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-   -   Best DVR for Over-the-Air recording (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/100-digital-recorders-pvrs-general/1448951-best-dvr-over-air-recording.html)

nwest 01-01-2013 05:41 PM

I found a great thread answering my question, but it's several years old:

I just want to cut the ties with my cable company, and I get several channels OTA that I'd like to record. I just need a good, cheap DVR, with HD tuner(s), no monthly subscription, and a nice interface (pause, rewind, fast-forward, stop/resume without hassles). I'm hooking up directly to my TV, not my PC. I really like the chart in the other thread. Can someone post an updated version of this chart for 2013?

nwest 01-03-2013 10:58 AM

Forget the chart. Can anyone recommend a good DVR I can hook up to my TV with the following features:

OTA HD tuner(s)
HDMI output
No monthly fees
Simple interface that works similar to a Comcast DVR

Any success stories? I know I can't be the first person trying to do this...

[email protected] 01-06-2013 09:22 AM

I was in the same dilemma two years ago and I settled with the Tivo Premiere and I've been paying the monthly fee.

It's a shame, because honestly the Tivo Premiere is one of the worst devices I've ever used. Locks up constantly, reboots take forever, and the netflix client is terrible.

I wish there was a clear cut answer for this. Seems like a really good opportunity for someone to build something awesome to disrupt this space. But I guess that won't happen until Google or Apple decide to build something to address the problem.

gusman1 01-10-2013 09:00 AM

I just bought a Digital Stream DPH-1000R HDTV receiver from Amazon. It has dual digital tuner, HDMI & component output and has 320 GB hard drive. It records in HD from the OTA or clear QAM. There is a thread here on AVS Forum discussing it under the name RCA. The PQ of the HD tuner is not quite as good as my Vizio, but over all I am happy with it. It sells for $235 at Amazon and other online retailers. The TVguide is based on PSIP data put out by TV stations. There is no subscription.


Josea 01-19-2013 03:26 PM

NWest see http://www.amazon.com/Magnavox-MDR537H-Recorder-Digital-Tuner/dp/B009I5KWLK and check out the review by Wajo - there is a huge thread on this site (referenced in the review) if this piques your interest , I had one in my cart at walmart.com for $258.00 yesterday but when I checked out and assigned a payment method it jumped to $278 so I got angry and canceled it. (I would have also got a 20 dollar rebate because I opened a credit card )
Thanks Gusman1 I will look at that unit, I much prefer buying from Amazon

Not to be a PITA but this thread should be in a different sub forum for better exposure.

NWest, you specs are exactly what I need... do you only want a new unit? (I do)

texaspledge 01-21-2013 07:50 AM

I think this may be a little more complex than what you are looking for but for information sake, i was in the same situation as you last year. I ended up adding a tuner and antenna to my home PC, running media center and using Xbox 360s as extenders.

While it is more complicated, you have the benefit of a whole house DVR and the media center DVR is by far the best interface I've used.

Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk 2

scoosdad 01-25-2013 05:51 AM

rxheaven 01-26-2013 09:07 AM

Just know that the Magnavox units aren't HD. But they do "upconvert" to HD.

This means less PQ, but more efficient use of HDD recording space.

Been using the MDR513 for over a year, and once you figure out the limitations (no guide, single tuner, no HD) etc, it's still the best bang for the buck and most user-friendly for OTA users.

The Channel Master might be my second choice, because it's HD, but it has its own issues.

There's very limited options/manufacturers available, because of copyright issues and lobbying etc. It's a shame.

With the 65$ I save per month not having cable TV, I can replace it with 2 or 3 "movie nights". Or you can subscribe to Nexflix or Hulu Plus etc for less $$$ and enjoy the content in the confort of your home. There are so many better options than subscription TV.

Josea 01-26-2013 04:04 PM

AFA channel Master, what do you mean it is HD, it has its own issues?
I was ready to order one, but read a few reviews that the "7000" overheats (in fact one guy had to add a notebook cooler) http://reviews.walmart.com/1336/13968952/channel-master-cm-7000pal-antenna-compatible-dvr-reviews/reviews.htm?page=2
I also looked that the CM 7400 and on Amazon the one star reviews are double the 5 star & the overheating seems to also occur to some..

