: ATSC DVR & PVR Recorders
2012-01-31, 09:42 AM
I just want a simple list of PVR's available to record OTA, in Canada.
I know about the Channel Master 3000. But is there anything else?
And I think I saw a Panasonic, but no hard drive and no HD recording.
And I do not want to record on my computer, thanks but no thanks.
And thanks to anyone who can provide answers.
2012-01-31, 10:10 AM
all the "pvr's" are just computers preconfigured to do 1 thing... just food for thought.
and no i dont have any real input for you other then to build an HTPC
for under 400-500 bucks you can build a machine that will play any video/ OTA/ Music? Youtube etc ..
2012-01-31, 02:46 PM
I'd love to find a cheap one for my mom as well. The guide data issue is most unfortunate. I guess I will have to convince her to use her laptop.
2012-01-31, 04:04 PM
Just to add some interesting devices I've been watching to the list:
Simple.TV, network PVR
Ceton Q, embedded media center & whole home extender
2012-02-13, 08:49 AM
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.
2012-02-13, 09:52 AM
Not sure why you're against the PC option. You can create a fanless (i.e. silent) HTPC unit that runs Linux. The HDD will only spin during recording and playback if you set it to sleep after a short period of inactivity. Essentially all the boxes are just computers that you can't tweak nearly as much as a proper HTPC. You can output to DVD, thumb drive, whatever you want...
If you're willing to put in the time, creating a MythBuntu based setup could do all you want to do for probably a lot cheaper than any of the boxes, and it could do way more of what you're looking for.
2012-02-13, 10:00 AM
PC (which you can build for under $500, if you shop, and as power efficient as can be if the right choices are made), or TiVo HD with Product Lifetime (might cost $300, but you get online).
Both have no ongoing service fees.
2012-02-13, 01:54 PM
well the tivo premier is $99 and the lifetime is $399 if you use the discount code PLSR (for $100 off) so its actually about 500 for tivo, but you get all their guide info.
also I bought an APC power bar with digital timer so I can have the tv and equipment turn on and off when i know things are going to be recording or not so basically its all off during the day and after 1am at night.
2012-02-13, 03:17 PM
* 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.
As others have said, you can buy a fanless computer that doesn't draw too much power and you can configure MythTV (which runs under Linux) to shut down the PC when not in use and power back on when the next program is scheduled to record. You can manually program it or for a mear $22 per year, you can get guide data to have it automatically find and record the programs you want.
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!
While the NTSC standard had 525 scanning lines, only 486 were ever active. This was later decreased to 480 lines. The other lines are called the vertical blanking interval and are always blank to give older magnetic CRTs time to move the beam back up to the top of the screen without drawing a diagonal line on the screen. If you are having problems with over-scan, double check that your STB is setup properly.
2012-02-14, 12:25 AM
-$300 laptop with Mythtv backend runs off a 65 Watt Power supply. I Can't hear any noise from it. Maybe the CPU fan runs when it's transcoding. But certainly I can't hear the CPU fan from a laptop over the TV. Put it this way, if my wife has never complained, noone can hear it;)
-The Scientific Atlanta STB PVR from the cable company meanwhile is rated for 400 Watts AC input. Not sure I believe it but that's what it says on the rear panel.
-Many laptops come with an HDMI output. Certainly those that do have enough "onions" in them to record, transcode, playback a few OTA TV recordings.
Not sure I follow the logic either.
2012-02-14, 04:23 AM
It wouldn't surprise me that an SA STB/DVR consumes so much energy. Also, my SA STB has a noisy fan which kicks in once in a while....
2012-02-14, 08:02 AM
Thanks for all the response, folks!
Scan Lines: Huh? NTSC is a 575 line system with 525 lines of image and 50 lines for retrace, captioning, time setting and the like. 525 lines fills a standard 5:4 screen. I don't have an HD monitor and won't till people start throwing them out. HD capability of no interest of me at the moment.
Just back from Wikipedia - indeed, though they discuss a lot of alternate and proposed standards, they do say it's 486 of 525, not 525 of 575. Never seen anything like that in over a half-century of TV use and repair. My TV's manual actually says 525 of 575, too! I wonder if someone scrambled the Wiki... still, I have no reason to doubt or argue with you guys at the moment. In any case, there's no overscan problem. The complete "letter-box" image appears on my screen between the black bars, but the broadcasters cut the bottom of the image (with part of the subtitles) off.
BUT - 480 out of 486 would never create the twin 10% black bars the new digital signals put on standard 5:4 screens. Let's not pollute this thread with it - I'll go read more elsewhere.
BACK TO BOXES:
I have made my choices for my own reasons. I do have lots of old computers (but no laptops), but can't imagine anything as smoothly integrated - particularly with remote - as those nice little boxes, which are indeed computers but well packaged. No such mess of components can compare to a $200 digital PVR, such as the Brite-View, if it does what is says it does and I can find one. **I do not want to get broadband internet**, which costs as much as cable and brings all manner of privacy and protection issues. I don't want to have the TV on and load pages endlessly, either, to plan my TV week.
I just want to not go backward from the TV and VCR convenience I've known for decades! I LOVE having a printed schedule from the paper (which comes with news, comics and crosswords as a bonus) and then program things with my remote. Frankly, I prefer a good VCR display to on-screen, again not having to turn on the set, but I am resigned to that being long gone due to the cost of buttons and displays.
