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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question:

Is there an easy way to watch one channel while recording another with a HDD/DVD recorder and a digital box, or satellite?


Also, will I have to set the digital/satellite box to the channel I want to record? If so, any way to avoid this?


I presently record multiple programs per day on various channels with my HDD/DVD recorder. Thanks to that rude intrusion called "day job", I cannot be at home to manually change the digital/satellite box channel during the day, or at night when I'm out, etc.

Semi-irrelevant Background:

I love my current setup, but it's not good enough for Comcast. They are forcing digital boxes and adapters on us (at an extra cost beyond 3, and we have a large home and 5 TVs) just to keep our present channel lineup. Thus, I have to switch from basic cable with no boxes of any kind to either digital cable, or satellite (likely because I really want to fire Comcast).


A long time ago when I lived elsewhere and had a digital box, I used an A/B switch to do this, but it was a royal hassle, and the box had to be set to the channel being recorded, a major inconvenience. I have read other threads here that talked about two converter boxes, but am not really sure what a converter box is (is that just the basic box you get from the cable or satellite co? Will they charge me for extras?).
 

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If you're up for the cost (~$550 with no monthly fees) the Tivo HD might be your best option. It has 2 tuners and works with cable cards (not Sat.). With the Tivo you can record 2 different channels or record one channel while watching a different channel. Otherwise if you want to watch one program while recording a different channel the best you could do with either Sat. or cable would be to get 2 separate STBs (from your provider). One would feed your recording device while the other would feed your TV. If you wanted to record 2 different channels at the same time you'd need 2 separate recorders along with the 2 STBs. In this case you wouldn't really need a third STB unless you wanted to record 2 different channels and watch a third different channel.

With scrambled QAM channels you really need cable company supplied boxes, which of course will cost you extra for each box. With the Tivo I think you may also have to pay a nominal fee for the cable cards. I seem to remember something like $1.99 in this very informative Tivo thread .

You could also pay less for the Tivo and instead pay a monthly fee, or of course you could also rent your cable companies(or Sat. providers) DVR which may have similar operation to the Tivo but not nearly as many features and probably won't be as reliable.

See you've just got a job and I've spent all your money
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by opieandy /forum/post/16937632


I have read other threads here that talked about two converter boxes, but am not really sure what a converter box is (is that just the basic box you get from the cable or satellite co? Will they charge me for extras?).

If you're talking about the DTA adapters, they're two very basic cable boxes Comcast is offering to people who don't have digital tuners in their TVs to keep receiving digital cable. They should come without fees (for now) but any beyond the first two you'll have to lease.


I don't think satellite has anything equivalent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Can you burn DVDs with a TIVO?


I have three HDD/DVD recorders. Not only are they paid for, but I am in total control of the storage. And I can burn DVDs, which my family use a lot to watch shows in different parts of the house, take on vacations, etc.


If I go the "2 STB" route, don't I have to manually make sure the STB is set to the channel I want to record? I can't program multiple shows on different channels because I have to tune the STB to the channel (versus selecting the channel on my HDD/DVD recorder), right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/16937767


If you're up for the cost (~$550 with no monthly fees) the Tivo HD might be your best option. It has 2 tuners and works with cable cards (not Sat.). With the Tivo you can record 2 different channels or record one channel while watching a different channel. Otherwise if you want to watch one program while recording a different channel the best you could do with either Sat. or cable would be to get 2 separate STBs (from your provider). One would feed your recording device while the other would feed your TV. If you wanted to record 2 different channels at the same time you'd need 2 separate recorders along with the 2 STBs. In this case you wouldn't really need a third STB unless you wanted to record 2 different channels and watch a third different channel.

With scrambled QAM channels you really need cable company supplied boxes, which of course will cost you extra for each box. With the Tivo I think you may also have to pay a nominal fee for the cable cards. I seem to remember something like $1.99 in this very informative Tivo thread .

You could also pay less for the Tivo and instead pay a monthly fee, or of course you could also rent your cable companies(or Sat. providers) DVR which may have similar operation to the Tivo but not nearly as many features and probably won't be as reliable.

See you've just got a job and I've spent all your money
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa /forum/post/16937912


If you're talking about the DTA adapters, they're two very basic cable boxes Comcast is offering to people who don't have digital tuners in their TVs to keep receiving digital cable. They should come without fees (for now) but any beyond the first two you'll have to lease.


I don't think satellite has anything equivalent.

I think the digital adapters/converters are NOT traditional digital boxes (that you select channels on), so I would still program my TVs and HDD recorder as normal, is that right?


Even so, I would need to least 2, which is the final straw I was looking for to finally fire Comcast, who has gradually taken away channels over the past few years (including the TV Guide channel, give me a break!).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by opieandy /forum/post/16937967


Can you burn DVDs with a TIVO?

Nope. You can offload them to a computer and potentially burn DVDs that way. Or possibly just hook up an existing recorder to the TiVo and use it strictly for burning DVDs of stuff the TiVo records.


