Originally Posted by Aleron Ives
Trying to reverse engineer improvements into the firmware is hardly economical for a box that wouldn't be very exciting even if its firmware were polished. A single-tuner DVR that doesn't allow watching and recording at the same time is nothing to write home about when there are more capable DVRs to choose from.
The only strength these units have is that they use unrestricted storage (unlike the new Philips units), but there are dual-tuner recording solutions which meet that requirement, too.
Well, let's hang on for a minute...I can walk down to Fry's and buy a "more capable" DVR, the ChannelMaster unit, but it costs $450, more than 11 times the $40 I paid for the iView, and even if I add the required storage device for actual recording, it's less than a quarter of the ChannelMaster price, and probably has some additional advantages in terms of flexibility and editing of the recordings, which is important to me, beyond the price.
I've already made clear that my purchase of the thing was initiated solely by the failure of my living room TV tuner, and now that the TV tuner has mysteriously risen from the dead, I don't have much if any use for it. DVR? I've been using the Windows computer in my home office as a DVR for years, and it works well enough that I've considered getting a Windows machine for that sole purpose for the living room "entertainment center"...but wait, even that would cost multiples of the iView price. So I already have a DVR, but wait...it's in the spare bedroom, which makes it less convenient physically to operate. So actually, it might be nice to have a cheap DVR that I could use to instantly record something that I am watching and want to watch again...and remember, I don't have to actually watch what I am recording, since I can watch another channel using my Lazarus-like TV tuner. Or it would be nice to see something in the iView episode guide coming up when I would be out, and quickly schedule a recording without having to run into the home office, start the Windows machine, and then I still would have the issues of how do I watch my recording on my living room TV.
And a "polished" episode guide is important to me, since the Internet-downloaded episode guide in Windows Media Center is spotty at best. Not only are about a third of the channels missing information, but like many other unhappy Microsoft "customers" the guide download has become very unreliable, and has failed completely for weeks on end. So I rely heavily on the TV station-provided episode guide, and have been using my ChannelMaster CECB largely for that purpose...but wait, if you know that box, you know that display is almost unreadable, especially if you have to usually sit 12 feet away from the TV like me. The iView display is quite readable, and as a matter of fact, I used it several times yesterday just for that purpose, since my stupid Sony TV doesn't show anything other than the current episode information. But the iView episode guide software is ridiculously buggy, not quite totally useless, but skirting the fine edge. So if the software was more "polished", I personally would use it for that, even if I had to polish it myself by making additions/corrections to OPEN SOURCE...