What's new

Need help recording TV shows (1 Viewer)

Chuck Anstey

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 10, 1998
Messages
1,640
Real Name
Chuck Anstey
The setup:

We have simple extended analog cable ($40 per month) that my TV and DVD/VCR combo player can decode with no STB. I normally just set up the timer on the VCR to record during the week the few shows I watch.

Well this past weekend we had a very powerful thunderstorm come through and fried the DVD/VCR combo player with a very loud POP! I went to the stores and there are no longer recorders of any kind that can actually understand the old analog signals. It seems that while I wasn't paying attention, those at the switch allowed to cable/sat/TV companies to convince them that $70+ a month to watch TV was a good deal and worse, that $10+ a month to some 3rd party was okay just to have the record button on the recorder work. I am not an idiot so I can program when and what I want recorded.

What are our options? The ones I found were:

1. Upgrade to digital cable ($58 per month). At this point I can then spend hundreds of dollars for a recording device that has a digital tuner OR I can spends hundreds of dollars and pay Tivo each month so my record button functions OR I can pay an extra $20 a month for a DVR from the cable company.
2. Try to find some analog recording device off the internet.

Are cable companies required to give you a cable card instead of an STB? Are cable cards even a good idea?
Is there any DVR device that is programmable and doesn't require paying a monthly fee to have it work?

I used to be on the bleeding edge of technology but to us TV is just TV and better video quality doesn't make it any funnier, more interesting, or a bad show worth watching and we don't want to pay $70+ a month to watch it.

P.S. It turns out that the DVD/VCR had a fuse in it and the surge vaporized the wire inside it. I replaced the fuse and it works fine but I want to know what options are available in case the next time it really does die. It seems like the cost of watching and recording TV has doubled now that digital has arrived for no good reason and I get the joy of a STB.
 

mylan

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
1,735
Well, you got a reprieve for now but next Feb. 19th you will have to upgrade to digital cable if you expect to see anything at all, that is supposedly the cutoff for analog television and transition to digital tv. Your tv will still work provided you upgrade to the cable box but I am not sure the vcr will record.
No, cable is not required to give you a cable card, they would rather you get the box as cable card does not support pay-per-view or video on demand.
I think early TIVO series 1 boxes and older Replay TV boxes allowed no fee service but later models do not. What you are paying for is the ability to program recordings two weeks in advance as well as keeping TIVO in business, or the cable co. et. al.
I think your best option is #1, it sucks I know but that is the price you pay to further advance technology, I hate paying TIVO $12.95 a month but love the fact that I can set a season pass and get my recordings even if I am away on vacation, work, or simply don't want to watch whenever the show airs.
 

Robert_J

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2000
Messages
8,350
Location
Mississippi
Real Name
Robert
A DVR and specifically TiVo are much more than simple recording devices. I use three dual tuner DVRs from DirecTV (two that run TiVo software and one running DirecTV's home grown software). On all of the DVRs, I have it set up to record 50+ of my favorite series. I don't have to keep up with programming changes made by the networks, the DVRs will record by name whatever date/time the program is on. The TiVo software also adds automated recording by key word. I have my favorite college teams set up under the category of Sports. It records them no matter what channel they appear on. And I get some great games on ESPN Classic as well.

Another example is non-linear playback. I will record game 6 of the NBA championship tonight. While it records, I will watch a previously recorded one hour show. That takes about 50 minutes so I will then start playing back the game while it still records. By the time I fast forward through the talking, time outs and half-time, I will have caught up to live TV near the end of the 4th quarter. I did this for game 5 and and only had to sit through 1 set of commercials. I never missed a minute of the action.

A DVR doesn't mean you watch more TV, you just watch TV more efficiently. It is well worth the $5/month fee to DirecTV.

In your situation, there are DVD recorders with hard drives that work similarly to what I mention above. The search and recording features are not as robust but the non-linear playback is still there.

-Robert
 

Robert_J

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2000
Messages
8,350
Location
Mississippi
Real Name
Robert
The digital transition is for over-the-air (OTA) only. It does not impact cable or satellite systems. They are transitioning to digital in response to customer demand and on their own timetable.

-Robert
 

mylan

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
1,735
The digital transition is for over-the-air (OTA) only. It does not impact cable or satellite systems. They are transitioning to digital in response to customer demand and on their own timetable.

Yes but, from everything i've read, after that date you must have a cable box to access pretty much anything. It takes more bandwidth to transmit analog and digital, cellular phone companies were doing the same thing by trying to get customers to switch over to digital, even charging more for analog service, however, just recently, they have ended analog altogether. I think after that date, if you still have analog cable, your viewing choices are going to be very limited.
 

Robert_J

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2000
Messages
8,350
Location
Mississippi
Real Name
Robert
The Feb 2009 date means nothing to the cable company. Each company and each market they server has their own time table for converting all channels to digital. Some may never be all digital while others already are all digital. It all depends on the market. My in-laws in rural Arkansas will never have digital cable. That little company doesn't have the money for the conversion.

Yes, in some markets there is a push to convert the customers to all digital cable. They are even forcing HD Tivo users out of the market by using switched digital technology. They want you to use their equipment and pay for as many services as possible. Same way with the satellite companies as well. I had to upgrade to a non-Tivo powered DVR to get the new HD channels. It turned out to be a good upgrade as I have one DVR for satellite delivered HD content, one DVR for OTA HD content and one DVR that for satellite delivered SD content. I am never without something to watch.

-Robert
 

mylan

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
1,735
While I can agree that Feb. 19th means nothing to the cable co. anyone using analog out of the wall service without a cable box is going to be very unhappy. I had to switch over to digital when Charter moved HBO to the digital tier so I could watch The Soprano's, more favorite channel migration is certain to happen but i'll defer to your superior knowledge on this topic and back away now.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
351,992
Messages
4,971,828
Members
143,169
Latest member
ken kelley
Recent bookmarks
0
Top