Looking for a receiver to do some recording

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Das Hammer

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 16, 2006
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First, let me just say that I don't want this to turn into your typical "Help me decide what to buy" thread.

There are some things that I would like to record off of FTA. There are enough things to justify purchasing a unit to handle this recording. Having a timer to record a certain channel at a certain time is good too so I won't ever have to miss Kojak:) . Unfortunately, I seem to find a problem with all of the boxes with recording capability.:mad:

Pansat 6000 - Rediculously slow blind scan, remote totally screws up my A/V receiver. I don't know why, but all of the Pansat remotes I've had will do this. Something about that Up arrow key makes my A/V receiver go into some kind of factory test mode where the input changes to CD input and the volume cranks all the way up. Kind of a pain to avoid using the up button on the Pansat remote all together. Also have to reconfigure the A/V receiver each time this happens. Like the dual tuners though on the 6000 and other nice features.

Dreambox 500 - Yes, you can record to a hard disk on your computer. This becomes a little complicated though when you run a Mac (don't even start with me). I like the small size and that it is very customizable with different skins, but no blind scan sort of kills that deal. Furthermore, you can't pause live TV like you can with the Pansat 6000.

Dreambox 7020 - A little more Mac friendly with the help of the MpegStreamclip software, but still no blind scan.

Geosatpro1000 - Thought I had a winner with this one, but it seems that it you can't get the digital files off of the hard drive. There is not a removable drive, nor can you hook up your computer to it to do a transfer. All you have are the basic video connections on the back, this means I'd have to transfer everything manually.

Viewsat's new one - Not out yet, heard Viewsat's picture quality isn't up to snuff, but haven't tried one myself.


I'm sure I left a few and that's where you guys come in. Have you used anything else? What did you like, what didn't you like. Anyone else do some serious recording?

Thanks
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
436
172
Mankato, MN
Das

I was in the same boat as you around Christmas. I wanted a PVR unit to record FTA and I honestly thought the Pansat 6000 was the thing. I ploppd down 500 bucks to get this. I was so excited like a kid at Christmas (actually, I got it 2 days after X-Mas)

I hooked it up and had fun with it.....then the true colors of this unit came out.
I swear Dish Network made the software in the box.

The blind scan was slow and buggy
everytime I would go into the antenna menu, it never was on the satellite I was on so the dish started moving
remote screwed up 2 other components of my setup (including my remote A/B switch)

but the last straw was the stuttering of the channels. On some channels it would freeze for split seconds all the time. If I recorded it was fine. Then I went to record a hockey game and the stuttering was on the recorded item.

Sold it the next day. I dont know if they have fixed the bugs but when I got it 3 software upgrades later and it was worse than when I first got it.

Now I use a 80GB Hard Drive/CD Burner. I can record stuff ot the hard drive, edit (hide) commercials and either copy to a VHS tape or burn to a DVD. Absolutelly LOVE it!! Yes I have to set 2 timers (one on HDD and one on FTA box) but it works..no bugs and have no issues :)
 

Das Hammer

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 16, 2006
545
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Too close to Ohio
Yeah the Pansat 6000 and I had this love/hate thing going on for a while too. I can't recall any stuttering problems, they might have actually fixed this in the later updates. It was the 5000 all over again (had one of those too).
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
436
172
Mankato, MN
The ones that really stuttered were ONN and G3. G10 was pretty good. AMC4 was decent. AMC5 on the horse channels were fine but feeds stuttered.

Had mine for a little more than a month before I sold it
 

partyharty

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 6, 2006
178
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Hello Das Hammer

What did you think about the Geosatpro 1000? I have seen several for sale (fairly cheap) but I didnt know what to think. The ones I keep seeing have no hard drive in them (you add the drive) so I was under the impression that it was removable (guess I was mistaken).

Unfortunatly I cannot help you too much on the reciever thing. I just ended up with a cheap software based pci card, it allows me to set the times to record (then I just output it to a dvd burner). Basically I have it installed in my htpc (which also pulls in over-the-air signals.

Best of all is it came out a bit better in the end (and is somewhat cheaper then the reciever based option).
 
