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  1. Sorry in advance for my own ignorance. Iím just trying to figure out what I should buy.

    I have a Philips HDTV that I bought 2 or 3 years ago. I do not have broad band internet so I donít want anything thatís internet based. I donít want to pay a subscription fee.

    I donít have cable or dish TV. I just watch free, over-the-air broadcast channels.

    I want to record TV programs and save them on an internal, or preferably external portable hard drive (not a computer). Iím willing to buy the external hard drive separately.

    I want to be able to timer record shows.

    Iíd like to be able to record a show while watching another. Iíd like to be able to record a show without leaving the TV on.

    If it has a program guide or ability to access a program guide (not from the internet), that would be great.

    I would like something thatís easy to use and that wonít break down or be temperamental.

    I did some searches and kept coming up with recommendations for the Channel Master DVR+. That looks great but a lot of its functions seem to require internet so Iím guessing itís more than I need.

    Something in the ballpark of $300.00 or less would be fine.

    Thank you very much for any specific suggestions!
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    You may need something to remove the copy protection
    Most channels are copy protected now a days.
    Have you tried using a DVD/VHS recorder
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    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    Sorry in advance for my own ignorance. I’m just trying to figure out what I should buy.

    I have a Philips HDTV that I bought 2 or 3 years ago. I do not have broad band internet so I don’t want anything that’s internet based. I don’t want to pay a subscription fee.

    I don’t have cable or dish TV. I just watch free, over-the-air broadcast channels.

    I want to record TV programs and save them on an internal, or preferably external portable hard drive (not a computer). I’m willing to buy the external hard drive separately.

    I want to be able to timer record shows.

    I’d like to be able to record a show while watching another. I’d like to be able to record a show without leaving the TV on.

    If it has a program guide or ability to access a program guide (not from the internet), that would be great.

    I would like something that’s easy to use and that won’t break down or be temperamental.

    I did some searches and kept coming up with recommendations for the Channel Master DVR+. That looks great but a lot of its functions seem to require internet so I’m guessing it’s more than I need.

    Something in the ballpark of $300.00 or less would be fine.

    Thank you very much for any specific suggestions!
    The devices closest to meeting your requirements now are the Mediasonic HW-150PVR and the iView 3500STB II, however the antenna pass through (loop through) to the TV only works when the devices are powered on. Recordings are not copy protected. They have only one tuner, but the loop through feature would allow watching one channel while recording another if the TV has a digital (ATSC) tuner.
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    i have the homeworx PVR aka Mediasonic 150
    i put a tv preamp with splitter function (2 outputs) right after my antenna
    i ran two coax cables, one to the TV and one to the PVR, (i dont use the pass through function)
    the PVR connects to the TV via HDMI, so use the TV tuner to watch while using the PVR to record, TV only need to be on to watch or program, does not have to be on to record
    most of my recording is, just push the record button, although i do program certain shows like "Lucifer" on Fox

    i record to an external 2TB usb HHd

    the program guide is minimal, what is being sent from the station, what is coming up on that Channel in the next couple of hours, pick a show hit record, go out, it will record
    if you want to see what on another channel, change channels and hit the guide button
    if you want to program for the tomorrow night, you do it manually, using the remote
    you can set it to record the same show every week? provided the network doesn't change their broadcast schedule
    video quality is what the broadcaster is transmitting 1080i or 720p or in case of digital sub channels 480i
    i usually don't record sub channels, most around here show a bit of blocking and compression artifacts, stuff i don't want in a recording
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    Originally Posted by october262 View Post
    You may need something to remove the copy protection
    Most channels are copy protected now a days.
    Have you tried using a DVD/VHS recorder
    If you can watch it with a standard ATSC OTA tuner, found in any HDTV sold in North American then the broadcast stream can be recorded without problem or hassle in its original form. The CC subtitles will also be saved too.
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    I've been doing what you are asking since the first season of Heroes (2006). I currently use two HDHomeRun devices. One of my HDHomeRun's has two turners and the other has one so I can record 3 shows at the same time to my designated TV hard-disk. I use a dedicated Net-gear Ethernet switch for my HDHomeRun devices and the computer that does the recording.

