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When it comes to watching television I'm not the biggest of fans of most shows. I try my hardest to avoid those reality show, which is difficult at the best of time due to the fact that they seem to be plastered all over the media every single day. I mean, I don't care who danced on ice with some joker who was once in a show that starred someone else's grand fathers brother. I don't really want to know about a poor girl who has had a hard upbringing and is now telling the world in the form of song... I don't care... I don't watch the shows and, when the shows are on, I even give certain newspapers a wide berth too. Front page news has certainly changed these days.
Anyway, as I said, I try to avoid those show as much as possible, but the rest of my family don't, they love this sort of programming, (which has led me to believe that my family are completely insane and need some serious mental health), so when these shows are on I never get to watch the programs I like, which are mainly on 'Dave' so they are repeated quite a bit.
But it was this scenario, them watching all sorts of shows whilst I was sat in another room working, that I though I'd have to invest in a TV recording system that would record the shows I wanted without upsetting the family.
I do own a DVD recorder, which has come in handy and lasted quite some time, still going pretty strong in fact, but that lead to me having to invest in recordable DVDs in order for me to be able to record a show.
And now, after a bit of deliberation and a cracking price drop in a local shop, I have myself one of those new fangled HDD digital recording devices that are designed to record television shows straight onto a hard drive instead of a DVD, which means recording, deleting and even watching programs is a lot quicker and easier than washing pots.
The actual recorder that I got my hands on is in fact the from the well known company called Goodmans, with the full name of the machine being the Goodmans 320GB Twin Tuner Digital recorder, (AKA, the GD11FVRSD32.... ah, I hear you shout, I've heard of it now...)
Firstly, if you're interested...
Opening the box was a pleasure really, no nasty sharp bits of plastic to slice through, and that usually slice through my fingers. This box was just kept shut by a single slither or sticky tape and a couple of folded pieces of cardboard. Once through the low security defences I dragged out the unit, which was held comfortably in place by some well placed foam bits, and made sure that everything was there, those bits being...
* The black twin tuner recorder.
* A quick start leaflet
* A user guide
* A remote
* 2 AAA batteries, (which is nice)
And that's it. There's no leads to speak of, apart from the mains lead, so you will have to supply your own Scart lead and aerial lead, although the latter is not necessary.
* So what does it look like..?
It's not massive, about the same size as one of those old fashioned video recorders, VIDEO RECORDER??? What on Earth is a video??? I can hear you asking, scratching your head, asking yahoo answers??? Well, a video is a plastic casing thing that housed a long rolled up length of special tape like material which was magically able to record things onto. It was out before CD and DVD came onto the scene, which was then taken over and left on the scrap heap by HDD, which will soon be on the same scrap heap when SSD become more popular.
But anyway, back to this unit, it is, as I said, about the same size as a video recorder, or even a larger freeview box, (now you've got it), being about 300mm long, 200mm deep and 50mm high, (including the tiny little feet that it sits on), it weighs no more than a couple of kg which means that it can sit on the thinnest of shelves, almost.
As for it's looks, well, it's really just a basic black with a couple of lights in the middle of the front panel, when switched on, and a couple of little stickers telling you that it's 'freeview+' and digitally approved. Then, on the right, there is a power button with Goodmans name above that.
Turn it around to take a look at the rear and all you get is the Scart socket and the aerial in and aerial out sockets. These being marked with 'RF in' and 'RF out'. then there's the power cable which is fixed into the unit on the left, as you look at the rear.
The rest of the box is taken up by screws and slots which are used as cooling vents for the interior workings.
You can't control it using the main unit itself, apart from turning it on and off, so you do need the remote control to do everything really.
* The remote...
(This can be skipped as it only explains the remotes buttons... sorry).
The remote is your basic looking hand held remote, about the same size as all the other remotes you'll no doubt have splashing about the house, behind the chairs, fallen into the settee, in the fish tanks, everywhere. So using this one is just like using any of the others.
Basically though, from top to bottom, there is
The 'power' button, which turns the unit on or off. Then we have the 'Home' button, which take you to back to the TV. There's also the usual 'Mute' button, which helps you stop having to listen to those screamers on the X factor. The number buttons, 1 - 0, take up the top section of the remote, which do have letter on them too, as you would see on a mobile phone for texting.
Then there's the 'menu' which take you to the units menu, such as settings, controls etc. next to that there's the 'guide' button, which opens up the television guide, giving you a rough idea as to what garbage is going to be on during the week. We then see the 'LIB' button, which isn't the quick vote button for the Liberal Democrats, it's actually the Library option which opens up the programs that you have recorded, making it easier to see what you want to watch. The other button on this row is the 'R' button, which is the record button, which explains itself really. This can be used in two ways, either by a quick record, record what you're watching at the time, or setting a timer to record something that is on later that day.
The cursor keys are in the centre of the remote, surrounding the 'OK' button, these are self explanatory and are used for several function, scrolling around the options on the screen.
