RE: "Would be curious about the PQ if anyone out there is using an analog TV and the composite or coaxial outputs of the DVR..."
I received my unit on Dec. 24th and immediately tested it with an analog TV and OTA reception (antenna in garage rafters). I used the red, yellow, white coaxial cables to connect the DVR to the TV.
The DVR pulled in signals even better than a converter box that I had tried. Only digital stations were received. I was able to record one station and watch another live station at the same time. Or I could record one station and watch a taped program. I ended up ordering a DVR for my mother (who is currently using a converter box with an OTA antenna). She had given up on taping anything after February 17th. This DVR has a very user-friendly software that will be easy for her (and me) to learn to use. The TV Guide came in nicely.
After testing the unit on my analog TV, I moved it to my new HDTV (Samsung A550 LCD) where I have it hooked up with an HDMI cable between my TV and the DVR. I also have a VCR/DVD player hooked up without access to the antenna. I receive my signal OTA with the antenna in the garage rafters.
I split the antenna signal between the wall and the TV and DVR so that each device has a separate signal. It did NOT degrade the signal. It actually improved my ability to watch my TV while recording on the DVR (because I often lost the signal when viewing through the TV tuner when the DVR was recording.) If you do this, make sure to get the widest bandwidth possible in the splitter. I am using a 5 - 2300 MHz, but saw some as low as 10 - 1000 MHz.
I have had no problems with the hard drive whirring (I've never heard it anyway), but the unit does get warm, so make sure to allow airflow around it. The TV Guide initially brought in only a day, then eventually a full 8 days. I have gotten an error message onscreen when it is trying to update while I am using both tuners, but as far as I can tell so far, it has not caused any problems. If I am viewing a pre-recorded show at the time, I just cancel the message.
As set up, I am able to do any of the following:
- record up to two shows simultaneously while watching a third pre-recorded one through the DVR
- watch my TV using my TV tuner, while the DVR is off or recording
up to two programs simultaneously
- watch a VCR tape or DVD through my TV and VCR unit while the DVR is off or recording
I have not yet tried pausing a live show viewed through the DVR (which was not set up for recording). However, I have started watching a program which is currently recording. It is wonderful to be able to delay watching a program, but not have to wait for the whole thing to finish recording before you start watching.
I did have a couple problems when I was first learning how to use the DVR:
You can't record two programs simultaneously AND try to watch one of those programs LIVE through the DVR. You need to either watch through your TV, or wait until the program starts to record, then open it from My Recordings.
Sometimes, I had problems trying to set up two programs at the same time when there did not seem to be a conflict. I read on someone else's posting that the use of the tuners may not be very well programmed in the operating software. It does seem that if you set up the longer program first, then set up the series of shorter programs, that you don't get an error message.