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HD DVR Technology... What If your opinion mattered?

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
Greetings AVS Forum:

What if your opinion mattered?

What are your biggest frustrations with current HD DVR Devices?

What technology & features are the current generation, and next generation devices failing to provide?

What is missing? What is broken? What can be done better?

Sidenote:
I will be compiling your opinions, and presenting them to people in the industry.
post #2 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceton View Post

Greetings AVS Forum:

What is missing? What is broken? What can be done better?


These devices are still too expensive for me, particularly the ones that offer more than a single capability. I do not want to consider ANY new box that does not replace two or more existing ones to simplify my setup and reduce the complexity of the use model.

I would like a box that is a DVR, ATSC tuner, regular DVD player, CD player, MP3 player, and perhaps also an HD DVD player all in one. It would be even better if it connected to LAN to exchange media with a PC, or burn programs to disk. This would mean a lot less shelf space, fewer cables, easier use model, and hopefully a much lower total system cost.
post #3 of 89
Thread Starter 
What price point would you be willing to pay for something like this?
post #4 of 89
That's the key thing. Most folks are simply unwilling to pay a fair price for what they want -- fair to both sides. (They only want to be fair to themselves! )
post #5 of 89
The discountinued Sony HD DVR is nice, but could be improved. More reliable guide system (but still free, or lifetime-able for a modest fee), sub $500 MSRP, a second tuner, and a way to easily off-load content (USB hard drive would be ideal, even a built in DVD burner (even if down rez'd HD content) would be nice.
post #6 of 89
Thread Starter 
What would you consider a more reliable guide system?
post #7 of 89
People have bugs with the download of TVGOS over their cable and/or OTA. There is also concern that when 2009 comes around the NTSC transmitted guide will not be received if the broadcasters/cablecos move the data stream to ATSC. Apparantly in some cities the broadcast of the TVGOS data bounces around from channel to channel. Mine has been fine (knock on wood).

Something IP based seems like it would be an improvement from a reliability perspective (maybe not though). If the guide data was improved to pick up when the networks play games with the start-stop times, that would be nice too.
post #8 of 89
The number one feature I would like on my DVR is a firewire port to allow me to save a program to DVHS. Actually this is the number one lacking feature for my home theater system.

Rick R
post #9 of 89
I want the Sci-Atlanta MCP-100 cable DVR with built in DVD recorder than can record HD content onto DVD-R.

Ideally, a 2 tuner device with QAM, ATSC and cablecards. 500GB hard drive, built in dvd recorder that records HD content to DIVX-HD or MPEG-4 HD on DVD-R for archiving.
post #10 of 89
Dual ATSC/ClearQAM tuners (with dedicated RF inputs), advanced CableCard (or OCAP) support, 500GB hard drive, FireWire support for archiving to DVHS, external hard drives, and optical disc burners; HDMI and component video outputs (no composite or S-video), optical and coaxial audio outputs, and a Tivo-style program guide. At about $600 retail, including lifetime subscription to the guide. Something that is truly plug and play and not just restricted to compatibility to certain brands of displays.
post #11 of 89
If broadcasters would just transmit EPG data properly for every channel you wouldn't need a 'lifetime subscription to the guide'.

Oh, and whatever 'this' device is, it better have firewire or else it's just another doorstop like TiVo/etc.
post #12 of 89
Some of the expectations of price versus features in this thread seem, well, perhaps a bit unrealistic. Unfortunately, that's probably one of the reasons why we're not actually seeing many products come to market and last for any length of time.

Right now, I have the old Zenith HD DVR (the HDR-230) and I have a PC with a tuner card -- my dream product would combine some of the functionality of the two. IE, a DVR that would allow me to edit on the hard disk (to cut out commercials) and then burn to dual layer DVD in DIVX and/or WMV format, the original HD MPEG-2 stream, or downconverted to SD DVD. I'd be happy with a 250 GB hard drive, but with a spare bay to allow for upgrading by adding a second hard drive at a later date. Two tuners would be nice, but not mandatory. And I don't give a flip about a program guide, since I don't find it especially difficult to read the TV listing from the Sunday newspaper and program the timer from that information. However, I would expect the DVR to pick up whatever information stations are transmitting within their PSIP data stream.

