusted over time.


HTH


Leggo


Freeview HD PVR - The Facts as I understand them - 5 December 2008......


Availability:

Freeview is only available in HD in NZ through Digital Terrestrial (DVB-T) Receivers using a UHF signal.

No Freeview set top box has yet been released with PVR functionality - ie with a hard drive and the

ability to record and play, multi-record, chase play etc etc.
 

Freeview has just issued PR announcements on the forthcoming release of the first of such boxes, the

Zinwell ZMT620, scheduled for December 11, with a RRP of $699.00


Compatibility:
Care should be taken in the selection of a HD Freeview PVR to make sure it has:

H.264 decompression capability, to handle this high definition compression format, otherwise known as

MPEG4 Advanced Video Codec (AVC)

MHEG-5 compatibility to translate the 8 day Electronic Program Guide (EPG) that is broadcast as part of

the Freeview signal.

AAC Audio compatibility to handle the audio format that current channels use.

HDMI outputs - to allow for 1080 vertical pixel or "true high definition" playback (Component Video

output is nearly but not as good.)

The Freeview organisation has a process to approve Set Top Boxes. Currently (as at 5 December 2008) only

the Zinwell ZMT620 is approved.


HTPC Options

The alternative of developing a PVR using Home Theatre Personal Computer (HTPC) is achievable but also

contains a number of traps, such as:

Windows Media Center (sic) does not currently include codecs to decompress H.264 or ACC signals, and an

update that will do it has not been explicitly scheduled.

The current optimal alternative to Windows Media Center is to use freeware alternative media

applications such as GBPVR or Mediaportal, although these may negate the utilisation of the Freeview

EPG.

The hardware requirement to decompress the HD signals is reasonably high, so a Dual processor PC running

at 2.4Mhz or higher is probably recommended.

A large volume of useful advice on setup and troubleshooting HTPC developments is available on forums

such as this, and on the web in general, although it is probably important to distinguish between

material that is generic and material that is specific to the somewhat unique NZ configuration required.



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xpd

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  Reply # 182271 5-Dec-2008 12:53
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Leggo:

Freeview has just issued PR announcements on the forthcoming release of the first of such boxes, the

Zinwell ZMT620, scheduled for December 11, with a RRP of $699.00

 



The article I saw regarding the PVR units showed prices as $1100...... and that was supposedly a price from FV themselves.
Cant remember where I found the article though so its possible it was for a higher end model... but basic specs were 2 tuners with 250gb HDD.

Just found pricing discussion here.....




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  Reply # 182272 5-Dec-2008 13:00
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Leggo:

Freeview has just issued PR announcements on the forthcoming release of the first of such boxes, the

Zinwell ZMT620, scheduled for December 11, with a RRP of $699.00

 

This is incorrect.

 

Model is ZMT-640PVR and retail pricing is $999 at DSE, $1099 at Bond & Bond and (alledgely) $1049 at Harvey Norman.





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  Reply # 182286 5-Dec-2008 13:25
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Leggo:

Compatibility:
Care should be taken in the selection of a HD Freeview PVR to make sure it has:

H.264 decompression capability, to handle this high definition compression format, otherwise known as

MPEG4 Advanced Video Codec (AVC)

MHEG-5 compatibility to translate the 8 day Electronic Program Guide (EPG) that is broadcast as part of

the Freeview signal.

AAC Audio compatibility to handle the audio format that current channels use.

HDMI outputs - to allow for 1080 vertical pixel or "true high definition" playback (Component Video

output is nearly but not as good.)

The Freeview organisation has a process to approve Set Top Boxes. Currently (as at 5 December 2008) only

the Zinwell ZMT620 is approved.



Correct and the approvals are done by http://www.dtg.org.uk/ which is not a cheap process. The Freeview PVR spec is 52 pages long and there is the additional MHEG5 spec which is the UK spec with NZ extensions. Some things are dictated by the content producers like - HDCP (copy protection) on the HDMI, component output is only allowed to output standard definition and any other output (USB or IP) must use copy protection. You are not allowed to copy HD content to an external hard drive.





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  Reply # 182299 5-Dec-2008 14:03
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Leggo:

HTPC Options

The alternative of developing a PVR using Home Theatre Personal Computer (HTPC) is achievable but also

contains a number of traps, such as:

Windows Media Center (sic) does not currently include codecs to decompress H.264 or ACC signals, and an

update that will do it has not been explicitly scheduled.

The current optimal alternative to Windows Media Center is to use freeware alternative media

applications such as GBPVR or Mediaportal, although these may negate the utilisation of the Freeview

EPG.

The hardware requirement to decompress the HD signals is reasonably high, so a Dual processor PC running

at 2.4Mhz or higher is probably recommended.

A large volume of useful advice on setup and troubleshooting HTPC developments is available on forums

such as this, and on the web in general, although it is probably important to distinguish between

material that is generic and material that is specific to the somewhat unique NZ configuration required.



Running a Mac Mini with an El Gato EyeTV hybrid has been reported as functioning well as a HD PVR, ( although you do need to use a scraped EPG currently)

The El Gato soultion certainly works well with an iMac,



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Geek


  Reply # 182313 5-Dec-2008 14:56
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JimmyLizar:

This is incorrect.


Model is ZMT-640PVR and retail pricing is $999 at DSE, $1099 at Bond & Bond and (alledgely) $1049 at Harvey Norman.




