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Digital Video Recorder with Hard Drive, for VCR replacement?

Stand alone DVD and Blu-ray Disc players and recorders.

Digital Video Recorder with Hard Drive, for VCR replacement?

Postby stix on Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:57 am

Can anyone around here recommend a VCR replacement that is a DVD burner with a hard drive, but is not a TIVO unit? Looks like Panasonic and some others make them, but they are darn expensive. Primarily, I'd like to be able to record some TV shows for later playback, but I'm getting tired of the limitations of a VCR. On the other hand, I could buy a new VCR for a lot less than what they want for a "Digital Video Recorder".

any thoughts?
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Postby hoxlund on Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:29 am

why not a tivo?

i just hacked my series 2, put a 160gb in it, along with other questionable stuff
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Postby stix on Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:19 am

hoxlund wrote:why not a tivo?

i just hacked my series 2, put a 160gb in it, along with other questionable stuff


I don't want the TIVO service.

Can I use a TIVO unit without the service and just use it to record TV shows?
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Postby Ian on Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:56 am

Lite-On makes some relatively affordable DVD recorders with HDD's.
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Postby hoxlund on Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:10 am

that was the questionable software i was trying to get across, so yes, tivo service is optional with a tivo
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Postby Justin42 on Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:49 pm

The Tivo DVD-recorders, at least in the past, were VERY crippled. Because of the Tivo service it wouldn't let you edit stuff you recorded (to pull out commercials, etc). I don't know what would happen if you never activated Tivo.

Panasonic makes a very good line of DVD-recorders, most without Tivo. (maybe all without??) Their older units were built like tanks, I think the newer ones are a bit cheaper built (check avsforum.com for more opinions) but still decent models.
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Postby stix on Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:17 pm

Thanks everybody for your thoughts and suggestions on this topic.
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Postby TheWizard on Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:07 pm

If it's not too late, I would recommend a PC. Yes, a PC. You probably already have a computer with all the necessary parts (hard drive and DVD burner), so the only real thing you would have to add is a TV capture card. The downside is, using a computer to do your recording and burning isn't quite as easy as clicking the TiVO remote. The upside is, a PC is much more expansive; you can do a heck of a lot more with it than a TiVO box.
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Postby stix on Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:44 am

TheWizard wrote:If it's not too late, I would recommend a PC. Yes, a PC. You probably already have a computer with all the necessary parts (hard drive and DVD burner), so the only real thing you would have to add is a TV capture card. The downside is, using a computer to do your recording and burning isn't quite as easy as clicking the TiVO remote. The upside is, a PC is much more expansive; you can do a heck of a lot more with it than a TiVO box.


Yes, Wiz, I have thought of doing this. Thanks for the thought. I have looked at TV cards. I wonder if I would get interference from the computer if I install a TV card and hook up an antenna. Most of the TV cards I looked at seem to want a cable hookup. Ultimately, I'd probably rather just have more of a standalone-unit type of solution, but I still see this as a possibility.

Looks like LiteOn has a unit for just under $300, and Panasonic and Toshiba for under $400. That's a lot of loot when you can buy a brand new HiFi Stereo VCR for well under a hundred bucks.

Meanwhile, I'm going to take the cover off my VCR and clean the heads.
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Postby Dartman on Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:50 am

I have both a tv hd tuner card and a Panasonic settop hd dvd recorder. The HD card is nice for capping HD programing on cable and some of the in the clear QAM channels, the settop is great for timeshifting, editing, then burning the keepers to dvd later. I do get some audio noise with some of the recording modes on the tv card, others are fine and I think it also depends on
your particular hardware setup as to what works well. I have a Fusion hdtv gold3 in mine. I actually prefer my settop as its just easier to set up and use for me, and the HD is what makes the diference. Some units can have bigger HD's dropped in later, some can't. I'd like to get a hdtv capable unit later too but right now they are high priced and fairly crippled by DRM or output restrictions :( It's all hooked up to my cable with high quality rf cable and splitters and works very well unless the line is having problems ocassionally.
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Postby stix on Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:20 pm

Dartman,
thanks for the side by side comparison and additional info!
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Postby CowboySlim on Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:57 pm

I've got one of these
http://shop3.outpost.com/product/4499836
things and for $90, not bad.

It doesn't have a HDD, but when you put a DVD+RW disc in it, it works like a VCR. I used it today.

10-4?
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Postby LoneWolf on Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:17 pm

I bought a used ReplayTV. I have the 4504; in my case, I got it at auction for a company that went under due to dot-com type fraud (it made big news here in SW Michigan last year, the SEC and the Fibbies came in, the CEO committed suicide, etc.). In my case, it appears I actually got the unit used in the CEO and his wife's personal residence.

Mine came with the lifetime subscription to the service (the cost is in the subscription, not the device), so I saved a bundle of money. The 45xx and 5xxx series models are the ones to get; the new 55xx series, like many TiVo's, are crippled due to the content-providing industry. Mine and the newer 5xxx series both have automatic commercial-skip, and the ability to share shows over the internet (caveat: you can only share shows with owners of the same series as you have). Mine works perfectly, and I'm very happy with it. Only thing I might do is eventually put a bigger hard disk in so that I can record more stuff. I dismantled my budget-HTPC because the ReplayTV works so well and is so convenient. Tons of A/V ins and outs, including VGA-out for higher end televisions.

