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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Options for Recording After DVDRs Are Gone

Note: This thread is updated continuously as new products become available.

Simple Standalone Recorders (on the Way Out?)

Our standalone SD HDD/DVD recorders for OTA and cable are slowly being replaced by HD recorders, some for OTA only:


  1. HDTV Recorders - AVS threads on high-def (HD) DVRs (no on-board DVD burner except for the Mag 86x and 877 models listed below). A comparison of some HD DVRs to the Mag HDD DVDRs is here.
  2. Magnavox MDR533, 535, 537, SD DVDRs, Sep 2012, OTA and cable.
  3. Philips HDR5710 & 5750, HD DVRs, Nov 2013, OTA and cable.
  4. Channel Master DVR+, HD DVR, Dec 2013, OTA only.
  5. Magnavox MDR557, SD DVR, May 2014, OTA and cable. The last SD HDD/DVD recorder?
  6. Magnavox MDR865, 867, 868, HD DVRs, Sep 2015, OTA and cable. First HD DVRs for N.A. with DVD burners, SD inputs, editing, HD/SD rec modes, and USB 3.0!
  7. Magnavox MDR877H & TB560HP/560HS, HD DVRs, introduced in Jan 2016 at CES, expected to be released in 4th Qtr 2016 but current status unknown.

Alternatives to Standalone Recorders (on the Way In?)

Products from item 6 down require a computer or external HDD to give you recording, in addition to tuning, capability. If you also want DVD capability, you should be able to record stuff on your PC/Mac or your 20th- or 21st-Century DVD recorders you have now or find in the nearest museum, as long as the item selected has composite YWR RCA or S-Video output, which can only handle the DVD-required SD... or you can use converters to allow you to use a source's HDMI or Component output to feed a PC/Mac or DVD recorder, with slightly reduced quality since it'll be SD through the converter's YWR or S-Video output.


