The Neuros OSD is so cool!
I just watched part of the first recording from the Neuros OSD (a Linux based DVR) my wife got me for Christmas. What a cool little device! I'm serious about the little part... it's only about 5.5 inches square and just 1.25 inches tall. Just check out the image. The device itself isn't much bigger than the small remote included. It records programs onto SD or compact flash cards. There's also a USB port so you can record to a USB thumb drive or hard drive.
The first order of business was to upgrade the firmware. There are two ways of doing that. If you've connected the Neuros OSD to an ethernet port, it can upgrade the firmware directly. If you don't have a network connection, you can download the new firmware image to a flash card and upgrade from that. During the ~10 minutes which the upgrade requires, the Neuros shows you a little pong game on the TV screen. The on-screen score appears to be the percentage of the upgrade currently completed.
Is it perfect? Not exactly but it's pretty darned close. It's especially attractive given the low price. It appears to have been primarily created for recording a single recording at a time. That fits my requirements nicely since this was just intended to supplement our existing full-featured DVR. Occasionally my wife will have a couple simultaneous recordings set up which takes up both tuners. It's nice to have the option of not worrying about how much space is used on the main DVR or whether both tuners are spoken for at the time my obscure SciFi program is on. There's a couple other restrictions. Your connection from the set top box must provide composite video (one of those 3 connector cables with 1 video and 2 audio connections).
The other restriction is not really a shortcoming of the Neuros but rather of the FAT-32 format used on many of the flash devices. FAT-32 has a maximum file size of 4 GB. That's probably somewhere between 3 and 3.5 hours of recording. So you might need to choose a flash device capable of recording the maximum length program you'd be interested in watching. If you're keen on catching some type of program marathon, you're probably looking at a small portable hard drive rather than a flash device.
Well, enough of my blathering on about it. Check it out for yourself at the links above. It's a very nice gadget and a useful too.