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Poll: How do you record your favorite TV programs?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 7, 2008 3:37 AM PST
How do you record your favorite TV programs?

-- DVR through my cable/satellite provider (How?s that working out for you?)
-- TiVo (How?s that working out for you?)
-- Set-top standalone DVR with hard drive built in (Which model, and how do you like it?)
-- Set-top standalone DVD recorder (Which model and how do you like it?)
-- Through my PC (Tell us how you do it.)
-- My good, old VCR (Ever consider a DVR?)
-- I don?t record no stinkin? TV programs.
-- Other (What is it?)
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by bevillan / March 7, 2008 3:45 AM PST

DVR through Comcast.

It gets the job done but it can run slow and the menus aren't as smooth as DVRs offered from satellite providers.

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DVR recording
by veesc / March 7, 2008 9:09 PM PST
In reply to: DVR

I LOVE It... the OLD VCR you always had to dig to find the other remote etc... One remote and SO easy to use..It is like looking at the Whole TV guide / Pick program and hit record... No putting time in, and then day etc.. DVR the way to Go Much Cheaper than TIVO...

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"- I don’t record no stinkin’ TV programs."...if I can help
by ahtoi / March 7, 2008 4:38 AM PST

it...but if I do, I use the standalone dvd recorder.

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DVD Harddrive and VCR
by Clarkhill37 / March 7, 2008 4:45 AM PST

If I have only one program to record at a time I use the hard drive on a Panasonic DVD Video Recorder, Model DMR-E85H. This really works great and recordings are easy to set up. If I need to record more than one program at a time, I also use a vcr.

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DVD Harddrive DVR
by artpoz / March 7, 2008 10:57 AM PST
In reply to: DVD Harddrive and VCR

I have 2 Panasonics. One is the DMR-EH55 (considered the best one every made) & I have a DMR-EH75V (with VCR). U cant buy them any more & if u do find one they are selling for twice as much as new. I love mine so much that I would not sell if offered 3 times as much.

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Digital tuner?
by dcalhoun38581 / March 7, 2008 12:04 PM PST
In reply to: DVD Harddrive DVR

Does either of them include a digital tuner (ATSC) or jsut analog (ATSC)? In less than one year, analog will be a thing of the past.

Dennis C.

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Typo correction.... must proof read!
by dcalhoun38581 / March 7, 2008 12:06 PM PST
In reply to: Digital tuner?

An analog tuner is NTSC, not ATSC. Sorry, I must remember to proof read!

Dennis C.

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PVR Tuners
by Zouch / March 8, 2008 7:17 AM PST

Hi Dennis,
here in the UK, we are in the middle of the digital takeover and this has produced "digiboxes" (a set top box that converts the digital signals to analogue to feed into the TV. Similarly, Personal Video Recorders come with digital to analogue converters in them. I have a "white box" unit that has a 120 GB hard drive and two digital tuners, so you can watch one channel while recording another, and it has live TV pause, and all the other gizmos. The disk offers 85 hours recording time! It also has a SCART connector to connect to a VCR or DVD recorder to offload the recordings, if required.

I also have a USB DVB unit that plugs directly into my PC, takes an antenna or cable connection as the input to watch or record digital broadcasts directly on my PC. Recordings use 1.5 GB per hour.

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RE: PVR Tuners
by dcalhoun38581 / March 8, 2008 7:59 AM PST
In reply to: PVR Tuners

Such Digital-to-anaolg converts are also on the market in the US now, but my existing VCR is due for replacement soon. I'm not going to replace my TV until it dies, so I won't mind using a converter between the antenna output of a new DVR and my old TV.

I'm looking to replace my old VCR with a DVR that has a digital tunre built in and antenna (open-air) pass-through to connect to a converter to analog for my old TV. I really want to be able to record to a HDD in the DVR and get true HD if a channel is broadcasting that. Later, if I decide I want to keep a recordidng, I want to dub it to a DVD disk. I also want to be able to connect the old VCR to an aux input on the DVR to save several old movies I've got.

Haven't found anything that's quite right yet.... I really wonder what, other than the Echo what-ya-ma-call-it, might be coming to market in the next few months.

Dennis C.

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Digital tuner?
by artpoz / March 11, 2008 9:42 PM PDT
In reply to: Digital tuner?

There are no DVD recorders with built-in harddrives that have a ATSC tuners built-in. Its some kind of government conspiracy. They dont want you to be able to record programs with quality that high, they fearprograms will be bootlegged. U might be able to buy one in Canada or overseas. But if u use cable as the input u will still be able to use analog tuners.

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DVD Standalone
by Sherif_H / March 7, 2008 4:27 PM PST
In reply to: DVD Harddrive DVR

I have the same type HDD recorder as Artpoz, the Panasonic DMR-EH 55. It has outstanding feautures like, recording from a tuner, playing DIVX, some modest editing capabilites, DV- input and built in SD card reader, so you can watch your pictures on TV. Offcourse many other feautures, but they are irrelevant to our discussion at hand.

