back to article Administrator eyes DVR firesale after TVonics collapse

UK DVR maker TVonics has gone into administration. The maker of Freeview HD recorders, including the DTR-Z500HD and DTR-HD500, was placed in the hands of Bell Advisory on 12 June. And, though it’s been in administration before and survived, back in 2008, things don’t look good this time round. A spokesman confirmed today that …

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Sorry to hear about this, after donating my aging Humax to my parents I was looking at either the Freeview HD model from these guys or the newer Humax machine. I seem to remember they were built by Sony somewhere in the UK or were they ex Sony staff, anyway, only ever read good things about the TVonics kit, hope everyone managaes to get themselves into employement soon.

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That was pretty much my understanding of the deal, and this is indeed a sad announcement :(

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Unhappy

I would probably steer clear unless someone steps up to maintain the software. It isn't unknown for changes in the broadcasts spec (or to the broadcast within the spec) to cause problems. Many of which are fixed by over the air updates. Unless it is cheap enough that you can treat it as only having a 2 year life.

Sad to see a business going bust and the impact on the staff. I wish them luck.

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The boxes are, with recent firmware, pretty up with all the current Freeview HD spec - red button, IPTV channels, and of course SD and HD in H.264/DVB-T2 as well as MPEG2, so I think they should be fairly ok for a while; any substantial changes over the next few years are more likely due to be shifting of muxes to fit in 4G, or conversions of muxes from T to T2, all of which it will cope with just fine.

It wouldn't surprise me (and this is just speculation, nothing more) to see remaining stock popping up somewhere like Morgan Computers.

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Anonymous Coward

That's

a damn shame.

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If there are enough users with the knowledge and experience perhaps the adminstrator can be persuaded to make the firmware open source?

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That's not always possible, depending on how the firmware's built. With some products, the core chippery documentation is only available under NDA - I'm looking at you and the EMMA2, NEC - and some of the basic libraries may be supplied by the chip maker.

That can mean that it's far from simple to take the code and simply give it away, even if the administrator could be persuaded of the value of doing such a thing.

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Damn shame about the blind users, but to be honest lads: you don't need the TV. It's full of witless girlies recapping the programme every 5 minutes. They are so damn annoying that not having a picture of them looking pretty will make them compeltely insuffereable.

Radio 3, 4, 5 & jazz FM. You know it makes sense!

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Girlies?

It's usually the voiceover bloke that does it - but possibly worse is the way that BBC documentaries are stuffed with cuts and shots that indicate where an ad break can go.

Jizz FM? - no thanks.

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A real shame, another British company fails. I have the HD recorder and it's a nice bit of kit overall.

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Unhappy

Sad to see them go. I am still using the old SD version of their kit, and is very easy to use with a nice uncluttered interface. I sometime wonder how companies with such nice products fail.

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Meh

Probably because their loyal customers soldier on with the old SD version of their kit rather than buying a new model......

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Too small

I think it's a case of simply being too small, and not having the massive marketing budget of companies like Sony or Panasonic. The likes of those can throw money at a product, and even when it's a bit clunky - as DVRs from both those companies have been at various times - people will still buy, because of the name on the front of the box.

To be successful in a niche, I think you need a unique selling point and something that will help build a community - as I was a little instrumental in doing with the Topfield products in the UK, via toppy.org.uk; that was possible because of the potential to tweak and add your own software, which appealed to a lot of people online.

Without a USP around which you can build a community, a big marketing budget, or a 'heritage' name like Roberts Radios, I think it's going to be very hard for a firm to achieve the economies of scale that are probably necessary these days.

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Anonymous Coward

That's a shame. Had two Tvonics boxes. The first one lasted around 5 years without a problem. The second one was a Grade A refurb from ebuyer. Popped the latest firmware on via usb and it works a treat. There goes another British company. Good luck to those who lost their jobs.

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"It isn't unknown for changes in the broadcasts spec (or to the broadcast within the spec) to cause problems."

*ahem*Setpal*ahem*

As far as it goes, being a plucky British (well, any country really) manufacturer is a fast way of turning a large fortune into a smaller fortune. Far better to license the interesting bits of IP - I know a couple of long-defunct modem manufacturers who would have made 10 times more licensing their opimisations for Rockwell's data pumps than they ever did from making the units themselves.

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When I read the article this morning I checked Amazon and they were listed at £179.99 for the 500GB model, just gone back to make a purchase this afternoon and they have gone, not sure if the Amazon stock has been taken off the shelf or they have all sold out. Maybe they will appear again once the administrators have been through the business.

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did Amazon have stock, or were they to be shipped from TVonics?

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As far as I knew it would of been Amazon stock, it showed the usual Amazon purchase options, when ever I have checked the TVonics site to compare against Amazon, TVonics have always been out of stock, but Amazon have it. Just checked now and Amazon do have the DTR HD500 model in stock, but all other SKUs have gone.

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a real shame

I'm poretty sure TVonics were the only people to make a freeview box with a built-in modulator - a real boon for owners of elderly kit without a Scart input.

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Re: a real shame

But to be fair, that is really elderly kit...

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Anonymous Coward

Very sad to see them go also - bought a Z500 recently - great little box and much cheaper than humax plus UK made :(

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