Making a DVD from TV programme – I give up!

I have been working with an evaluation copy of DVR-Studio Pro (which costs €75 to buy after the evaluation month expires). With it you can open the .ts file you have previously downloaded to your computer from the Personal Video Recorder (PVR) and quite quickly edit the programme – typically to remove advertising breaks.

What happens next is hair-pullingly frustrating. You should be able to load up a blank recordable DVD and then click one button to produce a copy of your edited TV programme on the disc. Does it work? Well, yes and – more often – no. Sometimes it just stalls at the ‘Authoring DVD’ stage. Sometimes it produces Continue reading

Now that’s what I call a blog!

I set up my blog to dip a toe in the water and get to know WordPress. So I have been tinkering around and adding posts quite happily, without giving a thought to audience or readership. But increasingly I have begun to wonder what I might do to allow others to experience the tedium, frustration and boredom that is reading someone else’s aimless writing.

Today I discovered a blog which is sophisticated Continue reading

Making a DVD from a saved programme

I am told that my late grandfather had a ‘cat’s whisker’ radio which required painstaking tuning and complete silence from everyone else in the room so that he could hear the faint signal of the BBC Light Programme on headphones.

Sometimes I imagine being able to travel in time and show him some gee-whizz 21st century gadgets – or even some everyday technology we take for granted like colour TV. But today I imagined myself as grandfather talking to someone as yet unborn, describing to them the time consuming journey of discovery and frustration that is making a DVD from a saved programme.

Having got a file off the Humax and onto the PC, I have spent many hours Continue reading

The Humax redeems itself

I don’t like to give up on a technical problem – especially if success is tantalisingly close. So today I disconnected the Humax PVR from the TV in the living room and connected it to the PC in the office.

Guess what? MediaController worked just fine! I have been able to transfer a TV programme and a radio programme and play them on the computer, and I have also been able to transfer mp3 songs and jpg photos to the Humax!

Why can’t I do this using a notebook PC? Some people say the USB doesn’t have the power. Or maybe MediaController doesn’t like Windows 98 (the desktop computer is running Windows XP). I don’t think the opeating system is an issue because MediaController is a DOS command-line application.

So there you have it. Any time I want to get a file into or out of the Humax, I just have to unplug the power, two SCART leads and two co-axial cables, and carry it into another room. What could be simpler?

Humax PVR9200TB – the honeymoon is over

Don’t get me wrong – I still love my new personal video recorder (PVR) and I wouldn’t dream of going back to a single Freeview tuner and VCR. But there are a few irritating shortcomings in the Humax, one of which I think amounts to a breach of the Sale of Goods Act.

You are supposed to be able to hook up the PVR to a computer using a USB lead. Not only is this essential if you want to archive a programme (eg by burning it to a DVD) but also if you want to load the Humax with mp3 music files or jpg images. (That’s what the 5 Gb partition on the hard drive is reserved for – and it can’t be reassigned to TV or radio files.) However, I have spent several hours and failed to transfer a single file in either direction.
Continue reading

The Namesake – bland, over long and boring

The NamesakeMira Nair’s 2006 film didn’t draw me in. The characters were superficial, the cinematography squandered many opportunities to stun the audience with East-West contrasts. I felt like I was watching a flat, emotionless account of events in a family’s life. This happened, then this happened, then another thing happened. Where was the drama?

Again and again we return to the boy’s name. Was it so interesting or important? Not for me. A few plot turns would have been nice. A bit of tension maybe? A sense of struggle, conflict, alienation, prejudice, dilemma, regret, surprise or any number of other ingredients would have lifted this work beyond the “couple migrate, find it a bit strange but cope” format.

Half of this film should have been left on the cutting room floor.