Once you increase the record time from SP (2 hours on a dvd) the video quality begins to drop off dramatically. 4 hour mode looks acceptable, but 6 hour mode and 8 hour mode look worse than the same mode on a VHS tape.
VHS VCR's are becoming increasingly hard to find and they are so cheap the manufacturers put really junky playback heads in them so the playback quality is worse than a unit made 6 years ago.
Cable company DVR's do not have DVD burners in them. Say you record something on your cable company DVR in your living room. You arrive home after a long day and you would like to watch your program in the bedroom. Since you cannot burn a dvd from the cable company DVR you would have to unhook all the wires from the unit, carry it into the bedroom, unhook all the wires there, hook the living room unit up, and then when you're done reverse the process. Bottom line, you ain't watching your program anywhere except the living room.
Say the cable station decides to show a marathon of a favorite old program that lasts 12 hours for 12 episodes. One direct to DVD burner is not going to handle it. Using no worse than 4 hour mode you would need 3 DVD burners set and ready.
With a 250GB HDD I can record 108 hours of TV at SP mode, and if I run out of room, I can start dumping off programs at SP mode to DVD-R.
I have one unit from Lite-On and was planning on buying either a Pioneer DVR-640H-S or a Panasonic DMR-EH55S, but I am too late. Both are no longer available and neither company is planning on making anymore HDD units.
They never advertised these units. They never explained to the public what they could do to justify the extra expense. When HDD units first came out they cost $1500. That's what I remember. I only found out they had dropped in price when PC World magazine did a review of them.
This reminds me when cars first had seatbelts in the 1960's. Manufacturers put a surcharge on those cars, did not tell the public what they were for, and then when few people bought them, they discontinued seatbelts saying no one wanted them. It was only when the gov't forced them to provide seat belts did they re-appear. Same stupid mentality.
Has anyone here rigged up a PC to act as a DVR? How complex is it?