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Come and Go

November 27th, 2007

Well, it had to happen. The DVR/DVD recorder I got three years ago finally crapped out. Last night I wanted to record something on the fly, but couldn’t figure out how to make it shut down automatically after a certain period of time. I knew it would eat up all the hard disk space before I cold wake up, but I’d done that before–it just eats up all the time and then shuts down. So I wake up this morning, find it has shut down like I figured; I edit the recording to erase the 4 extra hours it recorded, freeing up a bit of space.

But by the time I returned home this evening, the hard disk was clicking away–as it had some times in the past. I shut it down and restarted–and I got a hard disk error. Tried all kinds of things, but no go–the hard disk looks like it’s fried. Looking it up on the web, it seems that every mention of this error was treated by swapping out the hard drive. And mine was full of stuff I had not yet archived. Oh well.

I got the thing three years ago, for about a thousand bucks (electronics always cost more in Japan, sometimes 30-40% more than they do in the U.S., for some reason), and had always felt that the thing wouldn’t last too long. It had several meltdowns in the first year, most of them in the initial few months. Most of the breakdowns concerned the DVD drive–it failed twice, fortunately both times within warranty. I am actually surprised that it worked smoothly for two years after that. At least, I got a hell of a lot of use out of it–I’ve got hundreds of DVDs to show for it.

Repairing it now isn’t too promising an option; most likely, it’d cost more to repair it than it’s worth. Also, similar machines in Japan have dropped to below $500 (yeah, I know they’re cheaper in the U.S.–like I said), and it’d probably be safer and cheaper to go that route.

The machine I’ve used had already lost one big feature: the ability to switch the satellite tuner. Well, it didn’t lose it–instead, I lost the satellite when I moved to the new place. The new tuner is from a cable company, and it’s not compatible. I’ve been trying to record Boston Legal and Heroes off of Japanese TV for Sachi and I to watch, and half the time I miss them because we forget to set the tuner to the channel we want the DVR to record.

So tomorrow, I’ll have to check quickly with the cable company to see if there’s a model that can interact with their tuner (they rent out DVRs, but not with DVD recording), then check out what Labi, Bic, and maybe even Costco are selling. Oh, boy! An all-new convoluted machine navigation system! New adventures in frustration! Whee!

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  1. November 28th, 2007 at 04:13 | #1

    Too bad it didn’t break sooner. My girlfriend is at the airport as I type this, heading to Japan to visit her mom for a couple of days in Tokyo- I could have bought you a new machine and sent it over with her. 😉

    Are the DVR machines over there different as it’s PAL instead of NTSC? Or is digital content simply digital content? And is Heroes out on DVD over there yet? I’m sure it’s on street corners in Beijing and other notorious copy havens, since it’s out here now on DVD. Which reminds me- is there much illicit copying in Japan?

  2. Geoff
    November 28th, 2007 at 12:39 | #2

    It sounds like it’s just the hard disk that’s crapped out. If so, you could try opening the case, figuring out what type of hard disk it uses, and just replacing that part. Of course, you’d have to take a guess at the formatting, but it’s probably just FAT-32. Assuming that works, smallish Hard disks (under 100 Gb) are pretty cheap now–a lot less than 5+ man.

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