2014 list of consumer available DVR's - Page 18 - AVS Forum
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post #511 of 554 Old 07-03-2014, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyB1966 View Post
I appreciate your thoughts, thank you.

Maybe CM felt that this flagship DVR+ didn't need their best tuner. By most accounts / articles, it's considered pricey at $250. I didn't and don't feel that way though. As I said in the DVR+ thread, using HDMI 1.2 and USB 2.0 seems to indicate to me that there was a concerted effort to keep costs down; knowing they might get some grief regarding pricing. For a unit just released for sale months ago, the use of those dated standards (HDMI 1.2 has been around 8+ years and USB 2.0 over a decade) might explain the tuner of choice too. I'm not up enough on tech at the moment, but I wonder how many 2014 released gadgets (TV's, AVR's, DVD players, etc) have HDMI 1.2 and USB 2.0. I would guess very few to none.

That all said, the use of those older standards doesn't seem to compromise the intended functionality of the DVR+, so a smart move on CM's part, with the initial experimentation of sorts (first DVR offering). I'm simply stating that this logical mentality, if consistent, might also apply to tuner selection...

I have not experience with the CM-7000, but from what you share and others, it is highly regarded for its tuner.

...

I guess it's not exactly popular and / or easy to be swapping tuners in these devices?
I don't own a DVR+ (and I do have some issues with it) but I agree that $250 isn't out of line for a 2-tuner DVR with a 14-day EPG, since there are no monthly fees. Even if CM someday dumps the guide in favor of a new DVR model (as they did with their CM-7400), that should still be a couple of years down the road.

I also don't understand why some folks get so hung up on using the "latest and greatest" standards. It's not as if you can't plug a USB 3.0 HDD in, nor as if USB 2.0 or HDMI 1.2 can't handle the workload. I'll fault CM for not using eSATA or USB 3.0 when they release a 10-tuner model

As for swapping tuners, unfortunately these days tuners are all surface-mount chips and every model has its own unique pinout, so it's not really possible. I've long maintained that someone should market a DVR that can use network-based tuners (like Silicon Dust's HD HomeRun models), so you could have as many or as few as you need, so multiple DVRs could share tuners, and so customers would have a way around any inadequate built-in tuners. But (aside from HTPCs) I'm still waiting for that to happen.
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post #512 of 554 Old 07-03-2014, 10:59 AM
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Thank you Joe. I guess I haven't frequented enough, at least these parts, to know which members have a history. From other boards, I know what you mean though...
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post #513 of 554 Old 07-03-2014, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
There is not. You would have to buy a DTVPal or CM-7000Pal used. (They do pop up quite often on eBay.) And of course AVSForum would probably be your only source of support.

So to summarize CC support:
Pals & new HD Funais - Yes; Live and Recordings
TViX - No (Recordings supported with extra PC-based work)
Homeworx - Live only
That seems to be about the size of it. Very unfortunate. The Funais are probably the best way to go out of the whole lot. Not what I expected, but I have never been satisfied with my old Philips branded one which I absolutely love.

Would it have killed them to put a burner or USB out on them?
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post #514 of 554 Old 07-03-2014, 11:31 AM
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That seems to be about the size of it. Very unfortunate. The Funais are probably the best way to go out of the whole lot. Not what I expected, but I have never been satisfied with my old Philips branded one which I absolutely love.

Would it have killed them to put a burner or USB out on them?
The Funai/Philips HDR 5710 & 5750 have USB in/out for up to 8 ea. 32GB-4TB USB-HDDs, so 33TB of storage... also for FW update. (Not sure if that's what you meant with "USB out"?)
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post #515 of 554 Old 07-03-2014, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
I don't own a DVR+ (and I do have some issues with it) but I agree that $250 isn't out of line for a 2-tuner DVR with a 14-day EPG, since there are no monthly fees. Even if CM someday dumps the guide in favor of a new DVR model (as they did with their CM-7400), that should still be a couple of years down the road.

