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Old 28-03-2013, 00:03
ThePenkethPedan
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Is this `Youview` box thingy worth having? Any snags or drawbacks known? Comments for/against appreciated, plus any recommendations relating to installation etc.
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Old 28-03-2013, 01:36
ns.macd
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Had it for a couple of weeks and quite like it (as I can't get Sky, or Cable).

I have had the occasional (maybe once a week) box freeze, when it doesn't come out of standby but otherwise no problems.

Anyone know if the TV Catchup etc programs count towards the internet useage which shows in 'My account', or is that just the broadband from the PC?
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Old 28-03-2013, 01:49
evil c
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Which? have a 4 page article 'Your pick of Pay TV' in this month's (April) mag, Page 36. If you know anyone who is a subscriber, ask them if you can borrow it. There are comparisons of Sky, Virgin, BT Vision and TalkTalk.

They say about TalkTalk YouView - It combines Freeview HD content with catch-up TV services and additional content. You get everything available on Freeview HD - around 60 channels such as BBC1, ITV1, Film4, More4, and six HD channels. There's also the option to pay for extra channels.

As with BT's YouView box, you can record Freeview progs to view later, view catch-up TV services, on-demand content and pay-per-view films. However there's also the option to add extra channels called 'boosts' on a 30 day rolling contract basis, including entertainment channels such as Sky1, all 6 Sky Sports and 11 Sky Movie channels. these can be cancelled at any time.

Options

Cheapest Package - Plus TV 30.45 per month i.e. 15.50 plus 14.95 line rental (only available in a package alongside unlimited b/band and home phone services. This is available to 85% of UK households, but the speed must be 5Mbps or more). Includes a YouView box with access to Freeview and Catch-up, 16Mbps b/band and inclusive anytime phone calls to UK landlines.

Expensive Package - Upgraded 75 per month i.e. 50.05 per month plus 14.95 line rental. Includes cheapest package above, plus TV Starter Boost, Sky Sports Boost and Sky Movies Boost channels.

Money Saving Tip - Sign-up online as TalkTalk website regularly offers free installation.

Verdict - The TalkTalk service is OK when it's working, but it can get difficult to contact the provider and get answers if a problem crops up.

OP, for info Which members (only 39 members) gave TalkTalk the lowest overall score, 46%, but it was the best value for money. Try and get hold of a copy of April's mag if you can, it makes interesting reading. Sky scored the best, 59%, but was let down by reception problems in poor weather (one on four members complained out of 512 members) and expensive sports and movies.

Virgin scored 57%, 1,223 members and BT 53% 215 members.
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Old 28-03-2013, 05:57
David Waine
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I have had my YouView from TalkTalk box since last autumn and it has performed consistently well and reliably. It doesn't look quite as swish as the rival Humax box, mainly because it doesn't have a digital readout on the facia. Instead it has a series of coloured lights that flicker when it is recording. That is no big deal in my opinion. It is well made and surprisingly small.

Compared with the Humax box, the hard disc is smaller (320Gb as against 500 or 1000), but as the box automatically deletes old recordings as it fills up, there is always room for new recordings. This does not seem to be organised on a date basis, however, as I still have recordings I made months ago while one I made last week has disappeared. It must delete them from wherever they are stored on the disc. Ergo, you should watch your recordings as soon as possible lest they disappear. Also, if you are going away and want to record several programmes during that period, it makes sense to manually free up enough disc space so that they won't disappear before you get back. Apparently you can archive them so that they don't disappear, but that, of course, reduces your available disc space.

In terms of quality, it is fine. Both HD and SD are excellent (I daresay the chipsets in both boxes are very similar). Programmes streamed from the Internet (catch-up services and 'Boosts') look and sound much the same as those broadcast from your local transmitter. I have noticed that the downloaded stuff is prone to the very occasional spot of pixelation, which occurs for a second or so perhaps once in a programme. The picture also freezes, but very rarely (2 or 3 times in 6 months for me). A jab of the fast forward button on the remote frees it up. The platform is still new and developing, so I would expect these niggles to be ironed out in time.

Downloaded HD content is currently limited to the BBC iPlayer, but TT have announced that Love Film Instant is soon to offer HD, and that many more Internet-based channels are to become available later this year - including a lot of HD content.

