Originally Posted by kingpcgeek
I'm really on the fence of what to do as well with regards to a DVR. I need more than 2 tuners, 3 is great, four even better.
The majority of my recording is the Big 4 broadcasting networks so I decided to try out a PVR-M6620N
this week. It only has two tuners, but it can supplement the crappy Cox DVR. It is actually a really sharp device, you can pop in any hard drive you want and exchange them back and forth as they fill up. It makes a great media player as well. The problem is the program guide. It uses PSIP info so you are lucky to have 12 hours of info, let alone the 7 days we are used to with Cox. So programming recordings is in the dark ages like a VCR's. But the price is right, $271 with shipping to AZ and no monthly fee. I am wondering if it is going to be good enough to record those shows that I can't record on the Cox DVR because I only have two tuners.
Then you bring up the Elite. I have been salivating over that one for a couple of months. Do I spend the $500 to get it, get 4 tuners and 2TB of storage to replace Cox? I'm stuck with a $20 + CableCard monthly fee but that is not much more than the Cox DVR fees for a much better product.
Then you have DirecTV and their 5 tuner DVR. Same price or cheaper then Cox and more channels. How could someone not jump at it? Problem is I have 4 TV's in the house that are connected directly to the Cox coax. With D* I would have to have receivers and pay monthly lease fees for TV's that are rarely used.
I am underwhelmed with what Cox has coming. I don't need the Whole House feature, its still only has two tuners and whoopee they increase the drive space to 500GB. To top it off if you don't do Whole House you only get to use 160GB.
King, you should take a look at what DISH is up to lately. I have never been a big fan (well, I was until they chased me away with their incompetence after 8 years and DirecTV offered the HD DTivo) but they have a new concept that seems to make more and more sense every time I think about it.
Just go to their home page (sort of difficult not to get redirected to their sign-up page) and search for "Hopper Joey". Hopper is a whole home DVR and Joey is a remote box for viewing. IOW, it is a whole-home server/client concept, with a ridiculous naming convention.
What sets this apart? Instead of demuxing pre-HDD it can record an entire transponder and then demux at playback. This means that if channels are sent the way spot beams are under DBS, where 4 or more channels are combined into a single multiple program transport stream, one tuner can record all 4 channels at once.
DISH has leveraged this by placing their LIL local spot beam channels for ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC on the same transponder in most LIL markets. Then they use a feature called "prime time anytime (?)" to auto-block-record all of prime time from those four channels every night.
They then save those programs for 8 days and allow you to transfer them from an otherwise unavailable partition to a user partition which is 1 TB if you need to keep any particular program more than 8 days (a TB will hold about 235 hours of HD if MPEG-4 from DBS, and you'd be lucky to get 20 hours of MPEG-2 HD on a 160 GB). I think it has to do this in real time in the background, so if you want to save multiple programs it probably has to put them in a queue. The "Hopper" partition is also 1 TB although keeping all of big-4 prime for 8 days should not take more than 500 GB, assuming MPEG-4 and that my math is correct, but it appears they want to push a lot of movies to that partition so they are available on demand as well.
It's a really interesting concept. The recorder has 3 tuners so up to 6 programs can be recorded during prime and probably outside of prime (2 programs conventionally on 2 of the tuners and 4 programs as an MPTS on the other for the big 4 nets only). This will really go a long way towards making conflicts a thing of the past, and casual big-4 prime viewing as simple as on-demand. I can't wait for DirecTV to steal this idea. Especially if they take it to its logical conclusion and group the 4 most recorded CONUS channels (USA, TNT, FX, Syfy ?) on the same transponder and the 4 next-most-recorded channels on another. Even if they just do that with 4 channels, now you're talking up to 10 recordings at once of the 8 most-recorded channels plus any two other channels on a 4-tuner DVR, and very few potential conflicts. Cable can't really do that, or compete with that.
Also, you might check out the Channel Master DVRs which are available on Amazon and elsewhere.