2014 list of consumer available DVR's - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

I think it was quite clear from the start that the focus of the OP was on out-of-the-box stand-alone HDTV DVR's that one could buy outright on Amazon, eBay, etc. and then plug into your TV and coax and use.

 

I agree. At the same time don't dismiss everything else... or call it a list of available DVRs... rather it's a list of DVRs one happens to endorse. I also agree HTPC based DVRs can be complex however at the same time you can take one out of the box and within an hour (running WMC's wizard) be up and running. And require no more maintenance or attention than TiVo.

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post #92 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 10:30 AM
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Crafting an appropriate thread title is always a challenge.

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post #93 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 10:38 AM
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Yes, "updated list of out-of-the-box stand-alone HDTV DVR's that one could buy outright on Amazon, eBay, etc. and then plug into your TV and coax and use" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue wink.gif
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post #94 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Crafting an appropriate thread title is always a challenge.

 

Completely off topic so it's my last post... however some people take things far too literally. It's not the title it's the content.

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post #95 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

I agree. At the same time don't dismiss everything else... or call it a list of available DVRs... rather it's a list of DVRs one happens to endorse. I also agree HTPC based DVRs can be complex however at the same time you can take one out of the box and within an hour (running WMC's wizard) be up and running. And require no more maintenance or attention than TiVo.
There is a local computer builder who does build HTPC's out of their shop. Only takes them a couple of days to have it ready for your pick-up. It easily fits in most entertainment centers and most people wouldn't even know that it was a pc just by looking at it. Would that be considered a consumer dvr?
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post #96 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
At the same time don't dismiss everything else... or call it a list of available DVRs... rather it's a list of DVRs one happens to endorse.
Your comment is completely unwarranted. Just because you don't happen to agree with me what a "DVR" is, then I suggest you take a look through the first page in this sub forum and see how many computers and/or computer related devices you find. You can also take a look through the old thread on DVR's from 2008 and see how many unrelated items that have been mentioned to be included are listed there.
Are you not aware there already is a sub forum for what you are talking about?

This isn't a list of DVR's that I "endorse". If that was thew case TiVo surely would not be there. There also wouldn't be models that have one or two stars either.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
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post #97 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 12:56 PM
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This is why HTPC solutions are typically called PVRs, not DVRs. A DVR is, as Kelson pointed out, a device that can be purchased, unboxed, and connected directly to a TV. Any software solution that requires a PC and runs under a separate OS is a PVR and falls under the discussion in the HTPC forum. This topic is not inappropriately named (although consumer-available should be hyphenated), and it is not biased; it is merely a list of DVRs, and PVRs are not relevant to this topic's discussion. A PVR software comparison topic would indeed be useful, but it would need to be created separately and in the HTPC forum.
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post #98 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

I would say, despite its age and discontinuance, the DTVPal is still one of the best DVRs in the "OTA no-fee" category. But of course that's not what everyone's looking for. Its lack of analog and QAM tuners makes it useless for cable customers, and its lack of a paid guide option is a big drawback for many. It also has a few other drawbacks. I find them all to be minor quibbles, but YMMV:

1. It doesn't spin down the HD in standby, so it uses too much power IMO. We are talking pennies of extra cost a year. Plus it get you 3 seconds boot up. Compare that to the IVIEW, EPI and others. Also not sure spinning down the HD and spinning it up all the time is such a good thing for the HD
2. The DST bugs: some users have no problems at all, while others find them intolerable. For me they're an annoyance but hardly fatal. I never had an issue and it seems most people have been able to fix it quickly
3. Videobruce is right about the case design: it's hokey. I think they tried too hard to give it a TiVo "look & feel." At least the CM version lacks the silly-looking graphics of the Dish version rolleyes.gifLets see no annoying red lights on the front panel, lots of holes to dissipate heat....not so bad in my opinion. Actually well done
4. It lacks an S-video output, so picture quality on older SD TVs is sub-par. (Quality on HDTVs is excellent.)People with SD TVs should look elsewhere I agree. But if you are OTA with a HD TV this is the DVR for you
5. The RF pass-through is nice in theory but useless in practice - when engaged, it shuts down not only the RF modulator like a VCR would, but all non-RF outputs too. Might as well just put it in standby.
6. The manual is lacking, and official support is essentially non-existent. Luckily we have AVSForum (as do all these DVRs) biggrin.gifI guess if the PALDVR manula os lacking then you would give the IVIEW and EPI and F grade compared to the PALDVR. AT least with the PLADVR you get a manual and it is readable

