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Economical Ways to Record TV Shows with a TV Tuner

posted Dec 3, 2014, 9:47 AM by Anjuan Simmons
A friend wrote to ask me the following question:

Hey Anjuan,
Hope all is well on the home front.  Tell the family hi!  I have been procrastinating with changing out my this DVR I rent every month from my cable subscriber.  What do you suggest? I want a solution that can work with a simple cable box but will record my shows for me.

Everything I’ve seen is like a streaming solution where you have to subscribe to the network or service provider.  I’m looking for free to be honest.  They used to have DVRs (outside of TiVo) that would allow you to record but the options are limited if not non-existent.

Can you help me nestled through this?

You mentioned Tivo which is one of the best media recording solutions on the market. Of course, it is far from a free solution! If you don't mind investing in a bit of hardware (and you already have a desktop or laptop PC), you can find a device that you hook into your cable box to record shows. These devices are called TV tuners, and they come in two broad categories: external devices that plug into your computer via USB and internal devices that you have to install in a PC (similar to an internal video card). I've used internal TV tuners in the past, and they are great if you don't mind opening up a computer and doing a little bit of geekery. However, most people prefer external TV tuners because they are pretty much plug-and-play.

Lifehacker did an article earlier this year about external TV tuners, and I think it's a great write-up. I would recommend the WinTV HVR 2250 from Hauppauge because I've heard great things about the company, it supports dual tuners (you can record one show while watching another), and I like the remote control that comes with it.

I hope that helps!

TV Tuner
  Image courtesy Hauppauge