In alphabetical order, additional info and comments:The main problems with most of these importers are; culture issues, language barriers and where the firmware is written.
China, where the firmware can't be tested properly due to their OTA & CATV standards being different. It has to be sent here for testing, most times by some non-engineers. So many simple issues, mostly to the GUI, especially the menus, could be fixed, but are not.They are ruining it for themselves by not listening to the customers.BriteView BVT980H;
Uses a 12vdc 2 amp switching wall power supply,
Internal drive is a 2 1/2”
The best thing about this is cost and the power saving, true standby state with the drive spinning down.The low rating reflects the lack of support from a 'no name' company, a very poor manual and a high number of negative reviews.Channel Master CM7000 / DTVPal;
On it's third name, this unique (for the time) DVR still has merits if you can find one used. Originally designed for TVGOS data, this is the only PSIP sourced guide that retains listings for all channels, without re-retriving the listings every time you switch channels in the guide. Apparently, one tuner automatically scans all the channels and updates the guide at certain intervals. Why all the others (with dual tuners) can't do something similar is beyond me.
Allows upgrading using a 3 1/2” drive up to 1TB which is a 4x increase of the original capacity. It runs cool, being a simple & basic model. It has a auto format function for new drives, Network & HDD tests, a programmable remote and a RF pass through. The fair rating for Build Quality is due to the odd case design and the hoaky way the HDD is suspended within the enclosure.Overall rating reflects functionality, reliability and mostly it's age.Channel Master CM7400;
A huge step up from their predecessor, adding internal Wi-Fi which no other DVR has adding a premium to its price. Problem is, the well known over heating that CM refused to do anything about other than a firmware upgrade that corrected another problem, claiming this isn't a problem. It adds the option of a pay guide. Menu access is available on the front panel The display with a clock can be dimmed or turned off completely. It also has a Network test and a programmable remote. There is a 'pay' option for the guide, but since CM apparently isn't selling this anymore, there may be a uncertain future for that.Rating is due to over heating, issues with the tuners and being discontinued by CM. It is replaced by the DVR+.Channel Master DVR+
The new kid on the block. Hopefully CM has learned from the 7400. This appears to have it's act together thought I would of preferred an internal power supply and provision for an internal HDD. I don't know why they opted for such a flat design since height is rarely a problem. The biggest concern here is the track record of the program data supplier; Rovi. Many here have been stung in the past by the pullout of Rovi for devices that depended on it for recording.Entone Aumet 458;
This is the same as the CM7400 from the actual manufacture with a cooling fan added for the over heating issues. Now, why couldn't CM do the same? A possible firmware update was applied. Rating reflects support is apparently non existing from the sole US importer (seller).Digital Stream DPH1000R (aka RCA);
This does have two tuners, but it only records from one at a time. The other can be used for viewing. It also has analog capability, but that function is through a “hybrid” system with separate inputs on the remote. This is the same outdated setup for the Funai/Magnavox SD DVR/DVD recorder.
This has the ability to format the internal HDD and it also has RF pass through and the ability to adjust brightness & contrast for the output. Menu access is available on the front panel.
Unlike all the others, this can record from the composite input. This appears to have a true standby state, which spins down the drive.
The manual is better written than the BV. Two outstanding issues to note; bad tuners & intermittent HDMI audio drop outs. Rating reflects this no-name company and the apparent lack of support available.Dvico M6620N;
While it is more a media server, the flexibility of this is above all the others. Unlike the others, other than menu functions, playback controls are available on the top cover. It doesn't come with a hard drive, but adding one is easy. You don't have to remove the case to do so. Just slide it in from the side. The ability to use UPnP servers and WinAmp play lists, makes this well suited to store music, photos and videos to distribute to other 6620's or PC's. You need to look through the manual to learn of all the functions.
The remote is very small and the text is very hard to read.
Worse than TiVo is the doubling up of the 'Play' function with the 'Ok/Select' button. Come on now. What were they thinking here? Unnecessary confusion and non user friendly. Not to be outdone, the 'Stop' function is the 'Return' button. I believe the standby state spins down the drive. The poor Build Quality rating is due to the very small enclosure and the way everything is cramped in, making access extremely difficult. Why not a full 17" width enclosure is beyond me.