Overall, I am very impressed with it. I made the complete upgrade (HDTV, sound bar, Bluray player and stand), so getting a free PVR from TalkTalk saved me about 300. Before anybody points out that my Internet bill has gone up, it hasn't. I was already on the TalkTalk Plus tariff.

At the moment, the Internet-based stuff is available via several 'Players'. Apparently they are working to include them in the main EPG, which will make switching between the various sources all the more seamless. I would definitely recommend it.
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Old 28-03-2013, 06:23
David Waine
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There have been several discussions of this platform on these forums in recent months and a pattern is beginning to appear. By and large, its detractors are writing theoretically because they don't have it. They base their opinions on TalkTalk's reputedly poor support service. Those who do have it, however, are writing from experience and they like it.

As for TT's poor support, this was undoubtedly true a number of years ago when their sudden popularity caught them unprepared and they were swamped. They have improved since then, however. I won't claim that they are now perfect because they aren't - not many are - but on the whole I have found them okay.
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Old 29-03-2013, 00:48
ThePenkethPedan
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Thanks to all for those replies - on balance it appears a good addition, although I was slightly bothered at the prospect of recordings being deleted, apparently arbitrarily at times. I do subscribe to Which?, must have missed the coverage concerned. I have found TT okay, and to take their Youview box is at no extra cost anyway - in fact, there`s a 10 monthly reduction for the first 6 months, plus free installation just now. Only stipulation is that I am now locked in with them for two years -an additional year on my existing agreement.
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Old 29-03-2013, 02:41
evil c
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For what it's worth and this is only my opinion from the reviews I have read, I think that YouView needs more development. It does seem to be slow in action, it isn't WiFi, you can't record the Catchup progs, and fast forwarding only moves a bar not the recording, so you can't tell how long the adverts are.

You are a Which? subscriber like me and they don't think much of it at present. Once you have added the PVR to your TT package you are stuck with it and even though TT offer free installation, it appears to be dead easy to set up anyway. Even with the 10 reduction for the first 6 months, after 2 years it will have cost you 312 for the basic package, that's if TT don't put the price up. The Sky Boosts are expensive as well. I have just logged in to My Account on TT and they are not offering the 10 off for 6 months any more, so over 2 years it would cost me 372.

If you just buy the PVR in its present form it will cost 249 from Richer Sound and it has its own apps on demand.

I think over the next 12 months the price of the PVR will drop as more manufacturers sell it and there will be more models to choose from. It will improve in usability and the on demand content and apps will rival TT's prices. I hardly ever watch ITV, C4 or 5 anyway.
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Old 29-03-2013, 07:01
David Waine
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My box connects to my router via home plugs and there is no problem. The Humax YouView and Freeview + HD boxes aren't wi-fi either, and I have read suggestions that there is probably a good reason for this - to do with security apparently. In any case, home plugs provide a secure and reliable connection, although their price must be factored into the equation of course.

Speed? It isn't any slower at changing channels than my old Humax PVR 9200T was. It takes a little longer to boot up and there is a pause of twenty seconds or so when switching to the TalkTalk Player, but I don't find that any sort of hardship. The platform is still undergoing development, so current niggles are likely to be ironed out in time. And that is all they are: niggles. YouView had a particularly protracted gestation period that was only sorted out when Alan Sugar arrived to knock a few heads together. That done, it launched as soon as a reliable product was ready. It was probably a year later than it should have been. During that year, smart TVs have appeared to take away some of its uniqueness. No smart TV that I know of, however, integrates catch-up services and streamed online channels anything like as smoothly as YouView. On the rare occasion when I want to look at something on YouTube, I can do so on my computer. I don't need to be able to replicate the same function on my TV (although my set is capable of it, as it happens).

The commercial skip function advances the recording by 30 seconds a time, so four presses takes you through a break. There is a bug whereby occasionally it gets stuck in this mode and keeps jumping forward. This is scheduled for correction in a forthcoming software update. Even as it is, it can usually be avoided by waiting a second between each press.

