I want a DVR

Discussion in 'Community' started by grapes911, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    Jul 28, 2003
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    Citizens Bank Park
    #1
    I want to get a DVR (for my TV, not my computer) but I don't want to pay a monthly or life-time fee like TiVo or ReplayTV. I doesn't need a huge hard drive but I do want to be able to pause and rewind live TV. Any Suggestions?

    Edit: Also I don't want to spend an arm and a leg. Am I asking too much?
     
  2. Dr. Dastardly macrumors 65816

    Dr. Dastardly

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    #2
    You can buy Tivo without the monthly subscription fee by paying something like $400-$500 dollars up front. Not sure about the prince but I know that they did have an option like that.

    Worth looking into.

    ... oops, you don't want to spend an arm and a leg. Sorry your boned. :D
     
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #3
    The Panasonic DMR-E85HS is ~$500, has a 120GB HD, has a DVD burner, has (free) TVGuide.

    I have the DMR-E80 and love it. I've never had a problem with a Panasonic video device, ever.
     
  4. hcuar macrumors 65816

    hcuar

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    #4
    For that price... You might as well buy the Tivo and the lifetime subscription.
     
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #5
    No way. Panasonic blows away Tivo. And a Tivo with HD and DVD burner will set you back at least that much money. And the Panasonic uses a free service for its guide.
     
  6. RBMaraman macrumors 65816

    RBMaraman

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    Jul 25, 2002
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    Prospect, KY
    #6
    You know what TiVo's definition of "Lifetime Subscription" is, right?

    It's the lifetime of your TiVo box, not your lifetime as a customer. So, if you buy a TiVo and a "lifetime subscription" now, and you upgrade to a newer TiVo in 2 years, you have to buy a new "lifetime subscription" for the new TiVo unit. It's total crap. Stick with the monthly fee, because it'll save you a ton of money.
     
  7. hcuar macrumors 65816

    hcuar

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    Dallas
    #7
    Yup... I realize that. My point was for $500.00 I could purchase a Tivo and the lifetime subscription. I actually have the month to month service. ;)

    Ok... you're on... What's better about it. (I assume it has a DVD burner) If so, I'll give you 1 point.
     
  8. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #8
    Personally, I like the TiVo interface better, I like the way it works so nicely when you schedule programs.

    Example:
    You want to record an episode of some trendy soon-to-fail reality T.V. show. You have a million options.
    1. Go to the "Schedule Recording" screen. Choose the category (or all), type in the title, and you get the program you want. It's nice, because you can just press in random buttons and see what cool stuff you find.
    2. While it is playing, press the record button.
    3. Go to the guide, go to the little time-block, and press the record button.

    If there are ANY conflicts with recordings that you have set up, TiVo tells you about them and gives you a few options.

    You can have a season pass to a show (C.S.I. comes to mind...:D) which means that it will be auto recorded, and then deleted when you set it to (or not, depends what you want). You can also choose from three different quality settings (middle is pretty good), and also you can choose the priority.

    Lets say you have C.S.I. and Lost set up to record. TiVo will automatically record them at whatever times they come up. Even specials that are on days that don't normally air those episodes. But if there is a Lost special that airs at the same time as C.S.I., TiVo will look at the priorities that you have set up. If C.S.I. is higher, then it will record CSI. If Lost is higher, it will record Lost.
    If you are watching something on the Live TV aspect of TiVo (normal TV) which you can rewind, fast forward, etc, and there is a recording scheduled to come up, the TiVo will prompt you to change the channel with a nice screen that allows you to still see what is going on under it. It will allow you to watch whatever you are watching until it needs to change the channel. If you don't tell the TiVo what to do, it will automatically change channels.

    If you are fast forwarding through commercials, it will go back a couple of seconds when you press the Play button again. It also has a button to go back 8 seconds, in case you miss the start of your show. Really handy.
     
  9. rhpenguin macrumors 6502a

    rhpenguin

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    #9
    a cheap linux box + freevo/mythPC..

    and you can even get knoppix versions of MythTV now...
     
  10. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #10
    OK, I'll try to do my best to compare apples to apples. I don't own Panasonic stock, and I'm not trying to turn this into a religious war; these are just my reasons for my preference.

