Originally Posted by ckthewanderer
And since last week, I've been searching all over the net trying to find a reasonable and inexpensive solution to this problem. I'm so glad I came across this board.
The tunerless, Panasonic EA-18 model that uses an IR blaster to change the channels on an external tuner may have been the better choice in your case (provided it has the code to control your box).
But are you absolutely sure there's no way for the Comcast tuner to change channels on it's own? I thought that at least some of their tuners had that capability (maybe not their most "basic" ones, though).
Look in the manual you got with the receiver. Even if it's possible, and you call Comcast to ask them about it, they're likely to tell you that "it can't be done, no matter what", and keep pushing you to rent their DVR instead. In other words, they have every incentive to not help you.
If your tuner doesn't have that feature, maybe you could request a different one from them that does(?).
Otherwise, are you able to consider satellite? I'm not sure about Direct, but my 322 SD Dish tuner can schedule timers for recordings. In fact, Dish has a fantastic starter deal going right now - I think it's $9.99 for 6 months, with everything else pretty much free (I think it's for the Top 100, which is normally priced at $39.99 - still not bad). If you get SD, get the 322 tuner - it gives you separate service to 2 TV's for no extra tuner cost - OR, you can use the second output to your recorder at the main TV, and watch one thing while recording another. There is no cost for the first tuner, either (dual or single). If you get HD, you'd want the similar, HD/SD 222 dual-tuner.
As far as AT&T U-Verse, their receivers don't have that feature - I checked.