Thursday, 23 June 2011

New (buggy) beta firmware available

The third consecutive beta firmware (version 4.8.04-05) for the 8320HD has been released and can be downloaded here. The installation instructions are on Latest Firmware page as usual and I have applied to my 8320HD. On initial testing it actually seems to have largely fixed the remote control repeating bug, which is a huge relief.

However, two obvious bugs are still present - the repeated video slats in the bottom half of the screen during high speed FF/FEW and new bizarre bug that live-pausing SD programmes fails to hold the pause (it is released after 1-2 seconds). It's bizarre because HD programmes don't seem to be affected and will hold the pause as you would expect.

According to postings, Sky Player may be broken with this latest beta release. I could get all the way to the login screen, but I have no active subscription (only used the free month, which was so awful, I'd never pay for it) so it was tricky to work out if it was locking me out because of that or a firmware bug.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Tesco Direct finally throw in the towel

Tesco Direct haven't really liked the 8320HD due to its very buggy nature - it was even the victim of an Tesco Emergency Product Recall briefly last year because its initial firmware was so bad, it couldn't even record programmes!

Earlier this year, it disappeared for a few weeks without any notice, only to come back at a lower and lower prices, ending up at a very reasonable £155 (delivered) for its final few months. However, that record low price was accompanied by the death knell phrasing "while stocks last" and sure enough today saw the last remaining units sold and Tesco Direct putting up their discontinued notice.

All is not quite lost, because you can still buy an 8320HD directly from FetchTV themselves, albeit for a significantly higher price of £189.50 delivered. What this does to the future of the 8320HD is uncertain - Tesco were surely selling a lot more 8320HD's than Fetch TV due to a cheaper price, bigger brand name and both offline and online distribution.

It does worry me that the gap between stable firmware releases has been getting longer over time, suggesting that FetchTV have scaled back on that front due to lack of either commitment or finances. They promised a new UI over a year ago and I'm sceptical their latest deadline of Summer 2011 will be met. All I'd like is fixes for the remote control repeat and FF/REW bugs and the addition of auto-padding. I'd be happy to see a further 3-6 months delay for the new UI if that happened.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

New (even more buggy) beta firmware available

Version 4.8.04-03 dated 27th May 2011 has turned up and here's where you get it:

Instructions on both upgrading and downgrading are on the Latest Firmware page, but  I would tread very carefully with this particular beta firmware release. It's got new bad bugs in it such as crashing more often, not letting you log into Sky Player (no loss there then!), the GUIDE button often not working (use "0" instead) and it fails to pause live TV (it pauses it for a few seconds and then resumes).

However, its one small saving grace is that it doesn't repeat the previous remote control button anywhere near as much as the current stable release.