Options for OTA HDTV DVR? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 11-14-2006, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I have recently moved into the world of HDTV with the purchase of new 62" Toshiba DLP television. Up until now I have been using my trusty replaytv to record my favorite shows and sporting events. The cable company does not run to my house, so programing is through DirectTV and OTA signal.

I only want to be able to record my OTA shows/sports in their full HDTV glory to watch at my leisure. I have no interest in recording HD DirecTV.

I have the ATI HDTV card for my computer and this is not an option to use as my primary DVR. The new HD Tivo is a $1000 and I don't need the cable recording functions that it offers. Toshiba released the Symbio, but you can't change the channel when you are recording a HD show. DirectTV has their new HD-DVR (HR20), but has not implemented OTA recordings and from what I read is not the most stable/reliable of machines.

What are my other options?
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post #2 of 34 Old 11-14-2006, 04:45 PM
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LG had one for around $1000. Sony had one for $700 and a larger one for $1000. There are no current models on the market. Ebay still has a few Sony units and probably will for a while, you can pick one up for around $400-$500. You should really be looking the "HDTV Recorder" forum, however.
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post #3 of 34 Old 11-21-2006, 09:09 PM
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I've got the Sony DHG-HDD250 unit that I use with a rooftop OTA antenna in Brooklyn, NY (11215). I'm simply blown away by the quality and amount of programming I can receive. Many digital channels have a number of sub-channels. While some of these are quite useless, I (or rather my 4-year-old son) really enjoy having PBS-Kids at 13.2 and a 13.1 HD channel with mostly distinct programming from the regular analog channel 13. Then there is 13.3 which mostly has reruns of various PBS material.

Thirteen already was one of my favorites, but now I've an instant collection of over a 100 recordings of my son's favorite PBS-Kids episodes (Caillou, Thomas the Tank Engine, Clifford, Dragon Tales, Mr Rogers, Sesame Street etc) and much unique PBS HD programming at my finger tips. Also, while analog Thirteen always has some annoying horizontal line noise, the digital channels are generally flawless.

Then there is the TV Guide, which I feared problems with given all the trouble reports here on AVS Forum. I had zero problems, after the guide started populating. Even the PBS sub-channels have correct guide info. Operation is super easy, for unmatched spousal approval factor. We rarely if ever watch TV live. It's just too nice to be able to pause and later skip any commercials.

Now, after a year and a half of using this unit (just a few months of which with a HDTV flatscreen monitor), I can say my money was indeed much better spend on this DVR than it would have been on cable. The OTA reception is far more reliable than cable. The only outage I've had was when my neighbours cable guy messed with *my* coax and hooked me up to Time Warner cable with a lousy signal by accident.

I paid just over half of what Lindahl quoted for a returned unit in one of the common brick-and-mortar stores. I'd say: look for a good deal and never look back. My only regret? I should have gotten the 500MB model. Also, the unit tend to run a bit hot and need to be put in a ventilated spot. It really is always on (HDD always spinning). Ignoring my own advice, my unit is out of sight in my entertainment center and generally records about 110F, which is a tad high for long HDD life.

-Geert
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post #4 of 34 Old 11-23-2006, 07:56 PM
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I am using a Series 3 TiVo for OTA only. If you search on the web you can find it for a fairly good price. And you can easily expand the storage up to one TByte, one TByte is the limit right now. Dual tuners, great interface, absolutely reliable, many user features like Season Passes, Wishlists, etc.

WAF is about as good as it gets with TiVo.

Jerry the HT Nut
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post #5 of 34 Old 12-13-2006, 07:27 AM
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I am curious about your Avatar. It says TIVO hacked. Is this so you can use the unit without the monthly subscription? I have a Panasonic E80H SD-DVR and an LG 3410 HD-DVR (which I never use because the interface is a PITA). We don't have cable or sat because I refuse to pay the high sub fees. I also refuse to pay tivo sub fees for what amounts to a nice tv-guide for your modern day vcr.

