Superficial reviews of PVRs

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I love WHF and have bought every issue for at least five years. Sorry my first posting is to nag!

But your PVR reviews are just too superficial - the October issue is a case in point. I know it's only a Test Express so we can't expect all the bells and whistles, but I would not want anyone to buy a PVR without a lot more info.

For example:

- Does it let you record 2 channels at once and watch a third / playback a recording? (There are lots of complaints on the net about old Sagems that didn’t!)

- Does it record in standby? Or automatically start sending audio and video signals ?

- Does it remember the EPG or does it download every time (taking ages!)?

- How easy is it to navigate around the EPG? Can you easily skip forward half a day / a day?

- Does the EPG show all the channels? Or just the channel you are watching?

- Can it do repeat recordings daily/weekly? Can you tell it how many repeats to record, or does it go on for ever? Can you specify repeats only on weekdays/weekends?

- Does it do autopadding (the ability automatically to add time to the beginning/end of all recordings to allow for broadcasters’ timing vagaries)?

- Does the EPG get updated if there is a change to the schedule?

- How does it handle split programmes (eg a film with The News in the middle)?

- How easy is it to edit recordings? Cut out adverts?

- If a timed recording has started, can you extend its end time?

- Does it have a fan? Does it run constantly or spin down in standby? How noisy is it?

- How does the library work? Is it easy to archive several programmes in succession? If you leave a library recording running, does it play just once or run in an endless loop?

- How do the bookmarks work? Are there automatic bookmarks added every five minutes? Are ‘scenes’ automatically added?

- Do library recordings show the date/time/channel recorded?

- What’s it like recording radio?

- How good is the remote? Do you have to point it directly at the box? How far away? (The one for my old Pace Twin only worked square on and three feet away!)

I could go on. But I already have… The thing is, when you have to live with a PVR these things become very important. A bad PVR can be SO frustrating!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
So which would YOU recommend. I'm looking at buying one and I'd be very curious to know your thoughts!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Well, the first recommendation is to buy one. PVRs are fab and will change your life.

My first was a Pace Twin, which was lovely and intuitive, and had nice menus. But it only had 10 hours recording, and it forgot the EPG, which had to be downloaded anew each time. VERRRY annoying.

My current Digifusion (or Fusion) FVRT200 scores over the Pace with a 14-day EPG which it remembers. It has horrible menus (but you can amend the firmware from the Digital Spy PVR forum - highly recommended), and 80Gb which is JUST enough, I find. 160 or 250Gb are very tempting though. The other main fault with the Digifusion is that its fan spins constantly, which makes it noisy to live with. It doesn't crash much, and the picture is good. You can still get this product on Amazon and elsewhere new for 150 quid.

I am put off the Humax because it forgets its EPG - which is only 7 days anyway. Unless they've fixed this now? Previous Sagems were heavily criticised for NOT being able to record two programmes at once - but maybe this new one does?

Sony PVRs get good reviews, but the models keep dropping off the market.There's the Topfield (14-day EPG), which has many enthusiastic supporters. But setting it up the way you want it requires some kind of software programming which all sounds a bit too difficult to me. The Daewoos get very mixed reviews. The Thomsons (still available?) had 14 day EPGs - but were dead noisy. The Invertos are out of stock at Boots, but if a replacement comes out it would be worth considering (14-day EPG and many happy customers).

Have a look at the Digital Spy PVR forums - they're really helpful. And there's a rather out-of-date but still useful comparison chart here: www.pvrjunction.co.uk/compare.

I don't really know about the others in WHF Oct - the Wharfedale and
the Goodmans. My recommendation in the current state of the market
would still be the Digifusion/Fusion - though, as we've seen, it's far
from perfect.

So you can see why I whinge about WNF's superficial reviews - there are so many more aspects to take into account. As far as I can gather, the WHF team are mad about Sky+, but not everyone wants to line the Dirty Digger's pockets or indeed pay a monthly subscription.

Come on WHF - rise to the challenge!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I was going to junk the VCR and buy a PVR recently but a few forum searches quickly convinced me that there are currently far too many probems with them to risk buying one. Instead I decided to spend the money on other gear and to wait another 6-12 months for the next generation of PVR's to arrive and see if they're any better.
Grundig supposedly had an integrated one to be shortly available for my Lenaro TV (in 2004). It was in the brochure and everything but guess what? It never eventuated - the only response I got from Grundig on this (along with a whole list of unsatisfactory responses about other faults/ommissions etc in the product - onto my 3rd set by the way) was that the Lenaro TV development was finished and no PVR was to be released.
Hoping to see some good news on the PVR front in future and some better reviews along with addressing some of the myriad technical issues they seem to have.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Update: I see from the October issue that Superfi have the Inverto IDL7000T going for 130 quid. This has to be worth looking at - it has a great spec at that price.

See www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/Product_ID/2567

The 160Gb version is 200 quid.

Check out comments on the web: there are lots of satisfied Inverto customers - more than for any other make of PVR it would appear.

(No response from Clare or the gang to my point about superficial reviews???!!!)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="LDW"]

My current Digifusion (or Fusion) FVRT200 scores over the Pace with a 14-day EPG which it remembers. It has horrible menus (but you can amend the firmware from the Digital Spy PVR forum - highly recommended), and 80Gb which is JUST enough, I find. 160 or 250Gb are very tempting though. The other main fault with the Digifusion is that its fan spins constantly, which makes it noisy to live with. It doesn't crash much, and the picture is good.

[...]

There's the Topfield (14-day EPG), which has many enthusiastic supporters. But setting it up the way you want it requires some kind of software programming which all sounds a bit too difficult to me.

[/quote]

I had a Digitfusion FVRT100, which last 12 months and a few days before dying from a known design fault in its power supply. In came the Topfield 5800, and I've never looked back.

The Topfield is most excellent. Do NOT be put off by the talk of "needing software programming", you don't: it comes all set up to use like any consumer electronics device. The thing is, because they publish their software interface, those who are programmers can extend it to do all kinds of funky things. Then normal non-programming people (like me) can download these extensions off the net, and load them onto the Topfield (it's got a USB interface). You don't have to do that, but let's face it with any PVR you're going to think "This is great, but wouldn't it be even better if....": with the Topfield, you don't have to wait for a new piece of kit, quite likely somebody's already made the improvement you want.

You can also download recorded TV off the Topfield straight onto your PC, which is great if you travel a lot with a laptop.

As I say, if you want simplicity the Topfield is just as straightforward as anything else. But if you're happy to download something off the net onto your PC, and transfer it onto the Topfield, then a whole new world awaits.

I can't recommend it highly enough. Check out www.toppy.org.uk for the users/fans.
 

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