Jamie wants to cut the cord and has heard about the Channel Master DVR for broadcast. Leo says that the chatroom recommends it all the time, and if he has a good antenna signal, it's a great option since HD is uncompressed over the air. But can he watch it elsewhere? Leo says it's fairly easy with it's ToGo capability, which would let him move his programs to his phone or tablet. He can also get just about everything online except for live programming like sports, awards ceremonies, and the news.
This is the week that the Supreme Court is hearing the Aereo Decision. Aereo takes broadcast signals using thousands of dime-sized antenntas, and routes them through the Internet. Users rent DVR space in order to record TV shows and watch live TV. Leo says that it's a cool technology, but broadcasters have sued Aereo claiming copyright violations for leeching the broadcast signal out of the air without permission or paying retransmission rights. Aereo says all they're doing is renting out antennas and hard drives for their customers and they've won many times with that defense.
Judy wants to know if she can buy her own DVR and use it with the same cable connection as the rest of the apartment. Leo says she could get a TIVO or a ChannelMaster that would do this, but since it won't have its own cable card from the cable company, it would need to connect to the set top box that's already there. This means she'll need an IR blaster so that the DVR can communicate to the cable box to change channels at the appropriate times. Some set top boxes have a link cable that the TIVO would understand, so she could hook it up that way.
Jim is in the process of "cutting the cable," and he's looking to get a good HD antenna. Leo says that over-the-air signal is the best quality HD because it's uncompressed. Leo advises using AntennaWeb.org. It'll not only tell him what stations work best, it'll also give him recommendations for the best antennas. There's also TVFool.com.
Mike would like to transfer his movies from his DVR and play in his clinic. Leo says that Hollywood considers that piracy, but Leo says it's fair use. The only way he can do this is by exploiting the Analog hole. That means he'll have to plug the DVR into a computer that takes a composit or component imput and then capture it in real time while playing it back. It can be done, and he'll have to get some additional hardware (like a capture card), but he can do it. The other option is to buy downloads of the programs from iTunes or Amazon.
Joe is going to be getting Google's 1GBps Internet access in Austin soon, and he wants to know what DVR he can use. Leo says that third party DVRs are getting harder to find, but TIVO is probably the best option. He wants to get his old programs off the old cable DVR, though. Leo says that the DVR is likely encrypted digitally, so he wouldn't be able to. He could, however, exploit the analog hole by using component cables. It'll be HD, but not digital.
Snapstream, an app that would allow users to record TV and play it from the internet, has pivoted and now provides professional DVR services to the broadcasters themselves. The company has begun providing a service to production companies to record television programs with all metadata and provide that to its customers.
Ken is a trucker and he wants to know how he can access his home DVR. Leo says SLINGBOX is the way to go. All he'll need is an internet connection and he can watch live TV from a laptop, tablet or even a smartphone. He should just make sure to have two tuners in his satellite so he doesn't change the channel on people at home. Dish has a deal with Slingbox that has a DVR with Slingbox built-in.
Leo says that the System II TIVO does need to phone home every once in awhile to validate an active subscription. According to the chatroom, the Sony Tivo Series II was pretty hackable, while the others weren't. Leo advises visiting WeaKnees.com and the AVS Forum which can help. It's not really that expensive to just subscribe, though.