I may well be in the minority here, but I am not a great fan of Which? I was put off them by their review of the Olympus OM-1 camera back in the 1970s, which was quite dismissive and missed the point entirely. The Olympus turned out to be one of the greatest film cameras ever made, but you would never have guessed that from Which's review. Obviously much has changed since then, but if their review of YouView is as dismissive as you appear to imply, it seems to me that they are doing it again.

The situation is as follows: you can take YouView from TalkTalk, BT or buy a box in Richer Sounds. The TalkTalk and BT versions are free, but you have to commit to the supplier for a couple of years. The TalkTalk version is a Huawei box and comes with the TalkTalk Player (which includes Love Film Instant, various 'gifts' - whole series of US programmes in the main, although 'The Tudors' is also there, and optional 'boosts', which add channels normally associated with Sky). The BT and open market boxes are from Humax. BT will offer their own BT Player in time, but I don't yet know what that will include. The open market box has all the catch-up players included (like the other two) but nothing else as yet. YouView have announced that many more online channels are coming this year and, presumably, they will be available on all boxes.

It could be argued that the platform was launched before it was fully mature. That, however, is true of a great many electronic devices, which is why we all keep looking out for software updates. The usual complaint surrounding early releases is that they tend to be unreliable. This is not true of YouView. The boxes are reliable. It is a quality product that delivers what it initially promised and is improving and expanding all the time.
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Old 29-03-2013, 13:46
evil c
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An interesting and informative post David, and for me personally I'm still going to wait. I see where you're coming from with Which? and there are a fair number of vocal detractors on DS so you are not alone. Actually Which? did quite like it in some respects and to be fair they said it was 'a breeze' in use.

It's only recently I got back into Which? myself. My Dad used to buy it in the mid-seventies and I remember they did a review of the Quad 405 and said it was rubbish. That didn't put me off though as I bought it despite them and still use it now!
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Old 29-03-2013, 15:38
rtavy73
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i've had mine for a couple of weeks now, i'm with talk talk and it worked out just over a 1 cheaper per month for the youview box and free sky for 3 months than what i was paying before., i've got it plugged into the tv in the kitchen as i got sky in the livingroom and I can't fault it freeview picture SD and HD- sky channels excellent picture quality overall i'm very impressed with it and it was free too. would highly recomend it.
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Old 29-03-2013, 18:57
ProDave
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What is pay tv doing muddying the you view waters?

I thought that You View was just a common platform to get all the different iptv catch up services from one common user interface. End of.

so why is it the vast majority of you view boxes are tied into some additional pay iptv service, rather than just getting the free stuff?

It sounds like a re run of Sky digital and On Digital, where it will be some time before anyone who just wants a box for the free services will be able to go and buy one at a sensible price, and just plug it in and use it.
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Old 30-03-2013, 01:28
ThePenkethPedan
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Good stuff, evil c and David. Which? is not as good as it was when I began with it in the `60s. Maybe because technology has developed so far and in so many directions it`s become difficult to make meaningful comparisons -anyway, I find myself even more confused sometimes after reading their reports than I was before. Could be age,though....
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Old 30-03-2013, 06:16
David Waine
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What is pay tv doing muddying the you view waters?

I thought that You View was just a common platform to get all the different iptv catch up services from one common user interface. End of.

so why is it the vast majority of you view boxes are tied into some additional pay iptv service, rather than just getting the free stuff?

It sounds like a re run of Sky digital and On Digital, where it will be some time before anyone who just wants a box for the free services will be able to go and buy one at a sensible price, and just plug it in and use it.
You can do that with a YouView box already. You don't have to take any of the pay services if you don't want to. All that is required is a broadband connection of at least 4Mbps. If you buy your box from Richer Sounds or Amazon (and probably others) you are not tied into an extended contract with anyone. The carrot from TalkTalk and BT is that the box is free. The open market box costs around 250, which is par for the course among the better Freeview+ HD PVRs, of which this counts as one.

This is just a thought, and I have no idea whether any of it will come to pass - so please don't crucify me if I am wrong. Since YouView is to modify the EPG this summer to include the internet-based channels in the main programme guide, what is to stop the likes of Channel 5 and Film Four launching as free Internet-based channels in HD? A YouView box would be able to pick them up, as would some of the more recent Freeview+ HD boxes.
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Old 31-03-2013, 00:09
Gary Brenton
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We have just had this installed a few days ago - and so far so good.

