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Digital replacement for my VCR

#1 User is offline   larrysr 

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 11:39 AM

Am I the only person in the USA who still utilizes a roof antena for all my TV stations? If not maybe someone out there is looking for the same type of equipment as I am. Before all digital TV I used a VCR to record TV programs when I was not going to be home to watch them so I could watch them later. Now after all digital TV I can ot find a similar replacement device. I though I had one when I found informat on the Philips DVDR3576H DVD Recorder with 160GB hard drive and a built-in tuner, however, I cannot find any place to purchase one. I am surprised that this is the only such device I can information on and I am also surprised that I cannot find it for sale anywhere. Please don't tell be about TIVO devices because they are subscription only devices and I don't want a monthly bill I want to make a one time purchase and be able to do what I could do with my old VCR.
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#2 User is offline   SnyperTodd 

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 11:58 AM

Larry, I actually have the Phillips DVDR3575H DVD Recorder with 160GB hard drive, and I love it! I found it at ShopKo (a department store much like Wal-Mart) clearanced for $169! Had I known they would be going for $800, I would have bought their entire stock. Amazon has both it and the DVDR3576H that you are looking for, but they are extrememly expensive there. It's such a niche piece of equipment that prices are just outrageous. I wish I could help you find one for a reasonable price, but it doesn't look good.
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#3 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 01:43 PM

larrysr said:

Please don't tell be about TIVO devices because they are subscription only devices and I don't want a monthly bill I want to make a one time purchase and be able to do what I could do with my old VCR.


I do not know if this will change you view, but you can purchase the TiVo "subscription" as monthly, yearly, 3 yearly, or lifetime of the device. Thus, you can effectively make a one time purchase...but it will add about $400 to the price of a TiVo...that would, however, price a TiVo at about the same price as the Philips device through Amazon (which does have it).

In addition, this LG DVD Recorder/VCR supposedly has a digital tuner. I do not know if it will record digital to the VCR, but seems to imply that it can to a DVD:

http://www.bestbuy.c...d=1199496732454
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#4 User is offline   SnyperTodd 

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 03:59 PM

The Phillips units have digital tuners, too. The handy feature of them is the ability to record to the hard drive, which that LG doesn't have. My wife & I usually start recording a TV show, then do something else for several minutes before we start watching it and "chase" the show and skip the commercials. You can watch something off the hard drive while you record something else to the hard drive, or watch a DVD while you record something to the hard drive. I don't know anything about TiVo, I have a problem with subscription-based services that can be had for free. My suggestion would be to build a Home Theater PC, which could be done for less than 1/2 of the price of the Phillips units at Amazon. nVIdia's ION platform is a perfect setup. All you'd need in addition to it is a PCIe x1 ATSC TV Tuner Card, some RAM, an OS, a hard drive, and a case. I priced one for about $365 without an OS. That price is higher than it needs to be because of the tiny size. I built my (non-ION, VCR-sized) HTPC for quite a bit less than that since I had most of the parts sitting around, along with XP MCE.
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#5 User is offline   mjd420nova 

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 04:39 PM

Larrysr: One way to make things work would be to get one of those converter boxes. For around $50. minus the discount coupon from the feds, you'd have your original VCR that's able to tune the new digital channell with the converter. I still have my VCR but use it to transpose VHS and VHSC tapes that I have ammassed over the years and for others who don't want to pay the fees others charge. I have two ways to do this, direct copies from tape to DVD or input into my video computer, edited and burned to DVD. The digital converter would be the cheapest way I know.
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#6 User is offline   coastie65 

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 05:43 PM

Hi Larry, Here you go : www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=dvd[irecorder[/i]atsc+tuner&tag=mh0b-20&index=electronics&hvadid=21024901&ref=pdsl45ve7lr6g5e] To be more precise : [http://www.amazon.co...013WM0BQ/ref=sr1_7?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1249004661&sr=1-7] coastie
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#7 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 07:19 PM

mjd420nova said:

Larrysr: One way to make things work would be to get one of those converter boxes. For around $50. minus the discount coupon from the feds, you'd have your original VCR that's able to tune the new digital channell with the converter. I still have my VCR but use it to transpose VHS and VHSC tapes that I have ammassed over the years and for others who don't want to pay the fees others charge. I have two ways to do this, direct copies from tape to DVD or input into my video computer, edited and burned to DVD. The digital converter would be the cheapest way I know.


The problem with this option is that unless there is some timer mechanism built into the digital converter, then it might not work for poster. The poster wants to be able to set up a recording (or recordings) to occur when they are away from the house. For this to occur, the timer on the VCR would need to be used. If only one show is to be recorded, then this should not be a problem...he/she could set the converter box to the desired channel to record and use the timer on the VCR to record channel 3 or 4 (which is the channel it would be set to use to "receive" the convert box signal) at the particular time. If, however, the person wants to record different programs on different channels, then he/she would need someway for the converter box to switch channels...and I am not aware of any way for this to occur, unless some versions of the converter boxes have timers in them that can switch channels at a specific time...or a VCR has a remote "controller" extender much like some computer TV cards, etc have that would allow the VCR to send a remote control code to the controller box.
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#8 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 07:20 PM

I have moved this thread to the Audio & Video Hardware forum as the General Talk forum is not really for technical discussions/questions.
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#9 User is offline   larrysr 

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 09:41 AM

The suggested soultion about using one of those converter boxes with my VCR will not work. I tried it. If you connect the VCR to the output of the converter box you do have analog but the VCR must use its own tuner in order to do a scheduled time and channel record and its tuner is analog only therefore it will not work. I tried every combination of VCR and converter box you can think of.
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#10 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:14 AM