Offer those features for $999 and I'll put it on my list of things to buy...
post #13 of 89
Thread Starter 
The Data for the Guides is a bit of a problem as is there subscription... Reason being that they are independant from the hardware companies... Not to say that its not possible, but you would more than likely feel the impact else where... definitely something to think about though...
post #14 of 89
My MIT MDR-200 OTA only STB has great guide data taken from the PSIP info. The only problem is that you have to tune every channel to populate the guide. Once you have tuned every channel the guide is populated for the next 24 hours of data. This guide is every bit as good as my Dish 622 guide. Maybe better as it allows you to view the guide by channels or by time period. The only problem is that you have to surf through every channel. What the STB should do is in the middle of the night is automatically scan every channel to pick up the guide data for the next 24 hours.

Still as stated above my wish list includes three thing 1) firewire, 2) firewire, and 3) firewire.

Rick R
post #15 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick_R View Post

The number one feature I would like on my DVR is a firewire port to allow me to save a program to DVHS. Actually this is the number one lacking feature for my home theater system.

Rick R

A-men! Shout it to the Heavens brothers and sisters, A-men!
post #16 of 89
Thread Starter 
IF you had the option, would you consider purchasing a storage array in the form of a separate box? Price would vary depending on how big of an array you wanted, etc?
post #17 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsaksa View Post


I would like a box that is a DVR, ATSC tuner, regular DVD player, CD player, MP3 player, and perhaps also an HD DVD player all in one. It would be even better if it connected to LAN to exchange media with a PC, or burn programs to disk. This would mean a lot less shelf space, fewer cables, easier use model, and hopefully a much lower total system cost.

I think this would satisfy the great majority of users. While the HD DVD player part is doubtful in the short term, the next gen DVDr w/HDD should have all of those features and available for around $300.
post #18 of 89
I have no problem if the box is just a front end, and we brought our own hard drives.
post #19 of 89
$250 should buy a good DVR wth ATSC/QAM tuners, firewire, unlimited expansion, OCAP for VOD and Programming Guide.

Eventually it will - and more. Witness current hard disk DVD with optical burners that only lack HD capability, and OCAP.

In the meantime, I don't understand why we can't have: a simple $250 hard drive DVR wth, ATSC/QAM tuners, firewire, unlimited expansion less OPAC which is not currently available
post #20 of 89
If the Tivo series 3 had twice the hard drive size, cost under $500, and had no monthly fees, I would own 2.
post #21 of 89
FireWire.
post #22 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsaksa View Post

These devices are still too expensive for me, particularly the ones that offer more than a single capability. I do not want to consider ANY new box that does not replace two or more existing ones to simplify my setup and reduce the complexity of the use model.

I would like a box that is a DVR, ATSC tuner, regular DVD player, CD player, MP3 player, and perhaps also an HD DVD player all in one. It would be even better if it connected to LAN to exchange media with a PC, or burn programs to disk. This would mean a lot less shelf space, fewer cables, easier use model, and hopefully a much lower total system cost.

If those are your needs the HTPC forum is where you want to look. Usually requires a bit more technical knowledge, but a properly set up HTPC will do all of those things and a lot more. Plus they are easily upgradeable to suit future demands.
post #23 of 89
The Comcast HD DVR boxes are rock bottom bargains - I hahve had the MOTOROLA 6412 for 2 years - a bit quirky at times but overall excellent, and just added a 2nd DVR unit to add more storage capacity, this one the Motorola 3416 and that looks pretty good also

Anything that can record and playback HD broadcasts in pristine form - to me is already a great invention

