Why are there No Name Brand OTA DVRs? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 106 Old 12-09-2013, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by DD24 View Post


Sure, there are always ways to do things, legal or not.  Someone who wants to break the DVD CSS encryption can find ways to do it but that doesn't make it legal.  Someone who is determined to pirate movies can do it, right or not.  But that wasn't the point.  The point of the OP was that certain industry groups have banded together to promote legislation like the DMCA which is then used to threaten manufacturers and others from providing to consumers a full range of equipment capable of doing all of the functions that are legal under copyright fair use law.

Again, this thread was about OTA recording and there are any number of ways to record ATSC today, without any restrictions whatsoever. The only thing holding manufacturers back now is a lack of interest from consumers to pay the cost of a good DVR that can only record OTA.

It has nothing to do with pirating or breaking encryption, because there isn't any on OTA. Stop grandstanding with your strawman.
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post #32 of 106 Old 12-09-2013, 06:28 AM
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Seeing Wajo's posts, and also checking out the Magnavox dvrs, are IMHO, the best options currently available.

I own a Mag 515, and it's great. Yes, its SD, not HD, but it serves my needs for OTA and cable recording, and I can burn my own dvds. These Mags basically replace the VCR, but the hard drive recordings are excellent, and they can burn excellent DVDs.....in SD.
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post #33 of 106 Old 12-11-2013, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Perhaps there's yet another reason why no brand-name PVR's are available from the majors. Mebbe this is a market in transition with many new products in the wings. It may be that both manufacturers and consumers are unwilling to invest a lot in quality boxes until they can see how this shakes out.

 

Aereo, Simple.TV, Tablo, Syncbak and others are developing competing products, which admittedly do things differently but nevertheless will be competing for the same viewers business.

 

And then there's Chromecast lurking in the wings. Once Google releases the SDK the doors will be wide open for anyone to develop a streaming product with a direct connection from my home WiFi to my HDMI port on my TV.


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post #34 of 106 Old 12-11-2013, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by laridae View Post

Once Google releases the SDK the doors will be wide open for anyone to develop a streaming product with a direct connection from my home WiFi to my HDMI port on my TV.

I can't wait for people to start designing viruses targetted at smart TVs. "What? My TV just got bricked? Nooo!!" After that, it won't be long before we start seeing advertisements for Norton Antivirus TV edition. I'm guessing this is what we're supposed to call "progress". rolleyes.gif
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post #35 of 106 Old 12-11-2013, 06:21 PM
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I have the Channel Master DVR: http://www.channelmaster.com/Digital_TV_and_HDTV_HD_digital_recorder_CM_7000PAL_DVR_s/120.htm

The UI is a little clunky, and it has nothing like Tivo's slickness: but it gets the job done. Unfortunately it's been discontinued: Channel Master says there is a successor product in the works, but no sign of if yet.
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post #36 of 106 Old 12-11-2013, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dschulz View Post

I have the Channel Master DVR: http://www.channelmaster.com/Digital_TV_and_HDTV_HD_digital_recorder_CM_7000PAL_DVR_s/120.htm

The UI is a little clunky, and it has nothing like Tivo's slickness: but it gets the job done. Unfortunately it's been discontinued: Channel Master says there is a successor product in the works, but no sign of if yet.

 

Now, that's the point, you see.

Why would a company discontinue a product before a new one is ready to replace it?

Vague promises show a fear, or at least a real lack of commitment to competing in this space.

Why is that?


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post #37 of 106 Old 12-11-2013, 10:43 PM
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The CM 7000 was discontinued when CM released the CM 7400 to replace it, except that the 7400 was an even worse unit than the original, so now CM is trying a third time with the CM 7500.
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post #38 of 106 Old 12-12-2013, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by laridae View Post

Now, that's the point, you see.
Why would a company discontinue a product before a new one is ready to replace it?
Vague promises show a fear, or at least a real lack of commitment to competing in this space.
Why is that?
So, in the last several years a company has released two models of DVR into the market and is about to release a third -- and that shows fear?
They didn't get it completely right with the first two and so are now going for a third completely redesigned model -- and that shows lack of commitment?

What do you consider "name-brand"? Is Channel Master not name-brand enough for you? How about TiVo? Or, how about Philips? Are they not name-brand enough or do you only consider the likes of Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, etc. to be sufficiently name-brand.

This whole thread is based on a false premise. There are and have been OTA DVR's on the market with brands people recognize. TiVo has been there for a decade. Echostar/Channel Master has been in for the last 4 years. Both have periodically offered new models to market. And now Philips is the new kid in the market having just offered their first pair of DVR models. So where is the fear? Where is the lack of commitment? Where is your argument?

