New Rogers 500gb HD PVR released
Rogers 8300 HD PVR has been on the market for over 5 years now, and a lot of users have been wondering when Rogers would release an updated HD PVR. The 8300′s capacity and technology is definitely well past being cutting edge, and with the release Bell’s dual tuner 9241 HD PVR last year the pressure was on for Rogers to bring out something new to compete with it.
Finally, after a long wait, Rogers announced the availability of their new Cisco 8642HD PVR on their Redboard blog. Strangely even though the post, press release, and website update only went live this week, Rogers has actually been selling the 8642HD since the beginning of March, but probably didn’t advertise this so they could clear out some 8300′s that were on sale. The 8642HD is clearly just an evolution of the 8300 – the main feature that Rogers is promoting is the increased internal storage capacity. The PVR can be purchased (currently it is not available for rent) from Rogers in 2 flavours, a 160 GB model, that holds up to 20 hours of HD, and the 500 GB model that can hold 62 hours of HD. There is also a 320 GB model, but it is current only available at Costco.
In addition to the larger capacities the 8642HD also has some updates to the interactive programming guide (IPG), such as higher resolution graphics for the guide (now 640×480, but still in 4:3 aspect ratio), and greying out channels you don’t subscribe too. It also has 1080p output, and some small improvements to time control, such as ‘hashmarks’ to jump forward or backward by 15, 30 or 60 minute increments when watching a recording.
However, as a current 8300 owner looking for something more current gen, all these small changes are not enough to warrant the expense ($599.99 for the 500 GB model) of a new PVR, and it is the features that the 8642HD has that are NOT available right now that interest me the most. In the press release, on the Redboard blog, and on the Rogers product page here, there is mention of “near-future enhancements including home networking and interactive TV services”, MPEG-4 and DLNA support. On digitalhome.ca here they also detail some of the 8642HD’s other features
1 GHz Tuning which could allow Rogers to expand network bandwidth to provide additional services; MPEG-4 (H.264) decoding support; support for tru2way, personal media which enables display of photos and playback of video and audio from standards-based home network connected devices; Ethernet Connection; Whole Home PVR enables sharing and managing of video services throughout the home to other connected DVRs, set-tops and consumer electronic devices using standards-based connection and security technologies
When I asked Rogers for more info they would not provide any more details, and on the Redboard blog Richard from Rogers stated that they “are not disclosing specifics about what we may or may not have in the works”. While it is understandable, in the hyper competitive Canadian market that is the duopoly of Bell and Rogers, that they can’t show their hand too early, it is disappointing that they can’t release even a little more info about what might be store, for their current and future customers. As it stands today $600 to upgrade my current 8300 PVR to a 500 GB model, with a few other mimimal updates, is not worth it.
The 8642HD PVR can be purchased now, starting at $499.99, from Rogers retail stores, and other 3rd party dealers, but is currently only available in Ontario.
For more tips and tricks, images of the updated interface, and reports from current 8642HD owners you can visit the digitalhome.ca Rogers HD PVR forums here.