It also has another feature, that i am very interested to try: On its rear panel, it has a network cable socket ( RJ45), so you can actually connect it through a regular network cable to your PC. So you can watch whatever you recorded from VHS or SD camera cards on the units HDD, on your PC. I am not sure though if it allows you to capture it on the PC, i.e. save it on your PC.

Artpoz, have you tried this feature?

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DVD Standalone
by artpoz / March 11, 2008 9:49 PM PDT
In reply to: DVD Standalone

No, I have'nt tried that. Really didnt know it was there.

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by 80sGuy / June 2, 2008 8:04 PM PDT
In reply to: DVD Standalone

I also have a Panasonic DMR-EH55 (N. American model) and I haven't heard of an RJ-45 plug, last I checked, there weren't any.

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by Ralphdb / March 7, 2008 12:04 PM PST
In reply to: DVD Harddrive and VCR

I also have a Panasonic DVD recorder DMP-55 I can record DVD-R, DVD-RW I also have my panasonic VCR and DVD combo hooked up for VCR home movies to DVD

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DVR through my cable/satellite provider
by HTHMAN / March 7, 2008 5:14 AM PST

I have 3 DVRs through Dishnetwork. One is HD and the other two are SD. I also have two DVD recorders. One is a combo unit. I also have a VCR still hooked up. I can record 9 programs at the same time. Of course, I would neer have time to watch them.

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Sharp DVR with 80Gig HD
by StageRt / March 7, 2008 10:45 AM PST

This works pretty well. Sharp's menus aren't the easiest to work with. They need to have some gals program these things instead of the development engineers.

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by opal88 / March 16, 2008 12:44 PM PDT

18 years in electronics and I am still being referred to as "gal"...but first you must pull us out of the kitchen, right, boy?

In reality, you are a man, I am a woman.

For god's sake, why can't you leave it like that and let us do our jobs....for the same money of course!!?

April, AD in Electronics, 1985

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How do you record your favorite TV programs? simple
by kerryhiggins / March 7, 2008 10:56 AM PST

i record tv shows either from my tv to my dvdrw recorder from the tv
or straight to my vcr on same machine then run the vcr and copy to my dvdrw recorder off same machine which is a go recorder 1 side is dvdrw the other side is a regular vcr theres no subciption price at all .... all you need to do is hook it up to the tv and go and it
records both dvdrw plus and minus plus records and plays cdr's and cdrw's disks but has problem recording copy protected vcr tapes and dvd's but it plays them all it even plays mp3's on it as well thats how i record them if theres a way thats better tell me now lol
kerry higgins

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recording from TV
by klark7 / March 7, 2008 11:29 AM PST

I do a lot of educational and fun recording for my son and I also record certain NASA shuttle flight information therefore I use a variety of units. First the units involved. Three
Toshiba units models RDSX 32,52 and 54. These have both HDD and DVD recording capabilities. One Panasonic DMR-ES30V that has DVD and VHS recording capabilities. Both the Toshiba and Panasonic models can also record on RAM disk and ?R/W disks so that helps in transferring data between the units. One TIVO type unit from Cox cable that has an HDD for recording only and you cannot get data from it ? easily. Because the Toshiba units have HDD?s I can first record data to the HDD, edit out unwanted data and then record to the DVD. These units are also great for editing home movies etc. The Panasonic is one button to transfer data from VHS to DVD or the other way if needed. The TIVO type unit is great because I can record programs for my son and he choose which ones he wants to listen to. To make life easy I use the smaller Toshiba to duplicate what is being recorded on the TIVO. This allows me to use the Toshiba to edit and then record to DVD his favorite programs so that when the TIVO fills up I can delete those shows and still have them on DVD for my son to watch.

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I use a Sony VC20
by rsimanski / March 7, 2008 12:49 PM PST

I use a Sony VRD-VC20 external DVD writer. This is a double-layer DVD burner with video capture capabilities. I first used it to copy VHS cassettes to DVDs. Later I connected it to available S-Video and audio outputs on my cable box. I use the box's built-in DVR to record programs, then play them back at my convenience and record them to DVDs.

One factor that limits the programs that I can record is copy protection. What's frustrating is that either Comcast or the broadcasters keep adding and removing copy protection without informing the customer. You can expect that the premium movie channels and the pay-per-view titles will be copy-protected.

If you want to try recording them anyhow, have a non-protected program ready to be recorded in its place. The reason is that you get the best reliability when you format the disc, record the program, and finalize the disc all at one time. You don't want to have a formatted disc sitting in the recorder for any length of time, and if you remove the disc and reinsert it later, it might not work.

The recorder is also fussy about disc quality. I've gotten the best results from Taiyo Yuden single-layer DVD+R discs, although Sony's discs are also okay. For double-layer DVD+R DL discs, there are few choices. Verbatim seems to have the best ones. I buy discs and DVD cases from

I bought the VC20 at Costco about two years ago for about $180. The current version, the VC30, sells there for about $200.