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post #39 of 106 Old 12-12-2013, 10:54 AM
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I may be projecting but I think the OP was referring to the traditional high end Japanese CE guys. The Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Mitsubishi cadre. They're on 4th (maybe 5th) generation high end, aesthetically pleasing OTA units including built in Blu-Ray player/recorders, monster HDD and professional UI's on sale in the Asian and some Europeon markets. The last unit like that besides Tivo sold in the US was the Sony HDD250/500 models and that lasted about 6 months. I think the reason for that is the Tivo patent portfolio (and possible leftover Replay TV patents) and high licensing fees. Echostar can include a lot of those features because of the cross licensing agreement they have with Tivo. I don't think it's a lack of market. With good shelf placement and some creative advertising they could probably be profitable if they get around those patents.
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post #40 of 106 Old 12-12-2013, 02:52 PM
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There's no doubt that Tivo's threat of patent litigation (or licensing) could be an issue, but it hasn't stopped Channel Master or Simple.TV. I do believe that the lack of a viable OTA market interested in this at a price that allows for companies to make a profit has much more to do with it.
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post #41 of 106 Old 12-12-2013, 03:13 PM
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To sum up, there are two main "intellectual property" (IP) issues with OTA DVRs.

The first is patents. These don't affect much what an end-user can do in the privacy of his own home, but the do affect what manufacturers can put on the market. The US P&TO has been granting ridiculously over-broad patents for decades now, and TiVo owns a bunch of these over-broad patents for DVRs, so other manufacturers have to "design around" those patents, or else try to buy licenses from TiVo.

The second is copyrights on program schedules. Unlike many countries, the US allows broadcasters to copyright something as trivial as their broadcast schedule, so they can profit by selling the rights to companies like Tribune Media. So in the US, if you want a longer or more detailed schedule than the paltry amount of info broadcast in a station's PSIP, you have to pay for it.

The CM-7000 was a bit of an exception in that the OEM, Echostar, won (in a legal settlement) rights to use the TV Guide on-Screen schedules formerly broadcast by Rovi, and they built that technology into the DVR. But Rovi got around that by simply discontinuing over-the-air TVGoS broadcasts, so now the CM-7000 has to get by on the same PSIP info as everyone else.

There are a few other DVRs offering longer program guides, but the guides have always been subscription-based AFAIK. We'll have to wait and see what the new CM-7500 offers. (I hope we don't have to wait much longer.) I'm speculating there will be a choice of a short guide supported by on-screen ads or a longer, subscription-based guide a la the CM-7400; but that's just guesswork at this point.


In the meantime, check out videobruce's comparison chart of the options that are available (some only on eBay; others new) at:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1460149/2014-list-of-consumer-available-dvrs

There's not a lot to choose from, but there are a few interesting boxes on the market.
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post #42 of 106 Old 12-12-2013, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

We'll have to wait and see what the new CM-7500 offers. (I hope we don't have to wait much longer.) I'm speculating there will be a choice of a short guide supported by on-screen ads or a longer, subscription-based guide a la the CM-7400.
The CM-7500 is PSIP if not connected to the Internet and Rovi-supplied 14 day guide if connected to the Internet.

Current unknowns:
  1. Cost of the Rovi Internet guide.
  2. If using PSIP, will the unit auto scan channels with an idle tuner to keep the guide updated -- the CM-7000 did; the CM-7400 did not which made it pretty useless for scheduling.

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post #43 of 106 Old 12-13-2013, 05:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rcrach View Post

I may be projecting but I think the OP was referring to the traditional high end Japanese CE guys. The Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Mitsubishi cadre. They're on 4th (maybe 5th) generation high end, aesthetically pleasing OTA units including built in Blu-Ray player/recorders, monster HDD and professional UI's on sale in the Asian and some Europeon markets. The last unit like that besides Tivo sold in the US was the Sony HDD250/500 models and that lasted about 6 months. I think the reason for that is the Tivo patent portfolio (and possible leftover Replay TV patents) and high licensing fees. Echostar can include a lot of those features because of the cross licensing agreement they have with Tivo. I don't think it's a lack of market. With good shelf placement and some creative advertising they could probably be profitable if they get around those patents.

 

So, selfish business interests have hijacked an entire industry on our affluent continent of some 300 million consumers! This is not OK. Why should we do without useful products enjoyed by viewers in other parts of the world?

