Digital Video Recorder
Posted by BLT (+88) 11 years ago
I am thinking of getting rid of the old VCR for taping my TV shows. Looking for advice on what is good, TIVO, the ones from the cable company, or what ever else is out there.

Many of you computer video genius's should know.

Thanks

Robert
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Posted by Bridgier (+9389) 11 years ago
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
I don't think MythTV is a good choice as a DVR, especially if you want digital channels (as far as I know, it doesn't support CableCARDs and probably never will). The software also has never reached 1.0 status and I assume you have to be a bit of a geek to build one of those boxes. Around here, without a CableCARD you only get 2-13 plus a few other cruddy channels below 100 thrown in.

TiVo DVR -- I absolutely hate the company and their support services, however I prefer their box, remote control and user interface. It's very intuitive. In the past you had to buy a box, but now I think they offer something like a 2 year $19.95 or whatever per month contract. To get the digital channels (2-999) you have to rent a CableCARD from your local cable provider (an additional amount per month). For digital content, you really need 500GB minimum, more like 1TB or more. You can get external expanders up to 2TB I believe.

"Cable Company" DVR -- The benefit is that you don't really have to pay anything (at least around here) they just give it to you and eventually you have to give it back. You get a little better "On Demand" type stuff through channel 1 and whatever else, but the DVR box and remote they offer here basically sucks.

I think a good DVR needs:

1. The ability of recording 2 channels at once.

2. Has a 24/7 rated hard drive in it, 500GB or more (1TB or 2TB).

3. A well designed UI and remote.

4. If you want digital channel reception, it needs to be able to accept CableCARDs (otherwise you are stuck in the 2-99 range, with whatever your cable provider decides to give you in that range).
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Posted by Bridgier (+9389) 11 years ago
Well, you don't NEED the cablecard to get the digital channels into the mythbox - you can either accept whatever digital channels are available via ATSC, or you can use the HDPVR encoder to encode the analog component video output from your set-top box.

But yes... if you're not willing to fiddle, then mythtv is probably not for you (although if you are, it can meet all three of your criteria - don't let the 0.24 version number fool you)
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
Comcast is my cable provider. Now tell me how I can get 1-999 (basically a thousand channels, something I pay for) into any HD-DVR without either (A) using their CableCARD or (B) resorting to piracy?
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Posted by Forsyth Mike (+476) 11 years ago
We have the Tivo Premier at the house. With our regular cable (no Card) we get about 50 channels which is more than we ever have time to watch.

I like how it picks out "suggestions" for things to watch based on what you have recorded. I haven't had the "nothing on TV" problem for quite a while now!
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Posted by Bridgier (+9389) 11 years ago
A) Do you have a set-top box with component out or B) does your cablecard plug directly into your TV?

If A, then you can use the HDPVR, which certainly isn't piracy, to encode your digital channel and send it to the spinning media of your choice.

Else B, then it would appear that you live under an abusive digital rights regime. Comcast in collusion with Cable Labs is screwing you if you can't get a set top box.

They didn't tell you that you needed to upgrade you TV from analog to digital to receive cable signal because the government was mandating the switch-over did they? Because that would have been a lie. The switch-over was only mandated for OTA signal, not Cable.

Anyways, to summarize - if the signal becomes analog at some point between the coax and the TV, there are solutions that will allow you to legally capture it.

Are they solutions I'd expect my grandmother (or yours) to be able to utilize? Well, no - for various reasons, but not the least of which is because they do require some competency with system setup and an intimate understanding of the OS involved, whether it be Linux or Windows.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
What Comcast did here, is after the federally mandated end of analog transmission, the corporation basically took advantage of consumer confusion, and axed everything under the 100 channel range (which I was perfectly happy with receiving) except retained 2-13 plus a few crappy other ones that no one watches.

We have one digital TiVo HDTV and one analog TiVo CRT TV. The analog one gets 2-13, the digital one gets the whole 1,000 range. The digital TV requires a CableCARD (actually two of them, because we're using older technology) and while they provide the first for free, the second is rented.

