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  1. Hi! I could use a little information. The situation is this. I'm a cord cutter that was never a big fan of TV, though there are a couple programs I like. I found antenna TV works great for my case, even has much more than I need. I also like to time shift watching what little I like, zooming past commercials.

    In my living room, I have the good recording setup, with strong antenna, and have simply used a converter and VCRs for some years to record programs, which I like to watch around bedtime, in the bedroom. (The bedroom TV has an adequate, but not quite as strong, antenna, and also no converter, like the living room.)

    Given that situation, what I'd like to be able to do is record to a USB flash drive in the living room, then plug that flash drive into a typical media player in the bedroom that plays a host of file types, like a Micca player, but a player that won't play DVR file types, no encryption involved in the Micca, of course, etc. I have found no information, exhaustively searching online, that there is a DVR or PVR brand that simply records a portable file, like an avi, mp4, mkv or whatever common file type, that can be recorded to a USB stick and played back on any TV, in any room. There are all these notes online that the DVR encrypts, and only for that DVR device to playback, the impression I get that the industry has it sown-up that there be no portability, to simply another room, under your own roof!

    Now, I'm not a pirate. I have no intent to use any video file but under my roof, and erase it afterward, at that, in most cases, as I seldom find much worth saving, to watch again. What is wrong with these fools that they think they're thwarting pirates, in the first place? One can find ways of converting files, if one is of the intent to create portable files for other purposes, but that would require computer processing of each file: my thinking is that a pirate is going to do just that. Now, I acknowledge that, for my purposes, I don't want to fool with all that, go through some lengthy procedure for every lousy program I may want to watch, then throw away the file after watching: but the point there is just this, that I'm not a pirate, you see. They are merely punishing an innocent user. Making things not portable for me, who wouldn't convert, accomplishes nothing but make it like a DVR is a useless technology Nazi in my home I'd not, therefore, buy, hence I'm just business lost to the whole industry. And, again, they're not thwarting pirates, anyway, that will go to efforts. Is that duh or what?

    So, is there a solution where I can record in one room, and play in another room, without needing, as if, an IT department to make that possible? That is, record to a USB stick in one room a portable file a media player will recognize? Or, worst case, some brand of DVR units that will play a file recorded in one room, on a like unit in another room, that is, DVR machines that aren't encrypted at the discrete unit level, that wouldn't play an encrypted file on another like unit if you wanted to? (It does seem that most DVRs don't allow playback on another unit their own brand, from what I researched, which, of course, is a useless boat anchor, to me.)

    Is there, in fact, any solution to porting a video file, recorded over-the-air, from one room to a player in the other, or have the corporate Nazis made it that you may as well not fool with watching their programs, at all? I mean, most of them suck, anyway. Not that this would be the end of the world. The point there, again, it's not like they're protecting anything I'd bother to process, to make portable. (In most cases, it would be like putting a pile of the unmentionable under lock and key.) Not like any of their content is worth any real effort. Seems to me their encryption is like being all dressed up, with nowhere to go, the ends to frustrate their audience, when a viable option is simply to not watch their commercial crap, at all. See what I mean, how Nazi and stupid this all is? What, they would have made VCR tapes illegal? In those days, portability prevented no huge industry profits, but what sort of business would they have had, if a tape could only have been played on the VCR it was recorded on?

    At any rate, if there is a solution, or there is not, I'd much like to know, from anybody here expert in these things. I came to a research dead end, that it's not possible to port a file to another room, without computer processing the DVR type file, which I'll not go to even the trouble to fool with, for what is watch once and throw away content. In that case, sellers of equipment or their software can just keep it to themselves, if the solution is a pain in the rear, to simply watch some program, in another room, you'd never care to see again. Thank you for any answer, yeah or nay, to this issue, from you video eggheads! (And sorry for any ranting aspects of this, but it's simply I find it strange and most interesting the dumb, commercial politics of greed behind it all, that seems to me is an entertainment industry, shooting themselves in the foot to make using their products not worth the effort, then, and, therefore, less profitable. Losing customers hasn't generally been a good business model.)
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    I use WinTV with a Hauppauge card/USB stick similar to this:

