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DVR for Broadcast TV?

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Old 09-10-2012, 08:25 PM   #1
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It's been a couple years or so now since we "cut the cord" and i'm loving it. Between our TV antenna and Netflix, I'm a happy camper.

The ONE thing I miss is my DVR. Too many good shows on at the same time and I tired of rushing home to watch something.

I'm not looking for anything fancy. Doesn't have to be HD quality. I'd prefer to not pay a monthly free like Tivo and I am even not against manually setting the times to record. I'd like a stand alone box instead of hooking it up to a PC, that's too complicated for me.

Besides dusting off the old VCR and popping in a VHS like the Good Ole' Days, is there a device that records regular old digital broadcast TV?

Thank in advance!
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki090909 View Post
It's been a couple years or so now since we "cut the cord" and i'm loving it. Between our TV antenna and Netflix, I'm a happy camper.

The ONE thing I miss is my DVR. Too many good shows on at the same time and I tired of rushing home to watch something.

I'm not looking for anything fancy. Doesn't have to be HD quality. I'd prefer to not pay a monthly free like Tivo and I am even not against manually setting the times to record. I'd like a stand alone box instead of hooking it up to a PC, that's too complicated for me.

Besides dusting off the old VCR and popping in a VHS like the Good Ole' Days, is there a device that records regular old digital broadcast TV?

Thank in advance!
The Channel Master CM-7000PAL is a dual-ATSC-tuner DVR for OTA digital broadcasts and it requires no monthly fees. Its program guide can use both the TV Guide on-line service (if available in your area) and the PSIP information in each station's broadcast stream. It can record in both HD and SD and has both HD and SD outputs that allows it to be connected to any TV. It is an OTA only DVR. Check it out at channelmaster.com. I have one and have been very pleased with it.
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:33 AM   #3
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The CM-7000 is a good basic DVR, but the newer 7400 has more bells and whistles like wireless, Vudu and your typical internet apps.

http://www.amazon.com/Channel-Master.../dp/B0065EQ45U

The 7000;

http://www.amazon.com/Channel-Master...ster-CM7000pal

It's about $50 more than the 7000, but has more features, etc. I'm thinking of getting this one myself, but have to get rid of Dish first.

If you'd like to go the PC route there must be 100 versions of the Hauppage depending on what you want to spend and what features you want? It's fairly easy to set up if you're somewhat PC literate and have an old PC lying around that you want to turn into a DVR.

There are also some nice DVD burners with hard drives in them. You record and watch what you want, then you have the option to burn a DVD of something you want to keep. Very VCR-ish!

One thing I'm also a champion of is a Roku box. We have 3. If you have a broadband internet connection it's fantastic! It has over 500 "channels" and they are mostly free. The only pay channels are Netflix, Hulu and a couple dedicated ones for old 40's and 50's westerns and musicals, but those are only like $2.99 a year. They do have pay channels for games and a few other odds and ends, but I don't use those.

http://www.roku.com/roku-products#3

It's not a DVR exactly, but everything is there anytime you want to watch it.

Last edited by straybeat; 09-11-2012 at 01:31 AM.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:48 AM   #4
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I did run across the channel master and was hoping I could find something a little cheaper. Hmm. Will have to decide how bad I really want to record my shows!

I DO have a roku box, a couple of them actually and I LOVE them! Problem is, Hulu is just OK in my opinion and doesn't offer all the shows I want to watch. Hmmm But I will look into it again as it's been a year or so since I subscribed to it.

Thank for the advice, guys!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:58 AM   #5
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http://www.amazon.com/1080p-Digital-...=IQOT85RZOE0UE

Would this work? Full HD 1080p Dual Tuner Digital HDTV Recorder, Receiver and Media Center Box It's a little more like what I was hoping to spend.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki090909 View Post
http://www.amazon.com/1080p-Digital-...=IQOT85RZOE0UE

Would this work? Full HD 1080p Dual Tuner Digital HDTV Recorder, Receiver and Media Center Box It's a little more like what I was hoping to spend.
Looks like that will work just fine? And thanks, now you have me looking at it too!

The Roku's are really cool aren't they? Can't say enough about them. Probably a dozen of my friends have them too now after seeing mine. It just doesn't come any easier for having all those channels!

Hulu is kind of so-so, but they keep signing up more and more shows as they go. They are getting quite a selection of primetime shows, unfortunately they still don't have the ones we watch? So far.

EDIT: You DID read that you have to hook up your own hard drive with this DVR? The others come with it built in, but I think I like the option of putting on a bigger drive?

Found this guy's review at AVS;

www dot avsforum dot com/t/1414002/epvision-phd-vrx-owners-thread

.

Last edited by straybeat; 09-11-2012 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:17 AM   #7
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I did see the needed drive, which really kind of ruins the price for me as I'd have to buy one. I'm getting back up there close to the $300 mark again.

I'm just surprised such a device is so expensive. I mean all I'm looking for is a modern day VCR.

I LOVE my Roku! Most people look at me like I'm nuts when I try to explain it. My husband is mainly a movie watcher, so it's excellent for him. I love primetime, so I'm going to revisit Hulu. Maybe I can avoid a DVR all together. Worst case I can watch them online the next day. Couch is just more comfy. I think I need a laptop
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki090909 View Post
http://www.amazon.com/1080p-Digital-...=IQOT85RZOE0UE

Would this work? Full HD 1080p Dual Tuner Digital HDTV Recorder, Receiver and Media Center Box It's a little more like what I was hoping to spend.
There is a lengthy thread on that device, the ePVision DVR, at AVSForums and I think it is easy to conclude, it is a piece of junk and will never work reliably. The question for a DVR without monthly fee comes up often, the only solution I can live with is the one I chose many years ago, TiVo with lifetime subscription, well worth the premium compared to any of them including the Channel Master dumb DVRs.

