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HDD recorder or media PC - which do I need?!


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Old 16-06-2013, 13:31
Ericthelobster
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TV
I'm after a new system; but can't figure out what's best for my needs.

I want the facility to be able to record TV programs, mostly for timeshifting purposes but sometimes for more long term use. I want to be able to play them back in either of the TVs in the house (which are networked, and I have a media player and a NAS drive which also contains video). I should be able to move the files around my network, and maybe do a bit of video editing if need be.

I want it to be straightforward for the family to be able to use; it will be always switched on; remote internet access would be nice.

So what sort of system do I need? I think I'd probably prefer a Humax ot Topfield-type system over a dedicated PC, for simplicity's sake, but I really don't know... not really familiar enough with the pros and cons of each

Advice much appreciated!
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Old 17-06-2013, 03:20
FIFA1966
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Get both and see which one you like.
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:57
Ericthelobster
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Get both and see which one you like.
Yeah, great idea, thanks - why didn't I think of that?. In fact, best thing would be to get a Topfield, a Humax and a couple of different PCs too, to be sure I really nail it.
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Old 17-06-2013, 12:26
cp2
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As I understand it straight out of the box you cannot transfer HD recordings from a Freeview or Freesat pvr. You would need to install bespoke firmware or patches to do it.
A PC recording can be edited and transferred even if it is HD, though using something like DVBViewer rather than Windows Media Centre is a safer bet.
You also need to consider your viewing preferences. If you want the channels only available behind a subscription paywall your options are more limited.
An ideal setup? A PC with satellite and Freeview tuners, a Sky HD box and a couple of gizmos to transfer from the Sky box to a PC but retaining HD quality.
If you don't need Sky or cable then the PC route is the most flexible, though by the time you've editted the video you may not have time to watch the recordings.
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Old 17-06-2013, 12:49
56up
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If you really need to stream around the house and have cable local, have you looked at the TiVo offering?

Difficult to archive from and even then only at quite low quality, but it does achieve the streaming option.
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Old 18-06-2013, 08:08
Ericthelobster
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If you really need to stream around the house and have cable local, have you looked at the TiVo offering?

Difficult to archive from and even then only at quite low quality, but it does achieve the streaming option.
Funny you should mention that. In fact we've had cable and TiVo for years; but it hasn't been possible to stream it other than non-HD using a rather half-baked digital-analogue conversion system. Recently we got a second TiVo specifically to be able to stream room-to-room, but only to find that the VM claims made for this facility are hopelessly optimistic and that you are only allowed to stream a small selection of obscure channels. VM's promotion of streaming is frankly discraceful, I think.

Instead of streaming we have to record time-shift TV in duplicate on both TiVos, which is an inconvenient and ridiculously expensive way of doing things. My plan is to dump the new TiVo and replace it with a PC/HDD recorder, which would be used for recording anything which is free-to-air, leaving the remaining TiVo for cable-only stuff... at least that way I could stream the free-to-air material even if I'm stuck to getting my Dexter fix on Fox in just one room.
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Old 18-06-2013, 17:06
jcjeffe
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A PC based PVR is very versatile allowing recordings to be watched on any TV such as starting watching in one room then be able to continue in another room from the point you had got to. I have a Windows PC running NextPVR which acts as a server with three tuners and a 2TB data disk. My tuners are all DVB-T but could be any mix of terrestrial, satellite or cable tuners.

You can use the server as a playback machine which I did for two years but I now have a dedicated server in a cupboard which acts as a NAS. Most PCs made in the last 10 years will play back SD video but something a bit more modern is required for HD playback. A high power processor is not required for HD playback if the video card can handle the HD video processing which even the most basic cards can these days.

I use the NexPVR software on both my playback computers as I only watch recordings. However some people who want something much more versatile use media players or other software such as XBMC which runs on a wide range of devices. However don't expect an instant solution as it will take time to get it all it all working how you want!
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