    https://www.hauppauge.com/pages/products/data_hvr955q.html

    WinTV (coms with the tuner stick) can record MPEG files, which you would then copy onto a USB drive and play in your bedroom. You may even be able to record them straight onto an external USB drive so you don't have to copy them. Personally, I play them over my network with Serviio.
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  3. There are lots of ATSC tuner devices that can save the video (unencrypted) on a USB drive. For example:

    https://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-HOMEWORX-HW130STB-Converter-Recording/dp/B01EW098XS/
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  4. Thank you much for some possibilities of what to look into! Of course, I was looking most for some DVR box with a USB port to output to, that produces a common format, portable file that hardware, USB media players or TVs will recognize, your avi, mp4, mkv, etc. A cursory look at the Mediasonic box, which I think I read about in the past, it creates an MTS file that's not portable to USB players or TVs, though perhaps the files will port to another Mediasonic box, in another room? It seems there's no encryption of the MTS files involved they mention on Amazon, anyway, though I'm hardly qualified to say anything, for sure. Need to look more into this!

    Maybe the Hauppauge to a portable PC file is a good Band-Aid, though, again, I'd hoped to just find a box that records a common format, portable file directly to a USB drive, perhaps the problem better stated. In any case, if no time spent reencoding is involved, by any solution, this is real progress.

    Again, thank you guys for the good ideas to look into! Still, anybody, is there just a no-fuss DVR box that records a video file the likes of a Micca, USB media player can play? As I recall, this MTS business is reencoding and bad news, seem to recall, in prior research, that MTS format even seems designed to thwart portability. Of course, I'm not interested in watching anything on a PC screen, should mention that.

    I'm beginning to wonder if there's some legal barrier to producing a DVR box that records, like, a garden variety H264 mp4 or such to a USB drive? It makes no sense, otherwise, that the market is, thus far, a vacuum, for a device I would think would be most popular.
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  5. Originally Posted by JustAmbivalent View Post
    A cursory look at the Mediasonic box, which I think I read about in the past, it creates an MTS file that's not portable to USB players or TVs
    MTS is an MPEG Transport Stream. Most standalone media players support that (maybe not the media players built into some TVs). It's exactly the same quality as the ATSC broadcast stream (MPEG 2 video, AC3 audio).
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  6. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by JustAmbivalent View Post
    A cursory look at the Mediasonic box, which I think I read about in the past, it creates an MTS file that's not portable to USB players or TVs
    MTS is an MPEG Transport Stream. Most standalone media players support that (maybe not the media players built into some TVs). It's exactly the same quality as the ATSC broadcast stream (MPEG 2 video, AC3 audio).
    Great! So, can you point to a brand of media player, stand alone, or Blu-ray player, or TV, for that matter, that you know plays .mts files from a USB drive? I've never seen anything online, after researching this out the wazoo, but that you have to reencode .mts files to an mp4 container or whatever, or watch them on a PC by some app (coming up entirely blank on a solution to this issue, hence coming to Video Help). It's weird, if there's any media player or TV out there that plays .mts files. When you Google this, why is everybody and their brother talking about the need to reencode? Is some manufacturer of such playing hardware keeping it a secret, allergic to making money? LOL! Thanks!
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    Your best bet is to buy two of the same DVRs as whatever it records to USB, it should be able to play back.
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  8. You're not finding the exact device you want due to a combination of three strikes against it:

    1. Limited USA market demand. Yeah, I know, hard to believe, but it truly is limited from the mfr POV. Most of the population is hooked on cable PVRs or streaming services, while those who tough it out with "just an antenna" overwhelmingly tend not to want to spend the kind of money that mfrs feel necessary for a reasonable profit. Thats why the mediasonic and its knockoffs have had the market pretty much to themselves since 2010: no way are Panasonic, Sony, LG, Samsung etc gonna waste their time on a $40 box thats gonna cost them $40 in customer service handholding for each unit sold. When the bottom fell out of the DVD recorder market, and prices dropped below $200, all the brand names said "adios forever" to the North American video recorder buyer (the rest of the world followed a couple years later).

