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I need advice on a DVR

Discussion in 'Movies & Television' started by dosmalo, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    I have an LG flat screen and I'm wanting just a plain, simple DVR to record programs after bedtime or while we're away - just like the old days with a VCR.
    Something I can hook my antenna to and hooks to my TV.
    I looked on Amazon the other evening and I saw 'combo this and combo that' but unless I just missed it - no simple DVR.
    Someone please help me out, this shouldn't be a difficult as it appears.
    I would greatly appreciate the help.
     

     

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  2. teal'c

    teal'c It's all moo Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,958
    Location:
    Michigan, N of Detroit
    Mine is no longer available, so I can't help much.
    I take it you're looking for an OTA unit? Have you googled DVR reviews?
    https://www.digitaltrends.com/dvrs-digital-video-recorders-reviews/
    My first one was a TIVO and it had some really nice features if you pay for the service. When you cancel they say it will no longer function. Of course they neglect to mention that they send an "update" that makes it inoperable. If you disconnect the network connection they can't (or couldn't, at least) disable it and I used mine for another few years until the digital change over as a DVR without the channel guide and programming features. Manually entering times and length.
    From my experience researching my TV, I'd recommend checking out avsforum.
     
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  3. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    Correct, I'm a cable cutter since 2012 so OTA here with an antenna. Wife has a couple of her 'stories' that air simultaneously and there are several late-late Saturday night sci-fi shows that are way past my bedtime so I need to time shift.
    Back in the days of analog VCRs we did all the time regardless of whether we were hooked to cableTV or free TV/ OTA antennas.
    Is that not happening anymore?
     
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  4. beat_truck

    beat_truck Super Member

    Messages:
    2,459
    Location:
    SW PA
    I still use a VCR fed from the DirecTV box.:oops: However, some of that is going to change soon when we move closer to the stations, and can dump pay TV for OTA.

    Technically, you could just get a digital converter box, tune it to the channel you want to record, and set the VCR as you always did.:D I may actually do that in the future.

    I don't know how good they are, but I've seen some digital tuner/converter boxes on Ebay that record directly to a USB stick or an external HDD. As a bonus, those boxes play back just about every popular video file format known to man. Even though it doesn't state it, I would bet they play audio files, too.

    The one I have saved to my Ebay watch list for further reference is currently out of stock, but here it is. Maybe they'll get more.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Viewtv-At-163-ATSC-Digital-TV-Converter-Box-Media-Player-w-Recording-Function/171624582582?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

    Hopefully this is of some help.

    Edit: Here is a similar unit on Amazon, however it says USB sticks "aren't recommended" even though lots of people report using them,:dunno: and the reviews aren't all that great.
    https://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-Homeworx-HW180STB-Converter-Recording/dp/B00IYETYX8?tag=b0c55-20
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
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  5. mr_light

    mr_light AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    361
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD
    I use a TIVO Roamio OTA (Over The Air...). With the lifetime channel guide it's not cheap but it works perfectly.
     
  6. TPettenati

    TPettenati Active Member

    Messages:
    444
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    +1 on the Tivo Roamio OTA.

    In addition to the OTA channels, the Tivo supports streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Youtube etc. Most at additional cost. The only one I've used is Amazon Prime, we already had the subscription.
     

     

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  7. beat_truck

    beat_truck Super Member

    Messages:
    2,459
    Location:
    SW PA
    In case you didn't know it, you can use your PC as a DVR/PVR, too. It's usually very easy to connect a PC to a modern TV.

    There are PCI card and USB based TV tuners from companies like Hauppauge that will let you record to your HDD. Hauppauge seems to make good products. I still have an older analog TV tuner PCI card that is pushing 20 years old and still works fine.

    I actually bought a slightly older, discontinued Hauppauge USB DTV tuner DVR/PVR that was brand new on Ebay for $10 shipped. I haven't tried it out yet, and I actually didn't even buy it for that purpose. I bought it so I could transfer VHS tapes to digital or record from DirecTV with my laptop because it also has analog inputs.
     
  8. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    Admittedly I'm way behind the times on this stuff so could someone explain what a "TiVo subscription" , for example is?
     
  9. teal'c

    teal'c It's all moo Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,958
    Location:
    Michigan, N of Detroit
    https://www.tivo.com/buytivo/popups/popup_servicePlans.html
    What you get from tivo is a channel guide and the ability to record in a multitude of ways.
    Say you want to record the X Files. With tivo you can simply find it in the guide and select it. No times, channels or dates needed. you can choose to record them all, record them only from a specific channel, or even let it know you don't want any re-runs so it will only record episodes that haven't aired before.
    It also lets you pause what you're catching at the moment, whether you've recorded it or not because it keeps an hour or two on the drive of what it is you're watching. If you need to leave halfway through your unrecorded program you can save the whole thing.
    There were a couple other things that I don't remember, I haven't had one for over a decade+.

    For comparison, my DVR works exactly like a VCR. Times, dates, channel all need to be entered, and it records the programming always, even if the show isn't on that night. No channel guide either, but I doubt any DVR now would be lacking that feature.
    Of course the new TVs... Mine has a great channel guide, and I can pause live TV now just with the set, but there's no way to save anything using the TV alone yet, so I still need the DVR.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
  10. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    Thanks teal'c, I've just about decided on a TiVo but I may need to up my internet speed and I'm going to need a wifi router. I've been discussing the issue with one of my wife's sons (the tech one, works for Dell).
    He claims TiVo is the way to go and it'll be pretty much painless for a Luddite like me.
    I'm trying to do this with as little expense and keeping it as simple as possible.
     
