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Reviews Requested: DVR Service / Pay TV combination

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Anonymous
April 26, 2004 12:08:18 AM

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

Hi, everyone:

I would like to offer the following review of DIRECTV with TiVo
service, and to spark reviews of similar pay TV and DVR services you
use. This way, prospective customers can make better choices, and
those of us who only use one service can discover other alternatives.

Pricing:
Let's start with why I chose DIRECTV service with TiVo. It was purely
economical. I compared the two satellite services and my local cable
provider to determine who was going to offer the best combination of
basic cable service plus HBO, the one premium service I wanted to add.
(I just couldn't curb my enthusiasm for HBO's original programming,
such as "The Sopranos"!)

DIRECTV offered the most channels, plus local service at the lowest
price, and offered "digital quality" (more on that later), claiming
superior video quality compared to cable. DIRECTV's Total Choice Plus
(all non-premium channels) with Local Channels ran me $39.99 a month.
Total Choice Plus added a handful of channels more than Total Choice,
maybe one of which I would watch, but it only cost an extra dollar a
month, so why not? (Rates have since gone up. You'll have to compare
current prices yourself, since these things change.)

DIRECTV's TiVo service added the TiVo box with built-in DIRECTV tuners
(so you don't need a separate satellite box), for $99.00 with a
commitment to keep a minimum level of DIRECTV service for a year.
Programming for the TiVo unit costs another $4.99 per month, which is
the same as I would have paid for a second DIRECTV tuner, had I stayed
with my previous VCR strategy. To me, this is a true bargain over
stand-alone TiVo, which charged substantially more for the programming
service. (Consult DIRECTV's web site http://www.directv.com for their
current promotions and pricing.)

Using the service:
I received free installation, and set up was relatively easy, by
calling the 800 number they gave me, and giving them the information
from my tuner and TiVo units. I will give some advice later on how to
make your installation go smoothly.

TiVo Features:
My TiVo unit is a Hughes Electronics HDVR2. The biggest feature I see
with this setup is the fact that it contains two tuners, which to me
makes it unbeatable if you record a lot of shows. You can record two
programs at once from the tuners, even while watching another
pre-recorded program off the disk. If you are not recording anything,
you can also switch back and forth between the two tuners live, and
pause or rewind live TV on both! (You Letterman fans who also like
Leno will now be able to watch both shows at the same time, and can
rewind one tuner to catch the Jay Walking segment that you missed
while you were watching Will It Float on the other!)

My TiVo unit came with a 40GB Hard Drive, advertised to store up to 35
hours of programming. I found it to record somewhat less than 35
hours, but still more than I can possibly watch without giving up my
whole life to TiVo. Unfortunately, the TiVo does not give any
indication on how full the hard disk is. Because different programs
take up different amounts of space for the same amount of time (an
hour of black and white with no stereo is less data than an hour of
color, DTS Surrount Sound with subtitles), it is impossible for the
TiVo to tell you how many hours are free. Still, something simple,
like percent free, etc. would be a good addition.

TiVo allows you to watch one program from the hard disk while
recording two other programs from the tuners. The instant a program
begins recording, it shows up on the "Now Playing" list (the list of
all recorded programs), and you can begin watching it immediately,
even while it is still recording, without any special procedures.

The TiVo unit is easy enough to use, that you probably don't even need
the manual to get started using it. Recording and watching shows,
rewinding and pausing live TV, and other features were intuitive and
easy to do. Even people who can't program a VCR should have no
trouble recording a show with the TiVo. You can use the Program Guide
to search through a programming grid, or use the remote to spell out
the name of a program, and let the TiVo hunt for it.

It offers features such as "Season Pass"(TM), to record an entire TV
series, which lets you decide whether you want repeats or only new
shows. TiVo also has a feature they call "Wish Lists", which allow
you to select programming by type, actors, directors, or keywords.

Another added feature is "TiVo Suggestions", where the TiVo records
shows it *thinks* you will enjoy. Contrary to rumors I've read
elsewhere, the TiVo will never erase programs you've recorded to make
room for suggestions. Further, suggestions will never be saved over
your own recordings. If, however, something catches your eye from the
suggestions list (identified by a different icon), you can tell the
TiVo to save the same as a program you recorded. When you first get
your TiVo, the suggested programs it records won't make much sense
until you "train" your TiVo by using the Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down
buttons. You can use this feature, for instance, if you like a show
well enough to watch it if you have time (or disk space), but not well
enough to record at the expense of other programs. If after all this,
you find the suggestions just too annoying, you can disable the
feature altogether, and only get the programs you record.

Each program that gets recorded has an expiration date, which you can
program. When you set up recordings, you can choose to save until
room is needed (whereby old recordings get deleted first), or save
until you delete (whereby it will save the program even if it means
not recording anything new). Once a show is recorded, you can choose
how long to save it by setting a date, or "Save until I delete".
Icons on the program list tell you at a glance whether a program is at
risk of being deleted.

You can also choose how many episodes of each show to save. In my
case, I like Letterman and Leno, but don't always have time to watch
them. So, limiting the TiVo to one copy of each show at least keeps
last night's episode available in case I hear something good was on
after the fact, but they won't pile up on me when I'm busy.

The TiVo doesn't allow you to edit programs saved on disk. In other
words, if a sporting event or movie ended 30 minutes earlier than the
recording, there is no way to "chop off" the excess half hour, which
would leave room for more recording. Naturally, editing out
commercials is out of the question as well. I'm hoping that TiVo adds
simple editing in the future.

DIRECTV with TiVo does not currently offer any networking options,
either to program it remotely (a feature that may be coming soon to
standard TiVo's) or to share program files with computers or other
TiVo units. However, my TiVo unit does have two USB ports, possibly
for future expansion.

Because the DIRECTV TiVo unit constantly stores the last 30 minutes of
material from each tuner it is not using to record, you can often
record a program from the beginning if you come in at less than 30
minutes from the beginning, or you can simply rewind live TV to the
beginning and watch it from there. (This always happens to me when I
switch on the TV, and Discovery is in the middle of something that
hooks me in.) I have not confirmed this, but I read that if you
record a program in progress, the buffer is actually longer than 30
minutes, allowing you to catch the beginning of some shows even if you
can't rewind back that far "live". This only works if the tuner was
already tuned to the program. If you switch channels, the previous
information is lost and you can only rewind to the point where you
switched.

I must say that the best feature of TiVo service is, it is now
(nearly) impossible for a TV network to "hide" a show from me that I
want to record. You "Scrubs" fans with VCR's know what I mean!
Sometimes it's on Tuesday, sometimes Thursday. Sometimes it starts
early, sometimes it runs long. As long as the network tells the DVR
service when a show will air (and properly reports whether it starts
two minutes early or runs 10 minutes long), you will get your show.
Note: When I first got my TiVo, I was missing the first two minutes
of "ER", and missing the last few minutes of "Scrubs", due to NBC
playing games with start and stop times. The network has since begun
reporting the actual times (9:59PM for ER, for instance), so the TiVo
has a chance to record the whole show. When they don't, the TiVo lets
you pad programs up to 10 minutes before the start or 3 hours past the
end.

