General discussion

analog signal analog tv

My VCR has broken down. I will probably have, for at least another year, a basic cable (Comcast) analog tv signal (no settop box right now) for my older analog tv. It will probably convert to an all digital signal in the future and I may purchase a digital tv. In the meantime I would still like to keep recording a few current programs for later playback. Is there a recorder that will do this with my current configuration? Will it still be useful in my possibly all digital future?

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Used VCR from eBay?

Might be easiest to get either a used VCR that is still analog or a new low end on that still has analog, should be able to do it for well under 100 bucks, used one even cheaper.

Unless you plan to dump all of your tapes once you go digital then you will need a VCR anyway, if that is the case then you might go for a new one that supports analog and digital and has an HDMI output (nice to have, not required). There are still plenty of them on the market.

Here is an example from Amazon: $56 bucks referbished.

There are tons of them on Amazon, the key things you need is a NTSC Tuner (VHF/CATV), all of the older ones will have a tuner, beware of the new ones, many come with no tuner these days as they are required to support digital in new units.

If you see one you like you can post a link to it here and ask what folks think.

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Maybe depending on where you live

Comcast won't stop analog. They have cajoled and threatened for years to shut it off but it's still there for Basic neanderthals. VCRs and most DVD/VCR combos don't have ATSC tuners, let alone QAM, so it's like betting on analog to get one nowadays...are you feeling lucky? And be forewarned that when your digital day arrives, open market DVRs are practically non-existent; they come from cable or telcos or TiVo. Look into internet TV if watching your favorite show(s) on time-shift is a habit you cannot break. Good luck.

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Straight to DVD is Problematic

A friend of mine has gojne through s few different DVD recorders and the reliability is horrible, not that the units break but something, anything goes wrong in the recording process and you lose you show and generally anything else on the RW or write once DVD's.

She has tried getting the DVD's blanks branded by the DVD recorder maker and it is still hit an miss, she recently went back to a VCR and I was hard pressed to blame her.

Since the HDD recorders got run out of business by Tivo and cable companiers, as well as copyright issues with digitial and HD, there are not a lot of good choices anymore.

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Would this one do what I want?

Toshiba D-R560 dvd recorder. This one is listed at one internet site for $150 new. Would it do what I want? I could find no reviews on it so don't know how good it is. The reviews on the refurbished vcrs were not encouraging. I may try to find one locally on Craigs list.
Thanks to all for your advice. I may be a neanderthal but life was simpler and less expensive before the gov decided we all needed digital and expensive new equipment. I would have thought a few manufacturers could have still made a few vcrs.

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Here is a link to reviews and the spec sheet, the manual is not even available at Toshiba. You can see more detailed reviews at Amazon. This unit has an NTSC/ATSC/QAM Analog/Digital tuner, so it will work with what you have now and may work with your future set-up, it just many not work when you go digital cable, at least not directly off the cable, but it will still work from the cable box when you go digital.

At $150 is sounds like a used or referbished unit given that this is selling for 350+ new. For $150 unless you are really cash tight it should give you a good idea of the overall experience of recording directly to DVD and if you hate it, then only 150 bucks. This has no VCR so you will eventually need a VCR if you ever want to use your tapes again. For around the same money you can get a low end DVD/VCR Combo unit.

That said, if your goal is just to have something to record on and help bridge to digital, this should be fine.
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No I think the price has dropped.

The DR560 and DR570 is going for about $160 new.

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You're right

I was looking at dated information. Thanks

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I now have 3 reasonable choices; the Toshiba dvr or a combo dvd/vcr for $150, or a $10-20 used vcr on the local Craig's List. Thanks to all.

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Final thoughts

If Comcast ever shuts off your analog, they will lend you up to 3 D/A converters and remotes free so that no analog devices (TVs, VCRs) are incapacitated (they are horrible in pricing and service but they never ever want to lose neanderthal customers). You just have to select channels on converter instead of on TV or VCR.

Get a VERY good used VCR or repair/clean yours. It will die again maybe in 2-3 yrs so consider it a good investment vs. paying Comcast digital pkg with DVR. Adequate cooling for VCR and tapes are key to their longevity.

DVD-Recorders (NOT dvr!) are equally short lived as VCRs, they create more plastic recycling and, as noted above, reliable recording is a pain.

Good luck again in your shopping.

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you will get more channels with the QAM tuner. That's how it is with Time Warner.

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