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  1. Member
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    I've seen mentioned in a couple of forums recently that HDD/DVD recorders have not been successful as a concept in the US market. I admit that I am (to use the UK term) gobsmacked by this, since I own one myself here in the UK and would never consider going back!

    I've only visited the US a couple of times, but both times I've been struck by the excessive amounts of advertising on TV. Surely there are US viewers who find this as annoying as I do?

    Now one of the advantages of an HDD recorder is that you can set it to record all your favourite shows, meaning you can then watch them when you want to - and when you do you can simply fast forward through the ad breaks.

    The other advantage to an HDD recorder is that you don't need to look for tapes or disks and find free space on them! Just tell the device to record and it does. When you've watched the show you just delete it or dub it to DVD if you want to keep it.

    Now, I don't doubt that these features would be attractive to US users as well, so I'm curious as to how come HDD/DVD recorders could possibly fail in the US?

  2. PVRs have dominated here. With built in program guides recording can be done with the touch of a button. PVRs record directly from the source, no digital to analog back to digital, so quality is better, at least with satellite PVRs, I don't know about cable.

  3. The HDD recorders (ummm ever heard of TiVo) were basicly invented in the US. They're in just about every home in some form or another! TiVo's headquarters are two towns over from where I live.

    Also AT&T's UVerse is IP TV that streams directly to HDD box, no real cable or satellite needed.

    What people were you visiting in the US that didn't have this wonderful technology??

  4. Member Epicurus8a's Avatar
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    There are several reasons, IMO.
    1. Many people can't figure out VCRs much less DVD Recorders.
    2. Many people don't care about archiving the programs they record.
    3. Pressed DVDs are usually available within a short while and offer higher quality & bonus features.

  5. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    There aren't enough good shows worth recording, especially with the move to reality based programming in the early 2000s. And the better series (House, Lost, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc) are all released in DVD format at the end of the season.

  6. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Soopafresh
    There aren't enough good shows worth recording, especially with the move to reality based programming in the early 2000s. And the better series (House, Lost, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc) are all released in DVD format at the end of the season.
    Shows perhaps, though even that is a matter of opinion. I use my HDD-DVDRs for timeshifting, on a regular basis. For example, tonight I'll be recording Nova Science Now, as I did last week. (With 300+ or so channels, if you can't find something good and of interest to you, most of the time, you can't be looking very hard.) Also for example, I saved and will archive the NSN seg on digital forgery, from last week's show. Try doing that with your Tivo or cable / sat Co. supplied PVR ! And scarcely a week goes by when I don't record at least a couple movies. (Finding the time to watch them is much more the problem !)

    As I've said before in many forum threads on many occasions, the Pio DVDRs might have been easier to learn and operate than several higher-end VCRs I've used. But then, maybe I'm just weird and (typically) out of step with mass tastes, in many things.
    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.

  7. Member GMaq's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Soopafresh
    There aren't enough good shows worth recording, especially with the move to reality based programming in the early 2000s. And the better series (House, Lost, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc) are all released in DVD format at the end of the season.
    Funny....

    When I first read this reply, I thought Ahhh C'mon, but the inescapable fact that I haven't had any way of recording TV for over a year now (Other than a Canopus ADVC-100) kind of indicates that perhaps Soopafresh is more right than I'd like to admit, I can't remember feeling like I really needed to record anything, even for the kids.

    There are just so many more avenues of entertainment than TV nowadays, perhaps that is one of the reason that DVD Recorders aren't so popular on this side of the pond.

  8. Originally Posted by Soopafresh
    Also for example, I saved and will archive the NSN seg on digital forgery, from last week's show. Try doing that with your Tivo or cable / sat Co. supplied PVR !
    I don't get it. I archive stuff from my TiVo all the time. I burn HD programming to Blu-ray disc and normal stuff to DVD or convert it to MP4 for portable playback... ??

  9. Member
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    Part of the reason HDD DVD recorders aren't more available has to do with our changeover to digital formats. Putting in the required ATSC tuners increased costs and made the price too high, while having no tuner makes them impractical for those of us who don't already have an external tuner of some sort for their cable or antenna service.

    Also, much of the content offered by cable/satellite companies is encrypted. Subscribers need to rent an extra set-top box from them or find something that can take a cable card (from them) to record it. It's easiest to just rent a DVR from them in the first place, or get a TiVo.

