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Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by JohanD, Dec 21, 2005.
Are there any PVR's out on the market that do not require a subscription fee?
I don't know any that give you full function without a subscription, but many/most of the 1st Generation Standalone TIVO's can be used like a basic VCR (manually program your times and record). Most of the Hard Drvi/DVD Recorders (like Panasonic EH50 or Pioneer 533) can be used manually or with the free EPG assuming you can get the EPG functioning properly.
Sony DHG-HDD250 (or HDD500) as well as the LG3410 use TV Guide On Screen (TVGOS) for programming information.
I have the Sony and it works quite well. Not all the bells and whistles of Tivo, but it allows you to find a program in the listing and set it up for recording - one time or regularly.
There are threads about these two recorders over in avsforum.
DishNetwork 508 has no fee. Of course you must subscribe to Dish.
Both my son and I own Panasonics with TV-Guide service, and enjoy them very much...
I just picked up Sony HDD500 and so far I really love the picture quality of the HD program when recorded in HQ mode. Plus I can record up to 60 hours of HD programming (the whole season of 24 can fit on the hard drive and 400 hrs of non-HD which I don't think I will ever use it to record non-HD shows.
TV guide takes a long time to load. You have to turn the DVR off for 24 hours, but so far it only load two days ahead. Programing is easy once the guide is loaded. Just highlight the show and hit menu and it will ask you how you want to record the show.(daily, weeky....)and the name of the show will show up on the front panel during play back.
I don't have digital cable but so far my box picked up digital cable and I don't have cable card inserted. I guess it's still new and still in the testing stage. I'm pretty sure the signal will get scrambled may be as of I speak.
As greg mentions the Echostart 50* series (the 501/508 are similar except for a larger hard drive, hence more recording time in the 508) are without any PVR fees. I have one of each that I bought a few months ago before moving. Now I cannot go Dish due to line of sight issues so I am going to be selling them. If interested, PM me. Of course, they do need Dish Network though you didn't mention which DBS system you have.
Another thing to look into is an HTPC. You can load software onto them that will include a PVR, like SageTV or Media Center, which includes a built in EPG with no monthly subscription. This will also give you a built in DVD player and more.
The Panasonic Showstopper Replay's (I.E model 2000) had no fee and can be picked up on ebay reletively cheap. Some even have had bigger drives put in them. This model is for SD recording not HD.