(OT) How do DVRs work?

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On Fri, 09 Sep 2011 03:30:38 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

That is what a capture card will do for you. They are pretty cheap. You can even get one with a tuner in it fairly reasonable these days.
The advantage of the Replay TV over just about any DVR is you can transfer straight to the PC in an MPEG file that DVD burners can use. You can use Womble or some other editor to crop out the commercials.
Look at AVS Forum for all the details.
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On 9/9/2011 1:06 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

That is built in to MythTV. I can even tell it to automatically remove the commercials it already detected. Unfortunately it has the same issues as replay because it intentionally won't work with a cable card as directed by the upstream providers.

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On 9/9/2011 1:30 AM, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

there are products that can do this. they're not cheap. you want a video capture card or usb adapter.
http://www.ramelectronics.net/audiovideo/computer-i-o-cards/video-capture-cards/c20000-c22000-c22005-p1.html
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On Fri, 09 Sep 2011 10:09:38 -0700, chaniarts

You can do a lot better than that
http://www.compsource.com/ttechnote.asp?part_no#058&vid 1&src=PW
$51
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On 9/9/2011 8:42 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Better because of price only? Those USB tuner encoder things are notoriously crappy. It doesn't make a lot of sense to save a couple bucks to buy poor performance.
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wrote:

That was just the first hit I had with a name brand. The point is, shop around. I got a full featured card and software from one of the internet outlets for $60.
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On 9/9/2011 4:30 AM, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

one for almost 2 years to record OTA programs when I want to time shift. In addition to the built-in ATSC tuner, it has several aux inputs, including a composite video jack, which could be used to record the output of your VCR. It has RF, HDMI, S-video, component, and composite video output jacks, so you can connect it to any TV, analog or digital. You can record either to the built in hard drive or to a recordable DVD. You can also dub from either medium to the other and can do primitive editing. Although there is no program guide capability, I am not put out by checking tvguide.com and setting the DVR manually. (Maybe because I'm old enough that I was doing that with VCR's since 1980 and is something I am used to doing.) Use your favorite search engine to see which models are currently available. Last time I checked, there are models sold by web retailers for < $200. It may not be the perfect solution for you, but it may be better than any alternatives you've considered.
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On 9/7/2011 10:59 PM, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

describing.
DVRs are one of those things you could spend hours explaining to someone and they still don't get it or you show them how it works and they say "I want one". Maybe ask a friend for a demo?
I built my first one maybe 9 years ago and no one could get how it worked until I showed it to them. I then built a number of them for friends. At that time there wasn't much to pick from commercially.
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wrote:

get cable tv. Rural areas like mine dont have cable, and SatTV is just too expensive. We cant get any internet except dialup either.

Everyone I know still uses a Vcr.

I'd like to see a blowup of what you built.
What I'm most interested in doing, is just recording a movie off the air, or saving something off the news, such as when a tornado did severe damage in a nearby town in June, I now have a video tape with 5 minutes of news on it. Really what I want most is just a digital "VCR", something to record to in digital format, and where I can edit it, out the commercials or parts I dont want, and maybe save it to DVD, or turn a few minutes of tv news coverage into a youtube (like) sort of video.
I'm sure an actual DVR can do a lot more and the weblinks posted on some replies from this thread showed me what it can do, but none of that will work off my antenna, and I could not justify the cost of the service even if I could get cable.
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On Sep 9, 4:21am, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

The Tivo service works with any or all of over the air TV, cable and satellite. The service information itself is not downloaded in one of two ways. Older units used dial up where it makes a toll free call once a day. Newer ones use an ethernet connection to your home network.
Rural areas like mine dont have cable, and SatTV is

Try looking on Youtube. I bet there are videos demonstrating how they work.

From the standpoint of editing, I agree a device like Tivo isn't going to do what you want. It has no such capability. As for service cost of a DVR, you can find older Tivo units on Ebay with lifetime service bundled in for a reasonable price.
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On Sep 9, 4:21am, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

A DVD recorder.
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On 9/9/2011 4:21 AM, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

Why not? Every DVR I know of has OTA capability.