    The devices I have are OTA US digital TV turners to record shows. If I needed to replace one of my HDHomeRun devices today, I would purchase this one (https://www.silicondust.com/product/hdhomerun-connect/) its the most simple one they have. I also don't have cable so the most simple one works for my needs.

    Note, any turner will need software to do the recording, I don't have a recommendation for software (the software I use is no longer sold (BeYoundTV)). But, if you still have a Win7 computer and plan to never upgrade it, and if its Win7 Pro or above you could use Win7 Media center.

    The software I have records, more or less, the raw OTA signal (transport stream) to the hard-disk. The files are .TP.

    Here is an example of the MediaInfo from one of my recorded shows:

    General
    ID : 0 (0x0)
    Complete name : G:\HTPC_TV\Recordings\America's Got Talent-(Semi Finals 2)-2016-09-06-0.tp
    Format : MPEG-TS
    File size : 13.9 GiB
    Duration : 2h 5mn
    Overall bit rate mode : Variable
    Overall bit rate : 15.7 Mbps

    Video
    ID : 49 (0x31)
    Menu ID : 3 (0x3)
    Format : MPEG Video
    Format version : Version 2
    Format profile : Main@High
    Format settings, BVOP : Yes
    Format settings, Matrix : Custom
    Format settings, GOP : Variable
    Codec ID : 2
    Duration : 2h 5mn
    Bit rate mode : Variable
    Bit rate : 14.4 Mbps
    Maximum bit rate : 24.0 Mbps
    Width : 1 920 pixels
    Height : 1 080 pixels
    Display aspect ratio : 16:9
    Active Format Description : Full frame 16:9 image
    Frame rate : 29.970 fps
    Color space : YUV
    Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
    Bit depth : 8 bits
    Scan type : Interlaced
    Scan order : Top Field First
    Compression mode : Lossy
    Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.232
    Stream size : 12.7 GiB (91%)

    Audio #1
    ID : 52 (0x34)
    Menu ID : 3 (0x3)
    Format : AC-3
    Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
    Mode extension : CM (complete main)
    Format settings, Endianness : Big
    Codec ID : 129
    Duration : 2h 5mn
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Bit rate : 384 Kbps
    Channel(s) : 6 channels
    Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
    Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
    Bit depth : 16 bits
    Compression mode : Lossy
    Delay relative to video : -192ms
    Stream size : 346 MiB (2%)
    Language : English

    Audio #2
    ID : 53 (0x35)
    Menu ID : 3 (0x3)
    Format : AC-3
    Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
    Mode extension : CM (complete main)
    Format settings, Endianness : Big
    Codec ID : 129
    Duration : 2h 5mn
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Bit rate : 192 Kbps
    Channel(s) : 1 channel
    Channel positions : Front: C
    Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
    Bit depth : 16 bits
    Compression mode : Lossy
    Delay relative to video : -96ms
    Stream size : 173 MiB (1%)
    Language : Spanish

    Text #1
    ID : 49 (0x31)-CC1
    Menu ID : 3 (0x3)
    Format : EIA-608
    Muxing mode : A/53 / DTVCC Transport
    Muxing mode, more info : Muxed in Video #1
    Duration : 2h 5mn
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Stream size : 0.00 Byte (0%)

    Text #2
    ID : 49 (0x31)-1
    Menu ID : 3 (0x3)
    Format : EIA-708
    Muxing mode : A/53 / DTVCC Transport
    Muxing mode, more info : Muxed in Video #1
    Duration : 2h 5mn
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Stream size : 0.00 Byte (0%)

    Text #3
    ID : 49 (0x31)-2
    Menu ID : 3 (0x3)
    Format : EIA-708
    Muxing mode : A/53 / DTVCC Transport
    Muxing mode, more info : Muxed in Video #1
    Duration : 2h 5mn
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Stream size : 0.00 Byte (0%)

