Anyone have a positive experience with an inexpensive DVR for Basic Cable?

I will be on FIOS triple play but Basic only TV. I like a lot of the older sitcoms the local stations show and would like to record them. Most of my TVs can read the FIOS basic signal.

I am looking at the iView 3500STBII Multi-Function Digital Converter Box with Recording and Media Playback unit for under $35. But it needs an external HD. I am debating the merits of this unit with having to also pick up an external USB HD. It has pretty good reviews from what I found, but I am leery of the lack of a downloadable manual. I am unsure of what HDD to purchase or what to look for.

One more option: I have a 1TB HD from a dead Win 7 PC, I was thinking about getting an enclosure for this to save money. Do the enclosures work well?

Is there a good but not too expensive all in one DVR without any service fees out there?

Any well reviewed enclosure of the right type on Amazon will be fine. Make sure the internal (hopefully SATA) and external connections match your situation.

Point of note: TiVo has an external drive feature for series 3 and 4 models that use USB 2.0 connections. Apparently HD signals don’t need a lot of USB bandwidth. So if you go for USB 3.0 you should be good. If the box has eSATA, even better.

Dream on. Sure, you can buy a lot of DVRs with no monthly service fees. You just need to pay the “lifetime” subscription cost.

With OTA, there are some “reasonable” options. But with Cable/Fios/Satellite things are a lot trickier. With a controllable tuner box, you can “roll your own” DVR but that requires significant expertise and frequently doesn’t end well. (Oddly, if you get this working right, the program data is obtained for free.)

Well I get the equipment tomorrow, so I guess I’ll report back one way on another after I try to cobble this together. I’m going with the iView 3500STBII

Have you seen this thread? I have not studied it but it might be of help.

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/42-hdtv-recorders/1465875-iview-3500stb-tuner-dvr-owners-thread.html

The External HD enclosure worked great. The iView 3500STBIIarrived DOA, won’t power on and looks like it was probably a repackaged returned. Some Amazon partners are really sloppy about inventory return control. I will now be getting the unit Monday.

Thanks jasg, that thread I have short-cutted on my desktop for when I run into setup problems. It had convinced me this was all doable.