DVR for the technology deficient?

Buster H

Alt-F4
Wackbag Staff
Dec 6, 2004
12,244
2,725
678
Lower Bucks Co, PA
#1
This is a fun one. My parents are extremely technology deficient. Dad doesn't have a cell. Mom has a pre-paid one. No computers in the house, but they do have wireless (the fios package deal was cheaper for all 3 than it was for just TV and landline phone).

Up until a few weeks ago, my mom was still using a vcr to record her one soap opera in CBS. That vcr is now dead and she wants "of those DVS things".

I spoke with my old man to explain to him that the easiest bet is to get a DVR from verizon and it will be able to be used throughout the whole house. Since I already have fios, I was able to figure out that his bill would go up by an ASTOUNDING $15 a month. OK, he didn't use the word astounding, but it was more like "I'm not paying $15 fucking dollars to rent a fucking DVR"

I'm trying to figure out a viable option for my mom to be able to watch her show that wont cost them a monthly fee AND wont be outrageously expensive for the initial investment as well.

Here's the options I have come up with so far.

1. Buy her a tivo for xmas and set the monthly fee to go to my credit card. They won't know about it, and she will get what she wants. I have read that in order to do it on Fios, you gotta get a special card from Verizon installed. Anyone have any experience with this one?

2. Buy her a first-gen Ipad and then teach her to use the CBS app to watch her show. that's a bit pricey though and not sure if I could actually get her to watch it. Hell, I don't even have my own Ipad yet ;)

3. I just thought abut this on the 7 hour drive to montreal tonight. I know CBS has some shows for free on demand. Do they have the soap operas on there? I'm up in Montreal all week so I can't check it. Can someone that has it check that?

4. I looked around on Amazon for a simple DVR that didn't have a subscription fee. Might have missed one because the amazon search brought me mostly, DVD recorders and Tivos.... you know, things that everyone except for my parents would buy.

5. Netflix is a no-go. Pretty sure Hulu is the same because CBS is a bunch of cunts. What about Roku?


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Trying to figure out a way to do this as easy as possible... I'm willing to do the tivo thing if it does work. Just seeing if I can find an easier way.
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
40,284
7,454
438
The Inland Empire State
#2
You can get a 250 hour ReplayTV DVR on Ebay or Craigs for about $50 bucks with the lifetime subscription on it. The market is flooded with them right now because they were going to discontinue the proprietary guide service so they "unlocked" them all. Some people were still paying the $6.95 a month for "renting" the service and whoever bought SonicBlue decided to discontinue it, but there was such a huge backlash by the people that paid the lifetime subs that they changed their mind.

I've got 3 of them still hooked up throughout the house and they're networkable to each other. Only drawback is they only do 480p via component video cables, but it sounds like your mom wouldn't know the difference. Very user-friendly system and remote.

I bought my first one about 10 years ago and it still works but it's sitting in a closet since I bought the nicer 5500 series ones. I'd buy them off Ebay for cheap as "defectives" and slap a new 250gb hard drive in there and then resell them for $300 because that's what the lifetime sub used to cost. A 250gb hard drive gives you about 250 hours of recording time so I never fill it up.

The nicest part of them is the commercial-skip feature, which is what helped bankrupt SonicBlue. There's an automatic commercial skip that works unattended or you can quick skip say...10 minutes, by hitting the numbers 1 and 0 on the remote and then hitting the skip button. You can go backwards the same way. Obviously the networks didn't like that feature so they sued and it cost them millions to defend it and they lost.

Only problem is you need a hard-wired ethernet connection to download the program guides, do your parents have internet? I'm assuming that's what you meant by "wireless," but you'll need to get one of those wall jack ethernet extension kits if you don't feel like running some CAT 5 from their TV to their router.
 

Buster H

Alt-F4
Wackbag Staff
Dec 6, 2004
12,244
2,725
678
Lower Bucks Co, PA
#3
Only problem is you need a hard-wired ethernet connection to download the program guides, do your parents have internet? I'm assuming that's what you meant by "wireless," but you'll need to get one of those wall jack ethernet extension kits if you don't feel like running some CAT 5 from their TV to their router.
Yeah, they have internet and wireless via the FIOS router. I will look into that when I get up in the morning. Shouldn't be an issue for the ethernet. I moved the router to my old bedroom a few years ago when I was staying with them for the first month I had moved back from boston. Shouldn't be an issue to move the router back to right next to the TV she usually watches on

Component wont be an issue either. Even their HD compatible tv's are still running regular definition
 

Sinn Fein

Infidel and White Interloper
Wackbag Staff
Aug 29, 2002
31,673
2,296
898
Florida's Nature Coast
#4
No soap operas on CBS under VOD, just prime-time shows.

