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post #1 of 25 Old 03-07-2014, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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what is the best recorder to purchase?

 

I want

 

1) to record digital tv from my antenna

2) has a hard drive

3) no subscription fees

4) hopefully has a dual tuner (can watch or record 2 or more channels at a time)

 

does this exist?

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post #2 of 25 Old 03-07-2014, 01:25 PM
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Your best bet would be upgrading to four tuners. Especially if you have a limited number of channels and are OTA only. OTA content is less repeated than subscription so when you miss a recording you take a bigger hit. Basically you double the number of channels when you have four tuners. If you want instant plug and play try TiVo (they have a no subscription option) and if you want to not instantly reject perhaps a better solution (strictly based on x needs) take a look at WMC.

 

Most everything else isn't ready for prime time and you'll pay for it more than you'd ever save... especially long term.

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post #3 of 25 Old 03-07-2014, 02:14 PM
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If your willing to put up with a bit of growing pains then the CM DVR+(~$250 less USB HDD) may be your ticket, check the DVR+ master thread for more info.

It's dual tuner and only has HDMI output.

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post #4 of 25 Old 03-07-2014, 03:30 PM
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The best option for a hassle free OTA DVR is a TiVo. A new 4 tuner Roamio is $200 or less and then just consider the lifetime subscription of $400 as part of the overall purchase, so $600 or less for the best DVR on the market. If that's to rich then maybe a used 2 tuner Tivo with lifetime off Ebay for around $300 which will be less than the new CM DVR+ and the necessary hard drive add on which will run about $400 or more if you don't have a hard drive handy.
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post #5 of 25 Old 03-07-2014, 04:20 PM
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The OP was pretty clear he doesn't want to pay any subscription fees.

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Cable-free since Nov 2013
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post #6 of 25 Old 03-07-2014, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laridae View Post
 

The OP was pretty clear he doesn't want to pay any subscription fees.

 

What's why no one recommended any.

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post #7 of 25 Old 03-07-2014, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laridae View Post

The OP was pretty clear he doesn't want to pay any subscription fees.

It all depends on how you look at it, to me the TiVo is a $600 DVR with no subscription and well worth it compared to the $400 DVR+ or HTPC solutions.

TiVo does give you the option of only putting $200 down on a $600 DVR and then making monthly payments (subscription fee) if that's easier on the wallet.
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post #8 of 25 Old 03-07-2014, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric102 View Post

It all depends on how you look at it, to me the TiVo is a $600 DVR with no subscription and well worth it compared to the $400 DVR+ or HTPC solutions.

TiVo does give you the option of only putting $200 down on a $600 DVR and then making monthly payments (subscription fee) if that's easier on the wallet.
Don't waste your time trying to explain -- it has been attempted many times. They always go back to "The Subscription" nonsense -- it's the stock in trade straw horse to make the TiVo sound bad.

And in fairness, you can pick up a 1TB external HDD for $60-70, so the DVR+ cost is more in the $325 range not $400.

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post #9 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 08:33 AM
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Yep, there's a few folks here that refuse to consider Tivo under any circumstances no matter how hard you try to point out that they just work and the math (especially with resale value) for a lifetimed Tivo is very favorable. They just spew the usual 'subscription fee' or 'patent defense' nonsense and ignore everything else.
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post #10 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 10:29 AM
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How we'll does TiVo work with OTA if it is disconnected from the internet for awhile?
Does it just need to connect occasionally to update the guide?

That is one thing that made me hesitant on TiVo, since I might be living in an RV for awhile when it sometimes isn't connected.
I like the ChannelMaster DVR+ feature-wise, but my less than two weeks with it haven't been great, and in fact it has stopped working completely now.
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post #11 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 10:57 AM
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Good question, there is about 2 weeks worth of guide data loaded every day when it connects to the TiVo mother ship and you can program it manually but I have no idea how long it will function without those daily connections. Is there WiFi available at some of your RV spots?
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post #12 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric102 View Post

Good question, there is about 2 weeks worth of guide data loaded every day when it connects to the TiVo mother ship and you can program it manually but I have no idea how long it will function without those daily connections. Is there WiFi available at some of your RV spots?

The real issue is that the Guide (Channel Lineup) will most likely be different at each place you stop . . .

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post #13 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric102 View Post

Good question, there is about 2 weeks worth of guide data loaded every day when it connects to the TiVo mother ship and you can program it manually but I have no idea how long it will function without those daily connections. Is there WiFi available at some of your RV spots?