On the plus side, it has an intuitive, but not overly "cute," user interface similar to Dish's satellite receivers; a nice "universal" remote that will save you from having to buy one; expansion up to 1 TB (internal, or even external, although not through the built-in USB port); a grid-style guide that's maintained in the background, so it doesn't slow down your browsing; and most other standard DVR features (except name-based recording, which is probably an advantage with only PSIP to populate its program guide, since it'll record even if the guide doesn't get timely updates).

Obviously a new DTVPal or CM-7000Pal is a rare find these days. I think Antennalogic still has a few if you're willing to pay his prices. Used Pals are still fairly common on eBay though.

All things considered, I'd give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars if I were doing an AVSForum review (which allows half stars), but how you'd key that into a post is beyond me.
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post #99 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post

This is why HTPC solutions are typically called PVRs, not DVRs.

 

Try again...

 

A digital video recorder (DVR), sometimes referred to by the merchandising term personal video recorder (PVR), is a consumer electronics device or application software that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other local or networked mass storage device.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_video_recorder

 

Note the section covering PC based digital video recorder...

 

Software and hardware is available which can turn personal computers running Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X into DVRs, and is a popular option for home-theater PC (HTPC) enthusiasts.

 

If you don't want to bother reading the details...

 

The term includes set-top boxes (STB) with direct to disk recording facility, portable media players (PMP) with recording, recorders (PMR) as camcorders that record onto Secure Digital memory cards and software for personal computers which enables video capture and playback to and from a hard disk drive.

 

Perhaps STB would fit (to a much larger degree at least)? Oh and the name of this sub forum?... HDTV Recorders.

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post #100 of 543 Old 04-12-2013, 02:34 PM
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It is a somewhat arbitrary nomenclatural distinction, but it is nonetheless a helpful one to differentiate between the two.
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post #101 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 06:07 AM
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A couple of comments about the comparison Chart and the units.

One of the units (PALDVR) in the chart uses SATA as the interface to the hard drive. SATA is MUCH faster than USB. This is probably why the unit can record 2 shows at the same time the user is viewing a previously recorded show. However the chart does not show which DVR uses SATA and can do this.

At least 2 of these DVRS have issues with recording and viewing previously recorded shows at the same time. I don't think the chart shows this.

The PALDVR does use an internal drive but it can easily be converted to using an external drive as many of us PALDVR owners have done. You would not know that from the chart.
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post #102 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Getting into specifics for each DVR would be beyond the purpose and scope of the thread. There are so many unit specific differences, the number of lines would be as long as the original thread which was way too many.

BTW, SATA vs USB interfaces should only come into play when transferring files to or from the drive, not recording and playing back. If there is a problem with recording two programs at the same time, it's probably a internal hardware problem. There has been numerous posts throughout this sub forum on this. That's why 5400 rpm drives are all that is needed for a DVR. Conventional 7200's are overkill in more than one way.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
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post #103 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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An interesting post from another thread regarding that "simpletv" (accurate name) clearly ruling that out for inclusion here;
Quote:
From andydrew;
* If you want to just sit down and watch TV with your remote it's not so 'simple' since you need to use a device with a browser to tune channels
* Since the simple.tv is controlled by their cloud controller and integrated program guide if simple.tv doesn't survive and turns off the controller, the device is a brick

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post #104 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LenL View Post

A couple of comments about the comparison Chart and the units.

One of the units (PALDVR) in the chart uses SATA as the interface to the hard drive. SATA is MUCH faster than USB. This is probably why the unit can record 2 shows at the same time the user is viewing a previously recorded show. However the chart does not show which DVR uses SATA and can do this.