SnyperTodd said:


The Phillips units have digital tuners, too. The handy feature of them is the ability to record to the hard drive, which that LG doesn't have. My wife & I usually start recording a TV show, then do something else for several minutes before we start watching it and "chase" the show and skip the commercials. You can watch something off the hard drive while you record something else to the hard drive, or watch a DVD while you record something to the hard drive. I don't know anything about TiVo, I have a problem with subscription-based services that can be had for free. My suggestion would be to build a Home Theater PC, which could be done for less than 1/2 of the price of the Phillips units at Amazon. nVIdia's ION platform is a perfect setup. All you'd need in addition to it is a PCIe x1 ATSC TV Tuner Card, some RAM, an OS, a hard drive, and a case. I priced one for about $365 without an OS. That price is higher than it needs to be because of the tiny size. I built my (non-ION, VCR-sized) HTPC for quite a bit less than that since I had most of the parts sitting around, along with XP MCE.




[~197180]'s suggestion of a computer with a digital tuner card is a good suggestion. You can basically "create" a DVR by this route and as long as you can get an Internet connection to it, then you should be able to get the guide information to make the computer work as a PVR. And you can likely do this for about half the price of the Philips box.
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#11 User is offline   mjd420nova 

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 05:51 PM

Larrysr; I guess maybe it wasn't explained too well how to set up the converter box and VCR. The converter box becomes the tuner and the output of that box has a selectable output for either channel three or four for the analog device. The VCR must be put into the matching output channel. Most often this is channel three. The VCR is then only set to the appropriate recording time for channell three and the converter box set to the real broadcast channel. I've used this for recording a few programs that were on at the same time as I was already using the DVR to recod a show while watching another on the satelite system I have. A rare occasion when three shows were all on at the same time but it happened. A different approach would be to use the composite video/audio output from the converter box to input to the line input on the VCR and skip the channel problem altogether except for the reception on the converter box. I've used this a few times too. It comes in handy when recording video output from the PC.
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#12 User is offline   rgreen4 

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:16 PM

There is another option. If you have more than one desktop, install an ATSC turner card along with either XP MCE, Vista Home Premium or Win 7 RC and use the Media Center to watch and record TV. I am on satellite, so I can only use line in regardless.
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#13 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 06:31 AM

mjd420nova said:

Larrysr; I guess maybe it wasn't explained too well how to set up the converter box and VCR. The converter box becomes the tuner and the output of that box has a selectable output for either channel three or four for the analog device. The VCR must be put into the matching output channel. Most often this is channel three. The VCR is then only set to the appropriate recording time for channell three and the converter box set to the real broadcast channel. I've used this for recording a few programs that were on at the same time as I was already using the DVR to recod a show while watching another on the satelite system I have. A rare occasion when three shows were all on at the same time but it happened. A different approach would be to use the composite video/audio output from the converter box to input to the line input on the VCR and skip the channel problem altogether except for the reception on the converter box. I've used this a few times too. It comes in handy when recording video output from the PC.


Like I said...this will only work if you want to record shows from one channel. If you want to record two or more shows from different channels, then this will not work.
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#14 User is offline   coastie65 

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 05:34 PM

The links I posted in my above post are all for DVD recorders with ATSC tuners. So as long as you have an antenna and can get a signal, then there shouldn't be a problem. coastie
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#15 User is offline   Knifeblade 

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 09:50 PM

Outside the box thinking, have you considered a 2-1 splitter off the lead-in cable? In MY area, (emphasis, my area, my cable system, and my equip.), I put in the branch to the "analog" box and to to my DVD recorder, all is fine. Be glad to discuss that with you further, it can get wierd if your recorder isn't tuner'ed, which it is or isn't? Essentially, depending on equipment, you just branch the signal out. Nuts, link won't graqb, sorry, but will try to monitor to describe how it MIGHT be done.
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#16 User is offline   coastie65 

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 05:57 AM

Well, you could always use an AB box or splitter from the tuner. The AB box would be a problem though as you would be switching the signal to either the Recorder or TV. I would personally look for a Recorder with an ATSC tuner as i would make things a lot easier.
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#17 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 06:30 AM

coastie65 said:

Well, you could always use an AB box or splitter from the tuner. The AB box would be a problem though as you would be switching the signal to either the Recorder or TV. I would personally look for a Recorder with an ATSC tuner as i would make things a lot easier.


None of this addresses the original poster's problem. His/her problem is needing a device that has a digital tuner that can record shows with a timer. Splitters, A/B switches, etc are largely irrelevant to that issue.
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#18 User is offline   coastie65 

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 06:38 AM

Yup. That's why I included two links to some Recorders with ATSC tuners back up the line. :D
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#19 User is offline   nonseq 

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 08:42 AM

View Postlarrysr, on 31 July 2009 - 09:41 AM, said:

The suggested soultion about using one of those converter boxes with my VCR will not work. I tried it. If you connect the VCR to the output of the converter box you do have analog but the VCR must use its own tuner in order to do a scheduled time and channel record and its tuner is analog only therefore it will not work. I tried every combination of VCR and converter box you can think of.

You manually set the converter box to the channel you want to record, set the VCR to Ch3 Ch4 or A/V input from the converter box and you're good to go. You can't do multiple recordings on different channels this way but you can do one channel.
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#20 User is offline   nonseq 

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 09:39 AM

You might want to check this out. http://www.walmart.c...1#ProductDetail

This is not a recommendation of any kind. It may be total junk and I'm not sure that you can find them anymore but it records over the air

This post has been edited by nonseq: 11 November 2009 - 10:19 AM

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