Sunday, March 16, 2008

Watching the Pacquiao-Marquez Fight in 40 mins

Today's the big boxing bout between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Knowing how the commercials last longer than the actual rounds, I decided to just record the entire fight on my Philips DVD Recorder/Player. That way, I could just skip through all the commercials. Since the match went the full 12 rounds, and each round takes 3 mins., I watched the entire fight for 36 mins. vs. about 3 hrs, I think on free TV.

I noted in a previous blog entry about some odd behavior of my DVDR. I made a couple more observations over the weekend as I try some combinations that I haven't previously attempted. For example, it seems that the DVDR can actually record a TV program, while at the same time, playback a recorded episode from the same hard drive simultaneously! In operating system parlance, the firmware seems to be multi-threaded (or at the very least, can perform asynchronous callbacks). I was expecting it to complain when I tried watching a recorded episode while it was recording, but surprisingly, it did not. I noticed some slight skipping in 1 scene during the playback, but that's about it. It was fairly smooth considering it was recording at the same time.

But the strange thing was -- when I tried playing a DVD while it was recording a TV program on the hard disk, it prevented me from doing so. An icon appeared apparently telling me that DVD playback is not allowed during hard disk recording. Now that was strange. The DVD playback was happening on a different media source: the DVD disc drive, as opposed to, the built-in hard drive. If it can handle playback on the same hard drive where it was recording, why would it not handle a playback from a different drive? Wouldn't that actually be simpler since the playback and the recording would not be contending on the same device? Its one of those eccentricities just like not being able to play DivX files from the USB, I guess.

Anyway, I'm beginning to appreciate the DivX format as played on my Philip DVDR. Quality is as good as regular DVD (assuming, of course, that the original source that was encoded into DivX was of good quality). I'm sure that in the very near future, somebody would figure out how to put an ethernet network interface into these personal video recorders and make them IP-accessible. Then you can store all your DivX movies in a central home server with a large drive where the player can just stream it.

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