I just want to record OTA. I have a laptop with a fault display but a decent video card (ATI 5870M with 1 GB) - 2 internal hard drives (80 GB SSD for OS and 500 GIG for storage). Does anyone make an external tuner that I could use with it and is there any software that will allow me to record OTA on the laptop (it only has HDMI out).
My internet speed is 5 Mb/s up and 4Mb/s down. PS no room for a desktop

leftcoastjayhawk 01-28-2013 05:25 PM

Josea, I have no personal experience with it, but I think the SiliconDust HDHomerun (not the Homerun Prime, which is a cablecard tuner) might be the thing to use with your laptop. It tunes OTA channels, and attaches via USB. Then, if your laptop is using Windows 7, Microsoft's Windows Media Center is included and it will provide the DVR functions and user interface, including channel guide info, that you need. (I think Media Center is on Windows Vista, also.)

I have recently added an internal tuner card to a PC (a cablecard tuner, since I'm on a cable company feed) and turned it into a DVR using Media Center and I'm very pleased with it. Have even added a couple of Ceton Echo extenders so a couple of bedroom TVs now work off of it also, in addition to the family room TV where the HTPC is located. Took some tweaking to get everything working, but now I can cancel my cable company DVR equipment fees.

Hope this helps. There are a number of active threads in the Home Theater PC (HTPC) forums here about using a pc and Media Center for a DVR.

Josea 01-30-2013 05:28 AM

Thaniks a lot LeftCoastJayHawk... that helps a lot, I did not want to "settle" for a Magnavox 5 series and this seems to be an excellent solution!

mhufnagel 01-30-2013 10:15 AM

Originally Posted by Josea View Post

Thaniks a lot LeftCoastJayHawk... that helps a lot, I did not want to "settle" for a Magnavox 5 series and this seems to be an excellent solution!
Just to let your know, the Silicon Dust HDHR3 connects via ethernet and not usb. It's made to connect to a network, but you can still connect it to an ethernet port on a pc/laptop. You might need to alter your Windows Firewall settings though. And I agree that Windows Media Center is more usable than a Magnavox dvd recorder as a dvr because it has a guide.

hifiaudio2 02-05-2013 06:30 AM

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Been using two HDhomerun units paired to ClearQam cable and OTA for years now. Windows media center works quite well most of the time.. minor tweaking or small issues every once in a while, but no deal breakers. And of course you get all the flexibility that comes with a PC. Just connect the HdHomeruns to your network and every PC on your network that is running Windows media center can choose from the pool of tuners the Hdhomerun provides, which means you can have more than the two tuners offered in these standalone boxes. You can have up to 6 in Windows, and more with a simple registry hack. You can also buy "extenders" that can communicate with the main PC in your setup. These can be devices like the Ceton extender, or an Xbox 360.

If you dont want to run Windows Media center, XBMC Frodo can do most of these same features. I have been playing around with it a little, and have not successfully set up the DVR and live TV with guide yet. But its certainly possible.

northernlight11 02-10-2013 11:01 PM

It has a few bugs, but I use the tvix 6620n plus, and I LOVE IT!!!https://www.avsforum.com/t/1195962/official-dvico-tvix-m6620n-hd-atsc-qam-tuner-topic , you can find em for $300 without hdd and worth every cent :-)

gaidin43 03-06-2013 05:18 AM

Buy a TiVo premiere with a lifetime subscription off eBay. It will be the best interface easiest to use and most accessible and expandable over the years. It is better than paying for the monthly subscription and not getting anything out of it in the end.

This way you have something of value that is very easy to set up plug-and-play and be done with it the guy data and the rest of the features it offers is the best all-around solution. The Netflix app has been revised it is actually not all that bad anymore

mdwest 03-06-2013 07:00 PM

I have exactly the same question. Cable and satellite are expensive and
customer service terrible. I'm buying an antenna and want to record the
relatively few shows I watch. Any recommendations on DVR devices that
connect to TV (not PC) and handle HD?

