Role for ReplayTV with HDTV? (cry for help!) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 71 Old 07-08-2007, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, I admit it. I have my head in the sand with regard to where TV is going.

My present setup is 2 ReplayTV 50xx networked in my home with analog cable input and picture tube TVs. We are about to move to a different city and the condo only has a shallow place for a TV, so I may have to bite the bullet and purchase a new TV. I will have to look at the differences between plasma and LCD, but in the meanwhile I need to consider the ramifications of purchasing an HDTV with regard to what service I need to purchase (it is clear it needs to be digital), and learn which of my pieces of equipment will become immediately obsolete.

so,
1. Where does ReplayTV fit in this changeover to HDTV? (I don't even know whether one can switch a HDTV between its high def mode and a non-HDTV mode in order to use equipement like ReplayTV.
2. I apologize for not even being able to ask the correct questions at this point, but if someone can give me a clue what the questions ARE that I need to consider, I would be grateful.

Thanks
Ken K

P.S. What I did not mention is that what I like about the analog setup with ReplayTV is being able to plug the cable into the RPTV and then to the TV without having a tuner that has to be switched, or at least at the time I originally purchased my RPTV and was offered analog v. digital, with the digital I would have had to have had a tuner box which would have been a complicating layer in terms of figuring out how to switch the tuner to the proper channel. I suspect that is all worked out now, though...
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post #2 of 71 Old 07-08-2007, 06:46 PM
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Almost all cable services have analog and digital on the same wire. If not, you just connect the box to the Replay and use the blaster, thousands do. And the Replay will record a pretty decent picture quality also.

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post #3 of 71 Old 07-08-2007, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply.

But now I realize I am even more uniformed than I thought. I use an IR blaster on my ReplayTV to control it with my Slingbox, but how is it you are suggesting that I use it, or are you referring to something else?

Ken
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post #4 of 71 Old 07-08-2007, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdkrone View Post


I use an IR blaster on my ReplayTV to control it with my Slingbox, but how is it you are suggesting that I use it, or are you referring to something else?

adone36 is referring to the the IR blaster which came with your Replay. It can be used to control a cable box just like your Slinbox uses one to control your Replay. You should also bear in mind that most HD cable boxes are capable of putting out a downconverted SD signal that can be recorded by your Replay.
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post #5 of 71 Old 07-08-2007, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Got it. I will have to dig it out. (I assume it is a generic piece of equipment, as I haven't ever used it and will probably have to purchase another.)

So what is being said is that it does not matter whether I use a HDTV or not, as all of the signals are available on the cable feed and I can still use the ReplayTV. Correct? How good is the playback of a non-high definition recorded program on an HDTV?
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post #6 of 71 Old 07-09-2007, 05:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdkrone View Post

Got it. I will have to dig it out. (I assume it is a generic piece of equipment, as I haven't ever used it and will probably have to purchase another.)

So what is being said is that it does not matter whether I use a HDTV or not, as all of the signals are available on the cable feed and I can still use the ReplayTV. Correct? How good is the playback of a non-high definition recorded program on an HDTV?

I use my RTV's almost exclusively - and watch on HD tv's. The quality is better than most "standard / analog" cable, but then my source is Satellite with Svideo to the RTV.

If your cable box is HD, and supports Svideo output, you may get "down converted" HD recordings on your RTV. Those are GREAT quality and play back very nicely.

If you choose to record the Analog channels - by attaching the Coax to the RTV just as it seems you've already been doing, then the difference is going to be playback to the TV. Live TV will be pretty much the same - depending on the TV and it's built in Scaler.

I'm happy with my setup, but I'm twiddling around with a HTPC that will record the 'free to air' (clear QAM) cable signals too...

John


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post #7 of 71 Old 07-09-2007, 05:57 AM
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Since it sounds like you're open to all scenarios...

Since I upgraded to HDTV I do this - I keep my lifetime subscription ReplayTV hooked up to the new TV, and in addition I pay the monthly rental to the cable company to rent the digital box that has HDTV and a built-in DVR that can record HDTV - if you care it's a Motorola 3412. I split the signal coming from the wall so that it feeds both boxes - there's plenty of signal. Since both the Replay and cable box have their own feed there's no need to use the IR blaster or worry about coordinating things. I have a Harmony remote that handles switching the input signal based upon which box we want to use.

I feel the extra expense of renting the cable box is worth it - while the Replay could record the digital feed, non-HDTV and otherwise, it's not the same quality as 'real' HDTV when played back. In addition I have a surround-sound system -you would miss out the 5.1 sound that comes with HDTV if you just use the Replay. My ReplayTV has more room and records all the shows for my daughter and mostly 'Oprah' for my wife - all in standard def - but we use the cable box PVR for the primetime shows and HBO movies we watch.

Though of course it'd be nice just to use one box having the Harmony worry about the juggling makes it practically a no-brainer.

