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While hard drives do fail the comment in the article is a little extremist.

We're in the infancy stage of hard drive storage of media, and the devices that utilize them.

Eventually the media will reside on a central server somewhere in the household and be fed out to devices via ethernet, firewire or highspeed wireless (802.11a or g?). The server will use a raid system and swappable drives so that a failure can be corrected by the homeowner.

Right now I have four PVRS containing at least six hard drives (my two ReplayTV units have been upgrade to two 80 gig drives each; I haven't cracked open my DirecTivos yet, bu they're probably one drive each), plus I've got two more 80 gig drives for my Tivos. Counting the original drives out of the ReplayTVs, I've got nearly 600 gigs of hard drive designated for video storage. Plus the various CD that have been ripped to my PCs.

I would rather have all that storage in one server that could be accessed by various devices throughout the house.

On a side note, I would also like my PVRs to talk to each other for conflict resolution, etc. I would gladly settle on a single make of equipment if someone would produce units that could talk to each other and utilize server-based storage.
 

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Well, Usually you don't have as much stored on a tape as on a hard drive. But a two-hour wedding video on tape may be more important than a whole drive full of various TV shows.

In the long run hard drives are easier (and faster) to backup or link into a redundant system. But getting the main stream industry to that point is a long way away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Excellend point Ryan. Tapes and DVDs are backup. Hard Drives are for everyday use. I can't tell you how many tapes my wife wore out taping General Hospital and all those other soaps she watches. PVRs have solved that problem. Now if I had our wedding recorded, I'd have it on a DVD by now since tapes, especially VCR tapes don't hold up very long for archives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My parents have an 8mm tape of them getting married. You think todays tapes would last 40 years? Don't think so. Now by the same token, I don't expect a hard drive to last that long either.

Archiving video is going to be one of the most difficult things to do in the next couple of decades. I just don't see a stable format. Sure DVD looks like its here to stay, but VOD and other formats may crop up before we know it. Its like my college thesis. Its stored in a proprietary Brother Word Processor format that I can't read anymore. I still have the disk, but no way to read it. Will DVD turn out that way? Not in the sort term, but long term you need to keep up on this stuff.
 

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Well, DVD is safe (at least for another few generations) because it is so ubiquitous. Like 78 records, for which you can still find a player if you really need it, the DVD will have players for generations.

Will it still be the highest quality recording method in 10, 15, 20 years. I doubt it. But I wouldn't worry about playng it for the foreseeable future.

As for the word processor--if there's no way to read the disk other than in a Brother machine, you have to use the fall back approach of scanning in a nice printed copy.

I actually had to do that for a friend. She's been working on a screenplay for a couple years, but she only had a file of it on her office computer--at the World Trade Center.

Luckily I had a paper copy and scanned it in at my office.
 

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Failures: If you have a movie, you'll probably only watch it a few times a year. That tape is going to last a long time (the hard drive is spinning constantly).

Storage: The new HD video tape can store around 40 gig (someone is welcome to correct me). Go around the house and count the video tapes. That's a lot of hard drives ($$$). When we start talking 1T+ (terrabyte) hard drives then we can talk some more.

People need a convenient (inexpensive) way to share content - that's what Tape or DVD gives you. I think both Tape (or DVD) and Hard Drive storage will survive.

I the real long term (perhaps my dream world), everything will be hooked to some kind of high speed network and we will not need local storage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
But my example is valid. A VHS tape in 10 years will be like betamax was in 1990. Only a few people will have them. Cable/DBS companies like PVRs because they reduce churn. You can't play a tape in 10 years and expect it to look good. While I agree hard drive isn't an archive format, its at least good enought to store the information until you can burn it to a DVD. Look at these new recorders arriving on the market, I think this is how we'll see convenient/inexpensive sharing in 5 years.

http://www.panasonic.com/consumer_electronics/dvd_recorder/dvd_recorder.asp
 

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Originally posted by James_F
But my example is valid. A VHS tape in 10 years will be like betamax was in 1990. Only a few people will have them. Cable/DBS companies like PVRs because they reduce churn. You can't play a tape in 10 years and expect it to look good. While I agree hard drive isn't an archive format, its at least good enought to store the information until you can burn it to a DVD. Look at these new recorders arriving on the market, I think this is how we'll see convenient/inexpensive sharing in 5 years.

http://www.panasonic.com/consumer_electronics/dvd_recorder/dvd_recorder.asp
With all of the archival material on VHS already it will take far more than 10 years for it to disappear entirely. Look at what is happening with vinyl LPs - 20 years on from the invention of the CD there are still LPs in stores. Perhaps not an entirely fair comparison since many feel that vinyl is still a superior format. That could NEVER be said about VHS or Beta vs. a DVD. Still, I don't know anyone who threw out their album collection when they started buying CDs.

As if that weren't enough, I still have an 8-track player stashed in the back of my closet. You never know when you might need one...
 