    2. Most Americans/Canadians relying solely on off-air antenna for "free tv" have atrocious reception problems: ATSC digital isn't like the old days where if you had lousy reception you could at least make out a picture and the sound did not cut in and out 400 times a minute until you want to scream at the idiots who approved this system in the first place. Not much motivation to time shift a crap signal.

    3. Lingering mfr fear of Hollywood prosecution if they offer an idiot-proof recorder than can make instantly-uploadable hi-def copies of broadcasts.

    The cheapest way out (as lingy suggested) would be to buy two $49 mediasonics: one to record in the living room onto USB storage, then plug that USB storage into the mediasonic in your bedroom for late night viewing. That, or get one of the more sophisticated recorders with internal hard drive, multiple tuners, and ability to network throughout the home (the dreaded IT dept solution). Or set up a PC recorder like Alwyn, copy the files to USB, and plug directly into television USB socket for playback.
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    The catch with the last solution is that most TV's cheap media players won't play back .mts. So you're limited to the other solutions.

    As to why so many recommend converting to .mp4? Read throughly (Or better yet, don't. I hate giving spammers traffic), and a lot of them discretely or blatantly are advertising their product. That's where and who are making money. Not the big boys as rosette said.
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  10. My favorite standalone media player is a Raspberry Pi with Kodi (about US$70 for everything you'll need). It plays transport streams (MTS, TS, M2TS) with MPEG2/AVC video and AC3/AAC audio. I haven't been able to find any MTS files from the HomeWorx device to test. I have seen references where people took the MTS files from the HomrWorx to a Samsung TV which was able to play them -- but the extension had to be changed from MTS to TS.

    By the way, I normally use a Raspberry Pi 3b. But if you're in the market now you might as well get a RaspBerry Pi 4. Also, I normally play video files via a network share that's accessible to all devices in the house. But those same files play off a USB drive too (as long as it's not an old slow one).
    Last edited by jagabo; 15th Oct 2020 at 19:40.
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  11. SiliconDust now has some ATSC PVR devices.
    https://www.silicondust.com/
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    SiliconDust now has some ATSC PVR devices.
    https://www.silicondust.com/
    I was going to suggest one of those too but they require using the company's HDHomerun DVR app. The app is free for the first year but after that, users need to pay a $35 fee each year thereafter to renew the subscription for the HDHomerun DVR app and its program guide service. If someone records a lot of TV, then the fee is reasonable given the convenience the app provides but for light use by a subscription-averse cord-cutter maybe not.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  13. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    SiliconDust now has some ATSC PVR devices.
    https://www.silicondust.com/
    The app is free for the first year but after that, users need to pay a $35 fee each year thereafter to renew the subscription for the HDHomerun DVR app and its program guide service.
    Yes, that extended guide data doesn't come for free. The companies that aggregate it spend a lot of time customizing it for every local area.
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    Just for fun I looked at the manual for a Samsung TVs made in 2015 (my mothers TV) and the manuals for a couple of recent models. The manuals list .mts files containing 1080i or 720p MPEG-2 video and Dolby Digital audio as supported.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  15. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Your best bet is to buy two of the same DVRs as whatever it records to USB, it should be able to play back.
    Yes, you seem to have gotten to the bottom line. I gather that's likely the case with the Homeworx Mediasonic, from what I've read about the product the implication that nothing is encrypted, therefore nothing unit specific, though I didn't find any comment on the unit that states this, only that the unit caters to unencrypted feeds. That being the case, why would they encrypt anything, to foil their own units, with respect to content already unencrypted? (On the other hand, never assume anything, in a stupid, corrupt world, simply because it makes sense.) My only caveat was reading so very much about DVRs that only playback on the same unit, not another like model. But I'd chance a one time return of the units, if they are encrypted on the unit level and didn't say so, lose no sleep over that, so am thinking to buy a couple of them, if that's all she wrote. It would be nice if there were, say, a Panasonic, Sony or such brand, some lineup of the old reliable companies, worth paying more for. Of course, best would be to have a device that encodes an mp4, mkv, etc. Seems such would need a lot of firmware and working memory, but I'd pay, just to get away from the .mts files. Thanks!
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  16. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    You're not finding the exact device you want due to a combination of three strikes against it:

    1. Limited USA market demand. Yeah, I know, hard to believe, but it truly is limited from the mfr POV. Most of the population is hooked on cable PVRs or streaming services, while those who tough it out with "just an antenna" overwhelmingly tend not to want to spend the kind of money that mfrs feel necessary for a reasonable profit. Thats why the mediasonic and its knockoffs have had the market pretty much to themselves since 2010: no way are Panasonic, Sony, LG, Samsung etc gonna waste their time on a $40 box thats gonna cost them $40 in customer service handholding for each unit sold. When the bottom fell out of the DVD recorder market, and prices dropped below $200, all the brand names said "adios forever" to the North American video recorder buyer (the rest of the world followed a couple years later).

    2. Most Americans/Canadians relying solely on off-air antenna for "free tv" have atrocious reception problems: ATSC digital isn't like the old days where if you had lousy reception you could at least make out a picture and the sound did not cut in and out 400 times a minute until you want to scream at the idiots who approved this system in the first place. Not much motivation to time shift a crap signal.

    3. Lingering mfr fear of Hollywood prosecution if they offer an idiot-proof recorder than can make instantly-uploadable hi-def copies of broadcasts.

    The cheapest way out (as lingy suggested) would be to buy two $49 mediasonics: one to record in the living room onto USB storage, then plug that USB storage into the mediasonic in your bedroom for late night viewing. That, or get one of the more sophisticated recorders with internal hard drive, multiple tuners, and ability to network throughout the home (the dreaded IT dept solution). Or set up a PC recorder like Alwyn, copy the files to USB, and plug directly into television USB socket for playback.
    Oddly, it's my thinking on a level, principles, and likes being a bit off the beaten path, therefore limited TV interest, but various reasons, which include a resentment of cable companies, that make me seek this solution, price not much the object. On the price level, I'd not bother with some industrial setup a studio would use at some thousand dollar level, just for a few TV programs, but I'd pay well for a unit that would simply record a portable, common mp4, mkv file or such to a USB drive. I would also pay well for a unit with not as many reviews how it's truly cheap, some claiming fly by night Chinese or whatever, crapped out on a lot of customers, some remote's buttons stuck, became unresponsive, or fell apart in their hand, etc. My problem has been finding nothing that meets the need, at any price. And you well explain these things, I mistaken, even surprised, there are not more people like me and a market, then.

    I don't have HDTV signal problems for most stations, everything I want to watch a strong signal, only infrequent, very windy days a challenge here and there, a few glitches, steady, crystal clear at other times. I receive all the traditional, major networks fine, on a Micron, I believe it is, living room antenna, and then some, as the major players have multiple substations of smaller networks content. I find the antenna lineup very much rich enough, for me, much more than I need, don't see anything much different than the basic cable lineup was, back when, which was also more content variety than I used, and at no cost, at that. There is also the intangible: I do take satisfaction sticking it to the cable companies. Also, think about this: do you realize what sort of video collection you can have, to watch anytime you wish, for a lot less than you pay the cable or sat company? I have boxed sets out the wazoo of fine content, the best produced series ever, I can watch anytime, what I really want to watch. I never have to channel surf to find something I want to watch, have years worth on watching content I own, and still thousands of dollars in the black. I'm too picky about what series I like to be into streaming, also, to me all that amounts to is, mainly, a huge assortment of crap productions I'd never binge on, would probably drop without finishing the pilot episode of the majority of modern productions. Again, I own the ones I really like. To me, a few HD broadcast programs I do like, over the air, is all I want. I mainly like some of the true crime shows, and, otherwise, am in love with the FOX weather girl. (Hey! Maybe I can learn how to stalk her on Dateline?)