WizzardofWatts 03-31-2013 09:30 PM

The Tvix M6640n is expensive and it does not come with a hard drive. The hard drives that can be used in them are expensive and hard to find, Even with these problems it is the future of over the air DVRs. It's software is a version of google's very stable android platform. Pair it with a media jukebox (from TVIX) & it is a joy to own. I have used them all & this is the best. It has played every video and audio file type I have thrown at it.

dschulz 04-24-2013 05:40 PM

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I went through this search a couple of years ago. There are many ways to go if you are using a Home Theater PC (HTPC), or do most of your viewing on computers or otherwise somehow on the internet. If what you want is a piece of home theater equipment that is basically plug and play via HDMI, I found only two options:

1) The Channel Master CM-7000PAL. Readily available from Amazon and other retailers, a bit pricey for what you get IMHO. Upside is it does exactly what you want, which is basically the same functionality that VCRs had but for broadcast HDTV. Downside is it has a fairly clunky interface, and according to some has spotty reliability (I've been using mine for 2 years and have had no problems so far).

2) Tivo. Upside is the user experience - nice interface, and the system is "smart" in the sense that it knows you mean to record specific programming, not time slots. If your show is delayed 10 minutes because the baseball game on previously ran long, Tivo is usually smart enough to pick that up. The Channel Master is just dumb clock, recording Channel 7 at 8:00pm for 2 hours. Downside to Tivo is in addition to the cost of the box, there is a monthly fee.

gdadv10 05-08-2013 11:46 AM

I bought the DTV-PAL DVR that Dish network made three years ago and absolutely love it. I think it died on me last night though. It showed it had strong signal strength, but no picture. I had been using it with an old Zenith tube TV, but bought a new Samsung 40" LCD TV a couple of months ago. It worked great after hooking it up with an HDMI cable. I'm thinking the antenna converter thing wore out?

They stopped making it, but others have said it is the exact same thing as the Channel Master 7000. But the PAL only cost $165 (maybe it was $265?) so I'm hesitant to buy the CM 7000 for $340 just yet. They had it on sale a few months ago for cheaper. But if it lasts 2 years, that is only about $16 a month. I refuse to spend $100 a month on cable just to have a DVR.

A great feature they both share is the 30 second skip button. Yes, these are simple machines, but I find the remote and functions much more intuitive than my Mom's Time Warner Cable DVR.

With the PAL, there were some software bugs, the biggest is not recording shows set to record, so I wonder if the same work around will work the the CM. Actually, I wonder if it is the exact same software. For example, if you have one show set to record at 8pm, and two set to record at 9pm, about 30% of the time the PAL won't record both 9pm shows. The work around is to set two shows to record at 8pm too.

videobruce 05-19-2013 09:14 PM

I don't know why the modulators added this sub forum since there already is a DVR forum;

The differences between a PVR and a DVR are really debatable, but they are both practically the same thing. Anyway, there is a thread that has a list of HD DVR's that are not computers or media streamers here;

oshunluvr 05-23-2013 02:25 PM

Originally Posted by WizzardofWatts View Post

The Tvix M6640n is expensive and it does not come with a hard drive. The hard drives that can be used in them are expensive and hard to find, Even with these problems it is the future of over the air DVRs. It's software is a version of google's very stable android platform. Pair it with a media jukebox (from TVIX) & it is a joy to own. I have used them all & this is the best. It has played every video and audio file type I have thrown at it.
Other than it being expensive, the information about the TViX 6640/6620 is incorrect. It has some issues for sure - hard drive cost is not one of them. Any standard SATA 3.5" hard drive works. So will 2.5" if you have a 3.5" adapter.

videobruce 05-23-2013 08:32 PM

the information about the TViX 6640/6620 is incorrect.
Where? In the DVR comparison thread, or elsewhere?

png5 08-01-2013 01:12 PM

Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Where? In the DVR comparison thread, or elsewhere?

Below are consumer DVR/PVR comparison,

I only have couple of devices experience.
I get IVIEW-3500STB first and get another simular HOMEWORX HW150PVR
My intension is to replace VCR, which is ready to die anytime
For IVIEW-3500STB - Daily/Weekly Record fail because fail to calculate the next record date correctly,
still waiting for FIRMWARE correction, is a broken product ,
Another bad is remote button, very small and cloud, not user friendly

For HOMEWORX HW-150PVR - All major function work, Daily/Weekly Recording.
It still no a user friendly product, such as key sequence and layout.
Remote is ok, 1000 times better then IVIEW-3500.