    I'm picking the Humax DRT800 DVD Recorder with Tivo (specs here) and the Panasonic DMR-E85H (or here) for comparison. The Humax is $399 plus subscription, the Panasonic is $499 (no subscription required).

    Here's what I like about the Humax:

    • Tivo user interface
    • DV input.

    That's it. Tivo's interface is great, no question, esp. when it comes to the Season Pass. I grant that, period. But the TV Guide-based method isn't too bad either. Just not as good as Tivo. And to get DV input on the Panasonic, you need to bump up $200.

    Here's what I like about the Panasonic:

    • Better price. Yeah, the Humax is $100 less - but that advantage goes away very, very quickly once you factor in the subscription.
    • Free TV Guide. That means:
      1. No subscription fees!
      2. No subscription required - an added plus because the Tivo is a worthless piece of scrap without a subscription (aside from use as a DVD player)
      3. No phone line required.
    • 50% more HD space (120GB vs 80GB).
    • DVD-RAM capability - this means essentially unlimited archival capability with no loss in quality and rapid transfer speeds. DVD-RW (the Humax's rewriteable format) is also nice, except that you can't record back to the HD from the Humax DVD!! - the Panasonic lets you dub both ways. And DVD-RAM allows faster dubbing and more retention of bookmarks, etc.
    • Better DVD burning. The Panasonic has excellent editing features, allows titling and thumbnail selection for DVDs, etc. - blows away the Humax's DVD production.
    • More I/O. Although, granted, the Humax probably has enough inputs/outputs.
    • Excellent, excellent Panasonic build quality.
    • Will overflow to DVD (or HD) if HD (or DVD) fills up while recording.
    • "Best fit" capability will record at highest quality allowed by remaining space on HD or DVD.

    YMMV, and your preferences may vary. But I don't think you can go wrong with the Panasonic.

    Edit: also, viewing capabilities are at least on par with that of the Tivo-based units. Forward/back up to 100x, commercial skip, pause live TV, watch DVD or recorded show while you record another, etc., etc.
     
  11. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #11
    And you've got to compare DVD-based models to the Panasonic. Otherwise, you need a Tivo plus a separate DVD burner for the comparison (or at least DVD player). And, at the very least, that's an extra unneeded piece of equipment.
     
  12. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

    Joined:
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    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    #12
    you might also check with your cable provider...we just upgraded to a dvr package with hbo, showtime, starz, cinemax and a bazillion other channels( ntm, our dsl access) and our monthly fee went down $30.00/month. competition has really hammered the price.

    we also get "movies on demand" which allows us to access a menu of every movie playing on our subscribed channels at any time for no additional $$...with full fw, rw, pause, etc.

    the downside is that there is no dvd burner...not a big deal to me.
     
  13. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
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    Andover, MA
    #13
    Good call - Comcast just announced something similar here.

    FWIW, I actually like the DVD burning myself, as my too-cheap-to-get-real-cable parents love getting the occasional Science Channel/History Channel/etc. DVD from me in the mail.
     
  14. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #14
    I actually don't like to burn DVDs all the time...
    They are both good products I bet.

    Pick one. :D
     
  15. grapes911 thread starter Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    Location:
    Citizens Bank Park
    #15
    So I have many options, but many of pretty price for me (college student). I'm leaning toward using an older Linux box and freevo. Thanks for all the help.
     
  16. hcuar macrumors 65816

    hcuar

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #16
    I agree if the DVD recording is a priority, then Tivo isn't probably the box for you. The auto adjustment of the recording quality is pretty cool!

    That being said, I'm still not able to find anything with the power of the Tivo interface. The "Season Pass" capablity is one portion that comes to mind. I've seen attempts at matching, but it never seems close.

    I'm also including a few newer features like Home Media Center which allows you to view photos and play MP3s from a server in your house to your Tivo.

    Another new feature is TivoToGo (just added at the beginning of the month) which allows me to play (currently only on PC, but will be available for Mac someday) shows recorded on the Tivo on my computer.

