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Considering the best DVR device - suggestions?

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Considering the best DVR device - suggestions?

Old 05-31-05, 01:17 PM
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Considering the best DVR device - suggestions?

Is this in the correct forum?

I think I will finally switch over from VCR to DVR. So many people here have commented that it totally changes the way you watch TV. I figure that you guys/gals are the best people to ask since you use it every day.

I currently have basic cable, a receiver, and a VCR/DVD combo. I don't have any plans to subscribe to digital cable or satelite TV.

My question is this: what's the best device I should purchase? By "best" I mean price, device potential, ease of use, and its longevity. I am considering the 40hrs capacity TiVo for $199.

Additionally, what about the service? Is the $299 lifetime subscription the way to go? Any deals on the device and/or subscription?

thanks!
Old 05-31-05, 01:23 PM
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The best is to go with DirecTV with DIRECTIVO assuming you can get it.

If you are dead set against satellite, the next question is: do you have HD? If so, you should opt for digital cable with an HD-DVR.

If you are simply going to stick with regular cable, I recommend ReplayTV. For cable, I find it to be better than a Series 2 TiVo. Plus, you can get a 40-hour Replay for $39.99, 80-hour for $79.99, 160-hour for $169.99, or 320-hour for $279.99. Go to this thread: http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...ghlight=save40

As for service, it basically takes 2 years for a lifetime subscription to result in savings so ask yourself if you think your setup will significantly change in 2 years. If not, go lifetime.

Last edited by Red Dog; 05-31-05 at 01:35 PM.
Old 05-31-05, 01:26 PM
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I agree with Red Dog. Also, given the choice, there's no way would I go with a Cable DVR.

Edit to add what seems to be the thread requirement: I have an HD DirecTiVo.

Last edited by Chew; 05-31-05 at 02:14 PM.
Old 05-31-05, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Chew
Also, given the choice, there's no way would I go with a Cable DVR.


I agree. TiVos and Replays have come down in price enough so the price disparity is hardly an issue anymore.

The only real reason to get a cable DVR is if you have HD and want an HD-DVR (since standalone HDDVRs for TiVo and Replay don't exist - at I don't think they do).
Old 05-31-05, 01:33 PM
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No, I don't have an HDTV. I don't see my current setup changing in 2 years.

RedDog, do you own a TiVo as well as a ReplayTV? I'm curious as to what one has over the other. (aside from a higher price)

Edit: oh yeah, does either device record to a DVD?
Old 05-31-05, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by runner001
No, I don't have an HDTV. I don't see my current setup changing in 2 years.

RedDog, do you own a TiVo as well as a ReplayTV? I'm curious as to what one has over the other. (aside from a higher price)

Edit: oh yeah, does either device record to a DVD?

I have 2 Replays (a 2000 and a 4508) and a HDDVR from Comcast. I am quite familiar with the Series 2 TiVo as well - my ex-roommate used to have 2 of them.

A TiVo or Replay will record to a DVD or VHS.

TiVos and Replays are very similar. Some prefer TiVo, while others prefer Replay. TiVo's season pass prioritization is very nice, but I believe that the 5500 Replay series has prioritization. I like the Replay grids better than TiVos and I find the overall methodology (both in recording and playback) to be easier to navigate, but I'm sure TiVo users say the same about TiVo.
Old 05-31-05, 02:03 PM
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If you have any desire to get recorded shows off the DVR and onto your computer (for editing and burning to DVD) then ReplayTV is definitely the way to go. Tivo has "TivoToGo" which allows this but with DRM hoops to jump through. ReplayTV has no DRM and 3rd parties write software to connect to it. Also, TivoToGo is full of problems since you are required to use one of their recommended MPEG2 codecs. TivoToGo is not supported on Mac at all or on versions of Windows before Windows 2000.

I own Tivos by the way.
Old 05-31-05, 04:02 PM
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Is it true that the newer versions that ReplayTV sells no longer have the commerical advance feature?

I have a wireless DSL modem, would that affect the choice of which device (TiVo v. ReplayTV) to get?

I'm persuaded by the $40 pricetag on the ReplayTV over the $199 TiVo device.
Old 05-31-05, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by runner001
Is it true that the newer versions that ReplayTV sells no longer have the commerical advance feature?