Still coming to terms with the remote control at the moment...but getting there slowly.

Picture quality and audio quality are great, also the option to actually 'pause' live TV programmes is great. BBC i PLayer is superb using the wireless connection and so is the ITV player and other players for using the 'catch-up' service. (Having used both players on my PC in the past, I have only found the BBC i player to be any good - but they work superb without any problems whatsoever)

Also, we have had to have a new modem with this package of which has unlimited downloads.

I cannot fault this whatsoever...my only minor flaw is that to fast forward the advert breaks on 'catch-up' you have to constantly press the ffw button repeatedly.

Overall... I am very satisfied.
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Old 31-03-2013, 07:53
David Waine
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What you are describing is the commercial skip feature. Every press of the button moves you forward by thirty seconds. Thus four presses takes you through a typical commercial break. Not every break is exactly two minutes, of course, so sometimes it overshoots slightly and you have to rewind a little.

There is a bug in the software at the moment whereby this feature can get stuck 'on' and keep skipping forward even after you stop pressing. If this happens, press STOP, then restart the recording (it will restart where you left off). This bug is scheduled to be fixed in a forthcoming software update.
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Old 31-03-2013, 13:18
vistahypno
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Very impressed with my set up. I have a Panasonic LCD with an inbuilt Freesat tuner, I have had a Sky dish for 14 years but never paid a subscription. This dish feeds into the Panasonic downstairs and another TV upstairs with a Panasonic Sky box (no subscription) I have been a talk talk customer for years and was already on unlimited due to 2 iPads and a PS3 and Xbox using the Internet.
I wasn't happy with the original modem from talk talk as it just wasn't up to the job and I knew they would upgrade it with a youview installation.
I got the box free and paid 25 installation just before Christmas.
Picture is impressive, no missed recordings so far.
Yesterday I purchased Sky Sports boost for a month.
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Old 31-03-2013, 14:09
rtavy73
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the only negative as such is the different volume levels between freeview SD to HD and the online sky channels etc, volume levels seam to be all over the place. it would be nice if the box could have a volume level so it would normalise the sound because there is a big difference between online channels and freeview. but loving the box though
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Old 31-03-2013, 18:13
David Waine
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One thing I have just learned about my TT YouView box. It automatically deletes old recordings as the disc fills up, but if they are marked as 'Not Watched' it retains them, assuming that you are saving them to watch later. I have the honour and privilege to be married to a lady who thinks nothing of recording whole series of 'Sixth Sense With Colin Fry' and not watching them. Consequently, with the disc nearly full, it deleted yesterday's opening episode of Dr. Who after less than 24hrs.

Lesson to be learned here. If you haven't watched a recording after, say, a month, the chances are that you will never watch it. Perform some manual housekeeping on your disc every so often to ensure that there is room left for something you might want to watch more than once.

I discovered this today when my son accused me of not recording Dr. Who. I told him I did, and I watched the recording. On checking back, there it was - gone. All was not lost, however. I have YouView, don't I? The whole family watched it again in high definition and buffer-free on iPlayer.
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Old 31-03-2013, 20:27
rtavy73
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you can switch off the automatic delete, go to SETTINGS > DEVICE MANAGEMENT and change to OFF
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:12
David Waine
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Thanks for that. I have just removed another two series of Colin Fry that she will never watch.
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Old 02-04-2013, 13:50
jjne
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I have one of these, bought cheaply on eBay, which was assimilated by BT when I connected it to my Infinity line.

I have been experiencing problems with it refusing to play recordings (black screen -- even though the recordings themselves are present). Only a hard reset fixes that problem. Seems to appear every few days, and it's irritating. Must pull it apart at some stage and see if I can work out what is wrong.

