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Television Media Data Storage Technology

Current Crop Of HDTV Recorders Compared 177

rbrander links to this "nice review of all the HDTV Recorders from the Washington Post: DirecTV's based on the TiVo wins for best interface, but Dish Network's gets a few nods. There's also a nice swipe ('...spectacularly stupid decision') at JVC's for allowing only (copy-protected) Firewire input to the one HDTV tape recorder on the market."
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Current Crop Of HDTV Recorders Compared

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  • by Frac ( 27516 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:15PM (#10320094)
    I've recently built myself a nice HTPC with two tuners (Hauppauge PVR-250), and I'm quite happy with it. I intend to move onto HDTV capture cards once the most popular PVR software packages (SageTV, Beyond TV) supports it.

    Does anyone know what the state of the HDTV capture cards for PC looks like right now? Obviously, hardware encoding and picture quality is key...
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:21PM (#10320161)
      HDTV capture cards have a slight advantage over typical TV capture cards because they don't have to digitize anything from analog, they just have to remember the bitstream they were fed from the channel.

      Their disadvantage is that HDTV can be quite the high-bandwidth application, and that means the limitations of the PCI bus, and even the AGP connection can sometimes cause quality loss. PCI Express seems to be the solution to that in the pipeline, and that's most likely what the mainstream vendors are waiting for. An HD card on the market today has to be labeled as an "early adopter" model.

      On the other hand, maybe this is a technology that you want to be an early adopter of to avoid cards that end up getting crippled by "broadcast flag" laws.
      • What about 64 bit and/or 66MHz PCI? That's available on many machines today. In fact I have two machines with 64 bit PCI in my house, and they're both PCs. My Yosemite Rev 1 G3 had both 64 bit and 66MHz, but not in the same slot.
      • by cft_128 ( 650084 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:57PM (#10320560)
        Their disadvantage is that HDTV can be quite the high-bandwidth application, and that means the limitations of the PCI bus, and even the AGP connection can sometimes cause quality loss.

        Uncompressed HDTV could cause those problems sure, but compressed streams (what you would be recording) are about 19.2Mb/s, a far cry from the theoretical cap of PCI. The AGP slot should be able to handle the uncompressed stream fine for display, after all it is only 1280x720 @ 60hz or 1920x1080 @ 30hz (or rather 1920x540@60hz) and most graphics card can exceed that by quite a bit (right now I'm at 1600x1200 @ 85hz on an old laptop).

        • The potential problem is an AGP all in one card. Some (most) AGP implementations have horrific bandwidth from the card to the host so getting a reliable moderate speed connection over AGP might be a problem. Of course even 32bit-33MHz PCI is orders of magnitude faster than compressed HDTV as are modern HDD's.
        • To put it in perspective, consider that a FireWire connection is capable of 400Mbps, and MiniDV data streams operate a hair under 30Mbps (25Mbps for the video stream with standard 5:1 compression, the rest a PCM audio stream). Most computers less than six or seven years old can handle that on the PCI bus, and a broadcast HDTV signal (or, if you're doing production on a JVC GR-HD1, HDV data stream) is only 2/3 as wide. And you get better color sampling to boot.
      • by Chris Carollo ( 251937 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:58PM (#10320575)
        Their disadvantage is that HDTV can be quite the high-bandwidth application, and that means the limitations of the PCI bus, and even the AGP connection can sometimes cause quality loss.
        Not that I've ever experienced and I've been using a HiPix for years. HD isn't that's only 19.2Mb/s, or 2.4MB/s. The standard 33Mhz PCI bus spec is for 133MB/s so there's plenty of headroom there.

        Far more of a concern is how fast you can write those bits to disk, though even there I've never had a problem.
    • There are a handful of HDTV cards out there, I saw ATI's HDTV-Wonder in action and it looked alright. I'm not recommending ATi, they make complete dogshit these days - so if their product seems to perform acceptably, the competition must really kick ass.

      The problem with trying to build an HTPC with HDTV powers, as I see it, is getting component output to the TV, or finding a TV with RGBS input (VGA plugs like your monitor). Scan converters from VGAHDTV are expensive and the picutre looks like ass.
      • HDTV output to a PC is really quite easy if you simply make it a requirement when you are shopping for your TV. Tons of tv's have DVI-D inputs or RGBS on them, and they really arent more expensive than the tv's that don't. Just get one of these, and then, with some tweaking, pretty much any modern video card can be made to drive them. Apps such as powerstrip, et. al. make this pretty simple.
    • Obviously, hardware encoding and picture quality is key...

