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DougF
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Smart TV vs PVR

Post by DougF »

I've been a toppy+mystuff user for several years and have been spoiled. but now seems like the right time to upgrade.

So, I'm in the process of upgrading my AV equipment and am hoping to get some sensible advice from the folks on this forum.

Options seem to be:

1. Just use catch up services on my Smart TV (its a Sony so only iplayer and demand 5, although apparently that may change in the near future with Freeview Connect). PVRs are so 2007!

2. The above plus a Youview PVR
The Humax DTR 2000 box looks much improved, but seems that YouView is struggling a bit. Broadcasters also have pulled funding, leaving the broadband providers to fund it themselves, which can't be good.

3. Forget YouView and just get a new HD PVR - Humax HDR2000 the leader of the pack. A better PVR than the above which has many of the features that MyStuff offers (padding, folders, ad skipping).

My current thinking is that option 3 would be the best bet. What do you think?
Have I missed any better alternatives?

Any thoughts much appreciated.
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juwlz
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Post by juwlz »

Don't get me (or countless other Toppy+MyStuff users) started on YouView. That would be very near the bottom of my list.

Have you looked at the MiracleBox thread?

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Post by gomezz »

My advice is to pick a TV that is best at being a TV and a PVR that is best at being a PVR. Then for unfettered access to any or all catch up and other online services a laptop or tablet connected to your chosen TV would be best. But a PVR recording is still better than catch up for any of the commercial stations as you can skip the ad breaks.
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DougF
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Post by DougF »

Thanks for the advice so far. I did follow the miracle box thread but I'm not sure what the benefit would be over say the humax hdr box.

The customisation provided by mystuff was great because the basic ui was pants and there were a committed group of enthusiasts who wanted to put that right (you know who!). And a mighty fine job they did too!

I may be mistaken but it seems that humax have included most of the features that are regularly missed off other pvrs. Possibly not all of them though.

Do you know what the miraclebox offers over and above the humax?
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DougF
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Post by DougF »

In case anyone is following this thread, I decided to avoid YouView and go down the PVR route.

Have ordered a Humax HDR-2000t, which seems to do most of what I would need. Will post back initial thoughts here when I get a chance.
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DougF
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Post by DougF »

Initial thoughts on the Humax HDR-2000t:

Possibly not a huge surprise, but upgrading to it isn't anything like the jump that moving from a set top box to a Toppy was. Back in 2007 the ability to pause, rewind live TV and record two channels at once seemed like nothing short of witchcraft. 7 years on, a smattering of HD channels and a few catchup TV apps doesn't quite do the same trick.

Some first impressions on the Humax:
+ Set up is easy, tuning a cinch.
+ All controls work fine, are responsive and intuitive.
+ does all of the basics well.
+ EPG is decent, populates quickly, recordings go into folders, can edit channels
+ HD video is good.

- Apps are limited. Yes, you have iPlayer but no Netflix, Amazon instant video etc.
- Minor frustration - if you want to record a program that you are watching from the beginning you have to rewind first (doesn't seem to have the ability to dump what is in the buffer as the Toppy does)
- Might be my imagination but the quality of SD seems a little lower.
- Less flexible than a Toppy (i.e. no customisation) but knew that.

Haven't tried scheduled recording yet, but am not anticipating any problems with this (crosses fingers).

So overall, whilst the Toppy felt like a game changer and is possibly one of my favourite bits of kit, the Humax is a decent upgrade but doesn't really shift things on. Am happy enough with it though, and paid less than half the amount for it than I paid for the Toppy, so that's progress!
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Post by ROWANMOOR »

DougF wrote:Might be my imagination but the quality of SD seems a little lower.
I noticed the same going to a Humax T2. On that the HD up-scaling is done in the Humax and there is no way to prevent it (unless you also output the HD channels in SD). Whilst the Humax up-scaling seem to be highly regarded, my fairly new Panasonic TV seems to have better up-scaling (certainly to my taste, and it could all be down to taste for levels of sharpening etc).
Check if there is an option to turn off the up-scaling at all and output SD in SD to let the TV handle the conversion.
Cheers,
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Post by gomezz »

My rule of thumb is to *always* set the PVR to output in native definition and let the TV take care of any upscaling as this avoids the possibility of double upscaling which risks undue loss of information and distortion.
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Post by GJM »

Would you know if the 2000 has much benefits over the 1800 or is it just HD space.

