Answer Best answer as chosen by user Rowley9
Get a used TiVo with lifetime service or a Windows 7 PC
I too use a VCR to record shows. I actually bought a spare VCR off eBay just in case mine fails. I don't want to pay my cable company $15/mo to do something I can currently do for free with my VCR. Though I admit a DVR would make it easier to record multiple shows.
A while back, I bought a TiVo off eBay that had lifetime service for about $120. That means the original owner spent $300-something for lifetime TiVo service, and there is no monthly fee. It seemed like a good solution, but the TiVo I got was an older model with a very noisy hard drive. I also had to phone TiVo to figure out how to find my local cable system to set up the thing. Lastly, I didn't know TiVos ran continuously, which is inefficient. I have no use for pausing live TV. My VCR is off when I'm not using it, saving electricity. I ended up selling the TiVo on Craigslist. So the TiVo with lifetime service didn't work out for me, but it may work out for you.
Another solution is getting a Windows 7 PC. They have WIndows Media Center built in, which includes DVR functionality. Rick Broida, author of the CNET Cheapskate blog, is a fan of this solution.
I haven't done this myself, so maybe some other folks can chime in about how well Windows 7 would work for recording TV. Here's a bit of info about that solution from Microsoft:
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