  1. Cable and Satellite DVRs. Rent cable or satellite DVR and copy to recorder from it. Some people use their STB w/o a DVR as a tuner for their DVD recorders,. like this user who switched to Dish's Hopper and Joey and is thrilled! Here's a help file on copying/recording from a STB, followed by TIPS from actual users.
  2. Home-Theater PC (HTPC) Forums - AVS forums on home theater PC's.
  3. Building your own HTPC.
  4. List of Available DVD Production Tools for PCs... last updated June 2013.
  5. SD DVD File Structure . . . HD Disc and File Info.
  6. Dare2be-1 - List of basic uses YOUR post-DVDR option should have and features to accomplish them (at time of posting)?
    Dare2be-2 - Chart comparing features of 5 PC and standalone products worthy of consideration (at time of posting).
  7. HDHomeRun - Complete description of PC system for cable TV, HDHomeRun Prime with 3 cable card tuners, Windows Media Center (WMC), HD VideReDo for editing, etc. HDHomeRun for OTA with 2 tuners also available.
  8. Windows Media Center (WMC) vs. Tivo - Charles R describes his conversion from Tivo to WMC with X-box as extenders, HDHomerun, etc. for all his recording, streaming, storage, etc. He has enough detail in Post #1 alone for anyone else to do the same thing if desired, or at least contact him for more details if needed.
  9. WMC With Old PC - Old HP Pavilion Elite with WMC, 10.750TB of HDDs, Bluray burner and lots more.
  10. Simple & Cheap WMC HTPC - Mdavej describes his simple and cheap (used-equipment) setup for his 5-TV house where everyone can watch live TV and access recorded shows... all without anyone realizing there's a computer and WIN 7 Windows Media Center (WMC) involved! (He doesn't recommend WIN 8.)
  11. Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR - $189-220 external box for recording from cable or set-top box (STB) to a computer. Discussion starts here. One user starts his Review with some good info: "It takes component video from any HD cable or satellite box, digitizes and compresses it to an h.264 transport stream and sends it via USB2.0 to a computer." And, later, this: "If you're sick of your cable company's crappy DVR and of paying for the privilege of using it, or of paying for redundant guide data (Tivo), or have an existing PC-based PVR box and your cable company just went "all digital" and took away all the analog channels you used to record freely (and even encrypted them on QAM even though they're not even HD), then the HDPVR is a must-have. Just get a standard, non-PVR HD cable or satellite box, mate it with this and enjoy!"
  12. Boxee TV - July 10, 2013. Samsung bought Boxee and will shut down Boxee's Cloud DVR, where user recordings resided, effectively starting the move to put Boxee out of business.
  13. Simple TV - Small $99 box for watching and streaming Live TV and recordings to multiple devices. Watch live TV or record to USB HDD. For clear-QAM cable or OTA.
  14. Ceton Echo - Connect the $179 Ceton Echo to a TV set and enjoy live TV, DVR and all your personal media in any room. As they say on their splash page, "Transform your WMC PC into the whole-home entertainment box you’ve always wanted." AVS thread here.
  15. Avermedia Game Capture HD C281 - A $130 box for capturing HD DVR titles on USB-connected HDDs. Avermedia website ... Amazon seller.
  16. Hauppauge 1512 HD-PVR 2 - An upgraded 1212, #9 above. A $200 external box for recording unprotected content from HDMI and Component sources to a computer. Includes an IR blaster for auto-changing cable/sat box channels. Compatible with Windows Media Center (WMC). AVS thread.
  17. Roku LT, HD, 2XS, 2XD & 3 - Palm-sized $40-100 box for streaming from "Channels" like Netflix, Vudu, HBOGO, Hulu Plus (but not the free Hulu), Amazon, etc. (see "Channels" on their website). LT/HD/2XD/2XS have composite YWR output for recording to a PC or DVD recorder (with CP filter/converter as needed), but latest Roku 3 has only a single HDMI output... for recording, it WILL require a HDMI>Composite/S-Video converter as shown in the link above. KenF has some interesting info on the Roku 2XS, which is not on Roku's website. It and the Roku 3 are the only models with both wired and wireless networking, plus USB for playback. The 2XS can be found at Amazon, and in some Sam's Club stores, and at J&R. Retains setup, channels, resume point on titles, etc. when unplugged, so it's portable from one TV to another. I can stream movies nicely with my 1.5Mbps AT&T Uverse internet, with router set manually for channel 6 (speed sucks on auto-set... ch. 1, 6 or 11 are the preferred manual-set router channels for reducing interference that can slow things down).
  18. TabloTV - OTA box with DVR capability with your USB-HDDs. 2-tuner and 4-tuner units now shipping (Jun 2014), This is "the first solution designed to combine the functionality of a DVR with the convenience and mobility of a tablet-based app to browse, record and stream broadcast TV content to any device, anytime, anywhere." Thread here, where first users seem to like it a lot. One first-user's summary post. Don't worry about broadband usage since this is NOT an internet streaming device. Instead, it streams live antenna TV to up to 6 networked devices simultaneously. Watch on PC/Mac or iPhone/Android smartphone via browser. Stream live AND recorded shows anywhere in the world. Stream (internally) to TV via AppleTV/Roku/Chromecast. Only uses external bandwidth for guide data ($4.99/m, $49/yr or $149 for your account's lifetime (not the box's).
  19. DVBLink, Kodi, OpenELEC, PercData, and more - CharlesR's thread on turning your PC or NAS into a personal TV server. "... DVBLink products for NAS, PC and Raspberry Pi platforms offers everything you need to enjoy your favorite Satellite (DVB-S/S2), Cable (DVB-C and QAM), Terrestrial (DVB-T/T2 and ATSC), IPTV and Analog TV channels and recordings within your home network and on the go!" Regarding ease-of-use, CharlesR says: "Don't let the fact this is NAS based scare you off. You can purchase a ReadyNAS with more than enough power for under a hundred dollars (if you catch a good sale). And the installation of DVBLink is 100% browser based. You don't need to know SSH, vi or even know how to spell geek"
  20. iView, Homeworx 150 and 180, Ematic and other, under $40 Digital Converters with PSIP Guide that can tune channels and record to a user-supplied external HDD or FAST* thumb drive.
    *Worried about "slow" FT drives? Best FT drives for DVRs will be larger-capacity USB 3.0 drives (128+GB), which are *designed* for faster reading/writing than smaller-capacity models from same mfgr. This can prevent the playback-stuttering-while-recording reported on other DVRs. Here's a good comparison chart that might make your research easier? Look for write speed at least faster than 125MB/s, the typ min. write speed of HDDs. Beware of sellers who show only read speed, which is always (much) higher and not nearly as important as write speed for our recorders. See note on Samsung 850 Pro below.
    Worried about multiple writes/rewrites? How about "Two freaking petabytes" (2,000 TB) in SSD endurance tests so far (tests performed "way back" in 2013-2014). All depends on the type of flash memory inside, e.g., the Samsung 840 model in that report was not a great performer due to its use of TLC flash but its new 850 models for 2017 (up to 4TB) will be using 2-bit NAND MLC and have 470-520MB/s write speed(!).
  21. Aura Live - OTA box, internet connection not required for live TV via antenna. From their website: "AURA is a complete solution for ditching cable. You’ll be able to watch FREE Live TV, Free Movies, Free Episodes, and FREE sporting events. With Live TV you’ll be able to bring up a channel guide, pause, record and even schedule events to be recorded. You’ll even be able to enjoy your favorite streaming apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more [with an internet connection]. The average cable bill is $80/month. AURA pays for itself within the first two months."

