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Old 12-05-2009, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for a cable compatible recording solution that is stand alone (if possible) and requires no programming guide subscription or service fees.

Already have a DT2 TiVo - used to have EyeTV on my Macs. I don't care about HiDef, HMDI - don't care/want DVD recording. I don't even care if it's digital or analog as long as it will record off of current cable signal technology.

I just want to record cable TV shows off of base cable channels - no cable box.

My wish is for a VERY SIMPLE modern day version of the VCR recorder.
Manually program in the time, duration and channel - period!
I can go back to EyeTV, but I want to watch the shows on TVs, not on my computer and do not want to do the necessary networking unless there is no choice. (Wireless or portable options would then also be an alternative)

There was a thread similar to this a couple years ago but I'm hoping things have developed since then? I find it almost unbelievable that no one seems to make a simple, manually programmable recorder like what I'm looking for. Seems like a no brainer - a tuner and a hard drive recorder. Some people just want to see their shows no matter what quality (and TiVo DT2 quality sticks BTW, LOL)

Helpful suggestions appreciated, thanks!
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:54 AM
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A good VCR replacement for you might be the Magnavox H2160. Click #1 in my signature for lots more info.

PHILIPS HD DVRs | MAG/PHILIPS SD DVDRs* | DVDR/DVR COMPARISONS | POST-DVDR OPTIONS
*Due to the AVS SW change in June 2014, most but not all links in this thread will work if you're not logged in. If you are logged in, links should work if your User CP > Edit Options > Number of Posts to Show per Page is set to 30, the default.
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Old 12-05-2009, 11:22 AM
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Keep in mind that most cable companies will be moving most of their analog channels to encrypted digital in the fairly near future, leaving only the local broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, etc) in analog or unencrypted digital. Comcast is making the transition right now. Other companies will surely follow soon. After that, you'll be able to record only the local broadcast channels without a cable box or cable DVR.

Unless... the new "tru2way" technology actually fulfills its promise. Think of it as a software version of the cable box that the cableco uploads into a third-party TV or DVR. At the moment no devices use tru2way except a few TVs, as far as I know, and tru2way is being tested in only a couple of cities right now. Maybe next year. Or 2011. Or...
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks much Wajo, that one or the Philips look like a possibility for sure!

JT - yes the whole digital conversion thing is/was a concern. By the sounds of what you've described, if cable companies start making all their non-network channels encrypted, it's going to be a bad thing for a lot of people.

I could see the encrypting of channels over a certain number as reasonable (kind of like it already is - one can't get all the cable channels on a second TV without a box) but if they do it to everything but the major networks? That's just scary.

Thankfully - hopefully in not too many years down the road, the internet and future technologies will make cable companies obsolete! :-)

One other option I am also considering -

A tuner stick/recorder for the Mac and using an External HD and a Western Digital Media Player. If it works as I theorize, all I would have to do is record shows to the external, and then move it to the player location when wanting to play them. I'll have to search for threads on this as well, but it could be the lowest cost option out there.
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iGirl View Post

Thankfully - hopefully in not too many years down the road, the internet and future technologies will make cable companies obsolete! :-)

Hehe, but you'll still be in the same situation, with content encrypted, and new technologies applied requiring you to come up with new solutions. And on the Internet, I suspect technologies will change even more rapidly than in a cable/satellite environment.
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Old 12-05-2009, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbell View Post

After that, you'll be able to record only the local broadcast channels without a cable box or cable DVR.

Or a third-party recorder that supports CableCard...There are two of those right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iGirl View Post

JT - yes the whole digital conversion thing is/was a concern. By the sounds of what you've described, if cable companies start making all their non-network channels encrypted, it's going to be a bad thing for a lot of people.

I could see the encrypting of channels over a certain number as reasonable (kind of like it already is - one can't get all the cable channels on a second TV without a box) but if they do it to everything but the major networks?

That's the plan. Comcast has already done it in a number of markets and plans to do it in all. Their timeline calls for the elimination of non-local cable channels and encryption of their digital replacements in the "majority of markets" by the end of 2010, with the remainder to follow in 2011. Other cable providers plan to do the same, but with a less aggressive schedule.

If you want a standalone recorder that can handle these encrypted digital channels (CNN, TNT, USA, AMC, FX, etc), then you need to pick one with the "Supports encrypted digital channels on cable" feature in the HDD Recorder Comparison Chart.

At the moment, there are only two products with that capability on the market, but more should become available in 2H 2010 as cable companies deploy tru2way. Supporting encrypted digital channels adds cost, which tends to make these products more expensive.

There are also some options for encrypted digital recording under Windows 7, but Apple has shown no interest in adding that capability to OSX. Apple would rather people purchase cable shows via iTunes.
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Old 12-06-2009, 03:27 AM
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I use the Dish DTVPal DVR, an OTA antenna, and DVDs (will get Netflix soon). A year ago I canceled cable and told them to take the $90 a month they were charging and stick it.


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Old 12-06-2009, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iGirl View Post

...I just want to record cable TV shows off of base cable channels - no cable box...

