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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old April 1st, 2010, 03:45 AM   #1
Inner Circle
 
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A PVR for the video guy .....

Asking for your advice here as I'm after a PVR whereby the recorded bits can easily be brought in to an edit workflow ....

The scenario is that I've got a client that manages to get their head on the news or another show that is broadcast on the TV. For legitimate reasons, I need to record this and be able to make use of the footage.

My ideal PVR would have both digital and analogue tuning capabilities, and twin tuner units so that more than one channel could be recorded at a time ... to an internal hard drive. This enables me to cover as many news bulletins as possible.

It also needs to be programmable so that it can record unattended. (some of the things like this are pretty standard, I know)

Ideally programmes would be recorded in their native format that they were digitally broadcast in, such as h264. Even better if I can pull them off the unit in that same format in order to minimise generational loss of quality through change of codec. If not possible, I want to be able to record at a high quality rather than something that has been stuffed in to the smallest file size to appease the manufacturer's marketing people.

Recording should be done in either HD or SD formats per what the broadcast was done in.

And the biggie .... I need to be able to get at the recorded content in order to pull it in to my editing workflow. Else, settle for some sort of analogue output that can be captured in to either a Sony HVR-25AP deck or a Matrox X.2 system.

I would most deeply appreciate your thoughts and contributions on this matter.

Andrew
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Old April 1st, 2010, 06:45 PM   #2
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Er, that could be a problem....................

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
For legitimate reasons, I need to record this and be able to make use of the footage.
Andrew, I'm pretty sure anything transmitted by any of the networks will be copywrite to them and specifically preclude anything but private viewing.

"make use of the footage" would be a serious no - no.

If you had your clients permission in writing you may be able to negotiate with the Networks concerned to supply you with copies of anything bearing your clients mug.

I can't see them giving you permission to pirate free to air material under any circumstances.

The problem being that should you do so and it come out that you have done so, it could rebound disasterously on your client when it transpires you're doing it on his/ her behalf.

Moving swiftly on, the only PVR I have personal knowledge of is the Tivo box:

TIVO 320 High Definition DVR (GH5712) | Dick Smith Online Store

We bought one as a chrissy pressy to ourselves along with the add on 1 TB drive and the wireless network connect gizmo. Works great but only has HDMI out and I have no idea what would happen if you plugged it into a HDMI ingestor.

If you can get past what I find the utterly maddening OS (strangely, my wife thinks it's a doddle) it does everything but make the tea.

This one, on the other hand:

DGTEC HD Set Top Box and Personal Video Recorder with 500GB HDD (GH5711) | Dick Smith Online Store

has Component as well as HDMI but it does not say at what resolution.

Hope that's been usefull.


CS
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Old April 1st, 2010, 10:09 PM   #3
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Hi Chris,

I just knew that someone would jump in on the copyright angle. :-)

There's plenty of scope for 'fair use' whether the clients own records or for academic use. In fact, some companies make an absolute motza out of it.

As mentioned, we're working within the aforementioned "legitimate reasons".

Andrew
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 12:22 AM   #4
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Hey, had to be safe rather than irresponsible...........

However, if you've covered the bases, that's sweet.

Either of the units mentioned float your boat?

Not really up on what, exactly, is happening with TV in Aus.

I'm assuming you have digital terrestrial HD Freeview just like here, so any of these just plug into an existing UHF aerial system and you're away.

Be aware that none of the HD boxes here will work with any of the SD channels, it's SD or HD, not both.

That said, I can't think of one of the mainstream channels here that doesn't have a HD Freeview stream, even if their primary O/P is SD.

I'll leave you to investigate whether the Tivo box is up your street, it seems to be more comprhensive than any of the others, tho' the (free) broadband download offerings have been completely bypassed by us, as not worth the download time, quite frankly.

What I cannot tell you is what will happen if you plug an HDMI out PVR into an HDMI in NLE system.

I would have thought the entire mission of HDCP was to stop anyone doing it with HD material - maybe someone out there knows.

Good luck, I'll be interested in how it works out.


CS
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 01:09 AM   #5
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Hi Chris,

The TIVO in Australia is pretty much aligned with Channel 7 and is comparatively restricted functionality compared to the USA version of the service (last time I read about it). Their web site says "even better value at $699". And it's a domestic targetted product. Enough said.

I've been looking through the reviews of the DSE model, and it doesn't seem to be worth it. In between the lines it looks as DSE re-branded / private labeled a cheaper unit. And it shows.

I've popped in to the local JB Hi-Fi store to see what they had, and twin-tuners seem to be the standard, with many of the units ($100 to $1100 in range, even more with a BluRay in there) having network connections so that they can tie in to the computer-based home entertainment systems. Some even have WiFi connections for this purpose. Units also had component out for analogue connectivity, as well as HDMI. USB connections were also present so that you can record to an external UDB thumb drive or hard drive.

Should have jotted down some of the model numbers so that I can research them further on the interwebs. The sales guys there are very good, but they can only possibly know so much.