At least 2 of these DVRS have issues with recording and viewing previously recorded shows at the same time. I don't think the chart shows this.

The PALDVR does use an internal drive but it can easily be converted to using an external drive as many of us PALDVR owners have done. You would not know that from the chart.


USB should not be an issue. At least not USB 2.0 and higer When I last used an HTPC, for HD recording around 2006 I tried out USB 2.0 drives for recording along with USB 2.0 ATSC tuners. It had no problem recording several OTA shows and also streaming several shows out concurrently from the same USB drive.

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post #105 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 07:36 AM
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Identical to TiVo... controlled by and they provide the integrated program guide. However if TiVo disappears so does your DVR. Simple.tv does work without a subscription unlike TiVo you aren't tied to them for your guide. Oh and both use a remote to change channels.

 

It's your thread and no one has an issue with you including only DVRs you deem worthy (of being called a DVR). Just don't let the facts get in the way... simply say you don't like it. smile.gif

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post #106 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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What's "identical to TiVo"?

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #107 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

What's "identical to TiVo"?

 

The fact if you subscribe to simple.tv's premium guide (service) it must call home to function. If it doesn't call home it will stop working as designed. Unlike TiVo simple.tv also supports a basic guide which doesn't require calling home. The calling home aspect appears to be what you used to dismiss simple.tv (if the company no longer exists it will stop working...).

 

This is clearly the case for TiVo and not for simple.tv. Even if it was if one throws simple.tv out because of the requirement to call home one would be forced to throw out TiVo.

 

Again, include only the DVRs you wish... I think no one has an issue with that... I only have an issue when something is misrepresented or not understood and judgement is passed accordingly. I think simple.tv is worthless (in its current state) however that doesn't stop me from thinking it's a worthless DVR!

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post #108 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, it's the subscription that is the same.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #109 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

The fact if you subscribe to simple.tv's premium guide (service) it must call home to function. If it doesn't call home it will stop working as designed. Unlike TiVo simple.tv also supports a basic guide which doesn't require calling home. The calling home aspect appears to be what you used to dismiss simple.tv (if the company no longer exists it will stop working...).

This is clearly the case for TiVo and not for simple.tv. Even if it was if one throws simple.tv out because of the requirement to call home one would be forced to throw out TiVo.

Again, include only the DVRs you wish... I think no one has an issue with that... I only have an issue when something is misrepresented or not understood and judgement is passed accordingly. I think simple.tv is worthless (in its current state) however that doesn't stop me from thinking it's a worthless DVR!

I have a simple.tv right now (although it will be returned this week). I do not believe that foregoing the program guide will allow the simple.tv to function if the simple.tv company goes away or stops offering the browser based controller in the cloud. I am not aware of any way to interface directly with the simple.tv box without the cloud based controller. So there would be no way to manually schedule recordings via channel, date and time since there is no interface to the unit directly. No way to configure the unit, scan channels, etc.

I do agree that simple.tv should not be immediately dismissed in this comparison because of it's looks (sorry videobruce). It certainly is a DVR, that is it's primary function. Just because it doesn't directly connect to your TV doesn't mean it's not a DVR. It's a network based DVR that you can use to watch TV on multiple devices in your home and if you subscribe to the program guide you can watch the content out of your home also (slingbox type functions).

Now if this comparison has requirements such as these, I could see excluding it:

* DVR appliance.
* Available for consumers to purchase.
* Requires nothing else to function other than the DVR unit itself, video display (TV), antenna or cable input, and internet connection.

I also agree that in it's current state it does not fully deliver on what has been promised nor work reliably enough. Similar to some of the other DVR's in this comparison.
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post #110 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andydrew View Post


I am not aware of any way to interface directly with the simple.tv box without the cloud based controller. So there would be no way to manually schedule recordings via channel, date and time since there is no interface to the unit directly.

