Freeview has offered a ray of hope to the hundreds of Brits who own DVRs rendered effectively useless at recording future programmes because the company delivering the machines' Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) stopped doing so. The issue affects owners of ten very early receivers and DVRs, including six models by Digifusion, a …
Time to Upgrade
but waiting for a selection of Freeview HD twin channel PVRs to have been alpha tested on other users first
RE: Time to upgrade
Lets be fair to these 'early adopters' and refer to them with the kinder term of 'beta' testers, but essentially you are right.
I am amazed by the amount of idiots on certain AV related forums in the UK who boast about putting an order in for a Freeview HD PVR that's due to be released in a week or so's time. Do these people not learn? The current Philips/PACE PVR fiasco should be a lesson to everyone. Almost every HD PVR thats been released in the last few of months or so as had major problems.
I bought a Sony Bravia Freeview HD TV just before the world cup started but I am more than happy to stick with my 2005 Topfield 5800 PVR for now until it's guaranteed that Freeview HD PVR hardware such as the up coming HUMAX Fox T2 is at least relatively stable.
Inverto units affected by this were still being sold (as clearance items) by Maplin up to about a week ago, until I advised them of the pickle they would get themselves into if they didn't stop, so although they've probably not been manufactured for several years, they're still around from less scrupulous and/or attentive retailers.
Promising news though.
And there was me thinking I'd done something wrong. Tried to re-tune our FVRT200 a couple of nights ago as C4 reception had gone totally SH1T and then found all the program guides had gone.
You couldn't add a list of the effected models to the story could you.
The affected models
Does this not highlight the great digital step backwards that many of these devices represent? In many cases, it seems the only way to record a program is through the EPG, with no option to do such insanely clever things as set a channel, date, time, and duration.
While that's less "user friendly" for the people who struggle to program VCRs, and selecting a programme from the EPG is much easier, surely allowing the users to set timers the old "unfriendly" way AS WELL makes good sense. If nothing else, it means they can carry on using their device if the EPG disappears (or is unavailable or just not correctly populated for some reason - which I've seen often enough).
Re: Letters, Digits
Certainly with the Inverto 7000 series (one of the afflicted 4TV-based recorders, which probably all work similarly) such manual setting is indeed available. It's a pain in the bottom, since with it never being intended as primary entry method, entering start and stop times is tedious: there's no direct entry of hours and minutes, instead one has to scroll through like setting an 80's digital clock radio. If you choose a time of day close to that of the programme you want to record, that does make it considerably more bearable. Bizarrely, the channel number is not displayed in the details as set, so it's impossible to check subsequently, and a number of people have found themselves recording the wrong channel as a result.
It's sufficiently bearable (given the lack of decent television over the summer anyway) that we will hold out either for Freeview, DTG, Inview or whoever to get their bricks in a pile, until there are some affordable future-proof alternatives to choose from (latest Humax looks nice, but is very expensive and will not support Project Canvas), or I finally get round to building that MythTV box.
Hardly "effectively useless", just inconvenient as you now have to enter recordings not on now and next manually. All the other PVR functions are still working fine. My Digifusion is still recording the daily Tour de France highlights from ITV4 without any intervention. As others have said, I'll wait for the new HD PVRs to be properly sorted before buying.
If it can record and export "radio" I'd still consider it.
"Radio" on Freeview is unevenly supported anyway. I have a Grundig-labelled box that records to USB sticks (choose for recording speed very carefully), but its radio files only play back in SMPlayer - which I can live with - and it may have a TVireception/picture problem.
There's DAB but there are problems there too.
upgrade to HD? a working SD would be nice! Also no effected Model list
Given that since the Rowridge transmiter changes last year I can't even get SD Freeview, upgrading is not the answer. We have to wait till 2012 before analogue is turned off and we get a back our FreeView. Now if only FreeSat PVRs were as cheap as Freeview PVRs I'd be o.k.
The freeview PVR that I have had sat doing nothing for a year is a DigiFusion, sounds like it still won't work in 2012!
Why 'The register' can't list the affected models or link to where they are listed is beyond me but is typical of 'The Reg' I have emailed a complaint along those lines at least twice, but never had a reply.
You get what you pay for...
I'll stick with my 10 year old TiVo! I've still not come across a Freeview PVR that can better it's interface.
All PVRs and Digiboxes that had a 14 day EPG that updated at 3 am.
I have a Digifusion FVRT200 box, paid £38 for it, stuck an old 160 gb drive in it. It has given me excellent service, never missed a recording. I'm loath to bin it and will put up with manually entering recording events. It is capable of recording 2 channels at once while you view an earlier recording. It is too good to throw away.
I just wish I had the tools to rewrite the firmware to use the 7 day guide.
List of Affected boxes
* Digifusion FRT101
* Digifusion FVRT100
* Digifusion FVRT145
* Digifusion FVRT150
* Digifusion FVRT200
* Digifusion FVRT400
* Inverto IDL-7000T
* Inverto IDL-7000M
* Thomson DHD4000
* Sony SVR-S500
Surely an argument to hold off Freeview HD!
Surely the fact that my Thompson DHD 4000 box has been forced into obsolescence is a good argument to hold off buying any of the freeview HD boxes until they have matured! (Plus, as people have said, dual tuner Freeview HD PVRs are not going to be cheap!!)
Hope freeview succeed in helping get my EPG back
Why can't you use standard DVB EPG?
In Germany, for example, every station transmits a standard EPG which is defined in the DVB standard. It's free to use by everybody building a DVB reciever so you just have EPG without having to pay.
Why on earth did you have to re-invent the system to make it incompatible?
(BTW I have a VDR based solution which has a special plugin to also do Freesat EPG, so as an access control system it's kinda pointless)
Er, we DO use a standard DVB EPG !
If you'd actually read the article, you'd have noticed the bit that said :
"Back in the day, these machines contracted out their EPG to 4TV which would provide them with a proprietary seven-day EPG at a time when Freeview wasn't broadcasting such information at all. When Freeview subsequently began transmitting a free-to-air eight-day EPG, the 4TV offering was extended to 14 days."
This proprietry EPG is from before the standard DVB EPG ever existed.
A matter of months
The proprietary EPG and the first 4TV machines arrived only a matter of months before the standard Freeview EPG started, which was sometime in 2004 by my recollection.
Meanwhile, there were still boxes based on the 4TV kit being launched as late as 2006 - notably the Sony, which was essentially a rebadged Beko, with the 14 days cut back down to seven.
I've read a suggestion elsewhere that our Sale of Goods act would apply. Whilst these boxes may be out of their manufacturer warranty, it could be argued that they have stopped working due to a design fault - and so have not been "reasonably durable". Given that 6 years is often touted as a reasonable time to expect electronics to last, then many people should be entitled to partial refunds from the supplying retailer (though it does seem a bit harsh on the retailers who sold these in good faith - I guess they'd have a claim against their suppliers if still around to claim against).
If Maplin were selling them until recently, then those that bought them would be entitled to a replacement or full refund.
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