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HD DVR for off-air recording

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by dc63, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. dc63

    dc63 Member

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    I'm looking for an easy-to-program HD DVR for off-air recording from our new-ish LCD TV (with built-in HD tuner); we have no cable access but get great off-air reception. Any suggestions? Thanks!
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Since you didn't give a budget, I suggest TiVo.
     
  3. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    TiVo all the way, although you won't record from your LCD TV. You will record off the off-the-air cable that runs to your TV, or split that cable and run it to both the TV and the TiVo.
     
  4. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Actually you don't want to split any cables from the antenna. Remove it from the TV and plug it into the TiVo / DVR. All viewing occurs though the DVR so that pausing live TV is possible. The only reason to split the cable would be if you are recording 2 shows and want to watch a 3rd show that is live.
     
  5. dc63

    dc63 Member

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    thanks! But that'll be a subscription service, yes? If not, then great! But is there anything I can use that will "read" or display TVGOS, for example, and not require a subscription? I only want to record one or two shows a week. This is making me nostalgic for my VCR, I hate to say...
     
  6. dc63

    dc63 Member

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    thanks, Steve. But am I stuck with the mediocre tuner in the TiVo box instead of the (presumably better) one on my TV? And if I route all incoming signals through that tuner, then I'm watching off of that tuner all the time and not just for the recorded programming? I replied above about trying to avoid a subscription service, so not sure if TiVo will let me do that. I had read about the Sony DHG-HDD250 and -500 DVRs and assumed that there would be something better and/or cheaper since they disappeared...
     
  7. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Why would you assume that the TiVo tuner is of a lesser quality than the one in your TV?

     

    Yes, you want to watch all TV via the DVR. In fact you should never watch live TV again. I record everything. Absolutely everything. Every new show this season is being recorded and will be watched later in the week. If I like it, I keep recording new episodes. If I hate it, I stop watching mid show and delete the series from the list to be recorded.
     

    I even record all of my sports. I'll record the Arkansas vs. Alabama game on Saturday and start watching about an hour into the game. That way I can fast forward through commercials and half-time. I usually catch up to live TV sometime in the 4th quarter. Basically, I can watch more games in less time.

     

    I don't know of any stand alone DVR that does HD and doesn't need a subscription. I used TiVo for years and was quite happy. When DirecTV and TiVo parted ways, I was very disappointed but the new D* boxes are great. I have two of them plus my old HD DirecTiVo. I can record 6 HD channels at the same time. The DirecTiVo is dedicated to OTA HD, one D* DVR records sat and OTA HD while the third is sat HD only. All are connected to one TV and controlled via one remote.
     
  8. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    TiVo has 2 tuners, and they are just as good as the tuner in your TV. I split the cable to record two shows and watch one live.
     
  9. dc63

    dc63 Member

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    Thanks again, Robert_J and Steve! It's the whole subscription thing that bugs me -- like $250/year for TiVo (PLUS the up-front hardware costs). Doesn't anyone just record to a DVD or to a hard drive using their TV receiver? I don't need to record while I watch something else, for example. I'm just amazed that although the signal has gotten so much better (i.e., digital), I now need a third party to record it for me!
     

    Also, I have a Harmony One running my TV, decent receiver, and PS3 -- and I hate to throw anything else into the mix. The Harmony was fine to set up, but the prospect of going back and adding another device makes me sort of cringe...
     
  10. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Panasonic used to make DVD recorders with a hard disk, but they did not record in HD. I have one hooked into my TiVo via the s-video out, but it's old.

    And you will have to update your Harmony if you get something new...I've done it before and it is very easy.
     
  11. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    As Steve said, adding equipment to a Harmony is easy. I added an HDMI switch that impacted multiple activities and the software set up everything correctly.

     

    I know that a lot of people look at the subscription and cringe. They are keeping up with the guide and you really want an accurate guide so that everything records correctly. You also have to change your idea of watching TV. You are creating a library of shows that you will watch "On Demand". I barely know the day each of my shows is on. The DVR records them without any setup. I do know The Big Bang Theory moved from Monday night to Thursday night for the new season. I didn't touch the DVR and it recorded. If a show has a 2 hour special, then it adjusts the recording time. I like to watch concerts so I have my DVRs search for my favorite bands. When they are on Palladium or HD Net they automatically record. I can do the same for actors, key words or show titles.

     

    You think you won't use it now but I can never go back to regular TV.
     
  12. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Dual ATSC tuner DVR - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3871577&csid=_21

     

    Just add an external hard drive of your choice and you are ready to go. If that is too much, then there is a single tuner model on that same site for about half the price.
     
  13. elwaylite

    elwaylite Well-Known Member

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    I love my HD XL.
     
  14. dc63

    dc63 Member

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    Thanks, Robert_J. I actually ended up going with a Toshiba DVD recorder with built-in tuner (model something-570). It's not ideal but it was cheap. Along the way I learned that my early-generation Sony HD TV (KV-34HS510) isn't compatible with HDCP (?!), so Blu-ray will be out of the question. Anyway, with HD out of the picture for (future) cable or rentals, I went with the cheap option. It got mixed reviews but hopefully I can get it working...
     
  15. dc63

    dc63 Member

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    Oops, I originally said I'd use it for a newer LCD TV, but figured I'm better off screwing up our older set. The new one has a balky receiver with mediocre iPod integration and a PS3 with IR-to-Bluetooth adapter for use with the Harmony. I just know if I change anything there, we'll never watch TV again! And the HD TiVo then is out of the question because that's HDCP, too, I think
     
  16. seriah

    seriah New Member

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  17. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    I did jump the gun on that box. It works on computers only. I need to read more.

     

    HD isn't out of the question for you. Blu-ray connected via component video cables will give you 1080i HD. An OTA HD tuner connected via component video cables will give you HD in 1080i and 720p (depending on the channel). HD does not always need an HDMI cable or HDCP.
     
  18. dc63

    dc63 Member

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    Robert_J, that's a great suggestion about the component video! 1080i is fine on that size set (although the HD is easy to tell from standard in broadcast/OTA). If component connection is "immune" to the HDCP issue, then that'll be a perfect solution! In retrospect, not sure why that didn't ocur to me or to other posters (not at this site) writing about that TV...but many thanks!
     
  19. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    You are welcome.


    Sometimes we only focus on the initial question. Other times the description of the issue can uncover other problems and solutions like this.
     
  20. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Well-Known Member

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    So far BD discs, with a few very rare exceptions, are not flagged for HDCP so you can use component out. Standard DVDs will not upconvert without HDMI with the exception of a few Magnolia releases, so will be limited to 480p if you use component, not a major issue with a smaller screen set.


    As far as I know none of the over-the-air broadcasts are copy protected so an HD Tivo will still work via component and give you 720p/1080i. I know some people have a very negative attitude toward the fee charged by Tivo for their service but once one has experienced the versatility and ease of use afforded by that service it's generally regarded as well worth the expense. The OTA tuners in the Tivo are at least as good as that in any tv set. The reliability of the guide data is unsurpassed by TVGOS, it even spots those annoying cases where a show ends at 10:01 instead of on the hour. Being able to watch your favorite shows on your own schedule and zap the commercials is alone worth the price. These boxes also offer access to Netflix, YouTube, and much more when connected to your high speed internet.
     

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