Originally Posted by Remy Secor
Briefly, are there any recorders on the market today (2011) - vcr, vcr/dvd, dvr - other than Tivo or the DVR boxes rented at outrageous prices by the cable & satellite companies-
which can control, i.e. change channels, on Comcast digital cable boxes for timer recordings?
No: nothing, nada, nohow. You are part of a rapidly dwindling minority that even remembers such a thing existed, never mind wants a new version. The problem you face is that only one in ten cable subscribers considers the rental PVR an "outrageous" ripoff: the overwhelming majority are happy to pay up, and think YOU are the oddball for wanting to deal with a separate recorder, a blaster, a pilot signal, or separate timers. If necessary they'll skimp on baby formula, heating oil or medication to pay for their integrated PVR rental and avoid any real or imagined hassles. They want HDTV-quality recording (because they kicked their Trinitrons to the curb and bought a 42" Vizio at Wal*Mart years ago), and they don't care about recording to DVDs at all: easy temporary timeshifting is all the mass market is interested in. You can argue the feature advantages and cost savings of a non-subscription recorder until you're blue in the face: it falls on deaf ears, they don't want to hear. The Magnavox is the last of its kind.
(And if there isn't, there should certainly be an entrepreneur somewhere who could seize the opportunity.)
See above: there is no sustainable market for such a device, if there was Radio Shack would be selling it right now. Non-subscription recorders are deader than non-digital televisions: even the lovely Magnavox 515 is limited to Wal*Marts web site because they can't give it away in their retail stores
: it just takes up valuable shelf space. With no significant recorder sales, there's no significant market for a blaster accessory. It would be tough to keep current, anyway: ComCast alone is hellbent on blanketing the country with multiple incompatible decoder boxes using new, hard to emulate IR codes. Other cable systems are following their lead.
The FCC really missed the boat on the digital conversion rules.
They did- and they didn't. Technically many of the cable companies had already thumbed their noses at previous regulations designed to create a consistent tuner signal for consumer-bought TVs and recorders. The digital QAM conversion gave them carte blanche to reinvent the wheel and render nearly everything but their own hardware incompatible while still obeying the letter of the regulations
(if not the intent). If cable could bypass the TV altogether and force you to plug their proprietary wire directly into your eyeball, they would do it tomorrow.
I know this next question belongs in the 515 thread, but our one minor complaint so far is that the remote control is not very responsive.
The Magnavox remotes can be spotty unit to unit. The recorders themselves are consistently good but some of the remote batches have been painfully bad. Changing your aim angle and which finger area hits the buttons can help. wajo's tip about the TV room light sensor could work, tho your Trinitrons may use an older sensing system than the new flat panels. The biggest negative influence on remote performance is the new "green, energy-saving" CFL light bulbs: if you have one of these ugly curly-cue bulbs in a lamp near your Magnavox it can kill the remote signal nearly dead. Ditto a fluorescent desk light or overhead. Try turning these off, dimming them, or replacing with halogen or LED lighting. If you have problems even with all room lights off the remote may have a defect: switching to a universal or learning remote often helps in such cases.