problem I had with the previous version was that the LiveTV buffer would be
completely erased once it hit the limit. I can't tell you how frustrated I was
when I would have my LiveTV paused for a good length of time to go do
something, come back to continue where I left off, only to have everything
erased. Media Center 2005 helps alleviate this situation by having the
LiveTV buffer recorded in sections. Once the limit was hit, only the oldest
section would be erased so it lessened the chances of you missing a buffered
part of the show. Thankfully, Beyond TV 4 now lets you set slices of time
so that the handling of the buffer is a lot better. An improvement over Media Center's handling of the buffer is
that you can increase or decrease Beyond TV's buffer time. Media Center is limited to an hour but Beyond TV's
can be stretched to more.
improvements to the buffer are also migrated to recording shows after you hit
the record button. One of things I hate about Media Center 2005 is that
I can’t record what I am watching from the buffer. Let’s say there’s this
documentary that I found pretty interesting and halfway through watching it, I
decide I want to keep the entire show. Microsoft’s program won’t let you
specify recording from the start of the buffer of the show. Beyond TV 4’s
backcapture feature lets you do this and it’s something that’s very convenient.
Now, I don’t have to worry about not recording the entire program if I decide
to save the current program I am watching for future viewing.
what you will need to do to configure your system will be in the main GUI but a
lot of the more advanced features are in the web admin. I still wish they
didn’t hide the ability to right click on the icon to access the web front end
until after you change in the options though.
scheduler is still a big seller for me for Beyond TV
4. With any web browser, I can schedule recordings from www.snapstream.net . There’s even a
mobile version so if I am out on the town and I forgot to set the PVR, I can
use my phone to access the mobile website and program it on the road. This
feature alone has saved me a few times and it’s one of the things I always talk
about when speaking of this program.
as usual, will be free until Snapstream decides to release a new version. From
my past experiences, the upgrades that Snapstream puts out does improve the
program immensely but there have been a few times where new bugs where
introduced that had me downgrading to a previous version. For the most part,
the upgrades are pretty good and will improve the program with many requested
features. The Snapstream community is pretty active I found them to be pretty
helpful when I had problems with my setup.
worth the upgrade from Beyond TV 3 to Beyond TV 4? Well, if you
plan on getting an OTA HD card it’s a no brainer. There are a few updates that
I really like about the latest version and for the price of $30 to upgrade,
it’s definitely worth it in my opinion. Just the list of improvements over the
original program should entice you to upgrade. You don’t get as many overall
media features as say Media Center 2005 if you are a new purchaser but
it’s also a lot less expensive. For a setup that’s close to the Windows OS,
you’ll need to combine the product with Beyond Media. Beyond TV 4’s
level of customization from the buffer amount to the display of the grid as
well as other aspects not mentioned does go far beyond what Microsoft’s product
can do. The new version has improved upon an already good product and I can’t
wait to see the new features this program will add as it continues to evolve.
The improvements the Snapstream team has made has really strengthened an already strong PVR product.
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