A box is required for that TV as it is basically just an LCD monitor -- the only choices are one from Comcast (which is a Motorola or whatever) or something from TiVo. Or at least last time I checked.

MythTV seems interesting, and I would probably throw one together for the heck of it, but since it won't work in my area, due to the CableCARD requirement, not gonna happen. If there were some sort of solution of using MythTV with my cable provider, where I'm not stuck in the 2-13 zone, it would be a different story -- however, until someone educates me otherwise, MythTV is never going to get anything to accept CableCARDs -- because in order to decrypt the signal, it would basically open up a massive world of piracy.

The media corporations have been against the entire concept of the original VCR, since inception, and they finally got their way.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9389) 11 years ago
A box is required for that TV as it is basically just an LCD monitor -- the only choices are one from Comcast (which is a Motorola or whatever) or something from TiVo. Or at least last time I checked.


Does that box ONLY send out HDMI, or is component out a possibility as well?
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
It sends out about everything, including component -- but then you lose the whole point of HDMI.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9389) 11 years ago
Component out supports 1080i, and the hdpvr can encode AC-3 audio for 5.1 sound.

I'm not going to say anything regarding what you get from Comcast with any certainty, but I would be surprised if you're receiving any channels from them in 1080p.

The htpc of your choice can happily pump that signal back via hdmi.

[This message has been edited by Bridgier (11/9/2010)]
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
Okay, I'm a software engineer not a hardware engineer, but basically you have a hole in the wall with a coaxial cable coming out, it goes into a box, and that box decides what channels you get, and the box then feeds into the TV. If you don't have a CableCARD here you can't get the full range of what you are paying for.

If you bypass the box and stick the coaxial cable into the TV, or anything analog, rather than the box with a CableCARD, you end up with 2-13 (plus a few channels of crap). That was the choice of Comcast, so perhaps it is not the same everywhere else, and I expect it is not.
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4457) 11 years ago
I'd assume you just put the mythtv between the comcast box and the TV?
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
There is no Comcast box. The "box" I'm referring to is the "DVR", which in my case, is an HD TiVo DVR box -- which requires at least one CableCARD for digital cable reception -- which is a PCMIA type device inserted into the back. It controls what you receive. MythTV does not (as far as I know) offer any option to receive the same channels that I receive on my TiVo DVR (or a Comcast DVR, which I don't have).
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Posted by Bridgier (+9389) 11 years ago
Buck is correct - until they get around to closing it, the analog hole can be legally exploited to capture all that content that you've paid good money for.

Now... I do believe that the broadcasters can set the so called "broadcast bit" which forbids compliant equipment from sending content down either the component out or the firewire port (if such a thing is even available on your set-top box).

Before I switched over to recording hi-def content, I had enough disk space for 240 hours of standard def television - which is pretty sad when you consider that I really don't even like that much TV

Now I've got a 1.5 TB disk for storing recordings, which is a lot of high-def content.

In Larry's case, you can send the signal from the wall through the Tivo box and out via component into an HDPVR encoder which is attached to your mythbox. The Tivo can be controlled via an IR blaster (or possibly a usb or serial connection) to change the channels.

[f]
[COAX]--->[TIVO:Component Out]-->[MythTV]-->[TV]
| |
<----[IR Blaster]---
[/f]

[This message has been edited by Bridgier (11/9/2010)]
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
No, Buck is not correct, and neither are you. Perhaps in other parts of the country things are different, but not here.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
Dude, why would I have a TiVo DVR and a MythTV DVR in the same circuit? They're both the same things, except in your scenario MythTV would be feeding off the TiVo in a limited fashion.

Eject TiVo DVR (or Comcast DVR) from the picture, and in my area, you CANNOT get more than essentially 2-13, rather than 2-999 or 1-999 -- so MythTV would only get the smallest amount in analog.

There's a big difference between a dozen channels and a thousand channels. There is also a big difference between analog and digital when viewed in high def.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9389) 11 years ago
Because you can replace the TivoDVR with a generic Motorola set-top box if you so desired. Here it's worth about 10$/month to get just a box instead of the DVR.

