Comcast changes affecting my Magnavox H2160MW9 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 08-23-2013, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi -

I'm pretty sure this topic has been covered in a couple of posts, but I am having a hard time specifically understanding what's going on. Hopefully someone can explain or point me to a better thread.

I have a simple setup at home. Comcast Cable with the $9.95 package, basic channels only - very few channels. From my wall jack, I would run into my Magnavox H2160MW9. Then I would run both coaxial and HDMI to my Samsung LN40B630N1F. I needed no box from Comcast.

This worked well for many years. By setting my Samsung TV to antenna, I could actually see the basic local cable channels like 7 and 10 in nice HD quality. (I'm guessing it was HD as it looked really good on the Samsung.) I guess I was getting the cable feed from my Magnavox. I'm not sure how this all worked; but the picture appeared to be HD.

I could also easily record and archive my tv shows by tuning in the channels on my Magnavox. For example 7-1 and 10-1, the local major channels looked really good. The picture was damn nice for SD. I could make nice DVDs.

Last month, Comcast scrambled the channels and now they have sent me a tiny converter box. I now run from:

wall jack > Comcast converter box > Magnavox HD/DVD > coax and HDMI to Samsung.

As I expected, I can no longer tune in channels on my Magnavox. I have to set it to channel 3 and change the channel on the Comcast box.

Also, on my TV, I no longer see any HD-like channels and I have to have my tv set to ch 3 and again change the channel on the Comcast box.

Much of this is livable, except, the picture quality of the channels is horrible! Through the converter, everything appears much much worse than it did before the Comcast box. It looks like the picture is zoomed in out cropped or out of proportion.

Can someone explain to me what Comcast did and how I might return to some form of quality? I'm guessing I will need to significantly upgrade my cable package (this is ok with me). I just need to be able to make decent quality DVDs of a few tv shows. What I'm seeing now looks like crap!

Perhaps with a real Comcast box I could feed SD to the Magnavox and HD to the TV? I would also be willing to switch to Verizon if this was better. I'm open to any solutions!

Thanks,
Bill
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post #2 of 33 Old 08-23-2013, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoy022673 View Post

This worked well for many years. By setting my Samsung TV to antenna, I could actually see the basic local cable channels like 7 and 10 in nice HD quality. (I'm guessing it was HD as it looked really good on the Samsung.) I guess I was getting the cable feed from my Magnavox. I'm not sure how this all worked; but the picture appeared to be HD.

The TV was on "antenna"? I'm guessing it was picking up over the air channels by using the cable as an antenna. If you get a good pair of rabbit ears, I bet you get them back and some others in HD quality. It depends on your location.
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Can someone explain to me what Comcast did and how I might return to some form of quality?

Looks like they encrypted everything, needing their equipment to decrypt it. Those tiny cable boxes (DTAs) are what they usually throw to consumers as a band-aid, but as you can see, the quality leaves much to be desired. If you had a standard CRT TV, it would probably be okay, but for HDTV, it's not.
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Perhaps with a real Comcast box I could feed SD to the Magnavox and HD to the TV? I would also be willing to switch to Verizon if this was better. I'm open to any solutions!

An HD box would definitely be an improvement, but you'd likely be forced to go to a much more expensive digital package. Honestly I'd look into over the air antennas for both the TV and the cable box to see if you get some of those channels back, and only upgrade if you needed to get more channels in HD quality. If you end up catching all the channels over the air that you'd get from Comcast, it'd be a great excuse to cancel them permanently (but only if you find what you get for free worth your viewing time.)

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post #3 of 33 Old 08-23-2013, 04:45 PM
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Did you not get one of the larger sized cable boxes? That one is supposed to be free, and those smaller, Roku sized DTAs are $1.99 extra.

 

What's happening is that the DTA is not passing the digital QAM channels to your Maggie or HDTV's digital tuners. To check and see if they have scrambled the local station's signals (cable systems aren't supposed to, but have been angling to encrypt everything to inflict multiple monthly cable box fees on us) , disconnect the DTA and plug cable from wall directly to the tv or h2160M. If you get the stations back, then you'll know it's having the DTA first in line.

 

If you do have the full size box in another room, and if it has composite outputs, then you'll need that one where the 2160 is, plus a 3 way splitter is required.

Cable from wall to splitter,

Splitter to 2160 and HDTV & CABLE BOX..

Cable box composite output to 2160

2160's composite (or HMDI) to HDTV.

 

You will have the QAM digital locals (If unscrambled) on both recorder and HDTV.

You will have to watch the cable box feed on the 2160's line input ch.

You can watch a local station on the tv's tuner, while recording a cable ch on the 2160.

