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To DVR or not to DVR, that is my question
Old 12-09-2018, 04:27 PM   #1
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To DVR or not to DVR, that is my question

So I've been with Brighthouse/Spectrum for several years and have enjoyed using their DVR service that can record up to six channels at once, not that I have ever need that capability. I usually like to watch a few shows that I record because I cannot tolerate commercials and like to fast forward through them. Unfortunately Spectrum has slowly raised the DVR service fee to about $20 a month, which is a bit much for my limited use of it.
Its been many years since I had my own recording device, which I believe was a VHS tape recorder. Any techno wizards out there who can recommend a simple DVR that can record and store apprx 30 hours of television off of a digital cable box? And what might that recorder cost?
thanks, cbo
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Old 12-09-2018, 04:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cbo111 View Post
So I've been with Brighthouse/Spectrum for several years and have enjoyed using their DVR service that can record up to six channels at once, not that I have ever need that capability. I usually like to watch a few shows that I record because I cannot tolerate commercials and like to fast forward through them. Unfortunately Spectrum has slowly raised the DVR service fee to about $20 a month, which is a bit much for my limited use of it.
Its been many years since I had my own recording device, which I believe was a VHS tape recorder. Any techno wizards out there who can recommend a simple DVR that can record and store apprx 30 hours of television off of a digital cable box? And what might that recorder cost?
thanks, cbo
I do not know of a recorder, but will tell you that not watching commercials is worth a lot more than 20 bucks to me. I am curious if there are any machines out there that will do the recording easily. I will follow this thread to see if anything fits the bill.
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Old 12-09-2018, 04:39 PM   #3
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TiVo is an obvious choice. Their Bolt works works on most cable systems using a Cable card.

They do have a monthly or lifetime cost for the directory service. Monthly is $14.99, while the yearly is typically equal to 3 years worth of monthly fees. Sometimes this is on sale.
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:09 PM   #4
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We are very happily DVR free.

We only watch streaming content that is already available on demand whenever we care to watch it. And our content providers donít interrupt programming with commercials either.

No OTA or cable TV here.
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:10 PM   #5
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TiVo is an obvious choice. Their Bolt works works on most cable systems using a Cable card.

They do have a monthly or lifetime cost for the directory service. Monthly is $14.99, while the yearly is typically equal to 3 years worth of monthly fees. Sometimes this is on sale.
I used TiVo many years ago. Unfortunately, I am looking to get away from a monthly service fee and wonder if a simple digital recorder exists to capture cable tv shows.
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:18 PM   #6
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I used TiVo many years ago. Unfortunately, I am looking to get away from a monthly service fee and wonder if a simple digital recorder exists to capture cable tv shows.
I don't believe so. Both Tivo and Amazon offer service free DVRs for recording Over the Air (OTA) broadcasts. But as soon as you get cable or satellite involved there are going to be fees no matter what.

I've been a Tivo user since the first box came out around 20 years ago. I've also had the cable DVRs. There is no comparison as far as functionality goes. Tivo is amazing. The cable DVRs are junk. But Tivo is still a bit complicated to set up if you are not technologically savvy. That's the main reason people pay exorbitant fees for the cable DVRs. They are simple to set up and the cable companies provide support for them.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:32 PM   #7
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I cannot ever imagine myself without DVR capabilities. I can't stand the commercials
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:39 PM   #8
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I cannot ever imagine myself without DVR capabilities. I can't stand the commercials
You don't need a DVR to avoid commercials. There is a lot of internet streaming content available without commercial interruptions.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:47 PM   #9
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You don't need a DVR to avoid commercials. There is a lot of internet streaming content available without commercial interruptions.



But also a lot with commercials!!!


Sometimes my DVR did not get all of a show or none of it... I then go online to watch and guess what?? COMMERCIALS...


I also downloaded VOD on my DVR and again, commercials that you cannot zoom through....


I will have to look at my cost, but I doubt I would get rid of it... I almost never watch live anymore.... heck, right now I am recording the Sunday night football and will go there in about an hour and watch the game... many times I catch up to live action late in the 4th qtr...


