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  1. Originally Posted by mpack
    I didn't say that flash memory will never be used for video (obviously I'm quite aware that this has already happened), I said that I doubted that "the future is flash memory".
    We agree more than we disagree: in my post I said the industry still sees discs as the ongoing commercial video platform for playback. My point about flash was more concerned with video recording, which has splintered off from playback in unanticipated ways. Video recording habits in North America are currently so at odds with the rest of the world that we're a drag on the overall recorder hardware market, which is spurring the flash initiatives from SanDisk, Toshiba, etc. Any studio releases on flash are not expected to be pre-packaged but sold "on demand" via retail kiosks, this is the crux of current negotiations. Pressed optical media will remain the primary rental/purchase package for commercial studio content for quite awhile yet.
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  2. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet
    I have analog service from Comcast that does not yet require an STB, though no doubt that will change within three years, maybe less. They will soon move the TV Guide channel, which serves as the program guide for their analog subscribers, to a digital package. Go figure.
    One other point should be mentioned: the only analog cable service TVG that I've seen -- anywhere -- is just a canned, rotating crawl; it is not addressable / searchable the way the digital service ones are. You can't look up "Channel 576 six days from now at 8p.m." Since I never had a recording-device-based TVGOS, I don't know how that was laid out -- if and when it worked. Wasn't it some Gemstar type of thing, that trickled program info across to you very slowly, using some "sidelines" capacity of the analog signal ? I recall complaints of many hours to download (from zero), plus noise and delays while it updated itself.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  3. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47
    I use my DVDR (Pio 640) quite a bit for timeshifting, and I'm starting to run into fairly regular "bad program" spots, where the sound disappears for awhile, or there is bad video noise with shifting horizontal sections, or the picture freezes or breaks up into blocks and then re-forms itself.
    Originally Posted by orsetto
    This is almost certainly your program sources and not the hard drive in your Pioneer 640, I see the same problems myself but they are all traceable to Time Warner's atrocious cable compression in my area. I'm sitting on a mountain of Pioneer recorders of various vintages, I buy broken units to repair for myself. My most heavily-used machines are a 531, a 540 and a 450 (2005, 2006, 2007). They have never had a hard drive problem, and I skirt 90% full capacity with a gazillion edits on each machine. Over the years I have only seen one type of hard drive problem on Pioneers, and this appeared exclusively on the earlier 510 and 520 models: the video will lock up totally and freeze. You get about ten seconds of playback, and then nada. Any attempt to fast scan in forward or reverse locks up quickly. Yet the entire recording is there: the machines will record OK but some sort of drive corruption prevents playback. Since this does not happen with the post-2004 models, Pioneer may have added better HDD management to those.
    I appreciate the positive HDD note, and I hope this proves to be the case. It would seem a bit odd to me if there was such a problem there, seeing as the HDD on the 520 -- with half the capacity -- has probably logged at least 3X the use that the one in the 640 has, simply by virtue of the fact that I've had it for over two years longer. Fortunately, I've never seen the 520 freeze you mention, although there have been a few, scattered "COPY ERR" failures. The TW cable angle is very believable, however. One clue might be that this seems far more likely to happen when recording (or watching) certain channels rather than others. Most of the incidents seem to occur on the HD versions of the local "Big 4" network channels. (The 4th. being Fox, "Big 5" if you care to include the CW HD channel.) I lost about 4 minutes near the end of the first episode of "Life on Mars" this past week. Showtime = very seldom, HBO or CineMax almost never. The incidents are mostly during primetime hours. SciFi channel (which is not HD) gets them often. So far, I'm not aware of any movie or program I've recorded from TCM, IFC, or Sundance -- at any hour -- that was ruined by one of these happening. None of those are HD channels either. But then, movies from HD Net have not been affected.

    I'm curious as to your lineup of "workhorse" Pioneers. Didn't you cite the 53x series as having serious problems, and recommend the 550 as the more-recent model to buy ?