    One incorrect thing about the Tivo... The need for a phone line. You only need the phone line for the initial setup. After that you can use a USB 802.11 b network adapter to make your daily dialup.

    I'm not too worried about the subscription fee as long as they keep adding new functionality and improving the system. If that stopped, I'd agree the subscription fee wouldn't be worth much.

    edit: BTW jsw, I'm pretty impressed with the amount of time you spent with the HTML tags in your post. ;) I'm way too lazy for that.
     
  17. hcuar macrumors 65816

    hcuar

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    Dallas
    #17
    LOL! Sorry to hijack your thread... Sometimes I forget that college students are often asking the questions... That sounds like a good option for a cheap solution. My only technology gatekeeper is my wife that says "Do we really need that?" :rolleyes:
     
  18. grapes911 thread starter Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Citizens Bank Park
    #18
    Yeah, we college students are usually worse than high school students as far a money goes. I'm looking into using linux to do what I want be it just doesn't seem worth it. I've never had a problem getting linux to do what ever I've wanted to do, but this seems a little much. I looked at all the options here and I think a TiVo is what I want. There are 4 of us and I'm sure we can swing $99 (after rebate) and the $12.95 monthly fee. The problem is the phone line--we don't have one. We never got a lan line phone because we all have cell phones. I doubt a cell phone can activate TiVo.

    Can I bring it to a friend's house and use their phone line for the initial setup and bring the box back to my house and use my broadband connection for daily dialup?
     
  19. hcuar macrumors 65816

    hcuar

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    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #19
    Yes... as long as they have the same provider it shouldn't be a problem. Otherwise it would have trouble scanning your channels initially.

    You'll need to get a D-Link USB to 802.11b WiFi adapter (D-Link seems to work the best).
     
  20. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #20
    Have fun - my brother has a Tivo (or two? three?) and lives it (or them?).

    I prefer the Panasonic simply because I want to be able to archive shows - 80GB (the capacity of my older Panasonic) never seems to be enough, esp. as I usually record at XP or SP rates, which eat up the space, and it archives better than a Tivo - I can burn nice-looking DVD's for future use.

    But no one has a Tivo and dislikes it!
     
  21. aricher macrumors 68020

    aricher

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    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    Chi-il
    #21
    LOVE my Tivo - my wife and I got one with a lifetime subscription as a holiday gift last year. I have no need to archive shows to DVD - there's not enough time in the day for that much viewing. I might take advantage of the free "Tivo to Go" feature and archive a few things for other people - looks like it will be a few months before it's Mac-ready.
     
  22. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #22
    yeah, once Tivo To Go works with Macs, it'll be pretty enticing... I could use the Mac to archive.
     
  23. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #23
    I can't wait for the Mac version - although I'm currently looking into recording it onto my PC laptop then transferring to my Mac, but the time involved is a pain.

    I've got a couple of TiVo boxes - one in the family room and one in the exercise room. I don't use it so much to archive stuff, since we don't watch much TV; I use it to postpone my viewing until the kids go to bed or I've got spare time. Most things are on the TiVo for only a week or less, so the two 40GB ones work well for me. The only things I'd like to be able to archive off are some kid's shows that my daughter likes to watch (and watch, and watch...).

    The other Home Media Option I like and use frequently is the ability to schedule stuff when you're not at home. I can go to tivo.com and tell either one of my boxes to record something, from anywhere, generally less than an hour before (since I'm on a network connection, vs. dial-up). This has been fantastic for times I have to work late, or I'm away from home traveling, or whatever.
     
  24. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #24
    Now that is a killer feature.
     
  25. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #25
    Neglected to comment on this before - but my wife and I were looking into this and it kind of makes sense if you know you're going to use it for 2 years, since that's the time it takes to pay for itself (at $12.95 per month). Assuming you pay it straight away. We've had ours for a year, and are not sure we'll have this same box for two more years, especially since I may make a move to a DVD-R TiVo after reading the stuff here.

    Also, on the second box, there is no rebate. That is, the subscription on my second box is $6.95 a month, but it would still be $299 for the lifetime subscription. That's a 4 year payoff, which really doesn't make sense. Especially since it's only for the life of the box, which could fry in 13 months and be out of warranty.
     

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