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Easy through the Home LAN.
by lanceks1 / March 10, 2008 9:01 AM PDT

I used Instantcake on my Hughes HDVR2 to connect it to the wired LAN. Transfer programs to the PC, and process with TyTool into mpg's, then write to DVD's.

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recording tv programs
by eve7328j / March 11, 2008 2:56 PM PDT

I have a vcr and dvd player combined. with direct tv. i record my soaps everyday.

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TV recordings
by bigduke / March 7, 2008 11:06 AM PST

We have 4 TIVO's of various ages, one is newest type that works on std tv.

No wide screen set yet.

3 have lifetime service.

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Dish DVR
by doccoffin / March 7, 2008 11:14 AM PST

Its the best thing since sliced bread. I can watch one program while recording another. The only thing I don`t like about it is the tendancy for it to decide on its own whether the program I want to record is a valid program. I have to double check all the programs I have set it to record to make sure it is actually going to record them every week.

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Hassle Free DVR
by Ken Jr. / March 7, 2008 12:58 PM PST
In reply to: Dish DVR

Dish HD DVR here too. Whatever kind of gadgetry I buy, and I buy a lot, I look for that which will require shortest possible learning curve (most intuitive) and least possible hassle. With the Dish DVR, when I have two programs I'd like to watch, I just push the record button on one, watch the other now, then watch the recorded program later. On perusing Dish's on-screen future listings menu, when I find something I'd like to see I just push the record button, then later sometime in the future I select it to watch at my leisure.

So far, this Dish DVR and my Amazon Kindle e-reader are the coolest of all my purchases in recent years. I might add that the two of them share that one characteristic I worship most in the world of technology, you don't need to keep an operator's manual handy or call your geek friend to help you work through an issue centered around equipment complexity. I've been buying and fighting MS PCs since there have been MS PCs and quite frankly I'm just tired. Between my iMac, my Kindle, and my Dish DVR I've finally reached a level of comfort in the world of technology.

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DVD Recorder
by Kurogin / March 7, 2008 11:15 AM PST

It's some centrios model, piece of crap, the interface is sloppy, the controls are fumbly and the recording quality, well, lets say that I've seen better on aerial. Not supremely satisfied, but it works and theres no way I'm upgrading my computer or buying a new one, so it'll do its job of recording the occasional tv show.

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Dual tuner satellite DVR + DVD recorders
by msecour / March 7, 2008 11:22 AM PST

We record everything on our DirecTv dual tuner DVR and it has been great. After years of dealing with two VCR's to record programs simultaneously, our DVR records weekly shows (two at a time if necessary) automatically. It is programmed by title, not calendar, so if a show is broadcast at a different time or day one week, the DVR gets it. Can also be set to ignore reruns. Programs or movies that we enjoy enough to keep get transferred to DVD-R on a Panasonic recorder.

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I use my TiVo
by Jeshimon / March 7, 2008 11:26 AM PST

I use my TiVo to record, once it is recorded it is pretty much available to everything on my home network. My TiVo gets me what I want the way I want.

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Samsung DVD-R130 DVD recorder.
by MsIrisMG / March 7, 2008 11:27 AM PST

I like it fine! It's Energy Star compliant (very important to me), it has a beautiful picture when just playing movies. I bought one that gave out after six months for no good reason, so I got another one, and this one has been more reliable. I'm new to this, so it's hard to know what is user error and what's the nature of digital recording. I've got mine piggybacked to my ten-year-old Panasonic VCR for videotape viewing through one of the DVD recorder's Auxiliary channels.

What I like about the Samsung is that it's very slim and elegant, and it's completely black, so it matches my VCR as well as my television. It's one of the thinnest devices with a tuner that they make. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to use it after next February, though. I try to practice voluntary simplicity, and I don't like a house full of gadgets.

What I don't like are the copy protection, of course, and that a DVD recorders functions are more complicated. On my JVC player, for example, you turn it on, it says hello, and you don't go through a sea of menus to play your disc. But the Samsung needs to know what you want to do, and you have Disc Menu and Title Menu to choose from, you can't just push a button and instantly find the chapter menus and audio commentaries. I miss the simplicity of just having a player attached to a television. Also, the Samsung remote is a nightmare. But, my universal remote lets me access almost all of what I need in a more sane fashion.

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Recording TV
by TokioOkio / March 7, 2008 11:41 AM PST

I have two VCRs (Victor HR-F12 & F-13) and one HDD/DVR/VCR (Sharp DV-HRW35) (Japanese domestic models). As far as I know TiVo, etc. are not a factor here. My wife is bedridden so TV is her main thing. I tape her time-sharing programs on two or all three VCRs for her to watch late when there is nothing good on TV.

I use the VCRs too, mainly and the HDD. I've had the Sharp for two years and have yet to use the DVD in record mode, although I have used the DVD Player. I PLAN to dub some of the stuff on the HDD soon and may dub some old movies from VCR to DVD someday. (Japan doesn't go all-digital until 2011.)

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