I also don't understand why some folks get so hung up on using the "latest and greatest" standards. It's not as if you can't plug a USB 3.0 HDD in, nor as if USB 2.0 or HDMI 1.2 can't handle the workload. I'll fault CM for not using eSATA or USB 3.0 when they release a 10-tuner model

As for swapping tuners, unfortunately these days tuners are all surface-mount chips and every model has its own unique pinout, so it's not really possible. I've long maintained that someone should market a DVR that can use network-based tuners (like Silicon Dust's HD HomeRun models), so you could have as many or as few as you need, so multiple DVRs could share tuners, and so customers would have a way around any inadequate built-in tuners. But (aside from HTPCs) I'm still waiting for that to happen.
Thanks for addressing my question. I like your idea and hope it comes to fruition soon. Sounds like a solid biz opportunity...

To be clear, I'm not one hung-up on the latest and greatest standards, especially when it doesn't make sense in a given application. i was aware of the USB and HDMI standards in the DVR+ before purchase, and commented on such in the DVR+ thread, noting that it makes sense and from user accounts doesn't impact performance negatively. Just noting that the same good enough rationale might have been employed with the tuner of choice - which is more than adequate for those with signal to spare...

I need to read-up more on the HD HomeRun offerings. I think I had done so at some point though. I believe there is no remote control, so control would be via an internet device. If so, I want something with remote that I can tie into a learning remote, like the Harmony 1, to control one whole system. Having to use a remote control then an phone to satisfy all AV needs is something I'm trying to avoid. I might be mistaken though as I might be thinking of TabloTV. Heck, maybe both. Really neat solutions, just not what I'm after in this room of the house...
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post #516 of 554 Old 07-03-2014, 02:41 PM
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Yes; the HDHR tuners are controlled by the network-connected devices that use them. Currently that would need to be either a PC, which opens up another whole can of worms, or a DLNA-compatible device, which could be a TV but I think excludes DVRs.
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post #517 of 554 Old 07-04-2014, 12:45 AM
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@wajo - I meant some ability to get the programs off the HDD. A BD burner would be nice, but the ability to copy to a USB device would be good too.
From what I understand the USB connection allows for external drives, but the data is in some as yet unidentified file system format.
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post #518 of 554 Old 07-04-2014, 06:06 AM
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@wajo - I meant some ability to get the programs off the HDD. A BD burner would be nice, but the ability to copy to a USB device would be good too.
From what I understand the USB connection allows for external drives, but the data is in some as yet unidentified file system format.
That's always a problem with dedicated hardware DVRs. You could build your own with a computer's DVR which wouldn't have that issue. :/
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post #519 of 554 Old 07-04-2014, 06:50 AM
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@wajo - I meant some ability to get the programs off the HDD. A BD burner would be nice, but the ability to copy to a USB device would be good too.
From what I understand the USB connection allows for external drives, but the data is in some as yet unidentified file system format.
We know what the filesystem is but haven't had any "expert" PC users help figure things out, as described here.
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post #520 of 554 Old 07-04-2014, 03:18 PM
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That's always a problem with dedicated hardware DVRs. You could build your own with a computer's DVR which wouldn't have that issue. :/
That's not true; the TViX 6620 stores files unencrypted on its NTFS SATA HDD, so you can:
  1. Move the HDD into your PC to copy the files
  2. Connect a USB HDD to one of the USB ports to copy the files
  3. Connect an Ethernet cable or wireless antenna and use FTP or SMB to fetch the files over your home network

The DVR+ also stores unencrypted files on its ext2 USB HDD, so you can connect it to your PC to copy files (assuming you can read a Linux filesystem), and TiVo lets you transfer files over Ethernet, too. There are other options besides an HTPC for saving your recordings.
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post #521 of 554 Old 07-04-2014, 03:40 PM
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That's not true; the TViX 6620 stores files unencrypted on its NTFS SATA HDD, so you can:
  1. Move the HDD into your PC to copy the files
  2. Connect a USB HDD to one of the USB ports to copy the files
  3. Connect an Ethernet cable or wireless antenna and use FTP or SMB to fetch the files over your home network

