Taking the DVR Plunge - WinTV-PVR250BTV , Snapstream Beyon..

Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

A couple interesting threads recently about building a DVR convinced
me to take the plunge. I have an extra computer, so the total cost is
pretty low. $180 for the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR250BTV MPEG-2 TV tuner
card, Beyond TV 3 software, and a Snapstream Firefly remote control.

The one thing that is missing is a video card with TV out, but I can
get that later if the DVR works as well as advertised. Not much fun
watching TV on a computer monitor, but it will be a good way to test
everything.

I will order later this month when my credit card cycle ends, and then
I'll post results. If anyone already has this bundle, I'd love to
hear about it. This is the link in case you are interested:

http://store.snapstream.com/ff-btv-250btv.html

I already have (and LOVE) a TiVo, and this DVR setup will be for
another room. Thought about just getting another TiVo, but what's the
fun in that? Plus, I like the ability to directly access the
recording to re-edit and put on disk. My wife is especially excited
about having another computer cluttering up our living area.
43 answers Last reply
More about taking plunge wintv pvr250btv snapstream beyon
  1. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On 16 May 2004 06:11:10 -0700, sorry_no_email@yahoo.com
    (BrianEWilliams) wrote:


    >
    >I will order later this month when my credit card cycle ends, and then
    >I'll post results. If anyone already has this bundle, I'd love to
    >hear about it. This is the link in case you are interested:
    >


    I just purchased this bundle,
    http://store.snapstream.com/snpcitucakit.html but also have this:

    http://store.snapstream.com/hamediamvp.html for watching mpg files on
    any tv where I have a wired network connection. I currently use it on
    a front projection system with great results. This device will also
    play mp3 and jpg files with onscreen menuing for access. Actually, I
    bought this item first, from Radio Shack, for playing home videos
    created with Pinnacle 8 then realized the potential of the PVR 250.
    These 2 items complement each other.

    I initially installed with an unstable OS and all worked well for a
    couple of days. I had to resintall XP and the only problem I am
    having now is that the Beyond 3 software is not finding any active
    channels when selecting 'Live TV'. The WinTV software functions OK.
    I will sort this out with Snapstream tech support this week. I am
    sure it is some sort of setup fix, for it was all working at one time.

    Rich M.
  2. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    BrianEWilliams wrote:

    > A couple interesting threads recently about building a DVR convinced
    > me to take the plunge. I have an extra computer, so the total cost is
    > pretty low. $180 for the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR250BTV MPEG-2 TV tuner
    > card, Beyond TV 3 software, and a Snapstream Firefly remote control.
    >

    <snip>


    > If anyone already has this bundle, I'd love to
    > hear about it. This is the link in case you are interested:
    >
    > http://store.snapstream.com/ff-btv-250btv.html
    >

    Well, since you asked... ;->

    I have the PVR-250 and BeyondTV (purchased separately). I have a Firefly
    remote scheduled to arrive tomorrow or Tuesday. Using just the Hauppauge
    remote, it works *great*. The Firefly will let you control more
    applications like a DVD player etc.

    They work GREAT. I don't have a TIvo and haven't used one so I have
    nothing to compare it to, but BeyondTV is just awesome. When it was
    installed on my tower machine, I left it running for weeks w/o rebooting
    or crashing, and it never missed a recording. I know at least three people
    where I work that have ordered it since I got it up and running...

    Make sure you install a VNC server on the DVR machine if you'll be using
    it without keyboard or mouse so you can administer it from another PC. One
    thing I've noticed is that when you boot up, Windows puts the mouse
    pointer right in the middle of the screen and it stays on top of what
    you're watching. The workaround is log in to the DVR box over VNC and move
    the mouse pointer out of the way.

    Download VNC server and client here : http://www.realvnc.com (open source,
    GPL license).

    Oh, one more thing - the real-time clock on most PCs are notoriously
    in-accurate. Sometimes they'll lose or gain time just by doing a CPU
    intensive task.

    So you'll want some form of network time-sync utility that's fairly
    configurable, and free if possible. The one I've been using the last
    couple of months is "Time Synchronizer v2" from Softnik Technologies. I'm
    paranoid so I configured it to do a time check every minute (I'm on DSL).
    It's great. I never know it's even running, except that the PC always has
    the right time now. According to Windows Task Manager, it consumes 3.7 MB
    of system memory which I don't consider to be an issue. Both machines I
    run it on have 512 MB and haven't had any memory issues (all the processes
    for BeyondTV can take close to 100 MB depending on what you're doing).

    http://www.itoolpad.com/products/timesync/
  3. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Keith, sorry for the top post, but many thanks to you and the other
    response(s). Nothing like hearing from someone who already has the
    product. I may hold off on getting everything until my wife heads to
    Ireland for 3 weeks in the summer (WITH the kids!!!), and then I can
    play with everything to my heart's content.

    Keith Clark <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<40A7ADD3.F9ECB386@hotmail.com>...
    > BrianEWilliams wrote:
    >
    > > A couple interesting threads recently about building a DVR convinced
    > > me to take the plunge. I have an extra computer, so the total cost is
    > > pretty low. $180 for the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR250BTV MPEG-2 TV tuner
    > > card, Beyond TV 3 software, and a Snapstream Firefly remote control.
    > >
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    >
    > > If anyone already has this bundle, I'd love to
    > > hear about it. This is the link in case you are interested:
    > >
    > > http://store.snapstream.com/ff-btv-250btv.html
    > >
    >
    > Well, since you asked... ;->
    >
    > I have the PVR-250 and BeyondTV (purchased separately). I have a Firefly
    > remote scheduled to arrive tomorrow or Tuesday. Using just the Hauppauge
    > remote, it works *great*. The Firefly will let you control more
    > applications like a DVD player etc.
    >
    > They work GREAT. I don't have a TIvo and haven't used one so I have
    > nothing to compare it to, but BeyondTV is just awesome. When it was
    > installed on my tower machine, I left it running for weeks w/o rebooting
    > or crashing, and it never missed a recording. I know at least three people
    > where I work that have ordered it since I got it up and running...
    >
    > Make sure you install a VNC server on the DVR machine if you'll be using
    > it without keyboard or mouse so you can administer it from another PC. One
    > thing I've noticed is that when you boot up, Windows puts the mouse
    > pointer right in the middle of the screen and it stays on top of what
    > you're watching. The workaround is log in to the DVR box over VNC and move
    > the mouse pointer out of the way.
    >
    > Download VNC server and client here : http://www.realvnc.com (open source,
    > GPL license).
    >
    > Oh, one more thing - the real-time clock on most PCs are notoriously
    > in-accurate. Sometimes they'll lose or gain time just by doing a CPU
    > intensive task.
    >
    > So you'll want some form of network time-sync utility that's fairly
    > configurable, and free if possible. The one I've been using the last
    > couple of months is "Time Synchronizer v2" from Softnik Technologies. I'm
    > paranoid so I configured it to do a time check every minute (I'm on DSL).
    > It's great. I never know it's even running, except that the PC always has
    > the right time now. According to Windows Task Manager, it consumes 3.7 MB
    > of system memory which I don't consider to be an issue. Both machines I
    > run it on have 512 MB and haven't had any memory issues (all the processes
    > for BeyondTV can take close to 100 MB depending on what you're doing).
    >
    > http://www.itoolpad.com/products/timesync/
  4. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    BrianEWilliams wrote:

    > Keith, sorry for the top post, but many thanks to you and the other
    > response(s). Nothing like hearing from someone who already has the
    > product. I may hold off on getting everything until my wife heads to
    > Ireland for 3 weeks in the summer (WITH the kids!!!), and then I can
    > play with everything to my heart's content.
    >

    Just a side note - I just got back from Fry's and saw some Firefly remotes on the shelf. They're every
    bit as nice looking as on the website...


