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What Freeview+ recorder?

I have an old ‘big box’ CRT telly and a now expired VHS video recorder (in a secondary room) so quite urgently need to update for the region’s digital switch on 8th February 2012.  I’m thinking of buying the Humax PVR- 9300T which should firstly enable the old TV to receive digital and secondly act as a device to record to.  Is this machine still one of the best for the job?  Or should I be considering a more recent arrival such as the Digital Stream DHR8203 which is only around £160 at Currys?  The latter machine has USB ports and is HD capable which could be handy when the existing TV set is replaced.

 

As regards the installation of these Freeview+ recorders does the aerial plug into the recorder 1st then going out to the tv?  Would this mean if the Humax was purchased, which does a partial upscaling to HD, that it would always limit your TV picture to a max of 720p even when connected to a latest full HD 1080p TV?

 

There’s a bit to get to grips with! Thanks if you can help.

I have an old ‘big box’ CRT telly and a now expired VHS video recorder (in a secondary room) so quite urgently need to update for the region’s digital switch on 8th February 2012.  I’m thinking of buying the Humax PVR- 9300T which should firstly enable the old TV to receive digital and secondly act as a device to record to.  Is this machine still one of the best for the job?  Or should I be considering a more recent arrival such as the Digital Stream DHR8203 which is only around £160 at Currys?  The latter machine has USB ports and is HD capable which could be handy when the existing TV set is replaced.

 

As regards the installation of these Freeview+ recorders does the aerial plug into the recorder 1st then going out to the tv?  Would this mean if the Humax was purchased, which does a partial upscaling to HD, that it would always limit your TV picture to a max of 720p even when connected to a latest full HD 1080p TV?

 

There’s a bit to get to grips with! Thanks if you can help.

I have an old ‘big box’ CRT telly and a now expired VHS video recorder (in a secondary room) so quite urgently need to update for the region’s digital switch on 8th February 2012.  I’m thinking of buying the Humax PVR- 9300T which should firstly enable the old TV to receive digital and secondly act as a device to record to.  Is this machine still one of the best for the job?  Or should I be considering a more recent arrival such as the Digital Stream DHR8203 which is only around £160 at Currys?  The latter machine has USB ports and is HD capable which could be handy when the existing TV set is replaced.

 

As regards the installation of these Freeview+ recorders does the aerial plug into the recorder 1st then going out to the tv?  Would this mean if the Humax was purchased, which does a partial upscaling to HD, that it would always limit your TV picture to a max of 720p even when connected to a latest full HD 1080p TV?

 

There’s a bit to get to grips with! Thanks if you can help.

 

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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

andy_chas wrote:

I have an old ‘big box’ CRT telly and a now expired VHS video recorder (in a secondary room) so quite urgently need to update for the region’s digital switch on 8th February 2012.  I’m thinking of buying the Humax PVR- 9300T which should firstly enable the old TV to receive digital and secondly act as a device to record to.  Is this machine still one of the best for the job?  Or should I be considering a more recent arrival such as the Digital Stream DHR8203 which is only around £160 at Currys?  The latter machine has USB ports and is HD capable which could be handy when the existing TV set is replaced.

In my mind, something like the Digital Stream is the way to go - it will enable you to pick up the HD broadcasts which will be worthwhile for when you upgrade to a HDTV. For virtually the same money as the Humax, it seems a no brainer to me. Have a look at my review of the 8203's bigger brother here (it's the 500 GB version rather than 320 GB but otherwise identical).

andy_chas wrote:

As regards the installation of these Freeview+ recorders does the aerial plug into the recorder 1st then going out to the tv?  Would this mean if the Humax was purchased, which does a partial upscaling to HD, that it would always limit your TV picture to a max of 720p even when connected to a latest full HD 1080p TV?

Yes, aerial is plugged into the PVR, then looped into the TV (certainly on the DS, I'm not sure if the Humax offers that possibility). One thing to note with the Digital Stream is loop through only works when the box is in normal standby mode. The box also offers low power standby mode (whereby the device consumes less than 0.1W of electricity), but unfortunately the pass through facility is also disabled when in this mode.

On the second question, I don't see why this would restrict any broadcasts to a max of 720p (even if you choose the Humax), as the HDTV would still be receiving the full signal from the aerial and should therefore pick up and display the HD channels as normal.

 

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Anonymous
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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

Hi Professorhat,

'Yes, aerial is plugged into the PVR, then looped into the TV (certainly on the DS, I'm not sure if the Humax offers that possibility). One thing to note with the Digital Stream is loop through only works when the box is in normal standby mode. The box also offers low power standby mode (whereby the device consumes less than 0.1W of electricity), but unfortunately the pass through facility is also disabled when in this mode'

I confess I don't understand the implications of the above for day to day use of the DS machine, especially the last sentence.  What happens if the loop through isn't working, do you mean you can't watch (not record) tv without the machine being powered up?  I'd be grateful if you could explain this side of things further.:?

As regards the machine in general, your detailed review and the general comments seem to vouch for its quality and reliability.  Where are they made? Does the company have any pedigree in this market?

 

Grateful thanks.

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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

+1.

The Digitalstream is a great piece of Freeview kit.

