PVR / Digibox recommendations


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peej
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Ah buggerit, having a great day so far - heating system died last night much to the annoyance of the missus, then the digibox also decided to turn up its tits and die too. So obviously prioritising, I'm after a new Digibox, preferably a PVR.

Had a look at the Humax range and they look pretty spiffy. Looking to spend around 200 quid and get something decent. Much as people crow about the Digihome ones, they look fucking awful and seem a bit "hacky" for my tastes. All I want is something that'll record TV to a HD, preferably with output over USB if needs must but not essential.

Peej
#1 at 09:50:31 - 30/01/2007
Rhythm
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Don't buy Thompson.

/kicks box after another lost recording

I'd actually say wait a little while to see what happens with Freeview Playback. They may actually have a system that lets you record programmes without setting a manual timer yourself O_O

The promise of a proper Series Link will be a major boon, too.
#2 at 09:53:15 - 30/01/2007
peej
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Hmmm. Sounds cool but I'm kinda in a hurry, ie if the missus doesn't have at least 50 channels to flick through of an evening, she'll just pester the fuck out of me while I'm trying to get some gaming in.

Peej
#3 at 09:54:35 - 30/01/2007
Alastair
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peej said:Hmmm. Sounds cool but I'm kinda in a hurry, ie if the missus doesn't have at least 50 channels to flick through of an evening, she'll just pester the fuck out of me while I'm trying to get some gaming in.

Peej

You could take advantage of the opportunity to spend some quality time together. Perhaps just have a chat, or go out for a walk.

/maintains straight face
;o)
#4 at 09:56:49 - 30/01/2007
Carlo
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Phillips do a PVR with build-in freeview.

250 with a 160GB HDD
Linky

bought one for the in-laws for christmas. Electronic programme guide and Video+.

I personally didn't like the menu layout, I have a Media Center, but it's a solid performer and for the money, very good.

You can pick it up in comet/currys too.
#5 at 10:05:24 - 30/01/2007
Rhythm
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Fair enough, Peej. After getting stung with the one I have now, I'm looking around but am interested to see what happens when this new FP standard appears.

#6 at 10:10:20 - 30/01/2007
peej
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Alastair said:
peej said:Hmmm. Sounds cool but I'm kinda in a hurry, ie if the missus doesn't have at least 50 channels to flick through of an evening, she'll just pester the fuck out of me while I'm trying to get some gaming in.

Peej

You could take advantage of the opportunity to spend some quality time together. Perhaps just have a chat, or go out for a walk.

/maintains straight face
;o)


Are you kidding?!?!??! How many "marrieds" do you know who do things like that? :)

Cheers for the recommendation Carlo, I'll check out the Philips.

Peej
#7 at 10:11:07 - 30/01/2007
Alastair
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peej said
Are you kidding?!?!??! How many "marrieds" do you know who do things like that? :)
Peej


Errr, we do sometimes...go out for a walk.
#8 at 11:17:27 - 30/01/2007
peej
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Oh aye, we do too...

Lot of walking....

Peej
#9 at 11:55:02 - 30/01/2007
Legion
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Peej - I looked into this recently, if you want a decent one it's either the Humax 9200 or the Topfield (I forget the model number).

Both of which are likely to be compatible with the new Freeview Series Linking service that's due to be rolled out soon.

My Dad recently picked up the Humax 9200, so I've first hand experience with one. Lovely kit, easy to use, and you can dump MP3s and stuff on their via the front USB port, should you ever want to play music on it.

When you get a minute I'd read a couple of reviews on the Topfield and the Humax, that should give you all the info you need. Oh, and my Dad only paid about 150 for the Humax from Comet.
#10 at 11:55:48 - 30/01/2007
terminalterror
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Rhythm said:Don't buy Thompson.

/kicks box after another lost recording

I'd actually say wait a little while to see what happens with Freeview Playback. They may actually have a system that lets you record programmes without setting a manual timer yourself O_O

The promise of a proper Series Link will be a major boon, too.


