TV & Video Advice

  [email protected]© 14:08 18 Mar 2012

Hi I know this is not PC related but I have been a member a long time and know you are all so helpful. My elderley parents have always used a video for recording TV but now with all this digital changeover... They have Sky but they live in flats that have a communal dish, so no Sky+. There is an 'outdoor aerial' socket that the video plugs into but now their video has gone kapputt. What are there options now? Buy another video, buy a DVD recorder (will that plug into the outside aerial?) Is there a way to record Sky without Sky+ Thanks for any help you can give me.

  Batch 14:16 18 Mar 2012

I'm no expert on Sky, but isn't it just a case of getting a Sky+ box (as opposed to a Sky box without the +) and connecting that up to teh Sky feed? I'm assuming a Sky+ box just has a hard disk in it to record to plus the software to do the necessary.

Alternatively, get a Freeview PVR (personal video recorder) and connect this to the outside aerial. Again, this will have a hard disc in it and works very much in the way that I believe Sky+ does, except that it is limited to the channels available via your aerial on Freeview.

If you were to go down the Freeview route, I guess that, theoretically, you should check that Freeview is available in their area. But by now, surely virtually the whole country is covered by Freeview.

  [email protected]© 14:19 18 Mar 2012

Thanks for your input. They do have a Sky+ box but with Sky+ you need a 'double' feed coming in but because its communal it only has the single feed.

  Batch 14:30 18 Mar 2012

Is it absolutely necessary to have the double feed?

With many Freeview PVRs the box has twin tuners, so that you can record one channel whilst recording another. Because it is not a satellite service a single co-ax aerial feed is all that is needed.

So, if Sky+ is the same (in that the box has twin tuners), might it just work off the one feed (but mean they would be limited to recording and watching just the one channel at a time)?

As I say, alternative is to go Freeview PVR (NOT to be confused with FreeSAT) route. If they don't want HD, then I'd recommend Humax 9150T (if you can still get one, from around £100) or a Humax 9300T from around £180. I have an older Humax 9200T (about 7 years old I think) and it is an excellent piece of kit with very good software / menus etc.

  [email protected]© 14:38 18 Mar 2012

Whats the point of having to watch what you are recording at the same time lol? I may stand corrected but if you have just the single feed from Sky thats what you have to do. A double you can record another at the sametime as watching another.

The freeview route, would that work in conjunction with Sky? How user friendly would it be like I say they are elderley and dont want to confuse things too much.

  Batch 14:52 18 Mar 2012

SKY+: well, they could record whilst they're not watching the TV, that's about it. I'm just giving you some options, afraid you'll need to decide whether they work for your parents in the way they use / view their set-up.

Presumably the DVD recorder is connected to the aerial and thru to the TV (via SCART?), Freeview PVR could do the same (if TV has two SCARTs) or use one of the PVR's other output types (i.e. other than SCART) to feed the TV. All depends on the output types of any given PVR and the available input types of the TV (with the SKY service already connected).

Appreciate the problems with elderly folks getting to grips with new kit. The Humax box has a very clear on screen electronic program guide (EPG) that is fed over the airwaves. When you want to record something (either a single program or a series), you just select the program from the guide and hit the OK button. If it is part of a series it then asks if you want to record the one episode or the whole series. No need to key in times or codes or anything like that. Again as I understand it, very VERY much like SKY+

  john bunyan 18:06 18 Mar 2012

If you use a Freeview DVD recorder or PVR plugged into the external earial they just they could connect it via a different SCART or HDMI lead then to use it or Sky just select the appropriate AV input. I have just got my first free TV licence and although some may call that elderly, I can "manage" such things easily - as well as shrinking films on to my grand children's iPods etc.

  robin_x 21:05 18 Mar 2012

PVRs and their EPGs have been easy for the several 70+ yr olds we know.

The main problem seems to be which remote to pick up and which AV button to press to get the right source for the right box. But that confuses everyone till you get used to your usual setup.

  [email protected]© 10:36 19 Mar 2012

So the best option would be to purchase a freeview box with hard drive, plug that into the communal outside aerial then into the tv and record on to that. Then they can continue to watch sky at the same time. If so would something like this do?

  robin_x 10:54 19 Mar 2012

That would be the way I would go.

Google the Bush for reviews. Or any other PVR you are considering. Not sure I would buy from eBay.

I'd prefer a shop in case of problems. Argos, larger supermarket (for fuller range) etc

But £66 is rather a cheap price. Unless anyone can comment better.

  [email protected]© 11:00 19 Mar 2012

Ok, I am struggling to get my head around what the difference between a freeview box with hard drive and a PVR is. I think I am understanding the 'logistics' now, where freeview is to outside aerial to one 'AV' on the TV and Sky to another AV on the TV. Its just knowing the hardware to get now, around the £70 mark.

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