      Um, No.

      HDTV is a digital signal, all you need to do is record that signal to the hard drive.

    • I've got two such cards, one is Linux only [] and the other is Windows only []. But since they both save the raw bitstream coming from over the air, files can be played back from both cards without modification.

      They're in separate systems and have access via NFS and SMB to a RAID array to save/playback all programming.
    • by YetAnotherName ( 168064 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:28PM (#10320248) Homepage
      Oh and don't forget that current HDTV capture cards [] will be illegal on 2005.7.1. Buy 'em now while you can. Future models will have to support DRM via a broadcast flag. :-(
      • Future models will have to support DRM via a broadcast flag. :-(

        Hopefully the broadcast flag will prove every bit as effective as CSS.
      • Myth TV (Score:3, Informative)

        by McFly69 ( 603543 )
        Myth TV ( the best software out there to use under BSD. Wendey Seltzer actually used the program and make it fully functional. on here website you have full directions, drivers and programs to do it. I myself am looking this for an option to build my own with a DVD recorder. IF serveral people are interested in this kind of project let me know, maybe we can share insight and idea.
    • Most, if not ALL HDTV recorders for PCs support only over-the-air broadcasts, and not QAM encoded. Cable and Satellite use QAM encoding, meaning you aren't going to record unless you have an antenna.
      • Satellite uses QPSK or ("turbo") 8PSK, not QAM.

        The QPSK is pretty standardized, whereas the 8PSK is still being tweaked by various parties for maximum bandwidth. Of course, most HDTV broadcasts use 8PSK.

        Once you get above the encoding layer, there's the encyption. The cable industry appears to have settled on cablecard as a means for standardizing the encryption setup (I think this may have been forced on them by the FCC).

        However, unlike in Europe, where satellite receivers have been standardized, US s
    • The state of HDTV capture cards for the PC looks, cloudy and buggy =)

      There's a few models out there (ATI HDTV wonder for example) but most of them just do OTA DTV ATSC stuff ( just when you thought I couldn't add in another acronym...) There's Fusion III card [] that was recently featured on /. that does unencrypted QAM for getting the HDTV off of *some* cable company's...

      So you're stuck with either broadcast OTA DTV, a card that may or may not work depending on whether or not your cable company scrambles/en
  • by ARRRLovin ( 807926 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:16PM (#10320110)
    The current crop of Standalone Tivo's blow the DirecTiVo away performance wise. The features of the DirecTiVo's can't be beat, but those that are used to the standard Series2 TiVo (or even the Series1) are growing tired of the dismal menu performance of the DirecTivo. All of this can be solved quite software. Update those TiVo's DirecTV!
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:27PM (#10320229)
      A codebase split seems to have happened when the DirecTiVo units officially took on the name of "DirecTV DVR with TiVo service" and the monthly subscription price got halved from $9.95 to $4.95. Near that time, the fees for standalone TiVos moved upwards from $9.95 to $12.95...

      And at that point the DirecTV code froze, while development for the standalone TiVos continued. Apparently, DirecTV now must pay for any new features they want added to the DirecTV DVRs, meanwhile TiVo continued to push its latest stuff out for free to their direct subscribers. All of the things that a standard Series 2 TiVo can do that a Series 2 DirecTV DVR cannot were added after that point in time.
  • Didn't the title say the review was of ALL the HD recorders available? The Scientific Atlanta 8000HD may not be the best, but it certainly works.
    • I just got the SA8000HD box about a week ago. It's better than I thought but still has many glitches. 32megs of ram/16 video ram doesn't seem like enough, especially when it has a hard time keeping up with the HD streams that come in from Time Warner Cable.

      But, I have to say, it's nice to be able to record HD shows and the technology is only going to get better.

      Oh, and 5 bucks a month for the box isn't too bad either...... considering DirectTivo is around 1000.
      • by Mondoz ( 672060 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:36PM (#10320329)
        After having a Tivo for the past year, using this box feels like being stabbed in the face...

        You can't search for shows very easily, if at all...
        The series subscription interface is horribly featureless...
        It doesn't give a darn about what you like, and certainly won't offer any suggestions of what you might like.

        Configuration menus are strewn about several different sections, accessable from lots of specalized buttons. TiVo's interface and menus are like a massage by comparison.