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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

andy_chas wrote:

Hi Professorhat,

'Yes, aerial is plugged into the PVR, then looped into the TV (certainly on the DS, I'm not sure if the Humax offers that possibility). One thing to note with the Digital Stream is loop through only works when the box is in normal standby mode. The box also offers low power standby mode (whereby the device consumes less than 0.1W of electricity), but unfortunately the pass through facility is also disabled when in this mode'

I confess I don't understand the implications of the above for day to day use of the DS machine, especially the last sentence.  What happens if the loop through isn't working, do you mean you can't watch (not record) tv without the machine being powered up?  I'd be grateful if you could explain this side of things further.:?

The passthrough option essentially passes the signal from the aerial through to your TV. This means that, even whilst the Digital Stream is switched off, you can still watch TV through the TV's internal tuner. If you put the Digital Stream into low power standby though, this no longer works i.e. when the Digital Stream is switched off in this mode, you couldn't watch TV without switching it on. Unless you're particularly concerned about having very low power consumption while the unit is in standby, this therefore isn't an issue. And if you have no plans to watch the TV on the TV's internal tuner (rather than through the Digital Stream), then you don't need to worry about it all. I only mention it as I've seen other people where the above was a deal breaker and the Digital Stream therefore wasn't appropriate for them.

In terms of recording, the above has no bearing at all - the Digital Stream will still wake up to record things no matter which mode you use.

andy_chas wrote:

As regards the machine in general, your detailed review and the general comments seem to vouch for its quality and reliability.  Where are they made? Does the company have any pedigree in this market?

Not a clue where they're manufactured but Digital Stream itself is a Korean company. They're extremely approachable though and have listened to many of their customers' requests, even implementing a number of features requested by owners of the machine on another forum (including a couple of my own). This is actually their first UK PVR, but the above has stood them in good stead and has enabled them to produce one of the best Freeview HD PVRs currently available.

 

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Anonymous
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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

Professorhat,

              Youv'e been extremely helpful on this subject and it will all be useful over the next 2 or 3 weeks!:clap:

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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

You're welcome!

 

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Anonymous
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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

Hi again professorhat,

                       I would like to continue if I may with several points from my postings a couple of weeks ago, with regard to the 'looping through' of the Digital Stream 8203.  You stated that even while the DS is switched off I would still be able to watch TV through the TV's internal tuner - that's important to me as the DS does seem relatively power hungry at 22w in full use/or 16.7w in normal standby.  The low power setting may use under 1w, but you say it blocks the looping through of the signal to the telly, so this setting doesn't appear to be of much use for anything.

                        Can you clarify to me that I would be able to watch the tv (new digital ready flatscreen soon to be puchased) with the DS completely switched off?  I guess if that wasn't possible one could buy a splitter for the aerial lead and feed the signal directly in to the tv and an additional feed into the back of the DS?

The aim is to be as energy efficient as possible, although I suppose a modern LED tv with a DS recorder would jointly be no worse and probably a bit better than the old setup of CRT telly and VHS video recorder.  I had my hands on the DS model in the shop today and it does feel solidly put together.  TV wise I'm thinking of buying probably either SONY KDL-24EX320 or the Panasonic TX-L24E3B.

Thanks for your time again.

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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

The low power setting is really there because it's an EU directive that electrical devices use less than 1W when in standby. Unfortunately, when using this mode on the Digital Stream, it means the aerial loopthrough facility is disabled (presumably because it can't power the circuitry that would be necessary to perform this). I believe other units are able to achieve this with their own low power standby, though I can't say for sure which models I'm afraid (I think the Humax HDR-FOX T2 does, but please don't take my word for that!). There are quite a few people who don't use the aerial loop through facility (e.g. myself!) so the low power standby option would be fine for these people.

If you do decide to go for the Digital Stream, an aerial booster with splitter would certainly solve the issue as you could then have a direct aerial connection to both the TV and the Digital Stream, allowing you to put the Digital Stream into low power mode and still watch the TV's internal tuner.

 

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Anonymous
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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

In your view if I use an aerial splitter am I certain to need a signal booster with it?

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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

andy_chas wrote:

In your view if I use an aerial splitter am I certain to need a signal booster with it?

Not certain at all, but given that the booster + splitter option costs about £10 more than just a standard 2 way splitter, it's what I'd do. In fact, I'd get a variable booster too - not sure how much you move around, but I've moved to three different areas with my current 4-way booster / splitter over the last 10 years, and it has allowed me to easily tailor the signal the TV / VCR / PVR receives to ensure perfect reception.

 

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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

andy_chas wrote:

In your view if I use an aerial splitter am I certain to need a signal booster with it?

A decent 2 way splitter has about a 3dB loss on each on each output (effectively reducing the signal by upto 50% on each output) sounds a lot but if you have a good strong signal to begin with shouldn't be an issue. I would try a splitter first personally (if you have a decent signal) and only use a 'booster' if necessary as they introduce noise.

By decent splitter i mean like  THIS and not the cheap plastic 'Y splitters' that cost pence, they're rubbish and have huge insertion losses

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RE: What Freeview+ recorder?

There you go - listen to this man, he knows much more about this sort of thing than I do!

 

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