Mass Media & Technology

Using a PVR to record free-to-air Sky channels?

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SM
StanTheMan
I’ve recently cancelled my Sky subscription and would like to know if I could record the free-to-air channels onto a PVR or other such hard drive recorder.

I understand I wouldn’t be able to switch channels while recording, as you can with a Sky subscription, but in principal would this be possible by coming out of the Sky box and into the PVR and recording the selected Sky channel?

Thanks in advance.
ST
Ste Founding member
Could you not just get a Freesat box with built in PVR functionality and then you could record / watch multiple channels at the same time?

You would lose the Sky EPG but would just use the Freesat EPG instead.
IN
Interceptor
You might want to buy a non-Freesat DVB-S2 PVR since so many free to air channels are not available on the Freesat EPG and recording non-Freesat channels varies between an absolute pain and impossible on Freesat branded equipment.

I'm not sure what the options for that sort of thing are nowadays, Foxsat used to be the go to.
AndrewPSSP, London Lite and Ste gave kudos
SM
StanTheMan
Ste posted:
Could you not just get a Freesat box with built in PVR functionality and then you could record / watch multiple channels at the same time?

I could, yes, but as @Interceptor rightly says FreeSat doesn’t carry many of the channels that Sky do.
SM
StanTheMan
You might want to buy a non-Freesat DVB-S2 PVR since so many free to air channels are not available on the Freesat EPG and recording non-Freesat channels varies between an absolute pain and impossible on Freesat branded equipment.

I'm not sure what the options for that sort of thing are nowadays, Foxsat used to be the go to.

This was precisely my thinking and why I would be looking for a simple hard drive recorder as opposed to a FreeSat recorder. I’ll investigate the DVB-S2 you mention, but when I search PVRs they all seemed to be geared towards home security systems and recording CCTV footage rather than satellite TV.
HA
harshy Founding member
Have a Google there’s lots of boxes that can record free to air HD channels however not many support the sky epg and only shows now and next.
NG
noggin Founding member
If you want support for either the Freesat or Sky EPG in a non-Sky/non-Freesat box, you'd be best going for one that supports third party software/firmware installation. There are dual-tuner (so you can record and watch separate channels) devices with USB ports for external storage, that will also let you record un-encrypted transport stream files (which are easy to archive, process into other wrappers or codecs etc.) and which can sit on your network to let you FTP or SMB transfer recordings without having to disconnect your hard drive.

ZGemma H9.2s on Amazon is one example - the generic name for these kind of boxes is 'Enigma 2'. There are Enigma 2 compatible builds that have built in support for Sky or Freesat EPGs - or you can install them as plugins.

If you are reasonably IT savvy then you can customise them pretty heavily - for instance installing firmware that makes the box look just like a Sky + HD box in UI terms.

However if you're not that IT savvy - I'd steer clear.
London Lite and harshy gave kudos

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