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Old 09-12-2012, 06:17 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
Well, last night my DTVPal DVR was recording a program in Spanish again.

At least, I was watching the program at the time so stopped the recording and viewed the program live in English.

So once again, it got me thinking of a possible replacement.

I'm curious, are remote controls available with a homebuilt DVR run off Windows Media Center?

Perhaps I'm just old fashioned, but while watching TV, I'd much rather grab a remote control than a keyboard to do my navigating.
Below is the website that I used when I built my first HTPC (Home Theater PC). back in 2003.

Home Theater Computers

I use this http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/atsc/ to record onto my HTPC using WMC.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:19 AM   #22
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Is there anyplace I can research ota tv? this is new to me as I have dishnetwork. how many channels do you get or do you just record preset times and programs? just curious to know if I am missing something worthwhile.
Below is a website that will lead you to a ton of info on recording OTA.

HDTV
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:57 PM   #23
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Below is the website that I used when I built my first HTPC (Home Theater PC). back in 2003.

Home Theater Computers

I use this HDHomeRun (US/CA) | Welcome to SiliconDust to record onto my HTPC using WMC.

Thanks for the links. They look very useful.

On the home run device. Is connecting to the internet required or just optional?

The reason I ask is because my connection speed isn't the fastest and really don't need to watch on different devices.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:51 PM   #24
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The purpose of the internet and connection to the HTPC is for the updating of the guide. In my setup I used a wireless card in the HTPC to connect to my router. The timing could be setup where it does the guide update late at night where there is less traffic on the web that could slow down your connection speed. The guide can be setup for 12 days at a time.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:49 PM   #25
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The purpose of the internet and connection to the HTPC is for the updating of the guide. In my setup I used a wireless card in the HTPC to connect to my router. The timing could be setup where it does the guide update late at night where there is less traffic on the web that could slow down your connection speed. The guide can be setup for 12 days at a time.
Thanks for the info. That looks like a really good turner.
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:15 PM   #26
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Well, I went ahead and purchased another OTA DVR:

Amazon.com: Digital Stream DPH1000R HDTV Recorder with Digital Tuner and 250 GB HDD (Black): Electronics

The DVR should arrive by Tuesday.

I already had some buyer's remorse as I clicked the "make purchase" selection.

My need to buy came about last night as my DTVPal DVR goofed up again, on two recordings. While trying to record a program on NBC, the program (not commercials) was muted. Earlier, when taping the season premiere of "Criminal Minds", the DVR taped in "blind mode" (that is with a narrator's voice which is totally distracting while watching the program).

I considered four choices:

1) Just ignore the DTVPal goof ups. It's only OTA TV. So what that I miss a program here or there.

2) Buy the DVR (the choice I made) from Amazon. It lacks some functions of my DTVPal, and some functions are better. Hopefully, it'll be reliable and I'll get used to it. The thing I'll miss most is to just press the "Pause" button to pause LiveTV and quick skip commercials.

3) Upgrade an old PC with Windows Media Center 2005 and buy a tuner+remote, RAM

4) Buy a used PC witn Win7 and WMC included, and buy a tuner + remote.

As they say..To be continued... . I'll have a better idea if I made the right choice when I play with the purchased DVR a bit.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:50 PM   #27
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Well, I went ahead and purchased another OTA DVR....
Keep us posted. I want to use something to record OTA broadcasts at home and in our RV so I'm hoping to learn from your experience.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:16 PM   #28
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My new DVR arrived today. I haven't had a chance to take it out of the box yet. Probably tomorrow is when I'll play around with it. I'll let you know my impressions of it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:40 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I don't think I've ever seen a wider distribution of customer reviews on any electronic item sold by Amazon:

5 star: 5
4 star: 3
3 star: 3
2 star: 3
1 star: 2

Very interested to hear your input on how it works for you.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:09 AM   #30
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I don't think I've ever seen a wider distribution of customer reviews on any electronic item sold by Amazon:

5 star: 5
4 star: 3
3 star: 3
2 star: 3
1 star: 2

Very interested to hear your input on how it works for you.
Well, I did go ahead and set up my DVR tonight and gave it a test run. I used it enough to form an overall impression. Of course, I've only owned it for less than 1 day so can't accurately comment on its reliability.

For those interested...here's my impressions:

Overall, my gut says it's 3 out of 5 stars.