A timer power bar will make many devices forget all their internal data, or at least their clocks. All but one of my VCRs keep their programming info, but only one doesn't lose its clock. Which makes programming kinda pointless, right? And I'd have to adjust the timer when I changed my programming. All silly when a recorder is all about its own timers anyway, to my mind.
It's true that many commercial PVRs captive to specific suppliers consume insane amounts of power even when they're off - 200-400W here in Canada! But I don't want them anyway.
My concern for free, universal TV access prompts me to reject all subscription services - many of which won't be around long, anyway.
This forum is about ATSC DVR & PVR Recorders - that's why I'm posting here!
2012-02-14, 09:01 AM
I am going to say it again: TiVo. They are profitable and have no sign of going under. If they do get bought, it is likely the purchaser will keep the consumer service runing. If TiVo were to go under, it is rumoured to have a "poison pill" to enable sub-less recording, or they may do what Replay did, which was release the private service keys. I would not worry about getting a TiVo.
For a PC, they can be power efficient. I haven't measured it myself, by my AMD fusion system likely draws 50 or so watts. With a PC, if one DVR solutiog goes, you just load another.
Other DVRs probably draw 50 watts or less. the 400W rating is for the through receptacle cable boxes usually have.
And get with the millenium and use an EPG to set recordings.
2012-02-14, 10:46 AM
Seriously, I'm trying to find a product, not get convinced to spend money or change my habits to "get with the times'. I am not going to buy a service with fees; I'm not going to use proprietary formats or limitations; I don't need a program guide for seven channels; I won't pay for broadband.
The first victims of cable TV in Canada soon learned that VCR+ (and later, EPG) info could cost you you show when things ran late or got pre-empted. With a manual setting, I can leave extra time (without recording a whole extra block) or, for example, maximize recording time when I'm away by not recording the weather and sports segments of the news.
There are some products out there that do what I want. Does anyone know how to get them, or what others than the Divco, Brite-View and Channel Master there are?
2012-02-14, 12:00 PM
Ed Bear, I totally get where you are coming from and agree that spending monthly fees for guide data for OTA does seem a waste (I thought twice about even spending $22 a year. As for not wanting broadband, there are ways to address your cost and privacy concerns, but I won't bother getting into them.
VCR+ does have the limitations you listed, but most PVRs let you add extra time at the beginning and/or end of either individual or all recordings. You can also temporarily cancel recordings while you are away. One thing guide data can do is compensate for last minute schedule changes if the data is good enough (online data may not be quite good enough, but EIT data embedded in the broadcast does promise to one day even catch last minute updates).
I would keep an open mind to a HTPC running MythTV under Linux. You can stick with manual recording if you like (I did it for months before I decided to get guide data). A miniITX PC is about the same size (in some cases smaller), than a normal STB and gives you much more flexibility (for example, near limitless expandable data storage, archive recordings to DVD, as many (or few) tuners as you want, ability to play different recordings on different TVs simultaneously, etc.). The fact that you are already familiar with Linux is a huge help.
2012-02-14, 01:17 PM
I'm not going to use proprietary formats or limitations;
Then pretty much your ONLY option is a Linux powered HTPC. Every other PVR records in some form of proprietary format (as far as I know). Take a look at the specs required to run an ATSC card and you'll most likely have a computer lying around that can run it. The cards come with remotes and IR receivers. The software can be set to turn the computer into a "10 foot display" meaning you power it on, or wake it up from standby and it immediately loads into the PVR menu system. Essentially you build yourself a custom PVR.
You can look around all you want but nothing offers the complete solution like an HTPC does (I've used several options).
Why not spend some time researching MythTV, Sage, Ubuntu, etc.? I think it'll be worth your time.
[/end rant] :cool:
El Gran Chico
2012-02-14, 02:01 PM
There are some products out there that do what I want. Does anyone know how to get them
Since you've ruled out buying online, you may have constrained yourself to the point that it will close to impossible to acquire the products you are looking for. Even going to the US to a bricks-and-mortar store will be tough to get these items. As you've found already, these are very niche products and for the most part out of production, and might even be hard to find online. The ones that are still in production probably have more bells and whistles than you are interested in paying for. The market for a no frills DVR is small in the US, not to mention here which is why so many go the HTPC route. There is simply no business case for a manufacturer to make them.
... VCR convenience ... I never would have used those 2 words in the same sentence. :( The Channel Master 7000PAL is orders of magnitude more convenient than any VCR I ever owned.
Not sure if you will find a CM 7000PAL anywhere but online anymore but it might be the "best fit" for you.
- perpetual subscription fees (no fees)
- Being able to transfer to VHS (you could go from the RF or composite output on the CM into the corresponding input on a VCR)
- I do not want to get broadband internet (no need for that)
- you can power it down
2012-02-14, 08:32 PM
drive to the store, buy a convertor box, connect it to your VHS VCR, ur done.
2012-02-14, 11:12 PM
^^^No, if you read his original post, you will see he has already done that but the problem is there is no way for the VCR to change the channel on the converter box.
2012-02-14, 11:17 PM
ed, in post # 354 (http://digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=1386556&postcount=354) u prefer a "manual setting" correct? I can't think of anything more manual than a convertor box connected to ur Analog VHS VCR, sorry.