There's no easy way to integrate DVD recorders into today's cable systems. Or satellite for that matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by opieandy /forum/post/16937975


I think the digital adapters/converters are NOT traditional digital boxes (that you select channels on), so I would still program my TVs and HDD recorder as normal, is that right?

No, they're tuners in their own right. They don't carry the huge array of channels or doodads of the larger cable boxes, but they don't magically make your analog tuners in the DVD recorders suddenly tune digital channels, either.
 

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Some older Tivos had a DVD burner but no recent ones. If you had a DVDR with a IR blaster (HDD recorders with TVGOS: Panasonics, Toshibas, Pioneers?) and they have a IR code for your STB, you could use it to change the channel on your STB.

I know how handy recording to DVD can be, it's what I did all the time before my Tivo. It's just when in your case, with STBs that may not be able to change channels on their own, it's really your only decent choice.

Note this thread has some talk about STBs that enable you to program them to automatically change channels. If you had one of those it would also be a alternative. What brands/models are your DVDRs w/HDDs?

edit: Tupla also answered at the same time I was typing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa /forum/post/16938113


Nope. You can offload them to a computer and potentially burn DVDs that way. Or possibly just hook up an existing recorder to the TiVo and use it strictly for burning DVDs of stuff the TiVo records.


There's no easy way to integrate DVD recorders into today's cable systems. Or satellite for that matter.




No, they're tuners in their own right. They don't carry the huge array of channels or doodads of the larger cable boxes, but they don't magically make your analog tuners in the DVD recorders suddenly tune digital channels, either.


My HDD/DVD recorder already tunes digital channels, even though I am not a digital cable subscriber (I get a handful of them through the HDD recorder). So are you saying that even so, I cannot use my HDD recorder to set recordings on various channels? My understanding is that these "adapters" are not like set-top boxes - that is, I will still select channels with my TV remote as I always have. Given that, I would think I could still record with the HDD recorder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/16938147


Some older Tivos had a DVD burner but no recent ones. If you had a DVDR with a IR blaster (HDD recorders with TVGOS: Panasonics, Toshibas, Pioneers?) and they have a IR code for your STB, you could use it to change the channel on your STB.

I know how handy recording to DVD can be, it's what I did all the time before my Tivo. It's just when in your case, with STBs that may not be able to change channels on their own, it's really your only decent choice.

Note this thread has some talk about STBs that enable you to program them to automatically change channels. If you had one of those it would also be a alternative. What brands/models are your DVDRs w/HDDs?

edit: Tupla also answered at the same time I was typing.


I have a Philips 3575. Three, in fact.
Hate to think they're obsolete after 2 years.



I don't know what IR codes are, and this is quickly getting complicated enough that I'm inclined to just stick with evil Comcast, so long as the digital adapter thing doesn't mess me up (see immediate preceding reply to Tupla).
 

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IR codes are the infrared signals sent by remotes.


With the Philips DVDRs, you can record clear digital channels, but not scrambled ones. So, you should still be able to record anything that you could record previously, since you were not using a cable box, and couldn't unscramble anything.


If you get a cable box, even a simple one, you can use that to record from scrambled channels, it just won't be able to change automatically, so you would leave it set for the channel you want, and set the Philips to record from the line input it is hooked up to. The Philips could still record unscrambled channels too.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by opieandy /forum/post/16938529


My HDD/DVD recorder already tunes digital channels, even though I am not a digital cable subscriber (I get a handful of them through the HDD recorder).

Yeah, your QAM tuner is snagging channels in the clear.

Quote:
My understanding is that these "adapters" are not like set-top boxes - that is, I will still select channels with my TV remote as I always have. Given that, I would think I could still record with the HDD recorder.

They're not like the big set top boxes in the sense that they don't get all the digital channels. They're just used to tune former analog channels that are now digital. You could use them to output to the HDD recorder and record that way, but the adapter still has to change the channel.


If your HDD recorder already tunes digital channels, there is no need for the adapter unless the adapter gets channels the recorder's tuner doesn't get (which is unlikely.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa /forum/post/16938650


Yeah, your QAM tuner is snagging channels in the clear.




They're not like the big set top boxes in the sense that they don't get all the digital channels. They're just used to tune former analog channels that are now digital. You could use them to output to the HDD recorder and record that way, but the adapter still has to change the channel.


If your HDD recorder already tunes digital channels, there is no need for the adapter unless the adapter gets channels the recorder's tuner doesn't get (which is unlikely.)

Hmmm...right now, the HDD recorded gets maybe 20-25 digital channels. However, Comcast is telling me that starting on Aug. 11, I won't receive ANY channels without the digital adapter (they don't know about my HDD, but still, you get the point). If I don't get the digital adapter, according to Comcast I will lose all TV reception, my whole lineup.


Given that I don't receive my entire lineup as digital channels now, it seems the adapter is the only way to get these channels going forward, unless somehow my HDD starts picking them up (maybe those channels aren't yet being aired as digital channels, but will be on the 8/11 conversion date?). Confuzzling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa /forum/post/16938650


Yeah, your QAM tuner is snagging channels in the clear.