Not much point of saving to DVD except maybe if you want to give a copy to someone. The whole niceness of a DVR is you get to move away from the limited and tedious VCR concept of having to have stacks of media that you manually change.

media center all can use a tuner such as a Happauge card which will receive OTA TV allowing you to even record two programs at the same time if you use a dual version. I know tivo can record OTA too.
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On 9/9/2011 9:47 AM, George wrote:

backup. you've never had a hard disk crash, or run out of foom, i would expect.

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On 9/9/2011 1:10 PM, chaniarts wrote:

care casual stuff doesn't get backed up. Hard drive space is incredibly inexpensive.

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Not much point? How about if you record an NFL game for example that you want to KEEP a copy of?
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But does it have a channel guide? That is the beauty of a system on cable or sat. You can browse the guide and choose your shows to record. You can set up series recordings and if there is a conflict, it can record the other program at a later time. The channel guide has information about the program, the actors, when it was first shown, and more.
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wrote:

The Tivo and Replay machines have a guide as part of the service. (replay just extended their service after threatening to drop it) There are also ways to get a guide off the internet for PC based systems.
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On 9/9/2011 10:46 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Agree, the channel guide is a key part of the goodness of a DVR. Tivo, Windows media and MythTV all have guides.
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I think the point of confusion here is that the channel guide is not necessarily linked to cable or sat. For example, Tivo obtains the channel guide and software updates via an ethernet connection with newer units and via dial up modem with the older units. That guide will work with antenna, cable, or sat. In the case of ethernet, it's true that for many people that ethernet is then connected to the cable system internet, but could also be DSL.
I also think that the versatility of the DVR is greatly compromised without having the 100+ channels cable or sat offers. The ability to search and manage a huge amount of programming is a key part of Tivo. If I only had antenna, not sure I'd even want one. Actually, given what I watch, I wouldn't be watching much at all.
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On Sep 7, 10:59pm, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

You're right that you don't need the program information service to do the task that you describe above. The issue is that probably 95% of the market for a DVR does not want to set it by channel, time, and day to record. They want the convenience that the program service provides. If you've never tried a Tivo it's hard to describe the great features that it offes that make use of the program information. For example, I can set up a wishlist to auto-record any movie with Robert Deniro. Or anything to do with Ronald Reagan. The latter will capture everything from any movie he was an actor in, to documentaries, to even the presidential debate last night at the Reagan libarary.
The fact that you are using it with just an antenna limits how much you could use it for that purpose. But for the mass market that has cable or sat, there a hundreds of channels and being able to capture programs of interest in the above way is a huge advantage. Hence, Tivo has their product designed and priced to serve that mass market.
The older Tivos would work to record by time and channel without paying for the subscription service. Not sure about the current ones. You could look on Ebay for a used Tivo. You would have to decide if you want HD or only standard and make sure that what ever one you buy is compatible with digital broadcast. I think all starting with Series 2 are, but all but the newer ones would require an external digital tuner that you can also buy cheap. Some of those Tivos will come with lifetime service, which means that the service is included for the lifetime of the unit. The service is transferable with the unit if you sell it. I have an original Tivo Series 1 here that I would sell, but the Series 1 is not compatible with an external digital tuner so it would not work with an antenna, only cable or sat.
If you get one without the service, you need to be sure it will work doing just channel, day, time recording. If you get one with lifetime service you need find out if it uses phone for the service updates or internet. Older ones use phone, newer require internet.

As others have said, there are people doing this using a tuner add-in card for the PC. I don't know of any doing it using a capture only card and feeding it with an external tuner. The obvious problem there is that the PC card would need to output an IR signal to change the tuner channel. Having it all on one card probably makes more sense and doesn't add much in cost. The only thing is, from what I know, you then watch it on the PC, not the TV.
I would think the used Tivo idea would be more attractive from a price/feature standpoint than doing the PC integration thing. Also, if you're going the Tivo route, you might want to check what their repair costs are. I had my Tivo Series 1 damaged by lightning and back then the repair policy was for $100 they shipped me a refurbished unit, which I think is a good deal.
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