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Old 08-14-08, 08:56 AM   #1
ManBearPig
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DVR - why so expensive? alternatives?

I already have what I consider to be an expensive contract for pretty basic Direct TV satellite programming. It's like 70/month and a 2-year commitment. Well, I decided it would be nice to get a DVR finally. I was pricing them at Best Buy. About 200 bucks. So, I was thinking I buy this, and that's it. WRONG.

A Direct TV rep explained:
- I would have to extend my contract to two years
- The $200 fee is a "lease" fee -- I don't own it
- Trip fee for installing another line (to record a channel and watch another?)
- monthly fee for the added DVR service.

B.S. I am not committing myself to that expense just for the option of recording an occasional show. Certainly, there MUST be an alternative to this route. Anyone know how? Is there no device out there that I could place inline with my HD non-dvr receiver and record the signal coming in? Do I really have to pay all those equipment fees and stuff? Is there a third-party I could turn to?
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Old 08-14-08, 08:58 AM   #2
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Tivo

FWIW after having DVR, I don't know how I watched tv without it for so long.
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Old 08-14-08, 08:59 AM   #3
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cable.

seriously, I don't really know. I have resisted the siren call of DVR's much to the chagrin of wife and daughter. I would so drop the whole shootin' match.

edit: Tivo may be the answer. I can't recall if there is a minimum time framefor the service, but at least you would own the device.
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Old 08-14-08, 09:07 AM   #4
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Go with TiVo if possible. Cable company DVRs are trash, software-wise. TiVo is slick and has many more features. Can you still get the DirectTiVo? I think they discontinued it.
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Old 08-14-08, 09:07 AM   #5
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I remember a while back a few people saying they used MythTV
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Old 08-14-08, 09:51 AM   #6
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I remember a while back a few people saying they used MythTV
I tried it, hmm to be honest not worth the effort. I use sageTV now, while the product is closed, the plugins are endless, reusable and reprogramable.

But it will still be up there in price unless you go single tuner. Which imo, is nearly useless. Dual tuner, remote and software plug the sagetv cost ends up being pricey.

Don't get me wrong, myth is good, very configurable, but unless you are a *nixy its far to annoying for the average end user, not when you can drop Sage (there is another too but I didn't like it) in and have a dual tuner pvr in a matter of 15 minutes.

Lastly, I don't believe that any of these options will work with the upcoming required digital. I may be wrong but last time I checked no one had the proper decryption to show digital TV. I haven't kept up to date on this but as of many months ago this was the case. Making Tivo compatible systems and/or Provider PVR's the only option.
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Old 08-14-08, 10:09 AM   #7
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I tried it, hmm to be honest not worth the effort. I use sageTV now, while the product is closed, the plugins are endless, reusable and reprogramable.

But it will still be up there in price unless you go single tuner. Which imo, is nearly useless. Dual tuner, remote and software plug the sagetv cost ends up being pricey.

Don't get me wrong, myth is good, very configurable, but unless you are a *nixy its far to annoying for the average end user, not when you can drop Sage (there is another too but I didn't like it) in and have a dual tuner pvr in a matter of 15 minutes.

Lastly, I don't believe that any of these options will work with the upcoming required digital. I may be wrong but last time I checked no one had the proper decryption to show digital TV. I haven't kept up to date on this but as of many months ago this was the case. Making Tivo compatible systems and/or Provider PVR's the only option.
I haven't tried it, but it looks like a fun project. The problem is I have too many projects so, I would probably just get a Tivo.
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Old 08-14-08, 10:15 AM   #8
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I just checked -- Tivo does not have an available HD DVR for use with DirectTV.
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Old 08-14-08, 10:47 AM   #9
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http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Phili...oductDetail.do

I am not sure if one of the DVD recorders with a built in hard disk would work for you. Might be an option. The beauty of the DVR's is the on screen programming and such. I have AT&T U Verse (non HD) and while it is not perfect, I do like the fact that I can log onto UVerse from any computer, access my account and remotely tell my DVR to record programs, etc.
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Old 08-14-08, 04:49 PM   #10
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MythTV can record an HD stream over firewire from a cable box but I've not been able to make it work reliably. Then again, I'm not a "nixy".
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Old 08-14-08, 05:15 PM   #11
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MythTV can record an HD stream over firewire from a cable box but I've not been able to make it work reliably. Then again, I'm not a "nixy".
Ya, sorry I guess I should have said, you can do digital and highdef if you have the box to decode.

Can't you just use the hd box to decode and then throw it via hdmi into a "tuner" in the myth box to do the recording. You wouldn't be able to control the channel from myth but still record the feed?
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Old 08-14-08, 05:26 PM   #12
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I have a Panasonic E85H DVR. No monthly fees. It gets program info from the cable -- no telephone connection required. Works great.
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Old 08-14-08, 06:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
Ya, sorry I guess I should have said, you can do digital and highdef if you have the box to decode.

Can't you just use the hd box to decode and then throw it via hdmi into a "tuner" in the myth box to do the recording. You wouldn't be able to control the channel from myth but still record the feed?

I wanted it to control the channels as well though. Otherwise, you have to remember to leave the cable box on the right channel.

But you are correct - you could feed the HD signal into the DVR and record it from there.
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Old 08-14-08, 08:22 PM   #14
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A TV Card and A good Video/Audio Capture Program works for me
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Old 08-14-08, 08:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ManBearPig View Post
I already have what I consider to be an expensive contract for pretty basic Direct TV satellite programming. It's like 70/month and a 2-year commitment. Well, I decided it would be nice to get a DVR finally. I was pricing them at Best Buy. About 200 bucks. So, I was thinking I buy this, and that's it. WRONG.

A Direct TV rep explained:
- I would have to extend my contract to two years
- The $200 fee is a "lease" fee -- I don't own it
- Trip fee for installing another line (to record a channel and watch another?)
- monthly fee for the added DVR service.

B.S. I am not committing myself to that expense just for the option of recording an occasional show. Certainly, there MUST be an alternative to this route. Anyone know how? Is there no device out there that I could place inline with my HD non-dvr receiver and record the signal coming in? Do I really have to pay all those equipment fees and stuff? Is there a third-party I could turn to?
DirecTV is such a mind blowing rip off that I dumped them for digital cable last year after being a DirecTV customer for five years. What an impossible to deal with arrogant bunch of unresponsive aholes. I don't care if they have 9000 High Def channels. Good grief they did SUCK. Don't even get me going on what a pain in the ass they made it to leave them. Oh man. Unreal. Possibly the WORST single experience I've ever had with a company. Amazing.

MUCH happier, none of that grief, stupid fees, etc. with cable. The DVR is no money up front and like a $10 monthly fee. Very happy with cable internet, phone, HDTV/DVR.
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Old 08-14-08, 09:13 PM   #16
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Ya, sorry I guess I should have said, you can do digital and highdef if you have the box to decode.

Can't you just use the hd box to decode and then throw it via hdmi into a "tuner" in the myth box to do the recording. You wouldn't be able to control the channel from myth but still record the feed?
You can buy a USB TurboFEC decoder from genpix for the HD dish channels and the normal dish channels.
Then you get yourself a ATSC pci receiver for HD local channels and voila, VDR with mythtv on the cheap.
Throw Linux on it, install mythtv with the required dish patches, start scanning the channels and start watching.
Of course, you can only record the NASA channel, since it's unencrypted, but there are ways around to get the other encrypted channels as well.
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