Boot time is the longest, over one minute. My 7 year old DLP TV takes that long.Rating reflects the lack of support from the manufacture and the reported closure of the company over 18 months ago
Which is such a shame considering all the features.ePVision PHD-VRX/VRX2;
This a lot of promise if the numerous bugs would ever get acknowledged and addressed. Many have, but there are many that remain. The biggest annoyance is the two separate guides, one for each tuner.
The outstanding function is the tuner. I know of no other than has the flexibility, function and performance as this. For that, it would get a five star rating, but the DVR function brings it down to three.
Two RF inputs (the only other is the TiVo), two separate tuners, each with separate memories for OTA and CATV, making a total of four channel maps. That may be overkill, but this setup allows using two separate antennas pointed in different directions, eliminating the need for a rotor.
One note, thought this does have analog enabled in one tuner, but there is no encoder included, so those stations can not be recorded, which partially defeats the CATV function.
This does not come with a hard drive. There are two USB ports for two external storage devices. Menu & channel up/down are available on the front panel.
This can also be used as a media input switcher with the ability to adjust video settings for all inputs (color, tint, brightness, contrast among others).
Though no provision for a internal 2 1/2” drive was made, it is possible to install one with the addition of a suitable USB enclosure with no modification of the unit.
Lastly, this allows low power standby with the HDD spinning down. Rating reflects the promise this has and the great strides in spite of the lack of solid support.Magnavox TB745H/F7 and Philips HDR5710 & 50/F7 (made by Funai);
Funai has finally entered the 21st century with a HD recorder. Problem is, they dropped the ball on three major areas; only one tuner, no Guide and no separate digital audio output
. Anyone with a 5.1 or 7.1 surround receiver that doesn't have HDMI inputs will have to listen to analog stereo audio. The plus is a internal HDD is included in the price unlike a few others here. Recordings can be offloaded to a PC and edited, but it is not an easy task.iView-3500STB/3500III (aka Homeworx HW-150PVR and many others);
The latest entry in the field at a price point that is hard to believe: $40
From another mostly unknown Chinese company (marketed under various names), has OTA & CATV capability though the skimpy owners manual and website do not make this clear. There is a USB port for adding a separate external hard drive or a USB stick to play back media. Using a USB hub will allow multiple storage devices to be accessed. Maximum HDD size is reported to be 1TB
, not just 500GB as stated in the manual.There are a few shortcomings;
1. The channel numbers on the display are not the actual channel numbers of the stations, but only consecutive numbers starting at C001 and working upwards based on the number of channels in the channel map,
2. The clock can't be set manually, the display is terribly bright and the remote is so small with the buttons close together causing the text to be hard to read,
3. The QAM tuner has problems dealing with some CATV systems regarding proper ID'ing of their 'in the clear' stations.
On the positive side, boot time is only 10 seconds and channel changes are relatively fast. PQ and reception is on par with other HD tuners. There are HDMI, component & coaxial audio outputs. I gave it a three star rating mostly for cost.
All of these versions are based on the same SoC (System on a Chip) so features & performance should be very similar.Moxi HD MR1500T3;
Note: There are two & three tuner versions of this with the same
This is TiVo's closest competition and in many ways exceeds TiVo. Note this is QAM only, no OTA (just like the Premier Elite). Unlike TiVo, this has the ability to re-map channels so 'in the clear' stations will get guide data listings. A huge short coming of TiVo if you don't have a CC.
Unlike TiVo, the subscription (if you can call it that) for the 'Pay' guide equivalent is included in the price. You do need to register the product on their site. External hard drives can be as large as 6TB (if you need or can afford one) which gives it 3-6x more storage than other DVR's. There is also a eSATA port and a front panel USB port. The menu is also available from the unit.
There are numerous pay services available through the Ethernet connection and the 'Media Link' function.
Hardware status includes CPU temp, & tuner S/N. If you want CATV analog channels, you have to buy a optional “analog tuner dongle”.
One beef is the lack of a standby function with the ability to allow the drive to spin down (a common complaint with some of these). There is no ability to do manual recording, nor is there any way to set the clock if this program data service stops. It will become a brick, just like the Sony. Very shortsighted.Rating is due to the discontinuance in the consumer market and no OTA ability, in spite of the many features.
