Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Speaking Freely

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  • Peter Darlington,

    On a couple of occasions, we're recorded two channels while we watched a third on the MySky HDi, which has three tuners now active. But that's just silly.

    Yeh, the MySky HDi has become ridiculously essential at our place in such a short space of time. Before it arrived I read a whole load of frightening fault stories on Geekzone so was expecting the worst but it's gone like a dream for the last 2 months. I think we've had to reboot twice. I really like it as I'm not interested in saving and keeping content, just watch and delete.

    My only (minor) beef is that the 120Gb drive is a bit small. If you're a sports nut like half of our house you can fill up the disk PDQ. We had the League, rugby and Liverpool game copied over Saturday night and those 3 items did around 20% of the HDD just like that. The unit has SATA and USB connectors in the front latch but I don't think these have been enabled in the current OS version? I hope they get around to it though as it should be a breeze to increase the storage by 2-3x the standard and not run out of room.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 868 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    Another question...

    What are the adv and disadv of going with an aerial vs a satellite dish.

    In case it is useful for other pepole, some info I was told by some installers is that I can run a cable for an external freeview aerial or an external freeview dish for 50m without getting many issues with the picture quality (our garage where we would mount the aerial/dish is quite a way from our house)

    Thanks
    Andy C

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 123 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The unit has SATA and USB connectors in the front latch but I don't think these have been enabled in the current OS version? I hope they get around to it though as it should be a breeze to increase the storage by 2-3x the standard and not run out of room.

    That USB port's only ever going to be allowed to run one way -- and it won't be out.

    But I guess they could possibly allow people to fit more storage one day, assuming the content could be made unusable anywhere else.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17969 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Aerial - you can get Freeview|HD.

    Satellite - you can get a perfect signal even if you live in one of Wellington's reception-free valleys, without shelling out for Sky or Cable. Plus a couple extra channels. But as far as I can tell, no HD, or plans for HD in the foreseeable future. I can't see why, but I guess the flash incentives go first to those who need a little more than just decent reception full stop to make the switch.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 724 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    That USB port's only ever going to be allowed to run one way -- and it won't be out.

    But I guess they could possibly allow people to fit more storage one day, assuming the content could be made unusable anywhere else.

    USB's not going to do so good for adding extra storage if you're trying to do it for HD content. USB is awful for high-bandwidth streaming; absolutely horrible. It's a nasty, hackish attempt to compete with firewire, and it fails miserably. The SATA connection is a much better bet for external storage, but as you say it'll be highly dependant on them finding a strong DRM system. Which will, of course, be thoroughly cracked within weeks of being released.

    The accuracy of this comment does, of course, rely on Sky's engineers having a clue. Lots of people look at the headline data rate and assume USB's up to the job, and that includes plenty of geeks.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    Interesting post Russell, but there was only so much reading of it that I could manage with a Telecom ad bouncing about constantly to my left.

    Great to see Public Address's value being recognised by advertisers, but... can I put in a request for them not to be irritating! Or to stop moving after the first bounce?

    Am not sure if it is gracious to knock advertisers (ethical issue for bloggers not commentators I suppose). Therefore I will be mild and say that a frustrating ad merely reminds me of frustrating service (ahh, the 90 minute calls to the call centre in the Phillippines, the monthly bill errors which kept on happening, I miss you not)

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    The SATA connection is a much better bet for external storage, but as you say it'll be highly dependant on them finding a strong DRM system. Which will, of course, be thoroughly cracked within weeks of being released.

    Yes, I figured as much, I'd be happy enough if they offered a box upgrade to a 250-320Gb unit at some point, especially as more HD content comes onstream.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 868 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I wonder if economic slowdown will affect the sales of what are after all discretionary purchases of luxuries.

