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"And the boys upstairs wanna see / how much you'll pay for what ya used to get for free." -- Tom Petty, The Last DJ
Scott I don't have any good short term solutions for solutions for you. But see below the dashes for a long term customer-oriented cause to support that might eventually make this TV recording issue suck less.
I know of the existence of thingies that might let you record TV shows, but I haven't actually tried to build any myself. Yeah, I wrote "build". These are all deeply hackish solutions. If you're lucky, it might work very well. If you're unlucky it might be about as reliable as your old TV was.
I'm with you on the general downward spiral of awfulness that's happened in the past several years regarding TV. I've been largely immune because I take a stand against cable. I.e.: we don't have cable in my house. It's one of the few issues where my wife and I strongly disagreed and I managed to win. (For now that is--there's always the chance I might lose again in the future.)
We have Netflix streaming. We have terrestrial digital TV on a good day. We have a DVD player and an ancient VCR--well we did, until the autistic 3 year old trashed them--never-mind. Now that I think about it, maybe it's time to try to build a Linux based media center...
--------------- LONG TERM AGENDA/GOAL THINGIE ---------
If you were thinking of moving, the best place in the U.S. would be downtown Kansas City, MO or Kansas City, KS. They will have Google Fiber there soon. (Gigabit Internet! You can download a full length movie in HD in less time than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn. The future is now. Unlimited rice pudding, etc. etc.)
Now, at this time, they probably don't have all the shows you're looking for. But the point is, if G Fiber can get enough support, then it will, by competition, slowly force the conglomerations of ugly corporateness that is the cable-co / telco market to unglom. Of course, by that time, Google Fiber will be lookin' pretty scary in it's own right, but I'm willing to risk it.
Please support Google (for now) in it's attempt to become the Master of all that is the "Last Mile". Because doing so will get some real competition in the market. And that's the only thing that's gonna make those ludicrous fees you're paying now go away.
Furry cows moo and decompress.