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Old 1-Apr-2016, 1:57 PM   #1
Jake V
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OTA DVRs: Quality of Tuners

There are a number of OTA DVRs available now.

Is anyone aware of anyone who has done a proper evaluation of the quality of the tuners that are part of each brand's devices?

In recent years I've helped a few friends go OTA to save on cable costs, and now they are asking me for a recommendation on OTA DVRs. I've seen a few articles that suggest that the tuners in some OTA DVRs are not that good with marginal quality channels.

Come to think of it, it's probably also good to ask if there are any scientific evaluations of the turners embedded in televisions. I've also seen a few such articles that some are known better than others, that most manufacturers don't pay too much attention since most people have cable or satellite.
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Old 5-Apr-2016, 1:16 PM   #2
jreese235
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This may or may not help. I currently use a device called Skystream X5. It is a streaming device that uses KODI for internet content. The interesting thing about it is that my antenna plugs into it and then connects to my TV via HDMI. The streaming box can also act as a OTA DVR. It will record onto either a thumb drive or a memory card. You can schedule recording just like any DVR. Its a really nice dual purpose device. I don't know hoe much DVR's cost these days but this box was $200.
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Old 5-Apr-2016, 1:53 PM   #3
Jake V
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Thanks for the information. I'm actually curious if anyone has actually measured the quality of the tuners in the different DVR systems. In my reading I've seen a number of posts where people complain that their TV can get and hold certain channels with good strength numbers while their DVR either doesn't get them or gets them intermittently. That suggests to me that the DVR manufacturers are using lower quality tuners, which might not be acceptable for those with challenging reception issues.
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Old 6-Apr-2016, 12:59 PM   #4
rickbb
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I've tried a Tablo and an off brand Kodi type of system. Sent them both back, tuners were not as good as the Samsung TV.

I built a DVR using a Windows 7 PC and a PCI dual tuner card from Hauppauge.

It gets all the same channels as the TV, with close to the same signal and SNR as the TV.

The image quality coming out of the PC's graphics card via HDMI is better than the Samsung TV. (Which was pretty good itself.)

It would be nice if some type of Consumer Reports side by side testing was done, but I'm not holding out any hope for that. I think we are on our own there.
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Old 6-Apr-2016, 2:46 PM   #5
jreese235
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake V View Post
Thanks for the information. I'm actually curious if anyone has actually measured the quality of the tuners in the different DVR systems. In my reading I've seen a number of posts where people complain that their TV can get and hold certain channels with good strength numbers while their DVR either doesn't get them or gets them intermittently. That suggests to me that the DVR manufacturers are using lower quality tuners, which might not be acceptable for those with challenging reception issues.
The quality that I get through the Skystream vs my Samsung TV is equal. I did not notice any loss of quality and I still am able to get all the channels that I had when the antenna was plugged directly in the TV.
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Old 29-Apr-2017, 3:01 PM   #6
mikecandu
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A test of DVR tuners would be great but unfortunately it is a niche market and the equipment required to do such a test would need to be quite sophisticated.

I've experimented with 3 different antenna DVR products:

Bell 9242 HD DVR Satellite receiver (with an antenna input)
http://www.cwdsatellite.com/9242.html

MyGica 586 Android Box with an antenna input
http://mygica.com/Enjoy-TV/H-265-And...TV586_111.html

Silicon Dust Homerun Connect HD (Dual channel tuner)
https://www.silicondust.com/product/hdhomerun-connect/

I would say all three tuners were amazingly equal despite the differences in technology of the various devices. There was almost no difference in the number of channels each device could tune. All 3 options would work for different people depending on their TV view habits and expectations.

The biggest difference was the features each device had.

Overall the HD Homerun would be my first choice for a hobbyist largely because of the channel diagnostic features built into the device and the huge amount of flexible viewing and IP streaming options (think OTA TV on your smart phone) as well as DVR options. When you combine an HD homerun with a computer running windows media center you get a system that rivals a standard cable DVR set top box.


Full media and channel guide for all OTA stations in your area
Live TV pausing
Programmed recording
Multiple TV's supported with Windows extenders

Alas windows media player never took off and windows has basically orphaned it (the TV guide still works though). You need a computer that runs Windows 7 and you have to go on Ebay to get an extender (Dlink DSM750 or Xbox360)

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 22-Jun-2017, 10:39 PM   #7
KOGREN
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I would also like some hard numbers to go off of. Everyone's reception experience is going to be different. That being said, I have a very weak signal for the big three broadcasters, questionable whether it will come in a lot of the time. I tried the Channel Master DVR+ thinking an antenna manufacturer would put in a great tuner. Unfortunately my ability to receive channels with it was significantly less than with my older LG, or my TCL tv I got at Costco.
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Old 23-Jun-2017, 2:16 AM   #8
mikecandu
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Kogren,

I'm surprised you have had bad results with the CM DVR+. My friend has one and he's had good results (ie same as his Samsung tv).

If you're going through a splitter make sure your cable lengths are the same, and your testing times are as close as possible too. With weak signals a few hours of time (changes in atmospheric conditions) or a few extra feet of cable (signal loss) can make a difference.

Mike
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