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April 24, 2014

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New tiny PVR records to flash memory

by Brad Linder, posted Dec 28th 2007 3:57PM
Evergreen PVREvergreen's new DN-MRC200T recorder is a full fledged PVR in a tiny package. While this is hardly the first device that records TV shows directly to flash storage (Memory Stick, SD, or MMC cards in this case), it is one of the few flash-based PVRs I've seen that packs a built-in TV tuner. That means you can slap an analog cable into the back of the unit and record programs whether the DN-MRC200T is plugged into a TV, cable box, or other device or not.

There's also room for a 2.5-inch hard drive if you want to record programs for watching at home, and not just on the go.

Evergreen plans to sell the DN-MRC200T for about ¥19,999 ($176). No word on if or when it will be available in the west.

[via Engadget]

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What JJ is thankful for

by JJ Hawkins, posted Nov 20th 2007 4:41PM
TV Squad TurkeySeveral of my colleagues here at TV Squad have listed personal video recorders as one of the things they're most thankful for this holiday season.

I wholeheartedly agree with them and think the list could even be extended a little bit further.

We live in an age where our televisions, computers, cellphones, PDAs, PMPs, video game consoles, and a myriad of other products can all communicate with other devices wirelessly and at broadband speeds - all in the pursuit of making the TV watching experience as convenient as possible.

From a technology perspective, it's never been a better time to be a fan of watching TV. Here is a list of the TV related items I'm most thankful for this holiday season.

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BabelTV: web browser, word processor, and PVR all in one box

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 26th 2007 3:31PM
Babel TVBabelTV is a new company offering an all-in-one set top box in the UK The box acts as a FreeView tuner, personal video recorder, and web browser. In other words, you can watch web video, live, or recorded TV.

Basically, there's a PC under the hood, which means you can also run applications for word processing, e-mail, and media playback.

The BabelTV doesn't need a huge hard drive, because all of your files are actually stored on a central server. When you need to access a file, a temporary copy is made on your set top box. This makes it easy to recover your files if your box is broken or stolen.

While you can put together a full fledged media center PC for under $1000, at £295 ($602), the BabelTV looks like an appealing option for UK customers.

[via Engadget]

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DirecTV finally rolls out hi-def SciFi Channel

by Will O'Brien, posted Oct 7th 2007 1:12PM
scifi logoAfter hitting the guide button on my HR20 DVR, my jaw hit the ground. After months of promises, DirecTV finally came through on one to deliver the SciFi Channel and many other channels in HD. Instead of grouping them together below channel 100, the new HD channels show up just above their SD counterparts.

Unfortunately, if you own an older HD DirecTivo, you won't be enjoying the new channels - you can only view them with one of the newer mpeg-4 HD receivers, like the HR20. If you think you're missing out, use your search engine to hunt down the DirecTV customer retention phone number. They'll usually upgrade existing customers for a minimal fee.

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Pause live TV without a hard drive

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 11th 2007 1:30PM
PausePersonal video recorders are great at letting you record a library of shows and watch them on your own schedule. But for TV viewers who prefer to watch their programs according to their broadcast schedule, the most attractive features of a PVR might be the ability to pause and rewind "live" TV.

It looks like several manufacturers are working on a "Pause TV" reference design that would let you pause and rewind television shows without recording complete programs to a hard drive.

Pause TV would most likely use flash memory, although it could also be hard drive based. A TV tuner and flash memory would be integrated into a TV set, allowing you to hit pause, go get a snack, come back and keep watching. 4GB of flash memory would be enough to record about an hour of video at DVD quality.

But there are some technical limits. In order to work, your TV will have to record every program you watch to flash memory. And flash memory has limited write cycles. That's not generally a problem with the flash card in your digital camera, because it's only used periodically and not really expected to last ten years. But you don't want your flash memory dying before the rest of the TV set. Unless you really need an excuse to buy a new TV in a few years anyway.

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Acogito launches place-shifting PVR

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 17th 2007 4:34PM
AcogitoAcogito's newest box set-to-box combines your basic TiVo and Slingbox functionality, allowing you to record HDTV and stream it over the internet to your broadband-connected PC. If history has taught us anything, it's hard to best either of these companies on an ease-of-use front, but an all-in-one box sounds cool enough that we're willing to root for the underdog.

The "Roaming Machine," (their name, not ours), streams video using the H.264 codec.

The Roaming Machine comes in three different varieties:
  • A US version for recording ATSC/QAM/NTSC signals
  • A European version for recording DVB-S/DVB-T/PAL signals
  • A "worldwide" model that handles IPTV sources
Acogito is also launching a "RoamingTV," which is an LCD TV with similar place-shifting capabilities.
No word on pricing or availability.

[via Engadget]

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Controversial Australian TV guide company to offer video on demand

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 12th 2007 1:00PM
IceTVIceTV offers Australian subscribers access to electronic program guide information. Sounds simple enough, but Australian broadcasters are less than happy about that fact. The country has a law that considers program guide data to be the property of broadcasters, making Australia one of the most PVR-unfriendly countries around, because a good PVR requires access to television listings.

So what does IceTV do? It one-ups things by planning a new service that will allow IceTV subscribers to download TV shows and movies. The company is working with movie studios to secure content, but those deals won't engender any good will from the already annoyed Australian broadcast companies.

The service will initially work with PCs running Windows Vista and Windows XP Media Center Edition. Mac compatibility is being held up due to DRM issues, but should be available in the future.

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Lost ratings get a boost from time-shifters

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 11th 2007 7:05PM
LostSure, it might look like Lost is taking a major hit in the ratings department when you look at... you know, the ratings. But it turns out that might just be true for Nielsen's weekly ratings.