I'm sure some will have WiFi. So, if a lack of connection just means I don't get guide data for awhile, it might not be so bad. Too bad it can't use PSIP as a backup.
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post #14 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WS65711 View Post

The real issue is that the Guide (Channel Lineup) will most likely be different at each place you stop . . .

Good point, but If you had an internet connection and a zip code you could do a new guided set-up each time you arrived at a location.
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post #15 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 01:24 PM
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I'm not a phone expert but don't a lot of todays smart phones have the capability of becoming wifi hot spots? So in theory if you had cell coverage, the right phone and data plan couldn't that become your internet connection for the few minutes it needed to update?
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post #16 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 01:40 PM
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There's also an all-in-one plan+data option, like this Straight Talk hockey-puck Hotspot... $15 for 1GB within 30 days, plus other larger longer-term "plans+data."

 

Buy service cards only when you need them.

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post #17 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric102 View Post

The best option for a hassle free OTA DVR is a TiVo. A new 4 tuner Roamio is $200 or less and then just consider the lifetime subscription of $400 as part of the overall purchase, so $600 or less for the best DVR on the market. If that's to rich then maybe a used 2 tuner Tivo with lifetime off Ebay for around $300 which will be less than the new CM DVR+ and the necessary hard drive add on which will run about $400 or more if you don't have a hard drive handy.
I've been considering getting a Tivo and just picked up a Premiere (2 tuner) on a clearance table at Walmart for $98 and debating whether it's worth keeping it or getting a Roamio basic. I've looked on the Tivo website and only see $499 for the lifetime subscription unless you're already a customer. Where are you getting the $400 lifetime from? I did find an older discount code that some people have used in the past that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't for new subscribers. Is that what you're referring to?

I've been reading that some say the OTA tuner in the Premiere was not so good but the Roamio is supposedly better. I have cable but may want to use the Tivo OTA features down the road. I've also been considering just using this for occasionally taping OTA shows without a subscription. I've read that you can supposedly use it like a vcr for timer recording without any guide info. I've also read that you can't use it at all to record anything without a subscription, not sure which is accurate. I know it doesn't make much sense to buy a Tivo and not use all it's features but it would probably just be used to record OTA shows to be watched in bed rather than using my cable DVR in my basement. I've been considering getting the Homeworx PVR + portable hard drive for around the same price but it seems like the Tivo would be the better option. Does anyone know for sure if the Premiere can be used without a subscription and also the Roamio?
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post #18 of 25 Old 03-09-2014, 11:12 PM
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Yes, for new subscribers that code is suppose to still work if you purchase the TiVo from anywhere but TiVo its self.

I've got both the 2 tuner Premier and the 4 tuner Roamio basic and have found that both tuners work equally well at my location which is 35 and 45 miles from the broadcast towers. Others have reported the Roamio is better so it probably depends on your situation (antenna, pre-amps, distance and direction to towers, multi path issues, etc).

I've never tried recording without a subscription so can't give you a positive answer on that one but I'd always heard that you can't. It supposedly can be used as a digital tuner without the subscription but I'm not sure what use that would be unless you had an older TV without a digital tuner.

If it were me I'd return the Premier and get the Roamio, its definitely the better DVR but the Premier does have one small advantage, cable and OTA at the same time, the Roamio can only do one or the other.
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post #19 of 25 Old 03-10-2014, 05:09 AM
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Agreed - the 4-tuner Roamio is easily worth the extra $100 (or less, I've seen them go as cheap as $150) over that clearance Premiere, especially if you're going to put lifetime on it. The sub discount code is PLSR.
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post #20 of 25 Old 03-10-2014, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric102 View Post

...... the Premier does have one small advantage, cable and OTA at the same time, the Roamio can only do one or the other.

Correction: "the Premier does have one major advantage, cable and OTA at the same time, the Roamio can only do one or the other." smile.gif

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post #21 of 25 Old 03-10-2014, 06:55 AM
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Thanks guys. I did some more reading last night and most everyone does seem to say go the Roamio route. There are those exceptions where being able to tape cable and OTA at the same is better for some people if you want to tape a subchannel that Comcast or Verizon doesn't give you. Otherwise, you can just tape the OTAs thru cable which I do now with my Comcast DVR. Not sure if there's a difference in pq, I have an antenna hooked up to get my OTAs as a backup in case my cable goes down. Sometimes I'll flip back and forth between the OTA networks coming thru the cable box and the tv tuner OTAs and don't notice a difference. It looks like I can get on demand thru Comcast in my area but I don't think you can with Fios and I'm getting ready to switch back to them so I'm not sure if I want to take the plunge to Tivo. But having the option to get a mini to use with the Roamio seems like it would be worth it down the road.

