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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I wanted to get a hard drive DVD recorder for a remote bedroom and hoped it would have some of the functionality of our HD-DVR and three ReplayTVs, namely a program guide for browsing shows and selecting what to record in context. However, I've seen that there are a number of users who are adamantly against an EPG.


What are the reasons to avoid units with a program guide?


If there are so many people against the EPG, why should I buy a unit that has one?


If I want an HDD DVD recorders with a program guide, which ones don't offer it?


Thanks!


Tim


[ edit ] I should clarify that this unit just has analog cable going into it - no cable box to IR blast. [ /edit ]
 

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None of the DVD recorders will record in high definition (someone correct me if I am wrong).


The EPG can be a problem if you live in an area that it doesn't work in.

Search the threads for your cable company and area and see what others are saying.


Also post your cable company here and see if anyone responds that lives in your area.


However, just because the EPG may not work it does not render the recorder useless, you can still program manually. I set the VCR timer on my cable box, then I just set the time I want to record on my DVDR for input L1. It's an extra step, but it isn't that painful.


I had some experience with the EPG, when it worked it was pretty cool and very useful.. mainly because I didn't have to manually type in the titles of shows recorded. I have Cablevision in NJ and several other people in my area complained that the EPG doesn't work with our cable provider.
 

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EPG's, when done well, make life much, much easier for the TV viewer. That's one reason why TiVo is so popular.


However, most DVD recorder manufacturers have opted to go with Gemstar's TV Guide On Screen system. It, and not EPG's in general, are what attract the lightning bolts of criticism.


Most of the criticism has to do with the inability to download EPG data, particularly when using digital cable or especially satellite systems. When there is no data in the recorder, depending on the machine it affects the usability of it, or makes it do annoying things like the Pioneer 531/533/633 HDD continual grinding noise. TVGOS data has also been known to mysteriously vanish as well.


Even when you can get it to work, you have to leave the recorder off in order for the TVGOS data to download. So, here you are with your new DVD recorder that you just plunked down anywhere from $300 to as much as $800 for, and you have to wait 24 hours or more to use it.


More recently, TVGOS has now been including ads along the left side of the TVGOS interface. So in addition to being bombarded with commercials on TV, you have to put up with it when using your DVD recorder as well.


While I was able to get the TVGOS to work on my Sony HX900, I am not particularly pleased with it. For one thing, while it tells you what show is on when, it doesn't give enough details about the upcoming episode to tell you if it's a repeat or not. So, you have to check your other tv listings sources to see if it's worth recording or not. With the Pioneer 531/533/633, another complaint besides the HDD grinding issue is that Pioneer took out the CHP MARK and NAVI MARK buttons of the 420/520 series in order to make room for the TVGOS buttons.


Unfortunately, Gemstar has managed to fool so many manufacturers into including their system that in order to find a unit without it, you will either need to search out an older unit like the Pioneer 420/520, or buy a non-HDD equipped unit which tends to lack this feature, or else buy a cheapie made-in-China model that may or may not last long.
 

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I asked this in another thread. Does TVGOS work OTA? If so, does it use PBS?

But then, if it is as bad as some say here, I guess it doesn't matter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, I'm pretty sure Gemstar's TV Guide OnScreen system works well in my area from experience with it a few years back when I tried it for a while with my PC's All-in-Wonder video card. I wouldn't recommend it as a household's primary program guide, but it seems it would work well in a remote bedroom where there are no PCs or DVRs.


Ron, are you saying that it's difficult to find a HDD DVD recorder that doesn't have an EPG? Implying that pretty much all the major manufacturer's use one? I'm very interested in the JVC DR-MH30S but I didn't see anything about a program guide. Would you guess that it has one?


But let me get this straight. Does an improperly functioning EPG actually render the machine unusable? Or can it be ignored and still be used as a fully-functional manual recorder?


On a DVD recorder without using an EPG, don't you have to manually name every recording? Otherwise you just get something like "Recording 12/21 at 3:14pm for 46min", wouldn't you? Seems like that would be pretty inconvenient.


Thanks!
 