        If only the Tivo would record HD from cable.

        I do like having the cable box, HD convertor, and DVR in one single box, though.

        But for the time being, I'm going to let TiVo record to its heart's content.
        IMO, nothing will ever surpass TiVo in perfection of interface...
        TiVo 4 evar!!!
        • I've got a TiVo sitting unused and gathering dust since my conversion to HDTV. I just can't bear to watch SD programming on my 65" HDTV.

          Now with that said, the SA8000HD isn't too bad on its own, but as the poster said, after using a TiVo, it's not quite stabbing yourself in the face; more like a little blunt trauma every time you try to search for a show, or wonder what your TiVo would have recorded based on your previous recordings.

          I'd buy a $500 TiVo with support for HDTV.
          $600 if it included wireless n
  • by CheechBG ( 247105 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:17PM (#10320120) Homepage
    I have never seen D-VHS, but I can only imagine that since it is tape, that it has the same fundamental flaws as VHS, the magnetic tape. I don't care if it is digital, if I put my copy of Fear and Loathing in there and play it over and over I can only surmise that it's going to degrade as the heads go over and over the tape. IMHO, Blu-ray is a much more reliable (in comparison, I know) format.
    • DVHS is an awesome archival format. Any DVHS player you buy has an extremely high quality ADC so you can record hours of old VHS tapes onto DVHS-about 9 hours per DVHS at virtually indistinguishable from source copy.

      Also, you can go to 169time [] to get an STB with HD-firewire out. Expensive, but not copyright-crippled at all...not too shabby!

    • TAPE?? Please. The war is over. Disks (optical and magnetic) won.
  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:18PM (#10320138)
    I do it all the time.

    Now you do lose the enhanced resolution BUT it does record in widescreen format which is nice for movies over cable.
  • FireWire (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:19PM (#10320145)
    FireWire wasn't a stupid was 5C-protected (copy-protected) FireWire that was a stupid decision.

    FireWire was probably the best promise of device interconnectivity to ever exist in recent years. But it has been crippled by several things:

    1. Content providers/TV/movie/Hollywood's deathly fear of being able to easily interconnect all devices, including computing equipment, via one perfect, digital connection.

    2. A bit due to Apple's early ridiculous licensing and logo requirements to use the "FireWire" name. FireWire is the name that would have taken IEEE-1394 the furthest, but thanks to the early bungling, we're now stuck with "FireWire", "DV", "i.Link", "IEEE-1394", "1394"...what's that sir? Oh, yes, they're all really the same thing.

    Imagine having ALL of your entertainment equipment, including your computer, connected digitally via one, simple FireWire cable each, all daisy-chained off one another. All able to control one another when necessary, sending meta-data and device control commands, as well as audio, video, and other data over the wire. No ridiculous bundles of cabling. Everything plug and play. Everything "just works". Even Wireless FireWire (yes, there's a spec). (And yes, FireWire has the bandwidth necessary to handle all this and more.)

    That was the promise of FireWire. Instead, we're stuck with final output formats like DVI, and HDCP-protected HDMI, 5C FireWire that virtually nothing supports, and the coming Broadcast Flag.

    Oh well. :-(
    • For some reason my cable company runs everything unencrypted. I can pull anything off firewire, including HBO-HD, etc. I wish my cable box supported playback of external TS files, but I know that will never happen. :)
    • FireWire products (Score:5, Insightful)

      by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:29PM (#10320258)
      I forgot to mention...there ARE quite a few products that do contain FireWire: HDTVs, set top boxes, DVD players, digital VCRs, A/V receivers, etc: ucts.html []

      Additionally, the FCC is mandating that as of July 1, 2005, all digital cable set top boxes MUST include a functional FireWire port [], and as of April 1, 2004, must provide a set top box with a working FireWire port on customer request. Of course, this doesn't help if content providers choose to encrypt the content.

      Here's hoping we can fight the Broadcast Flag []. Unfortunately, I can see a future where our kids think that the only way they can watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it, and on the device they wish to watch it on, is by illegally downloading it from a P2P network, instead of being able to legally record it and move it around THEMSELVES with equipment THEY BOUGHT from a service THEY PAY FOR in their OWN HOMES.

    • Imagine having ALL of your entertainment equipment, including your computer, connected digitally via one, simple FireWire cable each, all daisy-chained off one another.

      Now imagine buying a $40 repeater [] for every 15 feet [] of cable...

