Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:58 pm
Giving this one a go from Auckland. covering my experiences
So this is one of those long rambly posts but i'll keep it bulleted to make things easier to follow.
- First up, I'm relatively new to the world of PVR's and A.C.Ryan was a totally unheard of brand to me. My first real go at PVRing was using Windows 7's inbuilt media center. It worked pretty well but the limitations of it were pretty obvious. NZ has an EPG that seems as difficult to access in some cases as a clear and concise statement from an escaped mental patient. Weeks and months of fruitless tinkering got me, at best, EPG information for the current show and the next one or two. Also being attached to my computer, it made displaying high def tv on the big screen somewhat of a challenge unless i wanted to relocate all of my computering goodness up into the main room (which I didn't) and videos that would be playable on almost any device apart from what i had.
- I found the device quite by accident. After going for my monthly excursion to PB Tech for my customary nerdy wet dream, I found a pile of these DVR's hidden away under a shelf, unlabelled and unpriced. Naturally this piqued my interest immediately. It was something I couldnt have and I wanted it. After some deft arm twisting and a bit of luck (begging and pleading) I was the proud owner of a new PlayOn!DVRHD unit, and at a discount. At the time they told me they werent quite ready for sale just yet, something to do with the firmware and something not quite right. I paid no attention, it was time to plug it in and give it a go in the real world.
- Getting it home I opened the box, and was pleasantly suprised at the sheer number of goodies inside that came with the unit. It came with HDMI this and Y,Pb,Pr that, a remote that would confuse even a rocket scientist and a good sized, jet black and shiny unit that felt pretty light. plugging it all in was simple enough, though one may desire a coaxial cable for getting the tv signal from the wall to the unit (they're not included) the ubiquitous nature of these cables makes their lack of inclusion a rather minor point. with everything plugged in I turned it on, the blue power light roared into life, and was introduced to the setup menu. Getting everything running with the tv signal was a breeze, the channels were quickly scanned, found and playing within a couple of minutes, the time zone and all the other information was taken from the channel info, very little effort was needed on my part to make this all work. I then proceeded to watch tv and enjoy the experience. For all of two minutes.
- This is not a bad thing though. The issue I had was to do with artifacts, blocks, stuttering and random bright greens and purples appearing where they shouldn't have been appearing. It seemed to only appear on certain channels however. Channel 1 was bad, 2 and 3 were unaffected, as were C4, Maori Tv and 3+1. Prime seemed to have a small case of the gremlins too, but far less than Channel 1, which had a propensity for grinding to a halt when it felt that whatever was being broadcast was too rubbish for my eyes. Thankfully, this problem became a non issue as I explored the DVR further.
- Opening it up, there is room for a full size 3 1/2" SATA II hard drive and having a spare (and paltry) 500 GB hard drive lying around, I whacked it in, did up the screws, formatted the drive and was away laughing. Timeshift is a useful feature. You can pause live tv so you can attend a riot for a few hours, return after being arrested and pick up from right where you left off with in the Jermy Kyle Show. Fast forwarding through the ads, rewinding for important plot points to be heard over and over again and slow motion for the momentary nipple flashes all teenage boys crave is all available in this box. It also seemed to make the broadcast problems on Channel 1 and Prime vanish. I would recommend keeping the Timeshift feature permanently on from my own experience, but it could potentially be just my unit having the channel sniffles.
- Networking was the next thing to try out. As internet had been wonderously disconnected for a while, I had to make use of this feature quite a lot. I was and still do have issues with connecting the pvr to my pc via the network, something to do with authentication errors between Windows 7 and the device, but more tinkering or wise words may yet fix that. uPnP was my saviour here, and connections worked, I was sufficiently wowed, and then some. Preveiws load with no problem at all, videos play soon after you select them, and quality appears to be on par with exactly how you would anticipate them to be. Objectively speaking (not scientific at all) I fould .flv videos to be somewhat grainy in comparison to on a PC and some tearing was noticed on some videos that i hadn;t noticed before, but again here, these are by no means the case for most of the videos I tested out. 1080p movies streamed effortlessly over the wired network and the quality was utterly brilliant. Sound is what I would consider good, but again this must be heard for yourself, as my speakers are somewhat rubbish. Bass was sufficiently rumbly and full, midrange wasn't hissy, treble didn't sound tinny and volume levels didnt have the extreme variation of a bipolar persons mood swings.
- If anyone is interested, I will add more to this when I've had a sleep. There is a ton more stuff to write about. Hopefully I can cover things I liked, didnt like and some things I may need help with. Still discovering and trying new features as I find them, but liking that it's simple enough for my flatmate to watch tv with without having to go to college first to figure out how it all works.
till next time