Is there nothing that can be done about it by opposing forces like consumer groups and government regulators?

What are the chances of turning this around and how long will it take?

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post #44 of 106 Old 12-13-2013, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by laridae View Post

So, selfish business interests have hijacked an entire industry on our affluent continent of some 300 million consumers! This is not OK. Why should we do without useful products enjoyed by viewers in other parts of the world?
Is there nothing that can be done about it by opposing forces like consumer groups and government regulators?
What are the chances of turning this around and how long will it take?

you act like its your god given right for these companies to provide a product that you seem to think you are owed. Just because the government grants you access to free tv over the public airwaves, it does not mean that the government has to force manufacturers, foreign companies especially, to provide you with exactly you think you need. In case you are not aware, this is a free market society (unless canada is now a communist state), private and public companies can do whatever they want to maximize their profit. If maximizing their profit means they make you pissed because you cant find a DVR for $99 that does the same thing as a $1000 tivo, then that's their prerogative.

If you are so incensed about this, why dont you step away from your keyboard, get a business loan, start a company and create the ultimate, super DVRtron 4000! and sell to us for $99 with no subscription fee. Thats the beauty of capitalism, anyone can fill a market void. Just dont fail.
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post #45 of 106 Old 12-23-2013, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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@Aero 1

 

I see you've started a thread actively promoting the proposed new Channel Master PVR+.

Are your comments here the official response of Channel Master? And if so, don't you then have a conflict of interest posting to this supposedly impartial forum?

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post #46 of 106 Old 12-23-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, thanks everyone for contributing to the discussion and for describing how the market evolved into the mess we have now.

 

A monopoly is a wonderful thing if you are a business. Unfortunately it's not so good for the consumers.

 

The situation is complicated and there doesn't appear to be an easy way out. And since we can't all move to the UK, it appears we're stuck for the forseeable future.

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post #47 of 106 Old 12-23-2013, 01:13 PM
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private and public companies can do whatever they want to maximize their profit.
No matter who it hurts or who suffers because of it?

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #48 of 106 Old 12-23-2013, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

No matter who it hurts or who suffers because of it?

within the boundaries of the law, yes. you should know the answer to that. morality in business is a rare commodity and there is nothing illegal about it. no one here is being hurt by the lack of OTA DVR's on the market. There are plenty of options, from cheap, to mid to high. Just because you dont like whats out there, doesnt mean you are being hurt or suffering. In reality, you have a wide range of options from paid, to cheap, to "free" to duopolies competing for your viewing habits. Like i mentioned before, the beauty of this system is that either you choose whats out there, you dont choose whats out there, or you go and create what you think is not out there.

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post #49 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 05:23 AM
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no one here is being hurt by the lack of OTA DVR's on the market. There are plenty of options
Physically or emotionally "hurt" no. Having to deal with imposed limitations of functions due to the fear of getting sued, yes.
Quantity; yes, Quality; no.

.
Quote:
the beauty of this system is that either you choose whats out there, you dont choose whats out there, or you go and create what you think is not out there.
1. If you have access to loads of money
2. If you have numerous connections.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
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post #50 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Due to a permissive patent system TiVo has managed to obtain a virtual monopoly on OTA PVR technology in N. America (more power to them!) This is great news for the company and its shareholders but not so good for the viewing public. This has resulted in a situation whereby there are no name-brand OTA PVR's available here at any cost. The big electronic firms have been completely shut out of this lucrative market.

 

But in the UK, for example, there are almost 50 OTA PVR's available, including all the big names in electronics; Samsung, Panasonic, Sony .... There, as here, the OTA broadcast signal is free. These devices operate with no restrictions and no monthly fees under Freeview which is owned by 5 major broadcasters including the BBC.

 

Are N. Americans being ripped off? Should we be able to record this free signal without paying fees to a company who have cleverly managed to impose themselves in the way? Is our quality of life being reduced by this legal quirk that has somehow evolved on this continent?

 

What recourse does a consumer have to fight back? What organizations will take on the consumers' cause; grassroots consumer groups, federal business regulators? How powerful are these forces up against the status quo?

 

Does the end justify the means? Should 300 million consumers quietly sit back and do without in deference to a firm belief in private enterprise, and the rule of law and the patent system?

 

I just cut the cord last month, and I was very surprised and puzzled to learn about this situation. More and more consumers are cancelling their cable to receive free HD TV with antennas. Will this growing market result in a groundswell for change?

 

Is there any consensus that the current situation is not OK and needs to change?

