Last weekend I bought a new Sony RDRHX910 DVD/HD recorder. I’d been holding out for a few months since another one came into the house and was connected to a small LCD screen in the kitchen, where my partner often watches TV programmes I can’t stand.
[Quick note for any non-Kiwi readers: we don’t have Tivo in New Zealand, though I think Sky are introducing something that might be along those lines.]
Sometimes I want to watch programmes on the bigger screen in the lounge, where we also have a reasonable low-end home theatre sound system, and sometimes we want to record two different programmes at the same time, so last weekend I was back to shuttling through video tapes to find a blank spot, a blank tape, or even just the programme I’d recorded the previous week. Of course it would be intelligent to write on the label stuck to the cassette, but seriously, who ever does that consistently, if at all? I don’t.
Having now got used to the sheer intelligence and ease of use of the Hard Drive recording I lost all patience with the video tape after only a few minutes of fast-forwarding and rewinding in vain. Next day I took up the offer of 13 months interest-free and with no repayments till January 2007 and brought home my shiny new recorder.
If you’ve only ever used video tapes for recording then you won’t know the pleasure and ease of just pressing Record without first finding a tape and checking it has free space. How about the ability to name each programme — the recorder tells you the date and time and length of each recording, so it’s easy to name it before you even watch it. Protect the recordings you don’t want to erase. Skip around easily within a recording, because the recorder marks ‘chapters’ as it goes. There are heaps more features of course, but all I can really say is: Video tape is dead.
I bought the 250Gb model, so the 32 hour Star Trek Enterprise marathon coming up this weekend (Season Two by the looks of it, presumably with lots of repeats) will be no problem to catch.