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How feasible is a Slingbox HD for an ATSC DVR?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
So here's the deal: I am ready to drop the nearly $100 per month on cable and get my content mostly online, however I'd still like the ability to watch broadcast HD content with DVR like functionality. Luckily the last owners left a 7' antenna in the attic and I've already hooked it up and have great OTA signal.

I've researched the TVix and DTVPal (ChannelMaster) units and they both have some drawbacks. The DTVpal has a small HD and is closed off from everything else I'm doing (Cat-6 network, NAS to stream, etc). The TVix looks good on paper, but seems like it might be kind of immature right now. For example, you can't start watching a program you are recording, which seems like a DVR must-have feature.

The Slingbox HD has an ATSC tuner and component outputs, so I see the potential to use it directly at the TV, without even really focusing on it's ability to stream over the network.

How feasible is this? is there any ability to watch TV through it? Can you do things like change channels on the ATSC tuner, watch recordings on it, etc?

I have read that the Slingbox converts everything to analog and then re-digitizes it to record, so clearly there is some quality loss in HD recordings, but is the generation loss of quality negligible or significant?

I'm also open to any other ATSC DVR ideas, except doing a media PC. I don't want to go that direction.

Oh yea, of course a Tivo would be awesome, but that's out too because I'm not paying $700 up front or $13 a month forever for Tivo to figure out what shows are on the 10 or so OTA stations I get.
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
Further research has turned on the light bulb on the Slingbox and I now realize it has NO ability to record content on its own. it can only IR blast a compatible DVR to record content, or buffer an hour's worth of playback client-side when playing on a PC.

So, not at all feasible as a DVR.
post #3 of 6
So, basically you are looking for a DVR with a ATSC tuner and EPG, right?
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Yes, but I don't need much in the way of EPG. I don't mind setting the recording just like the VCR days.

Seems that my choices are the Channelmaster, the Tvix 6620 or the Tivo.

There is also an AZBox unit that is normally sold with satellite tuners, however someone here has "beta tested" it with one ATSC tuner. No response from him on where he got it.

There is also an epVision box that was suppose to be out late 2010 but also isn't available yet.

I'm leaning toward the Tvix because it does more. I will be able to use it as a network streamer for downloaded content and share content it records. the Channelmaster is a closed box and the Tivo is out because I'm not interested in a monthly fee or dropping $700 up front.

...Frustratingly, the rest of the world seems to have a lot more OTA DVR options than the US.
post #5 of 6
If you want to jump right in, Woot has this deal going on today. Tivo Premiere
$465 delivered with lifetime
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Arg. That just caused 15 minutes of intense (re)consideration. The cable company DVRs just left the premise today and we've made it nearly a week now DVR-less, plus my Colts are out of the playoffs, so I feel like we can survive a bit longer without one, so I'm going to hold off.

But, knowing that Tivos can be had for that much less (even if refurb) is going to cause some reconsideration.
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