If you think of it like an old time VCR that's main job is to record progams off the TV and can handle scheduled recordings, recording only 1 show at a time, and allows you to watch live TV recording a show..then the DVR works. Using the remote to navigate around the screens is a bit cumbersome, but it works.

I haven't used TiVO or Windows Media Center so can't compare the user friendliness to those. I do have my DTVpal DVR and in comparison, navigating using the DTVpal remote is so much easier. Plus the DTVpal has functions like pausing live TV, 30 second skip fwd, skip bwd, two tuners to record two programs at once which the Digital Stream doesn't.

Also, though the Digital Stream mentions that it shows a week's full of program guide info, looking at the guide tonight, it did not. It only showed about 48 hrs worth. I'm not sure if that's all it will show at once or perhaps the guide amount just varies.

If it wasn't for my DTVpal having frustrating flaws (namely, recording muted or in Spanish on some programs) there's be no reason for me to get a new DVR. The function I'll miss most of the DTVpal is pausing live TV, find something to do as the pause is buffering, than skip the commercials when ready to watch.

A couple of features that the Digtal Stream has that the DTVPal does not is the ability to schedule programs (like the old VCRs) to record a program once, Everyday, Mon-Fri, Weekly. Also, (I haven't tried it yet), but I believe one can use the hard drive to "record" from a source like a movie camera or old VCR.

Also for some reason, the Digital Stream uses 24 hour time format which takes a little getting used to.

All in all, I think I'm gonna keep the Digital Stream and try to like it enough as my main DVR. (I'll probably still keep the DTVpal as a backup in case the Digtal Stream konks out). I think it goes down to putting my ducks in line first. That is, shows I watch/record regularly I'll set the DVR to record on a regular basis. That way, the cumbersome remote won't seem so bad.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:43 PM   #31
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This was announced at CES, 'coming Spring 2012':

https://www.simple.tv/getting-started

Though it says $5/month fee, I've read that a basic programming guide is provided for free.

Last time I looked into OTA DVRs, DW was not really interested - she said she can find most of her shows on the internet.

I'd really like to be able to pause/rewind live TV though (I don't watch much TV, but when I do I hate missing stuff). We already have Roku boxes on two TVs, so this might work for us.

-ERD50
In reading about the Simple TVs, the biggest problem is it is a single tuner.
No one wants a single tuner these days. That means, you can only watch the program you are recording. You can't record one show while watching another. There is a new unit out now. Starts with the letter M, but it is priced in the $700 to $800 category, and when you start comparing it to a home built DVR, you'll get much more for your money putting it together yourself. I have never put a computer together, nor installed Windows on a virgin drive. I've put in a hard drive, and new memory, but that's the extent of it. Don't know how difficult it would be. Wish someone would post a YouTube video on the whole process. I'd like to build one.

I'm currently using a regular computer, but it is big and clunky and want a small factor one for the living room.

DVR's are readily available in all other countries, but the US. Tell me big business doesn't call the shots in the US.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:44 PM   #32
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Upate...Day 2 of my new DVR .

Well, I ended up today getting a universal remote for my new DVR and mapping the keys from the remote that came with my DVR to my new remote. With that, I like my DVR more as the new remote bigger keys for the common used buttons (pause/play, stop, fwd, rew).

If you ever want to get a universal remote, you may wish to try the Logitech Harmony remotes. It doesn't have those cryptic codes but instead uses the computer. Plus, there is a learn option (I needed to use that today) to learn from an orginal remote.

Here's the remote that I got: Amazon.com: Logitech Harmony 300 Remote Control 915-000143: Electronics

I had hoped the remote would create a combination of key entries. But unfortunately it doesn't. I was trying to teach it to simulate a skip forward/backwards 30 seconds, but no such luck. Still all-in-all, the remote worked out pretty well.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:58 PM   #33
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re: https://www.simple.tv/getting-started

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Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
In reading about the Simple TVs, the biggest problem is it is a single tuner.

No one wants a single tuner these days. That means, you can only watch the program you are recording. You can't record one show while watching another. There is a new unit out now. Starts with the letter M, but it is priced in the $700 to $800 category, ...
Never say 'never', or 'no one'. I'd be interested, even with just one tuner. I don't watch much TV, but I want to be able to pause, or delay what I do watch.

And at $200, you can buy two and have two tuners, and still be way under that $700 price. I haven't looked into it since that earlier post, I don;t know if it's any good or not, but I'm be interested in finding out.