TiVo does not have commercial skip. All programming is recorded as
broadcast, including commercials. Since TiVo service depends on good
relations with broadcasters, who get paid to air commercials, this is
not likely to change. However, you can hunt the web for a TiVo
"Easter Egg" that enables a 30 second skip from the remote.

How DIRECTV with TiVo differs from standard TiVo:

Software:
While the software is written by TiVo, the service is maintained and
updated by DIRECTV, so you must get your support from DIRECTV if there
are problems. This also means that DIRECTV customers don't always get
the same level of software as standard TiVo customers, and may lag
behind by a few versions until DIRECTV qualifies a release for all
it's customers. As of this writing, for instance, DIRECTV does not
offer the version of software that includes folders for stored
programs. The DIRECTV logo and name are prominent on the DIRECTV TiVo
as well as the remote to remind you this is not your ordinary TiVo.

Video Quality:
Stand-alone TiVo units contain their own Analog to Digital conversion
circuitry (standard audio / video inputs from your cable box, VCR,
etc., are converted to the digital format stored on the hard drive),
allowing you to select quality levels for each program, so you can
choose between high quality which takes up a lot of disk space, or
lower quality so you can store more programs. Since DIRECTV service
is already digital, their TiVo unit does no such conversions, so there
is no quality setting. You always get the best quality, meaning what
you play back is exactly the same as what came through the dish.

Inputs:
The DIRECTV TiVo unit does not have external video inputs, and can
only record from the DIRECTV tuners. This means that if you cancel
your DIRECTV service and switch to cable, you will have to get another
DVR.

As far as I know, the DIRECTV version is the only one I am aware of
that can record two programs at the same time. Every stand-alone TiVo
I've seen has only one set of inputs to record from.

DIRECTV Service:
DIRECTV uses Digital Satellite Broadcasting, resulting in very clear
signals to my monitor. However, that clarity also exposes digital
anomalies (see side bar below). I have had numerous incidents where
the signal has gone away for a second or two, or a few. This usually
results in the picture freezing, getting severely pixellized, or
sometimes a truly ghastly effect: I once saw David Letterman's face
look like he was being burned to death, as red pixels from who knows
where invaded his face making the skin appear to melt away! The audio
often survives, but in the worst cases, the audio can come and go as
well. I have never seen these incidents last longer than a few
seconds, though it can happen a few times in a minute or two, and then
clear up.

Summary:
DIRECTV with TiVo service provides the best combination of programming
and DVR flexibility that I have seen. The TiVo unit with two tuners
is a revolutionary way of watching TV, that has forced me to have to
choose programs NOT to watch, just so I can get other things done in
my life.

Picture quality is mostly good to excellent, with the best being near
DVD quality, and the worst being highly pixelized due to either poor
digital conversion or low bandwidth. The worst channel I have seen is
TVLand, however, which is probably a good choice, since new, original
programming is watched more, and should get the best bandwidth.

The pricing was the best I found at the time, offering more channels
than Dish network, and better pricing than Comcast. Consult
http://www.directv.com for current pricing information.


Side Bar:
Digital Video:
OK, folks, here is something you may or may not be aware of: Digital
Video is NOT perfect. Some of us with decent monitors can see video
anomalies that simply are not present in traditional analog video
programs. If you compare DIRECTV with a good, clean off-air
broadcast, you will see pixellation. However, Digital is here to
stay, and if you want any kind of premium programming, you're stuck
with it.

You may think that your analog cable service is not digital, but it is
also digital at the source, though it may be transmitted through an
older analog cable converter or directly to your cable ready TV.
Before I switched to DIRECTV, I was able to see from my basic cable
service (Comcast), that they were indeed processing the video
digitally before retransmitting it to me. Services have only a
certain amount of bandwidth to use for digitized video, and some
premium services (HBO, for instance) will get more bandwidth than, say
TVLand or Fox. (Fox was the worst one from Comcast, and TVLand is one
of the worst from DIRECTV.)

Old school thinking:
Once upon a time, analog cable was all analog. They took TV signals
off satellite dishes for cable channels, or off the air for broadcast
channels, coverted them to their cable channels, and sent them down
the cable. What cable customers saw, then, were defects caused by
rebroadcasting so many channels all together on the same cable,
sometimes interfering with one another. Those with cable, take a good
look at your screen, and notice the faint wavy lines in the picture
that are not part of your original program. That's from being
rebroadcast over your cable in analog form.

Digital video:
Now, everyone decided that digital is the way to go, because with
computers we can do all kinds of things with the video, and if we can
decode it directly to a monitor (not through a TV tuner or analog
cable box), we can lose all the interference described above, as well
as ghosts and other strange anomalies from broadcast TV. However,
digital video has it's own shortcomings, which you can spot even on
high quality DVD's. Look at the sky, or a solid background or dark
scene, and you will see the blotches of color that are not as smooth
as they should be. Well, this is your future, kids.

OK, DIRECTV's service is purely digital, so it has all the digital
anomalies I hate, but so does cable nowadays. With DIRECTV, however,
you lose the added insult of cross interference that you get with
analog cable. I imagine that digital cable should be just as clear as
DIRECTV's, however. When DIRECTV does a good job of encoding a
program, it can look like you've got a direct window into the studio
where they made the show you're watching.

So, with DIRECTV, I will never see analog interference or poor quality
caused by analog signals, right? Wrong! Guess what? If you're
watching local broadcast programming through DIRECTV, you are watching
TV from their off-air antennas (antennae?), so if there is a storm
brewing in your town, your DIRECTV transmitted NBC station will have
the same interference as your rooftop antenna, except that DIRECTV
probably has a much better antenna, much closer to the source than
you. Further, would it surprise you to find out that some cable
channels still transmit their signals over analog satellite channels?
Well, they do, and your service provider has to digitize them and send
them to you.

So, when you see the commercials claiming digital clarity, they are
only talking about how the signal gets from their broadcast center or
head end to your house, not the whole path these signals take.

Side Bar:
Making your Satellite Service Installation go more smoothly:
Many of you probably think that if you get free installation of your
satellite service, the installer will cut through the walls, run cable
inside them (two sets for DIRECTV with Tivo, by the way), and patch up
the wall before they leave. Wrong! Free installation includes
running coax OUTSIDE your house, and punching it through to ONE tuner
box.