Just a heads-up: The FCC has been making changes in cable rules that could affect your research and decision on new technology. See this Nov 2012 article that mentions some of the options described here and the potential problems you *might* experience when using them in an "all-digital" (all-scrambled) cable system. Far-fetched as it may seem, even OTA signals could be affected (scrambled) *someday* based on industry/FCC discussions (plots) on how-to-enslave-viewers-with-a-simple-FuCCu-Rule.
 

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I'm still seeing DVD recorders for sale out there, I just don't know if they're still being made.


If they are, then we're back to real time recording to a DVD, rather than being able to record to a drive first and then edit and high-speed burn a DVD.


Aside from that, I know about computers being used to both receive TV and record it (as well as burn discs), but have no knowledge of how it all works or experience using one.


I'm kind of hoping someone gets into that subject in this thread, but does it like they're talking to a total novice, because that's what I need to hear.


Getting a separate computer just to record TV might be a turn-off to some people, but then we ARE video-philes.
 

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Hey Wajo - you are a Thread starter extraordinaire !!


To whom is may concern:


I am using XBMC on a PC, as an Addon they have now got MythTV which with a USB external TV card has the added capability of removing commercials on the Fly - At least that is what I am thinking it does as I never owned a Linux based Box running Myth.


Other nice features of XBMC is how nicely it plays all video formats. There are apps for Weather, Vimeo, and different TV Channels such as HGTV, USA that list the latest shows that the respective TV Channel Web sites are offering.


Oh and did I say XBMC is free?
 

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Discussion Starter #4

Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof /forum/post/21557878


I'm still seeing DVD recorders for sale out there, I just don't know if they're still being made.


If they are, then we're back to real time recording to a DVD, rather than being able to record to a drive first and then edit and high-speed burn a DVD.


Aside from that, I know about computers being used to both receive TV and record it (as well as burn discs), but have no knowledge of how it all works or experience using one.

I'm kind of hoping someone gets into that subject in this thread, but does it like they're talking to a total novice, because that's what I need to hear.


Getting a separate computer just to record TV might be a turn-off to some people, but then we ARE video-philes.

I'd like to emphasize your point about keeping it simple, at least in the beginning, so old DVDR farts can keep up... and, remember, some of us have wife/CFO/kids/S.O.'s who cringe when you say the word "computer" so we'll have a huge learning curve (or impediment) there, just for the new language that might be required!
 

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Copied from the other thread.



I downloaded VideoRedo TV Suite 4 on a trial basis (yes, I'm using a M$ OS), and one thing I did like about it was the automatic scene/commercial detection logic. I tried it on one of my Mag DVDs that I ripped to the computer. What I didn't like, was that the result after it did its commercial cuts, had distorted the audio around the scene cuts.
 

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Again, copied from the other thread.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson /forum/post/21557790


I never experienced that when I was using it. It's a complete program that has a learning curve so maybe you have to play with it some more. On the other hand, that may be a function of the evaluation copy -- vendors do things like that; make it 98% functional but prevent you from actually using it to your advantage until you pay for it. DVD Fab is like that. If you encode anything with the 30 trial version it embeds their monkey logo as a watermark in the video stream.

Funny thing is, I chose as many of the options as I could find to NOT re-encode the stream. It only took about 15 seconds to make the cuts on each title. I also emailed for an evaluation key so that I wasn't limited to 15 minutes of video output. If they make it appear that the program is buggy in the evaluation copy, that isn't a ringing endorsement to buy it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof /forum/post/21557878


..........Getting a separate computer just to record TV might be a turn-off to some people, but then we ARE video-philes.

Today, practically every electrical product, from your new toaster or clock radio, to that light dimming switch on the dining room wall, use IC's and/or micro processors. In other words they're computers.


With todays inexpensive computer TV tuner cards and adaptors (which come with programming software) it should be relatively easy for the average person to turn their home computer into a DVR. Or....that 5-8 year old computer you planned to throw out, could be an ideal candidate as your "new" DVR. Don't have an old computer? Check your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or other Thrift Store. Many have warehouses full of used computers they want to get rid of, at unbelievably low prices. On average, one should be able to build a good "Computer-DVR" system for well under $100.


This YouTube video is just one example of how to accomplish same: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwC1D...eature=related
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapler1234 /forum/post/21558176


With todays inexpensive computer TV tuner cards and adaptors (which come with programming software) it should be relatively easy for the average person to turn their home computer into a DVR. Or....that 5-8 year old computer you planned to throw out, could be an ideal candidate as your "new" DVR. Don't have an old computer? Check your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or other Thrift Store. Many have warehouses full of used computers they want to get rid of, at unbelievably low prices. On average, one should be able to build a good "Computer-DVR" system for well under $100.