BTW, I have a DVR that I bought on my own... before the switch to digital all the time... it does have a digital tuner in it and will record OTA channels... I do not know if it will record cable as you need something to change the cable channel... if interested I can find out the brand and post later..
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:58 PM   #10
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But also a lot with commercials!!!
We simply avoid the content that has commercial interruptions. We still have tons to watch.

It's not free, but we are willing to pay for content that doesn't have commercial interruptions.

I suppose it's tough to find some content, like sports, that is commercial free. Fortunately, we don't care to watch sports.
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:26 AM   #11
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I can't picture not having a DVR. Not only to fast forward past commercials but also to pause live TV. Those are big time savers for me.

What I like to do is chase play football games. I record and do some errands for about an hour. Then I'd watch the game but fast forward the commercials and half-time. Still, I'll end up finishing the game at close to the same time but don't have to sit through commercials.
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:54 PM   #12
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https://www.consumerreports.org/lcd-...dump-cable-tv/

I have to imagine the DVR's in the above article will also work if you have cable.
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:08 PM   #13
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What I like to do is chase play football games. I record and do some errands for about an hour. Then I'd watch the game but fast forward the commercials and half-time. Still, I'll end up finishing the game at close to the same time but don't have to sit through commercials.

I do this too! Saves a lot of time!
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:33 PM   #14
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https://www.consumerreports.org/lcd-...dump-cable-tv/

I have to imagine the DVR's in the above article will also work if you have cable.
No, because you need a device that accepts a CableCARD in order to tune digital cable TV channels, and DVRs designed for cord cutters don't have this capability. So basically, you need one of:
- Spectrum DVR
- TiVo that's designed for cable users
- SiliconDust HomeRun plus NAS storage plus $35 annual subscription for their guide data -- they stopped selling the old HomeRun model and haven't released the new model yet, so this really isn't an option now
- ceton infiniTV card in a PC plus Kodi and NextPVR -- this is really a ryo solution and you may also need something like an Xbox, AppleTV or Roku to actually get shows to play back on your television instead of just your PC or phone or iPad
- ? something else that takes a CableCARD and can output video to a device that can record it

Maybe the Spectrum app on a Roku or XBox360 could also stream video to some kind of recorder without needing a CableCARD, though I'm not even sure where to start on that solution.
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:55 PM   #15
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I used TiVo many years ago. Unfortunately, I am looking to get away from a monthly service fee and wonder if a simple digital recorder exists to capture cable tv shows.
Then buy a used Tivo Roamio (4 tuners, digital cable or antenna) with lifetime service off eBay.

You can't record cable shows in HD on a 3rd party DVR without a CableCard (cable companies encrypt every channel except broadcast networks)
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Old 12-10-2018, 03:37 PM   #16
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You can't record cable shows in HD on a 3rd party DVR without a CableCard (cable companies encrypt every channel except broadcast networks)
There, I fixed it for you.

Like others have posted, my use case for a DVR is to delay the start of NFL games by an hour or more so that I can zip through the commercials, coaches challenges, and halftime shows. This means that I can usually watch a 3+ hour football game in less than 2 hours. And eat lunch with Dad at his assisted living facility on Sunday without compromising my football watching schedule. It's the main reason that I still pay for cable and a DVR. Fortunately, I am a fan of the local team, so I dropped everything except what is required to get the broadcast networks in HD. I am not unhappy with my current cable + internet bill.
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:10 PM   #17
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I think that TiVos are worth both the purchase price and the service fee (I always pay for "lifetime" service, as I always keep my DVRs for longer than the break-even point), mostly because of the auto-skip feature. Most network and many basic cable shows get marked with the commercial breaks very soon after they run, and then you can press one button on the TiVo remote to skip to the end of the commercial break.

Other features I really appreciate: the ability to schedule a TiVo recording over the internet (when I hear about a show while I'm away from home), the excellent UI design of the guide and menus...well, that's it, really, most DVRs have similar basic features. I do like being able to keep dozens of hours of "C-list" shows, shows that I only watch when I'm killing time and may not be paying full attention to the TV. With that much choice, it feels a lot like the streaming experience rather than just having more limited choices.
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