If you're like me, you don't want ugly cables hanging outside your
house, and you certainly don't want the installer choosing where to
put the dish! Do your homework ahead of time, and plan where the dish
should go first. In my area, DIRECTV needed a clear, south facing
spot for the dish. If you can avoid it, don't let them put the dish
on top of the roof, on or under the shingles. If you have a sturdy
fascia on the side of the roof, the installer can us a mount designed
to go there. Pick a location close to where all your coax feeds will
come through.

If you are so inclined, I highly recommend running your own coax
inside the walls before the installer arrives. Most houses are
pre-run with either coax or twin lead antenna cable, which will have
to be replaced. Go to your local electronics or home improvement
store (Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, and Home Depot are good choices),
and purchase RG6 coax, which is the best quality for satellite
reception. If you are getting a DIRECTV with TiVo, you will need TWO
runs of coax to the TiVo unit if you want to use both tuners. The
installer can help you hook it all up, or you can research further on
the web.

Dan
Anonymous
April 26, 2004 7:38:10 AM

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

Sounds nice. When they add Show Sharing, Commercial Advance, Remote
Programming, Networked Units so you can watch and control any machine in
any room, and the ability to archive and retrieve to and from a PC from
any networked machine then perhaps it'll be worth a look. For the time
being it seems to be far less sophisticated than ReplayTV. Maybe
they'll catch up. I do like Tivo's idea of having dual tuners though.
As for Dish vs. Cable, the total package including a cable modem still
seems to work out better than the DISH option fo me.
As for the Commercial Advance feature, ReplayTV records the entire
program including commercials. You can watch them if you choose to. You
can also skip them automatically if you prefer. As for the advertisers
getting their money's worth - I don't care. I don't drink beer, need a
mortgage, drive the cars the they advertise, eat fast food, use feminine
hygene products, need advice on what drugs to "ask my doctor about"
(that's what I pay HIM to do!) or much believe anything in the ads
anyway. That being said, I sometimes just watch shows live anyway and
get exposed to and ignore that drivel. If they didn't bombard me with 10
obnoxious spots at a time every 7 minutes MAYBE I'd be more attentive.
If advertisers stop advertising then the networks will have to charge
for their programming and that's fine with me.

