Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New Toy

Our old VCR finally died a couple days ago. We've had that thing for about 7 years now and use it pretty extensively to tape shows and watch them later. The quality of the recordings has gotten pretty poor over the last 6 months or so. In fact, we made the decision to junk it only when the top half of the picture didn't record and we had to have to volume all the way up to hear it.

We went through the process of looking at new VCRs, but decided a DVD recorder might make more sense. We looked at Tivo, but didn't want to be saddled with the additional cost. So we asked my sister-in-law; a buyer in the consumer electronics field. She suggested we look at a DVD recorder with a hard drive. (Hard drive, I'm into that!) We could record up to 100 hours on the drive and burn to DVD when we needed to. Our particular DVD recorder has on-screen listings that get updated automatically. I am ashamed to say that my DVD recorder has more disk space than my Linux box.

It was really a snap to hook up to the TV. After 24 hours, the listings downloaded to the unit and we setup all our shows to record. I'll see tonight if American Chopper recorded sucessfully Monday. Now if I can figure out how to NFS mount that bad boy to my Linux box, I'd be all set...


Tim... said...

That DVD link looks a little suspect. It points to a Red Hat site. Have they started doing DVD recorders now :)

Also, since when do you have to wait for something to break before you replace it. I thought that's what stairs were for. You "accidently" drop your VCR down the stairs, which forces you to buy a new bit of kit :)



Jeff Hunter said...

Damn copy and paste. Should be fixed now, just refresh your page.

You "accidently" drop your VCR down the stairs
I take that approach with my computers, but for other things I hate upgrading just for the sake of upgrading.

Anonymous said...

Way Cool!!! I will have to buy one! No if only it had a firewire port so that I could hook it up to my home SAN! : )

Brian (Gandolf989)

Anonymous said...

I have had good and bad news with DVD recorders. My first one lasted 6 weeks, and then refused to record or play anything at all without producing Banshee wails.

Back to the shop, and a bun-fight because the warranty department couldn't reproduce the problem... but the shopowner relented in the end and replaced it.

Two months later, the replacement died. Back to the shop, and we demanded our money back... and promptly waltzed up the road to purchase a more expensive LG DVD Recorder (LG... good name... won't go wrong... must be a sound move).

Three weeks later, the LG died. Back to the shop, and this time the owner wasted no time at all in apologising profusely, and offering us an immediate replacement... whereupon I noticed that if we'd spent an additional $80 in the first place instead of the plain DVD Recorder we'd originally purchased, we could have got an almost-identical LG recorder but with an 80GB hard disk.

So we didnt just replace, we upgraded... and I am happy to say, it was the best thing we could have done. Picture quality brilliant, heaps of recording time at the best quality (80GB buys us about 80 hours, or something)... in fact, we barely use the actual DVD recording function at all (there's seldom anything worth committing to DVD permanently).

It's a technology that does what the best technology always does: makes something useful, easy; and at the same time, it brings new functionality to the party: we rarely worry about deleting old recordings for months and months, because there's so much space, why bother?

I don't know whether our run of bad luck was because of a technology in its infancy, or whether its something you might encounter generally even now. But you made the right decision going for the hard disk model, that's all I can say!

Anonymous said...

You were wondering about hooking that "bad boy" up to your hard drive? My girlfriend got a Humax box (DVD recorder/player for Tivo) and blew me away with her tricks. First thing she did was hook it up and start checking the "Season Tickets" so she could select the whole season of a program. Then, she set it up to store DVDs to her hard drive on her laptop. We got WiFi and it can copy through that or from the hardwired local net at home. She also set it up so she can send a program from one Tivo box to another one, in another room. So we can record on one box, send it to another room to watch in there, or take it with us on the laptop! Cooool, huh? Why did you wait so long? I would have thrown it down the stairs, as suggested. :->

Anonymous said...

P.S. She has had the old Tivo box for about two years and the new one is about 4 months old - both work fine. Tech is great!!