I don't know if the Channel Master DVRs are still being manufactured or not, I doubt it, but for $150 to $200 more, a refurbished TiVo Premiere with lifetime or for a very small premium, a used TiVoHD with lifetime is a much better choice in my opinion. I have seen several offers from TiVo for the refurbished Premiere with lifetime service for $450, far and away the best offer in my opinion. I don't know the current offer, I am still using two TiVoHDs with lifetime service, have been for years and probably will for many years to come.

The reason no company offers an inexpensive DVR worth having is it isn't inexpensive to do, several have tried but all have failed. Cable and satellite companies offer DVRs as loss leaders and make a profit on the programming but with OTA, the profit has to come from the hardware or DVR service and there is no market willing to pay the price necessary to make it a viable business. An HTPC is the next best solution in my opinion after TiVo, I don't like it but for those willing to make the effort it can work well enough. Ceton and Whiteman Technology announced expensive media centers based on Windows but if either or both actually make it to market, I expect the product(s) to be DOA.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:44 PM   #9
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I've been using a couple HTPCs for over 6 years to record/watch OTA and I just think the flexibility overshadows anything you can buy. You don't need a high-end processor or video card, you still can watch dvds or even blu-ray and have internet access. You can easily build a very good HTPC for less than $300.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsilvest View Post
I've been using a couple HTPCs for over 6 years to record/watch OTA and I just think the flexibility overshadows anything you can buy. You don't need a high-end processor or video card, you still can watch dvds or even blu-ray and have internet access. You can easily build a very good HTPC for less than $300.
Funny, I initially said that and to buy a Hauppage, then I edited it out.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:50 PM   #11
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If you want to get out cheap here is a method:

Get a cheap PC off of ebay like these:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=...+evo&_osacat=0

Then get a MDP-120 from ebay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/MyHD-MDP-120...item2a1fad35e7

If your HDTV will accept a VGA PC input then you are done with the basics. You could add an external large drive for additional storage.

If your HDTV does not have a VGA input you can get an Aluratek VGA+ analog audio to HDMI converter:
http://www.amazon.com/Aluratek-AVH10...=aluratek+hdmi

For under $200 a nice OTA DVR can be assembled. For more information see:
http://www.highdefinitionblog.com/Pages/MyHTPC.htm Some of the links are not good anymore because the article is about 7 years old.

I have a couple of these setups that I have used for years.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:56 PM   #12
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My particular problem is that I want 1080p through HDMI. Still looking for something that does that? HTPC-wise that is.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
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My particular problem is that I want 1080p through HDMI. Still looking for something that does that? HTPC-wise that is.
Not sure why you think you want that. Most of my HTPCs output 1080p/60 to my HDTVs. Now when I play a Blu-ray via my HTPC, it can output 1080p/24. But if you are talking about the video from an OTA tuner, 1080p does not help you at all vs 1080i which was the OP's original request.

So it would be interesting to know why you think you want 1080p and what frame rate 1080p you are talking about, since 1080p by itself is an incomplete spec.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:01 PM   #14
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Not sure why you think you want that. Most of my HTPCs output 1080p/60 to my HDTVs. Now when I play a Blu-ray via my HTPC, it can output 1080p/24. But if you are talking about the video from an OTA tuner, 1080p does not help you at all vs 1080i which was the OP's original request.

So it would be interesting to know why you think you want 1080p and what frame rate 1080p you are talking about, since 1080p by itself is an incomplete spec.
I want HDMI mainly because I have a home theater system driven by HDMI. My receiver has 6 HDMI inputs with 5 of them filled and an HTPC would be number 6. The receiver is all dialed in for this (an Onkyo TX-NR708). Previously, through component or VGA, I had run into the issue of signals from a PC being a small little square on the screen instead of full screen. I gave up then and don't know if that issue was ever fixed or worked around? I think back then my computer was outputting what? 1163 X 768? Which I figured accounted for the difference from 1920 X 1080? I have fixed this while watching videos by DLNA, but haven't experimented any further with a TV tuner card?

As for 24 frames vs. 60 or whatever, that is lost on me. I'm not a videophile by any means and never got the point of seeing true film mode vs. video? It just doesn't matter to me, I like either. As I get older and my eyesight wanes though, I just like seeing big, sharp and crystal clear. I know I like what I see from HD-DVD and Blu-ray and want to get as close to the same out of an HTPC.

So now that I'm on the verge of dropping Dish and running antenna and Roku only, I need the DVR solution for the network broadcasts. The wife likes Tivo, but that puts us back into paying for something. I like the Hauppage cards and running HTPC much better, but i just haven't found the HDMI connection yet? The PC would be sitting next to the home theater and used exclusively for that. I used to own a computer store and have parts coming out of my ears, so buying the right card is the hardest part of the whole thing.

And sorry to Niki for hijacking the thread, not my intent, just had a question.

.

Last edited by straybeat; 09-12-2012 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:05 PM   #15
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There are a number of inexpensive video cards that will give you what you want. The one I have in most of my HTPCs is this one:
http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-E...rds=nvidia+210

At under $40 it is all that is needed for a HDTV. Get a good dual tuner OTA tuner card and use Media Center and you will be set.
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