From:Nobody Home
nobody.home@sbcglobal.net

> Hi, everyone:
>
> I would like to offer the following review of DIRECTV with TiVo
> service, and to spark reviews of similar pay TV and DVR services you
> use. This way, prospective customers can make better choices, and
> those of us who only use one service can discover other alternatives.
>
> Pricing:
> Let's start with why I chose DIRECTV service with TiVo. It was purely
> economical. I compared the two satellite services and my local cable
> provider to determine who was going to offer the best combination of
> basic cable service plus HBO, the one premium service I wanted to add.
> (I just couldn't curb my enthusiasm for HBO's original programming,
> such as "The Sopranos"!)
>
> DIRECTV offered the most channels, plus local service at the lowest
> price, and offered "digital quality" (more on that later), claiming
> superior video quality compared to cable. DIRECTV's Total Choice Plus
> (all non-premium channels) with Local Channels ran me $39.99 a month.
> Total Choice Plus added a handful of channels more than Total Choice,
> maybe one of which I would watch, but it only cost an extra dollar a
> month, so why not? (Rates have since gone up. You'll have to compare
> current prices yourself, since these things change.)
>
> DIRECTV's TiVo service added the TiVo box with built-in DIRECTV tuners
> (so you don't need a separate satellite box), for $99.00 with a
> commitment to keep a minimum level of DIRECTV service for a year.
> Programming for the TiVo unit costs another $4.99 per month, which is
> the same as I would have paid for a second DIRECTV tuner, had I stayed
> with my previous VCR strategy. To me, this is a true bargain over
> stand-alone TiVo, which charged substantially more for the programming
> service. (Consult DIRECTV's web site http://www.directv.com for their
> current promotions and pricing.)
>
> Using the service:
> I received free installation, and set up was relatively easy, by
> calling the 800 number they gave me, and giving them the information
> from my tuner and TiVo units. I will give some advice later on how to
> make your installation go smoothly.
>
> TiVo Features:
> My TiVo unit is a Hughes Electronics HDVR2. The biggest feature I see
> with this setup is the fact that it contains two tuners, which to me
> makes it unbeatable if you record a lot of shows. You can record two
> programs at once from the tuners, even while watching another
> pre-recorded program off the disk. If you are not recording anything,
> you can also switch back and forth between the two tuners live, and
> pause or rewind live TV on both! (You Letterman fans who also like
> Leno will now be able to watch both shows at the same time, and can
> rewind one tuner to catch the Jay Walking segment that you missed
> while you were watching Will It Float on the other!)
>
> My TiVo unit came with a 40GB Hard Drive, advertised to store up to 35
> hours of programming. I found it to record somewhat less than 35
> hours, but still more than I can possibly watch without giving up my
> whole life to TiVo. Unfortunately, the TiVo does not give any
> indication on how full the hard disk is. Because different programs
> take up different amounts of space for the same amount of time (an
> hour of black and white with no stereo is less data than an hour of
> color, DTS Surrount Sound with subtitles), it is impossible for the
> TiVo to tell you how many hours are free. Still, something simple,
> like percent free, etc. would be a good addition.
>
> TiVo allows you to watch one program from the hard disk while
> recording two other programs from the tuners. The instant a program
> begins recording, it shows up on the "Now Playing" list (the list of
> all recorded programs), and you can begin watching it immediately,
> even while it is still recording, without any special procedures.
>
> The TiVo unit is easy enough to use, that you probably don't even need
> the manual to get started using it. Recording and watching shows,
> rewinding and pausing live TV, and other features were intuitive and
> easy to do. Even people who can't program a VCR should have no
> trouble recording a show with the TiVo. You can use the Program Guide
> to search through a programming grid, or use the remote to spell out
> the name of a program, and let the TiVo hunt for it.
>
> It offers features such as "Season Pass"(TM), to record an entire TV
> series, which lets you decide whether you want repeats or only new
> shows. TiVo also has a feature they call "Wish Lists", which allow
> you to select programming by type, actors, directors, or keywords.
>
> Another added feature is "TiVo Suggestions", where the TiVo records
> shows it *thinks* you will enjoy. Contrary to rumors I've read
> elsewhere, the TiVo will never erase programs you've recorded to make
> room for suggestions. Further, suggestions will never be saved over
> your own recordings. If, however, something catches your eye from the
> suggestions list (identified by a different icon), you can tell the
> TiVo to save the same as a program you recorded. When you first get
> your TiVo, the suggested programs it records won't make much sense
> until you "train" your TiVo by using the Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down
> buttons. You can use this feature, for instance, if you like a show
> well enough to watch it if you have time (or disk space), but not well
> enough to record at the expense of other programs. If after all this,
> you find the suggestions just too annoying, you can disable the
> feature altogether, and only get the programs you record.
>
> Each program that gets recorded has an expiration date, which you can
> program. When you set up recordings, you can choose to save until
> room is needed (whereby old recordings get deleted first), or save
> until you delete (whereby it will save the program even if it means
> not recording anything new). Once a show is recorded, you can choose
> how long to save it by setting a date, or "Save until I delete".
> Icons on the program list tell you at a glance whether a program is at
> risk of being deleted.
>
> You can also choose how many episodes of each show to save. In my
> case, I like Letterman and Leno, but don't always have time to watch
> them. So, limiting the TiVo to one copy of each show at least keeps
> last night's episode available in case I hear something good was on
> after the fact, but they won't pile up on me when I'm busy.
>
> The TiVo doesn't allow you to edit programs saved on disk. In other
> words, if a sporting event or movie ended 30 minutes earlier than the
> recording, there is no way to "chop off" the excess half hour, which
> would leave room for more recording. Naturally, editing out
> commercials is out of the question as well. I'm hoping that TiVo adds
> simple editing in the future.
>
> DIRECTV with TiVo does not currently offer any networking options,
> either to program it remotely (a feature that may be coming soon to
> standard TiVo's) or to share program files with computers or other
> TiVo units. However, my TiVo unit does have two USB ports, possibly
> for future expansion.
>
> Because the DIRECTV TiVo unit constantly stores the last 30 minutes of
> material from each tuner it is not using to record, you can often
> record a program from the beginning if you come in at less than 30
> minutes from the beginning, or you can simply rewind live TV to the
> beginning and watch it from there. (This always happens to me when I
> switch on the TV, and Discovery is in the middle of something that
> hooks me in.) I have not confirmed this, but I read that if you
> record a program in progress, the buffer is actually longer than 30
> minutes, allowing you to catch the beginning of some shows even if you
> can't rewind back that far "live". This only works if the tuner was
> already tuned to the program. If you switch channels, the previous
> information is lost and you can only rewind to the point where you
> switched.
>
> I must say that the best feature of TiVo service is, it is now
> (nearly) impossible for a TV network to "hide" a show from me that I
> want to record. You "Scrubs" fans with VCR's know what I mean!
> Sometimes it's on Tuesday, sometimes Thursday. Sometimes it starts
> early, sometimes it runs long. As long as the network tells the DVR
> service when a show will air (and properly reports whether it starts
> two minutes early or runs 10 minutes long), you will get your show.
> Note: When I first got my TiVo, I was missing the first two minutes
> of "ER", and missing the last few minutes of "Scrubs", due to NBC
> playing games with start and stop times. The network has since begun
> reporting the actual times (9:59PM for ER, for instance), so the TiVo
> has a chance to record the whole show. When they don't, the TiVo lets
> you pad programs up to 10 minutes before the start or 3 hours past the
> end.
>
> TiVo does not have commercial skip. All programming is recorded as
> broadcast, including commercials. Since TiVo service depends on good
> relations with broadcasters, who get paid to air commercials, this is
> not likely to change. However, you can hunt the web for a TiVo
> "Easter Egg" that enables a 30 second skip from the remote.
>
> How DIRECTV with TiVo differs from standard TiVo:
>
> Software:
> While the software is written by TiVo, the service is maintained and
> updated by DIRECTV, so you must get your support from DIRECTV if there
> are problems. This also means that DIRECTV customers don't always get
> the same level of software as standard TiVo customers, and may lag
> behind by a few versions until DIRECTV qualifies a release for all
> it's customers. As of this writing, for instance, DIRECTV does not
> offer the version of software that includes folders for stored
> programs. The DIRECTV logo and name are prominent on the DIRECTV TiVo
> as well as the remote to remind you this is not your ordinary TiVo.
>
> Video Quality:
> Stand-alone TiVo units contain their own Analog to Digital conversion
> circuitry (standard audio / video inputs from your cable box, VCR,
> etc., are converted to the digital format stored on the hard drive),
> allowing you to select quality levels for each program, so you can
> choose between high quality which takes up a lot of disk space, or
> lower quality so you can store more programs. Since DIRECTV service
> is already digital, their TiVo unit does no such conversions, so there
> is no quality setting. You always get the best quality, meaning what
> you play back is exactly the same as what came through the dish.
>
> Inputs:
> The DIRECTV TiVo unit does not have external video inputs, and can
> only record from the DIRECTV tuners. This means that if you cancel
> your DIRECTV service and switch to cable, you will have to get another
> DVR.
>
> As far as I know, the DIRECTV version is the only one I am aware of
> that can record two programs at the same time. Every stand-alone TiVo
> I've seen has only one set of inputs to record from.
>
> DIRECTV Service:
> DIRECTV uses Digital Satellite Broadcasting, resulting in very clear
> signals to my monitor. However, that clarity also exposes digital
> anomalies (see side bar below). I have had numerous incidents where
> the signal has gone away for a second or two, or a few. This usually
> results in the picture freezing, getting severely pixellized, or
> sometimes a truly ghastly effect: I once saw David Letterman's face
> look like he was being burned to death, as red pixels from who knows
> where invaded his face making the skin appear to melt away! The audio
> often survives, but in the worst cases, the audio can come and go as
> well. I have never seen these incidents last longer than a few
> seconds, though it can happen a few times in a minute or two, and then
> clear up.
>
> Summary:
> DIRECTV with TiVo service provides the best combination of programming
> and DVR flexibility that I have seen. The TiVo unit with two tuners
> is a revolutionary way of watching TV, that has forced me to have to
> choose programs NOT to watch, just so I can get other things done in
> my life.
>
> Picture quality is mostly good to excellent, with the best being near
> DVD quality, and the worst being highly pixelized due to either poor
> digital conversion or low bandwidth. The worst channel I have seen is
> TVLand, however, which is probably a good choice, since new, original
> programming is watched more, and should get the best bandwidth.
>
> The pricing was the best I found at the time, offering more channels
> than Dish network, and better pricing than Comcast. Consult
> http://www.directv.com for current pricing information.
>
>
> Side Bar:
> Digital Video:
> OK, folks, here is something you may or may not be aware of: Digital
> Video is NOT perfect. Some of us with decent monitors can see video
> anomalies that simply are not present in traditional analog video
> programs. If you compare DIRECTV with a good, clean off-air
> broadcast, you will see pixellation. However, Digital is here to
> stay, and if you want any kind of premium programming, you're stuck
> with it.
>
> You may think that your analog cable service is not digital, but it is
> also digital at the source, though it may be transmitted through an
> older analog cable converter or directly to your cable ready TV.
> Before I switched to DIRECTV, I was able to see from my basic cable
> service (Comcast), that they were indeed processing the video
> digitally before retransmitting it to me. Services have only a
> certain amount of bandwidth to use for digitized video, and some
> premium services (HBO, for instance) will get more bandwidth than, say
> TVLand or Fox. (Fox was the worst one from Comcast, and TVLand is one
> of the worst from DIRECTV.)
>
> Old school thinking:
> Once upon a time, analog cable was all analog. They took TV signals
> off satellite dishes for cable channels, or off the air for broadcast
> channels, coverted them to their cable channels, and sent them down
> the cable. What cable customers saw, then, were defects caused by
> rebroadcasting so many channels all together on the same cable,
> sometimes interfering with one another. Those with cable, take a good
> look at your screen, and notice the faint wavy lines in the picture
> that are not part of your original program. That's from being
> rebroadcast over your cable in analog form.
>
> Digital video:
> Now, everyone decided that digital is the way to go, because with
> computers we can do all kinds of things with the video, and if we can
> decode it directly to a monitor (not through a TV tuner or analog
> cable box), we can lose all the interference described above, as well
> as ghosts and other strange anomalies from broadcast TV. However,
> digital video has it's own shortcomings, which you can spot even on
> high quality DVD's. Look at the sky, or a solid background or dark
> scene, and you will see the blotches of color that are not as smooth
> as they should be. Well, this is your future, kids.
>
> OK, DIRECTV's service is purely digital, so it has all the digital
> anomalies I hate, but so does cable nowadays. With DIRECTV, however,
> you lose the added insult of cross interference that you get with
> analog cable. I imagine that digital cable should be just as clear as
> DIRECTV's, however. When DIRECTV does a good job of encoding a
> program, it can look like you've got a direct window into the studio
> where they made the show you're watching.
>
> So, with DIRECTV, I will never see analog interference or poor quality
> caused by analog signals, right? Wrong! Guess what? If you're
> watching local broadcast programming through DIRECTV, you are watching
> TV from their off-air antennas (antennae?), so if there is a storm
> brewing in your town, your DIRECTV transmitted NBC station will have
> the same interference as your rooftop antenna, except that DIRECTV
> probably has a much better antenna, much closer to the source than
> you. Further, would it surprise you to find out that some cable
> channels still transmit their signals over analog satellite channels?
> Well, they do, and your service provider has to digitize them and send
> them to you.
>
> So, when you see the commercials claiming digital clarity, they are
> only talking about how the signal gets from their broadcast center or
> head end to your house, not the whole path these signals take.
>
> Side Bar:
> Making your Satellite Service Installation go more smoothly:
> Many of you probably think that if you get free installation of your
> satellite service, the installer will cut through the walls, run cable
> inside them (two sets for DIRECTV with Tivo, by the way), and patch up
> the wall before they leave. Wrong! Free installation includes
> running coax OUTSIDE your house, and punching it through to ONE tuner
> box.
>
> If you're like me, you don't want ugly cables hanging outside your
> house, and you certainly don't want the installer choosing where to
> put the dish! Do your homework ahead of time, and plan where the dish
> should go first. In my area, DIRECTV needed a clear, south facing
> spot for the dish. If you can avoid it, don't let them put the dish
> on top of the roof, on or under the shingles. If you have a sturdy
> fascia on the side of the roof, the installer can us a mount designed
> to go there. Pick a location close to where all your coax feeds will
> come through.
>
> If you are so inclined, I highly recommend running your own coax
> inside the walls before the installer arrives. Most houses are
> pre-run with either coax or twin lead antenna cable, which will have
> to be replaced. Go to your local electronics or home improvement
> store (Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, and Home Depot are good choices),
> and purchase RG6 coax, which is the best quality for satellite
> reception. If you are getting a DIRECTV with TiVo, you will need TWO
> runs of coax to the TiVo unit if you want to use both tuners. The
> installer can help you hook it all up, or you can research further on
> the web.
>
> Dan
Anonymous
April 26, 2004 12:04:41 PM