The DVR+ also stores unencrypted files on its ext2 USB HDD, so you can connect it to your PC to copy files (assuming you can read a Linux filesystem), and TiVo lets you transfer files over Ethernet, too. There are other options besides an HTPC for saving your recordings.
Oh nice. I didn't know there existed. I have DTV Pal DVR that is encrypted. Although, the recordings should be accessible by any computers like NTFS so TViX 6620 would probably be a good pick for a dedicated DVR instead of a HTPC (I use DVB Viewer Pro for TS and MPEG-2 OTA ATSC recordings without subscriptions). Frak TiVo for its subscription.
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post #522 of 554 Old 07-04-2014, 05:28 PM
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That's not true; the TViX 6620 stores files unencrypted on its NTFS SATA HDD, so you can:
  1. Move the HDD into your PC to copy the files
  2. Connect a USB HDD to one of the USB ports to copy the files
  3. Connect an Ethernet cable or wireless antenna and use FTP or SMB to fetch the files over your home network

The DVR+ also stores unencrypted files on its ext2 USB HDD, so you can connect it to your PC to copy files (assuming you can read a Linux filesystem), and TiVo lets you transfer files over Ethernet, too. There are other options besides an HTPC for saving your recordings.
Isn't the iView another one that stores unencrypted files on the USB drive?

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post #523 of 554 Old 07-04-2014, 05:44 PM
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Isn't the iView another one that stores unencrypted files on the USB drive?
Yes, recordings made by Homeworx/iView boxes are not encrypted and may be readily accessed on a PC.
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post #524 of 554 Old 07-04-2014, 07:58 PM
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See? There are so many choices available that I even forgot two of them.
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post #525 of 554 Old 07-14-2014, 01:57 PM
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Can anyone recommend a good ATSC HDTV PVR with user-friendly channel guide with also the ability to record from an external source (any composite/svideo/component/hdmi)?

I was considering the Magnavox HDD/DVD recorder but apparently that downscales then upscales all the antenna signals it gets instead of just showing them in the original HD - so that killed that option for me.
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post #526 of 554 Old 07-14-2014, 02:59 PM
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DVRs do not record from external inputs. They record from a tuner. If you want to record external sources, you'll need to get something like a Hauppauge capture card for your PC.
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post #527 of 554 Old 07-14-2014, 03:24 PM
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DVRs do not record from external inputs. They record from a tuner. If you want to record external sources, you'll need to get something like a Hauppauge capture card for your PC.
In that case forgive me for using the wrong terminology. My dream device would be something able to at least get OTA HD signals, with an external input, and be able to record both, even with just a timer record like an old VCR would be ok. This way I can connect my Roku to the recorder to record programs from Live internet Streams (in SD or HD, don't really care), and in addition get OTA Metro channels.

The closest thing I have found to this dream device is the MagicTV MTV8000D which is only available in Hong Kong and does not support ATSC, only DTT.
http://www.magictv.com/hk/en/mtv8000d.html I am aware there are likely legal issues with the HDMI inputs over here which is why I'm fine with SD inputs only for recording.

I got excited when I saw the PHD-VRX2's various inputs, but then discovered it is not capable of recording from any of them, only OTA digital.
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post #528 of 554 Old 07-14-2014, 04:14 PM
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I would never want to go back to the ways of recording like we did in the 20th century. I would rather record nothing then go back to time based recordings.
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post #529 of 554 Old 07-14-2014, 11:00 PM
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@ CanadaJimmy

I'm afraid the only "single" device capable of doing what you want is an HTPC. You could add a TV tuner card to it for recording TV shows, and you could add a capture card to it for recording HDMI/component/composite signals. There is no stand-alone device capable of doing both things in North America, to my knowledge.

You can get a DVR to record HDTV, and you can get something like a DVD/HDD recorder to capture SD composite/S-Video signals, but that's about all you can do without involving a PC.
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post #530 of 554 Old 07-15-2014, 10:57 AM
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I would never want to go back to the ways of recording like we did in the 20th century. I would rather record nothing then go back to time based recordings.
I've never left that method and don't care. I'm too OCD to trust any device to get recordings right the way networks have loose start and stop times.
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post #531 of 554 Old 07-15-2014, 07:18 PM
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DVR w/ external input

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaJimmy View Post
Can anyone recommend a good ATSC HDTV PVR with user-friendly channel guide with also the ability to record from an external source (any composite/svideo/component/hdmi)?

