Shopping DVRs - Analog Cable TV?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Lord Blackadder, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
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    #1
    I'm currently away from home working for an extended period. I have a hotel room with analog cable and an analog TV, and am trying to figure out how to record a sports game coming up in a month.

    My question is, is this possible with any DVR setup out there? I've been doing a little research, but haven't yet figured out whether I can buy a DVR that will record off an analog cable signal without any subscription service.

    I'm not looking for something smart, since it won't be able to talk to the cable anyway. It just needs to convert the analog signal to MPEG (or whatever) and play it back for me. Can this be done, and at what cost? I'm still researching, but hoped a DVR guru around here might be able to help.

    I'm worried that the approaching death of analog TV means this is a no-go, but hope springs eternal...

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #2
    A DVR will upvert an analog cable signal I believe. Most cable DVR's are considered digital boxes but Tivo will work with analog if I am not mistaken.
     
  3. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #3
    TiVo seems to be the most popular but I believe I'd have to buy a subscription of some kind. Looking at the site, the basic box is reasonably cheap at $150 (and like you said can handle analog cable), but with a $13 monthly service charge...that's not too bad pricewise, so I might go for it.

    But I don't need a subscription service because I'm just recording shows off a cable connection, basically using it as a VCR...can I buy just a box and not have to couple it with some service?
     
  4. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #4
    Not sure if they are any stand alone DVR's. The service fee is mainly for the guide.
     
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #5
    The Tivo should be fine.

    The pay service provides extra features not sure what those are.

    As for just recording an setting a schedule it should be fine. If the cable box has a controller connector in the back the Tivo should have more control over the cable box. Otherwise, as I recall, it will use an IR transmitter to control the cable box.

    Sorry if I am being somewhat vague I use a DVR provided by my cable company. I got this information by setting up two Tivo's for a friend about a month ago, their cable box had a data port so I was able to use the direct control provided by the Tivo rather than the IR option.

    You also need a phone jack for basic programming information. Otherwise it works more like a VCR timer. You set the channel and time and the Tivo will just change the cable box's channel and start recording.

    If there is no cable box and you have no phone line then the Tivo should act like VCR. Set the channel and time then let it record. It is still best if you have a phone jack though so that you can get a channel guide.

    Also the Tivo is really easy to set up. When first turned on it will ask you what type of TV service you have, what kind of cable box, if a phone jack is available etc... Then set itself up based on your answers.

    By the way these were 2-3 year old Tivo still new in box that they finally decided to install so I can not attest that the above holds true for currently available Tivo's.

    Edit: By the way as I recall when reading up on DVR's before. Most any not designed for satellite or requiring cable cards should provide these functions. I went with my cable company because they released there own DVR before I bought one. There's allowed for dual tuner, HD and digital audio for an extra $5 a month over my regular digital cable box so it was a no brainer. Cable card's were not readily available yet nor HD from cable recording. The only HD recording then was satellite or over the air. Still the cable card's do not work with On Demand content.
     
  6. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #6
    Thanks for the info. I have a phone line in the hotel (though I'm not sure what connecting a TiVo would do to my bill...) but no cable box.

    It's going to be a case of setting the channel and timer and letting it do its thing.
     
  7. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #7
    Is your Mac going to be in the room during this event? If so, the EyeTV would should work similar to the TiVo.
     
  8. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #8
    I thought about an EyeTV, but I don't want to leave my PowerBook out in the room when I'm not around. Plus, I'm not sure what kind of quality I could get with my 1.33Ghz PowerBook G4...
     
  9. Aeolius macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    #9
    You might also investigate the Slingbox . You set it up at home and can then use your Mac to access recorded shows through the internet.
     

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