    • Passing virus originated instructions from one another

      your computer telling your tivo to erase it's entire harddrive, then record anime manga 3 at two am, because that's what the virus writer thinks you should watch, your vcr ejecting tapes, and your cd jukebox player snapping cd's in half by partilly loading them and then rotating..

      yes, the joys of a massively inter-connected motorized hardware would be ever so much more fun than a purely electronic non-motorized one..

    • by mmmbeer ( 9963 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:51PM (#10320497) Homepage
      I recently had quite a struggle getting a cable box with a 1394 port on it from my local cable co (BrightHouse Tampa). I had dreams of a pure digital connection from the tuner to the computer, right to file or to my XvMC X session. After finally getting it and connecting it to my computer, and writing a a good chunk of code to get it to talk through the firewire card in my linux box... every channel is either analog or 5C.

      Most the channels here in Tampa are analog and there is no MPEG encoder chip on the Scientific Atlanta 3250HD box, so that means nothing comes out of the firewire port for those channels. The rest of the channels are encrypted and flagged as CCI "once", meaning that only hardware that supports 5C can read it and that hardware must respect the "copy only once" intent of the flag. As far as I know, there is no way to decrypt 5C content in software, which leaves the user with unusable transport streams.

      I'd still love to work on a pure digital PVR (one that doesn't make several analog->digital->analog->etc convertsions once the signal gets to the box), but firewire definately doesn't further that cause.
  • Only copy protected? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The DTheater has encrypyted tapes that can only be played on DTheater (the copy protection) compatible VCRs.

    I can record lots of open signals over the Firewire. The lower end one can be found for around $300, but the newer and more expensive ones are made a lot better.
  • by AGTiny ( 104967 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:22PM (#10320178)
    I have a Motorola DCT-6208, the model I think they are referring to in this article that Comcast offers.

    Even though the hard drive is only 80GB, and the interface sucks, the thing is virtually free and I don't have to worry about it breaking, hard drive failing, or the eventual obsolescence in less than a year. Anyone shelling out $1000 for the satellite models is a sucker IMO.

    I used to be a DirecTV customer and bought a RCA DTC-100 HD tuner on Ebay for $400. I was able to turn around and resell it on Ebay for $350 2 years later, but only because I sold it before the crop of DVRs came out, and because it was a high-demand model. Now, if you are stuck with an obsolete HD Tivo in a year or two, you are pretty much screwed because the new models will be so much better no one will want an older model. Maybe you can sell it to your grandmother though for $100. :)

    With cable though, I can keep getting a better box for virtually nothing. The new Motorola DCT-6412 with two tuners and 120GB hard drive is right around the corner, and I will just have to call and setup an appointment to have the tech come in and swap it out.
    • Another thing, the interface problems on the Motorola boxes are all because most cable companies are stuck using the TV Guide/Gemstar software, which is the horrible boxy ad-ridden mess you are used to. My cable company, Armstrong, is stuck contractually with TV Guide for the near future, but would love to move to something else.

      However, the DCT cable boxes are generic platforms and can run any software. Some markets are now using the much nicer Pioneer Passport Echo [] software, which I think is much clos
    • anyone shelling out $1000 for the satellite models is a sucker IMO.

      As stated in the article, if you go with Dish Network, you can do the same as cable and rent the device.

      • No it's not, they corrected the article:

        A review of high-definition television recording options in the Aug. 29 Business section incorrectly said that Dish Network's Dish Player-DVR 921 digital video recorder is available for rental. It is available for purchase, and the price is $999.
    • The current round of standard DirecTV TiVos are the same box that a year ago were selling at $299 now selling for $99. The $200 price drop is being funded entirely by DirecTV who assumes that they'll make the money back over the long term out of service subscriptions, and that's why the retailers require that some service be on the box for twelve months or otherwise you owe the retailer the subsidy money they don't get.
    • Couldn't agree more. I have the 6208 too. Sure, it's not so great compared to my friends (non-HD) DirectTivo. But if I move in a year and don't get a house/apartment with the correct south facing area, etc., I'm out nothing.

      Actually, the $10 they quote is somewhat inaccurate. The price to get HD and DVR is just $10 more than regular cable, probably just $5 above Digital Cable and $5 above regular HD service (which is what I had before).

      $5 extra/month vs. $1000 up front is a no brainer.

      Will have to look

    • there's some merit to that, however...