If I understand correctly if I use a Tivo to record shows from Comcast and then switch to Fios I will still be able to watch those shows after I switch as long as it's on the internal hard drive and not an external.
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post #22 of 25 Old 03-10-2014, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Golfdad123 View Post

Thanks guys. I did some more reading last night and most everyone does seem to say go the Roamio route. There are those exceptions where being able to tape cable and OTA at the same is better for some people if you want to tape a subchannel that Comcast or Verizon doesn't give you. Otherwise, you can just tape the OTAs thru cable which I do now with my Comcast DVR. Not sure if there's a difference in pq, I have an antenna hooked up to get my OTAs as a backup in case my cable goes down. Sometimes I'll flip back and forth between the OTA networks coming thru the cable box and the tv tuner OTAs and don't notice a difference. It looks like I can get on demand thru Comcast in my area but I don't think you can with Fios and I'm getting ready to switch back to them so I'm not sure if I want to take the plunge to Tivo. But having the option to get a mini to use with the Roamio seems like it would be worth it down the road.

If I understand correctly if I use a Tivo to record shows from Comcast and then switch to Fios I will still be able to watch those shows after I switch as long as it's on the internal hard drive and not an external.

In most cases there is a difference. The difference becomes much more apparent with motion, the faster the motion the greater the difference. If you simultaneously record the same program from both Cable and OTA, you will find that the resulting file size from OTA will generally be anywhere from 30% larger to twice as large as the Cable file. More compression + lost detail = smaller file size.

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post #23 of 25 Old 03-10-2014, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by mbuchana View Post

How we'll does TiVo work with OTA if it is disconnected from the internet for awhile?
Does it just need to connect occasionally to update the guide?
I can answer that directly. After the last hurricane and Verizon strike we were without Internet and telephone for almost 4 weeks. I am OTA, only.

The TiVo connects daily to service the 13 day guide. That connection adds the next day of data and applies any updates/changes to the broadcast schedule and channel lineup. If you pull the plug on the Internet connection the TiVo simply chugs along with what it has for as long as it lasts. Each day the number of days with data in the guide decreases and is replaced by pages of "no program data" in a grid of 1 hr blocks. When all the guide data is gone the TiVo still functions. The channel lineup stays the same and you can tune and watch TV as before with trickplay functions. You can record by time either manually or by selecting time blocks in the guide -- but of course without guide data the recordings have no title and you have to go by date and time of the recording to identify what you have in the list. Obviously, name-based Season Passes won't work without guide info. Recordings already made and stored on the HDD are unaffected and can be selected and played back normally.

So unless you are disconnected for 2 weeks and exhaust your guide info, the TiVo will work as usual for scheduled recordings. If Internet connection is an issue for you you can connect once a week to update and still be functional. As has been noted, if you are mobile you will have to go through a setup at each location to enter the new Zip code to get the local channel lineup and guide.

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post #24 of 25 Old 03-10-2014, 07:57 AM
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Thanks Kelson! That's exactly the info I was looking for.

Mark
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post #25 of 25 Old 03-10-2014, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WS65711 View Post

In most cases there is a difference. The difference becomes much more apparent with motion, the faster the motion the greater the difference. If you simultaneously record the same program from both Cable and OTA, you will find that the resulting file size from OTA will generally be anywhere from 30% larger to twice as large as the Cable file. More compression + lost detail = smaller file size.
Unfortunately I can't record both at the same time to test. If I switch back and forth it takes a little time for the tv to switch inputs so it's hard to be able to tell. I think the pq for Comcast HD has improved alot at least where I am and when I switched from FIOS I really didn't notice a dropoff. I'm sure OTA is still better but when I dvr football games I don't have issues with motion, but I'm hooked up to a plasma so that may be helping too. I agree with you that it's lame they took that feature away with the newest versions and the OTA option altogether from the higher end models. I do like the idea of 4 tuners on the Roamio vs the Premiere with 2 because there are some occasions I'm taping 2 shows on a Monday night and want to switch to a 3rd cable channel but can't with my current Comcast dvr.
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