Good to see new stuff!
Greetings, pals... I discovered this forum when looking for solutions to last August's analog TV shutdown.
I'm in Vancouver, near Kits Beach and facing north from near sea level, with unobstructed line-of-sight to the Mt. Seymour transmitter farm. Since I'm north of a high ridge and in an apartment where towers are out of the question, I don't even try to get US channels.
Let me add a bit bout my perspective as I look at the digital OTA recorder options:
I hope I'm not violating the forum restrictions on politics by saying that I believe widely-available free television is important to an informed democratic civilization. That said, I was perfectly happy with my VHS VCRs and Samsung 27" NTSC TV. I also have two DVD players, a Zenith and a LITE-ON, which can play just about any disk format.
* I'd much rather invest in equipment than commit myself to perpetual subscription fees and recording/playback limitations.
* I'm not interested in any specialty channels, internet-based services, or program guides. I buy the paper every Friday, and there are only 7 channels to deal with; I have only dial-up internet. I get my movies from our excellent free library system, or at cinemas, if I can't tape them off the air.
* Dedicating a computer to television and leaving it on 24/7 won't do. They're noisy and produce a lot of heat, as well as burning power and wearing out. And I only run Linux.
* I won't buy anything on-line and, while I'd phone order for shipping, it would be nice to have a local store. I wouldn't mind driving down to the US, but getting a new birth certificate and passport for the new border rules would be an expensive pain.
* Being able to transfer to VHS, USB or DVD without restriction would be fantastic! I like to take things to watch with friends.
HDD recorders were tempting, but I chose to put off any upgrades until the digital conversion rather than have to replace everything. Alas, I found out that VCRs and HDDRs had been taken off the market, and the DVD/VCR combos with digital tuners couldn't record VHS off the air! Couple that with the limited recording time and cost of DVDs, and the fact that the protected format couldn't be played on any other devices (there goes watching one while recording another), and I gave up.
Some local stores (I shouldn't name them, right?) were quite helpful and let me take home pieces of equipment to test, and grateful for my reports of success. I ended up buying one TERK indoor amplified antenna (you were talking about them here) and a cheap $5 splitter to feed two tuner boxes, and get seven local channels perfectly, with dropouts perhaps twice a month. The quality is much better than my best analog reception ever was, though the 480-line image on a 525-line screen is a bit of a pain. Sometimes the nitwit broadcasters cut part of the subtitles off!
I like the HD Access tuner box best - it's small, provides a flawless composite signal, good function setup (including signal strength on a 1-100 scale) and remote. I wish it had a channel display so I could see the channel it's set to without turning on a VCR and monitor, though... and for some reason all those at the vendor had really poor-quality video and hum-plagued audio through their RF outputs, even using the store's cable input.
The iView tuner box is bigger and looks nicer, but its remote has dreadful buttons and needs to be less than five feet from the front of the tuner, pointed dead-on. Its screen fonts and functions are clunky, it has no channel display or signal strength indicator, but quality is good on both composite and RF outputs.
This is important because I can set one box to output on CH3 and one to CH4, allowing one VCR to automatically select from two pre-selected channels. I also have a two-composite-input VCR that can select from either composite output, but because of the poor RF from the HD Access box I usually run with the composite from each to a separate VCR. Composite video creams RF quality anyway; even the iView's RF output is no better than the best analog signal I used to get. Fine for daily news and most shows, though.
I have to leave the tuners on 24/7, burning power and wearing them out, because there's no way to program them, or control them from a recorder.
SO - I was overjoyed to see, during my latest visit here, the appearance of the Channel Master, Brite-View and DIVCO TVIX PVR M-6620N options! Auto channel changing, twin tuners and auto on/off!
The Channel Master 7000PAL has it all over he 7400PAL for me - I don't want to use a special (possibly soon to shut down) service, and wi-fi/networking and other frills. But it's $450 plus tax, and discontinued, so the 7400 is likely to be insanely priced. I see they have a Vancouver phone, though!
The Brite-View looks interesting, particularly as it can be had without a drive, and is under $200 - but it seems to have vanished, too? (I will take my channel results and source inquiries to the other threads.)
The TVIX is attractive, too - but also seemingly unavailable. I can't find a price.
Given these details, what do you folk suggest I try? Any other self-contained options? Lots of programmable event slots would be nice, too - at least 8.