Digital Replacements for Fried TVs and VCR

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On Sun, 15 Jan 2012 16:38:28 -0500, Tomsic wrote:

Why not? I mean, if it didn't do what they needed, or supplies (i.e. tapes) were hard to get hold of, then OK - but you say it worked great, so I assume neither of those were a problem (otherwise it wouldn't be great :-)
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Yes, that's logical. Tapes will work and they might even be an economical choice at the moment. But, the TV signal has to go through the converter box for analog recording and the tapes have to be played back via the analog TV. Once that TV dies, there's a useless VCR and a stack of tapes that would have to be converted.
Yes, I know there are analog to digital converters. I have one of those, but I'm less than happy with the picture quality.
I appreciate all of the good suggestions. Seems like the market still needs some better choices though.
Thanks,
Tomsic
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And with a VCR you're not going to record anything in HD. SVHS at best.
Once that TV dies,  there's a useless VCR and a stack of tapes that

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On 1/15/2012 6:45 PM, Jules Richardson wrote:

i believe i read some time ago that the last vhs tape manufacturing plant stopped producing new tapes.
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I find that very hard to believe.
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On 1/16/2012 11:19 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

you should try to believe 2 impossible things before breakfast. to wit:
Los Angeles Times Articles
VHS era is winding down The last big supplier of the tapes is ditching the format, ending the long fade-out of a product that ushered in the home theater.
December 22, 2008 Geoff Boucher
Pop culture is finally hitting the eject button on the VHS tape, the once ubiquitous home video format that will finish this month as a creaky ghost of Christmas past.
After three decades of steady if unspectacular service, the spinning wheels of the home entertainment stalwart are slowing to a halt at retail outlets. On a crisp Friday morning in October, the final truckload of VHS tapes rolled out of a Palm Harbor, Fla., warehouse run by Ryan J. Kugler, the last major supplier of the tapes.
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On Mon, 16 Jan 2012 13:58:38 -0700, chaniarts

Very interesting. Good to know.
I actually recorded one of the Rep. debates on my VCR (with dig-to-analog converter box) just before New Hampshire. The DVDR was being used to record a show I watch every week.
And I still have about 8 once-blank tapes, and since I almost never save anything after I watch it, and since one tape lasted me a year or two even when I used it every day, they should last a long time.
I also have a box of 20 or 30 tapes that someone else recorded on. Eventually I'll watch each of them once, or less if it's boring, and then I'll have more "blank tapes".
The story that they could only be used 4 or 5 times was so so false. I recorded and rerecorded mine 40 or 50 times or more before they failed. Until failure, the picture quality seemed unchanged to me.
I should be able to last the rest of my life with what I have.
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i don't read the LA Times and I don't know what they are talking about and apparently neither do they. I just typed "buy vhs tapes" into google and apparently TDK and Maxell are available to buy. Also who the hell is Ryan Kugler?
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What was posted is that VHS tapes are no longer being manufactured. That doesn't mean mountains of them don't exist in warehouses, Goodwill and dollar stores around the world.
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I suggest you and chaniarts go read the actual LA times article again. While it starts off saying the last truckload of VHS tapes is leaving the warehouse, by the end of the article it's clear the article is actually talking about PRE-RECORDED VHS TAPES, ie those with movies on them. Which explains who Kugler is. He's a guy who bought up the old movies and is selling them off out of his warehouse.
That poorly written, misleading article was written over 3 years ago and major retailers are still obviously stocking blank VHS tapes from many different manufacturers, Maxell, TDK, Sony, etc.
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On 1/15/2012 1:38 PM, Tomsic wrote:

There are several issues to consider. The most of important is, "What do you mean by the plural 'shows'?" If you want to record multiple shows AT THE SAME TIME, you've got a problem.
Can you view ALL the channels you want to record with one antenna direction? If you've got multipath and have to turn the antenna to get a channel, that makes multiple channel recordings, or unattended recording of a single channel problematic.
Whatever you use has to have an internal or external ATSC tuner. You can't buy a new VCR with an ATSC, at least not at a rational price. Thank your legislators for preventing vendors including tuners that didn't do ATSC. So the vendors left 'em out.
That makes programming a nightmare. You have to program the VCR AND the tuner simultaneously. I tried it for a while, but gave up trying to get it right.
I tried a couple of DVD recorders without success. If there was ANY glitch in the recording process, like a bad spot on the DVD or a pixelation due to a plane flying over or ANYTHING not perfect, the recorder gave up and aborted. I ended up with the first few minutes of a show before it ALWAYS found some reason to abort. There was no recovery process.
I ended up with two VCRs and four digital converter boxes. I could set two channels on each recorder and program the VCR to record either channel. That worked fine, but since I'm home while the recordings are happening, I ditched two of the converter boxes and switch it manually.
I also have a TV tuner card in my PC. ATI HDTV wonder. It works mostly, but if I do much else on the computer, the recording skips. Also skips a lot on some channels.
I've tried a couple of other cards without success. Either no drivers or too resource hungry to run on a 2.8GHz computer. There's a lot of difference in the ability of a given tuner to get a reliable picture in a multipath area.
Some of the older cable boxes will let you tune OTA hdtv without service. So, I have a Hughes HTL-HD plumbed into the monitor.
So, I can record one HD channel on the computer if it's on a good reception channel, Two lowD channels on the VCRs and watch one HD channel on the computer monitor.
The more popular shows can be viewed on network websites if you have the bandwidth.
Most people would find this setup unacceptable.
People who report being happy have multiple dual-tuner cards (with hardware assist) in a dedicated multi-core PC. But it ain't cheap.
It won't be too long before you can stream anything you want on demand. But it will never be at a cost I'm willing to pay. YMMV.
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Yes, it's the cost thing that bugs both my friend and me. Your information is excellent though. My friend knows as much about computers as his cat; but he can carefully follow a set of instructions. He does use a roof antenna to feed his sets (the analog set is fed through a converter box) and doesn't need to reposition the antenna to get all the stations in the area. He's perfectly willing to record with one set and watch the other if two shows are on at the same time. But, he's more likely to do time shifting and want to set a timer to record a show while he's at work or away for viewing later.
So far from the comments here, I see two choices given his interests and capabilities: (1) Get a TIVO or cable TV recorder system and pay the big bucks forever (2) Cobble together his new ditital TV, and a DVD or DVR player along with a computer and a honking-big hard drive for storage. Use the computer for control and moving files. I don't see yet how to set up a recording schedule, but maybe there's some software around. It sounds like streaming from the internet could be done with the same rig.
Tomsic
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If you use a Windows platform, most non-basic versions of Windows 7 come with Media Center, which both downloads a program guide for free and permits single episode or series recording of any OTA program. It will also transcode a recorded program such that it can be burned onto a regular DVD. Takes a while, but works fine.
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On 1/17/2012 6:04 PM, Robert Neville wrote:

My experience has been that you need more than a hyperthreaded 2.8GHZ P4 to run that resource hog. Way too much eye-candy and not enough svelt tv recording. Support for TV cards is also limited. But I do get a nice bunch of expanding graphics menus on the way to, "No TV card Installed".
M$'s idea of plugandplay hardware support is minimum functionality at the lowest-common-denominator of features and no way to access the good stuff...on a limited subset of existing hardware.
I never got MythTV to work properly either with any of my TV cards.
People using payware solutions on specific cards report better results.
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With Tivo you can buy a lifetime subscription for about $300. And the older units definitely worked without a subscription, but it's then just a dumb time/channel machine. I've heard the new Tivos won't work without the subscription, but not sure if that's true.
The problem for you is that the cost of a new Tivo with lifetimes is around $550- $600. That can be recovered in 3 - 4 years if you're replacing a cable box DVR. I'm saving $14 a month. In your case, with just antenna, it's a different proposition. You can check Ebay for used Tivos as well.
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wrote:

do what i did buy a used tivo for 30 bucks whos service has expired.try craiglist.
activate for 1 month as monthly. if it works well buy lifetime 300 bucks.
this gets your costs down to just over 300 bucks
craigslist has lots of tivos cheap.
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On 1/18/2012 8:10 AM, bob haller wrote:

i guess just buying the damn magnavox hard drive dvr for ~$250 is just too hard for everyone to comprend eh?
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Steve Barker
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On 1/18/2012 9:17 AM, Steve Barker wrote:

Have you ever considered that someone might want something more than a device that has such a limited feature set?
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I'd be a bit careful. That $30 Tivo was not HD, right? And the older ones that are not HD may not be compatible with an external ATSC tuner. I no for a fact that at least some of the early ones will not work with an external ATSC tuner/converter. If it were me, before spending $300, I'd want something HD compatible. Also, there are Tivos on Ebay that include the lifetime subscription, whether new, used etc.
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wrote:

mine is high def, it uses a cablecard provided by comcast but did work OTA for awhile....... its a tivo premier unit that cn also use a external hard drive.
you must know what your buying
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