Both can record with a FAST USB flash drive. I use Corsair Voyager 64GB (double the price of HOMEWORX or IV3500)

So far for me, HOMEWORX HW-1500PVR is a workable and functional daily product. Util IVIEW-3500STB fix firmware,
IVIEW-3500STB is broken product.

cjvnyc 08-05-2013 04:15 AM

I just bought the "Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950Q USB TV Tuner Stick/Hybrid Video Recorder with Remote Control" from Newegg for $45 after $20 mail-in rebate. The PQ thru the stick for OTA is absolutely fantastic- better than my FiOS. The tuner is very sensitive, rendering stations my TV refuses to on its own. I'm not (yet) using Media Center- so far I just have a browser window open to TitanTV and another to the Recordings Scheduler. And the Recordings are equally beautiful in terms of PQ. I'm going to play around a bit with it to try to tune it to optimize the performance, as it takes almost 40 seconds to wake up to record, tune the station, buffer, then finally render and record. HD stations recordings files roughly 7GB/hour.

hifiaudio2 08-15-2013 02:31 PM

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I second a media PC with Windows... also you might want to give Jriver media center a try. The TV part of it, along with guide data and time shifting, has finally come far enough that it is a viable, and possibly better, option for Clear Qam and OTA. I dont have a cable card so I havent tested that part.

wizwor 08-21-2013 07:58 AM

Good news on this front: echostar is going to make a new line of DVRs for Channel Master...


I have five DTVPals and while I have a 'whole house' DVR that feeds Plex for streaming to Rokus, almost everything is recorded from air to DTVPal in my house.
EchoStar states that the Channel Master K77 models will combine access to broadcast programming with over-the-top and DVR functionalities, promoting consumer choice in both retail equipment and in services for households seeking a non-MVPD option for video programming. EchoStar maintains that requiring an analog tuner “would dramatically increase the device’s cost, size, and energy consumption without any countervailing benefits to consumers.”

calculon68 08-21-2013 08:41 AM

I was using the Silicon Dust HD Homerun in conjunction with WMC to record OTA for past 3-4 years. Viewed the recordings on the desktop and on my downstairs TV using the BD player via DLNA/network. It worked well- but I found it kludgey at times. WMC would record reruns *and* first runs, when all I wanted were first-runs. Sometimes it wouldn't see available tuners on the HD Homerun and I occasionally missed a recording . Playback options on the BD player were limited, you couldn't FF/REW without it advancing to the next recorded program in the folder. And I did not want to put a HTPC in the living room.

I also have a TiVo HD that I purchased in 2007. The series 3 TiVos are OTA capable and have excellent tuners, and I had DIY-expanded the record drive to 750GB (roughly 100 HD hrs) in 2008. I cut the cord in 2010, and cancelled TiVo in 2011. After I cancelled, TiVo kept spamming me offers to pay a one-time price for lifetime support on my TiVo HD. When the price got down to $50, I pulled the trigger. The HD Homerun is hardly used now. And although the DVR is six+ years old; I'm going to drive it until the HDD dies. TiVo is still the best OTA DVR experience.

The lifetime TiVos w/ expanded storage have strong resale value on eBay. ($250-400) That is your least expensive bet if you don't want to go the WMC/HTPC route.

And TiVo unveiled an entry level OTA-friendly DVR called Roamio that's $200 + $15/mo. (only 75 HD hours) A Roamio plus lifetime support would set you back $700.

wizwor 08-21-2013 09:21 AM

I did that too (HDHR to WMC), but WAF was not there. She likes to pause/rewind/record via remote. I have come close to buying a TiVo on a couple occasions, but it's $700 per room. I only paid $1k for my five DTVPals -- and one has a 1t disk.

It's great that echostar is back. I got a note from them a short time ago. The new DVRs will be available for Christmas. There will be two versions -- one with internal storage PLUS USB and the other with only USB. There will be a program guide as well.


freetvEE 08-21-2013 12:50 PM

Originally Posted by wizwor View Post

I did that too (HDHR to WMC), but WAF was not there. She likes to pause/rewind/record via remote. I have come close to buying a TiVo on a couple occasions, but it's $700 per room. I only paid $1k for my five DTVPals -- and one has a 1t disk.