    Seriously, thank you for all that good information, which, in fact, confirms exactly what I feared is the case. It's nice to see a real explanation of the weirdness, the utter market void, I've been seeing, which I couldn't make sense of. I wish the likes of Panasonic or Sony were in the business of the sort of unit I'm looking for, bottom line, but now I know why that's not the case. Must say, I am surprised I'm such an oddball, as if the only person that would like to plug such as an mp4 USB video into a TV setup in another room.
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  17. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    My favorite standalone media player is a Raspberry Pi with Kodi (about US$70 for everything you'll need). It plays transport streams (MTS, TS, M2TS) with MPEG2/AVC video and AC3/AAC audio. I haven't been able to find any MTS files from the HomeWorx device to test. I have seen references where people took the MTS files from the HomrWorx to a Samsung TV which was able to play them -- but the extension had to be changed from MTS to TS.

    By the way, I normally use a Raspberry Pi 3b. But if you're in the market now you might as well get a RaspBerry Pi 4. Also, I normally play video files via a network share that's accessible to all devices in the house. But those same files play off a USB drive too (as long as it's not an old slow one).
    That media player sounds like something well worth looking into, and changing file extensions certainly no big deal. Thank you! You guys actually have some good ideas... it's making me dizzy, or I'm about to wakeup and remember that TVs now have credit card scanners.
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  18. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    The catch with the last solution is that most TV's cheap media players won't play back .mts. So you're limited to the other solutions.

    As to why so many recommend converting to .mp4? Read throughly (Or better yet, don't. I hate giving spammers traffic), and a lot of them discretely or blatantly are advertising their product. That's where and who are making money. Not the big boys as rosette said.
    Yes, we live in a world where it seems everybody is running a con of some sort, a lot of guile about. On the other hand, many are talking of using open source tools like Avidemux, too. Back to the crux of the biscuit, I've not found anything that records to USB a truly portable file, at all, and nobody has yet suggested the name of such a PVR, mind you. This seems to get us back to .mts files and reencoding, or buying a pair of funky DVRs that may crap out on the day after the warranty expires, as the company takes a powder. Frankly, I think it's all ridiculous, suspect what's going on is Hollywood moneygrubbers that want their hands in both of everybody's pockets, and politicians in theirs. As mentioned, the unit would be more expensive, but the technology is now common as dirt to encode a portable file, even open source.
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  19. Originally Posted by JustAmbivalent View Post
    My only caveat was reading so very much about DVRs that only playback on the same unit, not another like model.
    That's generally only the cable/satellite and other big company DVRs. And because they receive encrypted channels as well as a few un-encrypted channels.
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  20. Originally Posted by JustAmbivalent View Post
    This seems to get us back to .mts files and reencoding
    The files will contain MPEG 2 video and AC3 audio. You can quickly remux them to MPG, MP4, or MKV if you want something a little more universal than MTS.
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  21. In any case, thank you all for your good replies. I wish I had come to Video Help first, as this is something I've researched off and on for a couple years now, each pursuit of a solution throwing up my hands, and things making no sense, that it's, as if, forbidden by the Nazis to record something to watch in another room. It strikes me there's a lot of hubris, to think they're TV shows, the vast majority of which you wouldn't care if you ever see again, are anything worthy of heaping more profits on the networks, and, what's worse, after they've spent 20 minutes, of every hour, trying to brainwash you with utterly moronic commercials. (Worst case, live TV, this is why God gave us a Mute button.)
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  22. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by JustAmbivalent View Post
    This seems to get us back to .mts files and reencoding
    The files will contain MPEG 2 video and AC3 audio. You can quickly remux them to MPG, MP4, or MKV if you want something a little more universal than MTS.
    You know, I read a comment just yesterday, somebody that said try that, didn't seem sure, but, yes, a container change is quick and painless. All I've been unwilling to do is the reencode time grind, for each throw away show. So, that would be a good Band-Aid one could live with.
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  23. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by JustAmbivalent View Post
    My only caveat was reading so very much about DVRs that only playback on the same unit, not another like model.
    That's generally only the cable/satellite and other big company DVRs. And because they receive encrypted channels as well as a few un-encrypted channels.
    A couple years ago, I had seen DVR unit specific encryption mentioned much, such that you can't play a file on another unit, that is, the DVR encrypts or locks out, each unit having a key, so as to thwart portability of files between same brand units. This was a big "throw up your hands" moment, when I just said to hades with it, nothing worth plowing even a dime into, then. I have a real problem with enriching greedy. manipulative pricks, if there's anything I can do about it, believe the people always had real power they never used, that is, the boycott.
    Last edited by JustAmbivalent; 16th Oct 2020 at 10:55.
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  24. You never know what's true online, but, FYI, this came up on the web just now, Googling "best usb media player for .mts files":