Also is it better than the Fox T2 model that seemed to be recommended by some.

Did I not see a Humax that had a bigger range of catch up, ie BBC IP, ITV, 4OD, 5 etc
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DougF
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Post by DougF »

GJM wrote:Would you know if the 2000 has much benefits over the 1800 or is it just HD space.

Also is it better than the Fox T2 model that seemed to be recommended by some.

Did I not see a Humax that had a bigger range of catch up, ie BBC IP, ITV, 4OD, 5 etc
I'm not sure of the differences between the 1800 and 2000. I went for the largest hard drive I could as I tend to hoard old programmes, which meant the 2000.

Key benefit of the Fox T2 (I think?) is that it can run custom firmware which allows you to navigate around the common annoyances with the standard firmware. There were rumours that one day this will be available on the HDR 2000 but don't hold your breath. To be honest I didn't do too much investigation as I have less time for tinkering with things than I used to so wanted something that would work pretty well out of the box.

Humax offer nearly all of the catch up services on the YouView box (DTR 2000), but not on the standard PVR (HDR 2000). I guess this is down to commercial relationships and its pretty frustrating. I have things like Netflix on my TV now though, so less of a concern for me. Gomezz offereed some good advice on this - buy a PVR for its good PVR functionality. And the HDR2000 has the DTR2000 licked here.

All my opinion of course!
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Post by GJM »

Thanks for that, one thing I would miss you have highlighted where you can press record mid programme to use the buffer to record from the start, the rewind option seems poor and thoughtless.

Comments found in relation to the 2000 over the T2

Faster CPU so EPG faster
IPTV channels whatever they may be but reports of crashing


They say the 2000 is a cutdown version with no front display, silly but again got used to toppy display, I hear my son getting excited when he reads what's on a channel whist TV is off.

Negatives mentioned

No aerial loop-through means split my aerial to both PVR and TV.
TV Portal button close to rewind button.
One user pressed it a couple of times by mistake and wiping out buffer

Can you pass judgement on any of the above.

I had planned to upgrade to the T2 when it came out but it never happened. At the time I did read about the custom firmware but that never appealed as less tinkering the better for me.

So still in 2 minds, used/refurb t2 or a 2000
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Post by andyfras »

GJM wrote:No aerial loop-through means split my aerial to both PVR and TV.
If it has the latest firmware, you can turn off power-saving, then you will have aerial loop-through.
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DougF
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Post by DougF »

andyfras wrote:
GJM wrote:No aerial loop-through means split my aerial to both PVR and TV.
If it has the latest firmware, you can turn off power-saving, then you will have aerial loop-through.
Correct. Basically it has been fixed in the latest software update, which will come on the machine you buy.

I'd also say that there has been some cost cutting that has gone into the HDR. So things like the display missing etc. But I picked mine up for around half the price I paid for the toppy so all good!
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DougF
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Post by DougF »

So, in case anyone is interested, there are issues with the Humax HDR-2000t which are a potential deal breaker for anyone considering moving from a Toppy.

The main one is that there are HDMI handshaking issues with a lot of TVs. It seems that Sony's are affected, but also Samsung's. Doesn't hit every model, but a lot of them.

The net result is that you have a pretty good chance of finding that you have no sound.

The only way to fix this is to cold boot (ie. power off and on) the unit. With the TV switched on. Then the HDMI handshaking works.

That's OK, unless you happened to have been recording at the time. In which case you need to either:
i) do the cold boot immediately - you get the sound back but lose the recording
ii) wait until the end of the recording to watch it

Both of which are basically crap options!

I find it pretty amazing that these sorts of issues still exist, but there you go.

More here
http://myhumax.org/forum/topic/no-sound-3
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Post by Darucla »

This may well be true. However, I have 3 Humax made PVRs, and they are no better or worse than other HDMI devices in my experience. Many of them have handshake hiccoughs now and then: normally switching inputs on the TV or AVR will reset it.
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