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  1. I have an older Magnavox DVR (MDR868H/F7) which has now died - I want to see if I can replace it.
    My usage scenario is to catch live programming from a local ClearQAM cable signal, and have a way to move it from the DVR to a local NAS with media files used as a Plex server. Having an epg would be *really* great.
    So; ClearQAM cable connection, way to get files off if possible (network access would be ideal), and epg.
    I was previously looking at some touted but never delivered Magnavox units a few years ago (TBS60HP, HS), but I think they never were actually available.
    Having not followed this market for several years, are there any suggestions for a candidate?
    I sort-of want a Tivo without subscription fees that I can get files off of to my NAS.
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    There is nothing like the Magnavox DVRs available now.

    There are some inexpensive ATSC converter boxes with a PVR function (but no program guide) that can tune clear QAM and record to user-provided USB storage:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089GLM4WM/
    https://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-HOMEWORX-HW130STB-Converter-Recording/dp/B01EW098XS/
    https://www.amazon.com/Converter-Recorder-Digital-Broadcast-Channel/dp/B08P8FB2MM/

    Another option is a PC that's a few years old with a digital TV tuner able to tune ATSC or QAM and PVR software. If you want guide data for cable, it isn't free but $25 per year for a subscription to Schedules Direct for guide data is a reasonable price, in my opinion.

    [Edit]If you buy a Hauppauge TV tuner, their WinTV software uses TitanTV (a website) for free guide data and scheduling recordings. I preferred using NextPVR or Windows Media Center and only tried WinTV but that's currently the only option for free guide data that I have experience with. Windows Media Center included free guide service but the service has been discontinued.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 29th Jan 2021 at 22:50.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  3. Very interesting - thanks, good information.
    These are much cheaper than I had found.

    The Koqit one does not have true pass-through, only repeats on demodulated CH. 3/4.
    That means one would have to always use it as the tuner or use a splitter. Wasn't clear if it was HD.

    The Mediasonic similarly seems not to pass RF through but give a CH 3/4 remodulated one from its tuner.

    iView similar.

    None of them have access the recordings over network.

    It is not clear if one can control them using a display from the HDMI output, or only their RF output - I would hope/guess either?

    My old Magnavox MDR868 hasd all of this, although a pretty clunky UI; wish it were still working!

    I have a little USB AverTv tuner, will try it. Their software is really poor, I'm looking at other options to use it. Then it can record to a local disk on my network.
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  4. Guthrie, I use a Homeworks 150 (older). I looked at this 130 manual, they call it loop through (page 14). It works just like a vcr used to work, you watch what's being recorded. I would split the rf, send one to the box, the other to the tv and connect the hdmi. No direct rf feed from the box to the tv. From the tv source inputs, to watch tv I choose the TV input (direct antenna feed from the split), to manage the box or watch the recorded programs off the hdd I choose the hdmi input.
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  5. Yes, thanks - seems like the same basic operation.
    Not my ideal, but tolerable since one has a live HDMI feed (I think) on these boxes. But their lack of network connectivity eliminates them for me.
    I may try a simple PC (or raspberry Pi) solution!
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    Originally Posted by guthrie View Post
    Very interesting - thanks, good information.
    These are much cheaper than I had found.

    The Koqit one does not have true pass-through, only repeats on demodulated CH. 3/4.
    That means one would have to always use it as the tuner or use a splitter. Wasn't clear if it was HD.

    The Mediasonic similarly seems not to pass RF through but give a CH 3/4 remodulated one from its tuner.

    iView similar.

    None of them have access the recordings over network.

    It is not clear if one can control them using a display from the HDMI output, or only their RF output - I would hope/guess either?

    My old Magnavox MDR868 hasd all of this, although a pretty clunky UI; wish it were still working!

    I have a little USB AverTv tuner, will try it. Their software is really poor, I'm looking at other options to use it. Then it can record to a local disk on my network.
    I did say there was nothing like your old Magnavox available now. All of the converter boxes with a PVR function on my list record channels in their original broadcast format and resolution. All of them have an HDMI port to provide HD video output. Yes, you would need to use an RF splitter to feed the cable signal to both the TV and the converter box.

