Elephant in the room again.
That PS3 there, costing less than most of these, offering more including streaming and DVR functionality, gaming, movies on demand, Lovefilm, Mubi, Wbe browser, Blu-Ray etc etc etc...
The days of piling shelves high with videotape recordings of shows once broadcast then forgotten are long gone. The current generation of DVRs and media streamers ensures that no TV programme remains unwatched for long, whether you snare it with a series link or stream it via a catch-up service. These days it's hard to miss a …
PS3 and streaming don't make me laugh. I flogged my PS3 on eBay when Sony broke the buffering in firmware 2.50. When I posted to the Sony tech forums I got flamed by fanboys who claimed streaming SD content of WiFi G was impossible. Oh and the PS3 did not have any support for WMV and some other codecs
You are better off going for cheaper streaming options like the ACRyan PlayOn Mini or WD TV Live. Whilst these are not perfect they are cheap and cheerful and support large range of codecs and containers. Including the MKV container and H.264.
Oh and they don't have a noisy fan, or loose your credit card details.
What streaming issue? I never had any problems. Had my PS3 since Firmware 1.60. Perhaps it's your mediaserver. I'm guessing you were using some free crud like PS3mediaserver.... Try a decent one like Twonkymedia and it just works.
It also streams WMV (VC-1) just fine too, once you enable WMA/WMV in the settings and agree to the Microsoft licence...
PS3 has always done H.264, as Blu-Ray uses that codec....
Perhaps you didn't know what you were doing? from your comments it sounds very much like it.
Hey fanboy, I was using Twonkyserver.
Sony reduced the streaming buffering in version 2.50. This was evident by the reduction in pause before playing the movie. Over EXACTLY the same infrastructure (WiFi G) the XBOX, AC Ryan were able to play the streamed files. The PS3 could not.
The fact YOU in your limited experience did not see anything it does no change the fact that I and a number of other people faced issues after the 2.50 firmware upgrade. All linked to buffering over lower speed connections.
Does the PS3 play WMV2 files?
I didn't say the PS3 did not support H.264, but rather pointing out that thes cheapr smaller devices do as well. But the PS3s MKV container support wasn't great back then. I don't recall the PS3 supporting subtitles in a MKV container. Does it now?
ps3s connectivity issues are numerous and well documented,
to the point where people started blaming virgin media for the PS3s flaky wifi.
op cant update because he, sold the POS, RTFP
I too, got tired of that shit, and sold my PS3.
I dare say cat5-ing my living room would have fixed my problems, but i got pissed off at having my viewing interrupted for mins at a time when the PS3 lost the signal, prompting an 'exit-refresh media servers - navigate to file i was watching' merry go round once every hour or so. At least the PS3 remembered where i got cut off from (sometimes).
VM have just rolled out a software update to the TiVo and one of the changes is that there is a better integration between iPlayer and the backwards EPG ... you can now select a BBC program from the backwards EPG and it takes you direct to that programs iPlayer page and with another button press you can start playing it. I think they couldn't do the more intuitive method of starting to play when you select from the backwards EPG since the BBC insist that everything is (seen to be) done through iPlayer thus effectively offering a link direct to the releavant iPlayer "page" is the best they can do.
As the only product that is only available as part of a larger subscription (and very much tied in to the Virgin package), I'm not surprised that the Virgin offering is the winner. However, a review that is nominally about DVRs and MediaStreamers (as opposed to the quality of the subscription product that none of the other candidates carry), I find this article disturbingly biased. Are you sure Virgin didn't pay for this one? Seems a little too much like an advert to me.
Comparing the TiVo with the rest is like comparing a phone purchased as part of a contract with a phone bought outright and SIM free. The TiVo is subsidised by your monthly subsciption. Buy one of the others and use it for a few years and the cost is as listed. Get the TiVo and use it for the same length of time and the cost becomes astronomical.
Even a Sky box allows you to use it with free to air channels when your subscription expires, what happens with the TiVo?
If you are rating the Virgin Tivo box (which is excellent) then you should also have rated the BT vision and Sky+ boxes.
I have a BT Vision box - one of the original silver ones - and it works great. High definition, On Demand rentals, and very good BBC IPlayer and a pretty sizeable PVR in which I now record most CBeebies for the children.