 

(Yes, I know it's Christmas and we should be thinking of other things. This is definitely a first world problem, I admit, but I find it interesting so I throw it out there for discussion)

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post #51 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by videobruce View Post


Physically or emotionally "hurt" no. Having to deal with imposed limitations of functions due to the fear of getting sued, yes.
Quantity; yes, Quality; no.

.
1. If you have access to loads of money
2. If you have numerous connections.

 

That's life. :) Either live it or resent it... let's stay on topic.

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post #52 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 07:16 AM
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It is on topic. It addressed the pathetic DVR market in the US and it addresses the previous post. And it doesn't have to be "that's life".

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
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post #53 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Physically or emotionally "hurt" no. Having to deal with imposed limitations of functions due to the fear of getting sued, yes.
Quantity; yes, Quality; no.

.
1. If you have access to loads of money
2. If you have numerous connections.

1. business loans. business do start from the ground up with little or no money, dont be scared. if you fail, then you fail.
2. step away from your keyboard and make some connections.

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And it doesn't have to be "that's life".

Unfortunately it does. It's called patent law. "thats life" until after 20 years when the patents expires. if you dont like it, then lobby your representatives to get rid of patent law so that "evil" Tivo doesnt make you sad because you have a disdain for them. You act like Tivo is the only company that should not protect their intellectual property and are maliciously stopping you from buying a $99 chinese dvr with their intellectual property that affords them to sell $700+ DVR's. I have no idea as to when, but wait 10 years for their patents to expire (if they let it) and keep using your VHS tapes till then.

you have this fake moral compass that prevents you from actually buying a tivo and enjoying the things about it that you wont ever see on competing products. You should be more genuine and realize that you hatred is that you don't want to spend the money on a good DVR and expect to have it all in a cheap, korean version.

Nothing is stopping a Brand name (still dont understand why the OP is hung up on them, its not 1980 Sony anymore) from creating their own intellectual property that provides similar functions. What you see out there now are little companies churning out constant crap with minimal support to see what sticks to the wall. Other companies are doing new things in the DVR space like Simple TV and the other company from canada that i cant remember their name.

Maybe you should ask yourself where this market is going and face it that if you are old, you are not in their demo. Cord Cutters or whatever you want to call them are in their 30's and below. Their habits are changing and their screens are changing. people want to watch on their tablets or anywhere or what not. Content delivery is not the same like it was in the 70's, 80's and 90's and if you refuse to see that because you were 16 years old when cable tv became a thing, you've been left behind and the industry doesn't care about you. And "big name companies" see this. thats why they dont see it as worth it in entering the OTA DVR market and all its 10-20% (depending on who you ask) minuscule demographic.

My 2 and half year old daughter doesnt know what a commercial is nor does she understand the concept of waiting for 4 pm Monday - Thursday to watch Sophia the First on Disney Jr. all she knows that if she wants to see it, she goes to netflix and youtube to watch it. <-thats where the market is and going. You can complain all you want, but realize that you have are an afterthought and been left behind.

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post #54 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by laridae View Post

A monopoly is a wonderful thing if you are a business. Unfortunately it's not so good for the consumers.

There is no monopoly in the OTA DVR market so your entire premise is incorrect. But unfounded bashing is par for the course here.

We need thumbs down as much as up for inaccurate posts such as these.
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post #55 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 08:19 AM
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Most people, especially the younger generation, aren't cutting cable/sat to watch programming OTA. They are cutting because they are busy and able to get the content they are interested in off of the internet through the services like NF, Hulu, network sites, etc. They are also watching more of their content not on TVs but on smart devices. The choice is much greater at much less of a monthly cost.

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post #56 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laridae View Post

Due to a permissive patent system TiVo has managed to obtain a virtual monopoly on OTA PVR technology in N. America (more power to them!) This is great news for the company and its shareholders but not so good for the viewing public. This has resulted in a situation whereby there are no name-brand OTA PVR's available here at any cost. The big electronic firms have been completely shut out of this lucrative market.
They are not shut out, they choose not to participate. They just don't want to lose money in a market too small to chase after, because people such as yourself don't want to pay the freight for a good DVR. Tivo is not the only holder of DVR patents btw, Arris (via purchase of Digeo) and DirectTV (via purchase of ReplayTV) also own them.
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Originally Posted by laridae View Post

Are N. Americans being ripped off? Should we be able to record this free signal without paying fees to a company who have cleverly managed to impose themselves in the way? Is our quality of life being reduced by this legal quirk that has somehow evolved on this continent?

