Don't buy this for QAM -- the cable companies are committed to encrypting all channels, so you will be sorry sooner rather than later. For all the cable cutters out there and those thinking about life after pay tv, this is a really great component in a free tv infrastructure despite sketchy support and disk and guide issues.
Simple.tv is a single tuner whole house DVR. It plugs into your antenna (or Clear QAM source), your local area network, and a usb disk. The Simple.tv DVR required a wired ethernet connection.
This woot includes a lifetime subscription to their Premier Service. This service costs $150 alone when purchased directly from Simple. This software lets you access and control the device from a web page. This page must be viewed in Chrome or Firefox, so you cannot use Internet Explorer. It doesn't work with Silk either.
The web page is *very* nice. The home tab is a list of tuned channels with virtual numbers, channel logos, and the names of currently playing programs. Click a program to begin watching in your browser. The right side of the panel links to other features and includes a summary of the recordings currently on your USB disk and scheduled for recording. The Guide pane replaces that summary with a TV Guild like grid of upcoming programming. The MyShows tab displays the shows recorded to the disk. Click a show for a list of recorded episodes including title and description.
The Guide tab includes a search box. Type some words into this box and a list of matching programs is returned. Click one of these for a list of all upcoming episodes along with title, description, and channel. Click an episode to record it or click Record This Series to begin recording all episodes (or just new episodes of the show). When you choose to record All Episodes and Reruns, the DVR will record all episodes on all channels. It will NOT re-record episodes already recorded. This is really great.
There is a Roku channel. The Roku channel can tune a live channel, initiate a recording (individual program or series, new only or new and reruns), browse upcoming programming in a Netflix-like grid, or search for programming.
I brought a Roku to my mother's house and we watched my antenna and recordings from there. There was no buffering after the show started, but YMMV. I was traveling during the World Series. I was able to watch the games locally, but switched to the Simple.tv web page (to my tv via hdmi out on the laptop) to watch post game coverage.
I have been experimenting with disks and have learned a little.
I have had success with the following disks...
2 x Seagate 1t (9zc2ag-501): formatted and performed perfectly. No issues to date. Western Digital 500g (WD5000H1U-00): formatted and performed perfectly. No issues to date. Western Digital 2t (WDBFJK0020HBK-04): formatted and performed perfectly. No issues to date.
And issues with these...
Seagate 3t backup disk (STCA3000101): formatted to just over 2t Seagate 2t backup disk (9zq2p5-500): formatted to 2t, squealed like a pig while recording, stopped working after a couple days Seagate 1t (9sf2a4-500): formatted to 1t, stopped working after a couple hours
It is not a great DVR for football games. If you like to rewind and frame-by-frame review, this will not do that, but you can back things up and pause a program.
You will be asked to let the DVR know if a program should be recorded or deferred in the case of a conflict. You will be kicked out of a live viewing without warning if a recording starts. If you try to get back in, you will be warned that a show is recording, but be given the opportunity to cancel that recording and watch live. If someone tries to watch a different live channel, the tuner will change and anyone already viewing live tv will be bounced to the menu. If they choose a live channel already being viewed, they will begin watching the live channel at the beginning of the live session rather than at the current time.
I think that is about all I know about the Simple.TV DVR. I really like the Simple.tv DVR. It's not perfect, but is works better than most alternatives and the price is right. The Simple FAQ says that this premier license will work with future devices and that accounts can have multiple devices, so this is a cheap way to get the $150 license for $90 and a free tuner.
I bought it on the woot Thanksgiving sale. wizwor gives a good summary. SimpleTV also just released the Android app for it. Work well for both live tv and recording, but others have reported a few bugs. I've only used on my wireless network. Not tried mobile yet.
wizwor said: Don't buy this for QAM -- the cable companies are committed to encrypting all channels, so you will be sorry sooner rather than later. Depends on the cable company. I use one of these with Time Warner and have heard no rumblings from them about eliminating Clear QAM.
I appreciate the low cost and simplicity of this system, along with its baked-in compatibility with my Roku devices.
excoriator said: wizwor said: Don't buy this for QAM -- the cable companies are committed to encrypting all channels, so you will be sorry sooner rather than later. Depends on the cable company. I use one of these with Time Warner and have heard no rumblings from them about eliminating Clear QAM.
Don't worry, they'll get there. In late 2012, the FCC dropped the requirement for local stations to be carried in the clear by cable companies. Cable companies persuaded them that, in the age of cable modems, there are too many data-only customers that were also pulling their unencrypted local channels. It just depends on when they do equipment changes/updates.
Still available this morning and now I have to recommend you buy three. While I was napping updates to the Roku and web server software made this a much more compelling device. You can add multiple DVRs to a single account and switch between accounts in the Roku client. Each DVR has its own channel list, so you can point antennas to different markets for improved reception at the edge. My DVRs are called SitComs, Dramas, Movies, and Misc, but they could be just as easily be Boston, Manchester, Portland, and Providence. Great update!
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