very basic DVD recorder question

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by JohnMM, May 17, 2004.

  1. JohnMM

    JohnMM Stunt Coordinator

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    I know absolutely nothing about these devices. I have digital cable and would like to be able to record tv shows so I can watch them at my leisure. My cable company doesnt't offer cable boxes that can record.

    Is there a digital recorder that will work without having to subscribe to a monthly service? I don't care if I have to use the digital cable box as input to the recorder.

    Also, I have a TV card in my PC, but it isn't a digital one and the quality of recorded shows isn't very good.
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    It's not clear whether you're asking about DVD recorders or PVRs, which record to a hard disk. In any case, no DVD recorder requires a subscription fee, although there are units that combine a DVD recorder with TiVo, and the TiVo part does require a subscription.

    For your purposes (time-shifting TV programs), you could use either a DVD recorder that accepts rewriteable discs (there are several varieties of these) or a unit that combines a DVD recorder with a hard disk (both Panasonic and Toshiba make such units).

    Have you considered a VCR, either VHS or SVHS? For time-shifting programs, it's still an effective alternative.

    M.
     
  3. DanHaya

    DanHaya Second Unit

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    John,

    It sounds to me as if what you are looking for is a PVR (personal video recorder). You're not going to find one that doesn't charge some kind of subscription fee because they have to use a phone line to access a server in order to download the program guide. It's well worth the money if you are going to be recording a lot of programs to watch later.

    Most cable companies around the country are introducing a new cable box with a built-in PVR, the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000. It's a digital cable box with a hard drive capable of storing approximately 40 hours of programming. I've had one for about 6 months and it's great! My cable company does charge a monthly fee for the service but it's about half of the monthly fee for TiVo. You might want to call your local cable company and ask them if they are going to be getting the Explorer 8000 boxes in your area any time soon.
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Not so. A DVD recorder with a hard drive, such as the Panasonic E80 or E85, will work as a PVR but doesn't require a subscription or a phone line. Of course, you don't get the automated features of a TiVo or Replay, but that's the trade-off.

    M.
     
  5. DanHaya

    DanHaya Second Unit

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    Michael,

    That's not necesarily true. I have the E85 and it is not compatible with my Explorer 8000. I've tried to download the TV Guide program guide 5 times and it hasn't worked once.
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Uh, yeah it is. You don't need a phone line or a subscription with the E85, and that's all I said. The fact that it may not be compatible with certain equipment is an entirely different issue. (And the E85 isn't the only option out there.)

    M.
     
  7. DanHaya

    DanHaya Second Unit

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    Yeah, you're right. Sorry, I misread your comments. My bad! [​IMG]
     
  8. JohnMM

    JohnMM Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies. I called Cablevision and was told that they will be coming out with a cable box that can record, but they don't know when it will be available.

    I am confused though - Dan said that he can't get the E85 to work with the Explorer 8000. From the other comments in this thread it seems that both have recording capability. Why would you/I use both? I would like to know because maybe I should get the E85 (or comparable) until Cablevision provides a box that can record.

    Thanks for the help...
     
  9. DanHaya

    DanHaya Second Unit

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    John,

    What I was referring to is that the E85 will not download the program guide from the Explorer. The E85 comes with an infrared "blaster" which you are supposed to place near your cable box so that it can change the channel when you have a scheduled recording and also to download the program guide. From my experience, it will change the channel, but I haven't been able to successfully download the program guide.

    For me, the advantage of the Explorer 8000 is its ability to record two programs at the same time. Even TiVo can't match that. I have found that a lot of programs I like are on at the same time, so that feature really comes in handy.

    My advice to you would be to go with TiVo. Unless you want to be able to burn to DVDs, it'll cost you less in the long run than a DVD recorder. I just forked out $700 for my E85, plus another $75 for a 50-pack of DVDs. A TiVo unit will set you back a lot less. They do have a lifetime subscription that you can buy, though it is a little pricey and it's only applicable for the unit you purchase (meaning if you upgraded to a better unit down the road, you'd have to buy another subscription. I'd stick with the montly fee.
     

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