I have a wireless DSL modem, would that affect the choice of which device (TiVo v. ReplayTV) to get?

I'm persuaded by the $40 pricetag on the ReplayTV over the $199 TiVo device.

That is true. That was one nice advantage they used to have. I have CA on my 4508.

Replay can be connected via broadband - just connect an ethernet cable from your Replay to the modem. Not sure about TiVo.
Old 05-31-05, 04:06 PM
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I know you said you don't want to go with satellite or digital cable, but if that's true I think you're limited to 1 tuner. If that's the case I'd just stick with a vcr. I have 2 cable dvr's and even with 2 tuners each I can't record everything I want. I couldn't imagine spending $500 to accomplish the same basic thing as a vcr. OTOH, the 2 tuners alone make the cable dvr's worth the $5/month for me.
Old 05-31-05, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by nny
I know you said you don't want to go with satellite or digital cable, but if that's true I think you're limited to 1 tuner. If that's the case I'd just stick with a vcr. I have 2 cable dvr's and even with 2 tuners each I can't record everything I want. I couldn't imagine spending $500 to accomplish the same basic thing as a vcr. OTOH, the 2 tuners alone make the cable dvr's worth the $5/month for me.

I wouldn't. I started out the same way with 1 Replay and it was far superior to a VCR IMO. Plus you can always split a cable line and watch 1 program while recording another. Sure, now I couldn't make due with 1 DVR but that's because my viewing habits have changed since my 1-DVR days.

Keep in mind that everyone's viewing habits and needs are different.

You can certainly go with a cable DVR - it is the cheapest option, but you get what you pay for - the boxes are a piece of a crap.

Last edited by Red Dog; 05-31-05 at 04:13 PM.
Old 05-31-05, 04:13 PM
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You'll be happy with either one. I don't regret buying a standalone TiVo for my analog cable. I also upgraded the hard drive and bought a lifetime subscription.

Sounds like Replay is more cost-effective, and more cutting-edge for computer work.

(As others have said, of course, all the really advanced stuff is more appropros to satellite & digital--those are *really* the best DVRs.)
Old 05-31-05, 04:43 PM
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We first had a DishPVR 501, then I won a DishPVR 508. Loved both of them, they were easy to use.
Bad thing: only time/date based recording [so if I recorded the Simpsons at 8 pm on Sunday, if that was delayed, well guess what, I recorded the football game instead.] I'm not sure if they have fixed this by now.

We now have a Scientific Atlanta HD-DVR from my cable company.
Pros:
Two-tuner.
160 GB hard drive.
Record HD content.
No additional fee for the HD, including locals without an OTA/reciever, and the DVR fee is reasonable.
If the box dies, I call them and they fix it.
Name-based recording, not time based.
It's rented, so if they release a new model, I can upgrade for free [which is what happened when we went from regular DVR to HDDVR.]

Things I don't like:
I wish it had the customizable channel lists like the DishPVR did.
I don't like it's method of recorded-program-management [I have to select each item, then hit Delete, then confirm--with the DishPVR, I could check off a bunch of titles then hit Delete All Checked, and be done with it.] This is based on the software provider, I believe.
The HD-DVR is admittedly buggy. Even the repair guy said that. quote: "I hate these HDDVRs, they dont' work like they're supposed to." The first one we had failed to access the hard drive at least once a week, and required a hard reboot. Finally got a new one, and it does that about once a month now. We are putting a lot of activity on it, I don't know if there's a way the user can 'format' or 'defrag' it, that might help.

Whichever you decide to get, DVR really will change the way you watch TV. For our needs, the cable box was the best and cheapest way to get HD and DVR, in any number of boxes [when I was looking, the only HD sat reciever was like a grand, and they didn't have an HD-DVR, and I believe you'd have to pay for the OTA tuner/antenna as well to get HD].

