Home>Discussions>NEW DIY IDEAS>Home Technology>getting ready for digital tv show question
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carlb
Re: getting ready for digital tv show question
curlingkc wrote:

I have been told that you can only record digitally using the vcr if the digital tuner is tuned in to that specific channel. This doesn't help me when I want to set the timer in my vcr to record different channel at different times of the day throughout the week.

One possibility is to connect a VCR to two converter boxes, each tuned to a different channel. Connecting one converter to output on channel 3 and the other on channel 4 is less than ideal (you can combine the two outputs from the two converters, but there may be interference). Using the VCR's antenna input for one converter and its audio/video input jacks for the other may be possible, although too many VCR's just won't switch from "channel 0" (A/V) to some other TV channel under timer control. And then there's the need to actually find two converters from different manufacturers so that one click of the remote control doesn't unintendedly send both of them changing channels in unison (do beware, as after all a Best Buy/Insignia is a Zenith is an LG/Goldstar - despite the different branding they're the same box).

Two different converter boxes on two different non-adjacent output channels would be ideal, if you can find them. (For instance, one on channel two, the other on channel four, so that the VCR thinks they're just two ordinary TV channels to which it can tune). You may have to look for an "RF modulator" as a separate box if you can't find converters with the desired, different output channels (some units are designed to connect security cameras to entire apartment-house TV systems and can be set to output on any channel, but these are rare and expensive).

New DVD recorder units are an option, but are expensive. I tried one (a Panasonic DMR-EZ28) and found that it was annoying to use as a DTV tuner because it's not HDTV despite the high price tag, a scan for new digital channels on this buggy unit wipes out existing channel settings (so it is worse than useless once you need to use an antenna rotor) and the on-screen guide provides current/next programme name with no description. As a plain DTV tuner, it was in some ways worse than the cheap converter boxes although its ability to tune analogue channels too is good if you are near Canada/Mexico border stations or LPTV transmitters.

A digital TV tuner card which lets a personal computer record television directly to your hard drive may be an option (and far less expensive than standalone DVD units) but that requires the computer be left continuously on in order to record anything.

Two more possibilities to investigate:

* A converter box with its own built-in timer to change channels to the ones you intend to record. Posts on other websites claim that the "Zinwell Zat 970A box has its own event timer, and will change channels to whatever channel you want to record." I can't verify this as the selection of converter boxes locally is next to nada; I've therefore never tried (or seen) the Zinwell. The Echostar DTVPal was also mentioned as having an event timer, description is http://www.dishnetwork.com/dtvpal/tr40CRA_features.shtml for the base model and http://www.dishnetwork.com/dtvpal/plus_features.shtml

* An "IR blaster" - a feature by which some VCR's were equipped to send signals as if they were infrared remote controls, allowing the control of a cable or satellite box directly by the VCR. Not sure if the reverse combination (having the converter box equipped with a timer and able to control the VCR) exists - although it was something that was tried in the days of small-dish satellite TV.

hcm949ik
re: watch tv
hcm949ik
re: watch tv
keith3267
Re: getting ready for digital tv show question

There is a programmable converter box now. It's the DTV Pal+, cost about $70, available at DTV.com. There is a DVR version available with two tuners and about 34 hours HD record time or 140 SDTV hours for about $250. Its not as good as a TiVo HD or a Panasonic DVR with TV guide, but better than programming both the converter box and a VCR.

keith3267
Re: getting ready for digital tv show question

No longer available from dishtv. The good stuff gets pulled off the market by the MPAA/RIA. They do it by threatening to block access to content to anyone manufacturing or selling OTH HDDVRs unless they can somehow get a cut on it use (TIVO)

NEC
Re: getting ready for digital tv show question

You can do what I did and throw all your tvs away. I just watch programs on-line when I feel the need.

keith3267
Re: getting ready for digital tv show question
NEC wrote:

You can do what I did and throw all your tvs away. I just watch programs on-line when I feel the need.

That may work for you, but I live out in the country, no cable and no DSL. I have a satellite dish for internet but with the 200 mb limit per day, you can't download a tv show, much less a movie.

keith3267
Re: getting ready for digital tv show question

The DTVpalDVR is listed at digitalstar.com. I ordered one Sept 27. I inquired about the order Oct12, got a reply Oct13 stating it would ship Oct19. After Oct 19 came and went, I inquired 4 more times, no response. I cancelled the order yesterday but got no response. I'll be contacting my credit card company tomorrow to get the charges reversed.

Apparently Sears.com still has them but I haven't ordered one from them yet. I'm happy with mine, my daughter wants one for her birthday.

keith3267
Re: getting ready for digital tv show question

The DTVpal DVR is now available exclusively from Sears stores and Sears.com. I just bought two more of them, one for my daughter and one for my mother. Christmas presents. Never got a response for digitalstar.com so I turned that over to my credit card company for a refund.

They did finally indicate on their website that the item is on backorder.

I can't believe this isn't a real hot seller, probably because few people know it even exists.

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