PVR Quality

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JerryLA, Jan 19, 2003.

  1. JerryLA

    JerryLA Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been thinking about purchasing a PVR for my system. My question concerns the quality of the recorded programming. I'm on Dish Network and have the model 6000 receiver. I understand Dish is going to release their new model 921 which includes the ability to record HD content, that is not as big an issue as overall quality of the recorded picture on non HD content. Does anyone know if their will be much difference in the picture quality on the units available now (Tivo,ReplayTV,etc)and the new Dish model coming out this summer.
    Thanks,
    Jerry
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    First you have to understand there is a difference between the ANALOG PVR's (Tivo, Replay, Ultimate) and the Sat-based units (DirectTivo, DishPVR).

    The ANALOG units take a analog feed from some source (CATV, DSS receiver, etc) and do an analog->digital conversion. This creates a generational loss much like a taping a show onto a VCR.

    The Sat units DONT record actual analog signals. They simply write the bitstream from the sat to a hard drive. When you play things back, they are bit-for-bit identical to the original broadcast.

    So if quality is an issue, you want a DIGITAL unit tied to a sat service.

    Note: I cannot promise you that the HD recorder from Dish will work exactly like I described. There MAY be some compression going on to enable more than a few hours of content storage.

    So if it's quality you want, check out the Dish PVR721 for your sat service. It will be superior to any store-bought Tivo/Replay/ShowStopper/Ultimate device.

    Good Luck.
     
  3. JerryLA

    JerryLA Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info Bob. I have been looking at the DishPVR 721 and thought it might suit my needs. I guess another question would be is do you think it is worth waiting for the new model 921 due out this summer? I also noticed you are from Walnut Creek. My wife and I lived in Danville until about 6 years ago when we moved to Colorado. Small world. Thanks again for the information.
    Jerry
     
  4. JerryLA

    JerryLA Stunt Coordinator

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    Bob,

    Another question is the hook up of a DishPVR. I don't want to give up my model 6000 which is the source for my HT system in the main viewing room. Would I just add the PVR into another input in my system?
    Jerry
     
  5. Ken Seeber

    Ken Seeber Supporting Actor

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    The PVR-721 is a dual-tuner standard definition satellite receiver with the PVR built in. There is no built-in MPEG encoder, so it has to have the satellite feeds (in this case, two of them because it's dual-tuner), connected directly to it. In other words, it would replace your 6000.

    Because the 6000 is a high-def receiver, you would probably be better off to wait for the 921, if you can afford it. Rumor has it it could go for as much as $2,000.

    Dish's equipment is always expensive, but the reason for the cost of the 921 is that it's loaded. It has two built-in HD receivers and a hard drive somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 gigabytes. It's capable of recording up to two HD channels at the same time, from satellite or over-the-air.
     
  6. JerryLA

    JerryLA Stunt Coordinator

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    I knew it would be expensive but that is a bit too much for me. Is there a way to connect the 721 into my existing set up and be able to switch to the 6000 for HD programming only and use the 721 for everything else?
     
  7. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  8. JerryLA

    JerryLA Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the information, I may wait and see if the $2000 price tag for the 921 is accurate. If it is... I know which way I'll be going!
     
  9. Ken_F

    Ken_F Stunt Coordinator

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    The 921 will not cost $2000. DISH representatives at CES gave a range of between $800 and $1200. It will be sold at or near cost. My expectation is $1099-$1199, possibly somewhat less for new, first-time DISH subscribers.

    Obviously, with 250Gb hard drive capacity, dual satellite tuners, a new ATSC OTA tuner, 256-512Mb RAM (for OS and buffering), and two Firewire connections, it can't be cheap. Looking a pricewatch.com, a 250Gb hard drive alone costs $400.

    As for the PVR functionality, one should be aware that DISH's 721/921 are timer-based PVR units with search capability. They do not currently offer anything comparable to the Tivo's "season pass functionality" (arguably one of the best features of Tivo). Of course, you still get recording, pause, commercial skip, instant replay, fast forward scan, rewind, slow motion, and frame by frame advance.

    At the next DISH technical forum (Feb ~12), we should get an update on the status of 921, and possibly pricing info as well. At CES, it was learned that the first units were tentatively scheduled to enter manufacturing in April/May with an initial 20,000 unit production run. Given Dish is notorious for delays, I don't expect to see this unit until August or September.
     
  10. JerryLA

    JerryLA Stunt Coordinator

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    Ken,
    Thanks for the update. The Season Pass feature is not very important to me. I just want to be able to view programming without commercial interruptions, and record programming while I'm away or asleep. I might go for the prices you mentioned if the unit comes in at that. I am a bit impatient. Seems like Dish won top honors at the 2002 CES for the Moxi Digital Media Center. I got on their web page right after that and added myself to a mailing list to let me know when this would be available. I never heard from them. I did get and update saying they merged with a company called Diego I believe. Needless to say the deal with Dish must not have worked out. The 921 sounds very promising. I really don't want to have to switch inputs and run both the 6000 and the 721.
     

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