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What Devices Available To Record Digital Tv Shows?

#1 User is offline   mb4000 

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 12:02 AM

Hello,

I did some online research for digital timeshift recording devices. i.e.
Digital VCRs, DVRs etc. But all these items are either very expensive or
require some sort of subscription service.

Why can I find a good analog VCR for $50, but nothing functionally
equivalent for digital recording? Are there any stand alone devices that
will record a digital signal from both cable and over-the-air at a
reasonable price, with no subscription?

Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.

Thank you.
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#2 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 11:18 AM

View Postmb4000, on 14 October 2009 - 12:02 AM, said:

Hello,

I did some online research for digital timeshift recording devices. i.e.
Digital VCRs, DVRs etc. But all these items are either very expensive or
require some sort of subscription service.

Why can I find a good analog VCR for $50, but nothing functionally
equivalent for digital recording? Are there any stand alone devices that
will record a digital signal from both cable and over-the-air at a
reasonable price, with no subscription?

Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.

Thank you.


A lot depends on how many features you want, what your connection type is, and what you wish to accomplish.

At the "cheap" end of the spectrum, if you are strictly using over-the-air (i.e. antenna), then you can get a digital converter box and use it with the a standard analog VCR. This will work perfectly fine for "dumb" recording (i.e. just hitting the record button). If you want to the use the timer function of the VCR, then this is a bit more problematic as you will be controlling the channel through the converter box, NOT the VCR. Thus, if you want to record two different shows on two different channels using the timer, then you might be out of luck...unless you are there to change the channel or your converter box has some ability to allow you to "time" a channel change.

You can do a similar thing with just about any digital cable box system, but basically have the same issues.

You cheapest option for getting something close to a DVR is likely a computer with a digital TV tuner card and PVR software. This will work rather well for over-the-air, but has similar issues for cable TV (i.e. you need to have a way for the computer to "tell" the cable box to change channels...but many such systems come with "IR blasters" that can send a "remote control IR" command to the cable box). This would still require about $300 to $400 or so for a computer with TV card, but computers with tuner cards and PVR software can use free TV guide services.

Beyond that, you are into the more expensive digital DVRs and recorders, which can still be potentially problematic with cable and/or satellite TV.
Good riddance PCWorld.
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#3 User is offline   mb4000 

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 02:00 PM

Thanks for the information. What a pain this all is.

I want a simple, automatic, stand alone device at a reasonable price.
Why are there no low priced DIGITAL VCRs? There must be a market for them?

Thank you
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#4 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 04:58 PM

View Postmb4000, on 16 October 2009 - 02:00 PM, said:

Thanks for the information. What a pain this all is.

I want a simple, automatic, stand alone device at a reasonable price.
Why are there no low priced DIGITAL VCRs? There must be a market for them?

Thank you


I feel your pain.

While I do not have a "definitive" answer, my guess would be it is economical reasons.

Since most people have cable or satellite, they likely tend to get their "recording" devices (aka DVRs) from their cable or satellite provider. Add to that it is a MAJOR pain in the rear to use most "non-cable/satellite company" equipment (whether a DVR or VCR or DVD recorder) with a cable or satellite connection to record stuff due to scrambling of the signals, it limits the "third party" options...for now (in theory, the cable industry is supposedly working on some new "open" standards that would allow TVs and third party DVRs to work with cable...not heard of any such equivalent for satellite).

So you are mainly talking about "over the air" folks, which is a minority of TV watchers. You further shrink that amount by the fact that there are LOT of "technically challenged" people who cannot program their VCR to record a show with the timer (or, in many cases, get the VCR to stop blinking 12:00)...which means that you have a lot of people who can use a "digital converter" just fine with an analog VCR to suit their needs of recording something when they just hit the record button.

The point is that there is likely just not a big enough demand.

And that does not even get into the fact that for many VCRs are just a dead technology compared to a DVR/PVR (I would not give up my DVR to go back to my VCRs in a million years, even if the dumb Comcast DVRs do flake on occasion).

The end result is that is it likely due to low demand for such things...which unfortunately sucks for you if you are in that group that wants such stuff. :(
Good riddance PCWorld.
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#5 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 01:16 PM

look into set top dvd recorders
eg: http://www.walmart.c...uct_id=12177030
I know that one is relatively expensive, however there are others, that was just my example of todays "vcr"
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