-ERD50
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:56 PM   #34
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Happy Days Are Here Again!

Well, after doing a little research online I found another remote that offers macro programming. That is, on that remote there are four macro programable keys. The remote was only about $15.

So now the good news...with new remote, I mapped out the keys from my old remote, plus I programmed the functionality to simulate skip forward and skip backward buttons.

Things aren't perfect. Each time I press the macro assigned button, I now need to point my remote to the DVR for about 2 seconds to make sure the macro runs (as opposed to just pointing and giving a quick click on my old DTVpal remote).

Other than that, I'm a very very happy camper again

It's amazing just restoring the ability to advance a recorded program 30 seconds at a time to skip past commercials makes viewing a lot more pleasant.

p.s. for some reason, I couldn't figure out how to use the remote to power up/down my TV. But I can use my tv remote for that.
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:53 PM   #35
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With the probably demise of Aereo, I think it might be worth resurrecting this thread. I for one have found a decent indoor antenna and wish to hook up some type of recording device so I can record a show and play it back later in time. Just like I used to do in the days of VCR tape.
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:59 PM   #36
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I for one have found a decent indoor antenna and wish to hook up some type of recording device so I can record a show and play it back later in time. Just like I used to do in the days of VCR tape.
Here's the way I did it, but there are more elegant (and expensive) options: Aereo and the Supreme Court
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:17 PM   #37
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Here's the way I did it, but there are more elegant (and expensive) options: Aereo and the Supreme Court
Thanks. I am looking for something that won't require me to hook up my computer to the TV. Of course, I could by a cheap computer just for that purpose.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:24 PM   #38
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Thanks. I am looking for something that won't require me to hook up my computer to the TV.
Maybe this? Channel Master DVR+ review - CNET
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:53 PM   #39
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Well, depending on a few things like improvement in the reliability department, might make this a viable unit for someone on a budget.
However, I would not consider anything less than a 1 TB hard drive for recording, and my preference would be 2 TB. This will add between $100 to $150 to the cost of the unit (you also want a hard drive that plugs into electric source preferably. They can keep up better than just the USB ones. Also, as he mentioned if you need wireless, than another $40 on top of that. I don't like the limited information on the programing that it gives you. Also, the fact that it can't record only the original would pose a problem for me, as much of what I watch is on PBS and they repeat the shows quite frequently.

You would be much happier i think with a a custom made up HTPC, but that will most likely set you back at least $550 even if you have a copy of Windows 7 with Media Center on it. But the Channel Master above unit with hard drive added, is going to be up to $350 at least. I don't know where you live, but where I am in Vegas, there is a computer shop that will assemble any computer you want for a flat $59.95 and you don't have to buy the components from them.

You can get good recommendations on the forum that was mentioned earlier. They will have lots of build suggestions with the final price of components. All you need to do is order the components and bring it to a shop to be put together. It will be a much more capable unit, and one that should last for many years (and that you can upgrade if you want to later). Also if one of the component fails, you can always replace the component in a self build. So these are the things to take into consideration as well as initial cost.

I haven't looked lately, but prices for the components that will work well have probably come down. Heat is a factor that causes problems, so these assembled units have good fans in them to keep them cool. Something that the Channel Master probably doesn't have. First check and see if there are any shops who will assemble a unit for you reasonably where ever you live. If so, I would check out what components will cost you to have one put together yourself.

You will need either Windows 7 with Media Center (no tv recording program in Windows 8) or they have another free program that you can use. Don't remember the name but the forum will probably mention it. Once you start reading on the forum you will get the gist of it. Some people are really into it, and make up super duper units to play games now and in the distant far out future. Others are just looking for a good basic recording device. You can use a computer, but if you want it to look nice in your living space, you probably would want a case that lays the other way and looks more like a DVR. You can also use a laptop, but if you do a lot of recording with it, you might have heat issues. I record on my laptop while I'm away, with it hooked up to a Leaf Antenna. But at home, I have a full size one hooked up to outside antenna.
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:35 PM   #40
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Actually, I'm going to answer myself. Been doing some reading on Amazon and another site about the new Channel Master. And despite some of it's limitations, it seems that most are very happy with it. I still recommend a min. 1 TB hard drive though. A number of people are using the portable drives it seems. They will not last as long, and if you have the room for a full size one with electric plug, I think you will be happier in the end. But for the price, it might be a good choice.
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