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Discussion Starter #1
Cutting the line on Direct TV tomorrow, and I feel like a weight is off my shoulders. But, I love having the DVR and despise commercials so I'm looking for a solution. There are several OTA DVR's listed on here, and some of the threads have started 4 or 5 years ago I'm kind of confused as to what's on the market today and what I should look for.



Of course I am looking for a good price, but I am also looking for quality and the most options.


1.) If I'm understanding correctly, these things are also tuners (remember I'm a beginner and very green here), so these will pick up both VHF and UHF stations? Is that correct? What should I look for?


2.) Are there any I should absolutely avoid?


3.) Can I mount my antenna to the roof and use the co-axial cables that Direct TV was using?


4.) I read that some of these don't have a hard drive and I would have to provide my own USB hard drive? Do I just purchase a 20g USB memory stick, or is it more complicated than that?


5.) Any links I should be reading up on? I am completely lost in the mountains of threads and forums on this site.



Any info is greatly appreciated.



Thank you!
 

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Roll your own HTPC (lots of help in the HTPC forum here) or get a Tivo. There are other options, but those two are the most reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice#post_22242746


Roll your own HTPC (lots of help in the HTPC forum here) or get a Tivo. There are other options, but those two are the most reliable.


Sorry, what does 'Roll Your Own' mean?




And doesn't TiVo charge a monthy fee for their DVRs?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewToAntenna  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice/0_100#post_22242773


Sorry, what does 'Roll Your Own' mean?

And doesn't TiVo charge a monthy fee for their DVRs?
Roll your own means build a DVR using a PC, you can't really purchase a premade system so you need to build your own.

A Tivo with lifetime is between $500 and $600 depending on the cost of the basic Tivo, lifetime is $500 itself.

You have cheaper options for prebuilt DVR depending on your tolerance level for "issues" but if your one who just wants to "set it and forget it" the Tivo is your best option. Those cheaper DVRs probably start ~$250 and again some may charge a monthly fee for a upgraded guide service. Don't expect much with the basic "free" PSIP guide.
 

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Discussion Starter #5

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice#post_22242861


Roll your own means build a DVR using a PC, you can't really purchase a premade system so you need to build your own.

A Tivo with lifetime is between $500 and $600 depending on the cost of the basic Tivo, lifetime is $500 itself.

You have cheaper options for prebuilt DVR depending on your tolerance level for "issues" but if your one who just wants to "set it and forget it" the Tivo is your best option. Those cheaper DVRs probably start ~$250 and again some may charge a monthly fee for a upgraded guide service. Don't expect much with the basic "free" PSIP guide.


Never heard of RYO, I guess I'll have to research that. It will probably be a lot cheaper and easier.



Thanks for the info.



Any suggestions on the best homemade antennas???
 

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There are basically three DVR options at this point: the CM-7400, the TViX 6620, and the PHD-VRX. The first works well if you want only throw-away recording, while the latter two allow you to archive content permanently, as you could with a VCR. The VRX was just released and is quite buggy to the point of being unrealiable, while the TViX has many known bugs that some users find annoying but that generally don't interfere with operation. I went the TViX route myself and am quite pleased, but there are no stand-alone DVRs that offer a flawless experience. The HTPC route gives the most flexibility but uses the most electricity and requires the most technical experience to configure.


As for antennas, that really depends on where you live. You can search YouTube for coathanger antenna tutorials that will show you how to make very capable antennas for almost no money. I'm using one that involves copper wire (rather than coathangers) and a piece of plywood that works almost perfectly, although I do have to adjust its orientation to receive a few channels. It works better than any of the commercial antennas I've bought in the past and was a fraction of the cost. I did invest in a cheap inline amplifier that improves my reception, which at $20 was the most expensive part of the setup.
 

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Having used DVRs since 2000 including provider models, HTPCs (several) and TiVo. I would go with TiVo without question. My next choice would be Channel Master if I didn't care about conflict resolution and a ton of other features that typically don't jump out at you until later.