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

Nobody Home wrote:

> DIRECTV with TiVo does not currently offer any networking options,
> either to program it remotely (a feature that may be coming soon to
> standard TiVo's)

(a feature that is available to
standard TiVo's for an extra cost)

It's called HMO and has been available for a while.
http://www.tivo.com/1.10.asp
-Joe
Related resources
Anonymous
April 27, 2004 12:31:01 AM

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

Joe Smith <Joe.Smith@inwap.com> shaped the electrons to say:
>Nobody Home wrote:
>> DIRECTV with TiVo does not currently offer any networking options,
>> either to program it remotely (a feature that may be coming soon to
>> standard TiVo's)
> (a feature that is available to
> standard TiVo's for an extra cost)

Or free if you have an AOL account.

-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/&gt; <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/&gt; Eris
April 27, 2004 12:41:10 AM

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

* MegaZone Wrote in alt.video.ptv.tivo:

> Joe Smith <Joe.Smith@inwap.com> shaped the electrons to say:
>>Nobody Home wrote:
>>> DIRECTV with TiVo does not currently offer any networking options,
>>> either to program it remotely (a feature that may be coming soon to
>>> standard TiVo's)
>> (a feature that is available to
>> standard TiVo's for an extra cost)
>
> Or free if you have an AOL account.
>
> -MZ, RHCE #806199299900541, ex-CISSP #3762


HMO is free if you have an AOL account?

I wonder if matters what level of AOL you have? I have had an AOL
account for about 8 years or so but I only pay the origianl $9.99 a
month for 5 hours, I wonder if I get it. Of course I have DirectTivo so
its moot anyway but just curious.

--
David
Anonymous
April 27, 2004 12:41:11 AM

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

On Mon, 26 Apr 2004 20:41:10 GMT, SINNER <me@privacy.net> wrote:

>HMO is free if you have an AOL account?

No, just the remote scheduling portion.

http://news.com.com/2100-1023_3-1025562.html?tag=cd_mh

America Online and digital video recorder (DVR) maker TiVo detailed a
new partnership under which TiVo users can program their machines
remotely via AOL's online network. To take advantage of the offer,
users must subscribe to both AOL and TiVo's existing online services.
---
AOL and TiVo will offer the remote capabilities free to AOL users who
also subscribe to TiVo's basic programming service. Earlier this year,
TiVo introduced a similar program that lets users schedule same-day
recordings over the Web. That package, Home Media Option, is available
for a one-time fee of $99.
April 27, 2004 6:20:49 PM

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

* Phil Leonard Wrote in alt.video.ptv.tivo:

> On Mon, 26 Apr 2004 20:41:10 GMT, SINNER <me@privacy.net> wrote:
>
>>HMO is free if you have an AOL account?
>
> No, just the remote scheduling portion.
>
> http://news.com.com/2100-1023_3-1025562.html?tag=cd_mh
>
> America Online and digital video recorder (DVR) maker TiVo
> detailed a new partnership under which TiVo users can program
> their machines remotely via AOL's online network. To take
> advantage of the offer, users must subscribe to both AOL and
> TiVo's existing online services. ---
> AOL and TiVo will offer the remote capabilities free to AOL users
> who also subscribe to TiVo's basic programming service. Earlier
> this year, TiVo introduced a similar program that lets users
> schedule same-day recordings over the Web. That package, Home
> Media Option, is available for a one-time fee of $99.
>
>
>

But NOT for DTivo I would gather. Damn!

