It depends on your definitions.
For "recording" that will be deleted later (timeshifting) there are lots of noname boxes which record either the pre-compressed signal to files on a thumb drive or external hard drive.
For "recording" camcorder footage from (old) camcorders that still have signal outputs.. you can (capture) using DV, HDV or HDMI capture boxes which dump the finished file as a stream over USB to a PC or Phone.
For "recording" from a modern camcorder or phone, just use an SD card and copy the files and upload that way.
For "recording" from a legacy cable/sat/over the air box with signal outputs.. you can again (capture) mostly to DV, HDV, MPEG2 or HDMI.. it gets complicated depending on what you plan to watch the recordings on. MPG or (MPEG2) is best on older Tube monitors, Plasma TV or smart modern TVs that have better de-Interlacing technology. MP4 or MKV is "expected" for computers, web streaming and cheap modern TVs that can no longer handle old fashion Interlace video.. or handle it very poorly.
For "recording" from VCR or VHS tapes, VHS-C or Betamax, Laserdisc or any other Ancient source.. you have to plan ahead and (expect) to have to find a better than average tracking VCR for the tape speed and type of tape or cartridge shell that it comes in. Then you have to re-construct the video signals using a Time Base Corrector so that the (capture) device does not drop frames or drop audio samples and de-synchronize the audio from the video during capture or playback. Color and Levels (dark and bright) may need correction, and Edge enhancement to appear "watchable" on modern playback screen.. Ancient video tends to have fuzzy edges and be hard to watch on computers and large (average size) TVs post 2009. (That's 0-9.. not 2019).
A do all everything box really does not exist.
Modern converter or capture boxes generally (de-interlace and compress) the video.. and even if their chips have a TBC (built-in) it is deliberately disconnected from the circuit board by design since it interferes with capturing modern HD video.
Older to Ancient capture devices (may) capture "raw" uncompressed video.. but at about 35 GB per hour.. which even today most people won't accept.. even if its put on a double layer 50 GB Blu-ray disc. At that rate you can't even fit 2 hours of video on a single Blu-ray disc. Without compression.. people just won't tolerate it.
Recent to near death equipment like the 2017 Magnavoxes with ATSC tuners are soaring in prices on eBay nearing 1000 usd in some cases. Which only three years ago were going for 100 usd.
Buying new.. you can look at a Black magic Intensity Pro.. as lots of people talk about, and regret it.. or look at a Magewell USB3.0 capture device in the 200 to 700 usd price range.. or look at those 10 usd capture dongles which pump uncompressed video across USB 2.0 into whatever the capture software came with compresses it. They have a lot of problems with dropped frames and dropping audio from any signal that is less than perfect.
There are still a few tv tuner cards with optional capture inputs.. mostly from Avermedia or Hauppauge.. but they are mainly marketed towards online gaming capture from consoles.. or PCs and sacrifice a lot (if they are even tested with Ancient signal capture).
Network Tuners like Silicon Dust Homerun exist.. which basically scrape the ATSC signal for raw M2TS streams, catching the original program and stuffin it into a PC computer file.. which various players can playback later.
Windows Media Center is gone now.. some hacks exist to shoehorn an old version of it into Windows 10.. but more often its detected as an attempted virus attack and disabled or shutdown by an update.
OS X declared 32 bit drivers and apps dead and de-supported almost all capture hardware and tv apps with their latest release
So if your looking to use a PC or Mac for capture or watching.. it will have to be an older version, on older hardware.. everything is aligning to "force" you to use an online streaming service that costs money.
Over the air technology.. except for Avermedia and Hauppauge PC cards.. or a standalone dedicated capture box from China running Linux (Kodi "like") is all but outlawed or relegated to very experienced or clever people who perhaps pre-emptively call it "easy" for anyone to do.
There are solutions.. but it depends on specifically what you want to do.. and it probably won't stray far from (only) doing exactly what you plan to do from the very beginning.
Other considerations are:
(a) if Copyright, DRM or Copy protection will be an issue.. many sources pre-crypt, or mark video or programs with anything from (no copy allowed) to (one copy allowed, temporary expiring copy) or deliberately damage the video so that when played back on different equipment or into capture equipment the signal turns black, blank or unwatchable and
(b) if automation like time scheduled recordings, auto-record on signal detect, or season pass features are expected or required.
(c) if remote control (to) satellite or cable box will be required
(d) if being remote controlled (by) a satellite or cable box will be required
(e) if online steaming download (and possibly recording online streaming sources.. online timeshifting..) will be required or expected, Amazon, Netflix, HBO Max, Roku ect..
(d) if automatic archiving and publishing to personal libraries (like Plex, Kodi ect..) will be expected
(e) if away mission "mode" (Slingbox like) features will be required, and if transcoding is a desireable feature (as part of the box or outsourced to a local recorder.. Tivo-ish)
there are so many things people think (impossible) or (never done) that are even today still possible and common place.. the options are mind boggling..
.. but it all comes down to.. what are your requirements, expectations.. and nice to haves.
Last edited by jwillis84; 01-07-2020 at 01:39 PM.