"Beware - A recorder without inputs!"1.0 starson by iSeriesGuru
Pros: Nice cabinet, nice display
Cons: No audio/video inputs - no, really! Doesn't tune all digital cable channels without a Cablecard
Summary: I would have considered this an elaborate joke or hoax if I hadn't just spent a thousand bucks on it - an audio/video recorder with no audio nor video inputs!
My $99 Tivo has audio/video inputs - including S-Video, so why not a box costing 10 times as much?! And my Tivo comes with an IR-blaster to control the cable box. Does the Sony? Nooooo. It does include an IR blaster (G-Link), but it's designed to control only VCR's, when dumping a hard-disk resident program to tape.
The only inputs are RF - from an antenna or from cable. So, if you've got satellite service, fuggeddaboutit. And even if you've got digital cable service, you need a CableCard to receive scrambled channels.
And guess what - not all cable companies are offering CableCards. Why should they? Devices such as this Sony are competition for the cable companies' own DVR's. (Pssst, cable companies - not too much competition here.)
And not only are the scrambled channels a problem without the Cablecard - I can't receive most of the free (broadcast) HD channels with this Sony. And the ones I do receive are found in some very odd places - channels such as "102.41" or "84.6".
And did I mention that when I set the unit to output in 1080i format (my Mitsubishi's native format and which has worked well with my Comcast/Motorola HD box), the Sony just gives me wavy lines - I have to set it to 480i or "Native" mode (which looks just like 480i.)
SONY - You've built an audio/video recorder without inputs for audio and video - what in the world were you thinking? Did you even look at the Tivo? You *did* build a Tivo once, you know?
Oh well, all in all, a beautiful, 500 gigabyte, $1000 doorstop.