They're not like the big set top boxes in the sense that they don't get all the digital channels. They're just used to tune former analog channels that are now digital. You could use them to output to the HDD recorder and record that way, but the adapter still has to change the channel.


If your HDD recorder already tunes digital channels, there is no need for the adapter unless the adapter gets channels the recorder's tuner doesn't get (which is unlikely.)

Thanks, Tulpa, you are a lot more helpful than Comcast, which didn't tell me anything about these adapters other than I'd have to have them. So since the adapters control the channels, will I have to have a separate remote for each adapter? That is really yucky.
 

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Well, a universal remote can probably control them, too. Your TV remote might still work if you can program in remote codes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by opieandy /forum/post/16938846


Hmmm...right now, the HDD recorded gets maybe 20-25 digital channels. However, Comcast is telling me that starting on Aug. 11, I won't receive ANY channels without the digital adapter (they don't know about my HDD, but still, you get the point). If I don't get the digital adapter, according to Comcast I will lose all TV reception, my whole lineup.

Those adapters shouldn't get any more channels than the tuners in your recorders right now. Comcast probably doesn't realize (or care) that your recorders have QAM tuners and assume you just have analog TVs that would need them. The majority of their customers would need the adapters for their old tube TVs, but from what I've seen here and elsewhere, the adapters don't decrypt any channels, so they snag the same QAM channels your recorders pick up. If they start encrypting channels, you'll need the set top box anyway.


If you go to the cable TV forum here (one forum below this) and search for "DTA" or "DTAs", you'll find threads on them (DTA is Comcast's term for these adapters.)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by opieandy /forum/post/16937632

Question:

Is there an easy way to watch one channel while recording another with a HDD/DVD recorder and a digital box, or satellite?


Also, will I have to set the digital/satellite box to the channel I want to record? If so, any way to avoid this?

Dish Network has a non-DVR, "dual-tuner" model - the SD/SD 322 - which has no fee (for the first one). You can take the 1st tuner output and run it into your HDD/DVD recorder at the main TV, and record and watch something different at the same time.


It also has a full-featured event timer that can change the channels.


I've been using the 322 with a Panasonic EH75V, and I've never even had any copy protection issues (with that or any other of my recorders).


Anyway, you should understand that those Comcast DTA's have no way to change channels on their own.
 

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Also, will I have to set the digital/satellite box to the channel I want to record? If so, any way to avoid this?


I presently record multiple programs per day on various channels with my HDD/DVD recorder. Thanks to that rude intrusion called "day job", I cannot be at home to manually change the digital/satellite box channel during the day, or at night when I'm out, etc.



....I'm going through the same conversion kicking and screaming!!!

I hate the thought of time shifting with these boxes. I have them, but have not hooked them up yet. I have a plan but not sure it will work.


I just quickly scanned the rest of the thread so this may be a repeat.

Supposedly the first 30 channels will not need the new boxes, so i'm planning on getting a signal splitter and put one side in to one recorder and the second through the new cable box to a second recorder.


Anything I want to record on CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, ABC should be no change from now on the first recorder.

Anything on channel 30 or higher I will have to set the channel on the cable box AND set line input on the second recorder. Not sure if multiple shows on different channels will work.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ch256 /forum/post/16939731


I just quickly scanned the rest of the thread so this may be a repeat.

Supposedly the first 30 channels will not need the new boxes, so i'm planning on getting a signal splitter and put one side in to one recorder and the second through the new cable box to a second recorder.


Anything I want to record on CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, ABC should be no change from now on the first recorder.

Anything on channel 30 or higher I will have to set the channel on the cable box AND set line input on the second recorder. Not sure if multiple shows on different channels will work.


I have split the signal as you have mentioned & it has worked for me. IOW scheduling CBS via the RF input at 8pm and a cable box program via the line input 1 at 9pm. If you have a Comcast STB you can program it to also change channels & scheduled times. At least mine did this. It becomes a double programming process setting up a schedule on the STB and also the proper on/off times on the DVDR, but it can be done.
 

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If they're offering you two, free DTA's, like they seem to be doing for many, you could always take both and connect them to different line inputs.


Heck - split the signal three ways, and use the internal tuner, too, for the 1-30 channels, and that would be a pretty darned good setup.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski /forum/post/16943213


If they're offering you two, free DTA's, like they seem to be doing for many, you could always take both and connect them to different line inputs.


Heck - split the signal three ways, and use the internal tuner, too, for the 1-30 channels, and that would be a pretty darned good setup.

Here are two variations on the same idea.


The first photo shows an OTA set up with two Zenith CECBs connected to front and rear line inputs of a Panasonic DMR-ES15. A third connection could have been made to the RF input.


The second photo shows an OTA/Cable set up with a Zinwell 970A connected to a rear line input and an unseen cable converter box connected to the RF input of a well-used Panasonic DMR-ES35V. A third connection could have been made to the front panel line input. (The finger points to the "common" composite output to the TV.)

 
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