 

TiVo with Lifetime is a little more than the Channel Master upfront and it that is of concern I believe the going rate is $150 for the DVR and $15 a month for service. If you need additional storage you can drop a 2TB drive in later or transfer recordings to your NAS, etc.

 

Why not a HTPC? User experience plain and simple. For others it might be there but for me TV should be simple and effortless and that doesn't equal HTPC. Sure many will say it's better and perhaps for them it is... not in my experience... try picking up the TiVo peanut remote after a few weeks and flipping from one paused live show to another. That HTPC will cost more upfront (I paid $60 for my TiVo Premiere) unless you pay for lifetime and the current $10 a month I donate to TiVo would never cover the PC and it's ongoing upgrades I'm sure I would end up with over the years. How many years until I'd be paying more than the HTPC would cost (no I don't have a HDMI, OTA Tuner PC sitting around collecting dust)? $60 + $360 perhaps? $420 for the HTPC and I wouldn't touch it in three years? If ultimate cost is important purchase lifetime...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice/0_100#post_22243841


Having used DVRs since 2000 including provider models, HTPCs (several) and TiVo. I would go with TiVo without question. My next choice would be Channel Master if I didn't care about conflict resolution and a ton of other features that typically don't jump out at you until later.


TiVo with Lifetime is a little more than the Channel Master upfront and it that is of concern I believe the going rate is $150 for the DVR and $15 a month for service. If you need additional storage you can drop a 2TB drive in later or transfer recordings to your NAS, etc.

+1 on the TiVo, without hesitation. TiVo is the benchmark to which all others are compared. It is not flawless (what is?) but it comes as close as you are going to get with what's available.


It is important to note that although the TiVo/lifetime costs $200 more than the CM-7400, the CM-7400 comes without a guide (PSIP is not a guide) while the TiVo comes with a 14 day guide. In order to get comparable guide service for the CM-7400 you have to purchase a subscription and pay $50/yr for the life of the unit. The TiVo/lifetime has no additional costs. The CM-7400 does have the unique ability to act as a space heater for your family room in the winter.


Not sure why the previous poster omitted TiVo as a "fourth" DVR option.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice#post_22244073


Not sure why the previous poster omitted TiVo as a "fourth" DVR option.

If you're referring to me, I think it's safe to assume anyone who knows enough about technology to come to this forum and ask about DVR options is probably already aware of TiVo and would have chosen it already had he wanted one, NewToAntenna just dropped his pay-TV service and probably doesn't want another bill, and even without making assumptions, he said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewToAntenna 

And doesn't TiVo charge a monthy fee for their DVRs?

which indicates he doesn't want to deal with the expense of a TiVo, regardless of whether it's on a monthly basis or all at once.
 

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When my contract with Directv is up in November I will be going OTA and will buy a used Tivo with lifetime on ebay . These are selling from 300 to 400 dollars.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice#post_22242861

You have cheaper options for prebuilt DVR depending on your tolerance level for "issues" but if your one who just wants to "set it and forget it" the Tivo is your best option.
 

^^^

 

This.

 

TiVo with lifetime, if you want the closest experience to what you had with the Direct DVR.
 

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You get what you pay for in this space, bottom line. Judging from the OP's posts it's obvious to me that Tivo is the best route regardless of cost, but we can't make that call for him.


OP if you need to save money, used Tivo HDs and Premieres with lifetime service are readily available on fleabay for $350-450.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice/0_100#post_22245008


If you're referring to me, I think it's safe to assume anyone who knows enough about technology to come to this forum and ask about DVR options is probably already aware of TiVo and would have chosen it already had he wanted one,
That's a rather bold assumption considering the number of newbees we get in these forums who ask very basic questions.


Furthermore, his comment you quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewToAntenna  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice/0_100#post_22242773


And doesn't TiVo charge a monthy fee for their DVRs?
tells me he really doesn't know anything about TiVo.


No matter. We did manage to get all the options out on the table. The balls in his court.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice#post_22244073


Not sure why the previous poster omitted TiVo as a "fourth" DVR option.
 

