Speaker by Various Artists


The Freeviewer Diaries (2)

by Freeviewers 1

So far the single best thing I've found about my freeview decoder? Burglars don't recognise its value so they leave it behind when they cart off my other geek necessities (goodbye laptop, eeePC, ipod, camera, flatmate's playstation...). Needless to say now that I no longer have a hard drive bulging with totally legitimate television downloads, I will be relying much more on the shiny Zinwell ZMT-640PVR.

I have discovered that occasionally when the news tapes, it shows up as TV3 Plus 1 in the playlist, but I'm unsure if that's maybe something my flatmates have done. Likewise, occasionally programmes that I expect to have taped aren't there. I am blaming my flatmates and thinking that this may be the week to figure out password protection. The idea of having a whole channel dedicated to carrying TV3 shows just a couple of hours after they've already run is pretty clever though. I occasionally refer to myself as being on Perth time due to my sleeping habits, and it is nice that Freeview is catering to someone on Sydney time.

Comments on PA system about my last Freeview diary went over my head very very quickly, with extensive talk of HDMI encoding and all kinds of hacks and talks of different coloured cables. I want to stress that the Zinwell is redonkulously easy to use, and you don't have to be able to follow any of the things that the resident PA technocrats were going on about. Four coloured buttons, the info key and the electronic programme guide will keep you satisfied. The one thing that I really must remember to do is start recording Shortland Street from the beginnning which screens at 8pm weeknights on TVNZ6. Marge is still manning the reception desk! Gina is pushing her trolley! Steve Mills is still alive (um, spoiler alert...). And I hear that some guys called Russell and Damian also have shows on the extra channels. I really should check those out pretty soon...

Joanna McLeod, Zinwell ZMT-640PVR


Well the excitement of having a new gadget has died down a bit and now we are learning to live the DVR.

For me the single button recording from the EPG is simply the best feature. Of course I have been recording madly and not having the time to watch very much. For example I hardly ever get to watch the news because of children’s activities around that time, so I have it on automatic record every night. I am sad to report I have only sat down later and watched the recorded news once. For this reason I have found a really helpful feature when viewing recorded programs. If you have to exit that recording for whatever reason, when you go back to it, resumes playing in the same spot.

A feature mentioned from one of the commentors after our posts last week made me have a look to see if I can find functionality only to keep the last x number of recorded episodes in a series. Say keep 3 nights of the news before deleting them. It doesn’t look like this model does that though. I am not sure how long it will take to run out of memory on the hard drive (this demo model has 320GB although is meant to have 500GB) but I am being conscientious about deleting unwanted stuff right now. Still we’ve managed to use 100GB already.

We did run into a little issue with the dual recording on Wednesday night. I had set up recording for TV3 and Prime and then tried to watch a third channel. The Freeview website notes that for this model “some channel combinations may not be available” but I wasn’t expecting TV1 and TV2 to be missing. I ended up watching TV7 and “The Backbencher”. Not being a very political animal that didn’t last very long, but quite funny when switching to parliament TV in the middle and seeing the chamber almost empty (but then realising it was delayed coverage).

The improvement to reception and picture quality is so much that for now we are sticking with our old 21’’ CRT TV for now. Freeview has added a lot of value to it and I don’t have to worry about the kids accidentally wrecking a flash new flat screen. I am a curious to see what I can do with the USB ports on the DVR too, but that’s on the agenda for the weekend. So far it doesn’t look like you can hook up the computer to it though.

Pauline Dawson: Homecast HT9200DTR

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