ReplayTV is getting out of the hardware business, and going software-only, something you install on a PC with any Hauppauge WinTV PVR card. However, since the lifetime subscriptions follow the unit, not the user, you should be able to find a used 45xx or 5xxx model on Ebay. If you have any questions, ask them here.

P.S. Those "older Panasonic models" aka the Panasonic Showstopper, are early ReplayTV's.
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Postby stix on Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:29 pm

CowboySlim wrote:I've got one of these
http://shop3.outpost.com/product/4499836
things and for $90, not bad.

It doesn't have a HDD, but when you put a DVD+RW disc in it, it works like a VCR. I used it today.

10-4?


Looks like this type of solution is a good economical option. I haven't used any DVD+RW discs. How well do they hold up to repeated use?

also,
LoneWolf, thanks for the info about ReplayTV.
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Postby CowboySlim on Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:56 am

I only use Verbatim DVD+RW and they work real well.

However, with Verbatim DVD+Rs on sale at OfficeMax this week @ 30 cents each, it's almost like why bother with the +RWs.

I still do because I have a bunch of them.

One word of note about that CyberHome recorder.
A lot of DVD players cannot read the output DVDs;
the recorder always can read what it makes.
So if you want to play them on other machines,
you might have to do a DVD copy on Nero to another DVD+RW.
For some strange reason, that always works.

I'm going to use mine tomorrow to record the Daytona 500.

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Postby algrinch on Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:35 am

My girlfriend orderd the "Digital Video Recorder" from the cable company.

$20 a month is a little pricey, but you can't beat the conveinence.

The thing holds 50 hours of TV. You can tell it record all episodes of any tv show.

You scroll thorough the online guide and click record for the shows you want. I can record two of them at the same time.

If you tune it to a channel when a show is starting, go do something for 20 min or so, you can then rewind to the start of the show and then fast forward through all the commercials.

You can record any of the saved shows to your VCR. (or computer throught video capture if you wanted too)

I told her I was going to take it apart to see whats inside... she warned me not to because all of the magical fairies would fly out.

I don't watch TV very much, but she loves it.
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Postby stix on Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:18 am

I finally decided to buy a new VCR and save my money. I picked up a Panasonic PV-V4525S for $60 plus tax. I'm very pleased with it. Almost bought a Panasonic DVD recorder DMRES15S, which can now be purchased for around $120, but it will be outdated 2 years from now, since it uses an analog tuner, and by then all TV stations are required to be broadcasting in digital HD. Same goes for my new VCR, but it only cost 60 bucks. I really want a digital video recorder with a hard drive but they are too darn expensive for a good one. Maybe the prices will come down some more.

info on digital TV mandate in the U.S. for Feb 18, 2009:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-definition_television_in_the_United_States
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Postby Wesociety on Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:10 am

CowboySlim; What's the make/model of the DVD recorder you own? The Outpost link seems to have gone dead.

I also need a HDD TV recording device. It's on one of my "to do", "maybe someday" project lists... Ideally, I wanted to build a MythTV box. But, I might just wind up buying a DVD recorder or some other type of DVR depending on whether or not I can get one for a decent price.

I had one of the HighDef DVR's through Cox at my last residence and it was awesome. What many people don't realize is that recording the shows you actually care about SAVES YOU TIME so that you don't have to be at the mercy of the broadcast schedule. DVR's rock!
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Postby CowboySlim on Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:30 pm

Wes,

Mine is a CyberHome DVD Recorder 1600 that I bought several yeas ago for $100, NMIR.

It still works and was worth $100.

No longer available due to customs and royalty issues.

IIRC, Best Buy sells a standalone, VCR replacement, DVD Recorder/Player for about $100.

I also use the HAUPPAUGE WinTV PVR-350 tuner/capture PCI capture card in my PC which is fed from my cable service.

For an extra $6/mo, I'm going to get a HDTV recorder box from my cable service provider also. You liked yours and my daughter has one that she likes.

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Postby CowboySlim on Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:24 am

Wes,

Just saw this DVD palyer/recorder at buy.com.
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Postby Wesociety on Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:55 pm

Thanks for the link and the info CowboySlim, I forgot about Cyberhome geting banned/removed from the states due to not paying royalty fees!
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Postby stix on Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:04 am

Thanks Ian for the news about the 2007 Panasonic DVD recorders. I've been waiting to hear about this.

In case anybody missed it, you can find it here:

http://www.cdrlabs.com/news/byte/4794
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Postby Justin42 on Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:31 am

Keep in mind, neither Panasonic nor any of the "big/brand names" in the DVD recorder market, have announced models for 2007 with a hard drive and digital tuner, which really sucks.

Smaller companies may pick up the slack (There's some talk of a Philips model but they have seemed like very poorly built units in the past) but it looks like 2007 will be pretty bare-bones...
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