Using DirectTV DVR without the satellite service

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by iaddict, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. iaddict macrumors 6502

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    May 15, 2007
    #1
    Years ago when we started using DirectTV, we purchased the DVR rather than rent it. Now we want to turn off the service. Since we own the DVR, is there any way we can use it to record content we stream from the internet? I've tried searching the internet for answers but so far have not found any information on this.
     
  2. brentsg macrumors 68040

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  3. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Okay, so can I do this?

    Can I connect a wireless blu-ray player to a portable hard drive of some type and use the hard drive to record programming that I stream from the internet?
     
  4. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #4
    No.

    The only way I can think of to record protected Internet streamed content is to use a computer with a Hauppauge 1212 device. Doing so, however, is non-trivial.
     
  5. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Okay so....if I buy or want to record content that I can get from the Internet how can I get it from my computer to a hard drive other than my computers hard drive and store to play later?
     
  6. brentsg macrumors 68040

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    #6
    It might help if you gave examples of the content you can purchase and store locally.

    Most of the current online stuff is streamed on demand, save for iTunes of course.
     
  7. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #7
    The older DTV TiVos were able to record OTA analog HDTV off subscription, but of course now that we've all gone digital even that is useless.

    I don't recall any hacks for the newer MPEG-4 DTV DVRs.

    You could take it apart and re-use the hard drive, but that's probably about all the use it will be without a subscription.

    B
     
  8. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Well, I am not 100% sure of content I can get but here is my situation in short: rural area, no tv signals can be picked up with an OTA antenna. So all content will come from computer via places like Netflix, Hulu or similar. I guess I had thought I could download that content to my computer and then play later via streaming it to a wireless blu-ray player.I can stream directly to the blu-ray however if I need to use computer at same time I am thinking it could cause problems with Too much bandwidth demand . That's why I thought if there was a way to download the content to a hard drive then I wouldn't be facing demands on my Internet connection.
     
  9. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #9
    These services offer live streaming only. The only service I am aware of that doesn't is Amazon. I occasionally use it in conjunction with my TiVo HD XL, set something to download to the TiVo's HDD and watch it later. (Both purchases and rentals work fine). However a TiVo seems to be the only device other than a PC/Mac that offers this feature, and if you don't have cable/OTA the subscription fee is a waste. All the other Amazon set top boxes I have seen are streaming only, no HDD.

    The other alternative you have is the older HDD based :apple:TV. You can rent/buy from iTunes, have it stored on the :apple:TV or PC/Mac and play it later. You can do this with purchases at least and the new :apple:TV 2 as well.

    B
     
  10. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Thanks balamw. I have been looking at an older Apple TV but I thought the AppleTV2 was streaming only. I guess I have to learn more about these things. I thought I had read in several places that people were using old computers or newer portable hard drives like WD to store content on that they downloaded from the internet and were using similar to the way a DVR is used. I guess I am totally confused. Thanks for helping me.
     
  11. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #11
    FWIW, instead of streaming, some people find ways to actually "download" TV shows.

    This results in the show being saved to their computer as a video file, and with a product like "WD TV Live", they can use an external USB drive to "shuttle" the video files between their computer and the TV.
     
  12. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #12
    ATV2 can stream purchased/self-made content from a local PC/Mac iTunes library. I am not sure how rentals work in this configuration.

    There's plenty of downloadable content out there on the shady side of the internet. This is usually the source of the content folks are able to download and watch locally. It's not a legitimate/legal source of content.

    B
     
  13. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Are you sure about this? Go to www.antennaweb.org and you might be surprised. Digital signals propogate a lot farther than the old analog ones. I get out-of-market TV all the time OTA. I live about 30 miles from our broadcast towers and get extremely strong signals from all of them with a simple Terk set-top antenna.
     
  14. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    mstrze - yes, I have already confirmed via antennaweb.org that I am unable to get any stations via an outdoor antenna other than one PBS station, which I am totally uninterested in.

    balamw - No, I am not talking about content that is illegal in distribution. Rather, CBS, NBC, ABC and a few other networks have full shows available for download from their sites. That is what I am interested in downloading and just having in a location other than on my personal computer for watching later. I have a sony blu-ray player that streams from certain sites that it came with apps for but I don't have any access to or figured out a way yet that I can do the network shows when I want them.
     
  15. brentsg macrumors 68040

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    #15
    You are missing the distinction between streaming and downloading. CBS, NBC, ABC, etc.. don't make their shows available for free download. They allow them to be streamed, so they can control what is available when. They don't want you collection episodes like this, they want to drive you to their websites (or Hulu, etc) one show at a time. It's all about advertising. In fact there's probably language on their websites that prohibits attempts to download/store the content.

    There is simply no easy and legal way to do what you wish for free. That's the beauty of Apple's ecosystem. It allows exactly what you want, facilitates easy sharing of content between iDevices, all with little to no technical expertise and fiddling required. Of course it's not free.
     
