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Need Your Advice on PVR

1362 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  SteveinDanville

I'd very much appreciate hearing input from those on this forum who have experience with different PVR options. I am considering purchasing my first PVR shortly and have a Dish 500 system now. I've looked at the PVR comparison on this site but would like to hear current opinions from users and those who have been "following the upgrades" so to speak.

I know that the answer to "Which is best for me" depends on my viewing habits and what features I value. So I'll recap that now:

- I am a very light TV viewer. I currently watch less than eight hours a month of TV. Because of my schedule, my viewing hours are never when there is much I want to watch on. I am also not a "plan ahead" person so a "season pass"-type auto-select and record feature seems like an important feature to me (from what I understand of them). Most often I am gone or insanely busy for two or three weeks and then find myself suddenly at home at midnight on Friday with a few available hours of conciousness during which I would like to watch shows that I like.

- Recording two channels at once or recording one while watching another is of little to no value for me because I watch so infrequently.

- Quality is important to me. I'm in the video business and some shows on Dish are already so "peggish" that I can barely stand watching them.

- Capacity is important to me because I may not watch TV for a long while and would like a big archive of stuff to surf through when I can watch. If my best option would involve a 'hacked' HD upgrade to get the 'best' features and capacity for my needs, it's not a problem as I'm a techie and can do an upgrade.

- Commercial skipping is important to me. I heard from a friend a while back that Tivo didn't have a one-button 30 second skip feature. Has this been fixed?

- Responsiveness such as quick surfing both in the program guide and FF/Rew through video are important to me.

- Slo/mo and frame advance seem like somewhat cool things that I might use from time to time to check out neat special effect sequences.

- I have little to no interest in multiple TV/remote features as I have one TV and my box will be right next to it.

- Price is not my primary consideration. If the device that best fits my needs costs $50 more, I'd rather go for that. Also, I'd prefer not to need to go through another purchase decision / buying cycle for several years.

Any comments or suggestions you can make about which of the latest models would be best for someone with my viewing profile are greatly appreciated. Also, any links to comparison reviews or links to places that have especially good deals on PVRs are also appreciated.


--- Mark
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Hi Mark, Welcome to DBSTalk :)

Based on your post, I suggest you go with a DishPVR 522.
Thanks John,

Is the 522 available now? Does it have a auto-record "season pass" type function? Does it have a 30 second one-button skip?

--- Mark
Hi Mark,

I agree with John. The 522 package would be a good deal. The thing it does not have is the season pass. BUT, if you just set the timers to record the shows you want, it will record every week and you shouldn't have too many problems. You also will not be able to upgrade the hard drive.

Now as far as reliability and the season pass option (the dish network PVR's sometimes like to lose recordings), go with DirecTV and the DirecTivo or Ultimate TV. Those units have the season pass the hard drive upgrade option.

The one thing I really like about the newer Dish receivers is something that you may like. Navigating the program guide and the menus are quite fast.
Anyone know who is responsible for the EPG? I have used the 'Once' PVR event setting expecting that when 60 Minutes comes on it will get recorded. Even if the football game ahead of it goes long. The last 2 weekends it did not. It recorded the last 15 or so minutes of the football game and then lost the last 15 minutes of 60 Minutes. It sounds to me like Dish doesn't upgrade the guide very well. Or, is there a way for me to force a reload of the guide to ensure I've got the latest version?
My DP guide is downloaded at 3 AM. I believe the others are similar. No way it will know about games that run over or news events etc. With some receivers the guide is more dynamic----but not that dynamic.
Yea, its a problem with PVRs, but as Geronimo said it could be worse. SA TiVos have to make a phone call to get the updated guide. At least DirecTiVos and Dish PVRs get the guide from the satellite...
Originally posted by LadyTalia
They can only change the guide if they find out in time from the networks that it is happening. They can't have someone watching every channel all the time. It has no way to detect that the football game ran over-- unless the networks told us in advance. It just is not physically possible to do that.
Actually, it could be done very easily, but so far no PVR programmer has opted to do it. I have proposed this many times on the forums, but no one has seemed to take it seriously.

Almost every program (other than some local programs and news) has a rating code built into the vertical interval during the 1st 15 seconds of the program. An inexpensive decoder chip similar to the CC decoder could detect this, and smart programming could take advantage of it. If a program started 2 minutes early, the PVR could be told to automatically go to the next scheduled channel and sit and wait for this code, getting virtually the entire program whether it started early or late, and to record for the length of the program rather than to the top or bottom of the hour, or told to record until it sees a second code (within the 1st 15 seconds of the next program). This would solve a number of problems once and for all, about 98% of the time. The only exception would be programs joined in progress.

Its a no-brainer, yet no one seems to have the brains to implement it.
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"Hi Mark, Welcome to DBSTalk

Based on your post, I suggest you go with a DishPVR 522."

I seem to recall that Mark said he had one TV... why wait until next year for a dual-output PVR that will feed two TV's? Go for the 721 now. Mine works flawlessly, and 90 hours holds an awful lot of surfing material. You are already a Dish customer, so this is the reasonable way to go. If yours works like mine, YOU WILL BE A VERY HAPPY CAMPER! Good luck, Mark.
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