As for HD-DVD etc I have no problem with using a seperate player
post #24 of 89
My current complaints with SA8300HD (with Passport software) are:
  • internal hard drive is too small, and external drive support is buggy (glitches on playback)
  • Guide info is usually only 2 days; if you skip forward in the Guide it will retrive up to 7 days ahead; I would like to have 30 days Guide info available without needing to manually skip ahead to load the data. If a movie is playing several times a month, having 30 days guide info available would make it easy to pick which day you want to record the movie on.
So basically I'm asking for larger recording space (or proper support for external drives) and 30 days Guide info readily available. These two features are really needed just to achieve minimum baseline performance; without them, the current solution is actually inadequate as a DVR solution.
post #25 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by a8vdeluxe View Post

$250 should buy a good DVR wth ATSC/QAM tuners, firewire, unlimited expansion, OCAP for VOD and Programming Guide.

You must be using the word "should" in a manner I'm unfamiliar with.
post #26 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dufusyte View Post

Guide info is usually only 2 days; if you skip forward in the Guide it will retrive up to 7 days ahead; I would like to have 30 days Guide info available without needing to manually skip ahead to load the data. If a movie is playing several times a month, having 30 days guide info available would make it easy to pick which day you want to record the movie on.

someone here who works in the industry able to answer the question of whether accurate schedules are available 30 days in advance for most stations? My suspicion is that the answer is "no" considering how quickly networks and stations make schedule changes nowadays.

It's hard to offer a 30 day guide when the accurate information to populate that guide just doesn't exist...
post #27 of 89
Reading through this thread, it is easy to understand why HD DVRS are generally unavailable as anything other than leased boxes (with the lone current exception of the HD TiVo, which probably won't last long). Bottom line: any company would go broke if they tried to sell a product loaded with the features being requested here for the prices that most indicate that they're willing to pay.

If these seriously out-of-kilter expectations had been around in the mid-seventies, both Beta and VHS would have flopped and we'd still be watching live TV. Yeah, we'd all like to have the manufacturers give us boxes that are loaded with features -- but in the real world, that just isn't going to happen. My fear is that folks from the consumer electronics companies come to forums like this one, read all of those expectations, and just throw up their hands and figure it isn't even worth bothering to bring a product to market when the target buyers are expecting $1000 worth of features for $250.
post #28 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond View Post

someone here who works in the industry able to answer the question of whether accurate schedules are available 30 days in advance for most stations? My suspicion is that the answer is "no" considering how quickly networks and stations make schedule changes nowadays.

My usage is mainly recording movies from HDNetMovies and UniversalHD: the website for these channels lists the movie schedule 30-60 days in advance. Thus I see a movie will be airing at a future date, but I cannot set it to record until we are within 7 days (when the Guide finally gets the info). I would like to be able to search the Guide 30 days in advance, rather than having to search first the website, see the air date, then wait until the air date is within 7 days, and then program the recording.

For a 30 day Guide, I can understand if only partial data is available. I would expect that the Guide would list "NoData" for channels where 30 days of info is not available.
post #29 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond View Post

any company would go broke if they tried to sell a product loaded with the features being requested here for the prices that most indicate that they're willing to pay.

The features are mainly just software, well programmed. All you need to do is hire a good team of developers and target the requested features. Yes, there is expense like any software development, but that is the nature of the product. I think the cable companies do not realize they are selling a software product, so they have not yet devoted the necessary resources to suitable software development.
post #30 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond View Post

(with the lone current exception of the HD TiVo, which probably won't last long).

Interesting to see you write that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond View Post

My fear is that folks from the consumer electronics companies come to forums like this one, read all of those expectations, and just throw up their hands and figure it isn't even worth bothering to bring a product to market when the target buyers are expecting $1000 worth of features for $250.

I wouldn't worry about it. Generally, business people know to ignore the content of whining on the Internet. They see the Internet as a way to reach people, and to glean good idea perhaps, but not any kind of indication of what the general public actually thinks or feels.
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