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Granny Proof Pvr


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There's a number of folk in my area that are still using VCR.

A number of them are now failing, or the screen has been replaced and its getting difficult to get a full mix of interfaces to cope with the older technology. E.G. 2 separate composite input.

I'm looking to see if I can find a granny proof PVR.

Cheaper the better of course.

Something that looks like it won't need any more updates to fix glitches.

But, simple update if required. (USB)

Not concerned about it being Freeview cripppled, as it would be generally replacing a VCR

Ethernet and wireless not a requirement

Full EPG with simple one touch record.

Simple one touch recording display and selection.

Dual tuner.

Timeslip, pause and resume.

Chase play.

I think that's enough.

T'would be nice if it was under or around $300.

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I'm looking to see if I can find a granny proof PVR.

Cheaper the better of course.

Something that looks like it won't need any more updates to fix glitches.

But, simple update if required. (USB)

You can't beat a Tivo in terms of simplicity of operation and an interface that is not only easy to understand but also in nice clear easy to read large font.

It also has a remote that is well laid out and easy to use by feel without needing to read the tiny print on the buttons.

Updates are handled automatically and the user doesn't have to do anything. For the less mobile who can't get out to the video store, the CASPA service provides downloadable content for a fee per item.

On the down side, it is more expensive than you had in mind and does need a broadband connection. Some will complain that you can't skip ads, only FF them, but I don't think this is a deal-breaker for people upgrading from a VCR.

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Broadband access is the killer. Lots of older people don't have access and simply can't come to grasp with mobile telephones let alone the internet. Having said that my > 85 year old aunt manages to run a dual tuner PVR (but that mobile phone doesn't even get a look in).

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Hi,

You didn't say if you need/want the ability to play/record discs and/or VHS tapes. I presume no to the tapes from the nature of your post, but what about discs?

Like the Tivo, this is a bit more expensive than what you've mentioned, but the Panasonic DVD/Blu-ray recorders are worth a look. Very good EPG, dual tuners, chase play, pause live TV, skip function, plus upgrades can be downloaded over the air overnight, plus of course you can record/play discs. They can be had for less than the advertised price fairly easily.

For the price you're looking at, although there are some cheapy DVD recorders out there in this range, I think you might be hard-up finding dual tuners, etc. for that price. i.e. you can only get a fairly basic machine. In my opinion it's better to pay a bit extra to get all the extra functionality (you'll find the Panasonic owners are very happy with their gear), but that's up to you. :-)

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Broadband access is the killer. Lots of older people don't have access and simply can't come to grasp with mobile telephones let alone the internet. Having said that my > 85 year old aunt manages to run a dual tuner PVR (but that mobile phone doesn't even get a look in).
Yep, should also have included, unable to use broadband.

No internet reliance at all.

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Hi,

You didn't say if you need/want the ability to play/record discs and/or VHS tapes. I presume no to the tapes from the nature of your post, but what about discs?

Like the Tivo, this is a bit more expensive than what you've mentioned, but the Panasonic DVD/Blu-ray recorders are worth a look. Very good EPG, dual tuners, chase play, pause live TV, skip function, plus upgrades can be downloaded over the air overnight, plus of course you can record/play discs. They can be had for less than the advertised price fairly easily.

For the price you're looking at, although there are some cheapy DVD recorders out there in this range, I think you might be hard-up finding dual tuners, etc. for that price. i.e. you can only get a fairly basic machine. In my opinion it's better to pay a bit extra to get all the extra functionality (you'll find the Panasonic owners are very happy with their gear), but that's up to you. :-)

Not necessary to record/play discs, as most of the ones I see here, all have DVD players, and i think the mental process would be, "I already have a DVD player", don't want to throw it away.

VHS tapes are generally only used for one off record/playback in the environment I see here.

Extra functionality generally means more on screen bumf to navigate through, which would put them off.

Where I am in love with my DP-Lite, there's no way I would like to put it up as a solution to the 80+ year olds who still struggle with a VCR.

I know its a hard ask.

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Not concerned about it being Freeview cripppled, as it would be generally replacing a VCR

Ethernet and wireless not a requirement

Full EPG with simple one touch record.

Simple one touch recording display and selection.

Dual tuner.