Back in there to jot down the details as soon as I can.

Must remember to also ask about EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) ability, as well as (purely for bonus points) radio reception abilities.

Andrew
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 01:13 AM   #6
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Just spotted this article. This can only serve as a warning to people about buying in to a "walled garden" such as TIVO.

The garden can shrink and change at any time.

Andrew
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 02:00 AM   #7
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I must be missing something..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
Hi Chris,

The TIVO in Australia is pretty much aligned with Channel 7 and is comparatively restricted functionality compared to the USA version of the service
Can you elaborate on this?

I only ask as I have only the NZ version to base any comments on and have no idea what either the USA or AUS units offer or don't.

ALL DSE units are rebadged "somethings", heck, they don't manufacture squat.

The Tivo box here offers radio channels as well.

Keep us posted.


CS
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Old April 6th, 2010, 02:02 AM   #8
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Just a quick update:

I'm not huge on the ins and outs of what TIVO does in the USA versus over here. It was a while ago when I read about it on Slashdot or something of the like. In Australia, (commercial TV) Channel 7 is the business entity that brought TIVO out in to the market place instead of an importer / distributor. See here, here, here, as well as here.

The Homecast brand looks very good and is certainly a top product as far as a regular PVR product for the domestic market goes. Unfortunately, it records the received video to its own proprietary codec which isn't well supported. It would require either conversion to another codec or to be played out for real-time analogue capture. Not the best solution.

There is a dominant player brand by the name of Topfield which were known for excellence in their receivers, particularly back in the heyday of SD digital TV reception being the killer app. The word is that they haven't been as good with their High Definition products. Why? ....

Apparently their super-good engineers from the Topfield SD digital receiver days went off to form a new company by the name of Beyonwiz which has now become the centre for excellence in this area. Apparently their products are much better and more stable, and are pro-actively built for convergence with the home network.

Of course, I now have some further researching to do. :-)

Andrew
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Old April 7th, 2010, 12:01 AM   #9
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Quick note on Freeview branding ....

Just a quick note on implications of the Freeview branding on PVRs ....

(reading from forum discussions) Part of the agreement for having digital recorders etc branded with the Freeview label is that the ad-skipping functionality is disabled. No wonder the commercial channels have been pumping it so much when Freeview is merely the free-to-air channels that we already receive. The more "Freeview ready" units that are sold, the more advertising will still be seen.

Hopefully the good ol' fast-forward still works. :-)

Andrew

Update: FF works, but looks like it has been slowed down to meet Freeview requirements.

Last edited by Andrew Smith; April 7th, 2010 at 12:55 AM.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 01:38 AM   #10
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Hmm, must be a different setup to here..........

FF works a treat, just remember the more times you press the FF button (2 is good, 3 is better) the faster it goes (yeah, it took me a while to figure that out myself).

3 requires having the reflexes of a F1 driver to stop it before it's half way through the next segment.

2 usually means it will actually backtrack TO THE START of the new segment, even if you have overrun the break, that's clever.

If it wasn't for the commercial channels, there wouldn't BE a Freeview and then you'd be stuck with...........drum roll and gagging all 'round............SKY! (and pay through the nose for the pleasure!).

Don't know what the situation is with HD in Aus, but because SKY has gobbled up so much transponder capacity on the Optus satelite serving NZ, Freeview can only offer it's service in SD from the satellite and HD from terrestrial transmitters.

Those HD transmiters are only being enabled when there is sufficiant viewer density to warrant it (read: punters to watch adverts) so if you're living in the boonies you can forget HD unless you want to pay a shed load of cash to SKY every month for the privelige.


CS
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Old April 7th, 2010, 02:11 AM   #11
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Being a city-slicker, Freeview means all the free to air channels that we would have anyway, even if they didn't have their collaborative branding. That's the silly irony about Freeview that makes us all a tad more cynical.

At this stage I'm looking toward the Beyonwiz DP-P2 model and am just doing some final checking.

Andrew
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Old April 7th, 2010, 07:10 AM   #12
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More on crippled TIVO in Australia

See story on it here.

- no streaming music and photos from your home network
- no TiVoToGo, a feature allowing users to transfer recorded shows to an iPod or PC (until later via paid software upgrade ... no obvious sign of it on their web site at www.mytivo.com.au)
- no advert skipping, of course

Oh, and you have to 'activate' the product so they can keep tabs on you. :-P

Andrew
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Old April 7th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #13
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Geez, Andrew............

What a dog of a system!

Avoid at all costs, from the sounds of it.

In comparison, here's what I wrote about the system here:

NZ news: TIVO has landed and it's slick....

Chalk and cheese.

Still can't stand the OS tho'.


CS
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Old April 8th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #14
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Quick update:

Purchased the Beyonwiz system this afternoon. Absolutely brilliant and its recordings can be transferred in to an editing system.

Completely and utterly impressed with it.

More details later as I get the time to type them all up.

Andrew
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