You don't get an EPG? Can you recieve E4+1? The Program guide is broadcast on the same mux.

To counter Rythym, I'd say that the Thomson was superb, but as you can't buy them any more I'd recommend a Humax if you were buying right now, otherwise wait for Freeview Playback.

It won't add "a system that lets you record programmes without setting a manual timer yourself O_O" because every box on the market already has that (although with varying degrees of intuitive use). However, it will add a series link, and it should track program changes as they happen, so if your program starts half an hour late it'll cope. Current boxes don't work like that unless things change a bit in advance.
#11 at 11:57:44 - 30/01/2007
peej
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The Humax was the one I wanted but aside from online stockists who are a bit nasty with their prices, it looks like the nearest stockist is John Lewis, so a bit of a trek to Wycombe for me.

Glad to hear you've had first hand experience with one. Supposedly the only gripe most people have had about it is the pissy amount of storage for photos and MP3s (5gb) but that's not really what I want it for.

Cheers though Mike, I'll pass this on to my "financial advisor and trouser wearing philanthropist"

Peej
#12 at 11:57:48 - 30/01/2007
Legion
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My only word of warning is that it's noisey. Not Xbox noisey but Sky+ box noisey. I'd expect them all to have a bit of fan-whirr as they're basically PCs at the end of the day.
#13 at 12:08:40 - 30/01/2007
terminalterror
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Legion said:My only word of warning is that it's noisey. Not Xbox noisey but Sky+ box noisey. I'd expect them all to have a bit of fan-whirr as they're basically PCs at the end of the day.


What kind of noisy?

Is it a constant hum 24/7 (the Thomson used to do that and was really annoying) or is it just noisy when it is doing something? Since the latest update the Thomson is like that now, silent all the time unless it is recording/playing something and then it is a little noisy.

The Topfield apparantly runs silent (but really hot).
#14 at 12:11:58 - 30/01/2007
Rhythm
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terminalterror said:
You don't get an EPG? Can you recieve E4+1? The Program guide is broadcast on the same mux.

It won't add "a system that lets you record programmes without setting a manual timer yourself O_O" because every box on the market already has that


I do get an EPG but rather than use PDC and record from the second a programme starts right to the end, even when things are delayed, like my VCR, I have to "buffer" the end and start times. If something's not in the guide (happens quite often, especially when setting more than 7 days away), I have to set(and label - my ten year old VCR labelled automagically so why do I have to type in stuff myself now?) it manually. Plus there are other annoyances:

- you can't "play" an item in the buffer (you have to manually rewind to it)
- the record button on the remote doesn't actually do anything, meaning you can't quickly record something that's on at the moment you're watching
- if you're watching something live and decide you want to record to watch later you can't use the "red button on the quickguide" method like with anything that's forthcoming - you have to go into the full guide and select it from there.
- it's still very crashy
- mine came with no S-Video socket (OK, that's a minor annoyance I didn't even know about until I saw that my mum's supposedly identical box does have on).

For the most part it does what it says on the tin and it was certainly reasonably priced but man do I wish someone would work on the whole UI

On a related note - is anyone producing HDMI Freeview boxes yet?
#15 at 12:32:00 - 30/01/2007
Legion
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terminalterror said:
Legion said:My only word of warning is that it's noisey. Not Xbox noisey but Sky+ box noisey. I'd expect them all to have a bit of fan-whirr as they're basically PCs at the end of the day.


What kind of noisy?

Is it a constant hum 24/7 (the Thomson used to do that and was really annoying) or is it just noisy when it is doing something? Since the latest update the Thomson is like that now, silent all the time unless it is recording/playing something and then it is a little noisy.

The Topfield apparantly runs silent (but really hot).