I was considering the Magnavox HDD/DVD recorder but apparently that downscales then upscales all the antenna signals it gets instead of just showing them in the original HD - so that killed that option for me.
One option for you will be Digital Stream/RCA DPH1000R listed in the first page of this thread. It has dual ATSC tuners, records in HD and has external output through USB stick. It also has provision for external video input through RCA jacks. The external video only records in SD. The guide is one day only supplied by PSIP by the stations. I have one of this unit for last 18 months and can highly recommend it.
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post #532 of 554 Old 07-15-2014, 07:27 PM
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I've never left that method and don't care. I'm too OCD to trust any device to get recordings right the way networks have loose start and stop times.
As long as the cable systems don't have a big delay it should not be much of an issue. I'm on FiOS an it's extremely rare that I need to pad any recordings. (And I have several hundred recordings each two week period) They don't get cut off. While at my Parents house on Comcast, their content has a big delay. I can be using slingplayer on my cell phone (from my Slingbox 350 on FiOS at home) and I will still be ahead of what comes from the tuners at my parents house. With such a delay there is no way for the recordings to turn out properly. But that is the fault of the cable system, not the DVR.

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post #533 of 554 Old 08-04-2014, 03:40 AM
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PHD-VRX options

The PHD-VRX records in conventional unencrypted .MPG (I think that's MPEG-2) files. I use an external hard drive and can unplug it and plug into my computer whenever I want to - in fact, my computer's copying progams to another external hard drive as I type this! As the PHD-VRX records to a drive formatted as Unix ext2, you either need a Unix/Linux computer or a Windows computer with the installable ext2 drivers linked to on the ePivision home site: www.fs-driver.org (that's non-commercial, so I hope it's cool to post the URL).

(1.5TB takes about 18 hours via 17.5MB/sec USB2.0 on my 2.2GHz Ubuntu Linux box. I can type a lot in that time! OTOH, both my drives are USB 3.0, though the computer and PHD-VRX use only UCB 2.0 - when I get a USB 3.0 computer working, I should be able to transfer at higher speeds.)

If you have an internal drive, you have to either take it out or route its USB connection through a short extension cord with a male-female connection. Then just unplug it from the PHD-VRX and plug it into a long USB cable to your computer.

The PHD-VRX records and plays back closed captions, but it saves them in an associated proprietary .NAV file, and you lose them if copying to or playing on another device.
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The PHD-VRX records in conventional unencrypted .MPG (I think that's MPEG-2) files. I use an external hard drive and can unplug it and plug into my computer whenever I want to - in fact, my computer's copying progams to another external hard drive as I type this! As the PHD-VRX records to a drive formatted as Unix ext2, you either need a Unix/Linux computer or a Windows computer with the installable ext2 drivers linked to on the ePivision home site: www.fs-driver.org (that's non-commercial, so I hope it's cool to post the URL).

(1.5TB takes about 18 hours via 17.5MB/sec USB2.0 on my 2.2GHz Ubuntu Linux box. I can type a lot in that time! OTOH, both my drives are USB 3.0, though the computer and PHD-VRX use only UCB 2.0 - when I get a USB 3.0 computer working, I should be able to transfer at higher speeds.)

If you have an internal drive, you have to either take it out or route its USB connection through a short extension cord with a male-female connection. Then just unplug it from the PHD-VRX and plug it into a long USB cable to your computer.

The PHD-VRX records and plays back closed captions, but it saves them in an associated proprietary .NAV file, and you lose them if copying to or playing on another device.
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Is it re-encoding the video or is it just the raw (m2)ts broadcast being repackaged as mpg? If the latter, the captions should still be present to re-extract by other means.
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post #535 of 554 Old 08-05-2014, 02:52 PM
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It doesn't transcode, but I don't think the MPG PS container supports closed captions or other metadata, so everything but the audio and video streams would probably be lost during remuxing. That's why most DVRs save as M2TS, so the PSIP and CC get preserved.
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post #536 of 554 Old 08-05-2014, 10:22 PM
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Yes and no. Some players extract the closed captioning when it records so it can play it back as subtitle track later (note the distinction between CC and subtitles).

Actual closed captions are encoded in an unseen area of the video. Re-encoding will kill it unless extracted and re-added during encoding.
If the program's video is saved untouched, software players and PC extraction software can access it later.
(I know this is somewhat inaccurate, but it is a simplified explanation.)

