I recorded the Tennessee/Fresno State game this weekend on HDD at XP. It was on regular network -not digital. I burned to three discs from the HDD at 54,56,26 approx minutes after deleting commercials. I also did it two discs-1.25 each on FR. The 3 XP discs hi speed dub looked better- no question- there was a difference in PQ- I promise you. It was better. My point is - there is no substitute for XP HDD original and eventual 60 minute hi speed dubbing to a single disc for the best quality.
I still prefer not to have more than one disc for most programs I keep, (mostly movies,not any sports). 2 disks is workable for me, but 3 is not as convenient.
Were you satisfied with the quality of the 2 FR disks as an archive or would you still go to all XP for this kind of sports program?
A more fair comparison would be to record the same source on two machines -- one in XP and one in SP -- and then do a high-speed dub of both. That way, you are not introducing a re-encode variable into the mix on the FR dub of the original XP recording. Instead, you would be actually comparing XP vs. SP.