--
David
Anonymous
April 27, 2004 6:20:50 PM

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

On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 14:20:49 GMT, SINNER <me@privacy.net> wrote:

>But NOT for DTivo I would gather. Damn!

DTivo has no official USB networking capability. I think that's the
main reason.
April 27, 2004 9:00:40 PM

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

* Phil Leonard Wrote in alt.video.ptv.tivo:

> On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 14:20:49 GMT, SINNER <me@privacy.net> wrote:
>
>>But NOT for DTivo I would gather. Damn!
>
> DTivo has no official USB networking capability. I think that's the
> main reason.
>

Thanks for the info Phil.

--
David
Anonymous
May 15, 2004 10:55:40 PM

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

There is a hidden "easter egg" in the TiVo software that allows the
"catch up" button ("->|" button) to act as a 30 second skip, but you
have to enter the sequence every time the TiVo reboots. (For you
TiVo-ites, play a program, then press Select, Play, Select, 3, 0,
Select and you've got it.)

Perhaps someone would like to write a detailed review of Panasonic's
Replay TV. I would particularly be interested in a review from
someone who has moved from TiVo. Any dual tuner Replays out there?
Any Replay's with integrated satellite tuners, similar to DIRECTV's
TiVo?

How about the networking? How hard would it be to watch a program
from a remote unit while the one closest to you is recording? Does
the program have to copy to your unit first, or can it play directly
from the other unit on the network?