It does not however do Freeview-HD so am looking at potentially the WD Live box or the Apple TV.
Having seen the Sky+ it has similar.
Ludicrous to compare Virgin TiVo with the others given the dismal network coverage of the UK. Notable is the Sam Knows website revealing that 1334 exchanges are Virgin LLU enabled (http://www.samknows.com/broadband/llu/virgin), with NONE PENDING. So Virgin are happy with the coverage they have, and stuff everyone else.
When did they last put any fibre in the ground? Waiting for us to pay them with BDUK money no doubt. Could be a long, cold wait in the dark.
No Humax to review? (not 100% sure they brought out any new models in 2011 so maybe that's why). But either way I don't think the lineup is much cop. The TVonics looks OK but the software doesn't look particularly slick. And I can't get cable so the virgin box is out for me.
If I had to list my "wants" for a dvr/streamer they are (in no real order):
Freeview HD recorder with iPlayer and 4od built in (or youview if it ever arrives!). Ability to upload and download media via ethernet. HDMI output. Nice remote control. And, most importantly of all, reliable recording including series links that work (and don't disappear or fail to record!).
Unfortunately I don't think any manufacturer is interested in delivering all of the above (or even part of the above). They often seem to be let down by immature or clunky software that's coded to order by outsourced teams. Once their products are released companies seem to have little interest in fixing the bugs or adding (god forbid!) extra features*.
* I could live with this if only they fixed their bugs!
Humax used to update their DVR software regularly but they seem to be hampered by their offshore dev model (or financial constraints - or both). And Topfield seem to have disappeared from the market :-(
There was a time when I thought this area of tech would eventually mature. Now I'm not so sure. Hey ho!
I have loads of DVDs as iso images, so wanted to watch over a streamer.
Started off with a cheapo £20 to see if the concept worked - it did, but not well.
Then tried a Seagate streamer thing. Dreadful UI, juttery video. Few updates, then they bought out a new version and forgot the old. No iplayer.
Then a ACRyan - worked well some of the time. UI update made it too slow. Then they brought out a new device, then another, so I flogged it on ebay. No iplayer either
Biggest problem with them all was that any problem was impossible to diagnose.
Finally a £120 PC, plus a copy of Windows 7. Perfect. OK, I still need some decent library software, but I can play anything, and fix most problems. Little wireless keyboard. Got iplayer too.
Did you get to try the Samsung in a living room environment ? The BD player is very noisy.
Also the tuners in these combined BD/PVR units are quite poor and not as good as the ones in Samsung TVs - this appears to have been verified by Samsung :
I returned my BD8500 (along with the light-bleeding D7000 TV) and have opted for a Panny TV - will get the Panny PVR you reviewed and see how it is.
Bought one of these from asda for £79 and its great. Iplayer implementation works. Streams with inbuilt wireless N. Plays MKV, optical audio out. USB keyboard works in the port (although some people seem to disagree, mine works fine with a cheapo M$ keyboard).
Oh and it works with PLEX too although I havent installed that on my PC - I use a little NAS box to share on my network.
All these devices (PS3 included) do not give you unfettered access to IPTV content whatever the source, whatever the format. Instead your are nannied into only having what they want you to have by channelling you through their portal. I use a nettop which does not have any of these restrictions.
Im not sure what you mean. The LG can access a PLEX server. Setup whatever source you want on your plex server and the LG plays it on your TV. It also browses samba shares for music, video and piccys. Has inbuilt iplayer and other guff that I dont use (along with browser etc).
firmware is still being updated (and can be updated offline with a USB stick if you like).
I for one I'm glad I take the Reg Hardware reviews with a massive pinch of salt, the Humax HD Freeview box I bought for the HD recording and was then blown away by the fact it streamed ALL of my existing content from my media server (iomega) despite odd items that won't play on either my 360 or PS3.
Even the Humax catch-up stuff seems fairly robust, though with a PVR I don't need these features often, it even thoughtfully points out that the program is available in HD if you select to record it on an SD channel in the guide...