    Isn't available on Amazon, but Micca has (or had) a unit, purported to handle .mts camcorder files, entitled,

    Micca MPLAY-HD 1080p Full-HD Digital Media Player For USB Drives and SD/SDHC (Realtek 1055)

    Another bet, most promising, if true:

    Sony - BDPS3200 - Streaming Wi-Fi Built-In Blu-ray Player

    The quote on the Sony player: "This Blu-ray player supports the following formats for USB playback: XVID, Motion JPEG (.mov, .avi), VC1 (.m2ts, .mts, .mkv), MPEG-4/AVC (.mov, 3gp, .3g2, .3gpp, .3gpp2, .flv), MPEG-1 Video/PS (.mpg .mpeg, .m2ts, .mts), AVCHD Disc Format Folder, WMV9 (.wmv, .asf, .mkv), MPEG-4 AVC (.mkv, .mp4, .m4v, .m2ts, .mts), MPEG-2 Video/PS, TS ( .mpg.mpeg, .m2ts, .mts)"

    Seems it could be true. You'd think. Some model Sony Blu-ray player? How cool that would be!

    Update: Add to that it looks like Sony USB Compatible Bravia TVs may have promise, but the webpage mentions 2012, don't know if the Gestapo got to Sony? 2020 models? But this, at least, goes to show what has been supported in hardware technology, for a long time:

    https://www.sony-asia.com/electronics/support/articles/00191845
    Last edited by JustAmbivalent; 16th Oct 2020 at 12:07.
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  25. While some here recommend the Micca units highly, my experience with them has been uniformly poor. Over the past couple years, I've purchased multiple examples of a couple different models, from multiple sources (Amazon, eBay, Micca itself). Each one had some sort of functional problem, some less significant than others. But the dealkillers ruining every single one were too-low audio output level and incorrect gamma (or IRE or whatever you want to call it) causing all videos to play way too dark (indoor or night scenes are completely devoid of detail). I have yet to find a standalone, current-model USB media player that comes anywhere close to the playback quality of any random seven year old BluRay player with USB support you can find at Goodwill for $20. The BD players are annoying to use because they limit certain abilities like speed search, but at least the audio/video performance is perfect. I'd gamble on the Sony BD player for USB playback before another Micca, despite Sony's dodgy rep with BD players.

    Re encryption: I don't think this is an issue with the cheap Homeworx type of unit that records strictly to external USB, so the "one in each room" option should work fine for you. The DVRs that encrypt are the pricier "name brand" models from TiVO, ChannelMaster, Roku, Amazon etc. Rule of thumb being, the more convenient the unit and the more desirable the features, the more likely it uses encryption to lock each USB storage device to the individual recorder. Some older versions of the "deluxe" DVRs had software accessories allowing file transfer to PC, or could be hacked to kill the encryption, but generally they locked each USB stick or HDD to the individual PVR.

    The technical reason you don't see much of anything with a "direct-to-MP4" recording option is horsepower vs price point. The generic Chinese units like Homeworx, that don't particularly care whether Hollywood sues them, don't have the processing power to do real-time MP4 compression of the incoming broadcast signal (actually, I'm amazed they even have the capability to capture the original M2TS stream). These were primarily intended as updated converter boxes, adding digital ATSC tuning capability to older analog-tuner DVD recorders, TVs, etc. The recording to USB feature was almost an afterthought, but people seized on it and now its the primary selling point. The things do function as recorders, but be aware they are glitch-prone so it isn't unusual for them to fail during timer mode. They rely on the somewhat unstable, half-assed program data provided by TV stations in the broadcast signal to keep track of time and trigger preset recording events.

