Non-Subscription DVR, why is this so hard to find an answer?! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Unread 01-06-2015, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Non-Subscription DVR, why is this so hard to find an answer?!

Good afternoon all, I'm new to the forums. I purchased a home and ditched my DirecTV. I also do not know much about AV.

I don't have an insane setup but I cannot seem to get the answer I'm looking for.

I have a 55" Vizio Smart TV. I have an antenna streaming free broadcasting stations, and I ordered a Roku 3 Unit.

ALL I WANT is a DVR without a subscription. I have read a lot about the channel master because I'm not interested in paying for what the TiVo has to offer since I already have the Roku and do not want any of Tivo's services.

All I want is to be able to record shows such as Judge Judy, new episodes of family guy, the local news, stuff I cannot get on Netflix/Hulu/ and other apps. I basically want a hard drive. So it seems to me that Channel Master is my best option. I already have predrilled holes to hide wires for the HDMI cable to the TV from the DVR so I do not need wireless.

So is this my best bet? I appreciate any input, thanks.


- Mike
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post #2 of 15 Unread 01-06-2015, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemar319 View Post
Good afternoon all, I'm new to the forums. I purchased a home and ditched my DirecTV. I also do not know much about AV.

I don't have an insane setup but I cannot seem to get the answer I'm looking for.

I have a 55" Vizio Smart TV. I have an antenna streaming free broadcasting stations, and I ordered a Roku 3 Unit.

ALL I WANT is a DVR without a subscription. I have read a lot about the channel master because I'm not interested in paying for what the TiVo has to offer since I already have the Roku and do not want any of Tivo's services.

All I want is to be able to record shows such as Judge Judy, new episodes of family guy, the local news, stuff I cannot get on Netflix/Hulu/ and other apps. I basically want a hard drive. So it seems to me that Channel Master is my best option. I already have predrilled holes to hide wires for the HDMI cable to the TV from the DVR so I do not need wireless.

So is this my best bet? I appreciate any input, thanks.


- Mike
For what you're asking for, it's the only bet. This assuming you're in the U.S.

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post #3 of 15 Unread 01-06-2015, 10:43 AM
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It's not hard to find the answer. It's just hard to accept the cost the various HDTV recording solutions, with the features you want, command -- this feeling is generally exacerbated by the fact that OTA content is free (So why do I need to spend all that on a DVR? A VCR only cost me $89.99).

Non-subscription DVR means one-time cost up front. Buy the unit and use it until it stops working, just like any other consumer electronics device you buy.
Here are your non-subscription HD DVR choices for OTA:

Low-end: iView and its clones -- $50 + HDD (size of your choice)
1-tuner digital VCR equivalent, minimal feature set, PSIP guide, mediocre reliability, bugs, the price fairly reflects what you are getting.

Mid-Range: CM DVR+ -- $250 + HDD (size of your choice)
2-tuner DVR, mid-range feature set, Rovi 2wk guide (PSIP backup), good reliability, some bugs

High-End: TiVo Basic -- $550 (includes 500GB HDD, expandable to 3TB)
4-tuner, advanced feature set, Tribune 2wk guide, near 100% reliability, gold standard for stand-alones

High-End, Skills Required: HTPC -- costs whatever you want to spend
You build it any way you want with the HW capabilities you want, choice of OTA DVR software -- WMC w/free guide; various open-source DVR programs with Schedules Direct 1wk guide ($25/yr), requires skills and lots of tinkering to get it set up but if you leave it alone once set up it can be pretty stable.
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post #4 of 15 Unread 01-06-2015, 12:06 PM
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Tablo might be a consideration as well if you factor in lifetime service as part of the cost. The total price would vary depending on the model you choose 2 or 4 tuners, and whether you want an integrated hard drive or not. Hard drives prices can be found at decent prices these days. As for Tivo, they do offer an OTA only box that is $50 right now at bestbuy, however I'm not sure if they allow for lifetime services vs the $14.99 monthly. Tivo is an excellent product and you can pick one up on ebay for less that works with OTA and has lifetime service. The one you'd want is model TCD746500. Tivo has been pretty good at supporting that last generation of boxes. Their recent update includes access to Amazon Prime and their service includes access to your Vudu, Netflix, Youtube, and HuluPlus accounts.

Also, don't overlook Craigslist as a source for that Tivo.


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post #5 of 15 Unread 01-07-2015, 12:18 PM
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The Tivo Roamio OTA doesn't allow for lifetime sub just monthly so it doesn't fit OP's demands. However, a used Tivo Premiere or Roamio from craigslist/fleabay with lifetime service would indeed be a good solution, and one that a lot of our cheaper friends here should consider.
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post #6 of 15 Unread 01-08-2015, 11:26 AM
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As mentioned earlier, the Tablo may be great for you. You don't have to have a subscription to make it work (though almost everyone does, and a lifetime sub is $150), and you can use your Roku to display live tv and recordings. The upcoming Roku interface looks terrific (looks like the web/tablet interface).

I love just turning on my TV and keeping the input on my Roku.
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post #7 of 15 Unread 01-08-2015, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemar319 View Post
Good afternoon all, I'm new to the forums. I purchased a home and ditched my DirecTV. I also do not know much about AV.

I don't have an insane setup but I cannot seem to get the answer I'm looking for.

I have a 55" Vizio Smart TV. I have an antenna streaming free broadcasting stations, and I ordered a Roku 3 Unit.

ALL I WANT is a DVR without a subscription. I have read a lot about the channel master because I'm not interested in paying for what the TiVo has to offer since I already have the Roku and do not want any of Tivo's services.

