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I hope I put this post in the proper category. I searched several different choices before picking this one. I cancelled my Dish Network service about a year ago because my DVR 501 was starting to burn the guide into my HD ready set. I tried cable for a year under ditch the Dish, but when the rate went up I ditched that also. I decided to sign up for DirecTV until I found out that you had to make a 2-year commitment for anything other than a standard receiver. I went so far as to purchase a couple of DirecTV R10 SD DVRs to see if they would let me join on a 1-year commitment, but was turned down even after offering to separately purchase the Dish and complete the install myself.

Since my TV did not have a tuner, I bought a used Samsung SIR-TS160 DirecTV HD receiver just to use as a HD tuner. The picture is great, and I could live with just the OTA HD channels (My analog channels are not clear enough to go that route), but as most of you know it is almost impossible to live without a DVR after you get used to it. I know I could get a Tivo to control that receiver, but stand alone Tivo charges almost push it to the level you might as well sign up for satellite service. Since my DirecTV receiver gave me some capabilities, I started to wonder if there were any other capabilities inherent in the Dish or DirecTV receivers. I still have my Dish 500 mounted and know that the guide information was available long after cancelling my service. That is the reason I am asking my question about Dish Network, but would be open to purchasing DirecTV dish or other equipment.

I know that was a long introduction, but my questions is; Does anyone know if there is any HD DVR that you can purchase that in addition to being able to view the OTA HD channels, that you can also use some of the DVR features to record those channels without signing up for service. I would still be interested even if those capabilities were extremely cripples, like only time based recording, no guide info etc.

I know most of you think that this is crazy, and it may be, but the engineer in me has to find out if this is possible before I move on and sign up for service. But the engineer in me was not enough to figure it out myself, so any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

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o2cats said:
Does anyone know if there is any HD DVR that you can purchase that in addition to being able to view the OTA HD channels, that you can also use some of the DVR features to record those channels without signing up for service. I would still be interested even if those capabilities were extremely cripples, like only time based recording, no guide info etc.
It's called a computer. :D Full details on how to assemble it here: http://www.eff.org/IP/broadcastflag/?f=dlf.html
 

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If you can find a deal on a discontinued Sony DHGHDD250, there are no monthly fees, it has one tuner and if a station in your area carries the tv guide service (usually PBS) you will get a free EPG. Costs ranges from $250 to maybe $500.

The only current non-computer OTA digital dvr I know of is the tivo series 3. Its expensive but you can find them around $700. If you pre pay 3 years of service at $300 it comes out to about $8.33 a month. The tivo s3 has two tuners and the hard drive can be self upgraded up to 750GB and may in the future support an additional external drive via eSATA.

Another option could be a Dish 622, the retail price is $500. To use it for locals only your fees would be:
$6 access fee (Waived if you subscribe to dish family or higher)
$6 hd enable fee (waived if you get Dish Bronze or higher)
$6 DVR fee (waived with highest package)
$6 locals (kind of optional for ota only but you need it for guide data)

so $24 a month, you can add any of the movie packages to that. There should be no contract since you own the box. If your area has HD locals they are included in the local fee and you can record 3 shows at once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your advice. I bid on several of the Sony's, but was always outbid at the last second (about $400). I also bid on some Humax units so I could sign up for lifetime and then switch it over to a Tivo 3, but then are really proud of those ($300 for the unit+ $300 for lifetime + $199 to tranfer - $300 for the unit with the extra year). I do enjoy building my own systems so I probably will build my own unit at some point, but my HD ready set does not have HDMI, and I have not seen any video cards that support component, so I would not really be getting HD. I expect more options will come, so I will keep checking these forums, but until them I signed up for Dish Network so that I can have a DVR without a contract while I wait. At least I learned something going through the process. Thanks again!
 
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