Below the cursor we then see the volume up and down, with the channel up and down.
Then we come to the more complicated buttons, although they aren't complicated to push. The top row of these buttons are the HDD control, rewind, stop, play/pause and forwards. I don't have to explain these buttons really as they do what they say they do.
On the second row we have the 'sub' button, which turn the subtitles on and off. Next we have the 'slow' button, which slow down what ever you're watching. Then there's the 'swap' button, which jumps from the channel your on to the one you were on last. Finally on the row we have the 'back' button, which takes you back one stage at a time.
On the second to last row there are the 'text', which turns the test on and off, the 'wide' button, which changes the look of the picture. The 'aud', which changes the audio settings and 'exit' which take you out of anything you're in and back to the program you're watching..
And that's the remote
Thanks for reading, or thanks for skipping, either way, thanks.
* Setting it up...
This was so easy even I though that I had missed something out.
I simply plugged it in, connected the scart lead, (not supplied), slotted in the aerial which comes from the roof, then I slotted an aerial cable into the 'RF' slot and into the rear of my television, (again, this cable is not supplied and is not really needed as the unit uses the scart to connect to your television).
Once connected up I turned on the unit, using the remote, although the power button can be used, and was greeted by a set up screen. This screen gave me the choice of wide screen, (16:9) or 4:3. I chose widescreen as my television is set to 'auto'. anyway, once chosen, I pressed the 'ok' button and waited as the search for channels began. At this point I expected to wait a while, maybe having time to make a brew, but it only took a few seconds to find all the channels on the first go, leaving me with a dry throat and a long list of channels to choose from.
Where I live when I retune my TV I sometime get the Welsh channels due to the fact that the antennas are all a load of rubbish and can't decide which region I'm in. usually I tend to keep the aerial plug out of the socket until the tunings at about 50%, this eliminates the picking up of the Welsh channels. When tuning this I didn't keep the aerial out and expected to have to retune, but once the channels had been found I was asked what region I was in. I pressed the 'North West' section and the welsh channels all went to the bottom of the list... bonus.
And that was it.
I was set up and raring to go... it's just a shame that there's nothing on really.
* Some of the function...
This unit offers several functions, possibly too many to go through here, but the main one are...
Or programme guide...
This is an 8 day EPG and is clear to read and easy to understand, giving the channel list down the left side and the programs going across the screen. You simply scroll about using the remote, checking what's on, reading the little bit of information that's there. Then, when you're happy, you press what ever button you feel you need to press.
For example, if you want to watch a program that is on at that time you press 'OK' and the channel will switch over. If you want to set a reminder for a program that is on later then scroll over to it so that it's lit up, (sort of) and then press 'OK'. a little yellow clock icon should appear to let you know that you have now set a 'reminder' which will automatically switch the program over when it starts.
If however you want to record a program, one that is on now, you press 'R'. the same goes for if you want to record something that is on later, or another day, you scroll over and instead of pressing 'OK' you press 'R'. a little red record icon should appear next to the program.
And that's the programming guide and recording function... simples.
There's also the good old fashioned 'now and next' function which means that you can see a bit of information on the program you're watching and the one that's on next.
Menu, which opens up the choices of...
* The library, which gives you a list of the shows you've recorded, allowing you to either watch them, change there names or delete them.
* Channel organiser, which lets you re-arrange your channels. You can actually lock channels out so that others can't watch them, or even hide channels if you want.
* Settings, which let you change the settings of the unit, such as parental locking, HDD formatting, factory reset and more, including advanced settings which sounds impressive but isn't really.
* Retune, lets you retune the stations, which we all have to do every so often.
* System information, give you the information of the unit.
As I said, there are more functions, such as timer recording, live pause, text, subtitles and more. But these functions are all easy to control using the on screen directions and a bit of patience.
* How big is the HDD..?
It about 160mm by 100mm by.... Ow, sorry, it's not that sort of size is it? It's the space on it. This space is a good 320GB of storage which claims to be able to hold up to 150 hours of viewing pleasure. Now that's a lot of Eastenders in anyone's eyes.
* How do I know what space I've got left..?
This is done by going into the library and following the easy to understand directions. You can also choose to see the space in time or percentage, the choice is yours. I use time as it's a lot easier to understand at a glance but if you enjoy maths then percentages may be for you.
* Is the recording feature easy to use..?
Pretty much, yes. In a nut shell you record programs by using the 'R' button and, as I've already mention, can be done either straight away or set up for later.
Once on the HDD you can browse the show at your leisure using the controls on your remote. Go into the library and select from the list you have created.
You can also set the unit to record a series of shows, which is done by selecting the 'record series' instead of 'single episode' when you press the record button. This option comes up every time you press the 'R' button so you can set up which ever series you want to watch.
* Do I have to watch the same show as I'm recording..?
No, you can watch something else and still record a show. Just turn over the channel and the unit will keep on recording the program you asked it to. In fact, it claims to be able to record 2 shows at once whilst still letting you watch another. I have not tried this claim as yet but I will soon and I'll let you know if this is any good. I can't see it not working as everything else works fine.