Lastly I should mention - even if there was a free, huge capacity HDTV PVR available (ha!) I'd still keep my ReplayTV around for DVArchive and how it allows me to easily transfer shows to my portable media device (an Archos).
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post #8 of 71 Old 07-09-2007, 08:45 AM
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Just to add my experience... If your HD box can output anamorphic (squished horizontally) S-video, then running that through the replay in high mode, and then to your widescreen TV does result in a very good picture, and uses all the resolution your replay can produce.
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post #9 of 71 Old 07-12-2007, 07:21 AM
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kdkrone, do you have a lifetime subscription? My RPTV totally changed the way I watch television. It served me well for more than 2 years. When I got an HD display less than a year ago I was at a similar crossroad. I didn't have a lifetime subscription. I was happy to pay $9.99 a month for the convenience but my cable provider offered an HD PVR for about the same money. If I had a lifetime subscription I would keep using it (along with my HD PVR) but I can't bring myself to pay an additional $9.99 a month to do what my HD PVR does already (mostly). I miss networking my RPTV with my XBOX's and PC's but I do that with my XBOX360/Vista PC now.
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post #10 of 71 Old 07-12-2007, 07:45 AM
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With all the hoopla going on about HD and the "need" to record HD, I'll offer these thoughts.

1) Not all digital programming is HD. For cable or dish its only the "HD" channels, and I wouldn't put it past the cable company to start slipping in non-HD content when they think they can get away with it.
2) Much or most HD on cable is compressed so you get high resolution but action shots can show macro-blocking. So you're not getting the full benefit of the HD signal in those cases.
3) Archiving HD shows means compressing them or buying LOTS of storage media.

I think the "need" to record HD shows in HD quality will wear off as people run out of storage space and decide that a good SD recording is good enough for most shows. How often did you record in medium or high quality on your replay?

I think, at that point what will be most missed is the ability to easily make and access and share a library of recordings. This is where a replay shines.
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post #11 of 71 Old 07-12-2007, 08:50 AM
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Said it before but have to say it again, record downconverted HD in anamorphic format on your Replay in medium quality. One would be hard pressed to tell the difference between that playback and the original HD on most reasonably sized widescreen displays. And I don't want to hear from you 100" diagonal screen lot!

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post #12 of 71 Old 07-12-2007, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogator88 View Post

2) Much or most HD on cable is compressed so you get high resolution but action shots can show macro-blocking. So you're not getting the full benefit of the HD signal in those cases.

That might be true for sat, but is certainly not true for Comcast, at least in the ATL - they pass full bitrate signals so the HD quality is as good as OTA.

We don't need another pissing contest about whether HD is better than SD, btw. If you enjoy shows or sports in HD then you want it, and that's all there is to it.
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post #13 of 71 Old 07-12-2007, 02:57 PM
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I think the "need" to record HD shows in HD quality will wear off as people run out of storage space and decide that a good SD recording is good enough for most shows. How often did you record in medium or high quality on your replay?

Everything I record on my two 5040s (upgraded to 200 Gig drives) is high quality. I also own two DirecTV HR10-250s to record HD programs. I upgraded both of the HR10-250s to 500 Gig drives for $149 each. That gives me about 70 hours on each HR10-250 of HD recordings. About 90% of what I watch now is broadcast in HD. Most of what I watch is recorded off an antenna with a couple of programs on HBOHD and SHOWHD.
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post #14 of 71 Old 07-12-2007, 05:50 PM
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record downconverted HD in anamorphic format on your Replay in medium quality

There's a huge difference between recording in medium quality and high quality from broadcast HD, when viewing on my 43". It's high quality all the way for OTA anamorphic.
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post #15 of 71 Old 07-13-2007, 09:28 AM
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When I bought my 1080p 40" Samsung HDTV a couple months ago I had mixed emotions - happy to finally be HD and sad that my beloved ReplayTV might be demoted to the rarely used spare room. I even bought a used HD-HTPC because I thought I would "need" to be able to record my OTA shows in HD. Now I'm back to believing my ReplayTV will have to suffer a major hardware failure for me to ever retire it. I use a combination of the Replay's internal analog tuner, a Samsung HD tuner anamorphic out to the ReplayTV, and of course my HD-HTPC for my OTA recording. I even still use the Replay's standard recording settings for the kids shows . Of course there's a predictable quality difference between these settings, but then I've always had my low, medium, and high quality shows so I just have a new way to set those and they all look great. So I thought I'd quickly switch over to exclusively using the HD-HTPC, but in practice I'm only recording HD shows on it and everything else goes on the ReplayTV.