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HDVHS is the only media available to archive HDTV. Unless people get off the blue laser political move, HDVHS may be the only way to archive HDTV for several years. Also there is about 100 million homes in the U.S. with VHS, only about 50 mill with DVD (including computer drives) a couple mill with PVRs, and only VHS is forward compatable to HDVHS
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh I don't disagree, you are correct in the fact that the format isn't dead if you keep the VHS, LP or tapes. I haven't had a car in the past 10 years that had a tape player in it. I have one at home, but it must be 15 years old and I can't remember when I last used it. I have a record player and use it all the time for the same reasons you mentioned, but I'd say LP is an audiophile format now and isn't a consumer level format. I wouldn't run down to the store today and start converting all my tapes to dvd...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Originally posted by Martyva
HDVHS is the only media available to archive HDTV. Unless people get off the blue laser political move, HDVHS may be the only way to archive HDTV for several years. Also there is about 100 million homes in the U.S. with VHS, only about 50 mill with DVD (including computer drives) a couple mill with PVRs, and only VHS is forward compatable to HDVHS
Agreed, DVD isn't a great format even for standard definition yet, but as more and more people gain DVD players and recorders such as the panasonic come online, I think we'll see great strides in the DVD-R world, but as you said, right now HDVHS is the only format capable of recording HDTV.
 

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Originally posted by David_Levin
Failures: If you have a movie, you'll probably only watch it a few times a year. That tape is going to last a long time (the hard drive is spinning constantly).

Storage: The new HD video tape can store around 40 gig (someone is welcome to correct me). Go around the house and count the video tapes. That's a lot of hard drives ($$$). When we start talking 1T+ (terrabyte) hard drives then we can talk some more.

People need a convenient (inexpensive) way to share content - that's what Tape or DVD gives you. I think both Tape (or DVD) and Hard Drive storage will survive.

I the real long term (perhaps my dream world), everything will be hooked to some kind of high speed network and we will not need local storage.
Well, WD has a 200 gig drive out--Western Digital Breaks a Record: WD2000JB with 200 GB--so it won't be too long now. :)

However, I worry about having that much programming on one device. A RAID system would make me much more comfortable.

And certainly the random access nature and higher storage capacity of hard drives make them the basis of media storage in my dream system. Tapes and optical are the media for archiving and hard drives for short term storage.

And I fear the high speed network/no local storage vision because the media industry has shown they will attempt to charge the viewing/listening/reading public as often as possible. When everything we want to watch resides in somebody else's system, you can bet they're not storing it for free.

Sure, right now I pay for access to TV (even things that are available for free) plus pay for PVR functionality on some of my equipment. But once it's in my house I control it.
 

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Originally posted by James_F
I don't think you'd want a 7200 RPM drive in a PVR, they run way too hot.
Well, let's look at the numbers. I just looked up the original Dishplayer Seagate, a DiamonMax 80 (5400) and a Western Digital 120 gig (7200).

Here's the power numbers:
Code:
Maxtor 80 (5400 RPM):
MODE            12V±10%     5V±5%    POWER
Spin-up (peak)  2000 mA     490 mA
Seek             650 mA     550 mA   10.6 W
Read/Write       250 mA     550 mA    5.8 W
Idle             250 mA     500 mA    5.5 W
Standby           30 mA     280 mA    1.6 W

Western Digital (7200 RPM):

Operating Mode     RMS Current        Power, Typical
                 12 VDC       5 VDC   
Spinup           1.3 A (max)  650 mA       19.0 W 
Read/Write/Idle  350 mA       700 mA       7.75 W 
Seek             675 mA       725 mA       12.0 W

For comparision, here's what I could find on the Dishplayer stock 17 gig Seagate drive:

PowerMode         Typical Watts    Typ Amps RMS
                        RMS         5V     12V
Spinup                    —         0.5    1.5
Seeking (Random)         7.0        0.4    0.42
Operating (read/write)   6.5        0.42   0.367
Idle                     3.5        0.28   0.170
Standby/Sleep            0.8        0.123  0.015
Between the Western Digital and the Seagate:
Seeking 71% power increase
Read/Write 19% power increase

The power is definatley higher then stock. A big concern might be spinup current (although this is not a heat issue). The seek power is also pretty ugly though I'm not sure how this effects heat since you're not doing it constantly.

I have Been running a Western Digital 7200 RPM 120 in my Dishplayer for around 6 months. No problems.

The unit doesn't seem significantly hotter then it was with the 80 gig 5400 RPM DiamondMax (whine is a bit louder). I always make sure to have lots of open spade around the box.

Not that I wouldn't prefer to have some active cooling. Once we get to the hi-end, hi-$$$, hi-def pvrs, hopefully they'll design for whatever drive provides the most capacity.
 

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The seek power is also pretty ugly though I'm not sure how this effects heat since you're not doing it constantly.
The 501 is constantly seeking when powered up, as it is continually writing to the hard drive's buffer. The first unit I owned sounded like it had marbles rolling around inside of it all the time due to the noise the heads made while seeking. The 501 does get pretty hot.
 
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