 

If you disconnect it from the Internet if and when does it stop working? Much like TiVo the debate has always been if they go under will they update the software to still function. It's off topic (for here) so I guess there are better threads... just wondering what happens when you pull the plug (deny it Internet access). It's the same as Netflix (obviously) when the Internet is down you can't view anything? I guess it's sillier than I thought!

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post #111 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by andydrew View Post


I am not aware of any way to interface directly with the simple.tv box without the cloud based controller. So there would be no way to manually schedule recordings via channel, date and time since there is no interface to the unit directly.

 

If you disconnect it from the Internet if and when does it stop working? Much like TiVo the debate has always been if they go under will they update the software to still function. It's off topic (for here) so I guess there are better threads... just wondering what happens when you pull the plug (deny it Internet access). It's the same as Netflix (obviously) when the Internet is down you can't view anything? I guess it's sillier than I thought!

 

The Simple TV site says it can record by date and time w/o the guide.

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post #112 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

The Simple TV site says it can record by date and time w/o the guide.

Yes, that is correct. Although it does not say that you can do this without the browser based controller software that runs in the cloud. There is no way to manually schedule recordings, setup or interface with your simple.tv box without the browser based cloud controller.
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post #113 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

If you disconnect it from the Internet if and when does it stop working? Much like TiVo the debate has always been if they go under will they update the software to still function. It's off topic (for here) so I guess there are better threads... just wondering what happens when you pull the plug (deny it Internet access). It's the same as Netflix (obviously) when the Internet is down you can't view anything? I guess it's sillier than I thought!

Yes, off-topic for this thread - is there a simple.tv thread?

If you pull the connection to the internet (which is also the connection to your local network) I believe the following happens:

* I suspect whatever is already configured to record will record. I assume some setup and configuration must be cached onto the simple.tv box itself as it communicates with the simple.tv cloud controller.
* You have no way to play back any content since the simple.tv requires an active network connection to interface with the simple.tv cloud controller which is also the interface to play live tv and play content that is already recorded.

Again, there is no user interface to the simple.tv itself. No traditional remote control. No direct connection from the simple.tv to your TV. You basically can't do anything without the simple.tv controller in the cloud. No internet = No playback. No simple.tv cloud controller = No playback. It's much more integrated to the internet and cloud controller than Tivo is.
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post #114 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andydrew View Post


If you pull the connection to the internet (which is also the connection to your local network) I believe the following happens:

 

So you haven't tried it? Simply unplug your modem (or whatnot) leaving your local network up and seeing what still works or doesn't work?

 

Under their Terms of Service they do list local network with access to the Internet...

 

Usage Prerequisites. The Simple.TV service, and an active Internet connection, is required in order for your Simple.TV DVR to work. No functionality is represented or should be expected from the Simple.TV DVR without an active connection to the internet via a broadband service

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post #115 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andydrew View Post


Yes, off-topic for this thread - is there a simple.tv thread?

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1386340/simple-tv/0_50

 

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/simple-tv-secures-5-million-113000839.html;_ylt=A2KJ3CSv7mpRQUgAfAuTmYlQ

 

www.simple.tv

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post #116 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

So you haven't tried it? Simply unplug your modem (or whatnot) leaving your local network up and seeing what still works or doesn't work?

Under their Terms of Service they do list local network with access to the Internet...

Usage Prerequisites. The Simple.TV service, and an active Internet connection, is required in order for your Simple.TV DVR to work. No functionality is represented or should be expected from the Simple.TV DVR without an active connection to the internet via a broadband service

There is no reason to try it. You can't play anything back without a connection to their controller. It's obvious. Even if it can still record what is already scheduled - you can't play it back. The Usage Prerequisites that you found cover it.
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post #117 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

USB should not be an issue. At least not USB 2.0 and higer When I last used an HTPC, for HD recording around 2006 I tried out USB 2.0 drives for recording along with USB 2.0 ATSC tuners. It had no problem recording several OTA shows and also streaming several shows out concurrently from the same USB drive.

