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I am a newbie and I have just about given up on HDTV. It seems so complicated, restrictive and expensive. I presently use Panasonic HDD DVD recorders to time shift and archive (to DVD-RAM) TV programs (all of this is, of course, SDTV). I get basic cable for my SDTV and hope to do HDTV OTA (cable HDTV rates are just way too high). It seems there is no such thing as an HDD HDTV recorder that works OTA. It seems the worthless suits at the major labels have blocked these. Please can anyone tell me is there anyway to reasonably (hopefully without using a computer) record HDTV to an HDD OTA and watch it later. If I could then archive it that would be wonderful.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALP /forum/post/12996087


It seems there is no such thing as an HDD HDTV recorder that works OTA.

Maybe not at the present time, but there have been (Sony DHG-HDD500/250 & LG 3410A, which can both be found used), and there will be in a few months (Echostar TR-50).


And then there's the TiVoHD and the TiVo S3, if you're not adverse to paying a fee.
 

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No one is blocking anything. The technology is just expensive.


If it was easy to sell a OTA DVR and make a profit, TiVo wouldn't be the only one doing it. The TivoHD costs $200-$250 plus $129/yr, or $698 with no fees . In July, TiVo should finally get some competition in the dual-tuner OTA DVR market; the [Echostar] Sling TR-50 HDTV OTA DVR should cost around $400 with no monthly fees. See the Echostar TR-50 HDTV DVR: Official Thread for more information.


Here's my combo OTA+cable HDTV DVR with a 1TB hard drive (144+ HD hours):




It combines dual-tuner OTA and basic or digital cable into a single, integrated HDTV DVR. Of course, you can also use it just as a dual-tuner OTA HDTV DVR without basic or digital cable.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv /forum/post/12997131


No one is blocking anything. The technology is just expensive.


If it was easy to sell a OTA DVR and make a profit, TiVo wouldn't be the only one doing it.

Just to be clear: Not even TiVo is doing "it" (i.e., "sell a OTA DVR and make a profit") -- TiVo is not making a profit.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Guys, Thanks for the input and the education.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALP /forum/post/12996087


I am a newbie and I have just about given up on HDTV. It seems so complicated, restrictive and expensive. I presently use Panasonic HDD DVD recorders to time shift and archive (to DVD-RAM) TV programs (all of this is, of course, SDTV). I get basic cable for my SDTV and hope to do HDTV OTA (cable HDTV rates are just way too high). It seems there is no such thing as an HDD HDTV recorder that works OTA. It seems the worthless suits at the major labels have blocked these. Please can anyone tell me is there anyway to reasonably (hopefully without using a computer) record HDTV to an HDD OTA and watch it later. If I could then archive it that would be wonderful.

Don't forget, you may be able to receive the OTA-HD channels via your Basic Cable subscription. This may be an easier solution than putting up an antenna.


Many cable systems put the local HD channels in clearQAM. If your HD-DVR supports clearQAM, you're set. The discontinued Sonys and LGs support clearQAM. I've read (please correct me if I'm wrong) that the Tivo's do not work with clearQAM, unless you get a CableCard. I've not been following the Echostar TR-50 thread, but as far as I know, it does not support clearQAM.


You can also use a PC/Mac with the appropriate tuner (USB or internal card) device for recording clearQAM (or OTA as well).


ft
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftaok /forum/post/12997763


I've read (please correct me if I'm wrong) that the Tivo's do not work with clearQAM, unless you get a CableCard.

It'll *receive* QAM channels that are in the clear, but you won't get guide data for them. Unfortunately it's not really possible to keep up on the QAM channel/subchannel changes in a reasonable way, as many cable systems rebundle their QAM channels every so often to get more optimal usage of their available bandwidth. You can't really count on them remaining the same for any reasonable period.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonfoo /forum/post/12999804


Unfortunately it's not really possible to keep up on the QAM channel/subchannel changes in a reasonable way, as many cable systems rebundle their QAM channels every so often to get more optimal usage of their available bandwidth. You can't really count on them remaining the same for any reasonable period.

It is possible to keep up in a reasonable way, by using CVCT (the cable virtual channel table, which enables a channel to maintain the same virtual channel number even after it has been moved to a different frequency). The problem is that some cable companies do not send CVCT properly like they should.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Garci /forum/post/13000696


It is possible to keep up in a reasonable way, by using CVCT (the cable virtual channel table, which enables a channel to maintain the same virtual channel number even after it has been moved to a different frequency). The problem is that some cable companies do not send CVCT properly like they should.

Do any? I mean, other than (a) to their own boxes, and (b) to CableCARD-equipped hosts?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonfoo /forum/post/13000796


Do any? I mean, other than (a) to their own boxes, and (b) to CableCARD-equipped hosts?

TWC in Durham sends CVCT for about 20 local channels (the major networks), and my Sony DVR uses those virtual channel numbers (without a CableCARD). However, there are about 25 other unencrypted channels that don't have CVCT.
 

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Another option to consider for time-shifting OTA HDTV is a cheap PC with tuner cards running XP or Vista Media Center. This comes with a subscription-free internet-delivered EPG, and is a reasonably user friendly system. It isn't Tivo - but it is still pretty good for what it does.


You can either have a quiet and small PC connected directly to your TV via Component, VGA, DVI or HDMI, or you can hide the PC somewhere in your house away from your viewing area, and use an Xbox 360 connected via an Ethernet (not WiFi for HD - though powerplug networking is now getting fast enough if you buy the right kit)


I've been using this for SD OTA in the UK for a couple of years - and it works pretty well for me.
 
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