Monday, November 28, 2005

To PVR or not to PVR?

A PVR (Personal Video Recorder) sounds like a really important name, doesn't it? All it really means is that you no longer need tapes or DVD's to record your favourite TV prgrammes. The 1st PVR's that I knew of were the old TV cards that went into your PC. Much plugging in, setting up software and fighting with video cards, finaly got you a TV picture on your PC screen. If you were lucky enough to get a really advanced one, then you could actually record a programme or two to watch on your PC screen. But, let's face it, who wants to watch TV on your PC?

Then came TIVO and thouasands of South Africans dreamed of the day that they would be able to fast forward past the Hyperama's Heyday Sale adverts.

At last, DSTV have released their PVR. It has been 9 months in the making and it works!!! The powers that be say that they were waiting for the public to be ready for thier device, but I think that there has been a major education of advertisers to make them realise that a whole new way of thinking is needed.

As for how to use your PVR? THe installer does all the hard work, like pluggin in the right wires. There is no S-Video, which is bad, but there is an optical audio out for your home cinema, which is great. Picture quality is excellent, in fact, better than expected, with 80 hours of recording time available on the hard drive. DSTV say it might be a little less as certain programmes tend to use more space due to the compression protocol.

There are a couple of drawbacks. If a programme starts slightly before another ends, there is no way to set the recorder to record it. You can't say, "Well, ok, I am willing to miss the beginning 2 minutes." No, it will only record one or the other.

Pausing live TV is great. DSTV made a point of advertising the fact that you won't be able to fast forward past adverts, but you can. Hit pause when watching Las Vegas for 15 minutes, come back and watch the programme from the start. You will catch up with live TV as you go forward over the adverts and finish the same time as the TV programme really does.

A feature I love is that you can record a movie, watch a sitcom, then go back to the beginning of the movie and watch it fro the start as the PVR records to the end of it. Saves me time and I can watch what I want when I want, with NO ADVERTS!!!!

The PVR is also a dual view decoder, so you can watch 2 channels and record a 3rd. Much channel hopping happening in my house at the moment.

If you have the cash, buy one, unless you have too much money and time, then you can try and make your own.

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