Originally Posted by jkershaw
Thanks for all the responses! The Sony seems like a good fit (we're used to a single-tuner DVR, but I'm curious about the concerns mentioned above. Could you elaborate?
I'm tech-savvy enough to hack something together, but it the interest of my better-half, I need to find a simple solution. In my dream world, Apple with integrate an ASTV tuner into AppleTV. Does Steve Jobs read these forums??
The concerns with the Sony is two fold.
1. The Sony DHG-HDD250/500 were designed to get the TVGOS data from an analog TV station. Typically, it's a local PBS station that sends the signal. After 2/09, there's no analog signal, so the fear is/was that these units won't work. Without a guide, they're very limited. Without an accurate clock, they're just about useless. These units get both the guide and the clock from analog.
2. These units typically are very reliable, except when they're not. Seriously, take a look at the very big thread for these units. There's a whole lot of people with guide problems, including me.
For the most part, #1 has been solved. There are many AVSers that have had success in getting the Sony to download the guide via a digital channel (typically a CBS station), however, neither Sony or Macrovision will acknowledge that this is possible. Go figure.
If you can score one of these for less than $250 (the pre-order price of the Echostar TR-50), then it might be worth a shot.
Keep in mind, that just like any DVR, the HDD is the key component. If it fails, you're screwed and need to ship it off to Sony for repairs. No one has been successful in dropping in a new HDD and have it work. Sony puts some sort of magic on the HDD to allow it to work.
EDIT - as far as it being easy, it's very easy. Once YOU set it up, the operation is pretty much a no brainer. As long as the clock and guide are OK, anyone that can read English can pretty much operate it.
As far as the Apple comments, don't hold your breath, but that's just my opinion. I've given up on an aTV with a tuner.