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Do all HDD-based recorders offer the option to turn off the EPG/TVGuide system?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonDawg
While I was able to get the TVGOS to work on my Sony HX900, I am not particularly pleased with it. For one thing, while it tells you what show is on when, it doesn't give enough details about the upcoming episode to tell you if it's a repeat or not. So, you have to check your other tv listings sources to see if it's worth recording or not.
I don't know about your experience with the TVGOS EPG, but mine has been completely different. In addition to the date, time and channel of a program, it provides an extensive description of the program. Much more than is available from say the TV listings in the newspaper. More than enough to decide whether or not the program is first run or a repeat.


I use the TVGOS EPG extensively and I am very happy with it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncaahoops
Do all HDD-based recorders offer the option to turn off the EPG/TVGuide system?
It is very easy on the Panasonic HDD DVD recorders to diable the EPG...no grinding, and no "EPG" flashing on the display.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgazzara
...In addition to the date, time and channel of a program, it provides an extensive description of the program. Much more than is available from say the TV listings in the newspaper. More than enough to decide whether or not the program is first run or a repeat.


I use the TVGOS EPG extensively and I am very happy with it.
I'm thrilled with mine. Once I got over having to wait about 36 hours for it to start populating, it has worked flawlessly. By the way there are icons that say "New" for new programming so you don't even have to read the listings to learn that tidbit of information.


I love using the search features to look for interesting content. I always find something cool that is on at 4 in the morning. I just hit the record button and that it... I'll have it on the HDD. I gathered up about 20 movies that I'll have plan time to view later. Just scheduled another 7 I saw today.


By the way, you do not need cable to acquire content. You can capture it OTA. On another forum I saw a number of people who set up their units to receive OTA data. Some cable companies inadvertently strip out the inserted data so OTA is generally more consistent in some areas.


HUGE thumbs up on the TVGOS for me!!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncaahoops
Do all HDD-based recorders offer the option to turn off the EPG/TVGuide system?
The panasonic EH50 allows manual programming even with the EPG on. You can also turn the EPG off and go manual/vcr all the way. I've tried it both ways and so far it all works well. With EPG you're at the mercy of TV-Guide and your local cable company (if you have cable) for it to work right. Being able to work around it when necessary is a must.
 

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The Sony GX300 non hard drive recorder, like the Pioneer 420/520, does not have TVGOS.

The Pioneers mentioned and some of the older Panasonics like the E80 are the only ones I have heard of that don't have TVGOS unfortunately.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nameless33
The panasonic EH50 allows manual programming even with the EPG on. You can also turn the EPG off and go manual/vcr all the way. I've tried it both ways and so far it all works well. With EPG you're at the mercy of TV-Guide and your local cable company (if you have cable) for it to work right. Being able to work around it when necessary is a must.
Ditto here, having an EPG does not exclude the ability to manually set a recording like you would with a VCR.


While doing recordings through an EPG is much easier, there is also the side benefit of having the EPG data attached to the recording e.g., name and episode information. In my Toshiba, I open the guide (whether it has listing data or not) and select Schedule. I press the menu button and select "Manual Recording" then set the date, time, channel, recurrance (if desired), and "OK."


As stated earlier, from what I learned in speaking with the TVGOS rep, EPG data is almost ALWAYS available OTA. In most (but not all) cases. This is through the local PBS affiliate. Tune to PBS and see if you can get closed captioning. If you do, you will most likely also be able to receive EPG data. You are not at the mercy of the cable company.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by squonk
The Sony GX300 non hard drive recorder, like the Pioneer 420/520, does not have TVGOS.

The Pioneers mentioned and some of the older Panasonics like the E80 are the only ones I have heard of that don't have TVGOS unfortunately.
I'm very interested in the JVC DR-HM30S, which also doesn't seem to have a program guide. Anybody know for sure?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tluxon
I'm very interested in the JVC DR-HM30S, which also doesn't seem to have a program guide. Anybody know for sure?
I 100% guarantee it doesn't.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonk
The Sony GX300 non hard drive recorder, like the Pioneer 420/520, does not have TVGOS.

The Pioneers mentioned and some of the older Panasonics like the E80 are the only ones I have heard of that don't have TVGOS unfortunately.
I think virtually all non-HDD recorders do not have TVGOS. My Panasonic E-65 does have it, but I think that is an exception.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgazzara
I think virtually all non-HDD recorders do not have TVGOS. My Panasonic E-65 does have it, but I think that is an exception.
The reason I pointed out the Sony GX300 was because I am pretty sure that its non hard drive successor, the GX315, does have TVGOS.
 
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