I'd just like to get a one box unit that would combine both the Panny & LG and offer dual tuners with an interface as easy as the Panny's. Maybe a media box front end to a PC back end is the way for me, I don't know. If this isn't your main hobby which you spend all your time at the choices are daunting.

JoshK on most other audio forums
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post #6 of 34 Old 05-17-2007, 09:48 PM
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Ok it's been a few years now and I'm completely convinced that the Audio/Video Industry in the US has conspired to prevent a really nice OTA Only HD DVR from being sold in the US. There is no other logical explanation for the total lack of access the American consumer has to this technology.

I have complained to Motorolla and their response was that they make the hardware and not the software. Greed is huge in this Industry. I paid 5k for my Sony 60" and I'm paying $142 a month for Comcast for broadband and 2 hours of HD TV to watch a night. That's $1700 a year for Digital video, broadband, HD DVR rental and HD channels ....and that's it...no HBO or any other premium channel. Once your discount runs out .... they sock it to you!

This week I've decided I'm going to tell Comcast to shove it and cancel their service completely.

We are getting taken to the cleaners by this Industry!
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post #7 of 34 Old 05-17-2007, 10:06 PM
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For exactly this reason I have purchased a Sony DHG-HDD250 digital video recorder. When I was going up on the roof of our coop to investigate possibilities for installing an antenna, I found there already was one (currently unused) that seemed in reasonable shape. So I bought a $50 piece of high-quality coax and ran it down to my apartment. I now have access to over 50 digital channels OTA (counting sub-channels). Some of these channels, such as the 13.2 PBS Kids channel have turned out to be very very valuable. Our DVR typically contains at least 100 children's programs recorded from PBS Kids and a dozen or so other programs for us grown-ups.

The quality of all OTA HD video is superb (far better than any cable broadcast I've seen), and free. So, for a $450 hardware investment, I have $0 to pay in monthly bills. We get far more PBS programming than we ever did before. Shows such as Nature, Front Line, Nova and others are most valuable to us. Also, we get our full fix of series such as Lost, Sex and the City, Desparate Housewives, America's Next Top Model, Seinfeld, etc.

All in all, we get far more *good* programming (mostly PBS) than we did before, and enough crap to record for those moments we just want to vegetate on the couch. Everyone should by a OTA DVR such as the Sony and ditch cable and satellite. Why pay for programming that is broadcast for free?

-Geert

PS. Of course, we are members of Thirteen to sponsor the PBS programming that we enjoy most.
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post #8 of 34 Old 05-18-2007, 04:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmazza View Post

Ok it's been a few years now and I'm completely convinced that the Audio/Video Industry in the US has conspired to prevent a really nice OTA Only HD DVR from being sold in the US.

It's pretty self-serving to assume that there is a conspiracy, as opposed to accepting the fact that the American consumer doesn't necessary feel as willing to reward CE manufacturers with sufficiently high profit margins to warrant providing products that you PERSONALLY want to purchase.

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There is no other logical explanation for the total lack of access the American consumer has to this technology.

I just gave you not only a "logical" explanation, but the truth.

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Greed is huge in this Industry.

Capitalism obligates the consumers to drive suppliers by providing them incentive, in the form of profits, to provide what consumers want.

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Once your discount runs out .... they sock it to you!

It's called value-based pricing, and it is the standard for most consumer-facing industries, especially those that market leisure services, such as travel, hospitality, and entertainment. Note that it doesn't have much effect on lifeline service from the cable company, which is insanely inexpensive. However, it does apply to all the higher-level discretionary services the cable company provides.

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This week I've decided I'm going to tell Comcast to shove it and cancel their service completely.