  11. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,103
    Location:
    Blue Ridge Mountains!
    Parts Express sells a Terk digital tuner, with DVR capabilities. It doesn't look fancy or sophisticated, but it's cheap and seems to offer what you want. You supply the DVR storage, via a USB drive. Once it's back in stock at PE, give it a shot. Not much to loose.
     
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  12. teal'c

    teal'c It's all moo Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,958
    Location:
    Michigan, N of Detroit
    What's your speed now? https://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/

    Have you checked Youtube? Lots of vids of people showing how these things work so you can get some ideas of the differences before you purchase.
     
  13. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    All Vyve tells me on my monthly bill is I'm on the 'Standard Residential' tier. According to SpeedTest.Net (ran this yesterday) @22ms ping I've got 6.13 mbps download with 1.11 mbps upload speeds. This using the closest server I'm assuming, OneNet server located in OKC about 30 - 40 miles away.
    Several years ago I used to run the speed test quite frequently and even though speeds were satisfactory, the quality of the speed was lacking.
    During yesterday's speed test the quality looks a lot more linear and I'm going to say that's due to a new fiber optic trunk line behind me.
     
  14. nedseg

    nedseg AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    497
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Just a follow up on beat_truck's comment, and since you have a 'tech' relative:
    I have a Win7 PC with a TV tuner card in it, still running Windows Media Center, which also has a program guide, from which you can view & schedule recordings. It has it's own antenna for OTA recording.
    Very simple and easy user interface on Media Center.
    Not supported on Win10, and likely will be 'de-supported' by MS at some point.
    Playback is largely limited to the PC, though I have managed to struggle though some conversions that allow me to playback shows on a USB stick stuck into one of the TVs.
    Works amazingly well, and allows me to use an attached hard drive as 'tv media storage'.
    Don't use it as much anymore though, there's so little 'of merit' being broadcast now.
    With US 'regulations on content protection', there are very few options for OTA recording here nowadays.
    Good luck!!
     
  15. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    Brother, you got that right!
    Of course my wife sees things a little differently since she has her 'stories' and new seasons are right around the corner thus my interest in time shifting is mainly for her and also as I said in my initial post there are a few things that are broadcast after my bedtime I'd like to watch.
    Since my desktop is in our bedroom and our TV in the living room I'll more than likely be using some sort of wifi in the mix and raising my internet speed.
    This may not be a bad thing in the long run if it'll open up some avenues other than local broadcast.
    I've had cable and satellite in the past and they are blood-sucking no-goes from the get-go for me. Been there, done that sort of thing.
     
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  16. beat_truck

    beat_truck Super Member

    Messages:
    2,459
    Location:
    SW PA
    I'm fairly sure that most TV tuner cards come with their own guide and recording software, plus there are other programs that you can use as long as you have drivers that work, so Microsoft can go pound salt.:)

    Pretty cat, BTW. We have one that looks very similar.
     
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  17. nedseg

    nedseg AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    497
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Admittedly it's been a long time since I researched the DVR/OTA thing, but IRCC, all of the 'included' dvr programs came with fees, if only to pay for the guide? The MS guide (they actually handed it off to a third party) is still free, and being updated, but who knows for how long.
    "Free" met my requirements nicely, though, and I snagged a lot of pretty good stuff in the early days of HD OTA, when they were all scrambling for content.
    Don't disagree on MS, though the saying where I used to work was: 'No one ever got fired for recommending microsoft'.
    My favorite times were back in the PowerBuilder days:) This web stuff sucks in comparison to 'rich clients'!
    Yup, there is such a flood of OTA channels out there nowadays, there's almost certainly something for everyone.
    Yah, he's a real character; & has a very large vocabulary for a cat, too bad it's so difficult to parse out what he's saying!
    Here's the latest one, who just wandered in about a week ago...probably off to HS for re-homing tomorrow if the owners don't show up, & another new stray appeared just yesterday!! Starting to feel like a pied piper for cats!
    Found kitten 2.JPG
    Enjoy!
     
  18. beat_truck

    beat_truck Super Member

    Messages:
    2,459
    Location:
    SW PA
    I'll have to get my Hauppauge TV tuner hooked up. It didn't mention any fees for their DVR software on the box or on their website.

    I actually switched completely to Linux a few months ago. The thought of Windows 10 makes me want to vomit.:no: I think there is a Linux based DVR program that is supposed to work with it my TV tuner card. If not, I still have Windows 7 on a netbook, so that should be good enough to try it on. If all else fails, I still have my trusty Windows 7 pre-activated install DVD.:)

    I know this isn't a cat thread, but since you posted a picture....
    cat.JPG
    This was in my way when I went to flip a record last night.:rflmao:
     
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  19. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Location:
    NE. FL.
    Yes !!
    Monetary control !!
    Your Money, Their Control !!
     
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  20. Celt

    Celt Peanut Head Staff Member Super Mod

    Messages:
    37,911
    Location:
    Paragould, Arkansas
    =^..^= meow!

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