It's the a hum, or fan whirr. You won't notice it once sound is playing out of the TV, but it can be noisey if the room is quiet. Noisey is probably doing it an injustice, but it's not "silent". Same noise levels as our Sky+ box (which has a fan).
#16 at 12:35:49 - 30/01/2007
terminalterror
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Rhythm said:
terminalterror said:
You don't get an EPG? Can you recieve E4+1? The Program guide is broadcast on the same mux.

It won't add "a system that lets you record programmes without setting a manual timer yourself O_O" because every box on the market already has that


I do get an EPG but rather than use PDC and record from the second a programme starts right to the end, even when things are delayed, like my VCR, I have to "buffer" the end and start times. If something's not in the guide (happens quite often, especially when setting more than 7 days away), I have to set(and label - my ten year old VCR labelled automagically so why do I have to type in stuff myself now?) it manually. Plus there are other annoyances:

- you can't "play" an item in the buffer (you have to manually rewind to it)
- the record button on the remote doesn't actually do anything, meaning you can't quickly record something that's on at the moment you're watching
- if you're watching something live and decide you want to record to watch later you can't use the "red button on the quickguide" method like with anything that's forthcoming - you have to go into the full guide and select it from there.
- it's still very crashy
- mine came with no S-Video socket (OK, that's a minor annoyance I didn't even know about until I saw that my mum's supposedly identical box does have on).

For the most part it does what it says on the tin and it was certainly reasonably priced but man do I wish someone would work on the whole UI

On a related note - is anyone producing HDMI Freeview boxes yet?


You on the 2.3.9 firmware? That lets you play from the beginning of a recording in progress (go to the record list, select the current recording and hit play). The record button on the remote does work, you just hold it down for a bit and it takes you to the record list with the current program data already entered. Our one crashed occasionally on 1.7.7 but has never crashed on 2.3.9. I can't remember if it has an S-Video socket or not, but we initially picked the Thomson because it was the only decent choice at the time that had RF out so we could distribute it to other rooms in the house.

You shouldn't have to manually buffer recordings, you can set it to automatically buffer by 5 or 10 minutes, and adding more time on the end isn't much hassle.

Also, I've never come accross anything that wasn't in the guide all the way up to 14 days ahead, apart from when a new channel launches and 4TV are a bit slow changing the listings (like when More4+1 became Film4), and even slower changing the name.

It would be great if Freeview Playback works perfectly and we get back some of the things we used to have on PDC, but I somehow doubt it'll ever be 100% reliable. You just know that late at night somebody is going to forget to hit a button and everybody's recordings will screw up.
#17 at 13:02:43 - 30/01/2007
terminalterror
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Legion said:
terminalterror said:
Legion said:My only word of warning is that it's noisey. Not Xbox noisey but Sky+ box noisey. I'd expect them all to have a bit of fan-whirr as they're basically PCs at the end of the day.


What kind of noisy?

Is it a constant hum 24/7 (the Thomson used to do that and was really annoying) or is it just noisy when it is doing something? Since the latest update the Thomson is like that now, silent all the time unless it is recording/playing something and then it is a little noisy.

The Topfield apparantly runs silent (but really hot).

It's the a hum, or fan whirr. You won't notice it once sound is playing out of the TV, but it can be noisey if the room is quiet. Noisey is probably doing it an injustice, but it's not "silent". Same noise levels as our Sky+ box (which has a fan).


The Thomson was also a constant faint whirr, but when everything else is quiet it was annoying. Now it is generally silent unless it is about to overheat (they really did cram things inside there). It could have done with having a less tiny and whiny fan though.
#18 at 13:04:12 - 30/01/2007
Rhythm
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Yes I'm on the latest firmware. I know you can play from the beginning of a recording but seeing as the buffer stores 2 hours of 2 channels it'd be nice if you could select a programme from the last two hours and just have it play
#19 at 13:06:12 - 30/01/2007
terminalterror
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Rhythm said:Yes I'm on the latest firmware. I know you can play from the beginning of a recording but seeing as the buffer stores 2 hours of 2 channels it'd be nice if you could select a programme from the last two hours and just have it play