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    I optimized both my 531 and my 540 a couple weeks ago, because I thought it would be a good precaution. I noticed I had way too many heavily edited or very short recordings on those machines. The optimization was surprisingly quick, about two and a half hours per machine. Went thru the process without a hiccup, and I'm sure it prolonged the life of those recordings and will make new ones easier for the machines. There is no operational change, except the navigation screens seem to be a bit snappier now. What isn't clear is if optimizing locks out bad sectors: on these recorders I think it probably just defragments the drive.
    Thanks for that. I guess I won't hesitate to do this, when it seems to be indicated. I'm hoping the Pio HDD management has some way of taking bad sectors into account, so they don't just go on being used.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet
    I have analog service from Comcast that does not yet require an STB, though no doubt that will change within three years, maybe less. They will soon move the TV Guide channel, which serves as the program guide for their analog subscribers, to a digital package. Go figure. :roll:
    One other point should be mentioned: the only analog cable service TVG that I've seen -- anywhere -- is just a canned, rotating crawl; it is not addressable / searchable the way the digital service ones are. You can't look up "Channel 576 six days from now at 8p.m." Since I never had a recording-device-based TVGOS, I don't know how that was laid out -- if and when it worked. Wasn't it some Gemstar type of thing, that trickled program info across to you very slowly, using some "sidelines" capacity of the analog signal ? I recall complaints of many hours to download (from zero), plus noise and delays while it updated itself.
    The TV Guide Channel is an actual cable channel. The program guide fills up the bottom half of the screen, scrolling to show programming for the next hour and a half, with updates every half hour. (With no STB, what else could it be, but still, it's better than nothing at all.) The top half of the screen shows entertainment news, ads, and TV Guide's own shows.

    The TVGOS is a Gemstar product, like the magazine, and the TV Guide Channel, though Macrovision owns Gemstar now. From what I have read. it does take 24 hours to load the analog version of the guide. There is a small amount of advertising included, in addition to the program guide, which generates some revenue for the station supplying the guide.

    The analog version usually originates from a PBS station and is carried in the VBI. Apparently, if the analog signal for that station was used by the cable company, TVGOS worked. [s:da200e3e0c]If a compatible STB was used. a G-link cable could be connected to it, and it would somehow send the signal to a TVGOS-equipped device via the cable.[/s:da200e3e0c] If a compatible STB was used, a G-link cable could be connected to it (to control the STB) and the STB would send the signal to a TVGOS-equipped device via the video connection. The new digital TVGOS will be supplied by a CBS affiliate. [corrected this paragraph]

    Other than the DTVPal/TR40-CRA I don't have anything that uses TVGOS. I only started learning about TVGOS because I was trying to figure out if my CECB's program guide would change from the current one, derived from PSIP data, once my local CBS affiliate started broadcasting the digital TVGOS. The guide my CECB has is searchable, though the amount of program data available to search is curently no more that 12 to 18 hours, assuming the station is transmitting any. (The guide is capable of holding up to 7 days worth of data.)
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  5. Originally Posted by Seeker47
    I'm curious as to your lineup of "workhorse" Pioneers. Didn't you cite the 53x series as having serious problems, and recommend the 550 as the more-recent model to buy?
    Yes, I suppose that does smack of "do as I say, not as I do", doesn't it?

    My recommendation still stands to avoid the 531-533-633 in favor of the sturdier 640 and later models. I have had nothing but headaches refurbishing, repairing, and then repeatedly re-repairing a large assortment of 2005 Pios with their faulty TVGOS system. This particular 531 I'm still using is a special case: its the first second-hand recorder with hard drive I ever owned, and miraculously it has not had its hard drive melt down yet. I had to replace the burner after I burned several hundred discs, otherwise its been surprisingly reliable. I play this sort of perverse game where I keep waiting for it to fail, and it thumbs its nose at me and just keeps chuggin along. Possibly because I long ago disabled the TVGOS and use strictly manual timer settings: the achilles heel with these machines is the nonstop excessive wear and tear the active TVGOS puts on the power supply, fan and hard drive.

    Even when they work, these are not the most convenient recorders to use. If you activate the TVGOS, it causes no end of grief with lockups, refusal to obey the remote, missed timer recordings, etc. If you disable the TVGOS like I did, and resort to manual timer recording, you run up against a miniscule, completely deranged manual timer display with the most counterintuitive setting procedure I've ever seen. The capper is the confusing and unpredictable use of manual recording speeds- like all Pioneers you can set bit rates in 10-minute increments, but the TVGOS system in these 531-533-633 units interferes with that and screws it up constantly. Its so annoying that I only use the 531 for things I know in advance should be recorded in the standard SP speed. Moving to a 640 or later Pioneer after a 531 is like a blast of fresh air: much easier to use and far more reliable/predictable operation.

    (The TVGOS as engineered in the 2005 Pioneers is astoundingly bad. The implememtation of TVGOS in 2006 Panasonics is far better- a night-and-day difference. If you like the idea of TVGOS, Panasonic is the only good choice- the Toshibas having only marginally better TVGOS than Pioneer. The impending analog shutdown in February 2009 will likely obsolete all of them, however.)
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    Bagheera,

    ok, thanks for that.
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