    >
    > Keith Clark <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<40A7ADD3.F9ECB386@hotmail.com>...
    > > BrianEWilliams wrote:
    > >
    > > > A couple interesting threads recently about building a DVR convinced
    > > > me to take the plunge. I have an extra computer, so the total cost is
    > > > pretty low. $180 for the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR250BTV MPEG-2 TV tuner
    > > > card, Beyond TV 3 software, and a Snapstream Firefly remote control.
    > > >
    > >
    > > <snip>
    > >
    > >
    > > > If anyone already has this bundle, I'd love to
    > > > hear about it. This is the link in case you are interested:
    > > >
    > > > http://store.snapstream.com/ff-btv-250btv.html
    > > >
    > >
    > > Well, since you asked... ;->
    > >
    > > I have the PVR-250 and BeyondTV (purchased separately). I have a Firefly
    > > remote scheduled to arrive tomorrow or Tuesday. Using just the Hauppauge
    > > remote, it works *great*. The Firefly will let you control more
    > > applications like a DVD player etc.
    > >
    > > They work GREAT. I don't have a TIvo and haven't used one so I have
    > > nothing to compare it to, but BeyondTV is just awesome. When it was
    > > installed on my tower machine, I left it running for weeks w/o rebooting
    > > or crashing, and it never missed a recording. I know at least three people
    > > where I work that have ordered it since I got it up and running...
    > >
    > > Make sure you install a VNC server on the DVR machine if you'll be using
    > > it without keyboard or mouse so you can administer it from another PC. One
    > > thing I've noticed is that when you boot up, Windows puts the mouse
    > > pointer right in the middle of the screen and it stays on top of what
    > > you're watching. The workaround is log in to the DVR box over VNC and move
    > > the mouse pointer out of the way.
    > >
    > > Download VNC server and client here : http://www.realvnc.com (open source,
    > > GPL license).
    > >
    > > Oh, one more thing - the real-time clock on most PCs are notoriously
    > > in-accurate. Sometimes they'll lose or gain time just by doing a CPU
    > > intensive task.
    > >
    > > So you'll want some form of network time-sync utility that's fairly
    > > configurable, and free if possible. The one I've been using the last
    > > couple of months is "Time Synchronizer v2" from Softnik Technologies. I'm
    > > paranoid so I configured it to do a time check every minute (I'm on DSL).
    > > It's great. I never know it's even running, except that the PC always has
    > > the right time now. According to Windows Task Manager, it consumes 3.7 MB
    > > of system memory which I don't consider to be an issue. Both machines I
    > > run it on have 512 MB and haven't had any memory issues (all the processes
    > > for BeyondTV can take close to 100 MB depending on what you're doing).
    > >
    > > http://www.itoolpad.com/products/timesync/
  5. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    In alt.video.ptv.tivo BrianEWilliams <sorry_no_email@yahoo.com> wrote:
    > A couple interesting threads recently about building a DVR convinced
    > me to take the plunge. I have an extra computer, so the total cost is
    > pretty low. $180 for the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR250BTV MPEG-2 TV tuner
    > card, Beyond TV 3 software, and a Snapstream Firefly remote control.

    I have the Hauppauge WinTV Theater card in my PC and used Intervideo's
    WinDVR 3 as my TV viewer/recorder. I've been using a WinTV card since '94
    and PVR software for over two years. Just a week ago, I went ahead and
    got a TiVo. So far, recording programs using the TiVo is so much easier
    and convenient than with WinDVR/TitanTV (EPG). I also like TiVo's default
    on-screen TV Guide.

    Just my 2 cents,
    Steven
  6. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Steven Whatley wrote:

    > In alt.video.ptv.tivo BrianEWilliams <sorry_no_email@yahoo.com> wrote:
    > > A couple interesting threads recently about building a DVR convinced
    > > me to take the plunge. I have an extra computer, so the total cost is
    > > pretty low. $180 for the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR250BTV MPEG-2 TV tuner
    > > card, Beyond TV 3 software, and a Snapstream Firefly remote control.
    >
    > I have the Hauppauge WinTV Theater card in my PC and used Intervideo's
    > WinDVR 3 as my TV viewer/recorder. I've been using a WinTV card since '94
    > and PVR software for over two years. Just a week ago, I went ahead and
    > got a TiVo. So far, recording programs using the TiVo is so much easier
    > and convenient than with WinDVR/TitanTV (EPG). I also like TiVo's default
    > on-screen TV Guide.
    >
    > Just my 2 cents,
    > Steven

    Almost anything is easier than Titan...

    For what it's worth, BeyondTV has a great onscreen guide from which you can
    easily search for programs, or you can schedule recordings from any web
    browser on any other computer. Doesn't get much easier.

    http://www.snapstream.com/Products/Products_PVS3.asp#screenshots

    That said, I'm sure Tivo's are fine machines too. Except that with Tivo it's
    not so easy to remove commercials completely and archive your shows to DVD...

    Unlike WinDVR or the Hauppauge software, BeyondTV is designed to be used with
    no keyboard or mouse, only a remote control, and has a pretty useful overlay
    style interface.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Steven Whatley <swhatley_hal-pc_org@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<40a825d1$0$444$a726171b@news.hal-pc.org>...
    > In alt.video.ptv.tivo BrianEWilliams <sorry_no_email@yahoo.com> wrote:
    > > A couple interesting threads recently about building a DVR convinced
    > > me to take the plunge. I have an extra computer, so the total cost is
    > > pretty low. $180 for the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR250BTV MPEG-2 TV tuner
    > > card, Beyond TV 3 software, and a Snapstream Firefly remote control.
    >
    > I have the Hauppauge WinTV Theater card in my PC and used Intervideo's
    > WinDVR 3 as my TV viewer/recorder. I've been using a WinTV card since '94
    > and PVR software for over two years. Just a week ago, I went ahead and
    > got a TiVo. So far, recording programs using the TiVo is so much easier
    > and convenient than with WinDVR/TitanTV (EPG). I also like TiVo's default
    > on-screen TV Guide.
    >

    TiVo is fantastic. It's the only technology purchase I have made that
    significantly improved the quality of my life. (OK, maybe a computer
    with internet service is on that list, plus I guess you have to throw
    the TV and cable service in because that's part of the whole TiVo
    thing. Is a car a technology purchase?).

    If you like watching TV, have some money you could spend, and are even
    faintly interested in technology, YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO BUY A
    TiVo!!!! It's as simple as that. Feel free not to believe me, and
    you will never know how wrong you are until you get one, or something
    similar.