Other than that, all's well. It's a typical Freeview DVR, fairly boring in the main but the 7-day catch-up feature works well enough.
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Old 05-04-2013, 00:02
ThePenkethPedan
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My Youview box installed today, so not yet tried all the various options. However, I`ve found that on ITV3 (Channel 10) the picture is `square`, leaving two broad black sections at either side. The commercial break adverts though are full wide-screen. The actual programmes are `vintage` comedies - Only When I Laugh, On The Buses, George & Mildred - which were probably made in non-wide format, but whenever I`ve watched them directly to the TV, they have adapted to wide-screen; now ,via the box ,they are available only `square`. The ITV3 Channel seems to be the only one that has this effect - any ideas as to why and what, if anything, I can do about it?
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:31
David Waine
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Were you watching standard definition, connected by scart before you got your box, by any chance? Scart will automatically switch between the TV's native widescreen and 'stretched' widescreen modes. HDMI will not because it was designed specifically for high definition, which is full widescreen natively (standard definition is 4 x 3 natively, with anamorphic widescreen - just like widescreen films in the cinema).

I have just tried to flick through my TV's various 'stretch' modes while watching an ancient episode of 'On the Buses'. It didn't work on YouView, but it did on the TV's own tuner.

I used to have a 28" CRT set (standard definition only, of course) and always used the stretch mode for old 4 x 3 programmes because displaying them in their original aspect ratio resulted in a very small picture. I now have a 39" LED HD set and am quite happy to watch them in unstretched 4 x 3 because the picture is so much bigger.
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:40
ThePenkethPedan
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Thanks for that David: I think it means that I`m stuck with the square picture via the Youview box? I`ve tried to bypass the box but can`t get any picture at all on the TV screen by so doing, nor am I able to record on my VCR/DVD machine which is still linked up, although I can show recordings from that machine. Forgot to mention that the new remote TV on/off button and the sound up/down buttons don`t work: I have to switch on the TV and adjust sound levels using the old remote. Have just tuned in to ITV3 and an episode of `Cracker` is playing - and it`s displayed in the `square` format, with the black side bands! It appears that there are two scart leads connected to the TV, one to the Youview box and one to the VCR/DVD machine. I think hat there may be some reference to a cable in the instruction manual, will have to read up on the tech side.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:20
David Waine
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What sort of TV do you have? If it is a modern high definition type (like a plasma or LED/LCD) it should have HDMI sockets. You should use one of these to connect your YouView box, not scart. You can buy yourself a good HDMI lead for about a tenner from anywhere that sells TVs.

If it is an older CRT type, you will have to use scart because it is unlikely to have an HDMI socket. Connected this way, the box will show the high definition channels on Freeview, but only in standard definition. Very few CRT TV's are capable of displaying high definition.

In addition to the HDMI (or scart) connection, you should also run an aerial flylead from the YouView box's aerial out socket to your TV's aerial socket. This will pass the direct signal through the box to your TV's tuner and enable you to watch another channel on your TV when both box tuners are busy recording programmes.

To control the on/off and volume on your TV, the remote must be matched to it. The engineer should have done this when he installed the box. Here is a link so you can do it yourself:
http://help2.talktalk.co.uk/tv/can-i...-control-my-tv

Now that we have gone all digital, your VCR machine won't record any more, I am afraid. You can keep it as a replay-only device, but rely on YouView for any new recordings. Your DVDs should still replay via scart.

I may be wrong, but I suspect you may need to lay some cash out on new gear to get the most out of your YouView box. If your TV doesn't have at least one HDMI socket, it must be getting on in years and heading towards replacement anyway. Invest in a new HD set and those side bars won't bother you any more, especially if the screen is larger than your old one.

A couple of things you should know about modern HD flatscreen TVs, if you don't already. 1: the manufacturers set them up to look impressive under shop lighting conditions, which means that they tend to look far too bright and gaudy in your living room. Be prepared to play about with the settings, turning just about everything down until the picture looks right. There should be a reset function somewhere in the menu so you can restore the factory settings and start again should you get it wrong. 2: modern TVs are so thin that there physically is not room to fit decent loudspeakers. Consequently the sound from even the most expensive set tends to be no better than adequate. As a general rule of thumb, the cheaper the set, the worse it is likely to sound. If you listen at low(ish) volume anyway, this is unlikely to bother you. If you like to experience the dynamics of a music score, though, you might want to invest in a sound bar, which is likely to add 100 - 200 to the price. You might also consider replacing your VCR/DVD machine with a Bluray player. This will still play your DVDs and CDs, but also the newer BDs (Bluray Discs) which are full high definition.
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