I suppose that would be nice, but I can't say I've ever felt the need for that. Do you just leave the box on all day buffering on the off chance you realise you missed something good? I only ever use the buffer for pausing live telly, but I generally schedule everything I'm likely to watch to record so I don't have to worry when they are on, and if I want to watch them near live I don't have to worry about the buffer.
#20 at 13:11:45 - 30/01/2007
Rhythm
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I'm very reactive in my telly watching - I don't look out for stuff that's coming, I watch what's already on instead.
#21 at 13:15:20 - 30/01/2007
terminalterror
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Rhythm said:I'm very reactive in my telly watching - I don't look out for stuff that's coming, I watch what's already on instead.


Fair enough. Sounds like BT Vision would be more suitable to your viewing needs than a PVR (although it is still a PVR, it has IPTV repeats of recent stuff on demand).

Scheduling stuff in advance on our PVR works best because we mainly just watch US series, so know what we'll be watching (give or take the odd interesting documentary), and the PVR just record it all so we can watch them at our schedule, not the broadcasters.
#22 at 13:37:19 - 30/01/2007
peej
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Ended up getting the Humax 160gb thang from John Lewis btw...nice nice nice machine so far. Not super noisy but Wii noisy.

But oh man, it's a breeze to set up and use and it has USB output to PC too, liking that a lot.

Peej
#23 at 22:53:07 - 31/01/2007
Whizzo
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Rhythm said:- the record button on the remote doesn't actually do anything, meaning you can't quickly record something that's on at the moment you're watching
Yes it does, you just have to hold it down for about a second or so, anything you set to record like that will "tape" from as long as you've been watching it to from the buffer. You get a circle in a rectangle icon appear in the top left of the screen when you've started recording, it disappears after a few seconds.
#24 at 23:02:13 - 31/01/2007
wobbler147
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peej said:Ended up getting the Humax 160gb thang from John Lewis btw...nice nice nice machine so far. Not super noisy but Wii noisy.

But oh man, it's a breeze to set up and use and it has USB output to PC too, liking that a lot.

Peej


How much peej? Seriously thinking of ditching sky when we move and I'm looking for a replacement pvr.
#25 at 23:06:03 - 31/01/2007
Carlo
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The Philips one I said has EPG, and Video+, and a HDD, and freeview built in guys. And you can both burn and rip to DVDs, or just watch them.

It is (AFAIC) an 'all in 1 box' solution. I think it also stores pictures AND you can link/rip off camcorders too.

The only think you don't get is HD in any way.
#26 at 23:06:37 - 31/01/2007
TriodeBliss
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peej said:Ended up getting the Humax 160gb thang from John Lewis btw...nice nice nice machine so far. Not super noisy but Wii noisy.

But oh man, it's a breeze to set up and use and it has USB output to PC too, liking that a lot.

Peej

Has it got the latest firmware, Peej? I got mine from JL a few weeks ago, and it didn't have the November update.
#27 at 23:07:49 - 31/01/2007
Pac-man
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/stands up

My name is Pac-man and I've been a Humax user for 3 months.

/sits down

I love it and I reckon you'll love it too peej. The best thing is that they update it regularly so it's not likely to go crashing out of date like most tech.

It's dead straightforward to up update the box manually, or just wait for an over-the-air update. www.hummy.org.uk is very handy for info on what's what and what's soon to be what.
#28 at 00:29:43 - 01/02/2007
tannerd
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Can I just say I really like Sky+ - it works well, and generally doesn't fuck up. And the missus loves it.

That's all, carry on.
#29 at 00:36:08 - 01/02/2007
Legion
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Yeah, you just have to have Sky which is a bugger as it's costing me 25 per month at the moment to watch adverts.

[MH]
#30 at 00:53:47 - 01/02/2007

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