    The folks on alt.video.ptv.tivo know this already, but I bet many on
    rec.video.desktop are still watching live TV.
  8. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > http://store.snapstream.com/hamediamvp.html for watching mpg files on
    > any tv where I have a wired network connection. I currently use it on
    > a front projection system with great results. This device will also
    > play mp3 and jpg files with onscreen menuing for access. Actually, I
    > bought this item first, from Radio Shack, for playing home videos
    > created with Pinnacle 8 then realized the potential of the PVR 250.
    > These 2 items complement each other.

    Glad to hear you have good experience in streaming video over the
    network using MVP client. Would you mind telling me which way that you
    network -- wired/wireless, or 100MB or 1-gigabit? Do you notice any
    delay or missing frames when you stream video?

    Thanks.

    Jay Chan
  9. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    >TiVo is fantastic. It's the only technology purchase I have made that
    >significantly improved the quality of my life. (OK, maybe a computer
    >with internet service is on that list, plus I guess you have to throw
    >the TV and cable service in because that's part of the whole TiVo
    >thing. Is a car a technology purchase?).

    I have no doubt Tivo is great

    But my problem with it is that it requires a monthly
    fee.....susbscription.

    I just wont/can't pay any more monthly running fees for anything.

    Anyway to get Tivo to work without superscription?
  10. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    > http://store.snapstream.com/hamediamvp.html for watching mpg files on
    > any tv where I have a wired network connection. I currently use it on
    > a front projection system with great results. This device will also
    > play mp3 and jpg files with onscreen menuing for access. Actually, I
    > bought this item first, from Radio Shack, for playing home videos
    > created with Pinnacle 8 then realized the potential of the PVR 250.
    > These 2 items complement each other.

    Glad to hear you have good experience in streaming video over the
    network using MVP client. Would you mind telling me which way that you
    network -- wired/wireless, 100MB/1-gigabit? Do you notice any delay or
    missing frames when you stream video?

    Thanks.

    Jay Chan
  11. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    > Oh, one more thing - the real-time clock on most PCs are notoriously
    > in-accurate. Sometimes they'll lose or gain time just by doing a CPU
    > intensive task.

    Good point.

    One thing that I want to add is to make sure the "Day Light Saving"
    option in the time-zone setting is Enabled.

    After I installed PVR-250 and Beyond-TV in my PC on Saturday, I found
    that the Program Guide in Beyond-TV was always one hour ahead of the
    real program schedule. Re-loading the program guide didn't fix the
    problem. The problem went away as soon as I had enabled
    day-light-saving and then re-loaded the

    program-guide.

    Jay Chan
  12. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Jay Chan wrote:

    > > Oh, one more thing - the real-time clock on most PCs are notoriously
    > > in-accurate. Sometimes they'll lose or gain time just by doing a CPU
    > > intensive task.
    >
    > Good point.
    >
    > One thing that I want to add is to make sure the "Day Light Saving"
    > option in the time-zone setting is Enabled.
    >
    > After I installed PVR-250 and Beyond-TV in my PC on Saturday, I found
    > that the Program Guide in Beyond-TV was always one hour ahead of the
    > real program schedule. Re-loading the program guide didn't fix the
    > problem. The problem went away as soon as I had enabled
    > day-light-saving and then re-loaded the
    >
    > program-guide.
    >
    > Jay Chan

    Did you install a "time sync" client so the box will continually check to
    make sure it has the right time?
  13. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    > Almost anything is easier than Titan...
    >
    > For what it's worth, BeyondTV has a great onscreen guide from which you can
    > easily search for programs, or you can schedule recordings from any web
    > browser on any other computer. Doesn't get much easier.

    I used all three and I agree, Titan isn't all that great (I use it for
    my HDTV OTA Recordings). I also use Beyond and Tivo, one thing Tivo has
    on BeyondTV is the more efficient Guide Display, it takes forever to
    find shows with Beyond, that horizontal display isn't as easy to use as
    the Vertical one that Tivo provides.

    If you know that the show you are looking for is on Wednesday in two
    weeks, you have to scroll like crazy to get to it on Beyond (of course
    with the web interface you can go directly to that day), with Tivo, you
    simply enter in the day and channel and you get a full listing for
    several hours.

    Also Tivo allows you to search the guide data for specific shows by
    entering in Keywords, you can only do that from a Web browser on Beyond.
  14. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Stephane Beaudry wrote:

    > > Almost anything is easier than Titan...
    > >
    > > For what it's worth, BeyondTV has a great onscreen guide from which you can
    > > easily search for programs, or you can schedule recordings from any web
    > > browser on any other computer. Doesn't get much easier.
    >
    > I used all three and I agree, Titan isn't all that great (I use it for
    > my HDTV OTA Recordings). I also use Beyond and Tivo, one thing Tivo has
    > on BeyondTV is the more efficient Guide Display, it takes forever to
    > find shows with Beyond, that horizontal display isn't as easy to use as
    > the Vertical one that Tivo provides.
    >
    > If you know that the show you are looking for is on Wednesday in two
    > weeks, you have to scroll like crazy to get to it on Beyond (of course
    > with the web interface you can go directly to that day), with Tivo, you
    > simply enter in the day and channel and you get a full listing for
    > several hours.
    >
    > Also Tivo allows you to search the guide data for specific shows by
    > entering in Keywords, you can only do that from a Web browser on Beyond.

    Those are good points. What it really boils down to is personal preference in the
    end. There's no one right solution for everyone.

    For my own use, I can easily live with the issues you mentioned with BeyondTV, as
    it'll allow me to add more tuner cards when the new software comes out. We've
    stopped watching "live TV" for the most part since I put the media-center PC in
    the living room, and with our diverse tastes, multiple tuners is a must-have
    feature.

    Keith
  15. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    > I have no doubt Tivo is great
    >
    > But my problem with it is that it requires a monthly
    > fee.....susbscription.
    >
    > I just wont/can't pay any more monthly running fees for anything.
    >
    > Anyway to get Tivo to work without superscription?

    I totally agree with you on that one, if Tivo hadn't had a lifetime
    subscription I probably would have never been interested, I was one of
    the lucky ones, I got my lifetimes at 200$ each, I am way ahead at this
    point.
  16. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    > Did you install a "time sync" client so the box will continually check to
    > make sure it has the right time?

    I believe so (I saw some kind of time synchronizing info in one of the
    page in the Windows Adjust Date/Time window).

    But I don't think this has anything to do with whether the time is
    correct or not. Indeed the time in my PC was correct when I was having
    that problem. According to messages in SnapStream Discussion forum,
    this problem has nothing to do with getting the correct-time, and has
    more to do with time-zone or the day-light saving option. In my case,
    the time and the time-zone are both correct. The only thing that
    Beyond-TV didn't like was the day-light-saving-option was disabled.

    Jay Chan
  17. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    >After I installed PVR-250 and Beyond-TV in my PC on Saturday

    So how are you liking it so far Jay?
  18. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    me6@privacy.net wrote:

    > Anyway to get Tivo to work without superscription?

