Monday, 7 November 2005

Fire In The Sky

This year's Bonfire Night passed without incident. Unlike 1985 when a high school friend ignited a rocket in my parents kitchen and burned a hole in the carpet (luckily for him we were moving to a new property).

Here's an in-depth look at the new Pace TDS470N.

Connectivity
*VCR A/V SCART – VCR Scart for connection to Video Recorder.
*TV A/V SCART – Provides either composite or RGB and composite video output. Audio volume can also be controlled in software.
*Analogue Audio Outputs – An important addition for users wishing to integrate the set-top box into their home audio system. Volume can be adjusted or muted under software control.
*S-Video Connector – For high quality video connection.
*UHF Modulator – For connection to main TV and optional connection to second TV.
*RS232 – Serial port connector for service and factory use only.
*USB 2.0 – For connection to an array of multi-media devices (iPod and PSP).
*SPDIF – For connection to home Dolby Digital amplifier.
*RF Input – Twin IF inputs to connect to dual LNB at dish.
*RJ11 – For telephone line connection.
*AC Input – For mains power supply.

3rd Generation
The TDS470N is a third generation personal video recorder (PVR) currently deployed by BSkyB in the UK.

Performance
Main processor speed runs at 166MHZ.
Internal hard disk drive (possible option to upgrade HDD size).
High speed data port for future connectivity upgrades.

PVR Features
Twin Tuners – The TDS470N’s twin digital tuners allow the user to:

*Watch one digital channel whilst recording another.
*Pause live TV – Pause a live programme.
*Archive favourite programmes on to VCR.
*Dual Record - Record two programmes simultaneously while watching a programme from disk.

The TDS470N’s Time Shift and Video Recorder functionality allows the user to:

*Store 40-80 hours of programmes (depending on bit rate and set up).
*Use VCR style facilities (FFWD/RWD/Stop/Pause).

Assuming that your satellite dish is installed and correctly aligned. Self installation is a breeze. Before starting I'd recommend switching the mains power off. Interconnect quality is important and I used Monster and IXOS SCART and Toslink cables. Once you've completed this step. Insert your viewing card and turn mains power on. Leave in standby for at least 60 seconds. Switch on and leave it for another 60 seconds. This gives the software time to settle and download channel listings.

The Pace TDS470N shipped with EPG version 1.28d (latest version is 1.30q) and is missing new, but non-essential features (the new PIN restrictions are a nuisance). Go into the menu, system settings and configure the following (not defaults):

Picture > RGB SCART (for a suitably equipped television)

Sound > Dolby D (for a suitably equipped receiver)

Foregoing callback (accessed via 'secret menu' Installer Setup - 4 0 1 Select > New Installation), call customer care to match your viewing card (you will need to go into Service > System Setup > System Details). And that's it! Really, really simple.

Yesterday evening I watched this on sky+! With the exception of Star Trek: Nemesis all scheduled recordings in the sky+ Planner were successful.