Good for you. Stand up for what you believe, and put your vote in. If a million people do as you do, it should make a difference. Good luck.
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post #9 of 34 Old 07-02-2008, 02:32 PM
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I would like to resurrect this thread to see if there are any other OTA HD DVR options that have surfaced since this thread died a year ago.

jab
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post #10 of 34 Old 07-02-2008, 05:18 PM
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Really just E*/Sling's upcoming TR-50 OTA-only DVR. It will have the same style of software and interface as what appears on the Dish 622 and 722 DVRs, and *may* provide guide downloads and (possibly) PPV content via Internet in the future.
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post #11 of 34 Old 07-02-2008, 05:42 PM
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Yep, been watching for that one. Doesn't look like it will be out for a few months. I'm considering a Tivo. Gotta have something for NFL season.

JAB
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post #12 of 34 Old 07-03-2008, 03:14 AM
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..lifeline service from the cable company, which is insanely inexpensive.

$15.00 (at least, last time I checked) plus at least a couple more dollars in taxes per month isn't what I'd call insanely inexpensive to a lot of people around here. Especially for just the locals.

Maybe it is in New England where you're at.
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post #13 of 34 Old 07-03-2008, 04:37 AM
 
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Sorry, but I suspect that is just a disagreement about values. $15 for monthly service is a steal; I wouldn't be surprised to learn that, since that amount is the regulated service, that they're offering it at a loss at that price.

And that really points out a lot of the problems with the perception of pricing: People assume that whatever they're paying is more than they should, instead of not paying it and doing without. Everyone wants to pay less for everything; that's just human nature. It doesn't mean that everything should be less expensive though.
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post #14 of 34 Old 07-09-2008, 02:05 PM
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It seems like the Sony DGH-HDD250 is no longer available. So is the upcoming E*/Sling's TR-50 OTA-only DVR the only HDTV DVR in the near future that you don't have to pay a monthly fee?
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post #15 of 34 Old 07-09-2008, 03:18 PM
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Yes. You can occasionally still find the Sony's or the LG 3410a used, though.
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post #16 of 34 Old 07-09-2008, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Yes. You can occasionally still find the Sony's or the LG 3410a used, though.

Any news about new models for OTA HDTV DVRs?
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post #17 of 34 Old 07-09-2008, 06:30 PM
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Any news about new models for OTA HDTV DVRs?

I'm guessing nothing since the last time the question was asked in this thread...
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post #18 of 34 Old 07-13-2008, 05:52 AM
 
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Some folks have even been expressing skepticism about the TR-50 ever being released. (I bet it will.) However, I've seen no information about any others: There is perhaps not enough profit to be made in this space.
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post #19 of 34 Old 07-13-2008, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

Some folks have even been expressing skepticism about the TR-50 ever being released. (I bet it will.) However, I've seen no information about any others: There is perhaps not enough profit to be made in this space.

Frankly it surprises me that E* announced it at all, given the level of success of previous similar products - LG and Sony's DVRs being primary examples. Other than TiVo (which hasn't been as successful as I'd like, even though I love mine to death), pretty much every other DVR currently available is significantly subsidized by the service provider in some way. I can't see too many OTA-only viewers coughing up for a DVR like what the TR-50 sounds like. It's a shame, considering it's a worthwhile (IMO) product, but the American buying public being what it is, and the economy and all, maybe it's just the wrong time.
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post #20 of 34 Old 07-13-2008, 09:13 AM
 
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Good point; I don't think we could ever know whether the market was never going to be there (for the same reasons the LG and Sony products didn't take off), or isn't going to be there because of the current economy, though.
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post #21 of 34 Old 07-22-2008, 07:46 AM
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Can a person use something like the ViP622 for OTA only? In the same boat as most people here.

I have Comcrap, and the only reason I have it is to record HDTV of the local chanels, I just hate having to pay close to $80 for just that.

Jay
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post #22 of 34 Old 07-22-2008, 12:17 PM
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Can a person use something like the ViP622 for OTA only? In the same boat as most people here.

I think that like with most satellite provider boxes, you have to have active service with the provider for it to function at all.
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post #23 of 34 Old 07-22-2008, 01:09 PM
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That would sound right.

I'm looking at the Tivo HD now, but man it just seems overkill for what I need, and why in todays world would they put such a small hard drive in one of those!