    Text #4
    ID : 49 (0x31)-3
    Menu ID : 3 (0x3)
    Format : EIA-708
    Muxing mode : A/53 / DTVCC Transport
    Muxing mode, more info : Muxed in Video #1
    Duration : 2h 5mn
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Stream size : 0.00 Byte (0%)

    Text #5
    ID : 49 (0x31)-5
    Menu ID : 3 (0x3)
    Format : EIA-708
    Muxing mode : A/53 / DTVCC Transport
    Muxing mode, more info : Muxed in Video #1
    Duration : 2h 5mn
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Stream size : 0.00 Byte (0%)
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    I have a feeling that Fred999 is looking for a stand-alone device, not a solution that requires a PC. The two boxes I recommended also record the transport stream from the tuner.

    For what it is worth, I have an HDHomerun device as well as a dual tuner PC card and use two PCs for recording TV. There is a good selection of programs available for recording over-the-air TV with a PC. Some software supports timer-based recording and can be used without an internet connection, but a large part of the attraction of a PC based recording system is sophisticated program-guide based recording. PSIP data is typically insufficient for advanced guide-based recording in N. America because often only a few hours worth of data is available. Obtaining enough guide data requires an Internet connection, and maybe a subscription.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 7th Sep 2016 at 02:51. Reason: clarity
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  8. Not sure about your country standard but most countries already moved to the digital terrestrial TV and as such best way to deal with this problem is to record selected components from digital transport stream.
    I would search for some Linux/Android box equipped with tuner capable to tune to OTA and with recording capabilities - with external HDD you should be able to fit within 200$ budget.
    Check Aliexpress or similar online shopping place.
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    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    Sorry in advance for my own ignorance. I’m just trying to figure out what I should buy.

    I have a Philips HDTV that I bought 2 or 3 years ago. I do not have broad band internet so I don’t want anything that’s internet based. I don’t want to pay a subscription fee.
    Lack of internet omits Tivo and most every other DVR, lack of subscription is easily found in most all DVRs.

    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    I don’t have cable or dish TV. I just watch free, over-the-air broadcast channels.
    Not a problem for most DVRs.

    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    I want to record TV programs and save them on an internal, or preferably external portable hard drive (not a computer). I’m willing to buy the external hard drive separately.
    iView or Homeworx can easily do this.

    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    I want to be able to timer record shows.
    Basically any DVR can do this.

    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    I’d like to be able to record a show while watching another. I’d like to be able to record a show without leaving the TV on.
    Almost any DVR can do this, except the iView/Homeworx that meets many of your other needs. No DVRs require you to leave the TV on.

    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    If it has a program guide or ability to access a program guide (not from the internet), that would be great.
    Most any DVR will have a guide, the iView/Homeworx has the PSIP guide which goes out anywhere from 0 to 12hrs and beyond, most commonly a day or two, varies by station.

    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    I would like something that’s easy to use and that won’t break down or be temperamental.
    Eliminates the iView and most any other DVR other than maybe a Tivo, which only meets a few of your requirements.

    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    I did some searches and kept coming up with recommendations for the Channel Master DVR+. That looks great but a lot of its functions seem to require internet so I’m guessing it’s more than I need.
    AFAIK the CM+ is somewhat quirky and as you said, requires internet for it's guide.

    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    Something in the ballpark of $300.00 or less would be fine.
    Not a problem with most DVRs, Tivo may be closer to $400 with no subscription, iView/Homeworx will be significantly cheaper but misses many of your wants.

    Long story short, nothing currently nor will probably ever be made which meets your requirements. The iView/Homeworx is cheap but limited and buggy, a Tivo is more expensive but also lacks many of your wants, again you really don't have any options for what you want.
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  10. Thank you all for the very helpful responses!

    usually_quiet is right that I was hoping to find a standalone device.

    At this point I’m thinking of either going with the ChannelMaster+ even though without internet it wouldn’t be fully functional, or going with the Homeworx. And since the Homeworx is a lot less expensive, I’ll probably try that first.

    theewizard mentioned a tv preamp with splitter function (2 outputs). If anyone can recommend a particular one, I will add it to my order.