You do have to keep in mind that size and distance matter. I have only a 40" set and I sit back at least 10-12'. I clearly bought a 1080p set over the 720p set just for bragging rights. If you have a bigger HDTV and/or sit closer than I do you might think I'm crazy to accept standard ReplyTV recordings. Anyway, good luck.
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post #16 of 71 Old 07-13-2007, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BaysideBas View Post

Said it before but have to say it again, record downconverted HD in anamorphic format on your Replay in medium quality. One would be hard pressed to tell the difference between that playback and the original HD on most reasonably sized widescreen displays. And I don't want to hear from you 100" diagonal screen lot!

Sorry to be stupid about this but the word anamorphic is throwing me. I own a widescreen TV, I view HD channels in full 16:9 and standard television in 4:3. This changes automatically for me as I am connected via HDMI.

Are you saying that to get the best picture that RTV is capable of, I should connect from the cable box via S-Video and set the output to 16:9?

Will the RTV output be in 16:9?
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post #17 of 71 Old 07-18-2007, 08:39 PM
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I converted a digital OTA show to replay format. Not hard. The show sharing features make it worth keeping for me.
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post #18 of 71 Old 07-18-2007, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Skyeclad View Post

Sorry to be stupid about this but the word anamorphic is throwing me. I own a widescreen TV, I view HD channels in full 16:9 and standard television in 4:3. This changes automatically for me as I am connected via HDMI.

Are you saying that to get the best picture that RTV is capable of, I should connect from the cable box via S-Video and set the output to 16:9?

Will the RTV output be in 16:9?

When done "right," the 16:9 HD signal will be letterboxed to SD 4:3 on the Replay and you should be able to use the zoom/aspect of your TV to make it fill the full 16:9 screen again.


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post #19 of 71 Old 07-19-2007, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogator88 View Post

I think the "need" to record HD shows in HD quality will wear off as people run out of storage space and decide that a good SD recording is good enough for most shows. How often did you record in medium or high quality on your replay?

I think, at that point what will be most missed is the ability to easily make and access and share a library of recordings. This is where a replay shines.

I disagree. The "need" to record HD shows in HD quality is not just for archiving. Most of the shows I watch are broadcast in HD (House, NCIS, CSI:NY, Heroes, Lost, etc...). The main reason for DVRs is to time shift - to watch your shows when you want to. I and anyone I personally know that have any DVR (Tivo, cable, RTV) rarely keep any show longer than 2 weeks. If my show is broadcast in HD I would like to see it in HD. I don't have need for tons of storage space because I am only keeping the most recent 1-2 weeks of each show.

A good SD recording is not good enough for me. Most of my friends and family have TVs larger than 50 inches. As the size increases SD transmissions look worse. Large Screen TVs are starting to become the norm. As they penetrate the market HD broadcasts will increase in demand.

Until I got my HDTV the largest TV in my house was a 27". Even on that my wife and I could see the difference between High and Low recordings on the RTV. Because of that we ALWAYS record on High.

I will agree that I will miss the archiving and web scheduling ability DVArchive gives me with my RTVs if/when I completely decomission my RTVs, but HD viewing does take precedence over that. Right now the RTVs mainly just serve as backups to my HD DVR from the cable company.

If you cannot tell the difference between HD and SD on a large screen TV get your frackin' eyes checked!
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post #20 of 71 Old 07-19-2007, 07:12 AM
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All I know is that my two 50xx replays [using s-video] look better on my 37" lcd than they did on my 27" sony xbr tube. Sure, the hd channels look infinitely better. Sure, if I could pay someone to wave a magic wand and make the 50xx's do HD, I would. But, given that I haven't made anything worse than it was before, as long as my cable still carries analog, the replays stay where they are.
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post #21 of 71 Old 07-20-2007, 07:10 PM
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I disagree. The "need" to record HD shows in HD quality is not just for archiving.

I agree 95% with Mr. Kennedy.

The other 5% is that I use my Replays to record the news (including The Daily Show) and to record a digital music channel which I then stream to my home office (wish I had thought of that sooner).

Basically stuff I listen to more than watch.
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post #22 of 71 Old 07-20-2007, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by sixt7gt350 View Post

When done "right," the 16:9 HD signal will be letterboxed to SD 4:3 on the Replay and you should be able to use the zoom/aspect of your TV to make it fill the full 16:9 screen again.

To put it more accurately, the downconverted 16:9 HD signal is vertically squished so that it fits into a 4:3 SD frame. When you set your 16:9 TV to "full", the squished image is stretched so that it appears correctly. The advantage to this method is that it allows you to properly display the SD signal on a 16:9 TV without sacrificing any additional resolution. This is precisely why 16:9 anamorphic DVD transfers are superior to 4:3 letterboxed transfers if you intend to view them on an HDTV.
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post #23 of 71 Old 08-05-2007, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gweempose View Post

To put it more accurately, the downconverted 16:9 HD signal is vertically squished so that it fits into a 4:3 SD frame. When you set your 16:9 TV to "full", the squished image is stretched so that it appears correctly. The advantage to this method is that it allows you to properly display the SD signal on a 16:9 TV without sacrificing any additional resolution. This is precisely why 16:9 anamorphic DVD transfers are superior to 4:3 letter boxed transfers if you intend to view them on an HDTV.