Dan

"BruceR" <brNOSPAM@hawaii.com> wrote in message news:<Cu%ic.4463$IO6.3323@twister.socal.rr.com>...
> Sounds nice. When they add Show Sharing, Commercial Advance, Remote
> Programming, Networked Units so you can watch and control any machine in
> any room, and the ability to archive and retrieve to and from a PC from
> any networked machine then perhaps it'll be worth a look. For the time
> being it seems to be far less sophisticated than ReplayTV. Maybe
> they'll catch up. I do like Tivo's idea of having dual tuners though.
> As for Dish vs. Cable, the total package including a cable modem still
> seems to work out better than the DISH option fo me.
> As for the Commercial Advance feature, ReplayTV records the entire
> program including commercials. You can watch them if you choose to. You
> can also skip them automatically if you prefer. As for the advertisers
> getting their money's worth - I don't care. I don't drink beer, need a
> mortgage, drive the cars the they advertise, eat fast food, use feminine
> hygene products, need advice on what drugs to "ask my doctor about"
> (that's what I pay HIM to do!) or much believe anything in the ads
> anyway. That being said, I sometimes just watch shows live anyway and
> get exposed to and ignore that drivel. If they didn't bombard me with 10
> obnoxious spots at a time every 7 minutes MAYBE I'd be more attentive.
> If advertisers stop advertising then the networks will have to charge
> for their programming and that's fine with me.
>
> From:Nobody Home
> nobody.home@sbcglobal.net
>
> > Hi, everyone:
> >
> > I would like to offer the following review of DIRECTV with TiVo
> > service, and to spark reviews of similar pay TV and DVR services you
> > use. This way, prospective customers can make better choices, and
> > those of us who only use one service can discover other alternatives.
> >
> > Pricing:
> > Let's start with why I chose DIRECTV service with TiVo. It was purely
> > economical. I compared the two satellite services and my local cable
> > provider to determine who was going to offer the best combination of
> > basic cable service plus HBO, the one premium service I wanted to add.
> > (I just couldn't curb my enthusiasm for HBO's original programming,
> > such as "The Sopranos"!)
> >
> > DIRECTV offered the most channels, plus local service at the lowest
> > price, and offered "digital quality" (more on that later), claiming
> > superior video quality compared to cable. DIRECTV's Total Choice Plus
> > (all non-premium channels) with Local Channels ran me $39.99 a month.
> > Total Choice Plus added a handful of channels more than Total Choice,
> > maybe one of which I would watch, but it only cost an extra dollar a
> > month, so why not? (Rates have since gone up. You'll have to compare
> > current prices yourself, since these things change.)
> >
> > DIRECTV's TiVo service added the TiVo box with built-in DIRECTV tuners
> > (so you don't need a separate satellite box), for $99.00 with a
> > commitment to keep a minimum level of DIRECTV service for a year.
> > Programming for the TiVo unit costs another $4.99 per month, which is
> > the same as I would have paid for a second DIRECTV tuner, had I stayed
> > with my previous VCR strategy. To me, this is a true bargain over
> > stand-alone TiVo, which charged substantially more for the programming
> > service. (Consult DIRECTV's web site http://www.directv.com for their
> > current promotions and pricing.)
> >
> > Using the service:
> > I received free installation, and set up was relatively easy, by
> > calling the 800 number they gave me, and giving them the information
> > from my tuner and TiVo units. I will give some advice later on how to
> > make your installation go smoothly.
> >
> > TiVo Features:
> > My TiVo unit is a Hughes Electronics HDVR2. The biggest feature I see
> > with this setup is the fact that it contains two tuners, which to me
> > makes it unbeatable if you record a lot of shows. You can record two
> > programs at once from the tuners, even while watching another
> > pre-recorded program off the disk. If you are not recording anything,
> > you can also switch back and forth between the two tuners live, and
> > pause or rewind live TV on both! (You Letterman fans who also like
> > Leno will now be able to watch both shows at the same time, and can
> > rewind one tuner to catch the Jay Walking segment that you missed
> > while you were watching Will It Float on the other!)
> >
> > My TiVo unit came with a 40GB Hard Drive, advertised to store up to 35
> > hours of programming. I found it to record somewhat less than 35
> > hours, but still more than I can possibly watch without giving up my
> > whole life to TiVo. Unfortunately, the TiVo does not give any
> > indication on how full the hard disk is. Because different programs
> > take up different amounts of space for the same amount of time (an
> > hour of black and white with no stereo is less data than an hour of
> > color, DTS Surrount Sound with subtitles), it is impossible for the
> > TiVo to tell you how many hours are free. Still, something simple,
> > like percent free, etc. would be a good addition.
> >
> > TiVo allows you to watch one program from the hard disk while
> > recording two other programs from the tuners. The instant a program
> > begins recording, it shows up on the "Now Playing" list (the list of
> > all recorded programs), and you can begin watching it immediately,
> > even while it is still recording, without any special procedures.
> >
> > The TiVo unit is easy enough to use, that you probably don't even need
> > the manual to get started using it. Recording and watching shows,
> > rewinding and pausing live TV, and other features were intuitive and
> > easy to do. Even people who can't program a VCR should have no
> > trouble recording a show with the TiVo. You can use the Program Guide
> > to search through a programming grid, or use the remote to spell out
> > the name of a program, and let the TiVo hunt for it.
> >
> > It offers features such as "Season Pass"(TM), to record an entire TV
> > series, which lets you decide whether you want repeats or only new
> > shows. TiVo also has a feature they call "Wish Lists", which allow
> > you to select programming by type, actors, directors, or keywords.
> >
> > Another added feature is "TiVo Suggestions", where the TiVo records
> > shows it *thinks* you will enjoy. Contrary to rumors I've read
> > elsewhere, the TiVo will never erase programs you've recorded to make
> > room for suggestions. Further, suggestions will never be saved over
> > your own recordings. If, however, something catches your eye from the
> > suggestions list (identified by a different icon), you can tell the
> > TiVo to save the same as a program you recorded. When you first get
> > your TiVo, the suggested programs it records won't make much sense
> > until you "train" your TiVo by using the Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down
> > buttons. You can use this feature, for instance, if you like a show
> > well enough to watch it if you have time (or disk space), but not well
> > enough to record at the expense of other programs. If after all this,
> > you find the suggestions just too annoying, you can disable the
> > feature altogether, and only get the programs you record.
> >
> > Each program that gets recorded has an expiration date, which you can
> > program. When you set up recordings, you can choose to save until
> > room is needed (whereby old recordings get deleted first), or save
> > until you delete (whereby it will save the program even if it means
> > not recording anything new). Once a show is recorded, you can choose
> > how long to save it by setting a date, or "Save until I delete".
> > Icons on the program list tell you at a glance whether a program is at
> > risk of being deleted.
> >
> > You can also choose how many episodes of each show to save. In my
> > case, I like Letterman and Leno, but don't always have time to watch
> > them. So, limiting the TiVo to one copy of each show at least keeps
> > last night's episode available in case I hear something good was on
> > after the fact, but they won't pile up on me when I'm busy.
> >
> > The TiVo doesn't allow you to edit programs saved on disk. In other
> > words, if a sporting event or movie ended 30 minutes earlier than the
> > recording, there is no way to "chop off" the excess half hour, which
> > would leave room for more recording. Naturally, editing out
> > commercials is out of the question as well. I'm hoping that TiVo adds
> > simple editing in the future.
> >
> > DIRECTV with TiVo does not currently offer any networking options,
> > either to program it remotely (a feature that may be coming soon to
> > standard TiVo's) or to share program files with computers or other
> > TiVo units. However, my TiVo unit does have two USB ports, possibly
> > for future expansion.
> >
> > Because the DIRECTV TiVo unit constantly stores the last 30 minutes of
> > material from each tuner it is not using to record, you can often
> > record a program from the beginning if you come in at less than 30
> > minutes from the beginning, or you can simply rewind live TV to the
> > beginning and watch it from there. (This always happens to me when I
> > switch on the TV, and Discovery is in the middle of something that
> > hooks me in.) I have not confirmed this, but I read that if you
> > record a program in progress, the buffer is actually longer than 30
> > minutes, allowing you to catch the beginning of some shows even if you
> > can't rewind back that far "live". This only works if the tuner was
> > already tuned to the program. If you switch channels, the previous
> > information is lost and you can only rewind to the point where you
> > switched.
> >
> > I must say that the best feature of TiVo service is, it is now
> > (nearly) impossible for a TV network to "hide" a show from me that I
> > want to record. You "Scrubs" fans with VCR's know what I mean!
> > Sometimes it's on Tuesday, sometimes Thursday. Sometimes it starts
> > early, sometimes it runs long. As long as the network tells the DVR
> > service when a show will air (and properly reports whether it starts
> > two minutes early or runs 10 minutes long), you will get your show.
> > Note: When I first got my TiVo, I was missing the first two minutes
> > of "ER", and missing the last few minutes of "Scrubs", due to NBC
> > playing games with start and stop times. The network has since begun
> > reporting the actual times (9:59PM for ER, for instance), so the TiVo
> > has a chance to record the whole show. When they don't, the TiVo lets
> > you pad programs up to 10 minutes before the start or 3 hours past the
> > end.
> >
> > TiVo does not have commercial skip. All programming is recorded as
