DVR boxes - I really don't want to pay $10 / month to cablevision for 1.  What are my options?

Posted on 2009-02-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
My first year of service with Cablevision is coming to an end and now have to start paying $10 /  month for what was a free DVR.

$120 for a year of a glorified VCR?  Yeah, it's a nice device.  But are there options?  Tivo and Replay have monthly charges.  

I looked but don't see DVR boxes for sale at Best, etc..   And then how do they get the schedule of shows?  are you back to doing it like a VCR - entering specific hours and channels, rather than highlight the show you want to watch?

And I have a Windows Media Center OS on a desktop my son uses.  It has VGA and Svideo connectors on the back.  I thought I heard windows media center PCs can be used as a DVR?  But that doesn't have a coax in connection.  It would need a video receiver type of card?  And what's the cost of that?!

I am amazed with the economy in the toilet, that watching TV is so expensive!
Question by:babaganoosh
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    You can get a television tuner card for your pc. most come with the software to schedule recordings, set reminders and record series.
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    This is the card i have...

    My video card has dvi out and my tv has dvi in - but then again i have a pc dedicated to media center use.

    you could use that card and run an s video cable to your tv.

    Author Comment

    dirt - I forgot to mention - we have an HDTV and would want to watch / record HD shows.

    and I'd dedicate this PC to being just the DVR.

    some other questions I just realized

    I can 'tape' 2 shows at the same time. can this card / a PC do that?  and you can tape 1 show / watch another.
    does it get channel guide info or is this like a VCR - just enter time and channel?

    what's the basic connection scheme?  does the cable box feed the PC and that feeds the TV?  Or do you split the incoming cable signal to the cable box and to the DVR and then each is a different input on the TV?

    IF you do the 2nd setup, the PC doesn't get all the channels, right?  not even talking about scrambled premium channels.  I am thinking the standard HD channels, and other channels - you still need a cable box to receive them?

    Fios said you can't get any channels without their cable box at $x / month.  seems they should build that into the lowball price they advertise - here's a low price for a car.  but you will need wheels to drive it... that's extra.

    I have cablevision and think I can see at least some channels without a box?
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    First, obviously to record hd you have to get an hd feed from your cable company, you will need to check on card specs to see if it handles hd.

    The cable you have coming into the house gets "provisioned" at the cable companies end...basic channels will be tuned by any cable ready tv without a tuner... they put the premium channels and hd on a higher "spectrum" than standard cable ready tv's can tune, that way they can make sure joe blow whos paying the 14.99 a month for basic cable isnt able to receive higher tiered content.  the tv tuner card will handle this "decoding" like the receiver from the cable company.

    note: this is the card i have, i copied the wrong link before... not sure how that one works.

    Yes you can record 2 shows at once.

    You run a separate line to the pc tv card and it has a built in tuner... you will get all channels.

    As far as guides go, you will need to check with the software that comes with the card... my software pulls a program guide off the internet to use.

    Author Comment

    DAMN!  I liked the price on the 1st card!

    I wound up signing up with Verizon Fios and they are giving the DVR free for 1st 6 months.  buys me some time to debate this with myself.  

    thanks for your time and info!
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    I should also note... i have charter as a cable provider, they may be configured different than your service provider. so what works for me is not guarantee to work for you.

    Here's a step by step to turning your pc into a personal video recorder -


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