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Subscription-free DVR

Discussion in 'BYTE ME: Technology discussion' started by Bunt4aTriple, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. Bunt4aTriple

    Bunt4aTriple Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,686
    I'm looking for a dvr for my parents for Christmas. I'm having trouble googling for their needs:

    -Directv
    -2 tvs
    -Their dsl is ok; they stream alright but wifi can be spotty. My old man is looking into a Google nest to help
    -Wouldn't be opposed to 2 units, even if they couldn't talk to each other (boxes, not parents)
    -nothing too complicated to use

    Is this possible for a couple hundred bucks or is it a pipe dream?
     
  2. cgori

    cgori Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,254
    As far as I know, DirecTV means this is not possible. DirecTV does not interoperate with other DVRs/equipment (no CableCard/etc).

    However, their Genie DVR ("whole home DVR") is very nice, it supports 5 tuners, but is not subscription free. If they went with a Genie, the box on the other TV can be run off of it using a Genie mini (but consuming one tuner "slot"), and getting rid of a full-rental set top box (you might have to buy the Genie mini for ~$100), and can also play back content that was recorded on the Genie on the 2nd TV. A handful of TVs had (have?) built-in mini-Genie functions, I have a 32" Samsung that I bought specifically because it did, it works just fine as a normal TV too.

    I don't have DTV anymore as of ~2 years ago but I had it for 10+ years and checked into most of the options over the years. Things might have changed in the last 2 years but I know a fair bit about how their system works and because of the design it seems unlikely (unless you are talking about cord-cutting and streaming / cloud DVRs).
     
  3. Bunt4aTriple

    Bunt4aTriple Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,686
    Thanks. I figured it was a unicorn.
     
  4. InsideTheParker

    InsideTheParker Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    23,114
    Well, it used to be possible. Magnavox has one, but it's way expensive now if you can find it. When you Google it and go to Amazon, they are all over $600 and used. Walmart has one now for $750, refurb. Luckily, our insurance guy agreed to replace ours when lightning struck, but otherwise, I don't think we'd have one. It's so odd the way these have disappeared, almost as though the cable and satellite guys bought them out and closed them down. . . .Amazon did list another brand for less than $200., but I know zilch about it, and can't even understand how it works. Good luck!
     
  5. cgori

    cgori Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,254
    A brand-new Tivo Roamio Plus (6 tuners and can stream) would be $400 for the hardware + $500 for a lifetime subscription ($15/mo otherwise). It requires Cablecard, which DirecTV doesn't support, unfortunately. I think there is some kind of Tivo that works OTA (over the air aka with an antenna) but I haven't read much about them. SiliconDust has a Cablecard DVR and an OTA one, but again, nothing for DirecTV.

    You might be able to find something that uses component-out (or HDMI w/out HDCP) to record the output of the DirecTV set-top box, but the setup will be a little weird/clunky. (ITP and I have had a little discussion of those Magnavox devices in the past - they are pretty cool, they are basically like a VCR that uses hard drives and/or can burn things to DVD, but I don't think they are really a "set top box" - as far as I know they don't have program guide data - ?)

    As far as the disappearance of such hardware - basically everyone in the media delivery space doesn't want such products to exist. Too much money is being made off set-top box rentals and on-demand fees to let people out of the walled garden ecosystems. The content owners also want it to be pretty difficult/nearly impossible to extract content from broadcasts. However, the rise of the cord-cutting (OTT aka over-the-top) services will probably make the incumbents think hard about their strategy (or maybe just milk it for all its worth and run it into the ground, who knows).
     
  6. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    1,282
    Tivo Bolt is an OTA DVR as is the Tablo. I recently pulled down my Tivo Bolt and canceled it due to high subscription costs. Bolt service is $150 per year. Tablo is $50 per year or $150 life time with a faster, less noisy interface.
     
  7. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,075
  8. Bunt4aTriple

    Bunt4aTriple Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,686
    My parents are out in the woods, so OTA is pretty poor. On to a new gift idea, but thanks for the input everyone!
     

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