After using this hard drive recorder, you will throw rocks at your old VCR.
I have noted that many of the questions about this unit, seem to flow from comparing them with VCRs. The obvious benefits are better quality recordings, more record time, ease of locating what was recorded, no tapes to mess with, etc. A huge improvement over a VCR, is simply being able to watch a show that you recorded, while recording another show at the same time. One can see all of the features in the listing.
Unlike VCRs this unit does not play back through the coax cable on your TV's channel 3 or 4. The coax/antenna cable is only attached in and out of this hard drive recorder so it can get the antenna signal. What is done on this recorder, does not affect the coax/antenna signal to the TV and/or your TV's internal tuner like a VCR did.
As you may recall VCRs, have an input or bypass select that determines whether one is allowing the signal to pass through the VCR, directly to the TVs internal tuner or whether one is watching the tuner or tape within the VCR. As stated, that is usually done via the coax/antenna on channel 3 or 4, of the TV's tuner. Unless one puts their VCR input, in the bypass mode, they cannot watch other channels through their TV's internal tuner. That is because that coax/antenna signal is being interrupted by the VCRs tuner.
While this hard drive recorder obtains a signal from the coax/antenna line, for recording purposes, It does not interrupt that antenna signal or play back to the TV through that coax/antenna line. Instead, the outputs of this h/drive recorder, connect to the TV like a typical DVD player. It plays back via an HDMI cable or a 3 connector cable set, plugged in to one of the HDMI or auxiliary inputs on the TV. One only sees the content of this h/drive recorder when they select the input on the TV that the recorder is plugged into.
In laymen's terms, this recorder's output is viewed on one's TV, just like any other channel on the TV. The recorder's playback channel on your TV would be HDMI 1, 2, or aux 1, 2, etc. Thus, changing the channel on the TV won't affect what the recorder is doing. Likewise, changing the channel on the recorder won't affect what the TV is doing on all of the other channels. One can even use the PIP (picture-in-picture) feature if their TV has one. For example: One could keep tabs, in the corner of the screen, of a live PIP program on TV channel 10, while watching a recorded program on input, channel HDMI 1 or vice-versa.
Whether the recorder goes to a channel by programming it to time record or went to a channel by selecting it manually, this unit always records the channel that is presently showing on the recorder's internal tuner. If one is watching a live TV show through this units internal tuner, a message will pop up on the screen and tell you that it is about to change channels for a timer recording. All one has to do to keep watching a live show, while the unit is recording a different show, is change the channel on the TV.
Once the h/drive recorder, goes into the recording mode, it will not allow one to accidentally change the channel. The only way to stop a current recording is to physically go to the recorder and press the stop button. Another great feature of this recorder over VCRs, is that it will go into the timer record mode whether it is on, being used or turned off in stand-by. There is no more missing a show that you set it to record, because someone was watching something on it at the time or forgot and left the VCR on.
One does not need a Digital to analog converter box to use this recorder on an old style, analog, TV. This recorder has its own internal tuner that will receive either the old analog type signal or the new digital format. One simply selects TV or DTV on the remote, when programming the timer or watching a live show.
Note: As stated, changing the channel on the TV that the recorder is connected to for playback, will not effect the recorder's functions. However, if one connects the coax/antenna input of this recorder, directly to the coax/antenna output, of a cable box or DTV converter box, changing the channel on that box, will affect the recorder. The input of the recorder will only be able to receive the signal output of the channel that was selected on the box. It is best to connect the recorder separately, in a way that allows the channel to be changed for live TV viewing, without affecting the recorder.
1. While this unit will record shows directly to a recordable DVD, I find it easier to record everything to the hard drive. I can later high-speed, dub/transfer, anything I want from the hard drive to a DVD. This method eliminates the old VCR tape problems of remembering to put in an empty disk, calculating record time left on the disk, etc.
2. I have all of my hard drive video recorders powered through small APC, battery backup, Uninterrupted Power Supplies, of the type used on computers. I purchased several of them for $20.00 each on a Black Friday sale. They provide 10 to 20 minutes of continuous backup power for my recorders. This provides additional surge protection and prevents a loss of my timer programming during momentary power outages.
I hope this is helpful,
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