 

If you only have a DTA, then you're hosed. A complicated work-around, would be to use an old vcr, connected to the DTA, with composite output to the 2160. And yes, the vcr would have to be left on in order for the Maggie to receive the cable box feed for viewing/recording. Groan...acquiescing to the cable hegemony.sucks. But you'll need to get the full sized box.


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post #4 of 33 Old 08-23-2013, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoy022673 View Post

As I expected, I can no longer tune in channels on my Magnavox. I have to set it to channel 3 and change the channel on the Comcast box.

 

Have you tried the Mag on digital ch. 3, JFTHOI?


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post #5 of 33 Old 08-24-2013, 02:41 PM
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If you're going to upgrade your Cheapcast cable package, you will need this model of STB:
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Originally Posted by mikey man View Post

I have the Comcast (DCH3416) HD-DVR and have no problems recording to my Panasonic DVD-Recorders.
The box feeds multiple sources all at the same time. HDMI direct to Sony CRT HD TV. RF out to HD TV in garage. S-Video to E30, Composite to an auxiliary DVDR.
All the box outputs work at the same time, SD & HD. No distortion to my recorders, SD or HD Letterbox.

Or do just like the others say, just try the OTA Way in your Samsung and the Maggy. If nothing works, go Verizon.
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post #6 of 33 Old 08-29-2013, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the comments. It's making sense now. I did try a few things last night. Digital Ch3 didn't work, and plugging the Magnavox directly to the wall cable feed also didn't work. Indeed, I do need the little Comcast box.

From reading a little on the Comcast website, I guess I can get a "set-top" box which might improve things, but I am also investigating the Motorola DCH3416 that can be had an ebay per the above link.

Now, that looks like the unit my parents had a few years back, rented monthly from Comcast. From reading Ebay, they can be purchased now. So, my next question is: if I do get this box, Comcast will support me? I then wouldn't have to rent this from them, as for $175 I own it. As far it interfacing with the Magnavox HD DVD recorder would I be leaving the Magnavox on ch 3 and changing the channel on the Motorola box? Then I would record my TV show to the Magnvox hard drive, per usual.

Or maybe I'd be better off recording to the Motorola and then just burning a DVD on the Magnavox by "playing" the Motorola file to the Magnavox real time?

Bill
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post #7 of 33 Old 08-29-2013, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoy022673 View Post

Thanks for all the comments. It's making sense now. I did try a few things last night. Digital Ch3 didn't work, and plugging the Magnavox directly to the wall cable feed also didn't work. Indeed, I do need the little Comcast box.

From reading a little on the Comcast website, I guess I can get a "set-top" box which might improve things, but I am also investigating the Motorola DCH3416 that can be had an ebay per the above link.

Now, that looks like the unit my parents had a few years back, rented monthly from Comcast. From reading Ebay, they can be purchased now. So, my next question is: if I do get this box, Comcast will support me? I then wouldn't have to rent this from them, as for $175 I own it. As far it interfacing with the Magnavox HD DVD recorder would I be leaving the Magnavox on ch 3 and changing the channel on the Motorola box? Then I would record my TV show to the Magnvox hard drive, per usual.

Or maybe I'd be better off recording to the Motorola and then just burning a DVD on the Magnavox by "playing" the Motorola file to the Magnavox real time?

 

Virtually everyone here says a cableco will NOT activate a box bought by subscribers, and I believe they'll also refuse to activate a purchased box... they're on a rental business model.

 

See this help file and TIPS on recording from cable/sat STBs. Motorola is usually one box that won't send 16:9 WS via its analog outputs (composite YWR RCA or S-Video), so you may need an HDMI- or Component-to-Composite/S-Video converter.


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post #8 of 33 Old 08-29-2013, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoy022673 View Post

Now, that looks like the unit my parents had a few years back, rented monthly from Comcast. From reading Ebay, they can be purchased now. So, my next question is: if I do get this box, Comcast will support me? I then wouldn't have to rent this from them, as for $175 I own it.

Virtually no chance of them activating it. Those on eBay are either selling boxes they never returned (read: stole from a cable company) or they're gray market items from Canada. Either way, Comcast (or most other cable cos) won't activate it. You'll have a $175 doorstop.

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post #9 of 33 Old 09-01-2013, 06:02 AM
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If you're willing to spend that kind of money, may as well get a cable card tuner and use a PC as your DVR and ditch the DVD recorder. That way you get full HD and a guide for the price of a cable card which is very cheap, possibly even free.
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post #10 of 33 Old 09-01-2013, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoy022673 View Post

Thanks for all the comments. It's making sense now. I did try a few things last night. Digital Ch3 didn't work, and plugging the Magnavox directly to the wall cable feed also didn't work. Indeed, I do need the little Comcast box.

From reading a little on the Comcast website, I guess I can get a "set-top" box which might improve things, but I am also investigating the Motorola DCH3416 that can be had an ebay per the above link.

