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Old 2012-02-13, 03:17 PM   #346
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Bear View Post
* 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.

Quote:
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.
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Old 2012-02-14, 12:25 AM   #347
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-$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.
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Old 2012-02-14, 04:23 AM   #348
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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....
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Old 2012-02-14, 08:02 AM   #349
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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!

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Last edited by Ed Bear; 2012-02-14 at 08:26 AM. Reason: pointing to earlier posts
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Old 2012-02-14, 09:01 AM   #350
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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.
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Old 2012-02-14, 10:46 AM   #351
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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?

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Old 2012-02-14, 12:00 PM   #352
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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.
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Old 2012-02-14, 01:17 PM   #353
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Bear View Post
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]
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Old 2012-02-14, 02:01 PM   #354
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Quote:
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.

Quote:
... 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
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Old 2012-02-14, 08:32 PM   #355
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drive to the store, buy a convertor box, connect it to your VHS VCR, ur done.
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Old 2012-02-14, 11:12 PM   #356
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^^^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.
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Old 2012-02-14, 11:17 PM   #357
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ed, in post # 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.
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Old 2012-02-15, 09:15 AM   #358
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I am again going to say TiVo.

Anything up to the latest Premiere models have a modem to dial their own Internet connection (although it might be hard to find a local number). Product Lifetime meas there is no ogoing fees. Series 2 (except Dual Tuner), will work with convert boxes, includig changing chnanels. You can manualy tune, or extend time on season passes. I have a TiVo and have little problem with the times in the guide.

PC DVRs can also ge their guide data from dial-up (but you need to pay for that your self), or you can manually record.
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Old 2012-02-15, 10:08 AM   #359
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I suspect Ed Bear is referring to manual programming. Don't forget he also said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Bear View Post
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.
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Old 2012-02-15, 10:09 AM   #360
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classicsat, can you manually program a TiVo?
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