  10. The US and Canadian cable and satellite companies (and to a lesser degree Tivo) have done a great job of marketing their own hard drive recorders to the public. The cable and satellite companies particularly have packaged these devices into their digital service plans for little or no cost to consumer. They are very easy to use and popular with subscribers... most of whom are not interested in archiving TV programs - just time shifting them. DVD recorders with built in hard drives never really had much of a chance here against this reality.

  11. IMO these are the main reasons:
    1.PVR's are more convenient with little upfront cost.
    2.You can rent or buy tv shows on DVD.
    3.Most households have cable or satellite with VOD so chances are you can watch the reruns.

  12. Member
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    I have had the virgin cable v+ for about a year and a half. They charge me 15 pound a month for it. I was so determined to get rid of it at the start of the year I bought myself a dvd recorder with built in hard drive, didnt like the interface. then I bought a stand alone dvr. 7 months on im still using the cable dvr. I have recorded two programs, House and Smallville, I could have done that on either of the dvr. I really need to get rid of it as there is really nothing worth watching on tv IMHO, one thing I like is record the whole series option. which isnt available on my dvd recorder or my stand alone dvr. I suppose, the cable dvr is really more in touch with recording and time shiffting than my stand alone box.
    Here in the UK we have to wait longer for the dvd's to come out, and they are also more expensive.

  13. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    I think part of it may be that the cable/sat companies offer package deals for "free" or low cost rentals for hard drive pvrs (the tivo ripoffs). This probably has made people more leary of spending 200.00 - 300.00 on a harddrive/dvdr when they say "my cable/sat company gives me a tivo like device for free or really cheap, why do I need anything else?".

    Personally I do kinda like the idea of a hdd/dvdr since you could timeshift on a dvd recorder. I have a dvd recorder without a harddrive and sometimes miss the instant recording of the pvr when I don't have a blank disc in the unit.

    Though what I'm waiting for is the "affordable" high def dvr with a bluray burner. That way you could record a 2 hour movie on the harddrive, edit the commercials out and then burn a disc. Or even if they don't let you edit the commercials due to copy flags and all that at least having a physical media disc of the high def content would be nice.

    though with harddrive prices dropping and capacity going up all the time storing capped transport streams off the dvr is not as impratical as it was a few years ago.
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  14. Member vhelp's Avatar
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    My fear is that television is dying, finally. And, we got a first taste of it not too long ago. I mean, maybe some you all can agree with me that ever since the WB and UPN merged, whatever was left in terms of television watching, died somewhere inside this merge process.

    I can remember when I used love looking forward to watching my (favorate) programs (and they a lot of them) .. 7th Heaven; Everwood; Gilmore Girls; Smallville; Super Natural; One Tree Hill; Lost; and many more. But after the merge most of these shows dwindled away. 7/Ev/Gil are gone. And Smal/SupNat/One T are barely hanging on a thread and being decided upon removing once and for all.

    The only show, now, that I still watch is Lost.

    Everything else is a waist of (and full of) pop-up (annoying) ads and poor script. I can't believe that people actually believe all the reality shows being aidred today. I mean, don't they get it, that they no longer portray the realizm or truth in these reality shows ?? Come on.., everything is scripted today. To do a hard cold reality show requires 24/7 sleep-overs for the tv/camera crew, and much more. Too much money to do all this, and nobody wants to be cramped all the time, waiting for a good catch reality moment. So, scripting a "fake" one is a whole lot easier. And there are plenty of fresh *new* actors looking for work. Its like, people (the writers or whomever they are) lost their mojo.

    Beauty and the Geek was a good example. The very first series was the real thing, but (taking the above into consideration) the rest (last two) series were scripted, if not "thrown", to coin the phrase.

    And remember "The Real World" series. The first one or two or maybe three series were real, and the rest became "induced" vomit. I mean, "thrown" scenes and things.

    As I was saying about the WB/UPN merge.. tv series are not what they used to be nor worth wathing. Even the shows (I used to watch religiously .. smallville and supernatural, and a few others) I stopped watching after the merge. I lost interest. The writing got bad (IMO) and the plots were becoming more rediculousely domb.

    And, where are the corky shows. You know.., the ones like Friends; Fraser; Cheers; Wings; According to Jim; Everybody loves Raymond; and so, so, so much more. I don't see any of those "type" shows anymore. I think they filled those in with reality "type" shows. But, are they now taking over the regular shows. That is the question. After all, there seems to be more "breaks" or long'er pauses in-between seasons, though Lost is the exception to this. Anyway.

