Originally Posted by jclove2ski
I recently purchased this DVR at BB and after using it for a few weeks can share my experiences so far...
I was debating between the XS52 and the XS35, the main difference is the XS52 has HDMI upconversion for DVD connection, but no TVGOS and no DVD-RW recordability, the XS35 does not have HDMI, but does have TVGOS AND DVD-RW recordability. I would love to have all three features, but alas, there is nothing that has everything that I could find so far...
I also bought a Toshiba upconverting DVD player and tested it out on my Sony 50" grand Wega LCD (KDF-E50A10) to see if I was really missing out by not buying the XS52. After testing many DVD's I did not see any appreciable difference between the XS35 and the stand alone upconvert DVD from Toshiba which should use the same technology as the XS52's DVD player, so I am glad I did not buy the XS52 simply for the HDMI because I can't see any difference, AND now my HDMI port is still available for future HDdvd or BLu-Ray use, but I am getting away from the topic.
I brought the XS35 home and plugged it in. I am in Canada, just accross the river from Detroit, Mi. I set up the TVGOS with my postal code and within 24 hours I had all the local channels I am used to. I currently only have an OTA antenna (works beautifully with my built in ATSC tuner) I plan to get sat and this unit should control the Sat box channel by IR blaster feature, but only some boxes are supported so it could be hit and miss.
I was able to schedule timer recordings in the TVGOS and they were reliable for a week. After about 10 days or so of occaisional nightly use I switched it on Saturday morning and found the TVGOS said that "Updated information would be available within 24 hours because of a change I had made to the system setup", but I didn't make any change. I gave it 24 hours and, of course, nothing happened. On Sunday evening I reset the guide and input my info again, but this time by Monday night (24 hours later) it did not populate the guide. I hope to find the guide working tonight when I get home, but I am afraid that this TVGOS system is going the way of all the negative posts and reviews I have read about many of the prior Toshiba DVR models and the TVGOS system. Maybe it would be better if I gave it a US Zip Code instead of my Canadian Postal code ?
I called Tech support yesterday and they said there were troubleshooting steps to take if I were in front of the unit, but I was on lunch at work so I couldn't try anything. I asked them if this was a known problem, of course it was not (never is), and then she said that if she couldn't fix it with the troubleshooting steps, that it would be passed on to a TVGOS specialist, whatever that means...
The other features work as expected. Recording to the HDD is fine, lots of bit rate selections. I use SP and find it to be the same as the original giving me about 70 hours of record time on the 160 GB HDD.
I mainly use this unit to record one show while I am watching the other one live in HD on my TV. Then I go back and chase play the first show while continuing to record another. The instant skip feature of selectable (and when you select one that is the only one you can use) 5s, 10s, 30s or 5 min is nice but there should be a smaller jump between 30s and 5min. The pioneer 533 my dad has is better at this, it skips 30 seconds but if you press it quickly two times in a row it skips 1 min, three times...1:30, four = 2min, five = 3 min, six = 5min and seven times = 10 min. I like this better than only going 30 seconds at a time, but it is definitely bearable. It also has a reverse skip which is good if you go a bit too far.
During playback you can also FF and RW at 4 different speeds. The timebar helps you identify how fast it's going. A cool feature is that in FF1 the audio is still available, everyone sounds like a chipmunk, but you can still hear and understand what is being said. I use the all the time because I hate listening to Howie Mandell on DealorNoDeal with all his banter at full speed, at half speed he is bearable and I can chase through that show faster since it is getting a little boring.
The DVD playback is as good (component video) as the Toshiba upconvert player HDMI was IMHO. I have not yet tried to copy a DVD or any of the editing features, but I probably won't use those much anyway. I did try to copy a DVD-Video to the HDD but of course it does not copy copyrighted content.
Oh, the fan does run all the time, but it isn't really loud and you have to be in a completely silent room to even hear it, so no big deal for me.
To address the lights issue by the previous poster:
When recording to HDD a red circle lights up around the rec button, when on HDD a blue light is on (not terrible and just a small blue circle) when on DVD a green light is on, and when playback is used a green circle lights up around the play button. The On/Off button is either a red or green circle for off and on.
In conclusion this unit does everything I need it to do, except the TVGOS reliability issues, so we will see if I end up returning this or not in the next 15 days...