questionswhat's a good dvr?

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The free one that your provider supplies.

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I have a phillips DVR that requires no subscription...but they don't appear to make it anymore. I would suggest a Tivo.

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@hottubrf: Is it actually 'Free'? Most cable companies (e.g. Comcast/Mediacom) charge you like $10 to have a cable box, and then if you want that cable box to also perform as a DVR, you get an upgraded model that they charge you like $15 a month for instead...

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A windows 7 PC with windows media center. If you're a cable subscriber get a tuner box that accepts cablecards (Centon, Silicondust). If you're using an antenna any cheap tuner will do.

I've been using mine for about 7 months and love it.

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Depends upon what you want. If you have cable, just want a box and don't care about the interface or anything else, just get what comes with the service and don't worry about it. If you have satellite or ATT Uverse you don't have a choice, you get what they offer. DirectTV is offering the Direct TV TiVo for extra money.

If you have cable and you DO care about the interface and/or have an OTA antenna that you wish to record from then things change. TiVos have a nice OTA tuner to go with their 2 cable tuners. The Premier XL4, though, ditched the OTA tuner in favor of 2 more cable tuners. The downside to the TiVo is cost: they are expensive and require an ongoing (annoying) monthly subscription (I think they have also dropped their lifetime subscription option).

If you are adventuresome you can consider a home theater PC. There are several cable card adapters now on sale that work with Win7.

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@samstag said what I was talking about. If you have a modicum of techinical knowlege and are willing to do a bit of work on your own, you can hook up a killer DVR set up that is very affordable in the long term (key phrase: long term. Has a larger initial investment but very cheap monthly charges)

A Windows 7 PC with a Centon or Silicon Dust cable card adapter will cost you a bit. You can build a very nice HTPC for 300 or so. The cable card adapter are going for $200 each. The HD Homerun (network TV tuner) is about $100, but Woot sells them from time to time for much less. So, you get that going and you have a killer DVR (great features with Windows Media Center, and there are lots of home brewed programs to remove commercials and the like) with no monthly fee for the program guide.

Here is where things get really interesting. The basic Xbox 360 is an excellent media center extender. (continued)

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So you can build your HTPC and place it somewhere where nobody sees it. The HD Homerun (from an antenna) doesn't have to be anywhere near either, it just needs a connection to your home network. Each TV (or additional TV if you connect one to a TV) has an Xbox to play what is on the server. Your total month to month costs for the DVR will be what they charge for the cable card rental, about a buck. Contrast this with the 15-20 fees the cable companies charge, or the $12.99 monthly from TiVo.