Timeslip, pause and resume.

Chase play.

T'would be nice if it was under or around $300.

You're going to have to revise your specifications somewhat. Pretty much nothing fits your feature / price band.

The closest would be the new T-Box at $299 (which would be a very good match for gran). Only drawback is you need a Telstra ADSL2+ broadband connection too.

Might be best to wait until some full EPG Freeview boxes start appearing. These will likely have series record options and the like and good one touch recording EPG. I'd be guessing Beyonwiz (and Topfield) are both developing a unit for release (later this year?)

But combining a decent stable interface with a reasonable EPG and twin tuner record will cost more like $500 then $300. My best bet would be the BW Lite. A little quirky on the interface but remote is well laid out and setting timers and watching shows should be pretty easy to explain. Set up the auto padding options yourself and perhaps set the ad skip button to jump say +/- 30 seconds for any and all presses.

There are quite a few cheaper twin tuner PVRs (say $350) around, esp on eBay, however they would tend to fail in the usability / interface / reliability stakes in one form or other IMO.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

Edit: Noted you don't want to go for BW interface, however I think you'd be surprised how it can be streamlined for ludite use.

  • On screen button help.
  • Set all ad skip to 30 seconds (if its used at all)
  • Apply auto 5 pre and 15 post padding
  • Entry to EPG is simple as is subsequent setting of timers on it.
  • Set timer default to ONCE so she sets new timers each week.
  • Entry to recordings also straight forward.
  • Perhaps set auto delete to everything to four? weeks. So stuff is cleared to the trash can automatically?

Its likely Gran would only ever set one show for recording and could watch something at any point without worrying about what's being recorded. I think if using a BW set up this way is beyond them then its more of a conceptual issue than a capability one. She'd probably have the same problems getting a Tivo to run - If you're going twin tuner you'll need to bite the bullet and put her through some relearning and write some step by step instructions.

Note: Another option you could do is find a good SD PVR.

PS FWIW <= Just wondering what the acronym tags do...

Edited by pgdownload
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You're going to have to revise your specifications somewhat. Pretty much nothing fits your feature / price band.

The closest would be the new T-Box at $299 (which would be a very good match for gran). Only drawback is you need a Telstra ADSL2+ broadband connection too.

Might be best to wait until some full EPG Freeview boxes start appearing. These will likely have series record options and the like and good one touch recording EPG. I'd be guessing Beyonwiz (and Topfield) are both developing a unit for release (later this year?)

But combining a decent stable interface with a reasonable EPG and twin tuner record will cost more like $500 then $300. My best bet would be the BW Lite. A little quirky on the interface but remote is well laid out and setting timers and watching shows should be pretty easy to explain. Set up the auto padding options yourself and perhaps set the ad skip button to jump say +/- 30 seconds for any and all presses.

There are quite a few cheaper twin tuner PVRs (say $350) around, esp on eBay, however they would tend to fail in the usability / interface / reliability stakes in one form or other IMO.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

Just to give more of the puzzle, I'm in a retirement village. So that gives an idea of the suspects who look like needing a device like this.

All phone access is via an exchange, broadband is definitely out as it would be a large expense to add on to the price of the box..

BW is too clumsy for a one touch operation.

The different methods of exiting different functions are clumsy.

The file player is a pain as well for one touch, Ok for people who have had a bit of PC knowledge.

I saw a Homecast 8200 for around $360, but when I mention that sort of price the eyes glaze over.

And I'm not sure if its a solid product as yet.

Its a pity, because "they don't know what they are missing".

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Edit: Noted you don't want to go for BW interface, however I think you'd be surprised how it can be streamlined for ludite use.

  • On screen button help.
  • Set all ad skip to 30 seconds (if its used at all)
  • Apply auto 5 pre and 15 post padding
  • Entry to EPG is simple as is subsequent setting of timers on it.
  • Set timer default to ONCE so she sets new timers each week.
  • Entry to recordings also straight forward.
  • Perhaps set auto delete to everything to four? weeks. So stuff is cleared to the trash can automatically?

Its likely Gran would only ever set one show for recording and could watch something at any point without worrying about what's being recorded. I think if using a BW set up this way is beyond them then its more of a conceptual issue than a capability one. She'd probably have the same problems getting a Tivo to run - If you're going twin tuner you'll need to bite the bullet and put her through some relearning and write some step by step instructions.

