Best DVR Recorder for Over the Air Use - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-10-2009, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

I am very new to DVRs. I need your input. Please suggest to me the best DVR I can buy for Over the Air broadcasting programs. I will be mainly recording HDs and I need relatively large capacity and hopefully 2 digital tuners built in for recording one and watching another program. I don't use cable nor satelite. I looked up Humax website but it was confusing to me. Thank you.

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post #2 of 9 Old 09-10-2009, 02:47 PM
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There are only a few choices for those in the United States, and only two offer dual-tuners for OTA programs.

Refer to the table above.

   
PRICE          
  Price online
  DVR fees
None
None
$129/year or
$330-$399 lifetime
Included
  Total online cost without any future fees
$229
$300
$580 - $650
$799
TUNERS          
  Tuners for off-air antenna
1
2
2
None
  Tuners for analog and digital cable
1
None
2
2x digital cable
1x analog with dongle
  Supports encrypted digital channels on cable    
X
X
BASIC          
  Program guide  
X
X
X
  High-definition output
(Only outputs in SD)
X
X
X
  Pause and rewind liveTV on both SD and HD channels
X
X
X
X
  Record one channel while you watch another live  
X
X
X
  Record one HD channel as SD while you watch a previously recorded show in SD
X
     
  Record two different HD channels, while you watch a previously recorded HD show  
X
X
X
  Pause, replay, 30sec skip, slow mo, and multiple speeds of FF and RW
X
X
X
X
  Skip-to-tick or comparable function (i.e. skip 15 minutes at a time)    
X
X
  Progress bar (on trickplay) shows current position in video
X
X
X
X
  Dual live buffers (i.e. saves pause position and video on inactive tuner)    
X
(Does not save position)
  Remembers where you left off in every recording
X
X
X
X
  Conflict management (i.e. ability to skip a scheduled recording to record something new)    
X
X
  Closed captions on recordings
(Analog only)
X
X
X
RECORD          
  Records HD at 100% original quality
(Only records in SD)
X
X
X
  Records all programs using VCR-like timers (ex: every Monday from 8:00-8:30pm)
X
X
   
  Records and tracks programs by their name    
X
X
  Ability to record only new episodes and ignore repeats    
X
X
  Automatically adjusts record schedule when programs change their days, times, and/or lengths    
X
X
  Series manager to prioritize what two programs are recorded when 3+ programs conflict    
X
X
  Automatic rescheduling so programs missed due to conflicts are recorded the next time they air    
X
X
  Overlap protection to eliminate conflicts when three or more programs overlap by up to five minutes    
X
 
  Automatically deletes oldest recording (not set "keep until I delete") when space needed for new recording    
X
X
  Start recordings early or end late  
X
X
X
  Keep only the last X episodes of a show    
X
X
  Keep recording until I delete or until space is needed  
X
X
X
GUIDE          
  Create recording from program guide selection  
X
X
X
  Guide filters and favorites    
X
X
  Delete individual channels from guide  
X
X
X
  Days of program information
None
8 days on many channels
14 days on all channels
14 days on all channels
  Comprehensive program information available on all channels in all markets    
X
X
  Detailed episode information and original airdate; distinguishes between new and repeat episodes    
X
X
  Downloads guide data without an Internet connection (wired or wireless) or phone line  
X
(Requires Internet or phone)
(Requires Internet)
  Integrates off-air and cable channels into a single guide  
N/A
X
N/A
  Maximum number of 30min timeslots shown on guide screen  
6 in grid
3 in grid, 8 in TiVo-style
6 in grid, 4 in Moxi-style
SEARCH          
  Search program titles and descriptions  
X
X
X
  Search program titles, descriptions, actors, directors, and categories with boolean operators (AND/OR/NOT)    
X
 
  Record a single program found with search  
X
X
X
  Automatically record all future programs matching a saved search    
X
 
DVR UI          
  Single-click delete    
X
 
  Deleted Items folder with recording undelete    
X
 
  Number of programs shown on recorded list screen
?
6
8
10
  Recorded list shows name of every recording  
X
X
X
  Recorded list shows date of every recording    
X
X
  Recorded list can be sorted by name, date, or grouped  
X
X
 
  Program groups (folders) can be sorted by name or date  
(Name only)
X
(Name only)
  Inside program groups (folders), recordings are sorted by recorded date    
X
X
  Inside program groups (folders), episode names are listed    
X
X
  Record schedule shows names of upcoming programs    
X
X
  Recorded history shows why programs didn't record  
(Limited)
X
 
  Free disk space estimate
X
X
(Recently Deleted)
X
  No advertising of any kind
X
X
X
STORAGE          
  Built-in capacity
160GB
250GB
160GB (1TB on XL)
500 GB
  Supports external drive expansion    
Up to 1TB
Up to 6 TB w/ RAID
  Allows internal hard drive upgrades
X
X
X
?
TRANSFER          
  Allows download/transfer of HD and SD recorded files to a computer    
X
 