1. I'm trying to wrap my head around the "under $100". Most decent TV tuner cards/capture devices by themselves cost around that much, or more.


2. How to I get my A/V outputs from my living room equipment to my computer, without putting the computer in my entertainment center? Most "old" or "used" computers don't have a low profile or small footprint to fit in existing entertainment centers. Then, if the computer is with existing AV equipment, then it needs to be more like an HTPC to be able to be controlled from a distance.


3. Most threads I've seen on a cursory look talking about building an HTPC, which I believe is what most of us need, talk about costs running upwards of $500 or more.


I'm not trying to shoot you down here, just trying to understand a new paradigm.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dare2be /forum/post/21557912


If they make it appear that the program is buggy in the evaluation copy, that isn't a ringing endorsement to buy it.

The evaluation is just as stable as the purchased copy. In fact it's the same copy. After you pay for it you get a registration key to unlock it. The evaluation worked so well for me I only needed to try it for 3 days. I paid for it long before the trial period ended.
 

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Glad to see a dedicated thread for this. I've been recording on an HP laptop for about 3 years but have never gotten anywhere with the bundled software - editing is hopeless and a 1-hour burn takes 3 hours - that's like 30x longer than the 3576, much less the 2160 or 515.


Oh wait - I guess this thread isn't inherently Funai-specific like the other one so we'll have to avoid the shorthand model number references? But I imagine many posts will involve comparison to Funai functionality - maybe a sticky post #1 would be useful for non-Funai readers?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken.F /forum/post/21558311


The evaluation is just as stable as the purchased copy. In fact it's the same copy. After you pay for it you get a registration key to unlock it. The evaluation worked so well for me I only needed to try it for 3 days. I paid for it long before the trial period ended.

Well, my evaluation hasn't gone well so far (Win7 at work). I will try it on an XP machine I have at home this weekend.
 

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Someone should make a home theater PC all ready to go right out of the box. Nothing to install, either hardwarte or software. A PC that out of the box has DVR software (no monthly fees or interent connection required), ATSC/QAM/NTSC tuner card with cable card slot, and remote control already installed, just connect to a tv and be ready to go. Ability to operate entirely by remote control since there often isn't room to set up a keyboard and mouse next to a tv. In the early days of PCs if you wanted color, graphics, and sound you had to buy seperate cards and install them, now every PC has that out of the box. An HTPC ready to go out of the box would be a natural evolution.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Hawk /forum/post/21558414


Someone should make a home theater PC all ready to go right out of the box. Nothing to install, either hardwarte or software. [...]

They've made them for years: they were called DVD/HDD recorders.



Of course I totally get what you're saying: what mystifies me is why such a "PC" housed recorder would probably sell while dedicated recorders are persona-non-grata. There is an oddly recorder-resistant element in the consumer mindset that just doesn't add up: they won't touch a DVD/HDD for as liittle as $229 (and a $399 BD/HDD would be laughed off the loading dock as "too expensive" before it ever reached store shelves). Yet it would not surprise me in the least if a PVR-optimized PC from Dell or HP would fly out the door for $499. Sometimes I wonder if they embed pheromones in the plastic chassis of modern PCs: it might explain the mania for putting up with a PC to do tasks that are much more simply and conveniently done with dedicated devices. Although the trend occasionally reverses itself: witness the ridiculous "smart TVs" that cost double the price of a "dumb" TV yet cause nothing but grief compared to a "dumb" TV connected to a PC.


I think the trend towards HTPC was partly stoked by the emergence of simple file-sharing sites a few years ago. When torrents were the only way to obtain videos from around the world, you had to be a little more savvy than usual. Then file-share sites sprang up, and any grandmother could go to a fan site and download movies or episodes with an easy click. With all those sharing options slamming their doors and going under last week in response to the MediaUpload FBI raid, the moment may have unexpectedly passed, leaving us back in torrent-land once more. I suspect this may dim some of the appeal of HTPC solutions: torrents are not intuitive for the casual user. This comes too late to help save standalone recorders, but it will still have quite a ripple effect on some factors that have been taken for granted regarding "media center PC" use.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/21558482


Yet it would not surprise me in the least if a PVR-optimized PC from Dell or HP would fly out the door for $499.

Dell tried it with the Zino HD . It didn't catch on.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken.F /forum/post/21558523


Dell tried it with the Zino HD . It didn't catch on.

How is that an HTPC? It's more like a WD Live for NAS streaming...I don't see any recording/capturing/editing features on it.
 
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