August 10, 2010

Too much HD on Virgin for the V+ !!

There's an interesting thread on Cable Forum about the limited capacity of the current V+ to accomodate HD recording now that we've got so many channels. Here's what I've just posted:
I've taken to reducing the padding at the end of HD recordings (you don't need any if recording Sky Movies as they always end earlier than the published time, and ten mins padding if HD soon adds up) but it's still a big problem.
A film like Inglourious Basterds (or however it's mis-spelled) is two and a half hours long with no padding so in HD that's taking up over ten hours on the hard disk. Eight of those and your disk is full.
No chance of recording a series in HD for later viewing so I'm not recording anything off BBC HD at the moment - I record it in SD and if it is available in HD on demand when I get around to watching it fine, if not the regular BBC channels is good enough.
The only HD recordings I'm making are of movies, and I'm keeping five or six on a sort of rotation basis. At least with Sky and Film4 films are kept in such frequent rotation it's not a matter of miss it and you have to wait an age for it to return...
How are other folk coping? It's almost like VM are daring us to do (illegal) upgrades to the discs in our V+ boxes to accomodate recordings.

15 comments:

Andy said...

Either the Sky movie channels are using a different compression method or my V+ is reporting space used/available wrongly.

I currently have 4 HD movies recorded totalling around 9 hours, yet it is telling me I still have 70 of the 80 hours free (no chance the SKY HD channels are using mpeg-4 compression?)

Erich said...

All of VM's HD channels are MPEG2, but Sky's movie channels are running at a marginally lower bitrate than some of the other HD channels. Off the top of my head, channels like Eurosport HD, BBC HD, etc, average around 17mbit, with Sky's channels coming in at just over 16mbit, which is only about a 5% difference.

LewishamLovely said...

it's not just the memory that can't cope with HD - my SA box seems to dislike HD channels in general. since getting a HD TV a few weeks and actually watching HD channels, it is forever freezing up, and the menus are very slow (even by V+ standards) especially if it is recording another HD channel.
and recording 2 HD channels while watching a 3rd? it completely seizes up.

Tom Chiverton said...

How are other folk coping?

I'm crossing my fingers for a free upgrade to the new (Tivo) boxes when they come out shortly !

buzzmatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buzzmatt said...

The SKY+ HD 1 Terabyte box costs £249 plus installation. I know a good percentage of those who fill there current V+ HD box will pay similar but there are cheaper solutions. With Morrisons selling 1TB external hard drives for £40 they need only activate the USB port and develop the firmware/software to archive recordings which CISCO and TIVO are more than capable of. Of course, also adding encyrption so its only able to play back on the same box.

Jon said...

I agree the current drive is hopeless. I'm sorry to say I am one who has gone the "illegal" route. Almost all I watch now is available in HD. I know its naughty but I still stand by my view that the only person it might hurt is myself, if I botch the job and get billed for the box. As for Virgin, they benefit from a lot less wear and tear on their 160GB drive! Honestly, with the Samsung V+ the swap is actually easier, physically, than installing a new HDD in a PC!

I have been really happy to be able to record all of True Blood and Luther and several other things, when there was a lot on in the spring and have now been able to catch up over the summer.

That said, I did this a year ago. If I was just thinking about it now I might well wait for the lovely new Tivo box in the next 3-6 months (hopefully!).

Peter said...

Yep, I am really struggling with the space issue now that I have added the Sky HD channels to the mix. Indeed I am having to rethink the way I have been watching television and the pattern we have developed in our household over the past 5 years. It is frustrating. Just this weekend I managed to clear the disk up so there were 70 hours available and within the space of one weekend (with some sports and a few movies) the disk was almost full. That is simply crazy.

I've brought it up a number of times in email messages and phone conversations with customer support and while there is some sympathy they never offer any resolution or give hope for the future.

It makes the temptation to switch out the hard drive in the unit very strong as the current situation just isn't acceptable - the limited space means you have to make too many compromises on what you want to watch. And when you are paying circa £100/month, I feel like I should be able to watch what I want when I want.

In addition, like others here, the V+ box (actually it is still my original Telewest TVDrive) is much slower and needs to be reset far more often.

I'm trying to hold off for the new TIVO, but when will that arrive and how big will the disk be? I wish we had more information.

Jon said...

The Samsung V+ works very nicely, even with all the new channels. If your old silver V+ is crashing a lot just report it to Virgin. I think you will find they will replace it pretty effortlessly - did for me, even a year ago. They were surprised it was still working at all in fact!

Andy said...

My Samsung V+ is obviously not a maths genius. It went from 70 hours to 38 hours after I recorded two half hour shows in HD on Tuesday. I agree bigger HD or enable external storage via USB as an interim measure.

Jon said...

As it hasn't happened in 5 years, I just can't see it happening. Not with the new Tivo service around the corner. The only options I see are the "anti-contractual" route or a new Tivo box, hopefully soon.

Martin said...

those having problems with HD on the SA should insist on the Samsung. The 3 x bandwidth difference between SATA and IDE alone makes the new box much zippier, without considering the faster processor and larger cache. The fact they stuck with 160gig, however, is madness. Unless theY had a stock pile of smaller drives already, the cost of using 320gig drives instead would have been negligable.

scgf said...

I have a 750GB hard drive in my Samsung V+ box. Easy peasy!

Sondar said...

I haven't yet added the new HD channels, but will be doing so very shortly. As it is, I'm currently always running out of space, and losing programs before I get to watch them. I will be switching out the 160Gb disk for a 1Tb+ disk very shortly.

Does anyone know if I can put any hard disk in? I know the Sky box used to be very fussy about spin up times, altho it probably isn't a huge issue with newer drives.

Robbie TK said...

Since getting my V+ box almost 12 months ago, its gone from a nice 80-60 hours to a low 12. I've just clicked record on anything and never watched it. Doesn't help that since I upgraded I've decided to record about 4 HD movies for future watching. Hit critical twice now.

Should probably get round to watching those Premiership Years and Emirates Cup recordings I made over the Summer.