Now, that looks like the unit my parents had a few years back, rented monthly from Comcast. From reading Ebay, they can be purchased now. So, my next question is: if I do get this box, Comcast will support me? I then wouldn't have to rent this from them, as for $175 I own it. As far it interfacing with the Magnavox HD DVD recorder would I be leaving the Magnavox on ch 3 and changing the channel on the Motorola box? Then I would record my TV show to the Magnvox hard drive, per usual.

Or maybe I'd be better off recording to the Motorola and then just burning a DVD on the Magnavox by "playing" the Motorola file to the Magnavox real time?

Bill

Bill, if you could help me, would your post your location? I'm trying to keep track of locations that have no clear QAM. Thanks.
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post #11 of 33 Old 09-01-2013, 10:20 AM
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Bill, if you could help me, would your post your location? I'm trying to keep track of locations that have no clear QAM. Thanks.
How fast is it spreading.

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post #12 of 33 Old 09-01-2013, 10:40 AM
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How fast is it spreading.

I have seen no pattern at this time. That includes provider or DMA.

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post #13 of 33 Old 09-01-2013, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeKustra View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

How fast is it spreading.

I have seen no pattern at this time. That includes provider or DMA.

 

See sample chart I prepared that might help people see the "big picture" on the spread of this plague?


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post #14 of 33 Old 09-01-2013, 03:41 PM
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chart confused.gif Your link acts very odd for me(using FF).
Every time I click on it, it takes me to a different post, from various threads eek.gif
Must have something to do with our new frown.gif platform.
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post #15 of 33 Old 09-01-2013, 04:13 PM
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Try the link now... not sure what's going on... as usual.


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post #16 of 33 Old 09-01-2013, 04:34 PM
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Works now smile.gif I even tried it twice.
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post #17 of 33 Old 09-02-2013, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi -

I'm in Berkley, MA. It appears that Comcast scrambled everything sometime in August.

Thanks,
Bill
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post #18 of 33 Old 09-06-2013, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoy022673 View Post

From reading a little on the Comcast website, I guess I can get a "set-top" box which might improve things, but I am also investigating the Motorola DCH3416 that can be had an ebay per the above link.

You can't buy it, just ask to Comcast if they can supply you with one of those boxes.
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Please post back with details if you can get a purchased unit to work.
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post #20 of 33 Old 09-07-2013, 09:08 AM
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That Motorola DCH3416 is an awful choice unless you like stretched / letterboxed picture.
The DISH 722 outputs a really nice picture via s-video.
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post #21 of 33 Old 09-08-2013, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigchump View Post

That Motorola DCH3416 is an awful choice unless you like stretched / letterboxed picture.
The DISH 722 outputs a really nice picture via s-video.

My DirecTV DVRs output a really nice picture via the S-Video as well.

Luke

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post #22 of 33 Old 11-01-2013, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help with this problem. I'm back it again now that I have some time to work on it.

For the past few months I've been just using the standard definition Comcast digital converter. Today I stopped by the office and got a HD converter. It has an HDMI output for my TV, and a coaxial for the Magnavox recorder. One step closer!

But, the coaxial connection just gives me a picture that is zoomed in and cropped. The SD box did the same thing. To be sure it wasn't the Magnavox, I plugged both coaxial and HDMI into my TV so I could flip between them. Indeed, the HDMI picture looks great and is fine. The TV/antenna pic is zoomed and cropped.

Is there anything I can do to fix the SD picture? Do I still need to upgrade to a real cable box? I've looked through the free Comcast converter menu for any zoom option and I don't see anything. The options are minimal.

Thanks,
Bill
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post #23 of 33 Old 11-01-2013, 07:43 PM
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In reading thru this exchange, I didn't see if you actually tried a decent indoor antenna directly into the TV;
When I finally dumped my Comcast box, I found I was getting a much better pic thru the antenna than I ever got thru their box.

Good riddance, cable box!

Hopefully you're in a decent reception location to try that option?
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post #24 of 33 Old 11-02-2013, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoy022673 View Post

Thanks for all the help with this problem. I'm back it again now that I have some time to work on it.

For the past few months I've been just using the standard definition Comcast digital converter. Today I stopped by the office and got a HD converter. It has an HDMI output for my TV, and a coaxial for the Magnavox recorder. One step closer!

But, the coaxial connection just gives me a picture that is zoomed in and cropped. The SD box did the same thing. To be sure it wasn't the Magnavox, I plugged both coaxial and HDMI into my TV so I could flip between them. Indeed, the HDMI picture looks great and is fine. The TV/antenna pic is zoomed and cropped.

