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post #1 of 19 Old 08-25-2014, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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PVR advice

I'm very limited in my knowledge of these devices so let me be sure I have the correct terminology.
I have a DVR that needs replaced. In researching, I found PVRs - apparently a DVR with a hard drive instead of discs. I like that idea but I have found something that puzzles me. Most references I can find in google seems to cluster around 2010. Very few in 2013/14. Samsung claims they no longer manufacture these devices.
Are these devices still being manufactured?
From the little I know, I would like to find one that has
no subscription fee
works with DTV and over-the-air
can read from and write to DVDs
has RCA and/or s-Video jacks.
If possible please include recommendations or a link to a site that does.
I don't know the lingo so I hope my title is descriptive.
I need to replace my DVR. In researching, I've found references to PVR - apparently also reffered to as DVD players with hard drives.
I found 2 that looked like something I'd like - Samsung and Panasonic. Unfortunately, sales people tell me these models are no longer being manufactured. In addition, I can find very few references in 2013/14.

Given that, are PVRs still being made? Are they as much of an improvement as references claim?
Ideally, I'd like on that can burn to/from DVDs, no subscription fee, can record from DTV and over-the-air, and RCA or S-video jacks. Any suggestions, knowledge, or web site links are appreciated.I don't know the lingo so I hope my title is descriptive.
I need to replace my DVR. In researching, I've found references to PVR - apparently also reffered to as DVD players with hard drives.
I found 2 that looked like something I'd like - Samsung and Panasonic. Unfortunately, sales people tell me these models are no longer being manufactured. In addition, I can find very few references in 2013/14.

Given that, are PVRs still being made? Are they as much of an improvement as references claim?
Ideally, I'd like on that can burn to/from DVDs, no subscription fee, can record from DTV and over-the-air, and RCA or S-video jacks. Any suggestions, knowledge, or web site links are appreciated.



I don't know the lingo so I hope my title is descriptive.
I need to replace my DVR. In researching, I've found references to PVR - apparently also reffered to as DVD players with hard drives.
I found 2 that looked like something I'd like - Samsung and Panasonic. Unfortunately, sales people tell me these models are no longer being manufactured. In addition, I can find very few references in 2013/14.

Given that, are PVRs still being made? Are they as much of an improvement as references claim?
Ideally, I'd like on that can burn to/from DVDs, no subscription fee, can record from DTV and over-the-air, and RCA or S-video jacks. Any suggestions, knowledge, or web site links are appreciated.

I don't know the lingo so I hope my title is descriptive.
I need to replace my DVR. In researching, I've found references to PVR - apparently also reffered to as DVD players with hard drives.
I found 2 that looked like something I'd like - Samsung and Panasonic. Unfortunately, sales people tell me these models are no longer being manufactured. In addition, I can find very few references in 2013/14.

Given that, are PVRs still being made? Are they as much of an improvement as references claim?
Ideally, I'd like on that can burn to/from DVDs, no subscription fee, can record from DTV and over-the-air, and RCA or S-video jacks. Any suggestions, knowledge, or web site links are appreciated.

I don't know the lingo so I hope my title is descriptive.
I need to replace my DVR. In researching, I've found references to PVR - apparently also reffered to as DVD players with hard drives.
I found 2 that looked like something I'd like - Samsung and Panasonic. Unfortunately, sales people tell me these models are no longer being manufactured. In addition, I can find very few references in 2013/14.

Given that, are PVRs still being made? Are they as much of an improvement as references claim?
Ideally, I'd like on that can burn to/from DVDs, no subscription fee, can record from DTV and over-the-air, and RCA or S-video jacks. Any suggestions, knowledge, or web site links are appreciated.

I don't know the lingo so I hope my title is descriptive.
I need to replace my DVR. In researching, I've found references to PVR - apparently also reffered to as DVD players with hard drives.
I found 2 that looked like something I'd like - Samsung and Panasonic. Unfortunately, sales people tell me these models are no longer being manufactured. In addition, I can find very few references in 2013/14.

Given that, are PVRs still being made? Are they as much of an improvement as references claim?
Ideally, I'd like on that can burn to/from DVDs, no subscription fee, can record from DTV and over-the-air, and RCA or S-video jacks. Any suggestions, knowledge, or web site links are appreciated.
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-25-2014, 03:59 PM
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 05:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply. Very much info and it will take me a while to digest it.
In the interim, I'm still struggling with the recent reduced number of articles/reviews I can find on PVRs using Google. Add in some companies have discontinued PVRs and this is typically a sign a product is losing popularity. Are these things the future or were they a flash that is disappearing? I have no interest in buying the next 8-track tape. Have they been or are they being replaced by something else? I'm hoping a few people here will jump in with testimonials.
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, a quick search shows the Phillips is no longer being manufactured.
The Magnavox looks good but I don't understand the 36 show/month maximum. What's the logic in that?
And, if Magnavox is the only company manufacturing PVRs, I still worry about why these things aren't too popular.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 06:29 AM
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The Mag's 36 timer limit is not a problem since timers can be set for multiple showings, such as M-F, Every Sun, etc. The 1-month limit is just a menu limit (30 days into future) for one-time events only.