    Yes! The Pioneer DVD recorder comes with TiVo Basic service for free.
    http://www.pioneerburner.com/

    Comparison of the various TiVo models.
    http://www.tivo.com/1.1.1.10.asp

    List of what's included in TiVo Basic service.
    http://presalesupport.tivo.com/tivoknowbase/root/public/tv1199.htm


    -Joe
  19. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    me6@privacy.net wrote in message news:<9tnha0571qb13j6viaknfr5h3rbl6n64it@4ax.com>...
    > >TiVo is fantastic. It's the only technology purchase I have made that
    > >significantly improved the quality of my life. (OK, maybe a computer
    > >with internet service is on that list, plus I guess you have to throw
    > >the TV and cable service in because that's part of the whole TiVo
    > >thing. Is a car a technology purchase?).
    >
    > I have no doubt Tivo is great
    >
    > But my problem with it is that it requires a monthly
    > fee.....susbscription.
    >
    > I just wont/can't pay any more monthly running fees for anything.
    >
    > Anyway to get Tivo to work without superscription?

    You could just mentally include the cost of the lifetime subscription
    with the price of the unit. I believe that makes their cheapest
    bundle about $450, which I consider an absolute bargain if you like to
    watch TV.
  20. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    BrianEWilliams wrote:

    > me6@privacy.net wrote in message news:<9tnha0571qb13j6viaknfr5h3rbl6n64it@4ax.com>...
    > > >TiVo is fantastic. It's the only technology purchase I have made that
    > > >significantly improved the quality of my life. (OK, maybe a computer
    > > >with internet service is on that list, plus I guess you have to throw
    > > >the TV and cable service in because that's part of the whole TiVo
    > > >thing. Is a car a technology purchase?).
    > >
    > > I have no doubt Tivo is great
    > >
    > > But my problem with it is that it requires a monthly
    > > fee.....susbscription.
    > >
    > > I just wont/can't pay any more monthly running fees for anything.
    > >
    > > Anyway to get Tivo to work without superscription?
    >
    > You could just mentally include the cost of the lifetime subscription
    > with the price of the unit. I believe that makes their cheapest
    > bundle about $450, which I consider an absolute bargain if you like to
    > watch TV.

    Nothing wrong with Tivo...I'm sure that for some people it's the perfect solution.

    But -

    Can I easily add multiple hard drives and a DVD burner or two?

    Can I easily edit out the commercials and burn a DVD with my recorded shows?

    Can I plug in a card from my digital camera and view the pictures on the TV via the
    remote control?

    Can I stick in a DVD-R full of DivX files and watch them full screen on the TV?

    Can I easily transfer the recorded shows to any PC on my home network for offline
    archiving?

    Those are reasons I went the home-brew "media center PC" route.

    And I have control over what software upgrades get installed, if any.

    Keith
  21. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    > So how are you liking it so far Jay?

    I am withholding my judgement right now. That's the reason why I
    didn't post a follow-up to my original post.

    I still have a couple issues remaining that I am waiting for
    SnapStream tech support for help.

    My preliminary opinions are:

    - This is not easy to setup correctly. I have a feeling that was the
    reason why PC Magazine recommended TiVo instead of PC-based solution.
    People who are willing to spend time configuring it probably will get
    everything right after one or more tries. People who don't feel
    comfortable with installing hardware/software may not like the
    difficulty in installing it. People who don't know how to record TV
    program using a VCR should not bother to try using PVR and Beyond TV.

    - My problems probably are coming from two things: (1) I am still
    using dial-up connection to download Program Guide instead of using
    high speed connection. Downloading Program Guide using dial-up
    connection takes 30 minutes -- this is no fun. (2) I need to use a
    decoder box to get TV video; this may have something to do with my
    occasional problem in changing channel; I have a feeling that if
    someone doesn't need to use a decoder box, he may not have as many
    problems as I have.

    These are all preliminary. I strongly believe that the result well
    worth the effort -- at least for me, especially after Beyond-TV has
    recorded many great home improvement shows that I could not record
    using a VCR (too few timer-programs available in a VCR, and video tape
    has only 6-hours recording time). I am a happy person now, and I will
    be even happier if I can get all the remaining issues resolved.

    I will post a follow-up to my original post when I am done.

    Jay Chan
  22. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    > Nothing wrong with Tivo...I'm sure that for some people it's the
    perfect solution.
    >
    > But -
    >
    > Can I easily add multiple hard drives and a DVD burner or two?
    >
    > Can I easily edit out the commercials and burn a DVD with my recorded
    shows?
    >
    > Can I plug in a card from my digital camera and view the pictures on
    the TV via the
    > remote control?
    >
    > Can I stick in a DVD-R full of DivX files and watch them full screen
    on the TV?
    >
    > Can I easily transfer the recorded shows to any PC on my home network
    for offline
    > archiving?
    >
    > Those are reasons I went the home-brew "media center PC" route.
    >
    > And I have control over what software upgrades get installed, if any.

    _Very_ persuasive reasoning. Your system is a true home entertainment
    center rather than just a DVR like Tivo's are. In addition, you can
    broadcast shows over your network to other rooms in your house as well,
    for free. I think with DirectTV's Tivo, you have to pay an additional
    fee for each Tivo you have. I'd also add to your list, _your_ system
    won't automatically report back to a database and transmit data about
    what you're watching, although I think you can turn that "feature" off
    now with Tivos.

    Since I use a Dish DVR and have it connected to my fastest computer,
    I've got the best of both worlds. Your flexibility and a DVR's
    convenience. But I don't pay a monthly fee, I have Dish's _cheapest_
    package, and I'm not part of a "monitored and measured viewing
    audience".

    This kind of technology is exceedingly cool.
  23. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Jay Chan wrote:

    > (2) I need to use a
    > decoder box to get TV video; this may have something to do with my
    > occasional problem in changing channel; I have a feeling that if
    > someone doesn't need to use a decoder box, he may not have as many
    > problems as I have.

    Have you seen this "IR Blaster" device? Beyond TV is supposed to be able
    to control your cable/satellite box using this USB to IR adapter.

    http://store.snapstream.com/usb-uirt.html

    The page has a list of boxes it's known to work with.

    Hope that helps...
  24. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Jay Chan wrote:

    > > So how are you liking it so far Jay?
    >
    > I am withholding my judgement right now. That's the reason why I
    > didn't post a follow-up to my original post.
    >
    > I still have a couple issues remaining that I am waiting for
    > SnapStream tech support for help.
    >

    What are the issues?

    Anything besides the ones below?


    >
    > My preliminary opinions are:
    >
    > - This is not easy to setup correctly. I have a feeling that was the
    > reason why PC Magazine recommended TiVo instead of PC-based solution.
    > People who are willing to spend time configuring it probably will get
    > everything right after one or more tries. People who don't feel
    > comfortable with installing hardware/software may not like the
    > difficulty in installing it. People who don't know how to record TV
    > program using a VCR should not bother to try using PVR and Beyond TV.
    >

    Hmmm...I found it extremely simple to set up and get running. It took less
    than 5 minutes for me, but then I don't need a decoder box.

    Why don't you post your questions here and someone probably has an answer
    or you can post on the peer-peer forum on Snapstream's site. It's really
    helpful.


