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Hi Guzzler,

We’re in the same boat you’re in: We’re about to ditch DirecTV because we’re fed up with the high price and the way they nickel and dime you to death (half our bill is comprised of various mandatory “surcharges, no kidding). We only watch maybe 15 of the 180 available channels anyway - $130 a month is just too much for that.

Came across a few products on Amazon:
Anyone care to comment on any of these, or have other suggestions?
There’s no need to wait for anyone to comment on those products when there are already numerous user reviews at each link. I would note however, that the last link (the Magnavox) appears to be SD only, even with its DVR.

As for the other three, I noticed that they all have mixed reviews. Two of them have as many 1-star reviews as 4- and 5-star reviews put together. That should be a red flag; personally I like to see virtually nothing but high marks with a product like this – nothing more aggravating than a “buggy” recording device. Unfortunately, the only one that gets consistently high marks is the Magnovox SD recorder.

We’re looking into TiVo. They have a DVR combo unit that records OTA HD programming and also streams Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube and Pandora, on clearance right now for a mere $60 (http://www3.tivo.com/promo/holiday2012/clearance.html) – everything in a single box.

AFAIK TiVo has been in the DVR business longer than anyone else and seems to really know their stuff. They’ve always received good reviews for their user friendly interfaces. We had a TiVo-based DirecTV DVR some years back and really liked it.

I know you wanted to stay away from anything with a subscription, but you’re already subscribing to Netflix and Amazon, right? We’re looking at it this way: The total cost of the TiVo, Amazon, Netflix and Hulu subscriptions will be only $40 a month, nearly 2/3 less than what we’re paying for DirecTV. We’re going to be $90 ahead, or nearly $1100 a year.

If you do decide to go with one of the Amazon offerings, I’d pay particular attention to the negative reviews, to see of what they’re complaining about is something that matters to you or not.

Regards,
Wayne
 
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