One user went on a 3-1/2-week trip and recorded 35 shows using only 6 timers.

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post #6 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Let's see if I understand.
Recording a show every M-F 8-9PM is one timer. Is that right? And a show every Tues. at 10-11P is a second timer. On the down side, recording one show on the 18th from 1-1:30 is a timer. But, yeah, if I understand what you're saying, 36 is no real limit.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, any idea why something that seems so good has almost no one manufacturing them?
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by required alias View Post
Let's see if I understand.
Recording a show every M-F 8-9PM is one timer. Is that right? And a show every Tues. at 10-11P is a second timer. On the down side, recording one show on the 18th from 1-1:30 is a timer. But, yeah, if I understand what you're saying, 36 is no real limit.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, any idea why something that seems so good has almost no one manufacturing them?
Because they can only record standard definition (480i) TV signals and video via the Composite/S-video inputs or (if you get one of the HDD + DVD models) from a DVD, provided the DVD does not have some form of copy protection. Most people want something that can record HD (up to 720p/1080i), so they go with a Tivo, Channel Master DVR, or a PC-based PVR. Bear in mind that the majority of shows on network TV (which you can get for free using an OTA antenna) are now HD. For anybody who subscribes to either cable or satellite, it's easier to go with the DVR the cable satellite company sells since it is contained in one box rather than using a separate receiver and PVR box.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by required alias View Post
Let's see if I understand.
Recording a show every M-F 8-9PM is one timer. Is that right? And a show every Tues. at 10-11P is a second timer. On the down side, recording one show on the 18th from 1-1:30 is a timer. But, yeah, if I understand what you're saying, 36 is no real limit.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, any idea why something that seems so good has almost no one manufacturing them?
Your take on the timer thing is correct.

The Mags must follow the DVD Std which requires 480i for creating DVDs, one of its primary purposes. Technology has transitioned to HD so many people have moved on to HD recorders, which are not limited to 480i like the Mags.

You might be pleasantly surprised by the PQ from a HD show recorded on a digital channel in the Mags.. it's "DVD quality" and is good enough for many other people with "normal-sized" HDTVs. If you have a projector and 100" screen, maybe not so good?

If you buy from Walmart, you'll have 90 days to evaluate, with easy ship to and return to store. It might be worth a 90-day trial?

PHILIPS HD DVRs | *MAG/PHILIPS SD DVDRs* | DVDR/DVR COMPARISONS | POST-DVDR OPTIONS
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. I had read past the HD part so I appreciate the emphasis. The HD may or may not be important to my wife since she watches 95% of recorded shows. I'll get her input.
Just curious . . . is a 75" 3D TV considered a 'normal' size?
Let me remind you, I'm quite limited in my tech savvy. With that said, I looked at Channel Master. Can't record from DTV which, I suppose, means it would only record OTA shows. That omits 3 of my wife's favorite channels. Tivo doesn't work with satellite boxes and costs $15/mo. PC-based. I'm uncertain. I have a W8 PC which, I understand, contains Media Player. But it is on the 2nd floor and on the opposite end of the house from my 1st floor TV. No idea if it is even possible to record/play shows from that distance. Still, I'm going weary of all the discs.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 09:34 AM
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75" is a size that you'd need to try a unit and see what you think. Depends also on quality of the HDTV.

If you're OTA, the Mag would pass the raw signal thru to the TV so it will look the same using the TV's tuner. Recorded shows would be what you'd need to try... the OTA digital signal is excellent so they might look OK?

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post #11 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by required alias View Post
...PC-based. I'm uncertain. I have a W8 PC which, I understand, contains Media Player. But it is on the 2nd floor and on the opposite end of the house from my 1st floor TV. No idea if it is even possible to record/play shows from that distance. Still, I'm going weary of all the discs.
To record OTA television shows on a PC requires an ATSC tuner (either as a PCI card in the PC or as an external USB device). To record from a DirecTV receiver (that doesn't have a built-in DVR), you need a video capture device with the proper inputs (also as a PCI card in the PC or as an external USB/Thunderbolt device). Most ATSC tuners for PC's can handle HD television signals and some also double as video capture devices, but can only do so using S-video or composite video connections (meaning SD only for your DirecTV channels). There are some HD video capture devices available, but none that include the ATSC tuner in the same package, so if you wanted both OTA and DirecTV channels to be recorded in HD, you would need two devices rather than just one. Check out Hauppauge Computer's website for some examples of such devices. In addition to the tuner and capture devices, the PC also needs to have PVR software installed that is compatible with the tuner and capture device(s) you have selected. For somebody who isn't especially computer literate, I would recommend Windows Media Center since it is the most stable and easiest to set up. If you are using the stock Windows 8/8.1 on your PC, you would have to upgrade to Windows 8/8.1 Pro w/ Media Center to get it ($99 upgrade). If you are running Windows 7 then WMC is included for free.

