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DVR vs VCR with ATSC Tuner?

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Old 06-16-2008, 11:41 AM   #61  
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Price for the z560 varies, but generally will be under $700 while they last.
That's a clearance price. "While they last" is troubling to me, as well. They're discontinued, which generally means lesser support from the manufacturer than for products they're actively selling.

Also note that these boxes have only 1 HD tuner. No dual-tuner capability for HD (but it is neat that you can record three programs, 1HD and 2 SD, at the same time).

Regardless, you need to add on between $500 and $700 for the dual 1TB drives, given her the storage she expressed interest in earlier

So between buying it new, and putting in the extra storage needed, that's where my $1,500 figure came from.

Last edited by bicker; 06-16-2008 at 11:47 AM..
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:47 AM   #62  
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Uh Ohhhh. That is my main problem, trying to find a converter capable of changing channels automatically.
To be clear, the TiVo and TR-50 solutions both satisfy this requirement.
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:00 PM   #63  
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"Unfortunely one of the tuner cards is a dual tuner analog tuner card that will not help you after the 2009 cutoff unless you add a converter externally which could be done."

Uh Ohhhh. That is my main problem, trying to find a converter capable of changing channels automatically.

I am fine with my equipment now. My problem is that after the 2009 cutoff, none of my VCR's can be used to automatically change channels to record programs. My previous posts go into more detail.

It just seems like everytime I think I have found a solution----something just doesn't fit----like this time.
Not really because the media center comes with the ability to control an external box such as a satellite box or external ATSC tuner. It comes with two IR blasters and you set up the media center software to control the box. Also it is possible to add an external ATSC tuner that hooks up through the USB port for additional ATSC tuners. Something you would need your brother for though. They are available for under $100 even.

Being a computer built by Hewlett Packard I would not worry about support myself, but it is a point to consider.

Also having a DVD burner as part of the deal, Rerecordable DVDs can be used for extra storage instead of hard drives. Even if you needed 1 TB of storage, a spool of DVDs will do the trick and they will play in any DVD player.

Additionally, you have the flash card readers to allow your digital camera cards to be accessed directly. Also you can hook up your current VCR into it.

There is not any question if you are just going for price the TiVo would be the best solution. You could get a couple of them and get the lifetime subscription. But the media center provides a lot more options with a lot more capabilities.
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:42 AM   #64  
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And it will be downloaded by next episode!
The typical 125 megabyte file can be downloaded over 750kbit/s DSL in less than an hour.

If you go directly to a website like nbc.com, you can watch whatever episode you missed w/o having to wait.
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:51 AM   #65  
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The problem with a DVR is the amount of recording space available. I usually have around 70 tapes [420 hours] recorded by the time reruns start.
Maybe you should get Digital VHS. It can store all 420 hours on just 11 cassettes. I have one for sale on amazon if you want it. ;-) ----- Actually the reason I'm selling it is because JVC did a poor job with reliability. I keep getting random dropouts on my LS7 recordings. Although it's nice to squeeze ~40 hours on a single tape, the dropouts are annoying.

re: DTVpal

I didn't realize you had to subscribe. I thought this unit had a VCR-like programmer where you could set channel 6 at 8 p.m., channel 8 at 9 p.m., channel 11 at 10 p.m., and the device would automagically switch channels. That would be the perfect solution IMHO.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:15 PM   #66  
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The typical 125 megabyte file can be downloaded over 750kbit/s DSL in less than an hour.

If you go directly to a website like nbc.com, you can watch whatever episode you missed w/o having to wait.
Most of what I want to watch is several GB. Not a problem since I have some HTPCs to record them OTA.

Yes you can go to the network sites. I forget what poor video you will put up with.
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:02 PM   #67  
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I do my OTA recording on my computer. I got a no-name ATSC tuner from E-Bay for about $45. My computer is far from being a powerhouse - it's a 3 ghz Celeron D with 1 gig RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. My video card is a low end GeForce. I connect my HDTV to the computer via a long VGA cable.

For the tuner software, I use Arcsoft Total Media, which came with the tuner card. It works quite nicely, although because my computer is underpowered, I do have to keep other processes to a minimum when I am recording. But it works for me.
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:11 PM   #68  
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Most of what I want to watch is several GB.
Even a 3 gigabyte download of an HDTV program only requires 2 hours over the higher-speed 3000 kbit/s DSL. (Not the one week you claimed.) I think that's easier than spending tons of time* trying to convert my PC into a DVR.

*
* (Not just time making the software work, but also time wasted at work trying to earn the money to buy that software.)

Last edited by electrictroy; 06-17-2008 at 04:18 PM..
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:13 PM   #69  
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Even a 3 gigabyte download of an HDTV program only requires 2 hours over the higher-speed 3000 kbit/s DSL. (Not the one week you claimed.) I think that's easier than spending tons of time* trying to convert my PC into a DVR.

*
* (Not just time making the software work, but also time wasted at work trying to earn the money to buy that software.)
Which website was this from? Or did you calculate this and assume that would be the time for 3 GB? If this is true I'd like a link to use myself as I've never experenced such times. BTW, 3 GB would only be about 30 min of fairly compressed OTA HD.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:46 AM   #70  
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It took me a few minutes. I opened the case, popped in the tuner card, closed the case and connected the antenna to the tuner. Then I installed the software that came with the card, and I had a working DVR on my computer.
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Old 06-18-2008, 04:57 PM   #71  
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Well, I have my doubts it was that easy. When it comes to Winsucks computers, nothing ever works that easily. It's always a struggle getting Mickeysoft to recognize new hardware.

But even assuming it only took ~15 minutes install time, how much *additional* time did you spend at work to earn the money to buy the card + software? Downloads cost nothing. The tuner/software costs what? $500? (So figure 50 hours of total time spent on that task.)
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BTW, 3 GB would only be about 30 min of fairly compressed OTA HD.
That sounds about right, since the typical TV program is only 40 minutes. ----- And yeah I calculated it. 3 gigabytes == 25 million kilobits. That divided by 3000 kilobit/sec == 2 and 1/3 hours.

So yes you can download last night's HDTV program of 3 gigabytes in about three hours time over a medium-speed DSL connection. (Not the one week you claimed.) I typically do that while I sleep, and have the program ready to view over breakfast, or the following evening.

Last edited by electrictroy; 06-18-2008 at 05:01 PM..
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Old 06-18-2008, 05:18 PM   #72  
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If indeed you do that would you share a link to that site you use?
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:59 PM   #73  
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Well, I have my doubts it was that easy. When it comes to Winsucks computers, nothing ever works that easily. It's always a struggle getting Mickeysoft to recognize new hardware.

But even assuming it only took ~15 minutes install time, how much *additional* time did you spend at work to earn the money to buy the card + software?
You can doubt all you want, but installation was quick and easy. I spent $45 for the card, and it came with the software.
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:28 PM   #74  
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Doubt is your middle name, electric! 15 minutes sounds about right to me. If you get the right card there is nothing to it. The MyHD cards installation is just that easy.
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:15 PM   #75  
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There was a lot to read in this post, and I confess, I didn't get to all of it, but in case it hasn't been mentioned, the FCC now requires all devices with a tuner to include a digital tuner. I've seen several VCR/DVD recorder combos on the shelf for under $300 that will record from the digital tuner to tape or DVD. However the recording will be standard definition. To my knowledge, the only way to record HD is with a DVR.
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