    >
    > - My problems probably are coming from two things: (1) I am still
    > using dial-up connection to download Program Guide instead of using
    > high speed connection. Downloading Program Guide using dial-up
    > connection takes 30 minutes -- this is no fun. (2) I need to use a
    > decoder box to get TV video; this may have something to do with my
    > occasional problem in changing channel; I have a feeling that if
    > someone doesn't need to use a decoder box, he may not have as many
    > problems as I have.
    >

    Oh, yeah, high-speed connection makes it simpler. Maybe you can schedule
    updates to happen at 2AM or something.

    If not, put in a feature request. SnapStream should be able to easily
    implement user-scheduled update times.

    Be glad they don't use "xmltv" for updates! I was evaluating "ShowShifter"
    which uses xmltv for the listings, and that took half an hour over DSL!

    There's supposed to be a way to have BeyondTV control the decoder box via
    an add-on infra-red adapter but that's all I know. I just have "advanced
    basic" cable so no decoder box.

    >
    > These are all preliminary. I strongly believe that the result well
    > worth the effort -- at least for me, especially after Beyond-TV has
    > recorded many great home improvement shows that I could not record
    > using a VCR (too few timer-programs available in a VCR, and video tape
    > has only 6-hours recording time). I am a happy person now, and I will
    > be even happier if I can get all the remaining issues resolved.
    >
    > I will post a follow-up to my original post when I am done.
    >
    > Jay Chan
  25. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    >You could just mentally include the cost of the lifetime subscription
    >with the price of the unit. I believe that makes their cheapest
    >bundle about $450, which I consider an absolute bargain if you like to
    >watch TV.

    Agreed

    But don't you have to have a telephone line for the Tivo to work....
    get its TV listings??

    The only phone I have is my cell phone..... no wired phone at all.

    And I get my internet thru cable TV coax.

    SO am I out when it comes to a Tivo?
  26. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    >I will post a follow-up to my original post when I am done.

    OK....sure would appreciate a follow up Jay!

    Thanks
  27. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    clarkphotography@hotmail.com shaped the electrons to say:
    >Can I easily add multiple hard drives and a DVD burner or two?

    Multiple HDs - yes, fairly simply:
    http://www.newreleasesvideo.com/hinsdale-how-to/

    DVD burner - no, unless you buy the Pioneer units which come with a
    DVD-R/RW built-in.

    >Can I easily edit out the commercials and burn a DVD with my recorded shows?

    Today - no. There is no editing on the TiVo.

    Later this year TiVo is supposed to be releasing TiVo To Go which will
    allow you to transfer programs to a PC and edit and burn them there.

    And a lot of people, myself included, have requested some kind of
    editing on the unit - especially for those of us with the Pioneer
    DVD-R TiVos - and I'm hopeful that they'll add something in a future
    release.

    >Can I plug in a card from my digital camera and view the pictures on the
    >TV via the
    >remote control?

    Not with the TiVo itself. With Home Media Option added to the TiVo
    you can few photos from any machine on the network running a TiVo
    server on your TV via the TiVo. TiVo gives away a basic TiVo Server
    for Windows and Mac, and there are 3rd party versions for Windows,
    Mac, Linux/UNIX, etc.

    HMO also adds the ability to listen to MP3 files from the networked
    machine, sharing shows with other TiVos on the network, and
    programming recordings via the web.

    For photo viewing and MP3 playback the server doesn't have to be on
    the same LAN as the TiVo, it can be anywhere on the net. (Provided
    the pipe is fast enough to stream the MP3 for playback - photos just
    load slower on a slow pipe.)

    >Can I stick in a DVD-R full of DivX files and watch them full screen on the TV?

    Nope. I believe neither the Toshiba nor Pioneer TiVo/DVD units
    support DivX.

    >Can I easily transfer the recorded shows to any PC on my home network
    >for offline
    >archiving?

    Today - normally no, with some hacks yes.

    Future - When TiVo To Go is released, yes.

    -MZ, RHCE #806199299900541, ex-CISSP #3762
    --
    <URL:mailto:megazoneatmegazone.org> Gweep, Discordian, Author, Engineer, me.
    "A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men" 508-755-4098
    <URL:http://www.megazone.org/> <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/> Eris
  28. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    In article ID <q6dla0pa9ctfb21etpnuosrlsd7lf14ied@4ax.com>, me6@privacy.net
    writes:

    >But don't you have to have a telephone line for the Tivo to work....
    >get its TV listings??

    No you do not need a phone line for the Series 2 Stand Alone. Just a USB nic
    and dsl or cable.

    http://customersupport.tivo.com/searchResults.asp?SearchString=network&Weight=False&Description=False&MaxNumberOfResults=100&ResultsPerPage=10&StartingIndex=1
  29. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    "Morrmar" <morrmar@myway.com-no spam> shaped the electrons to say:
    >center rather than just a DVR like Tivo's are. In addition, you can
    >broadcast shows over your network to other rooms in your house as well,

    This is possible with standalone TiVos and Home Media Option (I have
    one in my living room and one in my bedroom (and a 3rd not being used
    at the moment)). ReplayTV also supports multi-room sharing between
    units on a network.

    Note that DirecTiVo does not yet support this - the HW and SW are
    there, DTV just hasn't enabled the feature. There is a lot of
    lobbying - from both users and TiVo - to convince them to do so.

    >for free. I think with DirectTV's Tivo, you have to pay an additional
    >fee for each Tivo you have. I'd also add to your list, _your_ system

    Actually with standalone TiVos you have to subscribe each unit. With
    DirecTiVo there is a $5/month fee *per account* for the TiVo service,
    no matter how many you have. (Well, up to 8 units on one account.)
    That fee is waived with some packages.

    DirecTV also has a $5/unit/month mirroring fee to have more than one
    unit on an account - but that fee is for all DTV receivers, TiVo or
    not. It isn't specific at all to TiVo.

    DirecTiVo units are probably the cheapest way to get a DVR - $99 or
    less for the HW (sometimes free with some of the promos), $5 a month
    or free for the sub. Dual tuners, full digital recording of the
    satellite stream, 5.1 sound. Not a bad deal.

    >won't automatically report back to a database and transmit data about
    >what you're watching, although I think you can turn that "feature" off
    >now with Tivos.

    This is one of the most misunderstood issues with TiVo.

    You have *always* been able to opt-out of data collection on the TiVo.
    It is in their privacy statement, the manual, etc.

    The data collected is anonymized on the unit *before* being uploaded.
    And as soon as it is uploaded it is aggregated with the other data,
    removing any traceability. TiVo doesn't care what *you* watch, and
    doesn't even want to have that data around because of potential
    liability over privacy. All they care about is what their userbase
    watches as an aggregate whole.

    Why?

    Two main reasons:

    1. To benefit TiVo. They sell advertising, promo spots, services like
    TiVoMatic (thumbs up icon during promos for upcoming shows - lets
    you automatically schedule a recording for the program from the
    promo with one click), etc. To market those services they need
    demographic data of their customers and habits to sell with. They
    also sell the raw data as another kind of ratings indication for
    networks, etc.