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jlm

New Member
Jul 14, 2006
3
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North East, USA
You guys just blew my bubble regarding the Pansat 6000.
But I guess being new to this stuff, it pays to listen to those
that have gone before you.
 

ghia

Pub Member / Supporter
Nov 11, 2005
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I have been thinking of getting a receiver to record with as well. I've researched a lot and can not find anything that I think I would be pleased with. The closest I have found was the Relook 400s. The Telesat review was ok but not great and it seems as if most information out there on this unit is from hack sites, so it is hard to judge the true performance of the unit for legit uses. The price is a bit too steep to gamble on for me. It is typically sold without a hd.
 

Das Hammer

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 16, 2006
545
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Too close to Ohio
partyharty said:
Hello Das Hammer

What did you think about the Geosatpro 1000? I have seen several for sale (fairly cheap) but I didnt know what to think. The ones I keep seeing have no hard drive in them (you add the drive) so I was under the impression that it was removable (guess I was mistaken).


OK, it is removable if you want to dismantle it. The Pansat 6000 had a removable drive that you could just slide out of the front of the unit. Then, you just connected a USB cable to it and could pull the files to your computer. The Geosatpro doesn't appear to have any easy way to get the digital files off of the internal drive.
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,594
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Port Hope, ON Canada
I have two PCI cards for recording various FTA programs. They are setup to automatically turn the computer on and off through the task schedular and power management settings. This is however with a WinXP box, and not a MAC. The advantage of using the PCI cards is that you are recording to hard disk the bit streams as they are sent and there is no digital to analoge to digital conversion to create loss of quality of the picture and sound. The disadvantage is that many of the bitstreams are not DVD compliant, but will play on many of the DVD players that accept MPEG files. With this method, there is no loss of quality as you are feeding the DVD player the exact bitstream as what was sent over the satellite. On G10R, most of the channels are only using approx. 2Mbs bitstreams so the files are fairly small and you can fit 6-8 hours of recordings on one single layered DVD. If you want DVD compliance, then you can re-encode the files, but you will loose some quality of the picture, as with every digital-analoge-digital conversion there will be some loss.
On my Starchoice system I have the s-video ouput connected to a LG PVR. With this setup, I leave the Starchoice box on all the time, and setup the LG PVR to record via timers at various times. This record to the hard disk, and then I transfer the recordings to DVD. With the settings I use, I get about 2hrs 13 min on a DVD. The problem with the LG PVR is that if you edit the file on the hard disk, you can not do a high speed transfer to the blank DVD, and it goes through another Digital-analoge-digital conversion in real time. i.e a 1hr 45min show, takes 1hr 45min. If you do not edit the file on the hard disk, then it is a straight digital transfer (record) to the blank DVD. (about 15 min to burn the DVD)
On my fathers Starchoice system, I have a Pioneer PVR that like the LG, records the shows on a hard disk. With the Pioneer PVR I can edit the recordings and still transfer to the blank DVD digitally, (high speed recording) without the long process of having to go through the digital-analoge-digital real time process. (as long as I leave frame accurate editing turned off).
With the recording to a PVR, the PVR is connected to the satellite box through the analoge video connection. i.e. in my case the S-Video connection. The audio is connected through the left and right RCA jacks. This translates into the PVR is not recording the data stream as sent to you by the satellite, but is re-encoding the video and audio as it is recording. The picture quality will never be as good as what the data stream is, but can be so good you will not notice a difference. Another drawback is if the satellite is broadcasting in AC3 audio, you do not have a way of recording in AC3, but can only record in left and right audio. (this would be Dolby Pro Logic, but not Dolby Digital depending on what is transmitted. A lot of the times it might be just mono or stereo) The files created by the method will be DVD compliant, as you are encoding the files as you record. You have the option with the recorders to adust the bit rates to allow for longer recording times on a DVD disc, but then you start sacraficing quality.
You can always edit the files recorded on the DVD disk, or the mpeg files recording on a computer with various editng software on the computer. Editing with a computer is far superior to editing on a PVR. It is harder to navigate with a remote control than a keyboard and a mouse or other input device.
In short, recording the datastream with a computer will always give you the best quality recodings, as you are getting the actual data stream sent by the satellite. The drawback is it might not be a DVD compiant data stream, but many of the newer DVD players will play these mpeg data streams. The stand alone PVR hooked up via the audio and vide jacks will create a DVD compliant disc, but will not be as good as quality as recording the data stream. In many cases you will not be able to tell the difference. The data streams sent by the satellite are optimized for size (bitrates) for they can fit as many channels on one transponder as possible. Due to this the recorded files are fairly small in size, and you can fit many hours on one dvd disc.
When choosing a standalone PVR be sure to research how easy it is to operate and edit files. Does it have a highspeed transfer if you edit the files? i.e. trim the start and end off the recording? Trim out the commercials? I find for my use the Pioneer recorder to be far superior over the LG, but the Pioneer does not play Divx files. (my Pioneer is an older model) I really like the hard disk bassed PVRs, as I can record several shows befor transfering to DVD. I can also record longer shows and cut them in half befor transfering them to DVD. If you are ok with a loss of quality (may be unoticable) I would suggest gettign a Pioneer Hard disk based PVR to hookup to the audio and video jacks of your satellite box. Please note, I have not tried having the PVR control the satellite box. i.e. turn on/off, change channels etc. as I have my satellite box left on one channel to record and do not turn it off.
 
