The Magnavox H2080MW8 is actually manufactured by Funai; you can find the manual on their website at this link: http://www.funai.us/funai/support/index.html. Just click on "Owners Manual," type in your model number ("H2080MW8"), and search; the manual will pop up below as a *.pdf, so just right-click on it and choose "Save As..." to save it to your computer.
Good luck with that thing. I bought the same DVR last May (2008), and I'm currently on my 4th replacement from the manufacturer. When it's working, it's fine; nothing special to it, just a basic DVR. However, I've had all kinds of problems with my original and 3 replacement units screwing up recordings, failing to detect ANY channels (digital or analog), and refusing to open the DVD tray. You can see my Amazon review of the thing here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2RZFE2BMA4GT0/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
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Any external USB hard drive that uses a 3.5" hard drive (the larger drives they use in desktops) will work. These all come with an external power adapter you must plug into the wall.
The external hard drive units that use the smaller 2.5" hard drives are the ones they use in laptops. These require much less power, and can be powered by the PC's USB port although some do come with an optional power adapter. However the Dish receiver does not send enough power to its USB port to power the hard drive, which is why the tech told you to get one that has an external power supply.
Even then the DVR uses a drive format that your computer may not recognize. I don't know if there are tools out there that will let you connect a hard drive from a DVR, read and convert the TV shows stored there.
Another option is to buy a DVD recorder. This is like a VCR, only it uses a DVD disc and not a video tape. Connect the DVD recorder to the outputs on the DVR, and then set the DVD recorder so it will record from its input. (on my DVD recorder this is "IN2")
Put a blank DVD into the DVD recorder, start playing a show on the DVR, and hit record on the DVD recorder. When the show is finished, hit stop on the DVD recorder to stop recording. The advantage here is you can then play this DVD on any DVD drive. The disadvantage is DVD recorders only record in non-HD. You can still play a show in HD, but the recording you get won't be in HD. Also, the show has to record in real time. So if it's a 60 minute episode, it will take 60 minutes to record.
No you cannot - This is a DVD *PLAYER* / VCR combo - which means it features a DVD player & VHS recorder in one - you cannot record onto DVD - You can however watch a DVD while recording your tv program on the VCR.
I hope this answers your question.
If you want to convert your VHS to DVD you will need to purchase a standalone DVD recorder - I personally do not reocmmend the DVD recorder / VCR combos - or you can use a HDD/DVD recorder which stores recordings on a hard drive and later you can burn them on DVD, they allow editing, more flexible recording options, etc
there is really no way around it. Directv and Tivo are releasing a new receiver in a few months. Or you could purchase a HD dvr. Directv's receivers dont send any guide data thru a RF output, only picture and sound. The recorder you have is great for cable.
Make sure you plug your camcorder into the in on the dvd recorder. Make sure the dvd recorder is set to that input. you may need to hook it up to a tv and make sure you see your camera on the tv going through the dvd recorded to make sure you have it on the right setting. Make sure you camera has playback out turned on.
Unfortunately, no. The tuner in your DVD recorder works differently than how your satellite receiver works. You *must* use the satellite receiver to select the active channel, and then send that channel to one of the inputs on your recorder. You can then record that channel. Unless your satellite receiver is has "dual tuners" in it, you are stuck watching the same channel that the DVD recorder is recording.
If your goal is primarily time-shifting of shows (as opposed to archiving shows forever to DVD), you might consider getting a different satellite receiver with a built-in DVR (hard disk recorder). These allow you to mark shows in advance, have them recorded to the hard drive, and then you can watch them whenever you want, skipping all the commercials. You also get the ability to pause and rewind live TV.