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TivoHD as tuner?

1148 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  cmaasfamily
Yes, I know - an unsubscribed Tivo is just a brick, but I'm thinking maybe all I want is a brick. Here's the deal:

I have two S2's and one S3 so I am pretty much set Tivo-wise. I recently added a theater - with "movie only" intentions and setup - blu-ray, projector, no cable, no tuner. Now I'm thinking there may be occasions for TV on the big screen (super bowl, for example), but it would be rare.

I looked for over-the-air HD tuners, but the pickings are very slim and no new products in recent years that I can find. Dusty boxes in the corners of warehouses for the most part.

Then I thought of TivoHD. I'd be OK without program guide or recording - although a buffer would be nice.

What do you think - would a TivoHD in brick mode serve my purposes of an over-the-air HD tuner? How about if I put a cablecard in it? Would it allow me to manually tune HD channels?

Alternately, any recommendations for tuners?
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I actually thought about this when a friend was recently buying a new plasma monitor (note: high-end monitor, not a TV, so no tuners). They were asking about external digital tuners, and not knowing the satellite units that had tuners built in, I suggested that the TiVoHD (or the S3) might serve his purposes. He'd only have the buffer to play with, and would have to deal with "please subscribe" notices, but it would serve his OTA tuning purposes.

The only digital tuner I could find was right around $300 anyway, and it didn't even have the potential DVR functions of the TiVo. With the HD, he could use it as the straight up tuner, and then might decide to get the TiVo service later anyway.

I wonder how many other people have pondered this, what with the lack of external ATSC tuners right now?
Thanks. At least good to know I'm not the only one with the idea.
cmaasfamily said:
Thanks. At least good to know I'm not the only one with the idea.
hrmm.. might want to wait until someone else chimes in, iirc, the tivo's have annoying popup banners that ask you to subscribe to their service when they're out of subscription.. might impair its use of a tuner just a bit :)
I don't know about the unsubbed HD's capabilities but you can get a ATSC tuner for about $80 bucks on ebay. As for new or old, what does it matter if it's been sitting on a shelf for a year or two? It doesn't have an expiration date.

Since it's just for occasional use, you may also want to consider getting one of those USB tuners and hook a laptop to the projector for those rare times you'd want to watch TV. DVR software would give you the pause/replay/ffwd features you're looking for. I don't know about the quality, though. If you go that route, do some research to see if the video is compressed in the USB device before being passed to the laptop.
My Panasonic DMR EZ27 (for example: http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMR...0?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1191541486&sr=8-1) has a QAM and ATSC tuner, costs less than a brick TiVo and records beautiful DVD-Rs (albeit in 480i). The HD picture (ATSC tuner to Sony TV via the HDMI cable) is great.
Just a thought. It also records DVD-RAM so you could have your instant replay.
Might want to check the forums at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=106
You could get a DVD Recorder with built in ATSC tuner. You may not need the recorder capability, but you can use it as a tv tuner and dvd player.
It would make a BAD OTA only tuner. No guide, nag screens, etc.

Buy a good OTA STB or DVD Burner.

EDIT: Or just activate it, it would make a GREAT OTA DVR... :)
All great suggestion, but so much more thinking/researching to do. Oy!
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