    2. To benefit the customer. The aggregated info is also used by the
    TiVo Suggestions engine. Based on your recordings and how you rate
    programs TiVo can suggest other programs. Part of that is based
    off of the raw show guide data - if you like a lot of documentaries
    it'll weight documentaries higher, etc. But some of it is also
    based on the kind of 'viewers who record X also tend to record Y'
    info the aggregate data provides.

    I think it improves my experience as a user and I have no problem with
    it. Actually I'd like to be able to opt-in to have *more* data
    collected, so that, say, TiVo Central Online knew more about my unit
    in particular. Right now TCO is kind of generic because TiVo is
    reluctant to have any indentifiable info uploaded to any of their
    servers at all.

    -MZ, RHCE #806199299900541, ex-CISSP #3762
    --
    <URL:mailto:megazoneatmegazone.org> Gweep, Discordian, Author, Engineer, me.
    "A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men" 508-755-4098
    <URL:http://www.megazone.org/> <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/> Eris
  30. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    sorry_no_email@yahoo.com (BrianEWilliams) shaped the electrons to say:
    >You could just mentally include the cost of the lifetime subscription
    >with the price of the unit. I believe that makes their cheapest
    >bundle about $450, which I consider an absolute bargain if you like to
    >watch TV.

    For a new units - yeah, $149 for the 40 hour S2, $299 for the lifetime
    sub. They're also selling factory refurb 40 hour units for $99, which
    brings it down to $398. I've heard of some specials from time to time
    that bring the prices on new units down even more than TiVo's price.

    If you have DirecTV the DirecTiVo units start at $99 - but with some
    promos they've been less, even free at times. There is no lifetime
    from DTV, but the cost is $5/month for the account (not per unit) -
    and that fee is waived with some of the packages.

    -MZ, RHCE #806199299900541, ex-CISSP #3762
    --
    <URL:mailto:megazoneatmegazone.org> Gweep, Discordian, Author, Engineer, me.
    "A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men" 508-755-4098
    <URL:http://www.megazone.org/> <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/> Eris
  31. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Joe Smith <Joe.Smith@inwap.com> shaped the electrons to say:
    >Yes! The Pioneer DVD recorder comes with TiVo Basic service for free.
    > http://www.pioneerburner.com/

    Both Pioneer DVD-RW units and the Toshiba DVD unit include TiVo Basic.

    You can also get an old Series1 unit as those do not require a
    subscription. Withone one they work as a fairly basic digital VCR -
    time based recording.

    -MZ, RHCE #806199299900541, ex-CISSP #3762
    --
    <URL:mailto:megazoneatmegazone.org> Gweep, Discordian, Author, Engineer, me.
    "A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men" 508-755-4098
    <URL:http://www.megazone.org/> <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/> Eris
  32. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    me6@privacy.net shaped the electrons to say:
    >But don't you have to have a telephone line for the Tivo to work....
    >get its TV listings??

    Current TiVos required a phone line for the initial setup only.

    After that a standalone TiVo can use wired Ethernet or WiFi to get
    data. So you could use your broadband - you just connect a USB
    network adapter.

    DirecTiVo gets all the data from the satellite, they only need the
    phone line if you want to order PPV from the remote (that's a DTV
    thing, not a TiVo thing) and for the periodic software updates.

    -MZ, RHCE #806199299900541, ex-CISSP #3762
    --
    <URL:mailto:megazoneatmegazone.org> Gweep, Discordian, Author, Engineer, me.
    "A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men" 508-755-4098
    <URL:http://www.megazone.org/> <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/> Eris
  33. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    me6@privacy.net wrote in message news:<q6dla0pa9ctfb21etpnuosrlsd7lf14ied@4ax.com>...
    > >You could just mentally include the cost of the lifetime subscription
    > >with the price of the unit. I believe that makes their cheapest
    > >bundle about $450, which I consider an absolute bargain if you like to
    > >watch TV.
    >
    > Agreed
    >
    > But don't you have to have a telephone line for the Tivo to work....
    > get its TV listings??
    >
    > The only phone I have is my cell phone..... no wired phone at all.
    >
    > And I get my internet thru cable TV coax.
    >
    > SO am I out when it comes to a Tivo?

    There is a pretty simple way to get the TiVo listings over the
    internet, but I still use a telephone line. You need to have a home
    network and get a USB adapter for the box which is about $30.
  34. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Keith Clark <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<40AA4B88.AB59D74D@hotmail.com>...
    > BrianEWilliams wrote:
    >
    > > me6@privacy.net wrote in message news:<9tnha0571qb13j6viaknfr5h3rbl6n64it@4ax.com>...
    > > > >TiVo is fantastic. It's the only technology purchase I have made that
    > > > >significantly improved the quality of my life. (OK, maybe a computer
    > > > >with internet service is on that list, plus I guess you have to throw
    > > > >the TV and cable service in because that's part of the whole TiVo
    > > > >thing. Is a car a technology purchase?).
    > > >
    > > > I have no doubt Tivo is great
    > > >
    > > > But my problem with it is that it requires a monthly
    > > > fee.....susbscription.
    > > >
    > > > I just wont/can't pay any more monthly running fees for anything.
    > > >
    > > > Anyway to get Tivo to work without superscription?
    > >
    > > You could just mentally include the cost of the lifetime subscription
    > > with the price of the unit. I believe that makes their cheapest
    > > bundle about $450, which I consider an absolute bargain if you like to
    > > watch TV.
    >
    > Nothing wrong with Tivo...I'm sure that for some people it's the perfect solution.
    >
    > But -
    >
    > Can I easily add multiple hard drives and a DVD burner or two?
    >
    > Can I easily edit out the commercials and burn a DVD with my recorded shows?
    >
    > Can I plug in a card from my digital camera and view the pictures on the TV via the
    > remote control?
    >
    > Can I stick in a DVD-R full of DivX files and watch them full screen on the TV?
    >
    > Can I easily transfer the recorded shows to any PC on my home network for offline
    > archiving?
    >
    > Those are reasons I went the home-brew "media center PC" route.
    >
    > And I have control over what software upgrades get installed, if any.
    >
    > Keith

    Those are the very good reasons I plan to build a pc-based DVR. Then
    I will have the best of both worlds. BUT, if you are just talking
    about WATCHING shows, then I think the TiVo is hands-down the easier
    solution vs. building and using a pc-based DVR. It is so simple, even
    my parents can use it, and that is saying a lot.

    BTW, if I want to edit the shows recorded on my TiVo, it is very easy
    to capture to uncompressed video on my hard drive, edit, and then
    output to the format of my choice. If you use the BEST option for
    TiVo recording, then I doubt you'd be able to tell the difference in
    quality, plus you could do more complex editing and post-processing.
  35. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    BrianEWilliams wrote:

    > Those are the very good reasons I plan to build a pc-based DVR. Then
    > I will have the best of both worlds. BUT, if you are just talking
    > about WATCHING shows, then I think the TiVo is hands-down the easier
    > solution vs. building and using a pc-based DVR. It is so simple, even
    > my parents can use it, and that is saying a lot.
    >

    BeyondTV is so simple I gave the remote to our 14 year old and she figured out what she needed to know
    by playing with the remote for 5 minutes.
  36. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    > DirecTiVo units are probably the cheapest way to get a DVR - $99 or
    > less for the HW (sometimes free with some of the promos), $5 a month
    > or free for the sub. Dual tuners, full digital recording of the
    > satellite stream, 5.1 sound. Not a bad deal.

