Right, well, I’ve bought two things of significant value in the past week, and here’s what I think. First thing I bought, was my PVR. It’s this one. A brief overview of what it does:
It’s a freeview box. You can get freeview on it.
It’s a PVR (Personal Video Rabbit). You can record stuff on it.
So, that’s about it. In a bit more detail - it’s a very nice bit of kit. It only came out very recently, but it’s already better than a lot of its current market competitors in terms of features. It’s dead easy to set up and use - you just plug it in and it figures everything out for you. Picture quality is pretty much excellent, although I’ve only got a little tv, so it might not pick up on any small quality issues. For the techno-geek-buffs, it does output RGB scart, but only on the TV scart out. There’s a VCR scart out as well, which does S-Video and something else. It’s got both analogue and coaxial 2-channel audio out, which is nice because you can have the tv through the hi- fi. There’s also an arial loop-through thing, but I don’t know what that does. Pfft.
Recording-wise, it’s easy. If you want to record something that’s currently on, you press the record button. Intuitive. The cool thing about PVR’s in general, is that they buffer the channel you’re watching, so you can pause and rewind tv. The clever bit is, if you’re 20 minutes into a 2 hour film, but only decide then you want to record it, it’ll through the 20 minutes that’s in the buffer onto the front of the recording, so you get the whole lot recorded. I’ve not tested the buffer length, but it’s certainly greater than 90 minutes.
Here however, we hit the annoying snags. The first is that if you change channel, and then flick back again, you lose the buffer. So in the above situation, if you change over to find a film you like, which is already 20 minutes in, you can’t record the previous 20 minutes. This is actually a general problem in all PVRs, as to solve it, it’d have to buffer every single channel all the time, which would take up a rather large amount of space. So none of them can do this, because it’s a general limitation. The second annoying thing is the lack of “chase play”. Say you set something to record in the future. What you can’t do is sit down in front of it whilst it’s halfway through recording, and start to watch the recording from the beginning. You CAN do this if you have it switched on and tuned to that channel, because then it’s buffering it. If you switch it on from stand-by though, you can’t do it. You have to wait for it to stop recording that program, and then you can watch it. Humax have apparently said that this will be fixed with a software update.
So, with a 160Gb hard disk (lots of hours) and about £200 from dabs, I say it’s a bargain.
Second thing I bought was slightly cheaper:
Yes, it’s an Apple keyboard. Only delivered today (grand cost of £19) so I’ve only had an hour to type on it.
It’s rather comfy. The keys feel quite nice, and the action is good too. The volume and mute controls work out of the box, and the apple key substitues for the windows key. Instead of F1-F12, it has F1-F16, so you can use a program like SharpKeys to map the extra function keys to do other things. Like Print Screen, or something similar. You can also remap other keys and so I swapped the left ‘alt’ and the apple key, so that they’re the same way round as a windows keyboard.
Apart from that, lovely. I’m buying another one for work.