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Old 07-08-2013, 04:41 PM   #1
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Retire VCR. Now what?


My brother has decided to give up his VCR. He's copied over to DVD what he wants to keep.

He gets his TV over the air, with a little converter box. He still wants to be able to record shows. But I think whatever he picks, needs to be able to talk to that analog to digital box. What wold you recommend he goes to? In thought maybe a TiVo, but I know so little about it, I'm practically dangerous, lol!
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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Channel Master and a few others make OTA dvr's. You could get a refurb computer off of tigerdirect.com and build him a HTPC for playing back dvd's or store te images on a NAS, so that he does not have to get up or down when changing shows.
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:25 PM   #3
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Tivo are brain-dead simple to use and rock-solid reliable. Even my in-laws in their 80's can make effective use of it.

We've been Tivo customers for quite a while, having gone through several generations of the hardware and different cable providers over the years. All have been reliable and equally easy to use. They do have a monthly subscription fee for the box itself. That gets you very detailed guide data and online scheduling. This includes OTA (over the air) channel guide info. With that you can search for just about any facet of programming details and set up recordings. As in, search by actor, director, title, just about anything, and the box will keep that as a recording 'wish list' for any future recordings.

The Tivo would act as it's own tuner. There's no need for anything else. Just hook the antenna or cable straight into it and then to the TV.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:06 AM   #4
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Retire VCR. Now what?


So not only did he still have a VCR, but he still used it? Wow. WOW. My grandfather was in his late 80's when he died almost ten years ago, and even HE had gotten rid of his VCR by then
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:21 AM   #5
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So not only did he still have a VCR, but he still used it? Wow. WOW. My grandfather was in his late 80's when he died almost ten years ago, and even HE had gotten rid of his VCR by then
LOL! Well I have to plead guilty, I have been known to go to a Goodwill store so I can buy another VCR, lol! I have a bunch of tapes and converting them is a pain, and recording OTA is so easy with a VCR. I am going to have him (and me, lol) try the device gregzoll talked about.

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Old 07-15-2013, 09:53 AM   #6
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Retire VCR. Now what?


Can I ask, what kind of stuff do you record? It's possible you don't even need a TiVo or recording device anymore, but a good Internet connection and, say, Hulu+.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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Retire VCR. Now what?


Mostly PBS stuff (Masterpiece and other specials) and the occasional NFL game.
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:17 PM   #8
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I remember the first VCR we had, it was huge, heavy and had large mechanical buttons like portable casette players did. VCR tapes and players are essentially dead, I think there's only one company even making them any more if they still are and mostly for the crowd who wants them to convert old tapes on.

I bought a new Toshiba VCR last winter to do just that with.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:51 AM   #9
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RWolff, all you can finde are combo units, and even then they are super cheap. You can still find professional units out there, just like Betamax players/recorders, but they are not cheap.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:50 PM   #10
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Yeah that's what mine is a combo VHS/DVD. Still have more to transfer but its a pain in the behind as you can imagine, there's no way to fast copy a VHS tape it's real time, 6 hour tape is 6 hours of sitting, monitoring.
So glad VHS is a dead thing of the past, I always hated that rewinding garbage along with the ordeal of trying to find one segment on a 6 hour long tape!
SO much easier on DVD!!!
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:03 AM   #11
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With Tivo, you have to pay a monthly subscription....

If your brother knows anything about computers....get a cheap Win7 machine with MS Mediacenter....nice 1 TB drive....and this...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116028

Hauppauge tv tuner for the PC....home grown DVR....
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:52 AM   #12
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With Tivo, you have to pay a monthly subscription....

If your brother knows anything about computers....get a cheap Win7 machine with MS Mediacenter....nice 1 TB drive....and this...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116028

Hauppauge tv tuner for the PC....home grown DVR....
He's still using a VCR. HAVING a computer seems like a pretty big stretch, let alone building one

(just teasing... kinda)
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:03 AM   #13
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With Tivo, you have to pay a monthly subscription.....
Yes, and for that you get a rock-solid, easy to use and RELIABLE way to record and watch programs.

I've had several home theater PC setups over the years. Including ones using built-in tuner cards and network tuners. Fed into mythTV, Windows Media Center, XBMC and the like. Yes, they can be "made" to work, but not without considerable fiddling just to get them running. Let alone stay running given the range of problems a PC can encounter (both hardware and software).

Do not underestimate the value of accurate guide data and sensible management of series and search recordings. With the Tivo when you ask it to record a series... it does. When you ask it to fine-tune to just new showings, it does. Including conflicts and repeats overnight. Like if the tuners are tied up recording shows off network TV it's smart enough to recognize that the cable show repeated later than night IS the same thing as the first airing of it during the conflicts. You wouldn't think this would be hard but cable DVRs and HTPC setups regularly can't do this properly. Meanwhile you miss your show. Then there's whole ability to do recordings based on searching across titles, actors, directors and a number of other values. While still managing conflicts and series properly.

Then there's the WAF (wife acceptance factor). Likewise, do not underestimate the value of a system that's predictable and consistently easy to operate by all members of the household, across all ages. The menu and remote interfaces on everything else always ends up falling apart somewhere... the Tivo never has this problem.

And note they do sell units with a lifetime subscription. It's usually the equivalent of 3 years monthly service, but paid up front and then nothing after that. It's really a great deal. The price here ends up being comparable to a fully equipped HTPC but with all the reliability and convenience of Tivo.

It really is worth the subscription. I've got no vested interest other than I've been a very happy subscriber for quite a while.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:38 AM   #14
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Retire VCR. Now what?


I love my TIVO. We have the same one we bought what was it - 8 years ago? We got the lifetime subscription when we bought it, and it worked great ever since. Now tho we don't even use it, since we have UVerse. So not sure what to do with it... I feel bad tossing it cuz we have the lifetime - but it doesn't record in HD. I would def recommend a TIVO to anyone. Incredibly easy to use.

Regarding building something out of a PC - that's great if you're a techy-pc-builder-guy. But if he's just now ditching the VCR then that's probly not what you're looking for, and a box that you stick there and plug in would be better. Go w TIVO. It can even pull its content via phone line so you don't need an internet connection.

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Old 08-01-2013, 09:14 AM   #15
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A lifetime unit has value, mainly as a key for getting new one with lifetime. Tivo has offers now and then for it. Sell it on ebay or post in the tivocommunity forums.

I would disagree on the content via phone line. Yes, you can get guide data but that's about it. Getting any kind of video would be horribly slow. Even a DSL line really isn't enough to get anything close to HD quality video. But once you get above 2-3mbps service (cable, fios, etc) then you're good to go for HD over the internet.
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