    So, a lot of television has changed for the worse, and programming has gotten worse, too. So, not much (IMO) for me, worth watching anymores. I mean, I don't even have my tv on in the background like I used to. Its off. Heck, even my tv card is off. So, I ask myself, now, "why would I need a pvr/dvr ?" And my honest answer is, "..I don't !!"

    ...

    As I was saying about my fears of television (and where it looks like its heading for) is that it is going the way of the tube and instead is heading to our internet. Very soon, (prob in the next two years or so) everything we watch will now be broadcasted over internet, will prob call it, internet tv or I.TV for short, and you know how that will take off. Everybody will take a bite out of it in their own swing of $$Ka-Ching$$ and tube-tv will die, finally. Catch Lost on www.lost_ch9929.tv ..or something like that.

    -vhelp 4757

  15. Member
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    To all those saying a PVR is better, isnt a PVR the same thing??

  16. Originally Posted by Rudyard
    To all those saying a PVR is better, isnt a PVR the same thing??
    No. PVRs, at least for satellites, have the HDD built into the receiver. Recording is pure digital instead of digital to analog back to digital. The quality of the recording is considerably better with the satellite's HDD than with a DVD recorder.

  17. Member
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    Originally Posted by samijubal
    Originally Posted by Rudyard
    To all those saying a PVR is better, isnt a PVR the same thing??
    No. PVRs, at least for satellites, have the HDD built into the receiver. Recording is pure digital instead of digital to analog back to digital. The quality of the recording is considerably better with the satellite's HDD than with a DVD recorder.
    I dont know what its like OS but in AUS all the HDD recorders ive seen come with twin built in tuners so you are recording directly not via a cable to an external box.

    This allows you to pause and rewind live tv, watch something whilst taping the other etc tec

  18. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Electrox3d
    Originally Posted by Soopafresh
    Also for example, I saved and will archive the NSN seg on digital forgery, from last week's show. Try doing that with your Tivo or cable / sat Co. supplied PVR !
    I don't get it. I archive stuff from my TiVo all the time. I burn HD programming to Blu-ray disc and normal stuff to DVD or convert it to MP4 for portable playback... ??
    No, he didn't say that -- I did.

    So, just HOW do you do this ? (Please be specific. I'd love to know.) I thought the design of the Tivos and PVRs was expressly to prevent your being able to get the content you'd recorded off of there . . . .
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  19. Members in other countries like the UK and Australia cannot imagine the amount of handwringing and analyzing and debating that members in the USA have been doing ever since DVD/HDD recorders were summarily pulled from the USA marketplace almost three years ago by EVERY mfr at the same time (except Phillips, who cleverly saw a chance for a monopoly). There are a number of large and small factors that killed interest in the USA but it really boils down to two:

    First, its a matter of geographic economic patterns. Most (not all, but most) residents of the USA have long since been conditioned to renting decoder boxes for cable and satellite service. We are not directly taxed to support government broadcast networks, so we never developed the utter hatred of monthly cable-satellite payments that you have in Europe and Os. A huge percentage of USA residents were already paying monthly cable fees when cable PVRs were introduced for a small additional charge (say $7 US added each month). It was a very easy sell, and massive numbers of cable/satellite subscribers signed up for the PVR option. Note in America we usually do NOT need to make any large deposit or upfront purchase payment for these devices, we just pay a small monthly fee: in some other parts of the world they do cost as much or more than the price of an independent DVD/HDD recorder so there is still a very strong market for them there.

    Second, Americans are pigs for convenience- give us more more more! I don't know exactly why we are so much more technophobic than other countries, but we are. The mere concept of having to "finalize" a burned DVD is absolutely lost on the average American and that alone almost singlehandedly killed all interest in DVD recording here. TiVO was invented for Americans, and even THAT initially bombed because it was "too much trouble"- you have to go to a store, buy it, take it home, set it up, hook it to a phone line or internet, make it run your cable box: forget it. Then one day the cable companies had the brilliant idea to license or rip off the TiVO concept and embed it into their decoder boxes. Voila! It gets delivered by your cable company, requires no setup whatsoever, has a completely accurate program guide updated every day thru the cable system, and one-click timeshift programming using the same familiar remote that controls the cable box and television. Result? The cable or satellite provided PVR took America by storm and decimated whatever small market was left here for DVD/HDD recorders. Very very few Americans care about archiving permanent copies of anything, if they want it they buy the DVD which inevitably goes on sale very cheaply here at some point, much cheaper than in other countries.