You need a cablecard to use a Tivo. $3/month from Verizon. They let you self-install now. It used to require a truck roll.
 

Aero 1

Registered User
Mar 18, 2005
10,888
3,751
608
Clifton, NJ
#5
ill sell you one of my Tivo HD's, with a new unused tivo remote that comes with the premiere, the tivo wireless g adapter, cables, and lifetime service. you dont have to pay for service on this. the service alone is $399.

$350 plus shipping.

with tivo, you can just hook up the fios coax into it and get the basic channels without a cablecard. but you will not get guide data since tivo does not supply guide data for clear qam channels. you will need to rent a cablecard in order to get all the channels in the package with guide data.

without guide data, you will have to set manual recordings. it can be set to a specific time and channel and it will be automatic. with guide data, you can set season passes based on show name, actor, etc.

or you can use the tivo with rabbit ear antennas and just get the locals.
 

Buster H

Alt-F4
Wackbag Staff
Dec 6, 2004
12,244
2,725
678
Lower Bucks Co, PA
#6
ill sell you one of my Tivo HD's, with a new unused tivo remote that comes with the premiere, the tivo wireless g adapter, cables, and lifetime service. you dont have to pay for service on this. the service alone is $399.

$350 plus shipping.

with tivo, you can just hook up the fios coax into it and get the basic channels without a cablecard. but you will not get guide data since tivo does not supply guide data for clear qam channels. you will need to rent a cablecard in order to get all the channels in the package with guide data.

without guide data, you will have to set manual recordings. it can be set to a specific time and channel and it will be automatic. with guide data, you can set season passes based on show name, actor, etc.

or you can use the tivo with rabbit ear antennas and just get the locals.
ok, will this one work? I can get it delivered in two days with prime and for $80. If the channel guide doesn't work, I wont have to bother with the subscription

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0036OR910/?tag=wackbagcom-20
 

Aero 1

Registered User
Mar 18, 2005
10,888
3,751
608
Clifton, NJ
#7
ok, will this one work? I can get it delivered in two days with prime and for $80. If the channel guide doesn't work, I wont have to bother with the subscription

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0036OR910/?tag=wackbagcom-20
without a sub, it will be a brick in 7 days. the premieres will only tune into a channel with no subscription and give you many, many nagging screens telling you to subscribe. without service, a tivo will not show guide data, will not record, will not update and wont allow you to transfer or push recordings to a computer or from another tivo.

to make it cear: you need a subscription to do anything with a tivo. even with a subscription, the guide will not work on clear qam channels, you will need a cable card. the guide will only work on a tivo thats hooked up via an OTA antenna or a cablecard.
 

Buster H

Alt-F4
Wackbag Staff
Dec 6, 2004
12,244
2,725
678
Lower Bucks Co, PA
#8
that's the only thing that matters, so I guess I won't be going that route unless I decide to go with a Sub. I misread your first post when you were talking about setting manual recordings... thought it was referring to not having a sub (not cable card) I don't need the guide (would be nice, but not needed), there's not a single computer in the house so transferring doesnt matter.

I found 2 of those replay things with lifetuime subs on CL for $25. May have to go with that
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
40,284
7,454
438
The Inland Empire State
#9
to make it clear: you need a subscription to do anything with a tivo.
This.

And I think on those discounted boxes like the one on Amazon the monthly service is $20 a month instead of $12.95 a month. The deal Aero's giving you is a great deal on a HD box with a lifetime sub. The ReplayTV thing is a great deal for someone that doesn't care about HD, but $350 for a box with a lifetime sub is worth it. It'll work for just standard "VCR" like recording or you can pay the $3 a month for the card that Sinn said and be able to use the full features of it.

You can find deals for the lifetime subscription boxes of Tivo with standard definition on Ebay, but you're only going to get probably a 40 or 80 hour box. They'll be slightly more expensive than the ReplayTV units because they're more popular. The ReplayTV ones are easier to hack and upgrade, at least for me they were.


I found 2 of those replay things with lifetuime subs on CL for $25. May have to go with that
Wow, that's insanely cheap. How many hours? You can always swap out a spare IDE drive you have laying around with the one inside the unit. You can also just add an extra drive inside there. Each gig translates into an hour of recording, so a 250 gig drive is 250 hours.