These are now only sold to MSO's.TiVo: Series 3 & Premier
These all may not apply to the new Roamio;The proponents are fast to point out the pluses, but continue ignoring the problems as if they don't exist. Or, they have just gotten use to them with many never having experience with anything else.
One would think, for something that has been out for over 10 years, these would be the last to have issues.
1. The lack of ability to receive program listings for 'in the clear' QAM stations without a CableCard even though you paid for the guide. This is due to the lack of ability to re-map channel numbers as the Moxi has. If I don't have any pay digital tiers, why should I have to rent a CC to get the listings I paid for? This is clearly designed for customers paying for additional digital tiers that require a CC, something the product literature does not tell you unless you dig around in their site and look for it. Their lame, outdated, canned excuse stating; MSO's keep change physical channel numbers without divulging the changes. So what, it's not necessary to know. The tuner will see the change when you do a rescan and add that new number to it's map. Most MSO's now re-map to the stations OTA virtual number on their system if you don't have their STB. That virtual OTA number is already in their data base for program listings. It doesn't matter what the physical channel number is since the virtual CATV channel number is the same as it is with an antenna. For systems that still don't re-map, all would be needed is what Moxi was smart enough to do, that is to allow re-mapping. Duh?
2. Grade school level user interface. Everyone isn't a 'Joe Sixpack'. Forcing one to endure between 24 & 30 separate screens during their so called "guided setup" is ridiculous. 1/3 of those should be either eliminated or combined with others. Then add annoying 'messages' and unnecessary extra screens & steps to perform simple functions. What's this 'Romper Room'?
3. No power saving standby function and no dedicated 'stop' button. One unnamed individual complained about adding two more buttons on the remote. Gee, such a burden. If these were designed correctly, a power reducing state should be no feat. Doubling up functions of the left navigation button is only more confusing.
4. The poor marketing decision for their older series numbers makes telling those apart difficult, getting the models easily mixed up. Basically there are four versions. Original Series 3, the “HD”, Series 4 Premiere’s and the Premier Elite four tuner model. Two of the three have a version with a 1TB drive. They have apparently learned from this, labeling the newest in name only, no series number.
Model numbers have three sections. All begin with “TCD”, followed by three digits (really the model number), ending with three more digits representing the size of the drive. The 1TB models show “000”.
Here is the list with the release dates in related groupings.
5. The hard drive thrashes around for long periods of time for no apparent reason, even when no operation is under way (record and/or playback). Even with a A/V type drive, it is noticeable. This apparently is the system "indexing" the drive. Since this uses space to 'hold' 'deleted' recordings, fragmentation will increase as the drive fills up until the system starts to automatically deletes old recordings.
Also, since this has a one hour buffer (I believe that is the amount), that contributes to the activity.
6. The Premier series has (or had) a issue with CATV SDV adapters (modems if you prefer) and channels disappearing by themselves and/or not getting recorded if I understood the problem correctly. Also, the OTA tuner is worse than previous versions.
Series 3 TCD648250 9/06 250GB
Series 3 “HD” TCD652160 7/07 160GB, economy version (this should have been Series 4, since it is completely different then the original)
Series 3 “HDXL” TCD 658000 1TB version
Series 4 Premier TCD746320 4/10 320GB (should of been called Series 5)
Series 4 Premier TCD746500 500GB version of above (replaces the above?)
Series 4 Premier XL TCD748000 1TB version of above and TXH certification
Series 4 Premier Elite (aka Premier 4) TCD750500, 4/12 four tuner QAM only version
Series 4 Premier Elite (aka Premier 4) TCD758000, 1TB version of above
Series 4 Premier Elite (aka Premier XL4) TCD758250, 2TB version of above
(As you can see, there is no possible way any of that could be confusing.)TiVo recently added their Roamino as the latest & greatest. The above comments do not necessary apply to this unit as it has it's own set of problems. Namely, dealing with CC's, Tuning Adapters and their 6 tuner model with only 4 working at once.
Their narrow minded business model, that has put a strangle hold on the rest of the DVR market due to greed, lawsuit happiness and the failing of some basic functions. For all of that, these should get only one star.Rating reflects the numerous reasons stated.
updated comments for the DIVCO & the RomanioEdited by videobruce - 2/28/14 at 3:19am