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October 9, 2015

Software upgrade turns satellite receivers into PVRs

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 27th 2008 10:03AM
Canal+Personal video recorders with a USB port for an external hard drive are a dime a dozen these days. But French satellite provider Canal+ is offering something a bit different. Canal+ customers can turn their existing HD set top box into a PVR by adding an external hard drive.

What's new here is that the box didn't start out as a personal video recorder at all, just a satellite receiver. Sure, they've always had a USB port, but it was one of those ports that was set aside for future use. And now that the future is here, Canal+ has pushed out a software upgrade to all 250,000 boxes installed in customers' homes.

As far as I can tell from the press release, customers can use the PVR function for no additional charge. But my French is a bit rusty, so if anyone feels like perusing the Canal+ web site to uncover more details, please let us know what you find out in the comments.

[via Gizmodo]

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MediaSat Max or Dual-S dual-tuner set-top box users can get SD recording for 7 Euros/month, or HD recording for 10 Euros/month (which includes the 9-Euro HD pack, so it's really 1 extra Euro). Two drives (LaCie Desktop Hard Disk 500Go and Western Digital Mybook II Essential 500Go) are guaranteed compatible by Canal+, but at least 15 more are unofficially compatible. Canal+ offers a 50-Euro rebate on the purchase of USB drives.

DVR functions are there (control live TV with 1-hour buffer, one-touch recording, guide-based programming) but none of the extras PVR owners are used to -- for example, no way to transfer recordings to an external device. And the Dual-S only offers HDMI output; no component output.

February 29 2008 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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