Originally Posted by jasta
Can any recorders(DVD or non-DVD) with hard drives be connected to an external hard drive?
In the literal sense, yes. Both the TiVo DVR and Magnavox DVDR, as mentioned, can be configured to use an external drive. However, they are both "lock-down" systems. The TiVo ESATA external expansion is encrypted and non-interchangeable; you can only use a single external drive and the recorded content will only play on the TiVo that created it. If you detach it from the TiVo you will lose all the content recorded on it. The Magnavox arrangement simply uses a long cable to bring the internal HDD out to an external "docking station". While you can use multiple drives, the content is recorded in a format that is playable only on the Magnavox. So neither offers the ability to directly
store content off-line to a portable HDD in a general format that could be utilized by other media players or considered archival storage.
The TiVo does, however, offer the ability to transfer content over your home network to networked storage (NAS or PC disk farm). The format is standard MPEG-2 which can be played by just about any media player and the original resolution is maintained (i.e. HD/5.1). One can also transfer content from the Magnavox, or any DVDR, to external storage by first burning the SD titles to DVD-RW in DVD-Video format then easily importing the titles to PC as standard .MPG or .VOB files. All of this does require the intermediacy of a PC, and so it is indirect