  16. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #16
    Exactly. Like Hulu and Netflix these are live streaming only. While there may be ways to capture some or all of the content, this is explicitly outside the terms of service and thus no better than just downloading content from torrents. So much so that many of these sites have made themselves unavailable on set top box devices like the Google TV or Boxee box.

    Many sites like abc.com will force you to sit through the ads between segments of the show you are watching as this is how they get paid.

    Legal time shifting (a la DVR) that doesn't actively consume your bandwidth at the time you are watching is only available from pay as you go services like Amazon or iTunes and require a specific device (TiVo/Apple TV 1 or PC/Mac).

    B
     
  17. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    brentsg - I know the difference between streaming and downloading - I was just confused about the ability to download shows from those sources. Thank you for letting me know that I cannot do that. I am just so sick of paying mega$$ to watch a handful of shows and get a bunch of stuff I have no interest in but still paying for it. There has to be a better way.....
     
  18. brentsg macrumors 68040

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    #18
    Well, this is pretty much why my family ditched DirecTV for a few years. Rather than pay them $65/mo, we just purchased season passes from iTunes. It was easy enough to pass the family test, and a lot cheaper than a year's worth of satellite service.

    That being said, I also have an HD TiVo, OTA antenna, and lifetime service contract. So all my network shows are "free" at this point via that DVR.
     
  19. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Brentsg-what is the lifetime service contract? Is that with TiVo?
     
  20. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #20
    IMO, you're in a tough position because if you cut out DirecTV, you get no TV.

    Like brentsg, I can receive my local channels in perfect HD for free, and they broadcast the majority of the shows I watch. So when I canceled DirecTV, I only lost access to 3 shows (SyFy channel stuff).

    The iTunes Store sold those shows at $1.99/episode. With each show being weekly, it ended up working out to like $8/month to download a months worth of episodes for those shows. I stopped paying DirecTV $65/month and started paying the iTunes Store $24/month, so I netted a $40/month savings (even more during the months where there were no new episodes).

    In your case, if you cancel DirecTV, you get no shows for free locally, which means you'll have to get everything online. If you want to do that for free, you'll have to deal with streaming. If you want to pay for downloads, for the price of 150 channels of DirecTV a month, you'll be able to download a month's worth of episodes for 8 TV shows. I'd imagine you want to see a significant decrease in what you pay for TV each month, so if you really only watch 3-4 TV shows, then canceling DirecTV and paying to buy/download them would save you about half vs. a $65/month DirecTV bill.
     
  21. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Yes, I want to reduce what I am paying. I have no problem with streaming...I just was concerned that if I was also using the internet while watching something that is being streamed, I would run into problems with breaks in the streaming or something like that. I have DSL, which is the fastest internet I can get out here. Provider says it is 3MB(download) and 512 upload. I also didn't know if I am limited streaming wise to only what came with my Sony Blu-ray player or if there are other ways to stream content to the tv via the Blu-ray. Sorry...I am trying to learn about these things as quickly as I can. Thanks again for everyone's responses and help!
     
  22. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #22
    I'm not sure what Internet streaming your Blu-ray supports. Some do Netflix, which is nice.

    The current season of shows are almost always only found on Hulu.com, or the networks website. I don't know of any "appliance" (like a Blu-ray player, or an AppleTV) that legitimately streams these. It's almost like you'd need to be able to hook up your current PC to the TV for these, or built a cheap one for that. :confused:
     
  23. balamw, Jan 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011

    balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #23
    Some BluRay players support DLNA (a.k.a UPnP) which would allow you to play locally stored content on the BluRay player that is and not from on one of the streaming services supported by your player. My Samsung player does not. It supports NetFlix, Blockbuster YouTube and Pandora.

    However, as we mentioned before, there is no legal source of downloadable non-DRM encumbered video content you could populate a DLNA sever with. (EDIT: If you could get OTA, you could in principle use an HDHomeRun see below.).

    B
     
  24. brentsg macrumors 68040

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    #24
    Yes. They sometimes offer discounts, but you can pay a lump sum once and avoid their fees going forward.

    Their new business model is to give away or greatly discount the hardware, while having you pay more than the usual monthly fee. But that locks you into that higher monthly for good.

    In my case, I had a series 1 TiVo when they first came out.. and I got a cheap price on lifetime service. They later transfered that contract to my series 3 HD box.
     
  25. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #25
    Lucky, you were grandfathered in. Now since the $399 "lifetime" is bound to the hardware you have to guess that you will keep it for more than 4 years or if they choose to give you a transfer, pay them an extra $199 for the privilege of transferring.

    Personally, I'm hoping SiliconDust finally releases the HDHomeRun Prime. http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/ I'd stick a CableCard in that and use an Apple TV 2 as a STB with a PC as a DVR/bridge between them.

    B
     

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