Originally Posted by PrestonD
For example, if I do get a USB HD Tuner card what format do they store their files in? I thought it was just MPEG2 or MPEG4 but the more I did some research the more I got confused on this. Seems like if these devices can store any file format then it would be a simple matter of just using the USB HDTV dongle with the laptop and storing the files on these storgae devices and then just use their HDTV output to play back.
OTA HDTV is MPEG-2. All of the cards either save as transport streams (.ts suffix typically) or have the ability to export as a program stream. A program like Video ReDo is well-worth the $50 to edit out commercials, trim the beginning and ends, and convert transport streams to program streams and vice-versa.
With your new knowledge of what's available, you should reassess your needs. The solutions being pitched all have different feature sets and some are more suited than others for what you need. For instance, if CableCard matters to you, then the USB tuner approach is probably a no-go.
Will this work? I notice that they are selling HDTV specific devices but do offer cheaper models that store MPEG2 and MPEG4 and am curious whether these will work.
What you described will work, but it's probably a more expensive solution than others that have been mentioned, and it's OTA-only. If your goal is to permanantly archive a huge amount of OTA programming, it's a good choice. Put a 1TB drive in and you can archive about 180 episodes of a 1 hr show (with commercials removed).
Once nice thing about the Tvix and similar units w/hard drives is that you can take your HD recordings to another person's house in a package not much bigger than a thick paperback book.
ALso was confused with the Mitsu references, at first I thought you were referring to some mitsubishi projector but are you referring to TVIX Mini C-2000U?
Other solutions mentioned in this thread include:
1) Standalone HD tuner (Samsung SIR-T165) with Firewire, along with D-VHS VCR (Mits HD-2000U), also with Firewire
2) Standalone HD PVR (Mits HD-6000)