    I got a Dish 508 single tuner 5.1 system for $49.95, subscribe to the
    cheapest Dish package (which at the time was also $5 cheaper than the
    cheapest Direct package) and pay no monthly fee for the DVR for life.
    Much better deal, at least for me. <g>

    > The data collected is anonymized on the unit *before* being uploaded.
    > And as soon as it is uploaded it is aggregated with the other data,
    > removing any traceability. TiVo doesn't care what *you* watch, and
    > doesn't even want to have that data around because of potential
    > liability over privacy. All they care about is what their userbase
    > watches as an aggregate whole.

    It still doesn't change the fact that what you watch is being
    "monitored" and relayed back to a database without your knowledge. It's
    just not an idea I'm real comfortable with. No doubt the default
    position is On.

    > Why?
    >
    > Two main reasons:
    >
    > 1. To benefit TiVo. They sell advertising, promo spots, services like
    > TiVoMatic (thumbs up icon during promos for upcoming shows - lets
    > you automatically schedule a recording for the program from the
    > promo with one click), etc. To market those services they need
    > demographic data of their customers and habits to sell with. They
    > also sell the raw data as another kind of ratings indication for
    > networks, etc.

    Direct, push marketing is not what I'm looking for in a DVR. I'm glad
    you listed this one first as I would tend to believe this is the major
    objective of the system.

    > 2. To benefit the customer. The aggregated info is also used by the
    > TiVo Suggestions engine. Based on your recordings and how you rate
    > programs TiVo can suggest other programs. Part of that is based
    > off of the raw show guide data - if you like a lot of documentaries
    > it'll weight documentaries higher, etc. But some of it is also
    > based on the kind of 'viewers who record X also tend to record Y'
    > info the aggregate data provides.

    That's not a feature I'd be interested in. Push technology is intrusive,
    at least to me.

    > I think it improves my experience as a user and I have no problem with
    > it. Actually I'd like to be able to opt-in to have *more* data
    > collected, so that, say, TiVo Central Online knew more about my unit
    > in particular. Right now TCO is kind of generic because TiVo is
    > reluctant to have any indentifiable info uploaded to any of their
    > servers at all.


    To each his own.
  37. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    > What are the issues?

    I have the following problems with my Beyond-TV:

    - I have a 50% chance of getting a "no TV feed or invalid channel"
    error message when I try to open a Live-TV or jump to a TV channel
    from Program Guide. This may have to do with the interface of my
    DirecTV decoder box. Both of the DirecTV decoder boxes in my house
    exhibit some kind of problem when I want to change channel even before
    I install Beyond TV. Normally I can get around with that problem by
    pressing the <DirecTV> button in the DirecTV remote control. But
    trying the same trick when Beyond TV has that error doesn't help;
    therefore, I am not sure if those two are the same problem. Re-run
    Setup Wizard didn't help. I have learned to live with this by keep
    trying to jump to the same channel over and over again until it works
    -- sometimes once, sometimes more. This problem may have to do with
    DirecTV decoder box. That was the reason why I say people may not have
    this problem if they have Cable that doesn't require a decoder box.

    - In Full Screen mode, I keep seeing a constant flashing green or
    white color at the bottom margin of the screen where it is supposed to
    be all black. I am getting used to it; but that was quite annoying in
    the beginning. That may be a hardware problem in either the PVR or the
    nVidia GeForce2 video card. I will be installing the latest device
    driver from nVidia to see if that helps.

    - I need to find a way to backup/restore the Program Guide and
    Channel Line-Up. Re-running Setup Wizard always destroys Program Guide
    and Channel Line-Up. I will have to spend 30 minutes downloading
    Program Guide using my slow speed dial-up connection and then another
    5 minutes manually hiding some channcels that I don't want to see.

    - Downloading Program Guide takes 30 minutes because I am still
    using dial-up connection; moreover, this cannot be easily automated
    using dial-up connection. I am wondering whether I can download
    Program Guide using a high speed connection in my office (that can be
    easily automated using Windows Tasks), and then copy the info to my
    PC.

    Actually, I am still wondering why downloading Program Guide takes 30
    minutes using a dial-up connection. There are not that many channels
    (only 400 channels or so), and two weeks worth of summary info on TV
    programs in each channel should not take that long to download. I
    assume a couple pages of HTML pages that have some graphic pictures
    should take longer to download than Program Guide; but downloading a
    couple that kind of HTML pages takes much less time than that.
    Moreover, the download speed seems to be a constant: That took around
    30 minutes in Sunday afternoon, and that also took around 30 minutes
    at 2 am in the morning. This is very puzzling to me. Seem to me that
    the speed is "fixed". How long does you take to download Program Guide
    using a high speed connection in your house?

    > Hmmm...I found it extremely simple to set up and get running. It took less
    > than 5 minutes for me, but then I don't need a decoder box.

    I have a feeling that your configuration probably matches one of the
    configuration that SnapStream has already tested very well and has
    already found all the bugs.

    > Why don't you post your questions here and someone probably has an answer
    > or you can post on the peer-peer forum on Snapstream's site. It's really
    > helpful.

    My approach is always like this:
    - Look up the FAQ first.
    - If I cannot find an answer in FAQ, I ask the tech support.
    - If I cannot get an answer from tech support, I ask around in
    newsgroup.

    If I don't use this approach and post message in a newsgroup first,
    people may come back and tell me: "Call the tech support and see what
    he has to say and then come back here and discuss". This seems to be
    how a newsgroup operates, and I think this is the right way.

    > Oh, yeah, high-speed connection makes it simpler. Maybe you can schedule
    > updates to happen at 2AM or something.

    I cannot find any documentation about invoking the dialer of my AT&T
    internet connection automatically, and detecting the end of a download
    and automatically terminating the connection. Moreover, if Beyond-TV
    allows me to download Program Guide from my office PC, and load it to
    my home PC, I will be in a very good shape, and I will not need to
    spend time on figuring out how to program the dialer.

    > If not, put in a feature request. SnapStream should be able to easily
    > implement user-scheduled update times.

    This seems to be a good idea.

    > Be glad they don't use "xmltv" for updates! I was evaluating "ShowShifter"
    > which uses xmltv for the listings, and that took half an hour over DSL!

    This is strange. That "half hour" thing seems to be similar to my
    30-minutes download using a dial-up connection. Now, I am really
    wondering whether the download time is a "fix-time-frame".

    > There's supposed to be a way to have BeyondTV control the decoder box via
    > an add-on infra-red adapter but that's all I know. I just have "advanced
    > basic" cable so no decoder box.

    Yes, there is such a thing. But I don't think I need it. The reason is
    that I get a serial cable from Beyond-TV that connect my PC serial
    port to a "Low Speed Data" port in the DirecTV RCA decoder box. This
    is supposed to work because the decoder box is in the list of Approved
    decoder boxes posted in SnapStream knowledge-base.

    Thanks.