All I want is to be able to record shows such as Judge Judy, new episodes of family guy, the local news, stuff I cannot get on Netflix/Hulu/ and other apps. I basically want a hard drive. So it seems to me that Channel Master is my best option. I already have predrilled holes to hide wires for the HDMI cable to the TV from the DVR so I do not need wireless.

So is this my best bet? I appreciate any input, thanks.


- Mike
Several replies give the overall lay of the land.

The DVR+ attaches to a single TV via HDMI. If you use an external hard drive, you can attach this drive to your PC (with appropriate EXT3 drivers) and copy the video files. They are not encrypted and are in standard MPEG streaming (.ts) format. The DVR+ guide is free.

Tablo has a fee for the full guide (~$5/mo IIRC), and does not attach to anything except your antenna and your network. It plays back only by streaming over your home network. It uses an external hard drive, but I don't know if the video files can be used on your PC.

Last edited by RTPVid; 01-08-2015 at 02:29 PM.
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post #8 of 15 Unread 01-09-2015, 09:38 AM
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As mentioned earlier you might also be able to find an older model 2-tuner Tivo Premiere with lifetime service for $200-$300 on ebay or Craigslist.

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post #9 of 15 Unread 01-09-2015, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTPVid View Post
Tablo has a fee for the full guide (~$5/mo IIRC), and does not attach to anything except your antenna and your network.
Tablo offers Lifetime for $150. Which is for your lifetime not the device's... unlike TiVo.
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post #10 of 15 Unread 01-09-2015, 11:34 AM
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A 2-tuner Tablo w/lifetime costs WAY more than a used 2-tuner Premiere w/lifetime (recent ones going for $250-300 on fleabay), and you get much better software on the Tivo to boot.
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post #11 of 15 Unread 01-09-2015, 11:49 AM
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I'm in the same situation and have been looking at something like this, Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorx ATSC Digital TV Converter Box with Media Player and Recording PVR Function/HDMI Out (Black). I've never used something like this before so I can't say how it would work for your appication.

http://http://www.amazon.ca/gp/produ...A1EEPKWP5JUL8E
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post #12 of 15 Unread 01-09-2015, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamikaze13 View Post
I'm in the same situation and have been looking at something like this, Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorx ATSC Digital TV Converter Box with Media Player and Recording PVR Function/HDMI Out (Black). I've never used something like this before so I can't say how it would work for your appication.

http://http://www.amazon.ca/gp/produ...A1EEPKWP5JUL8E
That was mentioned in post #3 by Kelson under Low End, iView and clones. The Homeworx is very very similar to the iView, undoubtedly comes off the same assembly line in China. I have one and if your willing to put up with missed events or quirky operation, you sure can't beat the price.

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post #13 of 15 Unread 01-09-2015, 02:55 PM
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The UI on the low end options is downright awful. Worth spending a bit extra for the CM DVR+ in my humble opinion.
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post #14 of 15 Unread 01-09-2015, 09:17 PM
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Good to know thanks for the info.

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post #15 of 15 Unread 01-11-2015, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemar319 View Post
Good afternoon all, I'm new to the forums. I purchased a home and ditched my DirecTV. I also do not know much about AV.

I don't have an insane setup but I cannot seem to get the answer I'm looking for.

I have a 55" Vizio Smart TV. I have an antenna streaming free broadcasting stations, and I ordered a Roku 3 Unit.

ALL I WANT is a DVR without a subscription. I have read a lot about the channel master because I'm not interested in paying for what the TiVo has to offer since I already have the Roku and do not want any of Tivo's services.

All I want is to be able to record shows such as Judge Judy, new episodes of family guy, the local news, stuff I cannot get on Netflix/Hulu/ and other apps. I basically want a hard drive. So it seems to me that Channel Master is my best option. I already have predrilled holes to hide wires for the HDMI cable to the TV from the DVR so I do not need wireless.

So is this my best bet? I appreciate any input, thanks.


- Mike
mikemar,

i know finding a standalone DVR is a pain. Especially cheap. But here is my two suggestions.

TIVO Roamio: $149+$500 Lifetime+Tax=$675. 4 Tuners. 500GB HDD(75 HRS HD Recording). EXPANDABLE HDD up to 2TB more. OTA HD recording, PLUS CABLCARD-M SLOT for Cable recording. I know you do not have cable, and are probably not going back, but I would be a fool not to mention this one. TIVO is the GOLD STANDARD. Yes, very pricey up front, but worth it over the long term.

DO NOT BOTHER WITH STANDALONE TIVO OTA HD ONLY recorder for $49. Does not have LIFETIME OPTION($499). Only $15/month FOREVER. Until TIVO changes this, cannot recommend.

Now this one, i think is the one you will end up getting. The Magnavox HDD DVR/DVD Recorder. It does NOT RECORD IN HD(480p DIGITAL MAX RESOLUTION). Let's be up front about that. BUT, it has a built in OTA Digital Tuner, and a built in CLEAR QAM(Cable) tuner, and a NTSC(analog channels) tuner.

It comes in models with 160GB(Really old model), 320 GB/500 GB models(latest models that are at least 5-7 years old).

Here is a list of them on EBay(really only place to find them at a reasonable/decent price):

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...order&_sacat=0

These units will do EVERYTHING YOU WANT, at about as CHEAP as you are going to get. And they function just like a VCR. So if you know how to program one when to record, you should be fine.

But this is BARE BONES DVR HDD. No fancy layouts, or tv show info(like TIVO). No Season Pass/etc... So if your show changes time slots/channels/whatever... It is up to you to change the schedule recording.

But that would be it on recommendations.
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