Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Digital TV Recorder tale.

Gail really loves her television. She watches hours and hours of television, some programmes she watches live, others she time-shifts by recording them to view later. We had a Digital TV Recorder which provided good service and Gail used that machine heavily until one day she declared that it was "on it's way out" and she wanted it replaced with a new one.

We shopped around and on the 27th November 2009 decided to buy a Hitachi HDR253 250GB HDMI Digital TV Recorder from Argos at £106.19

This new machine worked but there were many glitches which really annoyed Gail. We would switch it off, then back on again and things would improve but the glitches would return after a while. We looked at the user reviews on the Argos website and found that many customers had taken their Hitachi HDR 253 Digital TV Recorder back because of faulty performance, with comments like...

"However when on standby will not turn on with remote control, it then has to be turned on at the machine itself. Occasionally the picture momentarily freezes."

"The unit worked fine for a fortnight and the display went off ,,the power led was still lit i then unplugged the unit ....left it for 10 minutes then reconnected the power the unit was dead i took it back to Argos and explained the situation they gave me a full refund after i refused an exchange ...thank you Argos"

"broke within 2 hours of installing it"

"I think we were unlucky because ours was a nightmare and eventually stopped working. we returned it for a full refund. As I said, we wouldn't condem the product - we obviously bought a bad one"

"Overall not bad,only problem is it has a mind of its own when you record. It sometimes records in 2 sections or starts late or early so you can miss part of the program.So will change for a new one and see if it a makes any differance its only 2 weeks old."

"A good range of features and the HDMI interface was excellent. However, the machine continually froze completely and had to be hard reset several times a week and the picture would also jump, both on live TV and in recordings. I had the machine replaced but the replacement was little better. That was eventually replaced by a different make. This item has serious design flaws."

"The only problem I have had is that it sometimes 'freezes'. You have to switch it off at the wall, then on again."

"I am having a serious problem with this purchase. Since I installed it, about once every hour or so my TV screen goes blank for 5-10 seconds. If I disconnect the scart lead, this ceases to happen. I believe it is a defective machine and I would like it replaced."

"The only thing(s) that have stopped this getting five stars is that it does occasionally let us down. Examples include: Starting a recording after the programme had started; Worse: ending a recording before the programme had finished (we watched a film for 90 minutes only for it to suddenly stop on the cliff-hanger finish two minutes before the film ended (very frustrating!); The other day it started one programme late and finished it early (doubly frustrating!); It stopped in the middle of one programme and then started it again three minutes later and listed it as two separate programmes in the library; Occasional freezing or loss of the picture (though every freeview box we have ever had has been guilty of this)."

"However we are now on our second unit (the first inexplicably switched itself on from standby and then froze several times in the first two weeks - returned to Argos who exchanged it without any trouble.) The second has done the same a couple of times & we are keeping fingers crossed!"

...So on the 22nd December 2009 we took our Hitachi HDR253 250GB HDMI Digital TV Recorder back to Argos for a replacement rather than a refund because Gail really liked this machine but could not stand the glitches. Having read the user reviews above we both felt that it was the luck of the draw whether you got a good or a bad example of this machine. We decided to try our second machine in the hope that it would work better than the first and without any glitches. Sadly this second machine would not record BBC1 and the Electronic Programme Guide would not page down - only scroll one line at a time and the general response was very slow, so it was useless to Gail. We went back to Argos on the 28th December 2009 and exchanged it for our third and after setting it up found that it was better than the second. Unfortunately it was not recording BBC1, so we checked that there was not a problem with our aerial or the signal being broadcast by using our old Onn Digital TV Recorder - everything worked well with our old machine. So we decided that these Hitachi's are tempermental and whenever we got a glitch we would switch the machine off, then on and do a new user installation routine.

We got quite used to the Hitachi throwing a wobbley, freezing, not recording and a whole range of glitches. Each time we would switch off and reinstall. The weeks rolled by and Gail was getting more and more fed up with the continual bad performance of our Digital TV Recorder. We lost all faith in the Hitachi and on the 14th March 2010 we took it back to Argos, paid them another £43.70 and traded up to a Sagem DTR67320T 320GB Digital Freeview+ Recorder . We had tried three different Hitachi's in the hope that one would work properly, none of them did, so we cut our losses and paid more in the hope that we would get a far better working and reliable Digital TV Recorder.

WOW! What a difference in two machines! This Sagem Digital TV Recorder is far, far better than the Hitachi. Gail has mastered the instructions because the software and remote control are very different to that on the Hitachi. The Sagem does the job, there are no problems watching live TV, the Electronic Programme Guide works well, all programmes are recorded properly, the system has not crashed and the screen has not froze. We have had no glitches with this Sagem and we are pleased we bit the bullet and traded up to a better machine. Everything works as it should and Gail is now a happy bunny. The lemon has gone and now we have a peach. This all makes for a quieter life for Stephen as Gail is no longer swearing at the television, bless her!
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