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Replace Comcast DVR

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Is there any good replacement for a Comcast DVR (besides Tivo). I'd LOVE to be done with the $15.00/month charge and either record from a standard Comcast HD box to my desktop computer, or buy a standalone unit.

I'd appreciate your help!
post #2 of 6
What channels do you watch? Just local networks (ABC, NBC, etc.) and stuff like Discovery and QVC? Or do you watch channels that might be encrypted, like ESPN, movie channels, etc.?

If they're encrypted, you'll at least need a cableCARD from Comcast. No way around it. But the card (which is a couple bucks a month at the most, and might be free if you just need one) will work in a Moxi DVR ($600 up front with no reoccurring fees), or a HTPC with cableCARD tuners (replaces the DVR wholesale.) I think there might be capture cards for use with an HD box, but I haven't looked into them. It's kind of kludgy, IMO.

If it's just locals, a Moxi DVR has QAM tuners to tune them without a card. A Magnavox 513 or 515 DVD recorder can also tune them, but it won't be in HD.

FWIW, TiVo can also be purchased with a lifetime fee (one time payment.) It'll also let you transfer the videos it records to your computer.
post #3 of 6
The Moxi has a lot of bells and whistles, but for a $1000 up front and $165 every time it dies, I am beginning to question my purchase. I have had to have it replaced twice. The second time was not under warranty after only 11 months.

Comcast does charge $1.50/mo for the CableCard.
post #4 of 6
Have you ever actually used anything besides the ComCast PVR? If not, don't waste your time on the "cheap" alternatives: you'll hate them. Your $15/month pays for convenience, integration, one-touch program grid, and ability to record two or three shows in Hi Def on different channels at the same time. Nothing else works like this except TiVO or Moxi, neither of which are worth the money unless you are hell-bent on networking them to your computer to rework the recordings and make DVDs or iPhone/iPad files. The CableCard requirement is a pain and prone to not work right, ComCast is notorious for repeatedly screwing up installation. Plus, it would take six years of the ComCast PVR fee to pay off a TiVO with lump-sum lifetime subscription.

There's no free lunch. The only cheap no-fee recorder is the Magnavox at $199-249. It has no program guide, can't accept a CableCard to integrate smoothly with your cable service, can't record in HD, timer must be manually set like an old VCR, can only record one channel at a time, and if you want anything beyond the dozen basic channels on ComCast you'll need their decoder box anyway which means you have to set that to the right time/channel as well. Doesn't sound like such a bargain anymore, does it? If all you do is watch and erase, and you have no interest in making DVDs or iPad files, there's no real payoff for you in switching to a generic recorder. Stick with the ComCast PVR and avoid disappointment. We can complain until we're blue in the face, but cable/satellite in 2011 is a totally closed system: in for a penny, in for a pound.
post #5 of 6
Hit that nail square on the head.

Hell, I used to be able to record 2 shows and watch a third, all in HD. My older set had a Cablecard slot.

Sigh ... the price we pay for upgrading.
post #6 of 6
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by 67Bronco View Post

    Is there any good replacement for a Comcast DVR (besides Tivo). I'd LOVE to be done with the $15.00/month charge and either record from a standard Comcast HD box to my desktop computer, or buy a standalone unit...

    Excluding TiVo, the sky is the limit - how much do you want to spend UP FRONT? What are your goals?
    HTPC as a Replay HD, please share your system configuration (A new thread I just read) For example (the folks on the Green Button forum appear 'pleased' with this price ): Ceton card live on Amazon $399.99 free shipping - $400 / $15 = 26.67 months. Now you still need devices to PLAY the recorded shows (SiliconDust, xBox, Media Player, etc...), a PC running 24x7 to RECORD the shows, storage, etc...

    AFAICT, though, for standalone recording HD (clear and encrypted channels) TiVo appears to be the most popular. Granted, my knowledge is just as a 'casual observer' - reading a post here-and-there, but never seriously investigating the topic.
    .
  • Setup is YOUR responsibility; if it breaks, it's YOUR responsibility.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac_Head View Post

    The Moxi has a lot of bells and whistles, but for a $1000 up front and $165 every time it dies, I am beginning to question my purchase. I have had to have it replaced twice. The second time was not under warranty after only 11 months...

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

    ...Your $15/month pays for convenience, integration, one-touch program grid, and ability to record two or three shows in Hi Def on different channels at the same time...

  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

    ...There's no free lunch...

    +1
For an 'interesting' (SD) alternative, find one of DigaDo's posts with pictures of his equipment (~8 DVDRs running 24x7 (plus spares!), with multiple STBs, DTAs, CECBs, etc...).

Personally, I'm sticking with my SD Lifetime ReplayTVs - just picked up Lifetime 5xxx #4 'broken' for $25 - and going back to OTA w/CECBs. Fortunately, the ReplayTVs have IR Blasters.

Good Luck!
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