First the question. Does anyone make a twin tuner Freeview recorder with a hard disk that will also record from SCART Video-In?

And now the background and perhaps the answer. Some Far East manufacturer has come up with a board and reference design that has been boxed and labelled by lots of suppliers. A classic example is the Evesham PVR160. It's a great piece of kit that's amazingly cheap at UKP150. But there's one catch that affects anyone with 3rd party content feeds (eg NTL, Sky, Telewest, old video tapes etc). It's got two scarts but they are both Video *Out* only. One's for feeding the TV, the other is for feeding a VCR or DVD-Writer for archiving recordings. What you can't do is record from either of the SCARTs. This feels really dumb to me. It would have taken only a small bit of hardware and software to do this. When did you last see a VHS or DVD recorder that *wasn't* able to record from SCART.

It seems that every low end FreeView HDD recorder uses the same board and has the same limitation. If you look at the higher end HDD recorders, as far as I can tell none of them have on board freeview and program guides. So the choice seems to be Freeview, ease of use and no external recording, or external recording but analogue tuner(s) with Videoplus.

It gets worse. Most of these low end HDD recorders have no support for topup TV. So you can only record the free to air Freeview channels.

The background to this is that I've got NTL TV as part of a package but also so I can watch the MotoGP and other motorcycle racing on Eurosport, Motors TV and Men and Motors. NTL have taken 2 years now to roll out their HDD recorder (like Sky+). The early adopters on Telewest have had big problems with theirs and NTL might be releasing it in the next 3 months. Or they might not. It's not yet on their product pages. You can kind of bet that the NTL version will be twin tuner, have an easy to use EPG but also won't be able to record from external sources. My VHS recorder has finally died. I *will* need to record Eurosport channels some time next year.

Aaaaaahhh! Why is every solution flawed?

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[ 11-Dec-06 8:28am ] [ ]