    It has for me. Switching to a mean new HD setup is a nice-to-have-not-need-to-have thing. My wife and I operate on a tit-for-tat basis re: luxury expenditures so I'm not going to blow my round on something I don't really want. I'd rather just wait until all the dust settles and a fully integrated system comes at rock bottom price. Until then MySky catches a sufficient slice of what TV I can bear to watch.

    There's a few technologies like this at the moment. I'm sure I'd like an electric car too, I just don't want to pay current prices. They're almost there, though...allllmost.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8029 posts Report Reply

  • Malcolm Ibell,

    Russell, as Christiaan pointed out upthread, it's the software that's the jewel in EyeTV's crown.

    The Elgato hardware however is mostly re-badged product from other manufacturers - ie. Terratec, Hauppage etc.- for instance the EyeTV Hybrid Stick is a re-badged Hauppage HVR900 available for $167 here.
    The cool thing that I've found is that you can buy the original for a third of the cost, chuck away the PC software, and the tuner will more than happily co-exist with EyeTV.

    You can find a list of supported tuners here and you can get some of them in your local mall.

    Deepest Sandringham • Since Nov 2008 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Heh. I probably couldn't have justified the spend on a new TV of any sort, even before the arrival of the credit crunch/global slowdown/George's Revenge/Four Horsemen of the Debt Apocalypse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You can find a list of supported tuners here and you can get some of them in your local mall.

    Thanks! Which of those would be a reasonable swap for the 250 Plus?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17969 posts Report Reply

  • Malcolm Ibell,

    Thanks! Which of those would be a reasonable swap for the 250 Plus?

    Damn! You would choose that one! As far as I know it's a Terratec box, but I can't find it on their website anymore - I shall have a better search later.

    Is there a reason that you're after the 250+ ?
    I ask as that the advantages of hardware encoding are scant when recording DTV. As your Mac (via EyeTV) just puts the raw H264 stream onto disk - virtually no processor load. It's the playing back that taxes the processor(s).
    The hardware codec comes into it's own when recording analogue tv and dubbing your old vhs tapes.

    I'm a big fan of the USB stick tuners like the EyeTV hybrid/Hauppage HVR900 and the Pinnacle equivalents. They mostly come with remotes and little stick antennas, they're easy to swap to your MacBook too.

    Deepest Sandringham • Since Nov 2008 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    I bought a cheap terrestrial Freeview box from DSE a month ago and have been recommending it friends and co-workers ever since. I had marginal reception via analogue on most FTA channels......but on Freeview I get perfect reception on all with the same bunny ears I was using before.

    If I want to see Juice, Triangle and Prime, I turn the Freeview box off and watch via the DVD recorder's tuner.

    Why would get Sky? They have nothing on their I want at a price that's attractive. I wouldn't mind BBC World and CNN, but they son't sell me just those two. No problem. No Sky.

    Sports? No time for other people's games. Too busy with my own.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 279 posts Report Reply

  • Kirsten Brethouwer,

    off topic:
    Al Jazeera rocks. Previous BBC world junkies, our Italian tv provider won't give it to us for free, so we converted to Al Jazeera. great stuff. plus everyone who was previously on BBC is now on Al Jazeera. Even Everton Fox.

    Waiheke Island • Since Nov 2006 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • kiwicmc,

    Russell, I got a EyeTV Diversity for A$250 here in Sydney. Picks up HD in Oz, Really needs to be plugged into a roof antenna to pick up all the channels, which includes Christian TV and two "Teachers" channels. EyeTV s/w is OK, but the remote is clunky when compared to the sleek Apple remote on the new iMacs.

    There's some open source s/w to integrate into FrontRow but isn't massively reliable...

    If the Diversity is what you're after and it really is $400 in NZ, I'll buy it for you here and post it.

    C

    Sydney, Australia • Since May 2008 • 55 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan Ibell,

    You should really wait for the new Zinwell official MyFreeview HD box

    Which I was dead keen on until I read this:

    Somebody on dtvforum mentioned the RRP of the Zinwell PVR is going to be $1149, a lot more than I was expecting, so maybe the non-PVR boxes won't drop in price that much when it is released.

