Digital Recorder Question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by HansB, Dec 12, 2002.

  1. HansB

    HansB Auditioning

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    I would like a digital HD recorder to record TV shows and watch them later or have the abilty to pause them and start back up. What I don't understand is why I need to pay 10 bucks a month to do this.
     
  2. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually you don't....

    There is free software that will allow your pc to duplicate this same functionality. The reason for the monthly fee is the service that each one provides (tivo,replay,utv). You are able to download an updated tv schedule according to the service you receive (cable,sat,etc..) and the software in the machine allows you to record programing according to your tastes. For example, you could tell it to record all Clint Eastwood movies, or you could set it up to record Friends every week etc.. Your pc could actually duplicate this however these services provide it in a nice neat package with some additional functionality. Their software is constantly being updated to provide better service for their customers and you don't have to worry about "windows" or constantly tweaking your system.

    Most people who own a pvr love their service and the convenience it provides, but if you don't mind playing with your pc you have that free option.
     
  3. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    You don't have to pay monthly in some cases. ReplayTV & Tivo standalones offer an alternative $250 one time fee, for the life of the box, a better deal for those models. For the DirecTivo satellite model, it's only $5/month, or free with the top tier DirecTV subscription package. Dish Network PVRs don't charge a monthly PVR fee on top of the normal Dish subscription fees; however their hardware is more expensive to begin with, and their software is less powerful. (But they provide better AV quality for Dish Network customers than a standalone product would.)

    Why do you have to pay a fee? Basically it's to pay for the sophisticated recording software (w/ free updates) and the TV guide data to feed it. With a VCR all you can basically do is tell it to record on a particular channel at such-and-such time every day/week. A Tivo records by the show, or by keyword/category search; as such you don't have to reprogram it in case of time slot changes, bonus episodes, longer episodes, etc., and it can be set to ignore reruns.

    If they didn't charge the fee, they'd have to charge a lot more for the hardware to make any money (what Replay used to do). Right now they are basically giving away the hardware at cost, trying to make money on the software.

    Alternatively, they could provide only dumber VCR-like software, but they'd still charge more for the hardware so they'd have profit margin. Witness the RCA Scenium combo DVD player / DVR - they don't charge a monthly fee, but they want MSRP $600 for it, which isn't any cheaper than a Tivo + $250 service fee + separate DVD player. And the software on the RCA is nowhere near as good.

    The PC solutions Reece mentions are only cheaper if you conveniently omit the cost of the PC itself, and don't compare favorably in either AV quality or ease of use to a dedicated PVR.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Dont forget those electronic program guides. It's actually quite a lot of daily work to get/maintain/update a 2 week program guide so the software can do all of it's fun searching tricks. It's not as automated as you would think.
     

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