Note: Another option you could do is find a good SD PVR.

Peter, see my signature.

I have been a BW user for quite some time now.

I would not like to put the grannie types though the pain.

But of course, that's probably only my opinion, and no one else's.

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I bought the Teac HDR2500T for my mother-in-law who turns 80 in a few weeks. It's a re-badged unit that Crazy Stu sells under the Yess brand and which Peter G has reviewed. I was especially lucky to get it for $195 when Myers were doing their clearance sale. ( I bought two actually !)

Once I re-wrote the instructions for the main activities, she is really powering. She is doing lots of recording and replaying. She finds the EPG really usefull and fast.

What I liked most about it (once I updated to the latest firmware), is that it is really stable and quick. I have played with the other cheaper solutions such at the two Aldi products. They were too unreliable for an elderly person. The remotes were so slow that it often took more than one press to get it to do anything.

My In-law was especially impressed when I programmed her TV into the learning buttons on the remote so she only has to use one remote.

It's not perfect. It does loose the EPG list now and then. A simple power down forces a reload of the EPG data and she is back in business again.

The Teac is still selling for ~$370 in JB HiFi. Crazy Stu has reduced the price of his Yess model to $349. Both these prices may still make the older eyes glaze over. That only really leaves a single tuner PVR ready STB and an external Harddrive. $200 would probably be an average price.

David

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Not necessary to record/play discs, as most of the ones I see here, all have DVD players, and i think the mental process would be, "I already have a DVD player", don't want to throw it away.

Well, yes, but then they are just players, not able to be used to record anything. If you get a DVD recorder you replace 2 machines (PVR and DVD player) with one. I know the grannies are the ones you need to convince, but I'm sure they'd be able to appreciate that 1 machine serving 2 functions is better than 2 separate machines to do the same thing. :-)

Extra functionality generally means more on screen bumf to navigate through, which would put them off.

Where I am in love with my DP-Lite, there's no way I would like to put it up as a solution to the 80+ year olds who still struggle with a VCR.

Well, extra functionality includes something as basic (these days) as twin tuners. Your ultra cheap machines only have 1, and no chase play (I know, because I have an analogue one I bought for $238 3 years ago). This is an issue (like it was with VCR's) when your ABC show is starting on time at 7:30 but your commercial show that started at "7pm" is still going until 7:37 or thereabouts. Twin tuners solve this dilemma - I'm sure your grannies will be able to appreciate this. :-) At some point you either need to get them to be willing to spend more, or put up with not being able to do as much as they want - as Peter also attested, you'll be hard-up trying to get what you want for $300.

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Thanks for all the thoughts.

I was fairly convinced in my mind that it was a big ask, and that $350 - $400 would be about the area.

But as I hadn't been following that sort of thing for a while, thought it worth the post.

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Thanks for all the thoughts.

I was fairly convinced in my mind that it was a big ask, and that $350 - $400 would be about the area.

But as I hadn't been following that sort of thing for a while, thought it worth the post.

If you can get a good deal on a Topfield 7160 that should meet the requirements. I see them everywhere at just under $500 so you never know $400 may be possible.

500GB

Twin tuner with timer record 4 services (from 2 networks) and time-shift a 5th service

Fairly straightforward menu

Easy access to Recordings, EPG, TV services

TAP capable

So in many ways it's the HD version of the original 5000 series.

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Don't Strong do a single tuner HD recorder for around $200? A single tuner PVR would provide a similar experience to a VCR.

edit - This one. http://www.strong.com.au/SRT%205429.html

edit 2 - Available from the ABC Shop, I'm certain you could get it for less from one of the many online retailers that frequent the DTV forums. http://shop.abc.net.au/browse/product.asp?productid=886460

One touch record from the EPG, press record a second time and add padding. Seems as easy (or easier) to program as a VCR. I'm sure a Strong owner could give more feedback, the interface is likely to be similar to the more popular and expensive twin tuner models.