It turns out that a large number of Lost fans are recording the episode to watch later in the week. In fact, Lost picks up more than 2-million viewers when you when you look at ratings over a 7-day period, rather than just the overnight ratings. That's a bigger boost than almost any other show gets from time-shifted viewers.

Heroes, The Office, 24, and One Tree Hill also get significant ratings boosts when you look at the live plus 7 day ratings.

Of course, if roughly half of the people watching those shows on a PVR are skipping the commercials, it's not exactly clear what good those ratings bumps are.

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Hitachi launches HDTV/PVR combo with removable hard drive

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 21st 2007 9:12AM
Hitachi iDVRHitachi is the latest company to jump on the "lets build a PVR into our HDTV products" bandwagon.

But Hitachi Japan's new iVDR (Information Versatile Disk for Removable Usage) series is a little different from similar offerings from Sharp and LG. As the name suggests, Hitachi's iVDR models feature removable storage.

Cartridges will store 40GB, 80GB, or 160GB of memory and will be compatible with other products including PCs and car audio systems. So record some programs on your big screen TV, and take them with you. I wonder if you'd be able to take that cartridge with you to a friends house, pop it in his TV and watch the big game you recorded last weekend.

As for the TV side of things, the iVDR comes in 37-inch and 50-inch plasma varieties with 3 HDMI ports, an assortment of A/V ins and outs, and an SD card reader.

[via CrunchGear]


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ChrisTV 5.0 now availble

by Matt Crape, posted Mar 13th 2007 4:22PM
ChrisTV 5.00This one seems to have slipped through the cracks here at PVR Wire, but better late than never. A couple of days ago ChrisTV hit the big version 5.00 mark.

For those of you unfamiliar with ChrisTV, it's yet another Windows based PVR option. Although it may not be as well polished or slick as some of the bigger boys (think Microsoft, SageTV, SnapStream, etc), it is still an alternative that you may want to look at if you are running a Windows OS without built-in PVR capabilities.

ChrisTV has different versions available, and if you use the promo code CTV-0307-PROMO before March 18th, you can an additional 15% discount

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New Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 4000 launches at CeBit

by Martin Conaghan, posted Mar 12th 2007 10:22PM
HVR 4000Hauppauge has emailed me to say they're launching one of their new hybrid TV cards at CeBit this week.

Basically, they're billing it as "the world's first quad mode tuner."

It's capable of receiving all UK TV broadcast formats, including analog, Freeview digital, satellite and High Definition (HD) satellite.

It should be available mid-March, at around £180, and comes in PCI format.

The card is packed with the usual Hauppauge features, and will undoubtedly drop in price as the year rolls on -- but you should expect this kind of card to be the standard for a PC-based TV tuner/PVR in the UK in the very near future.

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TiVo losses narrow

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 7th 2007 7:50PM
TiVoTiVo is on a roll. The company's partnership with Amazon went live today, and then the company goes on to its financial data -- showing narrower losses than analysts had expected.

TiVo reported $18.7 million in losses during the 4th quarter of 2006. During the same period last year TiVo lost $21.1 million.

TiVo also showed a small increase in its subscriber base, with a total of 4.4 million customers. With TiVo rolling out partnerships with Comcast and Earthlink later this year, it's likely that subscriber base could continue to rise, meaning that TiVo is off to the start of another year in which the company isn't made obsolete by generic cable company PVRs.

TiVo shares rose 20 cents to close at $6.14 today.

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TiVo rage

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 3rd 2007 9:00AM
Ever wonder what a TiVo looks like on the inside? Sure, there's plenty of manuals floating around the internet showing you how to void your warranty, remove the lid, and update the hard drive. But none of them involve smashing your machine to bits with a crowbar.



After running into a few technical problems with his TiVo, YouTube users Kevin decided to take matters into his own hands rather than order a replacement unit. And he gets a tiny TiVo sticker from the front of the unit as a souvenir.

My favorite two lines from the video:
  • "I don't know what any of that does."
  • "I feel a lot better. And now it probably works about as well as it did yesterday."

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Panasonic announces new Japanese PVRs

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 2nd 2007 8:30AM
Panasonic PVRs
Panasonic is having a PVR party. Okay, I'm done with the alliteration now, I promise. The big P is launching five new high definition personal video recorders in Japan. The lowest-end models will sport 250GB hard drives, while the priciest of the bunch will have 1TB of storage.

They've all got DVD burners, and two models also include retro-style VHS recorders. Can you even still buy blank VHS tapes?

Each recorder has HDMI output, S-video and composite inputs, and some have ethernet jacks for downloading program data. The VHS models include one TV tuner each, while the non-VHS models have dual tuners. They're launching in Japan in the next two months for ¥80k to ¥200k ($669 to $1,688) and be available in the US sometime around the fifth of Neveruary.

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Sharp announces Internet Aquos PC/TV combo: not what you think

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 28th 2007 2:15PM
Sharp Internet Aquos PC/TVSharp has unveiled its new Internet Aquos PC/TV system. But unlike many other PC/TV combos, the Internet Aquos doesn't try to cram everything into one box. Rather, the TV and the PC box are built to work together.

When both the TV and the PC are on, you can watch and record TV, schedule recordings, and the like. But even when the PC is off, the TV can record shows directly to the hard drive. It looks like you probably have to turn the PC on to watch recorded shows. The system comes with a wireless keyboard and trackball for using the computer from your couch. But there's also a remote control that has a trackball for basic mouse-like functionality.

The Internet Aquos comes in 20, 26, and 32-inch LCD flavors. The PC specs include an Intel Celeron 1.46GHz or Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 1.66GHZ processor, 250GB to 400GB hard drives, 512MB to 1GB of RAM, a DVD multi drive, TV Tuner, and Vista Home Basic or Premium.

[via Core Duo News]

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