    There are many things to envy about the USA, our majority taste in recording devices is not one of them.

  20. Member
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    Originally Posted by Rudyard
    Originally Posted by samijubal
    Originally Posted by Rudyard
    To all those saying a PVR is better, isnt a PVR the same thing??
    No. PVRs, at least for satellites, have the HDD built into the receiver. Recording is pure digital instead of digital to analog back to digital. The quality of the recording is considerably better with the satellite's HDD than with a DVD recorder.
    I dont know what its like OS but in AUS all the HDD recorders ive seen come with twin built in tuners so you are recording directly not via a cable to an external box.

    This allows you to pause and rewind live tv, watch something whilst taping the other etc tec
    In the US, the receiver/set top box not only acts as a tuner, but also decrypts the signal for most (if not all) channels, from satellite or digital cable service. Without it, one can't watch TV, let alone record programming using a 3rd party recorder. The receiver/set top box may also convert the signal to analog prior to passing it out. A DVD HDD recorder would convert analog input back to digital prior to recording.

    If the PVR/DVR is from the cable/satellite provider, it decrypts the signal, tunes, records in digital format, and if necessary, converts what it outputs to analog. One can also pause and rewind live TV, and watch one thing while recording the another, just like with an HDD DVD recorder.

    3rd party DVR/PVR's (such as TiVo) that take a cable card (supplied by the cable company) can replace the cable conpany's DVR/PVR's recording functions. Recording satellite TV with one of these still requires a satellite receiver.

  21. I archived a few favorite shows that were rebroadcast from the mid 60's to the mid 70's a few years ago when I bought my first hdd recorder. Then the local library started buying studio releases of these shows in dvd format and they charged nothing for borrowing them.

  22. Member
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    Perhaps I should explain where I'm coming from in this discussion...

    I have a satellite box (Sky) for which I pay a monthly sub, so that concept is not alien to me. Sky does offer a PVR version of their box (Sky+), but when I first looked at the offer it was going to cost an extra 12 a month (forever) and there was no option to archive onto a permanent medium (ie. DVD) so I didn't like the idea much.

    When I first got my new toy I archived lots of shows, but in truth I don't do that much any more. The HDD/DVD unit is now used as a combination PVR (for time shifting) and DVD player. I almost never watch live shows anymore. At the weekend I check the listings for the shows I want to see, I set up the unit to record them all - and then I watch them at a time of my own choosing - and I fast forward through the ads...

    Most shows/movies that I really like I will buy on DVD when they come out, so this isn't about saving money on DVDs. It's really about the ability to timeshift, have one box for that which also plays DVDs, plus the added benefit that if I ever do want to archive a great show then I can (eg. the BBC has done several great drama-docs that have never made it to DVD).


    I must admit that I misunderstood what I'd heard in the other forums. I thought it meant that HDD recorders had failed in the US market, I didn't realize that PVRs were so popular. Though I'd be wary of a PVR from the content providers... what's to stop them stopping you from fast forwarding through ads etc? (have any of them tried any restrictions like this?).

    (**) I believe there's and additional technological factor too: in Europe the most popular connection method for SD TV is RGB-SCART (so it's like component video, except RGB components) - and the RGB signal is raw analog like an old PC monitor, there is no opportunity for encryption, macrovision etc. Hence you hook up the RGB-SCART on the sat box to your HDD/DVD recorder - get great quality recordings and no DRM problems with archiving them!

  23. Member
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    Just wanted to make a quick comment on this bit...

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    We are not directly taxed to support government broadcast networks, so we never developed the utter hatred of monthly cable-satellite payments that you have in Europe and Os.
    I can't speak for the everyone in Europe (or Aus), but many people here in the UK are prepared to pay to receive good extra channels - that isn't what we hate. It's the damned seemingly endless ad breaks on cable and sat channels that drives many people nuts (perhaps that's because the BBC channels show us what TV can be like without them!). Speaking personally, I particularly resent paying a subscription for a premium channel AND being subjected to advertising as well - which is why I feel no guilt at all in using available technology to skip the ads. Fight back!