    (see: http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=83&TopicId=27997)

    Can anyone confirm the expected cost of this unit? While others have mentioned a $599 cost, which sounds reasonable, I would certainly balk at finding $1149! Having waited many months already to get Freeview HD (waiting for the PVRs), I'm sure I can cope for a few more months before the PVRs become affordable.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I'm sure I'd like an electric car too, I just don't want to pay current prices.

    Badoom-tish!

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • davesparks,

    Sky is doing the ring-around at the moment, pushing:
    - Free install
    - 6 months free
    - 12 month contract
    - My Sky included

    For someone currently rocking a 32" CRT and broken bunny ears, this is tempting. I ask the experts, should we?

    Should we take it, with a view to adding Freeview which we couldn't get atm without doing an aerial install (c $150-250 by itself!). Or is there some hidden downside which is why they're giving such a seemingly good offer. We'd pick up a decent TV (if HD was an option
    ) in the post-christmas sales - I expect dealz galore.

    One strike against Sky, is certain people in the household have said they're rather die than have one of those ugly dishes stuck on the house. And why do they always seem to go in the ugliest places possible? They *are* rather ugly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Does anybody else find it interesting that here we're discussing spending hundreds of dollars to chase digital high definition videorecorders (and getting a bit snotty if they don't interface seamlessly with our computers) while in another thread we've all but reverted to chooks and bartering?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    we've all but reverted to chooks and bartering?

    That's because we've spent all our money on satellite TV!

    ALthough I'm told the Food Channel has lots of chicken recipes.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Sky is doing the ring-around at the moment, pushing

    The first time I signed up to Sky it was a person contracted to go door-to-door, probably on a pay-per-signup deal I guess.

    I was interested but not keen to commit at the time. He told me to fill in and sign the form, and that would add me to their database and they would be in touch with more information. And that it wouldn't commit me to anything. I didn't believe him, but found the situation interesting enough that I did so.

    Sure enough, they contacted me, but not for more information, but having received the contract, they now wanted money from me and to come install sky.

    By this time I had decided to get Sky, but I did mention that their sales reps were lying to people to get them to sign up.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I have Sky primarily for the sport. I have to buy the rest of the garbage that comes with that because Sky is a shitty monopoly who know they've got the consumer buy the balls and happily squeeze as hard they think they can without actually rendering their audience castrato. If my friends and acquaintances are any guide Sky has probably usurped Telecom at the top of the "most cordially hated corporate you can't do anything about" list. Certainly, if I were Sky I would lobby all I was worth to shut down any competition and ensure it retains a vice like monopoly, because if the consumers out there were ever to be given a choice then they wouldn't last past sundown.

    In terms of Freeview I am afraid I struggle with justifying the cost of an HD receiver. To Joe the Plumber, content is still wafer thin on Freeview at the moment. I am not an early adopter - I am a Service-Pack-1-plus-major-patch-before-I-purchase kinda guy, so I will wait until I upgrade my LCD set next year, and make sure my new set comes with a built in receiver.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I saw an electric converted Starlett yestie with this little address on it
    www.greenEV.co.nz

    I was most impressed & was doing fine around town.

    Dear Santa,

    I've been very good, or will be from now on....

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    A question for our Host
    Why are the programes for the freeview such a secret
    If you have the machine yes you can scroll around and check them out but where are they in print!

    I am sure if the general public could see what is available (as you can for all the Sky stuff) there would be an even faster take up

    I have to say I was in quite early thanks to some of Russell's writings and while not a big tellie watcher just love the so superior digital picture, forget about HD just the D (as in digital) will do me for the immediate future

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 522 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Tom: I think that's what the proposed Kiwi Ofcom is intended to address. Here's hoping it'll cover print media too.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3907 posts Report Reply

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