Maybe it's changed in the past 1.5 years, but I'm fine with cable. And since they are actually competing now, I've gotten some very good deals on programming since I said we left satellite. And I don't record to DVD, or over to VHS, or watch on the computer--I record programs, watch them, then delete them.
Old 05-31-05, 05:10 PM
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I use a Panasonic dvd recorder. Record to the hard drive and I can then burn to dvd-r if I want to keep something.
Old 05-31-05, 05:36 PM
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All this info is very helpful. thanks so much everyone.

since the new ReplayTVs don't have CA, I guess I'm limited to getting one on Ebay that has the feature right? which would mean it would cost more than $40. If I order one from ReplayTV's website I would be trading off a nice feature (commerical advance) to get it for $40.
Old 05-31-05, 05:40 PM
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Tivo's have an "unsupported" but easily accessible "30sec-forward jump" and "5 sec back-jump" which work together enough like a commercial skip to make ad-free watching a breeze.
Old 05-31-05, 05:46 PM
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As said above, you really can't beat DirectTV's directTivo (unless you need HD).

Can get the unit for $50-100 depending on current deal being offered, 2 tuners two tape two channels at once, or tape one and watch another, lossless recording and only $4.99 a month fee.

And adamblast is right about the hack for 30 second skip etc., easy to find in a google search and just involves punching a code into the remote. I turned mine off as I prefered just fast fowarding commercials. Was more accurate for me.
Old 05-31-05, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by adamblast
Tivo's have an "unsupported" but easily accessible "30sec-forward jump" and "5 sec back-jump" which work together enough like a commercial skip to make ad-free watching a breeze.

Replay has the same with the quick-skip (30 sec) and instant replay (-7 seconds) functions on all models.

Neither of these are not quite like CA which requires no action by the user.
Old 05-31-05, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle
As said above, you really can't beat DirectTV's directTivo (unless you need HD).

Can get the unit for $50-100 depending on current deal being offered, 2 tuners two tape two channels at once, or tape one and watch another, lossless recording and only $4.99 a month fee.

And adamblast is right about the hack for 30 second skip etc., easy to find in a google search and just involves punching a code into the remote. I turned mine off as I prefered just fast fowarding commercials. Was more accurate for me.
do you have to subscribe to Direct TV to use Direct TiVo? is Direct TiVo a stand alone device like TiVo or ReplayTV?
Old 05-31-05, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by runner001
do you have to subscribe to Direct TV to use Direct TiVo? is Direct TiVo a stand alone device like TiVo or ReplayTV?

Yes you must be a D-TV subscriber. It only works with D-TV.
Old 05-31-05, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by runner001
do you have to subscribe to Direct TV to use Direct TiVo? is Direct TiVo a stand alone device like TiVo or ReplayTV?
Because of the wording of your thread title, many people will continue to tell you that the "BEST" DVR is this-or-that model which is irrelevant to your analog cable needs.

And they're not wrong: standalone DVRs can't compete with digital DVRs feature-for-feature. Analog cable is a backwater--albiet a perfectly good one with its own advantages for now. Your choice is between standalone Replay, TiVo, or some knock-off.
Old 05-31-05, 06:53 PM
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Oops, missed the part about not wanting to get satellite.

In that case, go with a stand alone Tivo.

However, I strongly suggest looking into DirectTV.

Stand alone Tivo is like $13 a month, and odds are when you add that to your analog cable bill, it will be more than the cheapest directTV package with their Tivo (currently $46 or so, but you'll get the first 6 months for much less than that).
Old 05-31-05, 07:02 PM
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Another vote for Tivo from me. The software is fantastic.
Old 05-31-05, 07:40 PM
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My understanding of the previous "Commercial Advance" was that it was automatic (when turned on). The new series of ReplayTV's offer the >Nav feature, which mimics Commercial Advance with a single button push.

I was in your position a little over a year ago and went with the ReplayTv because of the ability to move shows to my PC, edit, and burn them to DVD. (TiVo to go wasn't available then).

I've had mine for 13 months and can't imagine even getting rid of it, so if it isn't an issue of money, get the lifetime subscription.
Old 05-31-05, 08:06 PM
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Stay away from the Scientific Atlanta 8300/8000 If you ever had a TiVo or ReplayTV! I had a ReplayTV and boy, what a letdown having the box from my cable company. It is good basic functionality without a lot of bells or whistles. I wouldn't keep it if it weren't a HD Recording box! When Replay comes out with one low in price, I am so there.

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