  Allows transfer of PC videos to DVR for viewing    
X
 
  Allows streaming of PC videos to DVR for viewing    
(Limited)
X
  Software to automatically download favorite series and convert them for portable players (ex: iPhone)    
X
 
MULTIROOM          
  Access and view recordings on a DVR in another room    
X
X
  Pause a recording in one room and resume it in another    
X
X
ONLINE          
  Connects to Internet time server each night to set clock    
X
X
  Download software updates using ethernet connection  
X
X
X
  Remote scheduling via the web and mobile phone    
X
X
  Real-time conflict management for remote scheduling      
X
  Edit and/or delete scheduled recordings online      
X
  View list of recorded programs and upcoming / scheduled recordings online    
X
X
  Subscribe to specific RSS video feeds and podcasts (i.e. so they automatically download when available)    
X
 
  Support for Amazon's "TV Passes" (i.e. purchase a cable series and new episodes are downloaded in HD)    
X
 
  Support for Netflix SD/HD streaming    
X
Netflix SD Only
(Requires third-party software)
           
OTHER          
  Requires phone line? Requires Internet connection? Requires one or the other?
No/No/No
No/No/No
No/No/Yes
No/Yes
  Native output mode to output all video as is without conversion    
X
X
  Downconverts HD video to SD over s-video and composite connections for non-HDTVs
X
(Composite only)
X
X
  All SD and HD outputs active simultaneously  
X
X
X
  Allows 16:9 anamorphic output through SD connections    
X
 
  DLNA compliant      
X
  Built-in DVD writer
X
     
WARRANTY          
  Parts warranty
One year
90 days
One year
One year
  Cost to replace after warranty expires
?
$300
$150
$?
  Cost to transfer lifetime service to a replacement DVR for three years
N/A
N/A
$0
N/A
  Cost to transfer lifetime service to a replacement DVR after three years
N/A
N/A
$199
N/A

The best for OTA is quite clearly the TivoHD, but it costs more than twice as much once you add the upfront payment to eliminate all future fees.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-10-2009, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
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bfdtv,

Thank you for the comprehensive comparison chart. As you mentioned it's clear who the wineer is. But it comes with a big price tag! Tivo HD XL retails like $600!

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post #4 of 9 Old 09-10-2009, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelmorio View Post

Thank you for the comprehensive comparison chart. As you mentioned it's clear who the wineer is. But it comes with a big price tag! Tivo HD XL retails like $600!

You could get a TiVo HD and the WD My DVR Expander 500 GB drive, for 640 GB of total storage, for under $400 on Amazon. Unless the Glo remote or THX certification is particularly important to you, you'd save a fair amount of money, and still get a healthy amount of storage.

Yes, that's still more than most of the other DVR options out there - but I can truly say it's completely worth it. I have a Series3 that I bought nearly 3 years ago now - it's still running great, and I use it all the time. TiVo really does change the entire idea of watching TV, and I'm sure that once you have one, you'll ask yourself how you did without it.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-10-2009, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelmorio View Post

bfdtv,

Thank you for the comprehensive comparison chart. As you mentioned it's clear who the wineer is. But it comes with a big price tag! Tivo HD XL retails like $600!

As noted above, you can add an external 500GB or 1TB My DVR Expander. Or you can spend $80-$90 and 35-45 minutes of your time to upgrade the stock TivoHD to 1TB (upgrade instructions). Or you pay $50 more for a a pre-prepared 1TB drive upgrade (example) and then take 3-5 minutes to install it.

If you don't watch much TV, and don't ever foresee the need for cable support, then you might sacrifice some reliability/usability/functionality to get the DTVPal DVR at less than half the price. Even though it's no TiVo, the DTVPal DVR is still a vast improvement over most VCRs and DVD recorders.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-11-2009, 05:12 AM
 
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Wow... that's a great table bfdtv!
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-02-2009, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

Wow... that's a great table bfdtv!

I agree.

However, it looks like for the more technically savvy folks, there is a new option coming out within the next couple of months - the DVICO TViX M6620N. More info.
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-19-2010, 02:57 AM
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bfdtv,

Thank you very much for this chart.
As soon as I can afford it, I will be purchasing the TiVo system that you recommended. How can I go about buying this one? What particular website would you recommend.

I use a Digitenna which I am quite happy with for an new generation version of rabbit ears expanded antenna which is in my attic laying down. I also have a powered amplifier from Channel Master. I found a true electronics store (not your crappy Radio Shack). These guys specialize in the real antennas for television and much more. The name is Cumberland Electronics in East Windsor, Connecticut.

Although, the cost may be expensive for this particular DVR for OTA, in the long run it is well worth the investment. I recognize that.

Thank you very much for that very cool, visual comparison chart.
That was a nice piece of presentation that you put together.

Richard


P.S. I am very happy with my 32 digital and 7 analog channels that I receive. I am more happy with the ZERO monthly bill of absolutely nothing to pay in regards to television. TV signals should be like radio....FREE.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-15-2013, 02:32 PM
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you should use a HTPC!
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