Can't speak to why in this case however often TiVo is represented as tainted since it offers a subscription model. Cost of (eventual) ownership and user experience is irrelevant. To a lesser degree even the Lifetime option is looked down upon... you can't use TiVo without having to purchase something else. Typically, this comes from people who don't have a subscription gene in their body and or are tired of paying monthly for pay-TV and want to stop bleeding. :)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice/0_100#post_22245696


That's a rather bold assumption considering the number of newbees we get in these forums who ask very basic questions.
Hey I was a newbee like that one time
I told myself I'd never get a Tivo because I wasn't going to pay no stinkin' monthly fees. I didn't mind a higher upfront cost, just don't nickle and dime my monthly. Once I found about lifetime I ponied up the money and haven't looked back. That was 4? years ago and I haven't had any "issues" or missed recordings yet
I agree $500 may be a lot up front but being OTA only I just figure it's one of the things that makes me happy with the limited amount of channels I get. When I watch TV It's what I want, basically commercial free.
 

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Well I just don't like or fully understand why I buy a lifetime and if my unit breaks or is outdated and have to upgrade why I have to buy another lifetime.

"To me" its a total scam.

Sell me a lifetime service and then sell me a unit. Not over and over again.

An HTPC is a very good option, but everyone thinks of a big mid tower standing by the tv.
 

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Um, maybe because they can't make any money that way? It's not a scam if you understand the business model and how lifetime essentially pays for itself when you resell the box at upgrade time. If you don't, cobble together something else.
 

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Quote:
"To me" its a total scam.

Sell me a lifetime service and then sell me a unit. Not over and over again.
Agreed.

Problem is, TiVo is the Goliath of DVR's, just as M$ is for O/S's. Both have a strangle hold over competitors, especially law suit happy TiVo.

If they would wake up, stop being so greedy with their 'rule the world' mentality and produce a DVR that can be used w/o their Guide data, they might attract more potential customers.


It's like buying a vehicle that can only be operated with fuel from that manufacture. Yes, you can buy the car, but it won't go anywhere without their fuel.
 

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ReplayTV tried bundling in the sub cost with the price of the box and the DVRs were over $500. Guess what? People didn't buy them, so they switched to unbundling the sub price from the box (until they went under). It's no different for Tivo, they just subsidize the box cost upfront and get their profit from the sub.


If you wanted a true 'lifetime of the person' sub good for multiple boxes you'd probably pay over $1000 for the privilege, so how many takers do you think that would have?


It's not that difficult to understand, and it's not a scam.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit  /t/1421478/confused-on-which-ota-dvr-to-purchase-any-advice/0_100#post_22326240


It's not that difficult to understand, and it's not a scam.

I agree completely. It's very similar in concept to, say, a cell phone. With a cell phone, you contract for the cell service and the provider subsidizes the cost of the device to use their service. Same with TiVo. You buy the TiVo DVR service and they subsidize the cost of the device to use it. The only difference is that TiVo gives you the option of paying a one-time fee for unlimited DVR service for the life of the subsidized device. That is the gist of it, plain and simple.


So to all the people who think TiVo Lifetime DVR service is a scam, how would you react if Verizpn introduced a similar pricing plan where they will let you pay a one-time fee for unlimited cell-phone service for the life of your cell phone AND still subsidized the cost of the cell phone. Would you immediately brand that as a scam because it is only for the life of the subsidized cell-phone?


Almost without exception, the people who get bent out of shape over lifetime TiVo DVR service pricing do so by equating the cost as solely for the guide data. It is not. It is the fee for the TiVo DVR service running on their subsidized equipment -- that includes the DVR functionality and all its features and service & software support of which the guide data is just a part.


So, you don't like paying for DVR service? Fair enough. In that case you can go functional without guide data which means you have to buy unsubsidized equipment at full price. You can buy a CM-7400 for $400 that has no guide service but is fully functional for manual recording. Since a DVR is not really useful without a guide (PSIP is not a guide service) you have the option of subscribing to their guide data (you only get one choice on that) for $50/yr -- forever. It is your call which way to go, but lifetime DVR service it is definitely not a scam.
 
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