    You may find it easier to rectify the issue of not having antenna access in both rooms than to figure out a workaround for "recording in the living room, playing in the bedroom" dilemma. Choices abound in very capable, high-capacity, encrypted DVRs with large internal HDDs that can handle off-air recording as well as streaming from any services you might subscribe to (NetFlix, Hulu). But they need to be connected to an antenna feed to record anything: if 90% of your timeshift or broadcast viewing is in the bedroom, perhaps consider switching the antenna drop to your bedroom and using the living room strictly for pre-recorded media. Or just get a splitter and branch the antenna feed to both rooms.
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    @JustAmbivalent Have you checked the manuals for your TVs yet to see if they play mts files?

    My old non-smart LG 32LK330 released in 2011 plays TS files but doesn't list the MTS extension as supported. However, I took a look at the manual for a current model "cheap" LG Smart 4K TV (model 49SM8600PUA). The documentation for the Photo and Video app indicates that it plays MTS files. I would not be surprised if there are more new/newish TVs with a built-in media player that plays MTS files.
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  27. Other possible players...

    The new Chromecast with Google TV. It should be able to play files from the HomeWorx. Only US$50. One problem is that is only has one USB C port -- and it's used to power the device. You'll need a hub/splitter to power the device and access a USB flash drive. What a stupid compromise to save a few cents in manufacturing. Reviewers seem to like it. It can run Kodi and access SMB (Windows networking) shares.

    The Tivo 4K player costs about the same now. I don't know much about that one but some people seem to prefer it over the new Chromecast.

    Many TVs with built in media players should be able to play files from the HomeWorx. MPEG2/AC3 in a transport stream is what's broadcast over the air after all. And to qualify as a TV they must have an ATSC tuner. Again, you may have to rename the files .TS or .M2TS.
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  28. BTW, sooner or later someone is going to mention a device like the AverMedia 310.

    On paper, this is exactly what you want: a DVR that natively records to MP4 files. In practical terms, however, its a PITA: since it has no internal tuner, it must be connected to an external tuner with HDMI output like a cable box, satellite box, or (ironically) a Homeworx. While this is tolerable if you mostly record when you're at home to set the desired channel on the tuner, multi-event unattended time shifting can be problematic. You also run into the issue of anti-record signals in the HDMI connection, which will prevent the AverMedia from recording, There are workarounds for this, but it involves yet a third external box with power and HDMI cords.

    Its a cluttered, inconvenient solution but if you prize the "direct-to-unencrypted-MP4" USB feature above any other factor the AverMedia type of device might be your answer.
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  29. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    While some here recommend the Micca units highly, my experience with them has been uniformly poor. Over the past couple years, I've purchased multiple examples of a couple different models, from multiple sources (Amazon, eBay, Micca itself). Each one had some sort of functional problem, some less significant than others. But the dealkillers ruining every single one were too-low audio output level and incorrect gamma (or IRE or whatever you want to call it) causing all videos to play way too dark (indoor or night scenes are completely devoid of detail). I have yet to find a standalone, current-model USB media player that comes anywhere close to the playback quality of any random seven year old BluRay player with USB support you can find at Goodwill for $20. The BD players are annoying to use because they limit certain abilities like speed search, but at least the audio/video performance is perfect. I'd gamble on the Sony BD player for USB playback before another Micca, despite Sony's dodgy rep with BD players.

    Re encryption: I don't think this is an issue with the cheap Homeworx type of unit that records strictly to external USB, so the "one in each room" option should work fine for you. The DVRs that encrypt are the pricier "name brand" models from TiVO, ChannelMaster, Roku, Amazon etc. Rule of thumb being, the more convenient the unit and the more desirable the features, the more likely it uses encryption to lock each USB storage device to the individual recorder. Some older versions of the "deluxe" DVRs had software accessories allowing file transfer to PC, or could be hacked to kill the encryption, but generally they locked each USB stick or HDD to the individual PVR.