      You don't sound like someone who has gone through the pain of re-entering in all there preferences, season passes, etc... on the new box. Speak nothing of shows that you "archived" on the old box, or haven't had a chance to view before the changeover... which is the sucky part.

      Another angle is that if I buy a box, i can, within reason (and the DMCA, blah blah blah) modify/hack it... I'm pretty sure the cable company will frown upon the same behavior with their box,
      • Hehe, on this box you basically have to re-enter all your recordings every season anyway, or when things get screwed up, so it's not a big deal. I'm glad I have never used a Tivo... my opinion might be different in that case.

        When switchover time comes, if there is something I haven't watched yet, I can always archive it over firewire to PC and watch it later (on the PC). My HTPC isn't fast enough to play HD, and it's only hooked up to the TV at 848x480p anyway. What would be cool is a way to hook up 2 D
  • I have been happy with my DirecTV Tivo (series 2) since I purchased it a year ago. I am still waiting for the price drop on the DirecTV HD models though, but I cannot wait to put my HDTV to the test!
  • by arazor ( 55656 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:32PM (#10320279)
    I agree that the Tivo has the best interface and general coolness. But be aware that there is a very good chance that the HDMI port will not work at all or has to be messed with and even thats not 100%. If you dont believe just check the tivo community forums about this unit p?s=f81a3d87b7dcd78fda0257b6df286bc6&threadid=1832 03

    That said if you do not plan to use the HDMI port by all means get one immediately DirecTV has several HD promotions going on right now and has plans to add a lot of HD programming in 2005 and 2006.
    • It looks like occasionally the card with the HDMI on it gets jarred loose in shipping. Some people have simply taken off the lid and pushed it back into place. Others, less willing to mess around with a unit under warranty, have simply returned it for replacement.
  • I have the HD Tivo (Score:5, Informative)

    by mp3zero ( 306357 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:33PM (#10320293)
    I know some (read most) people will think I am crazy but I recently purchased the DirecTV HD Tivo. I have had the unit for just over a week now and absolutely love it.

    The price: 999.00 (ouch, don't tell my wife)

    I have had DirecTV HDTV for about 6 months and really hated not being able to record the shows I like to watch. I found myself using my hacked/upgraded tivo (series 1 non-hd) to watch shows that also are aired in HD simply because I like skipping commercials.

    The quality of recorded shows are simply amazing. Especially Disovery HD and movies on HBO-HD. Very nice sound as it keeps the DD 5.1 soundtrack.

    Was it worth the 1000.00 I paid for it? Well, I priced out building a similar HTPC (Home theater PC) with 2 HD tuners and 2 OTA tuners and it was more expensive to roll my own. Also, mythTV does not worth well with direct (from what I have read). So I do believe it was worth the 1000.00 considering it does come with a 250gb hard drive (150.00). :) I know I know I know.. justify myself all the way to hell.

  • by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:37PM (#10320334) Homepage Journal
    What the article does not tell you is that the decision to include anything OTHER than a firewire input to the D-VHS VCR would have also required a REALTIME HDTV MPEG2 encoder in the VCR. By "the most popular 3 hdtv interconnects" they are probably talking about Component YUV, Component RGB, and DVI-D -- while these are indeed the most popular interconnects, they transport the already uncompressed video stream. To record them in DVHS format you'd have to recompress the video back to MPEG2, and remux the audio (and ensure sync). This alone would have sent the price of the unit skyrocketing. In addition the decision was not stupid, because as of April 1, 2004, cable companies are required to have the firewire transports on their devices, meaning that the decision for a firewire-only vcr would be fairly standards compliant as well as inexpensive.

    The nice thing about firewire transporting this is that the video arrives preencoded in a nice transport stream in full quality. The not-nice thing about it is that the FCC is also allowing the firewire to be C5 encrypted. I really really hope someone is working on breaking this one.
    • The real-time HD encoders used in the broadcast world cost around $50,000. It is a tough job to squish 1.2 Gbps down to under 20 Mbps and make it look good.

