Search for DVD recorder with tuner
July 8, 2012 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to buy a brand new stand alone DVD recorder that has an over the air tuner (US) for under $200. Any recommendations?

I've been searching through all the big box stores and all of the recorders that you can buy seem to come without tuners now. Hell I'd even settle for a VCR with a usuable tuner. What is going on here?
posted by Brent Parker to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not to subvert the question, but do you have a particular reason not to use an external tuner? You can get both a burner and a tuner for well under $200.

Unfortunately, around the time all broadcast TV went to digital, the choice of tuners on the market completely sucked... The government's DTV rebate program pushed the price of crappy low-end tuners way up, and of course no one would sell "good" tuners cheaper than crappy ones - But when buying something with a tuner built-in, you don't want to settle for a crappy one because you'll end up stuck with it for the entire life of the product, sooo...
posted by pla at 10:53 AM on July 8, 2012

Response by poster: The reason for not having an external tuner is so that I can program the recorder to record programs - just like an old school VCR.
posted by Brent Parker at 11:00 AM on July 8, 2012

This is also a function of most cable companies (and, of course, satellite TV) providing separate, set-top tuners as part of their basic service, and the vast increase in the use of DVR through those tuners. Most people simply don't want to mess with a separate piece of equipment (DVD or VHS recorder) when they can just tell the cable box what to save to the hard drive and be done with it.

I'd think at this point, about your only hope would be to hit up eBay or maybe a local pawn shop and get an older DVD recorder with a tuner. And that seems like not such a great solution.
posted by ronofthedead at 12:12 PM on July 8, 2012

Magnavox 513 or 515. These are pretty much the only standalone/single unit/no-monthly-charge DVR recorders available in North America that include an integrated tuner. I just got a 515 and love it. They have been in the $200-$350 range, though I recently saw a refurb for $180. (Note that refurb units are just as good as new and are a lot cheaper than new. Generally refurbs are just lightly used units returned because the owners didn't like them--nothing actually wrong with them.)

However . . . they are apparently being discontinued now, so finding them is a bit hit & miss. The Amazon listing for example is just a little higher than it was just a couple of weeks ago . . . Walmart has been the primary distributor, but they are no longer available there.

Mega-compilation of information about the 513/515 and related DVRs from AVS Forums

Another general possibility is something like Tivo or Moxi, though those generally require a monthly subscription and will be more than $200.

The third general possibility is a computer with TV card and some kind of software--for instance, as described here.
posted by flug at 1:10 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I should say, the Magnavox MDR513/515 include DVD recorder as well, and the DVR and DVD recording capabilities complement each other rather well.
posted by flug at 1:12 PM on July 8, 2012

Response by poster: Flug - I've been trying to find a MDR515 for awhile - but I can't seem to find one anywhere. I would even go up to $275 for that kit.
posted by Brent Parker at 1:31 PM on July 8, 2012

Flug - I've been trying to find a MDR515 for awhile - but I can't seem to find one anywhere. I would even go up to $275 for that kit.

Keep checking at Amazon and the sources listed on the web page linked above--they seem to come and go a little bit. You could also try checking periodically on ebay for a used unit.
posted by flug at 11:54 AM on July 12, 2012

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