The easiest method if you've copied a recording to your PC is playing back in VLC media player. Just go to subtitles and if there is closed captions, it can show it. If they're not there, odds are good the video has been re-encoded.
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post #537 of 554 Old 08-06-2014, 12:27 AM
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Cool Modes and Codes

I know that the PHD-VRX has no recoding circuitry, but really don't know enough about the broadcast digital format to know its secrets. I know that the HomeWorx/iView box saves in .TS files, but not the PHD-VRX.

By experimentation, I discovered that the captions are contained in the .nav file. Take it away, no captions. Copy it back, captions. Remove the "record" file and no captions - so it seems to be the index between the recordings and the files.

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post #538 of 554 Old 08-06-2014, 02:50 AM
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Actual closed captions are encoded in an unseen area of the video. Re-encoding will kill it unless extracted and re-added during encoding.
If the program's video is saved untouched, software players and PC extraction software can access it later.
It's also important to remember that there are both old NTSC and new ATSC captioning standards, and the old EIA-608 standard is fading as EIA-708 replaces it. It is possible to extract the CC prior to transcoding a video so as to preserve the text, but doing so requires extra steps.

Unlike the NTSC CC standard, the ATSC CC standard can't be transmitted for the TV to decode and display, because it isn't contained in the image after decoding occurs. A VCR can just send the "line 21" captions unaltered to the TV, which lets the TV's decoder display and position them on the screen, but the ATSC captions get lost when the DVR decodes the MPEG-2 into raw images for transmission over HDMI. As such, the DVR itself must decode, display, and position the captions on every video frame, which requires extra work on the part of whomever designs the DVR's firmware (and is why some DVR manufacturers just avoid supporting CC altogether). The VRX's .nav files likely contain some pre-calculated information about where the captions are in the recording, how many caption languages there are, where they should appear on the screen, their timecodes, and perhaps other information to make it easier for the VRX to display the text on playback. Such a file shouldn't be strictly necessary for CC to work, but if that was the easiest way for the VRX's developers to get the job done, then more power to them. At least the VRX can display CC, unlike multiple other DVRs.
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post #539 of 554 Old 08-07-2014, 02:10 PM
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I did say it was an approximation. But if you're going to be pedantic:

I've found zero decrease in the use of Line 21 CC. Trust me, it is heavily used in my household, we would notice.

Also, the issue is not that EIA-708 isn't embedded in the image, it's that modern HD wiring does not support closed captions. You can't send EIA-608/Line 21 captions over HDMI, and component cabling ONLY works if it is 480i.

So while there are usually 2 different format caption streams for TV programs, the issue is that the device playing the program must now decode it and display it because you cannot send it to the TV's captioning decoder.

A raw recorded transport stream will still contain the stream with the EIA-708 AND the embedded EIA-608, but unless you are willing to watch that program in standard definition, the DVR must decode and display the captions.

Apparently the VRX, like a few other units has decided to extract the captions (probably 708) and save it in a custom format. As long as it isn't re-encoding the video, the 608 should still be present as well.

Some custom formats can be converted with software solutions if you have the need. No telling what the VRX's format is, it could be plain text for all we know.

I put it to you that if the VRX has an older RF or composite output, that it will show line 21 captions on playback.

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post #540 of 554 Old 08-22-2014, 06:24 AM
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Thank you for collating this information. Extremely helpful. Should the Moxi HD still be on the list? It appears to fail the criteria of being available to consumers, their web site says it's now only for sale through cable providers.

I found this thread looking for DVR options, because the monopolistic Kabletown (Comcast) wants me to buy their phone service in order for me to get their best DVR, the X1, which would effectively double my bill. I said F.U., that's how you treat a 12+ year customer?

I started looking at TiVo Roamio, which looks really nice but damn is that expensive (~$400 to start for my two TVs, to get the one that can stream to my iPad plus a Mini, plus $20/mo). I came here looking for other options, but if I want it to work with my cable provider...it looks like that's it. There aren't any, unless I'm missing something. Either I bend over and take it from Comcast, or I bend over and take it from TiVo. ($20/mo for the "TV guide"? More like $2/mo for the TV guide, $18/mo to keep our company afloat.)
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