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I Need a New OTA DVR (again)
Old 12-13-2013, 04:04 PM   #1
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I Need a New OTA DVR (again)

The tuner of my OTA DVR is weak when it comes to CBS. I think the reason is both the CBS transmitter and my DVR (my previous DVR had no problem pulling in CBS -- but there were other reasons to get rid of that DVR also).

Anyone have experience with the Magnavox DVRs?

Amazon.com: Magnavox MDR537H/F7 HDD/DVD Recorder (Black): Electronics


The Magnavox ones are popular (both carried in Amazon and Wally World). Plus one can copy from DVR to DVD for archiving.

On a bad day with my current OTA DVR, recording "Criminal Minds" I get the following.... I need me some "Criminal Minds" to watch
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:10 PM   #2
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I'd review the antenna, connections and splitters (if any). If you are right on the edge of receiving it like that, it will only take a slightly better signal to get to 'perfect'. If you need a splitter, get a distribution amp - that will maintain the signal level instead of dropping it in half.

edit/add: check antenna rotation also, you might be able to adjust to get a better signal from CBS w/o dropping the others below the threshold.

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Old 12-13-2013, 04:21 PM   #3
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I had the antenna rotated already. This is, if I was watching the program and noticed the bad picture, I probably could easily just rotate the antenna a bit to find a best reception at the time. But when on timed recording...most of the time the recording works. But when not, yuck.
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:27 PM   #4
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If you have a PC with 1080 capable output and a TV that will take that input, you can use an HD Homerun tuner (antenna in and cat-5 out) plus some code I wrote to have a DVR in a PC.

Cliff was a guy on AVS forum that got a bunch of us going in the early days of digital TV. We named the program after him.


http://www.avsforum.com/t/659993/cli...and-hd-homerun

You can put the tuner in the attic and the long run will be on cat-5, which isn't going to drop signal like coax.
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
If you have a PC with 1080 capable output and a TV that will take that input, you can use an HD Homerun tuner (antenna in and cat-5 out) plus some code I wrote to have a DVR in a PC.

Cliff was a guy on AVS forum that got a bunch of us going in the early days of digital TV. We named the program after him.


Cliff Watson EPG add-on for MyHD, FusionHDTV, and HD Homerun

You can put the tuner in the attic and the long run will be on cat-5, which isn't going to drop signal like coax.
Or use the same hardware config & run Windows Media. I use mythtv on linux, but it is harder to set up. If I hadn't had all the time already invested in it, I would get a windows 7 or 8 & use window media player.
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:40 PM   #6
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I'm waiting for the HD homerun that has hw conversion to h.264. I'm hoping I can use it with my Windows Media PC as a DVR and then use a Roku to access the recorded content. It was supposed to be released on the 13th, but looks like it was pushed put to January.

Here's the product link on newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815345014
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:53 AM   #7
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I'm currently using a SiliconDust HDHomerun Dual OTA tuner along with Windows 7 Media Center and a Windows 7 remote control. Our big screen TV is hooked up as a second monitor. We're high on a hill and have no issues getting all the OTA networks from the 'antenna farm' 40 miles away.

The entire set-up was less than $100 and works great - except when a football game or golf tournament runs late and throws off the program schedule.
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:37 AM   #8
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I have the Magnavox DVR to record OTA and most of the time the signal is good. I also have a splitter running to the TV and DVR. The digital antenna position seems to be the key for me but I have noticed on stormy or windy weather days the OTA signal may be corrupted which is odd for an indoor antenna.
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:22 AM   #9
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KiraC - A couple of questions on the Magnavox DVR. Does the unit have any issues of dropping channels on it's own? Also, how is the quality in high quality?

My current unit has a few quirks, like sometimes not retaining a channel, then I'd have to rescan. I've read in the reviews that some folks say there's a noticeable difference in picture quality between Magnavox's "high quality" vs High Def, and some say there is little difference.

There are particular features that I like about the unit I have, but when choosing between features and reliability, I'd choose reliabilty. Plus, it would be nice to have a true pausing live tv and skip forward that the Magnavox has.

thx
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:18 PM   #10
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Wow! A lot of HD Homerun folks here! Yep, there are plenty of ways to skin that cat, software-wise. My code was back before tuners were standardized and all ready to plug and play with the OS. The code is no longer being developed, but back in the day, we were adding tuners as they were released....MyHD, Fusion, HDHR, and I've got it sorta working with a guy's set top box too. But since I don't have cable it was painful to test that code.

If I was setting things up again from scratch, I'd still go with the tuner in the attic, but yeah, myth or windows media...no longer a need to cook my own.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:54 AM   #11
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Easy surfer-

The only time I had channel issues, repositioning the digital antenna fixed it. The shows I tend to record are either on CBS or IONtv and I'd say 98% of the time it records perfect. There are the few times where it is pixelated but it is so minimal, it doesn't bother me.