I understand that retailers are entitled to charge whatever they like for products they sell, but I spoke to the NZ Distributer of the ZMT-640PVR (Next Electronics) and they quoted me the $699 figure. Industry Writer Chris Keall quoted "one insider" suggesting an $1100 pricetag when writing in the NBR on December 3, but my figure came directly from the Distibuter.

Anyway - as I said in my original post...... a moving feast.....! I'm just gagging for it to be down to $199 in the post Xmas sales! :-)

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 182321 5-Dec-2008 15:37
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Leggo:
I understand that retailers are entitled to charge whatever they like for products they sell, but I spoke to the NZ Distributer of the ZMT-640PVR and they quoted me the $699 figure.


Unless I am mistaken (which has been known to happen on various occasions), I don't think that the consumer can purchase directly off Next Electronics, otherwise nobody would buy it from a retail store.

Leggo:
I'm just gagging for it to be down to $199 in the post Xmas sales! :-)


You might be waiting until 2011 for it to get that low, if ever.




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binary solo...0000110000110000111...



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Geek


  Reply # 182326 5-Dec-2008 15:44
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JimmyLizar:

Model is ZMT-640PVR and retail pricing is $999 at DSE, $1099 at Bond & Bond and (alledgely) $1049 at Harvey Norman.



I note PCWorld Correspondent Ted Gibbons also quoting Next Electronics on 4 December as saying the RRP will be $1149, so either they changed their mind pretty rapidly, or I've been lowballed!
I'm sure you're right - Next will only sell through one of the retailers you mentioned.

.... and ref the $199 ..... that was a tongue in my cheek! Tongue out


FPR

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  Reply # 182342 5-Dec-2008 16:36
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Adding to the PVR List

Triones 2022 PVR
http://www.trademe.co.nz/Electronics-photography/TVs/Other/auction-190238229.htm

YESS DVB-T9900 High Definition DVB-T Terrestrial Receiver with PVR function
http://www.trademe.co.nz/Electronics-photography/TVs/Cables-aerials/auction-191280295.htm


Coming Soon?

The good old ET box from Pete, which according to this TM ad " PVR software avail for this in around 2 weeks off our website.!! "
Closed 23/11/08.
http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=188406298

And the Sommet " Available in December 2008 "
http://www.sommetdigital.co.nz/

At the bottom of this page
http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=83&topicid=26771

The price will be $499 RRP for a 250Gb and $599 for a 500Gb.  It does have twin tuners - record two and watch another.

We believe that we are pitching at the correct price point.

Kind regards

Andrew @ Sommet


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  Reply # 186353 28-Dec-2008 11:01
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i'm real keen for a DVB-T PVR that costs $600 or less.

anyone tried the yes dvb-t9900 from trademe and the one from gogog.co.nz - are they any good? i presume PVR needs usb hdd?

also - how do those 2 compare with the ET?

i guess $300 receiver plus $300 1TB external hdd is a good deal - IF it works! i've seen the ET thread is about 50 pages long - means there's lots of trouble brewing?

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Geek


  Reply # 187435 5-Jan-2009 09:05
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I can't see why the Satellite version of effectively the same thing is half the price of the terrestrial.. any reason?

Satelite PVR going for $159
http://www.trademe.co.nz/Electronics-photography/TVs/Satellite-receivers/auction-195247746.htm

whereas the cheapest equivalent Terrestrial version is about double that: $295
http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=195463591&permanent=0
or
http://www.trademe.co.nz/Electronics-photography/TVs/Satellite-receivers/auction-195878713.htm


The Hyundai Combo HD recorder PVR (AH 3110) has both T and S so would be a good solution.. however it has no ethernet port, and  is listed at $579 :(
It claims to have FAST CHANNEL SWITCHING - which is a big plus AFAIC.
It also has VGA out - which none of the others I have seen have.

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  Reply # 187444 5-Jan-2009 09:49
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broozm: I can't see why the Satellite version of effectively the same thing is half the price of the terrestrial.. any reason?


DVB-S stuff is dirt cheap because we use MPEG2 for it whereas our DVB-T uses MPEG4/H.264 which is still demanding a premium over the dirt cheap MPEG2 DVB-T equipment in the marketplace due to smaller demand and a smaller number of manufacturers.



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Reply # 188207 8-Jan-2009 14:33
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So....time for some new info here: is the Sommet available? By my watch it's half past December

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  Reply # 188212 8-Jan-2009 14:57
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smac: So....time for some new info here: is the Sommet available? By my watch it's half past December


I emailed them on Monday to find out when it will be available - no reply yet, but will post here when (if) I do hear back from them.

Also contacted Topfield, who say they have a unit under testing at the moment, and intend to release it around April. Promising twin tuners (of course) a minimum of 500GB (and possibly a price to match?).

Going by the number of issues with the Zinwell PVR reported by one poster on dtvforum, I'm holding off purchasing one of those units until at least the issues are resolved with a firmware update AND the price drops - and probably until there's some other options out there. I've heard positive things about Topfield products - is that generally the case?

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Reply # 188948 12-Jan-2009 12:24
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jonathan18:

I emailed them on Monday to find out when it will be available - no reply yet, but will post here when (if) I do hear back from them.



Have you heard back? I just tried to see if their site was updated and it seems to have been taken down?

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  Reply # 188956 12-Jan-2009 12:59
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Just checked myself and Sommet site is still active but has not been updated - still says "December 2008".  Always raises questions about professionalism/reliability (IMHO at least) when simple things like that are not updated, especially when it is such a topical issue for many!





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