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what happened to the plain old DVRs (1 Viewer)

Jake_J_HT

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Mar 18, 2003
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5
I know I remember seeing HDD VCR replacements years ago before the subscription services really took hold and then they disappeared.

I don't want a subscription service for an EPG, and I don't want satellite. I just want a digital recorder to replace my VCR. I'm perfectly capable of programming my weekly Enterprise or other occasional series. These new DVD recorder/DVR combos are too expensive and I don't need DVD-R capability either. I just want a big fat HDD recorder. Is there anything out there to satisfy my simple needs?

Jake
 

MickeS

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Jul 24, 2000
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There are a whole lot of graphics cards + software that can do this, if you don't mind doing it on the PC.

If you want to do it on a standalone unit, try and find an old Series 1 Tivo, I believe they worked without the subscription service. The PC would probably be a better alternative though.

If you feel like tinkering with a DIY solution, there's http://www.freevo.org, a Linux-based amateur project. No clue how good it is, but I've been thinking about trying it out.

I still think a regular Tivo is worth every penny though... :)

/Mike
 

Bob McElfresh

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May 22, 1999
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There are a few things to search for:

ShowStopper
Replay

I dont know about their subscription service plans.

But I will say that one of my great love of PVR's comes from the search feature which needs the listings. I can search for my favorite shows/actors and one-button program to record.

When I look at my recorded shows, the title and descriptions are all available. Without the subscription you would just see:

Wed 4/9 channel 7, 7pm 60 minutes
Wed 4/9 channel 4, 8pm 30 minutes

The fatter the hard drive, the more of this you will see. And how will you know which listing is that favorite Letterman episode or the un-watched Firefly/Enterprise/ER shows? It will quickly become frustrating to use.

I think you would be disapointed if you got a PVR without listings service.
 

Brian Kleinke

Supporting Actor
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Sep 9, 1999
Messages
976
I'm using an old Tivo with out the service to act like a HDD VCR and a time shifter.

So you can't do this on the new ones?? Ie they force you to have the stupid (IMO) service??

And Bob, I have that type of listing you describe... but it doesn't bother me one bit since I know the days and times of shows I care about.

Not to mention with my digital cable the TIVO can't change the channel so all that channel info the service provides is useless, since my digital cable (it's over DSL lines) provides it all :)
 

Parker Clack

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Jake:

ReplayTV is selling a refurbed 5040 for $330 with lifetime activation. I understand they are selling so many of them that the are sending out new units to keep up with the demand. Go to ReplayTV and check it out.

Parker
 

Josh J

Auditioning
Joined
Sep 10, 2001
Messages
12
You could technically record on a Tivo box without the service but it would be a lot more of a pain in the ass.
 

Leroy

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
305
That's what's keeping me from getting a PVR. I don't record very often (usually if i'm gonna be out of town and don't want to miss something in particular)so paying for a subscription is worthless to me. I would have thought HDD recorders that work just like a regular VCR would be the logical step for VCR replacement rather than subscription based units.

I never have, nor ever will record much, I just hate having to dig up a tape for the occasional recording(the only reason I still have a VCR).
 

Ken Chan

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I would have thought HDD recorders that work just like a regular VCR would be the logical step for VCR replacement
You may be overestimating the average person's ability to program a VCR (even with VCR-Plus) and set the clock.

//Ken
 

Stephen Tu

Screenwriter
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Apr 26, 1999
Messages
1,572
That's what's keeping me from getting a PVR. I don't record very often
But that's the whole point of a PVR ... you don't record much on a VCR because it's a hassle. With a PVR, it's so easy, that you just record everything. 99% of the shows you watch, you set up a recording for it. Then everything is on your own schedule, you watch what you want when you feel like it; never have to arrange to be in front of the TV when a show comes on that you wanted to see. You set up the recording whether or not you think you'll be around, and don't think about it ever again, just pop up the list of recorded programs and watch it. Don't have to wait until the show's over to start watching either, another reason I bet you don't record often with VCRs.

You'd only not record often with a PVR if you just don't watch TV shows.
 

Steve Berger

Supporting Actor
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Sep 8, 2001
Messages
987
As regards the original topic I think the DVRs may start showing up after the initial liscense agreements with Tivo , Replay , etc run out. They are not manufacturers after all and needed to get the hardware companies to build their boxes so the hardware companies won't be able to sell their own for a while.

Personally I just installed my second WinTV PVR250 (Fathers day present) While it comes with it's own guide , Titan TV's website is so slow it's easier to look up my schedule on YahooTV (fairly accurate , 2 weeks info and fast) and enter the info on the scheduler or use a third party program that records in the background. I can set up the remotes to get any time jump I want . If you want to see what a PC based recorder can do check out people like Frey technologies with Sage TV. Computers with 4 tuners , internet remote control are some of the advanced things that can be done.

The reason I went this route was DRM (Digital Rights Management) . There are some really scary capabilities that can be implemented with digital products to keep you from recording almost anything. Just because you're allowed to time-shift doesn't mean that they have to make it easy. There was (is) talk of embedding DRM in hardware (like hard drives , motherboards , processers , operating systems ) let alone what they can do with things like Tivo (a downloaded upgrade removed standalone capabilities at one point I believe) STBs that can downres an HDTV image if no encrypted link exists to the TV. ABC sports could decide that you can't record Monday Night Football and you wouldn't be able to on your new VCR , Tivo , or almost any new digitally aware recorder. I decided that if I wanted a PVR that I could control I would have to buy the parts now and build it even if I didn't need it yet.

I used the ABC reference because a Congressman used it in a statement a couple of years ago to the effect that they could (with HDTV) stop us from recording Monday Night Football but that "that just isn't going to happen" ; but Congressmen don't always get re-elected.
 

Leroy

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
305
But that's the whole point of a PVR ... you don't record much on a VCR because it's a hassle. With a PVR, it's so easy, that you just record everything. 99% of the shows you watch, you set up a recording for it. Then everything is on your own schedule, you watch what you want when you feel like it; never have to arrange to be in front of the TV when a show comes on that you wanted to see. You set up the recording whether or not you think you'll be around, and don't think about it ever again, just pop up the list of recorded programs and watch it. Don't have to wait until the show's over to start watching either, another reason I bet you don't record often with VCRs.
I don't record much on my VCR because I simply don't watch a whole lot of TV. Why pay $10 (or whatever the one time fees would be) a month to record only an occasional show or two. I never found recording with my VCR much of a hassle, I just would rather do away with having to use a tape rather than recording to a HDD. I'm thinking I may go with a DVD recorder, although I still have to use removable media, I don't have to worry about degradation over time.
 

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