      Even the lamest quality HD MPEG-2 encoders on the HDV prosumer camcorders are at least several hundred dollars.
  • by McFly69 ( 603543 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:40PM (#10320367) Homepage
    I have HDTV and I am with Dishnetwork. There is a cheaper option to record programs and to receive HD tv. It would cost you under $200 to view HD and to record with the ability to record SD signals (There are only like 6 channels in HD anyways). The HD recievers are now on promotion (DirectTv and Dishnetwork). If you can get a 1 year contract, you can get the receiver around $80. Then you buy a modified Tivo box ( m=5721787901&fromMakeTrack=true) which will run you around $100. The Tivo box you can send the recorded stuff onto a computer for later viewing. Best of all, no monthly fees ever once you buy this unit. Let me know what others think. No this is not my auction.
  • I get the same thing with my Series 2 TiVo right now. The simply listing is pretty fast, but the grid view fills in like Tetris on level 1...
  • Despite the rash of problems reported with the HDMI port and the occasionally slow guide rendering, this machine is well worth the price. After recording Ice Age as my first HD show and watching it later at my own leisure...the experience is so fantastic that I feel as though I've practically stolen something. Great stuff!
  • I have the Scientific Atlanta 8000HD from Time Warner. I believe that is the Comcast box they review, but ours doesn't have any ads nor any of the issues they mention. It doesn't have as good of an interface as Tivo, but it does the job. Two tuners, HD, PIP, nice.
  • The only leaseable HD reciever from Dish is the 811, which is NOT a DVR. It's cost is $5.00/month. If that's just changed, then oops.

    Firewire will never [] be enabled on the Dish 921 HD DVR.

  • by bmajik ( 96670 ) <> on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:53PM (#10320516) Homepage Journal
    I have been a long time DirecTV customer but i just cancelled last week.

    I have a Hughes HDVR2 Series2 DirecTivo. It was cool and all, but what I really wanted was a way to get content off of it and watch it on a computer. No home media option for DirecTivo users though. Nice.

    The real reason we axed DirecTV (and have not replaced it, nor do we plan to) is that the content just isn't there compared with the price you pay for it.

    My big interests are F1 racing and World Rally. Speedchannel's coverage of same amounts to under 10 hours a month, tops. Sure, there is other stuff i _can_ watch (cartoon network, for instance) but i could take or leave it. One issue i find with a tivo is that i have all this stuff in there that i feel obligated to watch because its there and i enjoy watching it...

    My wife on the other hand is a minnesota twins fanatic. Yet there wer eless than 5 games available to us, even though we live within 3 hrs of minneapolis and have the local tv pack. The MLB extra innings deal is like $70 or $80 or something silly, and you cant ever get a straight answer on what will or wont be shown because of the ridiculous blackout and regional rights issues related to TV.

    So I was basically paying for a few races a month and then some time sucking.

    My wife was getting no twins games, but a whole boatload of junk off of TLC that managed to suck her day away. It would start innocently enough - "oh, i'll just watch an episode of blah while i do this chore" and then shes managed to waste the whole afternoon watching crap that isn't even all that interesting.

    So $45/mo for a bit of racing and a whole bunch of time wasting didn't seem like a good deal to us anymore.

    HD seems like an even worse deal. Where's the HD content ? The devices for doing HD PVR are "cool" (although i think any directivo solution will still have the lack of home-media i cited above) but you're talking like $60+ /mo for television and it seems like there's honestly nothing that enriching to watch. Seems like a better way to spend $60 a month is to use half of it to take your significant other out to some cheap resturant, and then donate the rest to a local organization.

    IMO, alot of whats coming right now is technology for technologies sake. I admit that i am captivated by the appeal of a distributed mythTV setup with FEs all over the house, but really, i shouldn't be watching enough tv to justify that.
    • HD seems like an even worse deal. Where's the HD content ? The devices for doing HD PVR are "cool" (although i think any directivo solution will still have the lack of home-media i cited above) but you're talking like $60+ /mo for television and it seems like there's honestly nothing that enriching to watch

      There's plenty of HD content, most of it OTA, and especially sports, I watch Sunday NFL in HD now, Monday Night Football is stunning, as was the US Open. Most of my local news programs are in HD. Tonigh

      • Yeah, the HD coverage of the US Open was really great. I especially like how it switched to SD for the entire second set of the men's final. Thanks a lot, CBS.

        I agree with the upthread, and I'm about ready to cancel my Comcast service. All I watch is 1 hour of TV on HBO every Sunday, maybe one college football game, if a good team is on and in HD (otherwise I prefer the radio broadcasts), and if I'm feeling particularly unambitious, reruns of Law & Order. Hardly worth the $80/month it's costing me.
        • Yeah, the HD coverage of the US Open was really great. I especially like how it switched to SD for the entire second set of the men's final. Thanks a lot, CBS.