Edited by Duk
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Don't Strong do a single tuner HD recorder for around $200? A single tuner PVR would provide a similar experience to a VCR.

edit - This one. http://www.strong.com.au/SRT%205429.html

edit 2 - Available from the ABC Shop, I'm certain you could get it for less from one of the many online retailers that frequent the DTV forums. http://shop.abc.net.au/browse/product.asp?productid=886460

One touch record from the EPG, press record a second time and add padding. Seems as easy (or easier) to program as a VCR. I'm sure a Strong owner could give more feedback, the interface is likely to be similar to the more popular and expensive twin tuner models.

yes, that's looking something like it.

No dual tuner, but if I set the sights low, it may be the one.

I wonder if it can record, and play a recorded show at the same time.

The wording I see so far on any of the threads is that it can

Record one program, while watching another (from same network)
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There's a number of folk in my area that are still using VCR.

A number of them are now failing, or the screen has been replaced and its getting difficult to get a full mix of interfaces to cope with the older technology. E.G. 2 separate composite input.

I'm looking to see if I can find a granny proof PVR.

Cheaper the better of course.

Something that looks like it won't need any more updates to fix glitches.

But, simple update if required. (USB)

Not concerned about it being Freeview cripppled, as it would be generally replacing a VCR

Ethernet and wireless not a requirement

Full EPG with simple one touch record.

Simple one touch recording display and selection.

Dual tuner.

Timeslip, pause and resume.

Chase play.

I think that's enough.

T'would be nice if it was under or around $300.

I like my Panasonic and Beyonwiz but the Yess DVB-T4688 is supposed to be OK and a little closer to your specified price and features http://www.dtvforum.info/index.php?showtopic=81015 I think it's been updated a bit since first release so go to Crazy Stu's for the latest price and features or trawl through all 40 odd pages of the forum for info.

http://crazystu.com.au/yess-dvbt4688u-with...ml#12WnGmaX5K9F

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Guest mistered
yes, that's looking something like it.

No dual tuner, but if I set the sights low, it may be the one.

I wonder if it can record, and play a recorded show at the same time.

The wording I see so far on any of the threads is that it can

Definitely go and have a look at the Strong.

I haven't seen this newer model, but own an older SRT 5490 HD dual tuner which has been running for years without problem (touch wood). Great user interface and easy to use remote - one button "Videolist" just brings up the recordings list showing program title, date and a preview of the show.

I demoted mine to the bedroom only because I wanted a BW with IceTV on the big screen in the lounge. I've been thinking about giving swapping it with my 80 yo parents .. they simply cant use their BW without help!

regards

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I wonder if it can record, and play a recorded show at the same time.

The wording I see so far on any of the threads is that it can

Record one program, while watching another (from same network)

You'll find that when they say "watch", they mean exactly that - watch a live program. This is different to playback whilst recording something else (you're unlikely to get this unless you get a unit with twin tuners or a BD/DVD drive). When the Panasonic BDR came out, some journalists said that you could record 2 shows while watching a third. This was only possible if you were watching the third on your TV. i.e. through the TV's tuner (the journo's mis-understood and therefore mis-reported Panasonic's media release - all thay had to do was try it themselves, but obviously there was no fact-checking, nor attention to exact wording of the release. Panasonic were talking about watching something on disc, not a third live program). If both tuners are recording, then you can't tune in another show through the unit, you have to use your TV tuner. The same will most likely apply to any single tuner unit - if you're recording a show, the tuner/recorder is now occupied and unable to be used for anything else (except, as it says, if you want to watch something from the same network as you are recording from. e.g. record ABC, watch ABC2). This is why twin tuners are so popular now.

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Thanks for all the thoughts.

You may have to invite a few friends round to watch things on your machine in playback mode. When you skip the ad's they are certain to want to learn how to do that! Help them to help themselves. :-)

As you have found, I think the DP-Lite would be the ideal machine, really - easy to use EPG (Ice not necessary), can record two shows, etc., but can start the learning curve by just using it as a recorder while watching another channel and build up to recording two and watching a third.

I know the problem, though - one of inertia. My other half's folks are now finally loving the extra channels that digital TV brings, especially SevenTwo and Go, since they show the old favourite shows. But they lament the fact that they can't record those channels on the old VHS machine that is still "perfectly good" and "we don't want ANOTHER box and remote to learn..."

