[opendtv] Re: Panasonic's DVD recorders include ATSC tuners

  • From: Frank Eory <frank.eory@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 14:10:00 -0700

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

At 4:46 PM -0400 3/28/07, Manfredi, Albert E responded to Frank Eory
 > If the DVR is a separate component from the display, the DVR
 becomes the focal point of all channel tuning -- not the TV set.
 Yes, some HDTVs have built-in DVR functionality, but then of
 course they are no longer just displays, and consumers who buy
 that type of integrated product have a different usage model
 than the typical home theater household in which the display is
 just one of several A/V components.
Problem is, no DVR can fill this role. So this system design ends up
becoming a big nuisance.

We already have multiple signal sources for a typical home entertainment
system. We have radio tuners, DVD players/recoders, possibly VCRs,
possibly LP players, possibly game consoles, and finally possibly a DVR.
It's not realistic to expect the DVR to act as a single source device.
It just ain't going to do the whole job, unless people are happy to let
DVR designers limit their options.


Looks like once again, you missed the point being made completely.

There is no question about the need to hook up a display to multiple sources as you have described. But most consumers want and use ONE COMPONENT to tune to the RF signals coming into the home. Have you noticed the posts talking about the ability to integrate OFF-AIR DTV tuning with DBS and cable boxes. What the consumer wants is to enter a number and get to any channel, or to use an integrated guide to assist in channel and DVR recording selections. Having to switch inputs to the display to get to different channels is a pain in the ass. I'll go a step further, and predict that the company that can integrate ALL of the components that are connected to a display in a seamless fashion is going to be very successful. This includes simple selections for any device and automatic adjustments for display input, display source format, and audio format including level adjustment. My DLP display has four devices connected at the moment:
1. HD cable STB with DVR using analog component port
2. Progressive scan (output) S-VHS recorder using S-video port
3. Progressive scan DVD player using analog component port
4. Nintendo Wi using AV port ( I have a component cable but only two component inputs). The proliferation of remotes, differences in audio output levels and need to change display inputs is the biggest hassle with this system. I could h9ook up the internal analog cable tuner, but why bother? The cable box gives me two tuners, DVR functionality and PIP.
Yeah, I also wondered what the heck Bert was talking about, especially the part about "When watching live TV, it's just as logical to *not* have to turn on unnecessary devices. I can tell you that my wife thinks so, loud and clear."

It's not about how many devices you have to turn on, it's about how many buttons you have to push to watch what you want. The replies about the appeal of the Harmony remotes, especially to non-technical spouses, were dead-on. With a remote as smart as a Harmony, any content source/AV switching configuration is just a single button click away -- even if your desire is to use the ATSC tuner that's built into your HD display.

Bert seems to be stuck on the notion that the video display is also the control center of the home theater. Since most home theaters are not set up that way -- especially in DVR households -- it is actually a lot more work (more button pushes) to use the tuner that's built into the display, not to mention that for that extra effort, you actually give up features you get accustomed to in your normal configuration.

Since Craig gave his list, here's mine:
1. HD cable DVR with dual QAM/NTSC tuners, HD component outputs & SPDIF audio
2. Progressive scan DVD player, component outputs & SPDIF audio
3. HTPC running XP Media Center with dual ATSC/QAM tuners, HD component outputs & SPDIF audio
4. Xbox 360, HD component outputs & SPDIF audio

Before adding the HTPC into the mix (because sometimes 2 HD tuners just isn't enough!), the only connection to my HD display was a single set of component video cables coming from the AV receiver/amp/video switcher, and the "universal" remote that came with the cable DVR was sufficient to do everything with just a couple of button pushes. Adding the HTPC complicated things, not only because I ran out of component video inputs on the AV receiver, but because I now have too many devices for the cable company's "universal" remote to address. I guess I could really use a Harmony or something similar at this point.

The point is, if I challenged my wife to try to watch TV using the tuner that's built into the display, it would be a serious engineering exercise involving remotes she's not accustomed to using (ever), and if/when she finally figured it out, she'd say "where's the program guide?" "where are all the cable channels?" and "why can't I pause this show when the phone rings?" -- quickly followed by "why would I ever want to do this?" and maybe some more colorful words directed at her engineer geek husband.

It makes no difference how well the digital modulation works. The fact that the tuner is physically located in the wrong box makes it a huge pain to use.

-- Frank
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