Don't want to pay for Tivo.
February 7, 2007 10:49 AM   Subscribe

I'd like a DVR with no required subscription service.

I'm looking for a relatively inexpensive DVR/PVR with no monthly payments in particular. It would be nice if it came with a DVD player too. Does this exist?
posted by superbird to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: We own 3 Toshiba SD-H400 DVR/DVD combo player with Tivo Basic and it works great. Although it's not made anymore, perhaps you can pick up used ones from Ebay.
posted by jaimev at 10:56 AM on February 7, 2007

I second that recommendation- I have one also. It's a good product.
posted by Steve3 at 11:22 AM on February 7, 2007

If you want to get geeky- and maybe have a spare computer- take a look at mythTV and other DIY PVRs. (It's acronym day.)
posted by wzcx at 11:27 AM on February 7, 2007

Response by poster: That was something I should have put in the question. I really don't have a spare computer and would prefer something I will never have to mess with.

That Toshiba thing looks great. I'll definitely look into that one.
posted by superbird at 11:32 AM on February 7, 2007

The open-source MythTV software lets anyone build a no-fee PVR. If you don't want to build you own, Hannibal is a nice-looking line of readymade MythTV boxes (DVD player included). Their cheapest model is $500, though.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:38 AM on February 7, 2007

I think there are certain models of ReplayTVs that come with a lifetime subscription to download the listings that you can find on eBay.
posted by destro at 11:42 AM on February 7, 2007

Speaking to destro's point, I'm the proud owner of a Panasonic Showstopper (which is an older ReplayTV under the covers) and have been monthly fee free for the last 5 years or so.
posted by mmascolino at 12:13 PM on February 7, 2007

I own a Toshiba SD-H400 and I like it a lot. Note that it only has "TiVo Basic" service, which means that it only has the next three days of program information at any given time. Also, you cannot search by program name, and you cannot enter a season pass. You can only schedule recordings by time and channel. There is no TiVo-to-Go functionality (it won't communicate with your PC over the network). There is no 30-second skip (not even a hidden one). It's basically a digital VCR, with TiVo's buffering functionality and a limited program guide.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:17 PM on February 7, 2007

You can get a Series 2 Tivo with a lifetime subscription for not much more than $300.
posted by rhizome at 12:19 PM on February 7, 2007

You can't get lifetime subscriptions anymore, can you? Or do you mean via eBay?

We have a lifetime subscription on one Series 2. We just missed the opportunity to transfer it to a Series 3, apparently something a lot of people wanted to do.
posted by pzarquon at 12:50 PM on February 7, 2007

I recently bought (and returned) one of the Pioneer DVRs with a 160 gig hard drive. I loved the unit but it didn't support HD recording...anyone know if that SD-H400 does?
posted by JaredSeth at 1:16 PM on February 7, 2007

I know nothing about this particular machine from Phillips model DVDR3455/37 but it seems to fit what you are looking for.
posted by prjo at 3:39 PM on February 7, 2007

FWIW, I have a Comcast HD DVR that is only $12/mo but I didn't have to buy the box. Thank goodness. What a POS (there's another TLA): bad compression makes faces sometimes look mud color, crashes frequently, poor remote response, etc. Can't wait until the Tivo upgrade is available.

I know this doesn't help but I wanted to put in a bad word for Comcast. :)
posted by trinity8-director at 4:55 PM on February 7, 2007

Panasonic DVD recorder DMR-EH75V. Uses the TV guide channel to load in the program screen and goes like 10 days out. Does a WONDERFUL JOB, records to the hard drive [80 gig], a DVD-R or VHS and copies between the three. Plays CD's and shows jpegs too. No subscription at all, I think it supports Dish TV as well. Amazon has a great feature list.
posted by Freedomboy at 5:43 PM on February 7, 2007

Later this year, Comcast will begin pushing down software upgrades to their HD DVRs. They will be running TiVo software that lacks TiVo-to-Go functionality, but otherwise is pretty much the same as regular TiVo (with a few extra features like a seamless integration of on-disk recordings and available ONDEMAND recordings). In my opinion, this will make the $$$ Tivo Series 3 and $$ monthly fee totally undesireable, if it continues to cost the same $10-15/month lease price. There are some posts about this in Matt Haughey's DVR blog.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:35 AM on February 8, 2007

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