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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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TDT Changes [ Monday, 23 Feb 09 | 19:24 ]
[Tags|, ]
[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |geekygeeky]

Not much change in the station line up for this month. Just a mysterious Sensació FM, which just has a static image and a music background has appeared. I doubt that it will last long.

On the other hand, I made the first significant changes to my setup in three years. I replaced my existing Televés TDT receptor and Panasonic DVDR with a Philips DVDR. The Philips unit incorporates a hybrid analog/digital tuner along with a better Guide Plus system. Guide Plus is an interactive electronic program guide (EPG) system popular in Europe. Think Tivo light.

In addition, I was gifted with a Logitech Harmony One universal remote so I no longer have to juggle several remotes just to watch TV. And switching from CVBS to RGB on the SCART connection has really improved the TDT picture. I have the option of using HDMI, but a friend who designs TVs for Philips tells me that the upscaling done by the HDMI circuit in the DVDR is not as good as that done by the TV on the SCART RGB signal. How was I to know?

Antenna system for the building
UHF antenna above and
omni-directional FM antenna below

[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Monday, 23 Feb 09 | 22:06 (UTC)
Is the recorder worthy? I'd like to have one of these
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 24 Feb 09 | 06:03 (UTC)

Is the recorder worthy?

My problem is that the TV does not have a TDT tuner, so the DVDR solves this problem. There are many models of DVDRs and you can find good prices through on-line merchants.

This unit has a 250 GB HDD that I use to record and watch shows later. I could also write a DVD, but seldom do that. More likely we watch pre-recorded movie DVDs and music CDs.

A problem here in Spain is that TV programs don't start/stop on time. This can be adjusted through the recording of the show with "timing delays", but it is still a pain.

I have the DVDR setup so that it is always recording what you are watching. So if you get a phone call or other distraction, you can re-watch what was missed, Likewise you can decide to save it for later viewing.

This unit has "smart chapters" which means it looks at recordings and decides where the commercials are and it's easy to skip over them when watching the show later.

I have several shows that are recorded on th HDD during the week that Ruben can watch on the weekend. Also, there's a "jukebox" function that allows you to have slide shows, etc.

I haven't figured out how to make the unit region-free despite trying a hack that I found.

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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Wednesday, 25 Feb 09 | 08:08 (UTC)

Re: Is the recorder worthy?

I was looking for something that looks like a TIVO. But the only interesting stuff is called Dreambox (it gets programming from internet), which is useful if you want satellite programs. It costs about 800
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Wednesday, 25 Feb 09 | 08:48 (UTC)

Something that looks like a Tivo

Unfortunately I don't think you can find a Tivo analog here in Europe. The Guide Plus system here is not as good as Tivo, on the other hand, there's no monthly subscription charge. I bought my Philips DVDR5570H for 303 € through Pixmania.

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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Wednesday, 25 Feb 09 | 12:44 (UTC)

Re: Something that looks like a Tivo

Google a little bit about the dreambox. It exceeds TiVo - and it decodes for free all premium satellite and cable channels, including HD ones
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Wednesday, 25 Feb 09 | 14:52 (UTC)

Re: Something that looks like a Tivo

I haven't seen these in stores (e.g. Fnac or MediaMarkt). "Decodes for free all premium..." means there is a hack that circumvents the normal check for some sort of authorization. There are similar things for DirecTV setups in the US.

For our non-European readers, Satellite TV is very different here than in the US. There are a number of satellites available and some programming is free along with "premium" (pay) channels. It's not necessary to pay a monthly service fee in order to watch satellite TV. You just need a "dish" and a receiver. SES Astra is probably the most well-known satellite operator.

I could set up a dish as I have an unobstructed view to the south where I live. When I lived in Richmond I had OTA, Comcast cable and DirecTV services. Now that I am retired, I just have TDT.


Edited at 2009-02-25 02:52 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: cuboz
Monday, 23 Feb 09 | 23:37 (UTC)

Oz's old Logitech touchscreen Universal Remote just carked it the other week, so he went out and bought a Harmony One as well!
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