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October 11, 2004
Ok, so for my 40th birthday my wife decided to pander to my maleness. She teamed up with my parents and bought me a Sony 30" Wega HDTV, Sony 6.1 Surround Sound Receiver, and an LG LST-3510A HDTV Tuner/DVD Player.
Being the luddite that I am, I refuse to get satellite TV or cable TV. Actually, I'd LOVE to have either, or both, but I don't leave the house enough as it is. So, we had to have a terrestrial tuner (using an antenna, not cable or satellite).
The LG is an awesome unit that allows you to receive HDTV programming over-the-air using a standard UHF Antenna. I use a $50 Radio Shack antenna in my attic and get GREAT reception in my area. A little known fact about Digital TV is that many TV Stations already broadcast Digital TV for free over-the-air-- right now. Many of these stations also offer HDTV programming as well. In my market (Charleston, SC), the stations that carry ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, Fox and UPN all broadcast Digital TV over-the-air right now. Plus, ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS all offer HDTV content during prime-time. And Fox broadcasts NFL in HDTV too.
But in under a week of use, I developed an urgent need to have Tivo capability as well. You know, the ability to pause live TV, record it, fast forward or rewind-- also known as Timeshift TV. As I scanned the offerings from Tivo, my heart sunk as I learned that none of their offerings support HDTV (except one that is tied to a satellite service).
So, I began to look in to building my own unit, based on Linux, of course. These are known as DVRs or PVRs (Digital Video Recorders or Personal Video Recorders). After spending the better part of a day doing this, I came to the conclusion that I'd spend about $1,000 on the hardware, plus probably about 10-20 hours getting it all set up. Quite a lot of work. Daunting even.
So I googled PVR HDTV one last time. And I found this: LG LST-3410A. Holy airwaves Batman, it's my tuner with PVR built-in.
It arrived Friday. It's awesome. Here's the list:
Over the air Digital TV; HDTV
Supports regular TV
Supports Cable TV, and can control your cable box
120Gb Hard Drive
Record 120 hours normal TV
Record 12 hours HDTV
Built in TV Guide; 7-day schedule; free
Firewire input and output; so you can archive recordings to tape, or record to HD/watch DV footage
My LG LST-3510A is now up on eBay.