    Jay Chan
  38. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    "Morrmar" <morrmar@myway.com-no spam> shaped the electrons to say:
    >It still doesn't change the fact that what you watch is being
    >"monitored" and relayed back to a database without your knowledge. It's

    "Without your knowledge"? I obviously know about it. It is stated
    clearly, IMHO, in the documentation that comes with the unit as well
    as the TiVo website. I knew about it since I bought my first unit and
    looked at the docs.

    If a user can't be bothered to inform themselves about the products
    they use I don't really have a lot of sympathy.

    >just not an idea I'm real comfortable with. No doubt the default
    >position is On.

    Yes it is.

    >That's not a feature I'd be interested in. Push technology is intrusive,
    >at least to me.

    I didn't think I'd use it either, but after having TiVo for a while it
    had learned my tastes well enough to start suggesting a number of
    shows that I like, and I discovered some new programs I wouldn't have
    known about because it suggested them.

    It is a very primative form of the 'smart assistants' we've been
    hearing about for so long.

    -MZ, RHCE #806199299900541, ex-CISSP #3762
    --
    <URL:mailto:megazoneatmegazone.org> Gweep, Discordian, Author, Engineer, me.
    "A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men" 508-755-4098
    <URL:http://www.megazone.org/> <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/> Eris
  39. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    Keith Clark <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<40AB8D8A.12F4C0CD@hotmail.com>...
    > BrianEWilliams wrote:
    >
    > > Those are the very good reasons I plan to build a pc-based DVR. Then
    > > I will have the best of both worlds. BUT, if you are just talking
    > > about WATCHING shows, then I think the TiVo is hands-down the easier
    > > solution vs. building and using a pc-based DVR. It is so simple, even
    > > my parents can use it, and that is saying a lot.
    > >
    >
    > BeyondTV is so simple I gave the remote to our 14 year old and she figured out what she needed to know
    > by playing with the remote for 5 minutes.

    That's good to know. I downloaded a trial version of BeyondTV, and I
    couldn't get something to work, I think it might have been the guide
    data, but I can't be sure. It DID put me off buying the full version,
    and posted this observation on the Beyond TV forum for the record.

    That isn't to say that some folks don't have zero problems with Beyond
    TV (especially if their dad sets it up :), but I'm pretty certain the
    difficulty ratio is higher than TiVo's, even if both are low.

    It's a typical story. Dedicated boxes have more limited
    functionality, but are easier to use and setup. PC-based tools just
    about always have a higher ratio of problems because of the wide
    variety of configurations out there.
  40. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    newsREMOVE@THISmegazone.org (MegaZone) wrote in message news:<megazone.1084989653@sidehack.sat.gweep.net>...
    > "Morrmar" <morrmar@myway.com-no spam> shaped the electrons to say:
    > >It still doesn't change the fact that what you watch is being
    > >"monitored" and relayed back to a database without your knowledge. It's
    >
    > "Without your knowledge"? I obviously know about it. It is stated
    > clearly, IMHO, in the documentation that comes with the unit as well
    > as the TiVo website. I knew about it since I bought my first unit and
    > looked at the docs.
    >
    > If a user can't be bothered to inform themselves about the products
    > they use I don't really have a lot of sympathy.
    >
    > >just not an idea I'm real comfortable with. No doubt the default
    > >position is On.
    >
    > Yes it is.
    >
    > >That's not a feature I'd be interested in. Push technology is intrusive,
    > >at least to me.
    >
    > I didn't think I'd use it either, but after having TiVo for a while it
    > had learned my tastes well enough to start suggesting a number of
    > shows that I like, and I discovered some new programs I wouldn't have
    > known about because it suggested them.
    >
    > It is a very primative form of the 'smart assistants' we've been
    > hearing about for so long.
    >

    I can't get too worked up over the TiVo folks knowing that I watch
    American Idol. In fact, I'd be willing to give general demographic
    information about our family, plus a list of interests so that TiVo
    could pick better suggestions for us to watch. My only complaint
    about the suggestions is that they are sometimes way off the mark.
  41. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    BrianEWilliams wrote:

    >
    > I can't get too worked up over the TiVo folks knowing that I watch
    > American Idol.

    The best thing about that is being able to skip through the really awful performances. ;->

    And rewind the truly good ones. I'm sad that I won't be hearing Latoya again. At least Fantasia is still there.
    What a great voice. Still, Latoya was my favorite, her performances were just awesome.
  42. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    After using Beyond-TV for quite a while, I can tell you that I have
    "got around" with most of the problems. And I think I like it:

    - The "COM Port Conflict" problem with the serial cable connection
    has been got around. The problem has to do with a device driver for
    FireFly remote control that doesn't play well and hold up many COM
    ports. I get a tip to avoid this problem, and that tip works.

    - The "no TV feed or invalid channel" problem: Seem like the problem
    has gone after I have resolved the "COM Port Conflict" problem.

    - I have got used to the constant flashing green at the bottom of the
    screen in full screen mode. I can live with this.

    - I have found a way to backup/restore the Program Guide and Channel
    Line-Up. The files are in a folder. I can simply make a copy of the
    entire folder.

    - Downloading program guide still takes 30 minutes using a dial-up
    connection. I have found a way to automate the dail-up and download
    process. This should ease the pain. I have checked the MDB file that
    holds the program-guide, that file is 20MB big. No wonder downloading
    the program guide takes so long. I am still wondering why the program
    guide takes 20MB when there are only two week worth of programs for at
    most 999 channels. I have a feeling that SnapStream people should
    compact that MDB database file to remove junk that MS-Access has left.

    - I am still looking for a way to fine-tune the recording process to
    ask it to record TV programs only in a specific time period.
    Currently, Beyond-TV seems to only record one specific TV show at a
    specific date and time, or to record all the TV shows that have the
    same title. A move advance way to fine-tune the recording schedule may
    be a good idea (with the understanding that some users may not like
    the advanced feature).

    I think I like the idea of using PVR, and I like what Beyond-TV does
    to turn my PC into a PVR. And it is easy enough that my wife has no
    problem recording her favite TV shows without my help. This is a very
    important point. If she feels that the money was not spent on
    something that she can also enjoy, she will be less willing to agree
    on further spending on that kind of thing, and I have exactly "those
    kinds of things" that I plan to buy (such as streaming video to the
    living room and the basement, getting a more powerful PC to serve as a
    video server, ...etc).

    If I can switch between the PC screen and the TV screen in one click,
    I will be all set. But this is not an issue with Beyond-TV; this is an
    issue with my video card or my TV.

    Hope you find what you need to make your PVR.

    Jay Chan
  43. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop,alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

    > - The "no TV feed or invalid channel" problem: Seem like the problem
    > has gone after I have resolved the "COM Port Conflict" problem.

    I take this back. I had not tried this long enough before I made that
    conclusion. Seem like this problem has nothing to do with the "COM
    port conflict" problem. In other words, I still have this problem and
    quite frequently. Currently, I can only use Beyond-TV as a giant VCR
    with useful recording functions. But I cannot use it as a primary
    interface for surfing TV channels; I still need to use my DirecTV
    remote control to browse TV channels. Oh well...

    Hope I didn't disappoint someone.

    Jay Chan
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