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SmartyP

join:2005-02-12
Doylestown, PA

[DVR] DVR with-or-without tuner?

I'm getting the triple-play bundle--NO DVR 'cuz I don't want the monthly fee. I am going to buy a DVR, just the recorder, but I need to know if I need the kind with a tuner or not. The bundle comes with set-top boxes for my two TVs but that's it.



darcilicious
Cyber Librarian
Premium
join:2001-01-02
Forest Grove, OR
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Frontier FiOS

If the stand alone DVR with a tuner can do QAM, then you will get your locals (HD and SD) without using a Vz set-top box.

If the stand alone DVR doesn't have a tuner, then you'll want to connect a VZ tuner to it -- how you do that (e.g. which cables you'll need) will depend on the kind of inputs the stand alone DVR has.

Also note that you will only be able to manually set up recordings on the stand alone DVR -- you'll have to leave the set top box tuned to the correct channel and let the DVR timer do its thing.

Depending on your reason for going with a stand-alone DVR, you might want look at going with TiVO -- it ain't cheap but the TiVO/FiOS users seem to be the happiest of the bunch


KenAF

join:2006-01-23
Arlington, VA

1 edit
reply to SmartyP

Aside from the TivoHD and Moxi, there are no other shipping DVRs that support the digital cable channels on FiOS. In fact, there are no other shipping DVRs that support cable HD at all. What DVRs are you looking at?

The TivoHD is still available for $499 with no fees as of this posting, but I'm not sure how long that will last.

If you just to spend the least amount of money possible, in the short-to-intermediate term, then you should opt for the Verizon DVR. The Verizon STB, HD STB, and HD DVR cost $5.99, $9.99, and $15.99/mo (around $17.50 after tax), respectively. The HD DVR replaces the STB.

It would take ~29 months of Verizon DVR service to equal the cost of the TivoHD.


SmartyP

join:2005-02-12
Doylestown, PA

Are you telling me that to record off FIOS TV, even with the set-top box, I have to pay for some kind of service?


KenAF

join:2006-01-23
Arlington, VA

4 edits

said by SmartyP:

Are you telling me that to record off FIOS TV, even with the set-top box, I have to pay for some kind of service?
Ohh, you can certainly record the analog SD output from the set-top box. But then you need some sort of recording device that can change the channel on the set-top box (i.e. an IR blaster), unless you want to change the channel manually for every program you record.

There are no standalone devices that can record HD from another box. If you want to record from the STB, you are essentially passing on HD. The Verizon HD DVR, Moxi, and TivoHD are the only shipping, standalone DVRs that can record actual HD from FiOS.

Note with Moxi and TivoHD with lifetime, you don't have to pay for DVR service. The service is figured into the purchase price.

crankerchick
Premium
join:2007-11-26
Ellicott City, MD

4 edits
reply to SmartyP

What they are saying is that what you "need" depends on what you want.

If you buy a DVR without a tuner, then the your VZ set top box will be your tuner. As such, you will need to leave it on the channel you want to record and then manually program your DVR to record. You need to make sure you don't turn "off" your STB because otherwise if you are using the standard SD stb (can't remember the #), you will just record the "power off screen" and not your show. I can't remember if setting reminders changes the channel for you or not, but either way, make sure you don't turn the stb "off."

If the DVR you purchase does have a tuner (QAM tuner), and you choose to connect the DVR directly to the wall outlet (not through the VZ stb), then it will only be able to record the channels that VZ sends in the clear which is basically your local channels. You won't pay any "service fees" aside from the monthly rental of your vz stb which you say is included in your package.

What package are you getting that includes 2 stbs?

Also, using the VZ stb as your tuner means that if you are recording something, you cannot watch another channel at the same time. With VZ DVR (and tivo and the others), you can record 2 shows at the same time and watch a 3rd recorded show, or you can record 1 channel and watch a 2nd channel.


SmartyP

join:2005-02-12
Doylestown, PA

I had to pay extra for 2 STB's, $5.99/mo; they weren't included.

I am quite willing to do what you said in paragraph two of your reply, especially if I can buy the less expensive non-tuner DVR.


crankerchick
Premium
join:2007-11-26
Ellicott City, MD
reply to SmartyP

Ok, so then yes you can buy a DVR without a tuner and your VZ stb (presumably the SD box if its $5.99 per month) will be your tuner.

Seems like more hassle then its worth to me, but I also use the DVR a lot so I guess I'm in a different situation. We don't use it quite enough to go for tivo, but just enough that being able to watch and record at the same time or record 2 shows at the same is critical. Plus, not having to remember which day of the week it is and which shows i record when to remember which channel to leave it on is huge.


KenAF

join:2006-01-23
Arlington, VA

4 edits

SmartyP,

What non-tuner DVR are you looking at?

I would personally recommend that you try the Verizon DVR for 1-2 months to see if you like it. That will also help you to understand what you are giving up with one of the inferior non-tuner DVRs.

None of the non-tuner DVRs will:

* record without noticeably degrading picture and sound quality;
* record with Dolby Digital surround sound;
* record in high-definition;
* output high-definition;
* provide a program guide or program information;
* identify each recording with the program name and description;
* record two channels simultaneously, while you watch a third, previously recorded show;
* record one channel while you watch watch another (with pause/replay/30sec skip/rewind);
* allow you to delete specific channels (sub-channels) from the list of channels; or
* turn closed captions on or off on both live and recorded programs.

They are essentially digital VCRs, which is a substantial downgrade from what you get with a real DVR. IMO, they are a real hassle to use and have the potential to piss off your wife.

Verizon allows you to cancel and return equipment at no charge. You don't even have to call to do this; you can request a return shipping label by logging in at Verizon.com. There's really nothing to lose by trying the DVR, aside from the obvious $15.99 for the month. If you replace one of your STBs with the DVR, the net increase would be just $10/mo. That's a small price to pay to keep your wife happy, imo.


SmartyP

join:2005-02-12
Doylestown, PA

We resisted TV for years, only getting 5 or 6 local channels; we barely watch. But--and you're not gonna believe this--we can't receive (reliably) the local Fox network any more and my wife MUST, and I mean MUST see "So You Think You Can Dance". Soooo...we're getting FIOS, for about what we paid for just internet and phone anyway.

Haven't been on this site for years and never on the FIOS TV forum. Thanks for the info, especially Crankerchick. I'll just get the non-tuner DVR.


KenAF

join:2006-01-23
Arlington, VA

SmartyP,

If you just care about the local channels, then you get get an HDTV DVR for off-air broadcast signals from an antenna. That would save yourself big bucks over FiOS.

Information here.