* What about getting rid of stuff..?
When you have watch something, or just want to get rid of it, you can delete the program as easy as using scrolling through the list of programs and pressing the 'red' button on the remote. You are then asked if you're sure just so there's no accidents. This will delete the program.
* It claims to be able to pause live TV...
That's right, that's what it says, and it does, sort of.
It has a button that, when pressed, will pause what ever you're watching. Then, when you press play, the program will start again from where you paused it. So it can pause live tv.
I do have to say that there is a bit of a delay when this function is used, about 2 seconds when paused and the same when you go back to normal, but once it's going then it works pretty well. It's ideal for when you're watching that important program, Eastenders perhaps, when someone is secretly sleeping with someone else and someone else has found out and is about to call someone else, only for ten people to answer their phones at the exact same time. And it's for things like this that this 'pause live TV' comes in handy if you have to leave the room. You just press pause, do what you've got to do, come back and press play and the show restarts where you last saw it, running through the show as if you'd never left the room, so you'll find out who did the dirty deed. Was it Den? Was it Angie? Who buried the body in the cabbage patch? All I know was that it wasn't me, I was watching Brookside at the time.
* What about eco warriors..?
According to the booklet that came with this unit this takes about 0.5watts per hour on standby, taking only about 1.5 watts when in full flow, so even those ardent eco warriors won't be hammering on your door.
* Are there any negatives..?
Not really. Well, none to make me what to return this to the shop kicking and screaming, sitting in the middle of the shop floor, crying like a baby until I get my money back.
If I had to give this a downside I would have to say that it is the way that the volume is a little low.
What I mean by that is that when I watch a program though this I have to turn the volume up on this almost to the top setting, then I turn the volume on my television up a little too. This then leads my television to be quite loud when I switch back to it from this recorder.
This does also happen on the DVD recorder so it may not be the HDD recorder, it may in fact be the scart socket on my television or even the scart lead itself.
But as this is not really a problem I'm not going to start crying foul.
* My opinion...
Well, after recording shows onto DVDs using a DVD recorder for what seems like years now I was shocked as to how easier this one is to use, although it can't pop out a usable show on a DVD for me to watch elsewhere, but if I want to do that I simply play what ever is on the HDD on the TV and set the DVD to record direct from TV, this lets me watch what ever and also record onto disc at the same time... it is a slow process but it works well. Anyway, for a simple record-watch system this one is a nice little tool indeed, and it's so easy to use even my dog got the hang of it, (not really, he's a bit stupid to be honest, he's always eating his foot and yelping when he bites a bit too hard, then he carries on eating his foot), but it's so simple to use, (the recorder not my dog).
It doesn't look anything special. It has no massive bells and whistles to boast about.
So, if you want bells and whistles then you're going to be disappointed here, but if you want to be simple able to watch and record you TV shows then this will do it.
The remote is another easy thing to understand, with all the button being either clearly marked or having a symbol on it that is easy to realise what it's for.
The recording function is what it's all about, as it is a recorder, and this function is quick and simple to get the hang of. Going through the EPG, selecting what I want to record, pressing the 'R' button and leaving it to do what it's good at.
I like the way that it allows me to not only record a show whilst watching another, it also lets me record two channels at once, so long as there is enough space on the HDD. Then there's the fact that I can set it to record a series of shows, which, at the moment, with one of my kids really into NCIS, is really useful as I don't have to listen to her shouting at me if I've forgotten to press record.
What more can I say about this recording box of memory..?
I could say a lot really, even telling you what I've recorded on the HDD since buying this. But I won't as that's personal, (and it's nothing rude, I don't subscribe to those sort of channels).
All I will say is that this is a massive advance from those Beta max video recorders and will come in handy for any busy television viewers.
* And the price..?
This remarkable machine sells for about £100 - £120, or there-abouts. I managed to get mine for £80, which was the main reason I grabbed it from the shelf there and then as I knew that it wouldn't stay there for long at the price.
* Would I recommend this..?
Yes, without a doubt, even if you don't watch that much television. There's always a show that you want to watch whilst your out at work, or in the pub, maybe one of your neighbours are appearing on the Jeremy Kyle show? Waiting to find out who the father of the baby actually is? And this device will mean that you won't miss those DNA results.
Other shows are being aired and not as tacky as the Jeremy Kyle show.
It sits on the shelf like any other device of its type, a DVD player/recorder, skybox, TiVo or what ever you have sat under your television, this won't look out of place, and it's there when you need to record the entire series of CSI does Essex, introduced by Debbie of all people.???
© Blissman70 2013
Goodmans GD11FVRSD32 Digital TV Recorder comes with 320GB hard drive and twin tuners to record one programme whilst recording another or even record two channels at the same time / It has also a Play Pause and Rewind Live TV function what is very convenient if you get interrupted when you are watching your favourite programme / Using Series Recording feature you can record an entire series of programmes.