Distance from the PC to the TV has no impact on the ability to record TV shows since the PC is using it's own TV tuner. However, if you require a rooftop antenna to get decent OTA reception then you would need to have a coax cable running from the antenna to the PC. If you don't already have the room that your PC is in wired then that would be additional cost/work. Note that the shows are recorded onto your PC's hard drive, so there are no discs involved unless you want to burn copies to play on a Blu-ray player. Once recorded, playing back the recordings from the PC to your TV can be done in a number of ways. One way would be to use an Xbox 360 as a Media Center extender. You would connect the Xbox 360 to your TV and use the Media Center app that comes with it to play back the recordings from your PC. The Xbox 360 just needs to be on the same network as the PC to be able to retrieve the files. The Xbox 360 can even be used to watch live TV in this manner. You don't have to wait until the show is over to start playback of the recording. If you do not already have an Xbox 360 then there are cheaper options, but they won't have the ability to watch the TV signal being captured by your PC until the recording is done. If you are an Apple user then you could import your recordings into iTunes (the same way you import music files into iTunes that you did not purchase from the iTunes store) and then use an AppleTV to play them back on your TV. If you are not an Apple user then there are other streaming devices that can work. For instance, if you copy the files to an external USB hard drive, you could use a Blu-Ray player, WDLive, or any other device that can play back video files from USB-attached storage. If you have a Roku or Chromcast, you also have the option of setting up a Plex server and using the Plex app to play back the files.

These are all options to consider. However, as Wajo suggested, it would be worth at least trying out one of the HDD recorders to see if the SD recordings are acceptable to you and your wife. Depending on what equipment you already have, it would likely be cheaper and easier to setup and maintain than a PC-based PVR solution.
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 12:35 PM
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Just so you know, the Magnavox like basically all other DVDRs cannot change the channel on your DTVs tuner so unless you have one that can be programmed to automatically change the channel at a specific time, the 36 event timer would only be from the channel you've left the STB tuned to.
If you want to get an idea of what 480i would look through the Magnavox run the composite(or better yet S-video if available) directly from your STB(DTVs tuner) to your TV and select that input on your TV. This is basically what a recording will look like from the Magnavox or any SD DVDR. As Wajo said it can look quite good depending on the source but it won't be HD.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Significant problems all around.
The Mag-type won't record HD.
Channel Master-type don't work with satellite.
Standard DVRs and ALL those discs . . .
Tivo and the monthly fee.
Looks like I'd be better off buying a 5TB external HD for my DTV receiver.
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 12:58 PM
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Truthfully with satellite your best bet is probably a satellite DVR and pay the monthly fee. This is basically what I do, that is record to a HD DVR and only use my DVDRs to make SD DVDs for archiving. Before I got my HD DVR I did use my HDD DVDRs for timeshifting things but I haven't done that in a few years, now everything first goes on the DVR, I watch and delete things I don't want to keep and for things I want on DVD I play my DVR realtime and record to a DVDR via S-video line input.
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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>>for things I want on DVD I play my DVR realtime and record to a DVDR via S-video line input.
That sounds interesting. I presume your "DVR" is equivalent to my DTV Genie and the DVDR is equivalent to the PCR.
Which DVR and DVDR do you have?
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-26-2014, 01:13 PM
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I have a Tivo HD and several Panasonic DVDRs, some with a HDD some without. My favorites are my EH-50s and EH-55 Panasonics.
Not sure what PCR means
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-27-2014, 05:46 AM - Thread Starter
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My bad. PVR. although it apparently goes by different names.
From everything I'm seeing, looks like I'll get a HUGE external HDD for my DTV receiver, and some type of DVD recorder with HDD and transfer all desired discs to the DVD recorder - most discs are pre-high-definition.
Thus, which PVR do you have? How satisifed are you.
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-28-2014, 01:11 AM
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I have three DirecTV DVRs. These are Digital Video Recorders--DVR--according to DirecTV. I have six Panasonic DVD recorders (DVDRs). I spread out the content across the three HRxx receivers, each of which has two tuners, so I have six DirecTV tuners, and six Panasonic DVD recorders. When a program comes on that I want to keep, I play it back from the DVR into the DVD recorder. This works extremely well for me. Using picture-in-picture, I can remove the commercials on-the-fly, so to speak. I, of course, record a lot more content on my DVRs than I have any interest in burning to DVDs, so those program I just watch and delete. For what I want to keep, I play back into a DVD recorder, then make the DVD, then duplicate the DVD so I know it is a good copy, THEN, and only then, do I delete the content from the DVR and DVD recorder. Almost all commercial TV shows these days I can fit three "hour long" episodes per disk at SP quality mode with the commercials removed. I always do it all-at-once, rather than a show at a time with a week break between shows. I just think having a partially filled DVD waiting for the remainder of the content is a bad idea. I am very satisfied with the way my setup is working.

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post #19 of 19 Old 08-29-2014, 06:30 PM
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If you haven't picked up on it already, a DVD/HDD recorder (PVR?) is great for archiving, not so great for everyday recording from satellite. Save yourself a lot of grief and just get a DVR from DirecTV (or Dish if that's what you have). As you said though, a gigantic hard drive may eliminate the need for archiving to DVD.
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