    The technical reason you don't see much of anything with a "direct-to-MP4" recording option is horsepower vs price point. The generic Chinese units like Homeworx, that don't particularly care whether Hollywood sues them, don't have the processing power to do real-time MP4 compression of the incoming broadcast signal (actually, I'm amazed they even have the capability to capture the original M2TS stream). These were primarily intended as updated converter boxes, adding digital ATSC tuning capability to older analog-tuner DVD recorders, TVs, etc. The recording to USB feature was almost an afterthought, but people seized on it and now its the primary selling point. The things do function as recorders, but be aware they are glitch-prone so it isn't unusual for them to fail during timer mode. They rely on the somewhat unstable, half-assed program data provided by TV stations in the broadcast signal to keep track of time and trigger preset recording events.

    You may find it easier to rectify the issue of not having antenna access in both rooms than to figure out a workaround for "recording in the living room, playing in the bedroom" dilemma. Choices abound in very capable, high-capacity DVRs with large internal HDDs that can handle off-air recording as well as streaming from any services you might subscribe to (NetFlix, Hulu). But they need to be connected to an antenna feed to record anything: if 90% of your timeshift or broadcast viewing is in the bedroom, perhaps consider switching the feed yo your bedroom and using the living room strictly for pre-recorded media. Or just get a splitter and branch the antenna feed to both rooms.
    Wow! Some excellent comments! Yes, I've realized a good solution would be simply to wire the rooms to, in fact, some even super attic or outdoor antenna, but I keep coming back to how more radical that is, for a few programs I supplement watching, mainly, content I own, on the air content that I'm less enthusiastic about than some great DVD and such material. I do have a middle of the road bedroom antenna, but have learned those non-directional, no matter how touted the brand, are not that, at all, that anything fixed will dropout more on slightly weaker stations, than an antenna you can move to face the signal direction. The living room, indoor solution, I just turn the antenna, if recording a different station, and this has worked great, know by heart how to quickly flip it. So, not considering any of this a huge problem, I was looking for something quick and dirty, like playing the USB files in the bedroom, like you can plug a tape into a bedroom VCR. I use VCRs now, have a couple spares I'd thought to get, but, of course, they're on a course to crap out, someday. I had wanted to simply move to a digital solution and be done with it, a couple years ago, until running into some of these encryption problems I really do resent. In the first place, I'm not interested in seeing, every five minutes, somebody shot, blown up, homos kissing, morons chasing each other in cars, "celebrity" chitchat, on and on, and, what, I'm going to pay for that, because some greed-ridden network and Hollywood scumbags think it's alright to make life more difficult for their customers, fearing somebody may pirate their, mainly, lowlife, poorly acted and scripted, or just ridiculous, boring, smiley people yakking, over commercial plagued content? Like everybody is going to open up a digital video crap store or something? In any case, I have no complaints with watching tapes on a smaller bedroom TV, at all, quite nice and clear, can zoom through the commercials, and would like the digital equivalent, without fooling around encoding throw away programs I just tape over. I have even found FF and rewind are smoother, more visible and accurate with tape media, than digital media players, that some things have even gone downhill. Again, thank you!
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  30. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    BTW, sooner or later someone is going to mention a device like the AverMedia 310.

    On paper, this is exactly what you want: a DVR that natively records to MP4 files. In practical terms, however, its a PITA: since it has no internal tuner, it must be connected to an external tuner with HDMI output like a cable box, satellite box, or (ironically) a Homeworx. While this is tolerable if you mostly record when you're at home to set the desired channel on the tuner, multi-event unattended time shifting can be problematic. You also run into the issue of anti-record signals in the HDMI connection, which will prevent the AverMedia from recording, There are workarounds for this, but it involves yet a third external box with power and HDMI cords.

    Its a cluttered, inconvenient solution but if you prize the "direct-to-unencrypted-MP4" USB feature above any other factor the AverMedia type of device might be your answer.
    How cool! Google here I come... and thank you! It would be nice if it had a tuner, but, hey, a solution is a solution. Would add that's just fine, too, that I do only record one event, at any given time. It occurs to me my requirements are so very simple, to be so complex, some real irony there.
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