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Old 03-23-2017, 06:40 PM
 
3,279 posts, read 4,205,672 times
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I am an old fogie who hasn't "kept up" with how things are now with electronics in certain realms. My question is simple--how does one record TV content now? In prior days you used a VCR and later you could use a DVD recorder, but what do you use now? I believe DVRs have the content "confined" to the machines, I'd be looking for a method where the record is unencumbered that way the way .mp3 files are for music, totally wide-open and not "proprietary" or "locked down" in anyway and not requiring any access to the Internet to play once created.

How is that done now? And no, I have no interest in "streaming" anything, I have a "metered" connection which would get used up in a hurry. By contrast any movies I downloaded as .mp4 files or any DVDs I converted to .mp4 files with Handbrake, once done they require no data at all to play because they are totally "local," we can watch them even if the Internet is out due to a storm or dump them onto a tablet and watch them anywhere without the need for any cellular or Internet connectivity. THAT is what I want.
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Old 03-23-2017, 06:49 PM
Status: "Enjoying life..." (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston/Tricity
39,948 posts, read 57,785,520 times
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Depending on what connections you have on your current cable box it may be possible to connect it to a VCR but you won't be able to change the channels on the box, so the VCR can only be programmed to start and stop recordings on the channel your box is set on. The picture quality will be pretty bad though.
If you wanted to record over the air programs there are boxes to let you do that, with the addition of a USB drive for storage
https://goo.gl/QU42c4
Or perhaps so?
https://goo.gl/CxvIdQ
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Old 03-23-2017, 07:43 PM
 
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I am old school like the OP. Heck, I don't even have internet at home for sometime now. I have been recording TV shows with a laptop and an HDHomerun dual tuner. Most people already have a computer, so it's just a matter of adding a tuner and using the free Window Media Center to watch and record. Previously, I used a stand-alone DVR. But I like the laptop solution much better. Been doing it for about 5 years now. I could move across the country tomorrow and can take a whole setup with me in a backpack.
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Old 03-23-2017, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,564 posts, read 55,493,012 times
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TV content - the easiest is either tivo OTA or Mythtv. Both are legal, but the content isn't in MP4 format. Discussing anything further could be seen as violating the corporate laws paid for by content providers. What you are doing is "time shifting," which is completely legal and was pushed by Sony, back when they made VCRs. Now that they own a movie studio, their stance has changed. Welcome to the world of "pay the most for the laws you want." Onlookers can skip the morality lectures. I've looked at it from both sides, and my own content is covered by a EULA that gives users rights that never should have been stolen.
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Old 03-23-2017, 07:58 PM
 
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Also look here on AVS for more info

HDTV Recorders - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews

I used to have one of the DVRs discussed on that forum before I traded it for laptop and a Silicondust HDhomerun dual tuner.
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:55 AM
 
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most content is copy protected. It is part of the HDMI protocol, too. So unless you can record from RCA jack outputs, good luck. And I know of no cable or satellite decoder that has RCA jacks. Content providers are very touchy about these things.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
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The Scientific Atlanta boxes that many cable companies use still have an RCA out?!?

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Old 03-24-2017, 08:09 AM
 
3,279 posts, read 4,205,672 times
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Years ago I had a device that connected to your computer and had RCA jacks for the input and USB for the output, then software "captured" what was being sent and I believe it was as MPEG1 files, whatever file it was it was a "wide open" file with no lockdowns. It was no questions asked, I used to hook up my VCR to it and it recorded everything without issue. (Awhile back too I bought something that converted HDMI to RCA, I lost it but I could buy it again easily enough I'm sure.) I guess I'm looking for an updated version of something like that?

The thing is, I don't like this move towards "streaming" and I honestly don't know why so many people go that route. You use TONS and TONS of gigabytes everytime you watch something, whereas if you download it you only use those gigabytes once you never have to waste that much data from re-watching it. Also, as I said, you can then put this content on tablets or such which you can then watch anywhere at any time without having to use MORE gigabytes AGAIN for watching it.

A good illustration of where I've used this, my wife likes this TV show called "Out of This World," which ran for 3 seasons in the 1980s. We tried to buy the seasons on DVD but nobody was selling it. Then about 4 years ago it popped up on YouTube and I had learned how to download posted YouTube clips as .mp4 files, this was before they started doing that thing where they speed up or slow down the clip or crop-away half of it to foil the system or whatever. Anyway I downloaded those files and backed them up and I still have them, and they can be watched again and again in spite of that those videos have long since been "pulled" and even if our Internet is out or slow during a storm, no matter, they JUST PLAY.

We'd bought the DVDs if they'd had them for sale. You do what you have to do. All the DVDs we have, it takes awhile, but over time I've been gradually converting them (via Handbrake) to .mp4 files so we can watch them on tablets while on the road or in waiting rooms etc.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:22 AM
 
2,904 posts, read 1,707,067 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
The Scientific Atlanta boxes that many cable companies use still have an RCA out?!?
Good catch. If you're comfortable with VHS quality, maybe 480p quality, this should work.

I should have said that the HDMI spec was designed to foil digital copying, through a combination of hardware and software.
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Old 03-24-2017, 03:41 PM
 
4,268 posts, read 8,020,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbear99 View Post
most content is copy protected. It is part of the HDMI protocol, too. So unless you can record from RCA jack outputs, good luck. And I know of no cable or satellite decoder that has RCA jacks. Content providers are very touchy about these things.
I having been recording OTA TV shows for years. I guess cables are different. It's not clear if the OP was talking about cable TV or OTA TV.
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