What you are looking for (analog HDD/DVD recorders) are currently off the market. They last sold for about $200.
Some of them could record HD broadcasts but stored and passed through everything in SD making them very hard to sell or explain to the HD TV-buying public.

What you probably need (http://www.blu-ray.com/recorders/ http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/08/26...derhdd-combos/ http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=40483) have not hit the USA yet and the available ones often lack the ability to record/back-up the BluRay format onto a cheap DVD-R disk. (which is perfectly feasible from a technology and usability standpoint)

So, what are your current, basically free, options? (remembering that cable companies will be encrypting everything in the near future and you will be connecting your recorder [and TV] to a cable box if you wish to avoid additional subscription fees)
1: The PC, which does demand a certain level of expertise.
2: A standalone DVD/VHS combo Recorder using DVD+RW disks which you will have to swap out every 2 - 4 hours of recording.
2a: Any DVD recorder with a timer used in conjunction with an external tuner like a cable box or even an old VCR using A/V cable hook-ups.

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Old 12-06-2009, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone - it's sounding more and more like I should buy either Philips 3575/3576 or a Magnavox 2080/2160 to do this as a stand alone set up.

Probably have to get a second cable box when the encryption meanie arrives at our door. Of course by imposing this upon people, the cable companies will really incite the hackers - and send a lot of people running to switch to Dish etc.
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:41 AM
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Dish is no better, neither is DirecTV. You need their equipment to see ANYTHING, let alone "encrypted" channels. Same thing with U-Verse and to a lesser degree FiOS. And after the introductory rates wear off (which cable also offers), the price jumps up to about cable rates. So unless you just want to jump from provider to provider once each contract is up, you're going to end up in the same place no matter who you go with.

If it's offered by a large company, they're not going to give you something for nothing. Even Hulu is going to start charging at some point.

As for the hackers, encryption has been around for awhile, and really desirable stuff like HBO has been encrypted for years. So far, the hackers haven't really put a dent in anything, and if they could, they would have done so by now.

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Old 12-06-2009, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

Dish is no better....

Not true here. I figured out what the SD Bronze Plus package (Top 100 plus local RSN - comparable to Digital Starter here - has all the top, national cable channels and the local RSN) for four TV's would cost for my BIL a few days back, and it had to be at least twenty dollars cheaper than what he's paying for Comcast now (actually, even $15.00 more off of that for the first year, with the introductory offer).

Comcast is on the high end here, Dish's dual-tuners save quite a few bucks, and we don't pay any taxes on Dish.

Also, Dish's tuners have event timers, so he can use his own, standalone recorder with it. The two *free* DTA's Comcast is giving him have no way to change channels on their own. If he were to lease three more, "full-featured" tuners from them for the other TV's, it would cost him way over $20.00 more a month in all (he's got a 42", ED Panny plasma - which he sits at least 15 feet away from at the closest - and all SDTV's in the other rooms - he doesn't care about HD, as long as the PQ is presentable enough, and he's trying to shave expenses to the bone right now - like a lot of people. I even offered to help him put up an antenna in his attic and do the wiring if he wants local HD).
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Old 12-06-2009, 12:02 PM
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I figure there are a few places that one would stand above the others. But I think in general it evens out, otherwise one would have a huge surge in new customers defecting from the others.

In my neighborhood, the best choice seems to be TWC; the rates are okay and they haven't encrypted a whole lot (and haven't really made any noise about it, but I suspect it's coming.) I looked into Dish and DirecTV and Dish was worse than TWC, but better than DirecTV, but if you went a few miles east, DirecTV was better than the other two. FiOS isn't available in my immediate area. In some of the canyons, Charter Cable is the only real option (no line of sight to sats.)

I imagine you can find these exceptions as you move about, but the OP was suggesting cable across the country was going to lose out. I don't think they are. All providers have their shortcomings.

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Old 12-06-2009, 12:18 PM
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I was surprised to hear he doesn't have U-Verse - we have it here on the other end of the same town. It might have been only a couple of bucks cheaper, anyway, if even that. U-Verse isn't really on the cheap side.

Yeah, once you get into all those extra tuners, they're all ridiculous - even if you just want a basic, SD package. That's where you can save a few bucks with Dish's dual-tunered models - if you don't mind a coax connection to the second TV as their "standard" installation - or want to buy your own, really long composite wires and try to get them to install those instead - or do it yourself.

Dish is really the best choice if you want to be as miserly as possible around here. When they were offering those all-HD packages for very reasonable prices, they were really the best deal going - anywhere. I had a feeling that wouldn't last forever, though. They've still got the old subscribers grandfathered in, but I don't think they add any new HD channels that come online to the package. But they already had most of the good ones when they quit offering it, anyway.
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:39 PM
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HTPC is the way to go for recording TV. EyeTV or Windows Media center will get the job done w/o monthly fees. You don't even need to pay for cable.
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Old 12-23-2009, 08:22 AM
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Unless you want protected content on cable, then you'll be wanting to wait for the new PC Cablecard tuners next year.
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