DVD recorder basic questions

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Don S, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. Don S

    Don S Stunt Coordinator

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    Please bear with me as I have never had a PVR/DVR/DVD recorder, etc., and I am currently interested in puchasing one soon. I have looked around here, and done searches, but none have turned up exactly what I need to know. My questions may seem silly, so I apologize in advance, but I can't seem to find what I need to know. If there is another place which has these answers, please point me to it.

    I currently have Comcast cable w/ their SA3100 HDTV box, although none of my questions pertain to HD recording, all are specific to SD. I am looking for a DVD recorder to both transfer video from a digital camcorder, and to record SD TV from Comcast cable. I am looking at some of the DVD-RAM models specifically. OK, my questions:

    To view any of the Comcast digital stations, I currently need to output from my cable box. i.e. If I want to watch HBO, I have to go to 301. If I get a DVD recorder, and the S-Video is output from the Cable box, through the DVD-recorder, then to the TV, it would seem that the only channel I could then record at that moment is channel 301. Is that correct?

    Is there a different connection setup that allows usage of the guide on the DVD-R for recording and viewing TV on DIGITAL stations (stations for which I now require the Comcast receiver to receive)? I can't seem to find out, or understand, how any of the DVD recorders can tune to channels that have to be decoded by a cable box.

    I'd like the ability to watch 1 channel and view another if possible, or at a minimum, be able to select a program to record from a guide (again referring to digital comcast stations that require a decoder box now). Is this possible? If so, what would my setup look like?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    And yes, you're correct. A DVD recorder (or a PVR) is no substitute for a cable box. You need your box to receive the digital channels and decode any scrambled channels. Right now, you can only watch one channel at a time. That won't change with a DVD recorder or PVR. (The sole exception is the DirecTiVo unit, but that would require you to drop Comcast and subscribe to DirecTV.)

    M.
     
  3. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    The only DVD recorders I know of that can control the cable box channel are the Pioneer DVD-R/Tivo combo machines, and the Phillips DVD-R80. They have an IR attachment that you hook up to the front of the cable box and changes the channel for you. Unfortunately the Pioneers are rather expensive & flawed for the camcorder application since they lack editing features. The Phillips is flawed in not having a hard drive which is incredibly handy for TV recording & also useful for editing.

    Otherwise, on DVD-Rs without cable box IR control, to do timer recordings with the cable box involved you'd have to set timers on the cable box itself to change the channel, as well as set the timer on the DVD recorder to start the recording on the appropriate input, e.g. s-video.

    Watch channel view another can always be done by splitting the cable before the box, and running it straight to the TV or a recording device, with the limitation that the line not going into the box will only be able to access analog stations.

    My feeling is that if you are not considering a switch to satellite, the best solution would be getting a DVD-R and deal with setting timers on both for recording digital stations, until the Comcast DVR comes out in your area. Once the Comcast DVR is out you can use that as your primary TV recording device.

    If satellite is an option, the Hughes/Tivo HD-DVR250 will be out in about a month & a half, but it's running $900 on preorder.
     
  4. Don S

    Don S Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks much for the replies. I had hoped I was missing something, but unfortunately it appears I wasn't. I already went from D* to Comcast, and don't plan to go back anytime soon. It is also doubtful that Comcast will roll out their DVR in my area any time soon. So I probably will, as you suggest, just look for a good DVD-R and set 2 timers for now.

    Thanks again for your help.
     

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