I would like to add programmable HD recording to my current setup, in the cheapest possible way. So far the cheapest possible way is a little under $400 (see 2 below).
I've a minimal series 2 TIVO DVR with lifetime service that records SD.
It already switches my Comcast Cable box as needed, and I've already connected it to the Internet. The cable box has an HDMI output that outputs HD (on HD channels). It also has component video output, which might or might not output HD (if not, I could get an HD box from Comcast).
I have a minimal HDTV with HDMI and component video input. It also has antenna input - but I don't think any Comcast cable boxes output HD on that line.
1. Does anyone know of a reasonably cheap HDMI or component video source recorder?
That would let me program the Series 2 TIVO record the first minute of each show, which would still switch the cable box, and simultaneously have the HD DVR record the whole program from the HDMI output of the cable box. A slight nuisance to program both, but it would work. I could even record whole shows in SD on the current TIVO, in case the HD recorder messed up.
But so far I haven't found a cheap HD recorder that will record from HDMI or component video, of any type - HDD or tape or DVD.
2. As a TIVO lifetime subscriber I can upgrade to TiVo Premiere DVR plus lifetime service for $499.98 + shipping. (I would need to lease a Cable Card - though that is a little cheaper than leasing my current cable box). I could sell the series 2 + lifetime service on eBay for a little over $100, if TIVO doesn't object. That's about $400 net.
3. I could lease a Comcast DVR for $16/month, as opposed to $5.90 for my current box. But they would also charge for the service, and for the augmented "preferred" channel line-up that requires. Comcast doesn't list the prices! So I assume it will be $15-$30/month, and that it will increase with time. In a year or two, that's more than the TIVO Premiere + lifetime service would cost. Not cost effective! (I could ask Comcast for the price - but local customer service has a history of providing incorrect price information to us. It is not legal to record conversations in Maryland without everyone's consent.)
4. I could buy a new PC (current laptop, with a 1.2 GHz Celeron probably isn't powerful enough, and I'd have to leave it home), set it up as an HTPC, and lease a Comcast cablecard. Probably more expensive, possibly unreliable. (I've an old USB tuner already that can just barely record HD from OTA or QAM channels on my current laptop - but only from antenna input. I want cable channels, especially Syfy and BBC America.)
5. I have a Logitech Revue Google TV. It has HDMI input and output, but no DVR application. If it is possible to add such an application, someone will write one when it updates to add Android 3.0 with Android Market access. But it may not be possible. I'd need to add an external USB HDD drive too.
6. Any other way to do what I want, like some cheaper DVR that accepts cablecards? It can't possibly be this expensive.