Is there anything I can do to fix the SD picture? Do I still need to upgrade to a real cable box? I've looked through the free Comcast converter menu for any zoom option and I don't see anything. The options are minimal.

Thanks,
Bill

First off, don't use a coax connection to your Magnavox, use s-video or composite.
Directv and Dish boxes don't have this problem.
I suggest you switch like I did.
If you have to keep Comcast you can buy a gizmo that uses your COMPONENT outs from the Comcast box and converts them to SD without the letterboxing or stretching.
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post #25 of 33 Old 11-02-2013, 01:12 PM
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The Comcast HD DTA converters only have HDMI and coax for outputs, if he uses a HDMI to S-video converter for his Magnavox then he won't have a HD connection to be able to run to his TV, unless he constantly switches the HDMI cable from either the TV or the converter. I agree a better STB would solve some problems but unfortunately cable companies(CC leading the pack) insist on letterboxing SD outputs mad.gif Like you said the satellite companies seem to play nicer but might not be a option for everyone, most notably multifamily dwellings or people without a LOS to the Southern sky.
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post #26 of 33 Old 11-02-2013, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

The Comcast HD DTA converters only have HDMI and coax for outputs, if he uses a HDMI to S-video converter for his Magnavox then he won't have a HD connection to be able to run to his TV, unless he constantly switches the HDMI cable from either the TV or the converter...

Unless he uses one of these, which I use all the time.

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=101&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011306&p_id=8154&seq=1&format=2

Hey, it's $33 and it works.

Luke

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post #27 of 33 Old 11-03-2013, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoy022673 View Post

Thanks for all the help with this problem. I'm back it again now that I have some time to work on it.

For the past few months I've been just using the standard definition Comcast digital converter. Today I stopped by the office and got a HD converter. It has an HDMI output for my TV, and a coaxial for the Magnavox recorder. One step closer!

But, the coaxial connection just gives me a picture that is zoomed in and cropped. The SD box did the same thing. To be sure it wasn't the Magnavox, I plugged both coaxial and HDMI into my TV so I could flip between them. Indeed, the HDMI picture looks great and is fine. The TV/antenna pic is zoomed and cropped.

Is there anything I can do to fix the SD picture? Do I still need to upgrade to a real cable box? I've looked through the free Comcast converter menu for any zoom option and I don't see anything. The options are minimal.

Thanks,
Bill

My Magnavox H2160A had the exact problem like you after Comcast scrambled the cable signal made the clear QAM tuner useless. I found a solution is simple. I went to HomeDepot and bought the FlatWave indoor HDTV antena by Winegard. It is only $29.99 at HomeDepot. ($36 plus shipping at Amazon.) Plug the coaxial connection to the 2160A. Everything is back to the same routine. (You may need to re-scan the channles. And you want to watch channel 7.1 etc, not channel 3.) I get the same HD like quality and can archine my favorite shows and make DVD in 16:9 format again using my 2160A. By the way, you should tape the kite-like antenna on a window, following the instructions. It should pull most of the channels, if not all the channels. It is the best $30 I ever spent. If this works for you, you can stop paying $10 to Comcast every month. And after you confirm the Winegard solution is right for you, you want to buy a 2-to-1 splitter and two coxial cables on the next trip so you connect the Winegard to both your Samsung HDTV and Magnavox recorder.

The new setup will be almost the same to your old setup.

Winegard > Magavox H2160 > HDMI to Samsung

After confirming it works,

Winegard > 2-to-1 splitter > coxial to Magavox 2160 > HDMI to Samsung
Winegard > 2-to-1 splitter > coxial to Samsung

Also, you want to buy RG6 coxial cables, not RG59, although both look like the same. RG59 is used for low frequency applications like analog CATV. For digital applications above GHz, you want the RG6.
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post #28 of 33 Old 11-03-2013, 10:10 AM
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For another $30, you can get a tuner that records in full HD.
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post #29 of 33 Old 11-03-2013, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

For another $30, you can get a tuner that records in full HD.

True. But me and the OP want to archive our favorite shows in full screen 16:9 format DVD using Magnavox H2160 hdd+dvd recorder. Hope in the future, Magnavox will come out with a hdd+BD recorder. This is the easist way to edit programs into DVD. Easier than using computers.
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post #30 of 33 Old 11-03-2013, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by blust2 View Post

True. But me and the OP want to archive our favorite shows in full screen 16:9 format DVD using Magnavox H2160 hdd+dvd recorder. Hope in the future, Magnavox will come out with a hdd+BD recorder. This is the easist way to edit programs into DVD. Easier than using computers.
The box I'm talking about uses no computer. You can still edit/archive on your Maggie if you want. This is just a cheap, easy way to record HD.

http://www.amazon.com/iView-3500STB-DTV-Converter-Box/dp/B00BFIJQ10
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