If the TR-50 does not show up or have plan to show up by Sept I will need to pull the plug on a $700 Tivo I suppose. Then would need to upgrade or add a drive to.

I just cant wait to pull the plug on Comcast.

Jay
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post #24 of 34 Old 07-22-2008, 03:54 PM
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I'm looking at the Tivo HD now, but man it just seems overkill for what I need, and why in todays world would they put such a small hard drive in one of those!

That's around 20 hours' worth of HD recording (and lots more hours of SD) - and you can get an eSATA drive to expand its capacity.

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If the TR-50 does not show up or have plan to show up by Sept I will need to pull the plug on a $700 Tivo I suppose. Then would need to upgrade or add a drive to.

When you say $700, do you mean an HD TiVo with lifetime? You can get an HD TiVo for $250-$300, or less (as low as $180, I've heard) for a refurb unit. Obviously if you're buying lifetime on the box, then yeah, it'd be that much - but the monthly service fee isn't terrible (I pay it, and $13/mo doesn't bother me in the slightest - admittedly that's a 3-year commit, but I've had my current account for around 2 years now, and can't see why that'd change).
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post #25 of 34 Old 07-23-2008, 12:29 AM
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I pay it, and $13/mo doesn't bother me in the slightest - admittedly that's a 3-year commitment..

$13.00 a month now?

Whatever happened to the $8.33/month with a 3-year commitment?
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post #26 of 34 Old 07-23-2008, 03:17 AM
 
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What happened to $3 per gallon gasoline?

What is interesting is that TiVo is still not profitable. Don't expect the current still-low prices to last.
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post #27 of 34 Old 07-23-2008, 06:37 AM
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If I was going to go the Tivo way I would do the Life Time sub.

No more monthly bills for me. The life time deal would pay for it self in less than 3 years, I would be willing to take that gamble. To get the DVR with the HD channels from the CC cost me close to $90/month, so if I look at it that way it would be paid off in 8months

The remote 500gig drive for the Tivo is another $200. If they would build that thing with a 500-750gig drive to begin with and charged another $50 for the box I would bite. I know nothing is perfect with this stuff but that just seems like a no brainer. When I read the Tivo fourms you see so many people just replacing the drive in the unit.

Sorry to get off topic, back to the TR-50.

When O when will we here somthing on this thing? I read that they are back in court this Aug-9th, maybe they are waiting until then!

It would be so hard to back and watch TV with out a DVR, don't think I could do it. A person really gets spolied with one of these things.

Jay
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post #28 of 34 Old 07-23-2008, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

$13.00 a month now?

Whatever happened to the $8.33/month with a 3-year commitment?

I think that's if you pay for 3 years up front - I *think*. Don't quote me on that.
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post #29 of 34 Old 07-23-2008, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
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I think that's if you pay for 3 years up front - I *think*. Don't quote me on that.

Yeah, that's the deal I was talking about. It wasn't all that long ago that I heard they still had it, that's why I asked.
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post #30 of 34 Old 09-01-2008, 04:07 PM
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Frankly it surprises me that E* announced it at all, given the level of success of previous similar products - LG and Sony's DVRs being primary examples. Other than TiVo (which hasn't been as successful as I'd like, even though I love mine to death), pretty much every other DVR currently available is significantly subsidized by the service provider in some way. I can't see too many OTA-only viewers coughing up for a DVR like what the TR-50 sounds like. It's a shame, considering it's a worthwhile (IMO) product, but the American buying public being what it is, and the economy and all, maybe it's just the wrong time.

The sucess of this product is really going to come down to it's price. I don't see many consumers in this space willing or able to put down $500 or more for the product. That's why the others have failed.

The cable industry was born from the need to cure antenna PQ issues. Maybe a rough econmoy and now the option to recieve channels in HD and DVD quality free with an antenna might just rebalance things a bit. Then again if your hooked on the 24 hour what's wrong with world and be affraid channels you should stay where you are. As the saying goes a sucker and his money will soon part ways.

Stop looking at the picture and watch the show!
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