Ok, I tried this tonight but I don't think I have the intended results. I tuned my SA8300HD to an HD channel and output this to my RTV via svideo. The display image was 4:3 as I expected and the widescreen was letterboxed on top and bottom. The net result was what looked to me like a 16:9 proportioned image but smaller with bars on top/bottom and left/right. I used the TV's zoom to stretch the entire image and switched back and forth with the SD version of the same channel to compare. IMHO, I noticed a difference with a network channel but couldn't tell any difference with an already digital channel, HBO and HBOHD.

What I have been trying to figure out is if I have an anamorphic downrez or just a 4:3 letterbox signal. My guess is that it's the latter. I then decided to see if I could force the box to outputting a WS image in a 4:3 screen. My setup seemed to support this but no matter what I tried, it never changed what I saw pass through to the RTV. I have a feeling that there's more to be achieved here but I just don't know if my STB is capable. Any thoughts?
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post #24 of 71 Old 08-05-2007, 10:02 PM
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What I have been trying to figure out is if I have an anamorphic downrez or just a 4:3 letterbox signal. My guess is that it's the latter.

Based on what your are describing, I would have to agree. It sounds like the box is indeed taking the HD signal and converting it to standard 4:3 letterbox signal. I can think of two possible explanations for this. Either the SA8300HD is not capable of outputting a downconverted anamorphic signal, or there is something in the setup menu that you are overlooking. I know for a fact that both my Motorola 6412 and my E* 622 will output a 16:9 anamorphic signal. Unfortunately, I don't happen to have a Scientific Atlanta box on hand, so there is no way for me to play around with it and see what's going on. Can someone who owns one of these boxes please help our friend out?
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post #25 of 71 Old 08-06-2007, 01:34 AM
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I have tried, and failed, to get my Scientific Atlanta boxes (3250HD) to put out anamorphic on the S-Video port. There does not appear to be such an option in the SA menus.

If you can figure this one out, I'll be first in line to pat you on the back.

Idea - find some converter that will take the SA component output that is 16:9 and put it on an S-Video port in anamorphic mode.... Probably just wishful thinking.

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post #26 of 71 Old 08-06-2007, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by gweempose View Post

I know for a fact that both my Motorola 6412 and my E* 622 will output a 16:9 anamorphic signal.

Is the anamorphic signal from the 6412 only on S-video? I can't get anamorphic from my 6416 on the composite output, only 4:3 letterboxed, despite fiddling with the setup.

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post #27 of 71 Old 08-06-2007, 07:18 AM
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Look for the keyword "full" in the setup menus. I don't think that the designers know their anamorphics from their elbows. And I don't recall ever seeing the term anamorphic used in a manual for either tuners or widescreen receivers/displays.

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post #28 of 71 Old 08-06-2007, 08:47 AM
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I'm at work now but just before I went to sleep last night I read that the SA8300HD could not output anamorphic via svideo but could via component. Now I'm pretty sure there is no component input on the RTV but I was able to find what appears to be a component to svideo adapter in my box of cables. Perhaps this would work?
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post #29 of 71 Old 08-06-2007, 10:03 AM
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I can confirm that Scientific Atlanta boxes do NOT output anamorphic outputs on the composite or svideo outs.


They will however, output 480i anamorphic on the component video cables... unfortunately, this does us replaytv users as the replaytv only has a component OUT, not in. If there's a converter from component to svideo, then you could use that to feed the replaytv.

I have had SA boxes for a few years (cablevision) and as far as I know, it cannot be done over svideo.

My samsung HDTV does have a ZOOM1 mode on the picture though, so SD letterbox content will fill out my screen 100%.

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post #30 of 71 Old 08-06-2007, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by blacknoi View Post

I can confirm that Scientific Atlanta boxes do NOT output anamorphic outputs on the composite or svideo outs.

They will however, output 480i anamorphic on the component video cables... unfortunately, this does us replaytv users as the replaytv only has a component OUT, not in. If there's a converter from component to svideo, then you could use that to feed the replaytv.

I have had SA boxes for a few years (cablevision) and as far as I know, it cannot be done over svideo.

My samsung HDTV does have a ZOOM1 mode on the picture though, so SD letterbox content will fill out my screen 100%.

This might just work then, I will try to send 480i WS through component/s-video converter to the RTV and see if this is successful. Any idea which settings are best to ensure that the SA8300HD will output 480i widescreen through component or is this automatic when viewing an HD source?

Ultimately, I'm hoping that this solution has an output that rivals DVD's 480P anamorphic output. If so, I might ditch the HD DVR altogether.
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