I'd like to think that a trail blazer like yourself can open their eyes by spending a bit of time showing them the good things PVRs can do. Good luck.

Cheers,

Al.

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yes, that's looking something like it.

No dual tuner, but if I set the sights low, it may be the one.

I wonder if it can record, and play a recorded show at the same time.

The wording I see so far on any of the threads is that it can

I am shuddering to recommend a toppy 7100, no internet required. my parents post retirement seem to get by with it. quite userfriendly picks up all the channels that seem to have added them selves in without intervention. It does play up though every now and then. they reboot it and it goes again. i dont think something to recommend though.

homecast is another, seems to be a bit of a favourite with the installer crowd. be cheaper than that price there

http://www.jbhifionline.com.au/home%20thea...r-hd-pvr/440800

no internet required for that one either.

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homecast is another, seems to be a bit of a favourite with the installer crowd. be cheaper than that price there

Yes I looked at Homecast and mentioned it earler, but got no response.

I wondered how many are out there.

The price of the 8200 that JB Hi Fi were quoting was still a bit large for one of the folk I mentioned it to.

Never mind, I'll probably talk about the Strong at around $200 and see what reaction I get.

Looking and listening, it seems to be pretty much a direct replacement for a VCR in its record capabilities.

One off, no chase play or replay while recording.

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Yep, should also have included, unable to use broadband.

No internet reliance at all.

Ide have to agree with donaldp atm Grampus as I have a pana x300 for sale here atm :) . It has a simple hdd/dvd switch that never needs touching if you dont want to play/record a dvd ; it hasnt had or needed a firmware upgrade for ages over its ethernet and its been bulletproof [ takes a burnt cd to upgrade as well as over the air ]. Its got a full epg ;press ok it will record whats listed. If your watching tele again just hit record no mucking around ; though it still gives you a choice of quality if you want to extend the recording capacity . Dual hd tuner [for all the channels] ;timeslip pause /resume if you press pause 1st its not automatic like a wiz .

Nice big buttons on the remote with the important ones more obvious ; only thing is 1 composite output not 2 though thats rare I reckon ;maybe a s video instead ? If you have some cd's you can plonk them all on the hard drive with its analog inputs and have buckets available ; not to mention its still pictures album folders ;) Good luck whatever you decide.

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If you have some cd's you can plonk them all on the hard drive with its analog inputs and have buckets available

Actually, these can be uploaded directly via fast copy if you put the CD in the drive. Takes about 10 minutes from memory. If it's a CD that's already in the on-board Gracenote database then it will already know the details of the CD (artist, tracks) when you put it in. I'm in the process of putting my whole collection on there. :-) (held up at the moment as the computer with all my MP3's on it is currently broken)

P.S. so if any of your grannies have CD players, this unit can actually replace 3 machines at once - VCR/PVR, DVD player, CD player.

Edited by donaldp
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Thanks again for all the good suggestions.

I'm not sure how far I wish to take all this.

What I see here in my village that there are a heap of folk who are still using VCR's.

Most of them are LG DVD + VCR devices.

What I suspect has happened is that way back, one has got one, and then another has thought what a good idea and eventually a number of them end up with one.

As most of us know they are missing out on a great viewing experience.

But I don't wish to push a particular barrow.

I think I'll just wait till someone asks the question, "what do I think".

What I was looking for was a "prug and pray" oops plug and play solution.

Its made me do a bit more research, and, now I think I'm armed with a number of alternatives at a various prices.

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Actually, these can be uploaded directly via fast copy if you put the CD in the drive. Takes about 10 minutes from memory. If it's a CD that's already in the on-board Gracenote database then it will already know the details of the CD (artist, tracks) when you put it in. I'm in the process of putting my whole collection on there. :-) (held up at the moment as the computer with all my MP3's on it is currently broken)

P.S. so if any of your grannies have CD players, this unit can actually replace 3 machines at once - VCR/PVR, DVD player, CD player.

Just a point, will the Pana X300 copy to RAM disks? If it does, it may solve the problem.

When they were young (Long before PVR's) my boys used a Pana to record the Saturday AM disney program.

We only ever had the one RAM disk, it was watch and (Usually) delete. Both the machine and disk are still going strong, though very rarely used these days.

JB

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