The picture quality is great. I record everything on the best quality. I did get the 1T hard drive in the DVR and space has not been an issue. The live tv pausing is also nice. Sometimes we turn on the dvr but not the tv and then rewind to watch an hour later without commercials.

We did notice if we change channels, the dvr retains the live recording on the old channel when we switch. We discovered this when I was watching news on one channel and switched to another. We were surprised the first channel recording was still there. Cable tv dvr did not work that way.

Hope this helps. We are happy with the Magnavox dvr and no outrageous cable tv bill.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:12 AM   #12
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First I would check is your antenna. Plug the antenna directly into your TV and without rotating your antenna, do all channels come in without any of the digital artifacts/noise seen in your posted pictures. If the answer is no - you need to experiment with your rotator to find the optimum position that pulls in all stations and check/replace your splitters and/or antenna cables. You may need to upgrade your antenna as a last resort. If that doesn't resolve the problem, the DVR replacement is the next step. I prefer Tivo myself - there's nothing that beats the simplicity and reliability of a Tivo.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:19 AM   #13
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KiraC -

I just sold an old DTVPal DVR on ebay (for about $130) which I loved but had some annoying bugs. The one I have now (Digital Stream) I think is more buggy than the Magnavox, which is why I'm looking again.

My set up is totally OTA,so the cable tv is a non issue and I really like the idea of true pausing live again.

I'm leaning toward the 1TB also.

Thanks for the mini-review of the Magnavox. Yes, it is helpful.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:19 AM   #14
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First I would check is your antenna. Plug the antenna directly into your TV and without rotating your antenna, do all channels come in without any of the digital artifacts/noise seen in your posted pictures. If the answer is no - you need to experiment with your rotator to find the optimum position that pulls in all stations and check/replace your splitters and/or antenna cables. You may need to upgrade your antenna as a last resort. If that doesn't resolve the problem, the DVR replacement is the next step. I prefer Tivo myself - there's nothing that beats the simplicity and reliability of a Tivo.
Thanks for the suggestion. The picture noise doesn't happen all the time. Most of the time, the picture works fine, but say 1/50 times it does not. Chances are now the reception would work fine on the TV alone and then DVR. But then that other time, I'd get the noise

So, I'm hoping for a unit with a stronger receiver that makes this variable a non-issue.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:30 AM   #15
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easy, ERD50 suggested a distribution amp if your incoming signal from your antenna goes through a splitter. My SIL lives in a rural area and was having similar troubles getting good OTA signals. I purchased and installed a simple splitter/distribution amp and it improved her reception significantly (she still has an occasional weather-related problem.)

Those amps run less than $30 and I'd give that a try before purchasing a new DVR that may have the same problem.
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:21 AM   #16
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easy, ERD50 suggested a distribution amp if your incoming signal from your antenna goes through a splitter. My SIL lives in a rural area and was having similar troubles getting good OTA signals. I purchased and installed a simple splitter/distribution amp and it improved her reception significantly (she still has an occasional weather-related problem.)

Those amps run less than $30 and I'd give that a try before purchasing a new DVR that may have the same problem.
How about if the antenna doesn't use a splitter as in my case?

As I was setting up my DVR to tape football (I do that so I can then watch on delay and sync with my radio), the channel (not CBS, but FOX) got lost and I had to rescan to get the channel back.

That's another nuance of the DVR and I think it's chances of being around is about as good as Mike Shanahan for the Redskins in 2014

Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:51 AM   #17
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Maybe you need a better antenna....
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:00 PM   #18
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How about if the antenna doesn't use a splitter as in my case? ...
There may very well be a splitter inside the DVR. I think that is how they typically manage to record one show while you watch another - the signal is split between the DVR and the TV (hardwired, it's not just an issue when you watch & record at the same time).

I think you may just be playing Russian roulette by switching out DVRs hoping for a better tuner (unless you can get guaranteed specs on rcvr sensitivity). Better antenna would be best, amp or distribution box maybe easier and might do the job (or it might amplify noise, which might not help).

-ERD50
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:29 AM   #19
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As I was setting up my DVR to tape football (I do that so I can then watch on delay and sync with my radio), the channel (not CBS, but FOX) got lost and I had to rescan to get the channel back.

I did notice something odd yesterday when I turned on a football game on our OTA channel 8.1. The channel disappeared but I found it on channel 9.1. This happened one other time and I thought it was a fluke. Now it's happened twice. I haven't had this problem for non-sports TV. I googled the problem but didn't see any explanations.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:53 AM   #20
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Here's a new DVR for OTA use from ChannelMaster.

Channel Master DVR+ Caters To Cord-Cutters, Over-The-Air TV Homes | Cable Television News | Broadcast Syndication | Programming | Multichannel.com
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