    It’s strange to me (but I believe you) that nothing out there can do everything I’m looking for, since my old $40 VCRs could. I eventually got tired of the VCRs breaking down and munching tapes though.

    Update: I'm looking at the Channel Master CM 3412 2-Port Ultra Mini Distribution Amplifier to possibly purchase for the splitter/pre-amp.
    Last edited by Fred999; 7th Sep 2016 at 12:55.
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    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    It’s strange to me (but I believe you) that nothing out there can do everything I’m looking for, since my old $40 VCRs could. I eventually got tired of the VCRs breaking down and munching tapes though.
    The iView does things a VCR could never do but your wish list had MANY things a VCR couldn't do
    If you were satisfied with a VCR then the iView/Homeworx should work just fine for you.
    Personally I wouldn't waste my money on a CM+, especially if you don't plan on hooking it up to the internet, I'd just get a couple iViews so you could watch one program while recording another, still be a fraction of the cost of a CM+
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  12. Thanks jjeff!! Not sure if I should get the homeworx or the iview now. Considering the low prices, maybe I should try one of each.

    I don’t want people to think I was being unreasonable or far-fetched with my wish list. Here’s how (back in the stone age) the VCR stacked up with my wish list:

    1. Not internet based.

    VCR, yes.

    2. Doesn’t require a subscription fee.

    VCR, yes.

    3. Able to watch and record OTA channels.

    VCR, yes.

    4. Save shows on a hard drive.

    VCR, no, saved on VHS tape, which was acceptable back then since we didn’t have voluminous hard drives.

    5. Timer recording.

    VCR, yes.

    6. Able to record a show while watching another.

    VCR, yes.

    7. Able to record a show without leaving the TV on.

    VCR, yes.

    8. Able to access a program guide, not from the internet.

    VCR, yes. I used to access program guides on my TV, then from my digital converters.

    9. Easy to use.

    VCR, yes, to my generation. Maybe not to my father’s.

    10. Won’t break down or be temperamental.

    VCR, yes, back in its heyday. They used to work flawlessly for years. “Used to” that is.

    11. Ballpark of $300 or less.
    When I was originally in the market for them, quality VCR’s cost $200, and went down in price (and eventually way down in quality).

    I don’t want to get off on a cranky old man tangent, but technological progress isn’t always a complete and direct improvement. Sometimes it takes a step or two backwards, often temporarily.
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    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    Thanks jjeff!! Not sure if I should get the homeworx or the iview now. Considering the low prices, maybe I should try one of each.

    I don’t want people to think I was being unreasonable or far-fetched with my wish list. Here’s how (back in the stone age) the VCR stacked up with my wish list:


    6. Able to record a show while watching another.

    VCR, yes.


    I don’t want to get off on a cranky old man tangent, but technological progress isn’t always a complete and direct improvement. Sometimes it takes a step or two backwards, often temporarily.
    Not sure what you mean by your point 6, I read it as you can be recording something and at the same time be watching back something previously recorded on the same device. In this case a VCR cannot do this, neither can the iView/Homeworx but most DVRs(like the CM+) can. Now if your talking about recording something(for example to VHS or a USB HDD) and at the same time using your TVs tuner to watch a different live program, the iView/Homeworx and of course VCR can do this. Now if you had a second VCR(or iView/homeworx) what you could do is watch a previously recorded program on one VCR(or iView/Homeworx) while at the time be recording a new program to the other VCR(iView/Homeworx), I'm just not sure what you mean when you say "able to record a show while watching another".

    The iView/Homeworx is really best described as a digital VCR, with the added bonus of being able to chaseplay a program and it also has a rather crude guide function, again something a VCR did not have. What chaseplay means is if you start recording something(say a 2hr movie) and say 50 minutes later you can start watching from the beginning while the program continues to record(something that could never be done with VHS or any linear tape). The advantage of this is you can skip the commercials and slowly catch up to live TV. With a DVR I really never watch live TV, everything is either previously recorded or time-delayed and chase played while it was finishing recording. With VHS one would need to wait until the recording was over and then rewind the tape, I use to use a VCR but really prefer the random access nature of a HDD.