Now as a self confessed gadget addict I was slightly surprised that a couple of well priced over the counter products just worked without me having to mess around tweaking everything only for it all to go tits while I'm working away all week... making me very unpopular at home and then wasting most of the weekend re-installing Home-Server or some other "easy for a home user to understand" product.
PVRs and streamers are different kinds of devices. Unless you're building your own box, they will have mutually exclusive features. Trying to lump them together is a bit foolish to begin with.
This is especially true since streamers have gotten so cheap. You can easily add one to whatever setup you have. The fact that you are escalating the number of devices you are dealing with is easily offset by how cheap and small they are.
Buy the PVR for it's recording features and ignore the rest. Get a cheap streamer to go with it. Don't worry about about a device that is a jack of all trades an master of none.
Nothing beats an HTPC in terms of features. This goes for both the PVR and streaming features.
just reiterating what others have said
Usenet, icefilms, navi-x, fastpasstvms, hulu, iplayer, 40d, tvcatchup, mflow, 8tracks, sports devil, video devil. Skinning, complex library views, fanart, extrafant, posters, weather, hey you can even run firefox and all your old emulators - seriously, there are set top boxes? don't make me laugh.
I am surprised that TiVo made the grade. Having upgraded to TiVo in the last 6 months I have been disappointed by the image quality.
Channel 5, some of the HD channels particularly and some of the US channels all suffer with poor image quality. I think 5 USA (CSI Miami ) last night for example are all hugely pixelated which is very disappointing.
I could not honestly agree that at £50+ per month this is a worthwhile subscription service.
So fibre optic from VM, presented by TiVo and played through a high end Panny plasma panel I certainly expect much much more for my investment and ultimately my viewing pleasure.
Anyone else having similar issues?
1) PS3 Argument above about not being a PVR.. Erm... LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader?
2) Lots of missing devices. Looks like an assortment of what's been sent in rather than a comparison of what's available.
3) A subsidised subscription only box included without penalty. (cannot be marked on value for money without including subsidising contract)
4) Vary sporadic details provided as if a different person wrote each review! As a media server owner the important streaming ability and file formats only got mentioned for one or two devices.. was this because it's not on the press release for the others? Also which boxes offer there own online content rather than just utube/iplayer for example Fetch TV (not included) offers a comprehensive download service, on a very reasonably priced and capable PVR & media streaming box.
5) overall 15% sad to see that reg hardware reviews are getting worse. This article was very shallow. At risk of becoming worthless when the readers know more about the products and offerings than the reviewers..
Still using my good old CRT: well I say old, it's around 4 years, still works perfectly well, and I use the SCART on my Humax Freeview HD. Of course it won't do HD content, but conversely standard SD broadcasts don't look like pixelated messes whenever anything moves quickly either.
I'll replace it either when it breaks, or I decide I need to free up some space, I think.
Including the TiVo was a joke - not only can't be it used in half the country, but it comes with an expensive subscription too, whacking its "actual" price way beyond the 199/50 quoted. The real question is - if you unsubscribe to Virgin do they take it back or - equally annoyingly - cripple it like the Sky+ HD box so you can't record on it any more (and maybe not even watch existing recordings?).
I guess this is a list of the "best of 2011", but what if something was launched in 2010 and is better than some or all of the ones in this article? As people have said, the Humax hasn't suddenly vanished and even the Smartbox 8320HD I have (released June 2010) has still had several firmware updates this year. Can't say that the TVionics with a 75% rating in your April review is better than some of the Freeview HD DVR kit released in 2010.
In fact, if you look at it, the mad scramble to get kit out in mid-2010 for the World Cup in HD has really left a lull in 2011 - there's been nothing released in the DVR arena, IMHO, that's a significant jump from what we saw last year. I guess manufacturers are holding back for YouView's much-delayed launch next year (Feb 2012 is the latest rumour)?
Did you just get bored and stop reviewing them? There are about 20 media streamers around at the moment, several are far better than most of the ones you've noted. If it's just DVRs then the article title needs changing. I for one have a WD HDTV streamer and it's top notch and has the advantage of being flashable to give you a huge range of features.
If you're going to criticize a product for the features in its firmware, can you include in your reviews the firmware version of the item you're testing?
At least then we can look at the manufacturer's website and see what's changed (or not changed) since the review was written.
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