    It sounds like a PC solution comes closest to meeting your needs although you would still need to use an RF splitter to provide a signal to the TV tuner and your TV. You might want to look at the HDHomeRun Connect Duo or HDHomerun Connect Quatro for tuning clear QAM. (I use their HDHomerun Prime CableCARD tuner for recording TV because my cable service uses no clear QAM channels and I like it very much.) There is no free guide service for HDHomerun devices as there is for Hauppauge WinTV tuners but having a tuner connected to your home network can be useful. The HDHomerun DVR Service might also interest you even though it costs $35 per year. It includes guide service at no additional cost and can run on some NAS boxes, which eliminates the need to keep a PC running for recording.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 30th Jan 2021 at 12:29.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  7. "HDHomeRun Connect Duo or HDHomerun Connect Quatro for tuning clear QAM. (I use their HDHomerun Prime CableCARD tuner for recording TV because my cable service uses no clear QAM channels and I like it very much.)"
    Thanks.
    I am trying a few PC approaches. AverTv works (I have the AverTv Volar hybrid Q H837), but has a poor UI interface - maybe that's OK, as i don't use it that often. It also seems to lnly record in SD - and I didn't see any of their tuners that were QAM & HD.

    I an tying to learn more about the HomeRun stuff... Someone reported that they had it working with their Plex; not sure if that also meant they had to pay for PlexPass ($$).
    Thanks for the help and information.
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    It has been such a long time since I had any clear QAM channels that I forgot a couple of important differences between clear QAM tuning and CableCARD tuning that will impact your ability to use guide data for cable or OTA with PVR software for clear QAM tuning. Clear QAM channels use a channel+subchannel numbering system while cable uses just a channel number that is different than the channel and subchannel assignments for the stream as broadcast.

    I don't think there is guide data available that uses the clear QAM channel. For example, CBS may show up as channel 67.3 using a clear QAM tuner for cable, but the guide data for your cable provider may use 802 as the channel number for CBS while the guide data for local over-the-air broadcasts may use channel 2.1 for CBS. The other problem is that providers may change the channel number assignments for clear QAM channels from time to time, and what was once on channel 67.3 might move to channel 68.5.

    The upshot is that you will need PVR software that allows manually assigning guide data to the channels to maintain an accurate program guide, and if your cable provider changes channel assignments frequently, updating the guide could become a real PITA. The software I use for my Windows HTPC now, NextPVR, does allow manually assigning guide data to channels but I don't know what other PVR software, such as WinTV or HDHomerun DVR, allows. LibreELEC is a popular choice for running KODI on the Raspberry Pi but I don't remember how guide data mapping works for KODI
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 30th Jan 2021 at 15:57.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  9. Thanks for the info.
    My provider uses 89.1 type channel designators, and their guide agrees with these numbers.
    But so far I haven't been able to get past the fetching of channels with names and numbers no content.
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    Originally Posted by guthrie View Post
    Thanks for the info.
    My provider uses 89.1 type channel designators, and their guide agrees with these numbers.
    But so far I haven't been able to get past the fetching of channels with names and numbers no content.
    Are you using AverTV software? From what I saw in the manual, I think that AverTV uses PSIP data as its source for electronic program guide data for DTV channels. (PSIP data is included in ATSC over-the-air broadcast signals.)

    From what I understand, clear QAM cable signals could indeed include the channel name but not the kind of program schedule information for the channel that is found in an ATSC signal's PSIP data. The inclusion of ATSC PSIP data from local over-the-air broadcast channels is entirely at the discretion of the cable service provider. There isn't much reason to hope that cable-only channels would include PSIP data. Cable service providers use other means to provide guide data to cable boxes.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  11. Thanks - Not sure I grok all the detials, but in AverTv I do not et guide information. They do provide a link to an online source (iepg) which is useful.
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    Originally Posted by guthrie View Post
    Thanks - Not sure I grok all the detials, but in AverTv I do not et guide information. They do provide a link to an online source (iepg) which is useful.
    The documentation that I downloaded indicates that the AverTV software can provide information about TV shows in its TV guide if you are using the AverTv Volar hybrid Q H837's digital TV tuner for digital TV received via an antenna. The documentation for the AverTV software that I have also indicates iEPG can provide program guide data for US analog TV, but doesn't include a link. However, I have seen nothing in the AverTV software documentation that expicitly says the AVerTV software can provide guide data for US digital cable.

    Most of the time, over-the-air TV broadcasts in the USA contain information that can be used to build a program guide for digital over-the-air TV broadcasts received via an antenna, so I think that information is what the AverTV software uses in its program guide for the digital tuner. Since cable TV providers frequently remove that information when they reformat the ATSC broadcast stream to the QAM standard used for digital cable, that probably explains the lack of guide data you see in the AverTV software for clear QAM channels.

    .
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 1st Feb 2021 at 11:57.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  13. Thanks. Very interesting and helpful. Sounds like I just need to use the iepg link - which is fine for data, but does lack the direct channel linkage for viewing/recording.
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