First, I wish to thank you all for contributing to this thread and its ancestor, the DTVpal thread. Both threads have provided me over the years with a wealth of information as well as a way of fixing one of my DTVpals (thank you, P Smith, wherever you are!)
I own two DTVpals and one CM7000PAL (two in use and one spare) and have been using "mine" for several years (the other belongs to my SO and is used for the usual OTA reality shows and soaps). I have accumulated several terabytes of PBS shows (I installed a removable drive sled on it) but have been looking at this thread for a while.
With the resuscitation of my dead DTVpal (overheating, due to too much lint on the fan; yep, that was a stupid thing to allow), I started to seriously consider exploring the possibility of switching over to the next iteration.
I don't recall the post number but someone reported that Crutchfield had the DVR+ in stock. When I visited, it wasn't but I asked to be notified when they were in. They recently emailed me and I bought the model with the 1TB drive built in as well as the WiFi dongle. (There has been some discussion about what a rip-off this seems, but I figured my time was more valuable than chasing a cheaper solution, which I did in another context, but I digress.)
I received it last week and installed it this past Saturday. Everything is as advertised: it works with a minimum amount of fuss. Of course, it has its idiosynchracies and differences from the DTVpal, but those have been discussed extensively by you all.
Yesterday I purchased a Western Digital My Passport 0820 Media at Costco, 2 TB capacity (but 1.8 TB by the "other" count) for $119. It was originally NTFS formatted.
After connection to DVR+, the drive was detected. I gave it the go-ahead to reformat and, after a reboot, the DVR+ accepted and recognized the drive, complete with name, size and serial number.
As recently reported by Pachinko, the DVR+ defaulted to the external disk and did not report the existence of an internal drive.
I recorded part of a PSB pledge week show ("Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii") and this morning I removed the WD from the DVR+ (while it was turned off as the drive appeared to be on standby). Upon turning the DVR+ back on, it informed me that its "upgrade" had been removed and that it would continue with its internal drive. It then rebooted. After it came back, I confirmed that the storage now in use is the internal drive.
In preparation, I had installed MacFUSE 2.0.3,2 and fuse-ext2-0.0.07 onto my 10-y-o Mac (PPC G5, 10.5.8; it still works but soon the Gods of the InterTubes are going to force me to upgrade as they are already punishing me by showing me the PBS schedule line up for only one day). Connecting the drive to it resulted on it being recognized as two drives, disk2s1 and disk2s2.
The Mac's Disk Utility reports that the drive has a "Master Boot Record" partition map scheme. disk2s1 is reported to be formatted as fuse-ext2 and its capacity is set at 976.5 MB, while disk2s2 is reported to be 1.8 TB also as fuse-ext2. At this point, those capacities seem strange as they add up to more than the 1.8 TB reported for the drive.
The trick is that the total number of bytes in this drive is 2,000,365,289,472 and for the disks are 1,023,975,424 for disk2s1 and 1,999,341,281,280 bytes for disk2s2. Those numbers do add up to nearly the total capacity and the apparent differences are due to "rounding" errors.
The Mac's Finder reports one file (Strm002.ts) and one folder (lost+found) in disk2s2. After exploring the files in disk2s1 with VLC (0.9.10), another file showed up in disk2s2 (Strm0003.ts) but it has zero length. Interestingly, the Finder does not display "reasonable" dates of "modification" for any files. For example, all files report a date of either Jan 1, 1970, or Dec 31, 1969. The "new" file's date is even wackier: Dec 31, 1903. This is no doubt due to the different ways in which dates are displayed in the Linux flavor of UNIX vs Mac OS. Using "Terminal" to check things out, returns "Input/output error" when "ls" attempts to give a listing of the folder. Doing "ls -la" does not show the "new" file. I am sure that all this has an explanation, but I won't pursue it. For now.
The encouraging fact is that the files are accessible if not initially playable by the VLC in this Mac. MPlayer OS X 2 (2.0b6) (SMPlayer's Mac analog) does not "see" any of the files (they are all grayed out). (OTOH, something is weird with the MPlayer installation as it does not show the video and only plays the audio of any other files. Testig with other files shows that MPlayer has a problem since VLC can play any other of my video files.)
I fixed the file in two ways: 1) using ffmpeg as suggested by JHBrabdt and DD24 (post 1106
, most notably) and 2) using Handbrake (0.9.4 for ppc). ffmpeg took less than 5 minutes to chew over the slightly-more-than 35-minute, 2.93 GB file. Handbrake was able to create an mp4 file without me fiddling with its controls. The drawback is that it took nearly 7 hours. Handbrake uses ffmpeg but it does compress/mux the file to get it into mp4. The resulting mp4 is 1.27 GB while the "clean" TS file is 3.1 GB. But this is not surprising since ffmpeg is simply copying and "fixing" the mistakes it found.
The bottom line: 1) connecting an external drive to the DVR+ makes it the default storing destination, 2) the drive can be mounted in Macs (and PCs as shown by others), and 3) the files in the DVR+ can be archived, transferred to other computers, and can be made more portable by translating them to other formats.
Now, if I could figure out how to do the same to the files in my DTVpal, I would be a happy camper. Going off topic but bear with me: I can put a Mac formatted drive in a DTVpal and then put it back in the Mac and the Mac still thinks it is a Mac drive, with nary a trace of the files the DTVpal put there. PM me if you have any suggestions on what is going on and how to mount a DTVpal drive as so far I am stumped. (And, no, I am not going to talk to E* about it.)