    AFA which one to get, in one way it might be best to get 2 different models(say a iView and Homeworx) so their remote codes didn't interfere with each other. If using 2 devices with the same IR codes in the vicinity of each other, when you push the button on one remote it effects the other. While you can simply cover the IR sensor of the one you don't want to control, it's nice to not have to do that. More expensive devices like a Tivo let you chose multiple IR codes for each remote/Tivo, a cheap device like the iView or Homeworx doesn't have such provisions.
    Since the iView and Homeworx record in a standard MPEG2 format, you can simply swap a USB HDD between the two machines, this is not possible with just about every other DVR as they tend to lock down their HDD, to a point where you can't even swap HDDs between the same brand/model DVR, they are LOCKED to the particular device that recorded to it. Stupid I know but apparently it's some sort of copy protection scheme that for whatever reason the iView and Homeworx type of DVRs don't seem to have to abide by......
    I have a couple iViews but use them in different areas so IR conflicts isn't a issue for me but if you plan on using 2 in the same room IR conflicts will probably be a issue, unless you get 2 different brand DVRs.
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  14. Thanks again jjeff! I think I will take your advice and buy both an iView and a Homeworx. I might buy them one at a time, though, so I don’t have to learn how to use both at once.

    By “Able to record a show while watching another,” I just meant recording something while using my TVs tuner to watch a different live program.

    I wasn’t at all familiar with Chaseplaying. I can see where that could come in handy, but I don’t think I necessarily need it.

    Do you think I would need a preamp/splitter like theewizard mentioned in his previous post? I’m just trying to figure out what accessories I’ll need besides the iView and Homeworx. Of course, I’ll need some type of hard drive to record onto.
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    Yes I'd strongly suggest a USB HDD. While it may be possible to record to a USB thumb drive, it has to be capable of fast write speeds and while some people might think recording to memory would last forever, I believe the opposite is true and re-writes to a HDD are more stable than memory.
    I'd suggest a USB HDD that used a external power supply to lessen the draw on the rather small power supply in the DVR, that or a small/portable USB HDD that didn't draw very much current. Again some people have had issues with the 5v power supply overheating in the DVR if using a larger USB HDD without external power.
    AFA the amplifier, personally I'd try to get by with just a 2 or 3 way passive splitter first, one output feeding your TV, one output feeding one DVR and the other output feeding the other DVR. While it's true the DVRs do have a passthru feature, it's full of lots of gotchas and it's best to just use a splitter. If your signal is already week you may need a amplifier but I'd try it first without, you don't want too much amplification, with digital sometimes too much is as bad as not enough. Oh and you may need HDMI(or component and audio) cables to go from each DVR to the matching inputs on your TV, hopefully you have a couple unused inputs?? You DON'T want to use the RF output of the DVR to feed your TV, it's the worst quality and again has issues.
    Lastly, while these cheap little DVRs are a wonder, especially for what they cost, they can get temperamental. If your signal gets week or glitchy it can cause failed or corrupt recording, like our digital TV system, when it's good it nice but when it's not.......well you probably know.
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    like 'chase recording'
    you can pause live tv while watching
    in other words, you are watching while you are recording,
    hit the pause button, Play pauses, but it keeps recording,
    press play and it resumes playing where you paused it , the recording function never stopped, you can even fast forward past commercials and catch up (if you want to)
    great for unexpected interruptions, phone calls, kitchen snack breaks

    there is one 'gotcha' with this, not a biggie
    if this is a 'programmed' recording session
    the play will stop, when the recording session stops, and will default to the live broadcast
    to continue watching the last few minutes, you have to goto play mode choose your recording and then fast fwd to where you were