No, we're not being ripped off - you can get a cheap secondhand PC and an OTA tuner and roll your own DVR for less than $300 right now. Or pay simple.TV or Channel Master close to the same money if you want something easy. With no fees.

Easy PC setup for less than $300:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Optiplex-755-Windows-7-PC-Desktop-250-GB-DVD-RW-Core-2-Duo-2-66GHz-4-GB-/231083181881?pt=Desktop_PCs&hash=item35cda18739
http://www.amazon.com/FE01-BL-Wireless-Keyboard-Mouse-Touchpad-Black/dp/B003UE52ME
http://www.amazon.com/SiliconDust-HDHomeRun-Definition-Digital-HDHR3-US/dp/B004HO58SO
http://www.amazon.com/SANOXY%C2%AE-Windows-Infrared-Receiver-Ultimate/dp/B00224ZDFY

CM DVR+ for $250 ($325 or so with your own hard drive):
http://www.channelmasterstore.com/DVR_Subscription_Free_DVR_p/cm-7500gb16.htm?Click=32509

Simple.TV for $210 (less than $300 with storage, but you're limited to OTA guide data without a sub here):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815345016

There are plenty of answers in this space - you're just hung up on getting a brand name for no reason or don't want to pay the $300 cost, can't figure out which.
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post #57 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

It addressed the pathetic DVR market in the US and it addresses the previous post.

 

Pathetic? You must be kidding. I have been DVRing since 2000 and have always been very happy using numerous satellite, cable and OTA devices.

 

The last two years WMC (I prefer its features over TiVo's) for OTA only. I paid roughly a whopping $120 (for four tuners) and connected my desktop to my TV as a secondary monitor. My dedicated room has a PC for movie playback (OpenELEC) and displays WMC for free. My wife has a $100 Xbox for viewing WMC.

 

Throw in my HDMI cable and I have roughly $250 invested for three displays. Frankly, I can't see how it could get any better. Of course one has to take advantage of what's available...

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post #58 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 09:22 AM
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post #59 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 10:39 AM
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People conveniently forget about Moxi. Moxi was a direct competitor to TiVo offering several advanced features it took TiVo years to match -- Moxi offered DVR's with more than 2 tuners and offered satellite boxes (Moxi-mates) for streaming content from the central DVR. Features that TiVo has only recently begun to offer. For years, TiVo users with cable could not view a protected cable recording on another TiVo in the household because they couldn't stream between boxes, only transfer. Moxi + Moxi-mates could. Moxi equipment was as expensive as TiVo + lifetime because Moxi did not offer a separate subscription model and Moxi was aimed solely at TiVo's bread-n-butter cable market.

So consumers had these wonderful choices and yet Moxi went out of the DVR business -- not because TiVo sued them out but because the DVR market is not large enough to support multiple players and allow them to make a profit in excess of the cost of capital.

These threads always devolve into a TiVo bashing fest with people making the most outrageous and clueless claims to "support" their bashing. It all comes down to what has been pointed out already -- people want a TiVo; they want all the features TiVo offers; they want the continuous software support TiVo provides. They just don't want to pay the going rate for it so they bash it. OTA users can be especially amusing -- OTA is free so why should we pay anything to watch it on our terms. You had to buy a TV, didn't you?

As Charles has pointed out, there are a huge number of choices for recording OTA that range from the low-end Digital VCR equivalents through the high-end. There may not be a box with exactly what you want for the price you want to pay -- but that is pretty much the case with just about every product on the market. You adapt to what is available and make the best of it, or you do without -- and complain endlessly on Internet forums.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.
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post #60 of 106 Old 12-24-2013, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teachsac View Post

Most people, especially the younger generation, aren't cutting cable/sat to watch programming OTA. They are cutting because they are busy and able to get the content they are interested in off of the internet through the services like NF, Hulu, network sites, etc. They are also watching more of their content not on TVs but on smart devices. The choice is much greater at much less of a monthly cost.

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All true.

But the fact remains that the UK, with a population of only 63M, is well served by name-brand PVR's and we're not. I assume the Brits are just as technologically advanced as we are and have the same alternative sources. This indicates to me that there is something amiss with our business-regulatory-patent law infrastructure and we're getting shortchanged over here as a result.

 

Incidentally, I would also suggest that using public airwaves is a better way of distributing media in dense population areas than cable. It certainly is working well for the cell phone companies! Add to that the benefit of the OTA spectrum being free and public and not proprietary like the cable and fibre networks. As demand for media increases we're going to need more and more bandwidth. It makes sense to maximize the use of OTA whenever we can.


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