[LINK] US going digital TV in 2009

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Sun Mar 4 17:24:04 AEDT 2007

On Sun, Mar 04, 2007 at 02:59:40PM +0930, Paul Bolger wrote:
> >and i'm still waiting to see a PVR (Personal Video Recorder - a HD or
> >SD set top box with a hard disc recorder) with an RJ-45 network port
> >built in. the cheapest ones still cost over $400 these days, and some
> >cost well over $1100...but they don't have a network port in them for
> >transferring recordings to/from a PC (or for playing video, or mp3,
> >files that happen to be stored on a PC).
> Topfield, a Korean PVR have a number of models which all have USB-2
> interfaces, two digital tuners - so you can record two channels of TV
> and view a recording simultaneously. They also allow a HDD upgrade
> with about the same difficulty as changing a desktop PC hard disk. One
> model even has an 802.11g interface, although when transferring an
> hour program to a computer via wireless it may be more like 'go grow
> some coffee beans' than 'go and have a cup of coffee'.

yeah, topfield seem to be the best ones around. didn't know they had
a networked model yet. nice to know that at least one manufacturer is
getting a clue - or is willing to incur the wrath of the MPAA etc.

IMO, wireless networking isn't a substitute for a wired ethernet,
though. it's nice to have in addition to wired networks, but not instead

how does the transfer work?  ftp or some proprietary transfer program? or
smb file sharing (i.e Samba or "Windows File Share"/Network Neighbourhood).

in other words, can it either mount network drives or let you mount it's
drive on your PC?

(SMB isn't the best file sharing protocol around, but a) it's simple and
easy, and b) it's available for pretty much everything).

> I tried the PC DVB card option for a while, it worked ok, but was a
> convoluted and labour intensive way of watching recorded programs. 

i mostly solved the clumsiness by getting an xbox second-hand,
modchipping it, and installing XBMC (xbox Media Center) on it.

it's still not as seamless as a dedicated PVR would be, but the
networking works properly, and it's a lot more flexible than a dedicated

and my setup was a lot cheaper than a topfield.  $180 for the xbox,
about another $60 to get it mod-chipped. and about $150 for the DVB-T
card in my linux box. a roughly equivalent (not quite as flexible but
a lot more convenient) topfield would have cost over $1000. and it
still wouldn't have had a network port.

> The real advantage of the PVR is that you can watch a recording while
> it's still happening. We tend to record the ABC from 1900 to midnight
> every night and then watch the news followed by whatever's appealing.
> Although I know it is possible to export the programs in practice
> there's very little I would bother keeping.

yeah, i mostly record ABC programs too. to time-shift them. sometimes
SBS as well (i'm thinking of getting a second DVB card or replacing the
one i have with a dual-tuner just so i can record both SBS and ABC at
the same time).

can't say i'm terribly interested in the commercial channels. couldn't
be bothered recording them even to strip out the ads. i watch them live
sometimes, with a book in hand for the ad-breaks...but they never have
anything on i care enough about to record so that i don't miss it. if
i want to watch a film, i'll buy a DVD. less hassle, less fuss, better


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>

BOFH excuse #379: We've picked COBOL as the language of choice.

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