    also recordings, are name BY station call letters and date & time, not by the Movie or series name
    example Lucifer is KTLA 04052016 21:00 or some such thing
    Last edited by theewizard; 7th Sep 2016 at 19:21.
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  17. I'll try to let y'all know how it turns out. Haven't had time to do my shopping yet.
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    the HomeWorx
    does NOT play a previously recorded show, while recording something else
    it does record and pause/play live tv realtime, you can pause the play/watch while it keeps recording, aka time shift in realtime

    you can watch one show using the TV tuner, while recording some other channel/station on the Homeworx PVR (even switch to the HDMI input on the TV..from the PVR to check on what you are recording)
    Last edited by theewizard; 9th Sep 2016 at 01:23.
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  19. Just to follow up, I ended up buying the Iview and have had it for nearly a week now. It has a few quirks and things I had to learn or adjust, but overall it's working fine!

    What I'm working on now is trying to figure out if and how I can bookmark a spot within a recording so that I don't have to re-start at the beginning every time. I did notice late last night that there is a "Go To" button, so, if I can remember the exact number marking where I left off, I can apparently punch that in and start from that spot, but I am wondering if there's a simple bookmark function that would let me add, remove or go to the next bookmark without having to remember or enter a number.

    Thanks again to everyone for your help!
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    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    Just to follow up, I ended up buying the Iview and have had it for nearly a week now. It has a few quirks and things I had to learn or adjust, but overall it's working fine!

    What I'm working on now is trying to figure out if and how I can bookmark a spot within a recording so that I don't have to re-start at the beginning every time. I did notice late last night that there is a "Go To" button, so, if I can remember the exact number marking where I left off, I can apparently punch that in and start from that spot, but I am wondering if there's a simple bookmark function that would let me add, remove or go to the next bookmark without having to remember or enter a number.

    Thanks again to everyone for your help!
    The iView has a resume function. When you select the title you can chose to play from the beginning or play where left off(or something to that effect). Would that work for you?
    I always used resume when I was using my iView, very handy and every title on the HDD can have a separate resume point, IOW you can be in various points in each of the titles and each one will remember the resume point.
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  21. Thanks jjeff! That's good to know. I haven't seen the resume function yet and don't know how to do it, but I'll look for it.

    There are a few other things I still haven't figured out about the iview yet. The one I can recall right now is that when I edit the name of a recording I've made, there's no space key, so I either have to run all the words together, or separate them with commas. It's a small matter, but it seems odd that there's no obvious way to make spaces between words.
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  22. Well, I looked and I still don't see where that resume function is. If anyone knows how to do it, please let me know. Thanks.
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  23. It is on-screen and entered by ok button or select (center button). Or using arrow button to choose Exit:Cancel.
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    There is a couple different ways to play a title on the iView. One way it just starts playing it from the beginning, the other your given the option to RESUME or PLAY FROM BEGINNING. I don't have my iView hooked up or I'd give you a better explanation. You could check out the iView master thread at AVSforum, I know I've posted about resume in that thread before as well as others. Heres a link to the thread, it's lots of pages long but I believe the resume talk was towards the beginning.
    http://www.avsforum.com/forum/42-hdtv-recorders/1465875-iview-3500stb-tuner-dvr-owners-thread.html
    http://www.avsforum.com/forum/42-hdtv-recorders/1465875-iview-3500stb-tuner-dvr-owners...l#post31410769
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  25. Thanks Steve and jjeff! I actually stumbled across the answer accidentally late Saturday night. After I highlight a recording and hit OK, there's a little window that pops up at the very top middle of the screen that says: StartResume
    [EXIT]: Cancel

    The problem I was having before was that, most or all of the time, that window wasn't popping up when I was highlighting through my list of recordings and selecting (OK-ing) one , so I'd never seen it. Apparently, the window only pops up when I have hit stop (the black square) after viewing or pre-viewing a recording (BEFORE highlighting and OK-ing a recording.)

    So, I've got it now, and it sure makes life easier than using "GOTO" and punching in numbers! Thanks.
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  26. I'm still dealing with some quirks with the iview. For example, I set it for Daylight Savings and a 12 hour clock, but it occasionally reverts back on its own, so everything is suddenly an hour off, and in military time.
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