Pros It's everything you need to control your HD programs, watch High Definition shows on your schedule.
Cons TV Guide on Screen a little troublesome with some digital cable providers, no compoent in video.
Summary I owned Tivo since it first hit the market and fell in love with it from day one. The only drawback was when I began to invest in HDTV's and not having the resources to enjoy my favorite recordings in HD. Sony has solved this problem plus more.
Fast forward, rewind, or pause HD with the push of a button. The remote is simple and not overwhelming, with very intuiative button placement for seamless intergration of thumb and machine. The cablecard interface allows for the convience of cable programming without the monthly fees of a set top box. There is a minimal charge for the cablecard though, contact your local cable company for availibity and pricing.
The only drawback in the beginning is the set up process, as it does take a while to get all your Tv listings broadcast over and analog channel. It requires the unit to be turned off for several hours to download data, leaving us electronic geeks salavating with anticipation to start recording our first HD recording.
You can't miss buying this unit now as it also records analog programming as well. So if you can find one get it, the holidays are coming soon and believe me when I say Santa will be busy delivering these high end units all winter long.
Pros Easy to Record, Cable Card, HDMI, Component Out, Digital Audio Out
Cons TV Guide a little difficult to set up
Summary After yesterday when the TV Guide system finally started working, it was the best thing I have ever seen. The TV Guide takes some time to set up. I waited the 24 hours like sony said, but nothing happened. I was ready to return the unit, but it just started working magically. It was a modern day miracle. I think that it takes more like 2-3 days to get setup correctly. Despite all this it is an excellent DVR. No more VCR's for me anymore. This will truely make your life easier, and best of all the TV guide is free, not like Tivo.
Pros Receive over-the-air HDTV channels not carried by cable. Get TIVO like recorder without monthly fee.
Cons Minor problems with on-screen guide. Can't add program title to manual recording.
Summary This recorder stores up to 30 hours on HDTV programs without need to store tapes or disks. Also, no need to keep a list of your recordings since they appear on your screen with the push of a button. It doesn't take much more effort to set up a recording with the easy-to-use remote control, which also has a nice feel.
Another nice feature of this recorder is that the recorder shows the first words in the title of the program you are viewing,
The manual is very thin and I suggest you read it to fully enjoy all of its capabilities.
This recorder is the best available product for recording HDTV programs from both antenna and cable. Moreover, if you only have cable to improve reception, this recorder may eliminate that need. I originally got cable for that reason, and was amazed by the quality and quantity of signals it gets.
It takes at least overnight for the guide to appear, and it is updated every night, Power must be off for this to occur.
If you receive signals from both cable and antenna, you will want to disable one of them to simply guide listing. Also, the guide had the wrong HDTV channel numbers for cable, and I had to find the correct ones manually, and then edit the settings.
During the inital setup, you are asked to enter your zip code and select cable service, if you have one. A list of cable providers is shown and you are asked to select yours. Mine wasn't on that list so I had to choose one and hope that it had the same program lineup. After a few tries, I found one that worked.
Only other problem I have with the guide, is with the Channel 4 news at 11 pm. I tried to record this program nightly but can't because the guide changes the name of the program from day to day - everything but news at 11.
The recorder can be set to record a program daily or weekly but only if the program name remains the same.
I probably can use the manual record option to avoid the above problem, but in general I would advise against using this option since the program name and detailed information is unknown and you can't enter a title manually. Programming with the guide is not only much easier, it avoids losing the end of programs that are scheduled to start or end beyond the normal time, and eliminates recordings of unwanted shows due to schedule change.
Only important feature missing from this recorder is an HDTV input for my Comcast HDTV box.
"Was expecting just the equivalent of a HD tuner VCR that instead used a hard disk and got much more"on by idjit_rabbit
Pros merges antenna & cable channels for seemless surfing
Cons EPG TV guide seems to take forever (24 hours)
Summary I took a chance and ordered one on the internet without actually seeing and touching one.
I saw lots of negative comments about the EPG (TV Guide) so I wasn't expecting much. I thought I would be satisfied with manually scheduling my recording like I have always done on my VCR and that's why I was impatient when I had to wait 12 hours for the time to get set from the EPG. The when the EPG finally got sync'd up, to my surprise it works great. I am impressed. Although it did take a little getting used to the menus. Now I am easily finding so many shows that I was missing I'm not sure I'll have time to watch them all. I've found the program guide's keyword search most useful. I've set up multiple searches for my favorites. It is also easy to just display all the movies in the schedule and just click to record them. I've got many friends paying for Tivo that has some more nice features but then again they are paying a monthly fee. If you go to www.tvgos.com they had info in their FAQ that helped with navigating the EPG. It really does have a learning curve.
It doesn't have two tuners so you can't watch one program while you're recording another, but you can watch something that has been previously recorded while you are recording something new. In my setup I have my VCR hooked up in front of it, which is connected to another input on my TV and when I need to watch something else I just switch the input on my TV to the VCR.
The feature that I am most happy with is something that I had always wished for and I had no hope that any company would actually design into their product. That is that there are two antenna inputs, one for cable and one for an over the air antenna. When I hooked up both my cable and antenna I expected that I would have to press a button each time I wanted to switch antenna sources. Not so with this DVR. It searches both inputs and merges all the channels in a seemless stream and program guide. Why would I want this? My cable company for some reason doesn't want to carry all of the broadcast stations in my area, especially missing is the digital HD broadcasts and a WB station - I just can't miss "Smallville".
On another note the tuner does receive QAM over cable. That wasn't clear on any of the Sony literature but I read the manual online from their website before I bought it and it does work.
One of the other reviews mentioned something about lacking inputs and at 1st I thought it should have them too, but seeings how it doesn't have a DVD writer in it, what would you use them for for?Updated
After a few weeks now I have noticed it occasionally misses a recording event. I came home last night in the middle of a show that it should have been recording and it wasn't. I checked the schedule and it was correct. I booted it by doing the "exit" "TV Guide" buttons and when it came back up the recording event executed. They definitely got some bugs to fix. What's interesting is that it did the same thing last week in the same time slot but then I had it scheduled with a manual event and this week I had it scheduled to record the specific program. Both times I had an event that recorded two hours earlier which recorded fine.
This bug has occured three times out of maybe 50 scheduled events. I plan to contact Sony's support line.
After this I am knocking my rating down a couple of notches to an 8. I still like it a lot but this bug needs fixing.Updated
After booting it occasionally (exit - TV guide buttons at the same time on the front panel) I haven't missed an event since.
A friend with TIVO told me that when he first got his unit from TIVO they had some bugs that made him have to boot on occasion too. Although TIVO had a way to upgrade and fix the bugs on the fly. I'm not sure how this unit get fixes.
Pros really has two tunners you can use both if you wish
Cons can find nothing to ***** about not like me.
Summary scale 1-10 a 10+ on recored hd program can't tell it from a live feed all of tivo feactures just shop around got mine for $599 +13 shipping???? yes you will love it + easy as pie to set up