          I agree with the upthread, and I'm about ready to cancel my Comcast service. All I watch is 1 hour of TV on HBO every Sunday, maybe one college football game, if a good team is on and in HD (otherwise I prefer the radio broadcasts), and if I'm feeling particularly unambitious, reruns of Law & Order. Hardly worth the $80/month it's costing me.


    • Bitch about DirecTV all you want.

      You'll go right back as soon as you see your cable company's prices.

      DirecTV's basic Total Choice package? $40/mo, includes SciFi.

      Want SciFi if you're a Cablevision subscriber? Please cough up $80-90/month, oh yeah and you still get fewer channels than DTV's Total Choice package.

      Damn trees in the front lawn blocking my house's view of the DTV sat. Between CV's price insanity and those trees, my TV comes through a classic V/U antenna in the attic and I just get Stargate
      • by bmajik ( 96670 )
        i am not saying there's anything better..

        we have no TV service _at all_ now..

        Of the stuff out there, i think DTV or Dish is the best stuff, with the nod going to DTV because of DirecTivo (replayTV might be more featureful, but its historically been just awful compared to tivo), and i dont give any cable companies any money at all, and haven't since i left my parents home. (DSL and DTV, all the way)

        I have just gotten to the point where even DTV doesn't seem worthwhile anymore.
  • I have a JVC D-VHS recorder. It will happily record unencrypted MPEG-2 on the FireWire input.

    (However, this is sort of a moot point, since it is almost impossible to find a cable/satellite service that will deliver unencrypted video via FireWire. The only one I know of is a certain hardware-modded satellite receiver)

    I wouldn't single out JVC though. D-VHS has been available for at least a year; back when it came out, none of the other interfaces like DVI were standardized yet. You will never see a consume
    • My comcast Moto 6208 gives me unencrypted video out firewire, which I then record to my linux box that emulates a D-VHS recorder. No hardware modding, a bit of software (but not too much) mucking but it works like a champ... until you run out of disk space.
  • by kallistiblue ( 411048 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @02:16PM (#10320835) Homepage
    I spoke to one of the media contacts at Tivo and they said they would be happy to do an interview on my LCD tv [] site. The media contact said that she would be happy to connect me with any of their engineers.
    I would love to collect good questions for this Tivo Interview []. Please feel free to visit the site and post your questions and I will do my best to get answers.
  • LG-3410A (there is an older Zenith version also). This can record OTA HD, but apparently cannot playback while recording. It has active firewire ports for archiving to DVHS. I hear folks have put 300GB drives in them without fuss. Was $800, but now are $600ish.

    RCA-DVR10: this is a firewire only solution. two plugs: power and firewire. I hear it is unreliable, plus you can't buy them in a local shop. You should be able to daisy chain to DVHS.

    Firewire ain't that bad. To record HD, I go onto my integ
  • I love my HD-Tivo. He had some good points on the limitations, but he seemed to misunderstand some of the reasons behind them, or existing ways to solve them.

    Some wrong or misleading info:

    - "JVC's decision to use firewire was a mistake". He obviously doesn't anderstand what is involved in recording HD video. Firewire is used to xfer the compressed digital data stream -- the raw, unmodified MPEG2 stream that is sent from the broadcaster. Recording by any other means (RGB/VGA, YPrPb, DVI) requires the
  • I want a Tivo that will record and playback over-the-air hdtv.

    Apart from making my own out of an old computer and some baling wire, what are my options?
    • The DirecTV-TiVo recorder mentioned in the article also records OTA digital TV (including HDTV). But a DirecTV subscription is required - you can't use it JUST to record OTA. It actually has a fourth tuner for unencrypted QAM cable digital, for what that's worth (not much).
  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp ( 305814 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @04:41PM (#10322635) Homepage
    I have one of the new Motorola HD-DVR boxes that Comcast puts out, and a handy-dandy new Dual 2.5ghz G5 with 30" cinema (don't hate me, I just sold my primary residence and took a little profit, is all...). I'm able to connect the two boxes via FireWire and record (through a couple of clunky apps out there) the packetized MPEG2 stream to a disk file, and play it back with VLC... but all I want to be able to do is VIEW the cablebox signal via the FireWire connection and use the 30" cinema display as an HD screen, avoiding the cost of a separate (redundant hardware!) HDTV... It already has a PVR so I don't need to record.

    Does ANYONE know of anything out there (or that will be out there) that will accomplish this?

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