A Method for Recording Over-the-Air TV
I have dialup Panasonic Showstopper machines but this method show work with the other ReplayTV machines as well. The problem with programming the machines to record over the air TV is that they were not designed to handle subchannels. Most of the converter boxes require that an IR code for a dash or period be sent between the main channel number and the subchannel, and the ReplayTV software made no provision for such a code.
If you already have a converter box and IR blaster in place and are using it to record main channels, e. g. 7-1, with a box that you don't need to send the subchannel if it is 1, leave your equipment in place. You should be using a cable or satellite TV schedule for this function, and the over-the-air schedule will be added for subchannels 2 and higher. Connect the second converter box, as described below, to a different input for the subchannels.
Channel Master has since discontinued the CM-7003, which this procedure was based on. However, there are other suitable boxes, including the Koramzi CB-100, which I have obtained and done some limited testing. Also, there is a Homeworx box, but I have not tested it. Look for a connection for a USB hard drive. Adopt the procedure to the box that you end up using. I believe all these boxes with USB hard drive capability use variations on the same firmware. The Koramzi user interface and features have striking similarities to the CM-7003, including what I would consider to be bug fixes.
Here is a workaround for using WiRNS and SchedulesDirect.
The Channel Master CM-7003 converter box had a "book" feature which allows the user to program it to tune in ("view") specific channels for specific time periods. So, the strategy is to program the ReplayTV to record specific programs and program the CM-7003 to tune to the desired channels during the record times. No IR blaster is used. However, the user must program the channel to be recorded on two machines, the ReplayTV and the CM-7003.
1) Connect the CM-7003 to your antenna and your TV. Go through the procedure in the CM-7003 manual to perform a channel search. Verify that you are viewing a channel on your TV.
2) Connect the CM-7003 to the desired Showstopper input (ANT/CATV IN, INPUT 1 or INPUT 2). Connect the TV to an output on the Showstopper. Make sure you are viewing the Showstopper output on your TV (but we aren't ready to receive the video from the CM-7003 just yet.)
3) Log in to Schedules Direct and add Local Broadcast Channels to your channel lineups. Edit and use the Hint to disable all the channels, then select just a few, that you receive, for test. (The schedule will download faster with fewer channels. When tests are completed, you will go back and enable all the desired channels.) Save Changes.
3) Go to WiRNS and select Administration -> Update Guide. Wait for the Guide update to complete.
4) In WiRNS, update Replays and configure Satellite -> Local Broadcast to the input on the Replay that you connected in step 2.
5) Go to Change Telephone, go through the procedure stopping at the Zip code. Make note of the Zip code and press Stop on the remote control to clear the Zip code. Go back one step, press select (OK on many universal remotes) to go forward and enter the Zip code, then continue the procedure. The machine will call WiRNS. After the call completes, configure the input chosen in step 2 to Satellite -> Local Broadcast. When you save changes, the machine should dial in and get the schedule.
6) From the Showstopper Guide, select any program on the Broadcast guide. You should then be viewing the channel tuned on the CM-7003 (which may be different from the channel selected in the guide.)
7) Log in to Schedules Direct and add all the desired channels in the Local Broadcast listngs. From WiRNS, do another Guide Update.
8) In WiRNS, open channel remap. The channel numbers will not show the subchannels. You must use a renumbering scheme where each channel has a unique number with no more than 3 digits. I suggest the main channel number followed by a single digit subchannel. Thus, channel 4, subchannel 2 would be 42 and channel 22, subchannel 3 would be 223. If the actual subchannel has 2 digits, assign one digit, e. g. Channel 65, subchannel 10 might be 650. (Some main channels may have more than 10 subchannels but it unlikely that you will want to record from more than 10 of them.)
9) Force a guide update (243 - Zones).
10) To record a program: On the Showstopper, for testing, choose to record a program from the schedule that will be starting shortly. On the CM-7003, tune the channel for that program, then use the "book" feature to program the CM-7003 to tune to the desired channel for the duration of the program.
11) A few things to watch out for:
a) The CM-7003 box sets its clock from the time signal broadcast by the station tuned in. The stations carrying major network programming usually have accurate time. Other stations can be off by minutes or even weeks. So, one strategy is to set the box to a channel with accurate time. Another strategy is to set the box to the station recorded most often. Using the second strategy, if the time is only off by a few minutes, program the box to switch the channel a few min. ahead of time and switch back shortly after the program ends.
b) Daily means "every day." If there is a conflict, program the channel switch to occur weekly but program for each day of the week that the program airs. Thus, I would have 5 weekly entries for a program that airs Mon.-Fri. On the other hand, if there is no conflict, set it up for daily and the box will tune the channel every day, but the Showstopper will not record on days that the program does not air.
c) The CM-7003 occasionally changes the channel shown in the book list to a non-existent channel. You must delete the entry and re-book the correct channel and times. (The Koramzi may have fixed this bug.)
d) You can use the box to record on a USB drive, but the process is not very user friendly and has feature limitations. I find that I can't watch one program while recording another. The programs are listed by channel, date and time, not by their names. The upside is that the HD programs are recorded in HD. You can unplug the USB drive from the box, connect it to your computer and watch programs, using the free VLC media player, in HD on your computer monitor. The box also has an HDMI connector for watching on an HD TV set or monitor. To use that feature, first, be sure to save any files on the USB drive to another media. Then, format the drive in FAT32 using the box.