  24. PVR monthly fee with my sat service is only $6. Adjusted for the dollar/pound exchange rate, about 1/4 what it costs there. Maybe now you can see why it's so appealing. With dual tuners in the sat receiver, it's possible to record 2 programs at once while watching another from the HDD or record one program while watching another live. As soon as the sat is turned on the HDD starts recording whatever is on so you can pause at any time and restart any time within an hour or something like that. There's FF/REW at multiple speeds or there's 30 second forward 10 second back remote buttons which make it only a few seconds to get through commercials. I've had no problems recording from the HDD or straight from the receiver to DVD. If a channel does use CP, it will be there wheather straight from the sat or the HDD. There's ways around the CP that aren't very expensive.

  25. Member classfour's Avatar
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    I have both a HDD DVD Recorder and a TIVO. I'd use the DVD Recorder without the TIVO if it would work with my digital cable and had a usable program guide like the TIVO - but it doesn't.

    I do transfer recordings from the TIVO to the DVD Recorder for editing and burning to disc.
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  26. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    We here in this forum may be myopic to the fact that the general public has absolutely no clue what we're doing here with archiving and handling digital video. I find when I tell people about our hobby: capturing, editing, video compression, etc. they truly don't understand and then think I make movies with Hollywood and then they start telling me about how "amazing" their talents are and how I should "shoot a DvD" with them...

    The point I agree with most in this thread is the fact that a DVR is too complicated a concept for the mass market. Burning? Finalizing? Encoding modes? Chapters? Even installing it is a challenge.

    I could make the argument too that it's expensive, current TV is terrible (reality shows make me want to vomit), archiving is unnecessary when it's available on DvD, etc. all valid points that further compound its failure - but the key reason was that Average Joe Consumer in the U.S. just doesn't want to bother with such a technological challenge. And I don't blame him. It's us here that are the freaks when you really think about it.

    I considered my DVR purchase a few years ago as truly one of the most wonderful items I have ever bought. Still do. It applies to me because of my - what I notice are - unique tastes.

    Yes, I like archiving music videos, some sports games, digitizing a collection of VHS tapes with it - all non-PVR / non-commercial DvD type stuff if you want to archive, but if I was frightened of the technology, or approached the concept of it being overwhelming, then I too wouldn't have been interested in a DVR and just joined the rest of the mass market.
    I hate VHS. I always did.

  27. Originally Posted by Rudyard
    Originally Posted by samijubal
    Originally Posted by Rudyard
    To all those saying a PVR is better, isnt a PVR the same thing??
    No. PVRs, at least for satellites, have the HDD built into the receiver. Recording is pure digital instead of digital to analog back to digital. The quality of the recording is considerably better with the satellite's HDD than with a DVD recorder.
    I dont know what its like OS but in AUS all the HDD recorders ive seen come with twin built in tuners so you are recording directly not via a cable to an external box.

    This allows you to pause and rewind live tv, watch something whilst taping the other etc tec
    However the fact is that there is one big difference between a PVR and a DVD recorder. The fact that you can record a DVD is a big difference.

    I have both and I use both. A DVD created from a HD channel is decent quality. Is it HD? No. OTOH I could in theory build a library of thousands of DVDs categorized and cataloged. With the DVR it will fill up the hard drive and then I need to delete things off of it to make room for new items. With few exceptions PVRs/DVRs do not allow moving video off and back onto the internal hard drive. The only ones I'm aware of here in the USA are from Dishnetwork with their VIP series of HD DVRs. And that is slow via USB2. It is encrypted. It is tied to a household key so unlike a DVD you can't take a movie from them over to your buddies to watch.

    I'm thinking of getting the Philips HDD DVD recorder as a spare for when my Pioneer finally dies.

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    Originally Posted by TBoneit
    I'm thinking of getting the Philips HDD DVD recorder as a spare for when my Pioneer finally dies.
    I think that's a good idea!

    I've got three of last years Philips DVDR3575H/37 and am also thinking of getting at least one of the new 3576's cuz I've seen Funai's financial presentation for FY 2007 and one chart shows a 38% drop in player/recorder sales, due mostly to lower sales in the U.S. And Funai makes over 50% of all players/recorders sold in North America.

    I'm thinking there might NOT be a 357x next year in North America... or ANY HDD DVDRs with digital tuners!

  29. As for costs, to rent a dvr unit from Comcast it's $9.95 per month plus $5 for service. That's about 2 years for a decent dvd recorder if you bought one.

  30. Member rijir2001's Avatar
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    There isn't a single primetime show on that is worth watching anymore. Let alone record.




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