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kymics

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Jun 16, 2006
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Winnipeg, Manitoba
How about the Manhattan Plaza ST 250 CI (PVR Ready)?

I was looking at these quite a while back (I think because the price was pretty low for what you get). Anyway, British in origin but there's a retailer (Satellite Superstore) that offers international shipping.

Receivers can be purchased PVR-ready (dump in your own drive), but I can't see any indication if they have an option to output saved files directly to a computer. I guess you could send them an e-mail to ask. Receiver has blind search and it looks like you can select NTSC as a video output choice.
 

Das Hammer

Thread Starter
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Feb 16, 2006
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Too close to Ohio
kymics said:
How about the Manhattan Plaza ST 250 CI (PVR Ready)?

I was looking at these quite a while back (I think because the price was pretty low for what you get). Anyway, British in origin but there's a retailer (Satellite Superstore) that offers international shipping.

Was thinking about those too. Another member here had a 550 for sale, but at the time I didn't know much about them. Even has the voltage output for controlling a linear actuator.

Larry1, thanks for all of the good reading. I built a MythTV box earlier this year based on a 3.06Ghz Celeron and a 102g (KnoppMyth R5C7). Was a pretty good experience, but the wife didn't like it. Way too much going on at one time I guess.

So, I'm thinking the Plaza ST series is a good choice. An STB upstairs by all of the TV equipment, but the flexibility to allow me to sneak in the back door and grab recordings via the network line.

I think when I recorded with the Dreambox it was saving the transport streams. Wouldn't this be the same bitrate at what is coming down?
 

brentb636

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 24, 2006
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5 miles N of Saugatuck, Mi
I'm using a Plextor TV402U, PVR . It's a hi quality (built in DIVX compression ) unit, and hangs off a USB 2.0 port . It's pricey , but does a good job . I've gotten the full Sopranos, now I'm scheduling "The Wire" each Sunday .
 

fulszjep

SatelliteGuys Family
Dec 19, 2005
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dvr for fta

I use my triple dragon box. So far the best picture that I have seen with any box that I have bought. But at 429.00 plus hard drive I would go pci card and build a home theater piece.
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,594
138
Port Hope, ON Canada
Das Hammer said:
I think when I recorded with the Dreambox it was saving the transport streams. Wouldn't this be the same bitrate at what is coming down?
Yes this would. This would give you best quality and fairly small files. Any of the built in hard disk machines will as all they do is copy the stream to disk, well some in their own unique format. This is more headers on the mpeg packets. (or so from what I have read) To be able to network to a STB to pull the recodings off the hard drive is a great featue. I wish my boxes had this feature.
 

updatelee

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Jul 22, 2006
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CFB Edmonton
nero 7 can author the .ts files directly into a dvd for you including a simple menu with amazing easy. all in one app too which is nice.
 

Das Hammer

Thread Starter
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Feb 16, 2006
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Too close to Ohio
fulszjep said:
I use my triple dragon box. So far the best picture that I have seen with any box that I have bought. But at 429.00 plus hard drive I would go pci card and build a home theater piece.

Yes, been looking at those too. Forgot about an auction on ebay I was watching and one just went for $310!! By the way, are you going through the scart?

I was incorrect about the Plaza ST though, it does not have Ethernet. Scratch that one.

The HTPC thing just isn't going to happen, fellas.

Updatelee, good to see you. Thanks for the tip.
 

partyharty

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Mar 6, 2006
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Das Hammer said:
The HTPC thing just isn't going to happen, fellas.

Unfortunatly at this time it gives the best bang for the buck spent.

I would really like to have a set top box to do everything (for simplicity's sake) but until they come down a bit in price, I will be sticking with the htpc.
 
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