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is there a cheapo DVR (no monthly fees) that I can use with OTA HDTV ?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I currently have Netflix streaming (usually use the Xbox 360, but will be switching to the PS3 soon). I also have over-the-air HDTV channels here locally where I live. Thats all I have right now. I'd like to get a DVR so that I can record certain shows and be able to watch them later. Or watch something, while recording something else.

For example, my kids watched that show Terra Nova, and we would have to get home in time so they could watch it, etc, etc. I know that sounds foreign to most of you guys that have had DVR's since the beginning of time, but I've never actually owned a DVR (I know that sounds crazy).

I had Direct TV for a very long time, and had various HDTV Direct TV receivers, but never ended up getting the DVR's that they had. During the time that I had Direct TV, the high-def DVR's cost a small fortune, so I never ended up getting one. I cut the cord like 4 years ago, so I haven't had Direct TV in a long time, so never ended up getting a DVR.

I would get a Tivo, but have no interest in paying any monthly bill.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 20
If a std def HDD recorder might be acceptable, here's one that does a very good job with a HD OTA signal.
post #3 of 20
If you need HD then this(somewhat out dated) chart is nice.
BTW you can purchase a Tivo and lifetime service(like I have) and have no monthly fees but it will cost a lot up front. ~$600 I believe.
Channel Master also makes a CM7400 which I believe is $400 but it's more like a VCR for programming timers unless you shell out $50/year for a upgraded guide. Check out the CM7400 thread for lots of talk on the CM.
post #4 of 20
post #5 of 20
If $400 is your idea of "cheapo" then there is the Channel Master 7400. If you don;t consider $400 to be "cheapo" (I don't) then the answer is unfortunately no.
post #6 of 20
Nothing is more convenient than a TiVo, and it's a simple procedure to upgrade to larger capacity HDD's yourself. No monthly fee if you pay lifetime, but they don't have any super cheap deals on that right now.

If you don't mind using a PC/notebook with a HDMI connection to your TV/monitor, you might want to check out the Hauppauge WinTV HVR-950 (review at http://techgage.com/article/hauppauge_wintv_hvr-950/) for a pretty easy-fit solution. That could be your cheapest option depending on what you already have.
post #7 of 20
This guy claims he can build one for less than $50. You might want ask him where he gets his stuff (or what he's smoking...).
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Damn.... Didn't know this stuff was still expensive. I was thinking that there would be some type of Roku box type thing that you could just add an external HDD to, and maybe use it as a cheapo DVR or something.

I guess I could look at the options in regards to using a PC HDTV tuner thing. Either that, or wait till there is some kind of Roku box that has an input for antenna and can be connected to an external HDD. Seems like something like that couldn't be that far off. Could it?
post #9 of 20
Boxee Box just added OTA capability. A lot of people are requesting they add on a software DVR for OTA. You might want to check there.

Beyond that, the ChannelMaster seems to be the best choice for no fees.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

If a std def HDD recorder might be acceptable, here's one that does a very good job with a HD OTA signal.

But, it's not HD!

I see no one suggested a used Sony 250 for under $300 (maybe as low as $250 if you time it right) on eBay.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

I see no one suggested a used Sony 250 for under $300 (maybe as low as $250 if you time it right) on eBay.

I wouldn't recommend one at this point, as it seriously appears that they are going to become bricks soon.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

That's because it seriously appears that they are going to be bricks soon.

People have been saying that for several years now. Do you have a firm date for this occurance?
post #13 of 20
Nope. Hey, it's your money. I'm just saying I wouldn't recommend one myself anymore, and that could also have something to do with why nobody's recommended one in this thread so far.

I basically shelved mine right after the analog cutoff, myself. With what I've been using since, I've had absolutely no issues, ever with. Just set it, record, and enjoy myself fully, watching TV. If that's what he OP would like, he really shouldn't even be bothering with something like the Sony at this stage.

Why would you want something now that has such a high chance you'll have to constantly babysit it? And miss recordings?
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony1 View Post

.... I guess I could look at the options in regards to using a PC HDTV tuner thing.

If the MDP 130 MyHD PCI Tuner card is still available (i hace no clue), it works great. I've had mine since 2003/4 maybe(?). I stay approx. 5 miles from an antenna farm in Central Florida, so my house is flooded with OTA HD signals; so I've never wanted to go the satelliete or cable or now FIOS route for HD and HD DVRs for a monthly fee . I'm using VGA output to a CRT FP...mainly because I didn't grab the DVI daughter card when it was available (who would've known then 'bout HDMI standards?). But I couldn't be happier with it; especially since it doesn't tax my lowly 900MHz emachines CPU. It was rumored @ the time that it ignores the "broadcast flag". I've seen archived posts from AVS Forum that state that's true for cards before/after a ceratin manufacture date; not sure what that date is/was.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
as it seriously appears that they are going to become bricks soon.

And you know this how??
Quote:
and that could also have something to do with why nobody's recommended one in this thread so far.

Or, the more apparent fact they aren't aware of it in the first place just because of it's age?
Quote:
Why would you want something now that has such a high chance you'll have to constantly babysit it? And miss recordings?

But, didn't you just state you don't have any issues with it?

My "babysitting" is spending between 15 & 30 minutes each week looking through the Guide, scheduling recording for the next week. Big deal. Yes, I have lost recordings, but at least it doesn't overheat, it's not made of plastic, it's electronically dependable, it has a free Guide and it's user friendly. My wife even programs hers.

Other than TiVo, the other choices are severely limited in function and/or dependability.
post #16 of 20
I wouldn't call a WMC HTPC undependable, as long as you throw it in a closet or basement and leave it the hell alone after you get it working.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

But, it's not HD!

I see no one suggested a used Sony 250 for under $300 (maybe as low as $250 if you time it right) on eBay.

The Sony's depend on TVGOS. Not many people would suggest spending $250+ on an item that depends on a vanishing guide system. Visit the TVGOS thread and see how many areas no longer have it. And areas that do have it often have it disappear at times because of technical reasons.

I have a Panny DMR-EH75V that is now only used to burn discs from my Dish dvr. I now use a ATSC usb tuner in a pc to record local ota programming from stations that Dish doesn't have available in hd. If I didn't have a pay-tv service, I would have use my HTPC to record all ota programs. Very dependable and the WMC guide is very nice and easy to use.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony1 View Post

Either that, or wait till there is some kind of Roku box that has an input for antenna and can be connected to an external HDD. Seems like something like that couldn't be that far off. Could it?

The problem is getting the box to actually record something, and that's where the expense comes in. You need the guide software (where TiVo's non-lifetime fees come in) and recording software. The latter isn't so hard but the guide data kills most attempts at DVRs, unless the company, like TiVo is really committed.

I don't see Roku getting into the DVR business anytime soon, or any of the content streamers.
post #19 of 20
I keep looking for something like this...

http://www.simple.tv/

They aren't quite there as it's only a single tuner, not sure how well the viewing apps work (such as on Roku). Also, the monthly fee of $5 appears to be required (in most cases?).
post #20 of 20
Do you know some LG TV's have this option build in, but not activated in US . The biggest problem is to activate this in service menu, which could be little complicated and it only works with OTA, that's why I never tried it yet since I'm on cable. Once activated, you just need to plug some hard drive into USB port and you have live pause, recording and some limited scheduler right on TV
Since you didn't list model of your TV, you already may have recording capability without knowing it. You could probably find more info in LCD forum.
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