Perhaps but it seems like it is the USB units that have issues. Plus it appears that some can't record 2 programs with 2 tuners unless the USB drive is formatted EXT2. This may not be a USB issue as you say.
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post #118 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LenL View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

USB should not be an issue. At least not USB 2.0 and higer When I last used an HTPC, for HD recording around 2006 I tried out USB 2.0 drives for recording along with USB 2.0 ATSC tuners. It had no problem recording several OTA shows and also streaming several shows out concurrently from the same USB drive.

Perhaps but it seems like it is the USB units that have issues. Plus it appears that some can't record 2 programs with 2 tuners unless the USB drive is formatted EXT2. This may not be a USB issue as you say.
USB is software based unlike Firewire. Others and I don't trust it. I use two old PCI (not PCIE) HDTV tuner cards from 2005, and they kicked arse in my dual and quad-core old Windows XP Pro. SP3 machines.
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post #119 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by LenL View Post

Perhaps but it seems like it is the USB units that have issues. Plus it appears that some can't record 2 programs with 2 tuners unless the USB drive is formatted EXT2. This may not be a USB issue as you say.

That's because the PHD-VRX uses shoddy NTFS drivers that are too inefficient to let it record two shows at once. It isn't the fault of the USB interface, which is more than fast enough to support it.
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post #120 of 543 Old 04-14-2013, 07:57 PM
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I would say, despite its age and discontinuance, the DTVPal is still one of the best DVRs in the "OTA no-fee" category. But of course that's not what everyone's looking for. Its lack of analog and QAM tuners makes it useless for cable customers, and its lack of a paid guide option is a big drawback for many. It also has a few other drawbacks. I find them all to be minor quibbles, but YMMV:

1. It doesn't spin down the HD in standby, so it uses too much power IMO. We are talking pennies of extra cost a year. Plus it get you 3 seconds boot up. Compare that to the IVIEW, EPI and others. Also not sure spinning down the HD and spinning it up all the time is such a good thing for the HD
2. The DST bugs: some users have no problems at all, while others find them intolerable. For me they're an annoyance but hardly fatal. I never had an issue and it seems most people have been able to fix it quickly
3. Videobruce is right about the case design: it's hokey. I think they tried too hard to give it a TiVo "look & feel." At least the CM version lacks the silly-looking graphics of the Dish version rolleyes.gifLets see no annoying red lights on the front panel, lots of holes to dissipate heat....not so bad in my opinion. Actually well done
4. It lacks an S-video output, so picture quality on older SD TVs is sub-par. (Quality on HDTVs is excellent.)People with SD TVs should look elsewhere I agree. But if you are OTA with a HD TV this is the DVR for you
5. The RF pass-through is nice in theory but useless in practice - when engaged, it shuts down not only the RF modulator like a VCR would, but all non-RF outputs too. Might as well just put it in standby.
6. The manual is lacking, and official support is essentially non-existent. Luckily we have AVSForum (as do all these DVRs) biggrin.gifI guess if the PALDVR manula os lacking then you would give the IVIEW and EPI and F grade compared to the PALDVR. AT least with the PLADVR you get a manual and it is readable

In my defense I did say I found all the above to be minor quibbles. I have 2 Pals and wouldn't have bought the second if I hadn't been satisfied with the first. One is even hooked to an old SDTV! Even for SDTV owners I think the Pal is a good DVR. But it would've been even better with S-video wink.gif

With the case I was referring to the aesthetics, not the engineering. It does a good job of keeping the innards cool - it just looks cartoonish to me, like the thing was pregnant! A few front-panel controls besides power wouldn't have hurt either.

I didn't say the manual was terrible - in fact I think it's better than average. But it's incomplete. The remote especially has several nice features the manual doesn't even mention.

About the power, spinning down the HDD is only one possibility. I'd guess one could save 2-5W simply by replacing the Pal's drive with a 2.5" drive. The CM-7400 uses 2.5" drives (it has a much worse heat issue than the DTVPal, though, so every watt saved matters with that box). It'd be interesting to see; if the savings were close to 5W, swapping HDDs might be worthwhile.
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