It's great that echostar is back. I got a note from them a short time ago. The new DVRs will be available for Christmas. There will be two versions -- one with internal storage PLUS USB and the other with only USB. There will be a program guide as well.


I know what you mean on the WAF, there are a lot of complicated solutions out there if you aren't techy. Sounds like you just didn't have the right remote for your WMC setup, there are several good ones that have all of those functions plus a built in mouse too-so you can hit up any website you want unrestricted! Not only does it hit the WAF, but my 4 year old can even use it to play a show and skip commercials... :eek

Thanks for the info on the new DVRs, hopefully they will work in practice as good as they sound in theory-also curious on what the prices will be too.

wizwor 08-21-2013 03:20 PM

People look at television in different ways. I don't think it's particularly useful to try to convince the world that one way is better than the others. I just try to let people know what the options are -- hopefully, providing sufficient information that they can make an informed decision they will not regret.

I love television and have no memory of there being no television. I have embraced every iteration from broadcast to cable to satellite and back to cable then broadcast with a smattering of OTT. I think cable is amazing but our favorite premium provider was Dish.

My decision to cut the cable was a complicated one. Ronald Reagan famously said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me." I feel the same way about Comcast. I didn't leave because their prices were too high. I left because, increasingly, their service did not meet my needs. The idea that I needed a box to watch HD channels did not appeal to me. HBO going from movies I wanted to see to nitwits talking sports and politics did not appeal to me. Waking to infomercials did not appeal to me. But there was more to the decision than that. I live in rural New Hampshire and deregulation of the utilities has lead to routine power outages of a week or more. When the power is off, cable doesn't work. We have all installed generators, but Comcast has done nothing at their end. Consequently, when you need news and entertainment the most, there is none.

My OTA adventure began during one of these outages. I installed a small antenna we take camping in my attic during a week long outage. To my delight, we received dozens of channels and the quality was amazing. When the power and cable were restored, I left the tv in my bedroom attached to the antenna. As Comcast moved more channels to areas that required a box, my kids asked to be attached to the antenna. The rest, as they say, is history.

We have seven televisions -- five that are used regularly. The five all have a Roku and a DTVPal DVR attached. Some also have SMP-N200s and Blu-ray players. The one in my bedroom/office has a PC attached. That PC runs Playon, Plex and WMC. We have a WII, a PS3, and an xBox 360. All of these devices are, to some extent, media centers. The xBox, of course is a media center extender. We have a Chromecast -- which I think may be a game changer...just not this week.

When we cut the cable, there was some remorse about loss of programming. Not HBO or Showtime, but the History Channel and the Food Network. To remedy this, I bought the Rokus and a lifetime subscription to Playon. The big problem, though, was the loss of the DVR. I did not expect this. I had been monitoring DVR use in the months before we cut over and it was nil. Bonnie Hunt and Who Wants to be a Millionaire were the only shows recorded. What I did not realize is that there was another use for the DVR -- PAUSE. It turns out that my wife actually answers the phone and she was in the habit of pausing whatever she was watching while she gabbed. And, during Jeopardy, she pauses the program to ponder the tough questions. She also hit the rewind button a lot. Not just in football games. So we needed something. I looked at MythTV, XBMC, Plex, Boxee, and all the PC based solutions. They were all pretty expensive and a lot different than we were accustomed to.

We had loved Dish. It was the best premium provider we had ever had and we liked the interface a lot, so the DTVPal was familiar and quickly embraced. It's been three years and all five have performed flawlessly. When Rovi pulled the plug on TVGOS, PSIP was good enough. The kids probably watch Netflix and YouTube more than anything, the wife is about 50/50 broadcast and Netflix, but I still mostly watch broadcast television. I'm old, so most of my vast DVD collection predates the ban on format shifting. I purchased box sets of my favorite shows and hundreds and hundreds of movies.

A lot of people are asking about DVRs. Most of the options are complicated, expensive, or disappointing. I just wanted to let people know that EchoStar is going to market a modern DVR that does not require a monthly fee or a computer science degree...and that I am very excited about that smile.gif

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