Feasible != Practical, and if you already have a DVR that you're happy with, then no, there's no reason to inject mythtv into the circuit. But from the beginning of the thread, I've explicitly stated that some sort of set-top box is required if you are receiving a signal from your cable company.

As to quality differences between 1080i delivered via component and 1080i delivered via hdmi, I've never noticed them.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
Simple question then. Can you record more than one channel simultaneously using your scenario? I don't think so.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9389) 11 years ago
True, in order to get more than one stream in, you would need one set-top box/encoder.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10016) 11 years ago
K, I don't want to argue about something so stupid anymore.

In regards to the original question, I would say just get the DVR box from your cable provider, if you want to spend more money then get a TiVo DVR box, and if you want to spend more time and money (as a hobby) then try building something like MythTV.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15207) 11 years ago
Sounds like you guys are having "denominational" issues.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3708) 11 years ago
Late to the party but Bridgier is right. When I lived in CA I had Comcast digital cable and was able to record all channels using Windows Media Center. It wasn't a very user friendly solution to implement however, particularly the IR blaster. It did work well once I got it working, but setup was so cumbersome that after 2 years in MT I still haven't bothered to get the video recording aspect working with my Dish Network box again. Unless you like to tinker and don't mind dropping $1500 or so, I'd say a Tivo or a cable company dvr are the way to go possibly combined with a Roku box. There are advantages to the htpc though such as netflix/hulu and the rest of the internet on your tv and expandable hard disk space. I have over 200 episodes of my favorite cooking show on mine for example, and over 120 movies ripped from my dvd collection.

[This message has been edited by Levi Forman (11/10/2010)]
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Posted by James Shaw (+143) 11 years ago
If you have cable, I would suggest buying a cheap system at Walmart and putting a Ceton InfiniTV card in it.

http://www.cetoncorp.com/

I'm already looking into putting one together for our home with HDD prices plummeting.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12112) 11 years ago
http://www.dslreports.com...ins-111570

Need to put on url tags on this site.
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Posted by James Shaw (+143) 11 years ago
Didn't I just post that in a different section on the forum?

Plus, DVR's aren't infringing.. yet. This card is 100% legal, you just have to get a single CableCard from your Cable Company to utilize it. It runs off of Windows Media Center in Windows 7.

That card, plus a Core i3 (or newer) and a few TB's of HDD space and you're set for quite awhile. I don't think you can dump the files to a personal file server, but you can share it with a Xbox, Xbox360, PS3, or some other media player.

Unfortunately, the cards are selling so well that getting one takes time. Me, I'd love to have a 6TB DVR (4x2TB drive RAID5).

[This message has been edited by James Shaw (12/3/2010)]
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 11 years ago
Best solution. Get satellite TV, like how I have DirecTV, and use their DVR. Or a TIVo. The cable company dvrs suck unless they have tivo integrated.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3708) 11 years ago
I really wish that they would make DirecTV and Dish sell cable cards. I don't understand why they are exempted from this when the cable companies have to.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3708) 11 years ago
Hmm, apparently the FCC is considering a requirement of a new box that you could just plug into your home network and it would provide 6 video streams that would be available to whatever device you wanted to display them on including (presumably) your computers. I'm sure that the cable companies will make every effort to kill it or at least crap it up beyond recognition by the time it's actually passed but it sounds pretty nice to me.

http://arstechnica.com/te...allvid.ars
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 11 years ago
They are trying to kill Netflix.. You can imagine they want more blood after that.
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Posted by Chris Gamrath (+382) 11 years ago
Not that I'm trying to prolong this thread, but is "Bresnan" a dirty word or what? Their DVR while requiring a rental fee functions well AND does the dual stream recording. Space may be limited as it's certainly not in the Terabyte range, but really if you're needing that much space, you're either way too busy to watch t.v. or should be building a video library on your computer. (not that I'd be promoting piracy mind you lol)
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3708) 11 years ago
No Bresnan in Miles City. Does Mid-Rivers offer a DVR box?
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Posted by Chris Gamrath (+382) 11 years ago
I know that they do as a couple different housefulls of my family use it there but not sure of the particular specs of it. Then again maybe it's MidRivers that's the dirty word, not Bresnan lol
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