> > broadcast, including commercials. Since TiVo service depends on good
> > relations with broadcasters, who get paid to air commercials, this is
> > not likely to change. However, you can hunt the web for a TiVo
> > "Easter Egg" that enables a 30 second skip from the remote.
> >
> > How DIRECTV with TiVo differs from standard TiVo:
> >
> > Software:
> > While the software is written by TiVo, the service is maintained and
> > updated by DIRECTV, so you must get your support from DIRECTV if there
> > are problems. This also means that DIRECTV customers don't always get
> > the same level of software as standard TiVo customers, and may lag
> > behind by a few versions until DIRECTV qualifies a release for all
> > it's customers. As of this writing, for instance, DIRECTV does not
> > offer the version of software that includes folders for stored
> > programs. The DIRECTV logo and name are prominent on the DIRECTV TiVo
> > as well as the remote to remind you this is not your ordinary TiVo.
> >
> > Video Quality:
> > Stand-alone TiVo units contain their own Analog to Digital conversion
> > circuitry (standard audio / video inputs from your cable box, VCR,
> > etc., are converted to the digital format stored on the hard drive),
> > allowing you to select quality levels for each program, so you can
> > choose between high quality which takes up a lot of disk space, or
> > lower quality so you can store more programs. Since DIRECTV service
> > is already digital, their TiVo unit does no such conversions, so there
> > is no quality setting. You always get the best quality, meaning what
> > you play back is exactly the same as what came through the dish.
> >
> > Inputs:
> > The DIRECTV TiVo unit does not have external video inputs, and can
> > only record from the DIRECTV tuners. This means that if you cancel
> > your DIRECTV service and switch to cable, you will have to get another
> > DVR.
> >
> > As far as I know, the DIRECTV version is the only one I am aware of
> > that can record two programs at the same time. Every stand-alone TiVo
> > I've seen has only one set of inputs to record from.
> >
> > DIRECTV Service:
> > DIRECTV uses Digital Satellite Broadcasting, resulting in very clear
> > signals to my monitor. However, that clarity also exposes digital
> > anomalies (see side bar below). I have had numerous incidents where
> > the signal has gone away for a second or two, or a few. This usually
> > results in the picture freezing, getting severely pixellized, or
> > sometimes a truly ghastly effect: I once saw David Letterman's face
> > look like he was being burned to death, as red pixels from who knows
> > where invaded his face making the skin appear to melt away! The audio
> > often survives, but in the worst cases, the audio can come and go as
> > well. I have never seen these incidents last longer than a few
> > seconds, though it can happen a few times in a minute or two, and then
> > clear up.
> >
> > Summary:
> > DIRECTV with TiVo service provides the best combination of programming
> > and DVR flexibility that I have seen. The TiVo unit with two tuners
> > is a revolutionary way of watching TV, that has forced me to have to
> > choose programs NOT to watch, just so I can get other things done in
> > my life.
> >
> > Picture quality is mostly good to excellent, with the best being near
> > DVD quality, and the worst being highly pixelized due to either poor
> > digital conversion or low bandwidth. The worst channel I have seen is
> > TVLand, however, which is probably a good choice, since new, original
> > programming is watched more, and should get the best bandwidth.
> >
> > The pricing was the best I found at the time, offering more channels
> > than Dish network, and better pricing than Comcast. Consult
> > http://www.directv.com for current pricing information.
> >
> >
> > Side Bar:
> > Digital Video:
> > OK, folks, here is something you may or may not be aware of: Digital
> > Video is NOT perfect. Some of us with decent monitors can see video
> > anomalies that simply are not present in traditional analog video
> > programs. If you compare DIRECTV with a good, clean off-air
> > broadcast, you will see pixellation. However, Digital is here to
> > stay, and if you want any kind of premium programming, you're stuck
> > with it.
> >
> > You may think that your analog cable service is not digital, but it is
> > also digital at the source, though it may be transmitted through an
> > older analog cable converter or directly to your cable ready TV.
> > Before I switched to DIRECTV, I was able to see from my basic cable
> > service (Comcast), that they were indeed processing the video
> > digitally before retransmitting it to me. Services have only a
> > certain amount of bandwidth to use for digitized video, and some
> > premium services (HBO, for instance) will get more bandwidth than, say
> > TVLand or Fox. (Fox was the worst one from Comcast, and TVLand is one
> > of the worst from DIRECTV.)
> >
> > Old school thinking:
> > Once upon a time, analog cable was all analog. They took TV signals
> > off satellite dishes for cable channels, or off the air for broadcast
> > channels, coverted them to their cable channels, and sent them down
> > the cable. What cable customers saw, then, were defects caused by
> > rebroadcasting so many channels all together on the same cable,
> > sometimes interfering with one another. Those with cable, take a good
> > look at your screen, and notice the faint wavy lines in the picture
> > that are not part of your original program. That's from being
> > rebroadcast over your cable in analog form.
> >
> > Digital video:
> > Now, everyone decided that digital is the way to go, because with
> > computers we can do all kinds of things with the video, and if we can
> > decode it directly to a monitor (not through a TV tuner or analog
> > cable box), we can lose all the interference described above, as well
> > as ghosts and other strange anomalies from broadcast TV. However,
> > digital video has it's own shortcomings, which you can spot even on
> > high quality DVD's. Look at the sky, or a solid background or dark
> > scene, and you will see the blotches of color that are not as smooth
> > as they should be. Well, this is your future, kids.
> >
> > OK, DIRECTV's service is purely digital, so it has all the digital
> > anomalies I hate, but so does cable nowadays. With DIRECTV, however,
> > you lose the added insult of cross interference that you get with
> > analog cable. I imagine that digital cable should be just as clear as
> > DIRECTV's, however. When DIRECTV does a good job of encoding a
> > program, it can look like you've got a direct window into the studio
> > where they made the show you're watching.
> >
> > So, with DIRECTV, I will never see analog interference or poor quality
> > caused by analog signals, right? Wrong! Guess what? If you're
> > watching local broadcast programming through DIRECTV, you are watching
> > TV from their off-air antennas (antennae?), so if there is a storm
> > brewing in your town, your DIRECTV transmitted NBC station will have
> > the same interference as your rooftop antenna, except that DIRECTV
> > probably has a much better antenna, much closer to the source than
> > you. Further, would it surprise you to find out that some cable
> > channels still transmit their signals over analog satellite channels?
> > Well, they do, and your service provider has to digitize them and send
> > them to you.
> >
> > So, when you see the commercials claiming digital clarity, they are
> > only talking about how the signal gets from their broadcast center or
> > head end to your house, not the whole path these signals take.
> >
> > Side Bar:
> > Making your Satellite Service Installation go more smoothly:
> > Many of you probably think that if you get free installation of your
> > satellite service, the installer will cut through the walls, run cable
> > inside them (two sets for DIRECTV with Tivo, by the way), and patch up
> > the wall before they leave. Wrong! Free installation includes
> > running coax OUTSIDE your house, and punching it through to ONE tuner
> > box.
> >
> > If you're like me, you don't want ugly cables hanging outside your
> > house, and you certainly don't want the installer choosing where to
> > put the dish! Do your homework ahead of time, and plan where the dish
> > should go first. In my area, DIRECTV needed a clear, south facing
> > spot for the dish. If you can avoid it, don't let them put the dish
> > on top of the roof, on or under the shingles. If you have a sturdy
> > fascia on the side of the roof, the installer can us a mount designed
> > to go there. Pick a location close to where all your coax feeds will
> > come through.
> >
> > If you are so inclined, I highly recommend running your own coax
> > inside the walls before the installer arrives. Most houses are
> > pre-run with either coax or twin lead antenna cable, which will have
> > to be replaced. Go to your local electronics or home improvement
> > store (Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, and Home Depot are good choices),
> > and purchase RG6 coax, which is the best quality for satellite
> > reception. If you are getting a DIRECTV with TiVo, you will need TWO
> > runs of coax to the TiVo unit if you want to use both tuners. The
> > installer can help you hook it all up, or you can research further on
> > the web.
> >
> > Dan
Anonymous
May 16, 2004 3:16:50 AM

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

On 15 May 2004 18:55:40 -0700, nobody.home@sbcglobal.net (Nobody Home)
wrote:

>There is a hidden "easter egg" in the TiVo software that allows the
>"catch up" button ("->|" button) to act as a 30 second skip, but you
>have to enter the sequence every time the TiVo reboots. (For you
>TiVo-ites, play a program, then press Select, Play, Select, 3, 0,
>Select and you've got it.)
>
>Perhaps someone would like to write a detailed review of Panasonic's
>Replay TV. I would particularly be interested in a review from
>someone who has moved from TiVo. Any dual tuner Replays out there?
>Any Replay's with integrated satellite tuners, similar to DIRECTV's
>TiVo?

To my knowlege, there are no dual tuner analog DVRs of any sort,
Replay or otherwise. Replay has no satellite partners as of yet (I
read somwhere they could be involved in the Starchoice DVR, but that
is rumour).

>How about the networking? How hard would it be to watch a program
>from a remote unit while the one closest to you is recording? Does
>the program have to copy to your unit first, or can it play directly
>from the other unit on the network?

I think the program has to download first.

>Dan
>
>"BruceR" <brNOSPAM@hawaii.com> wrote in message news:<Cu%ic.4463$IO6.3323@twister.socal.rr.com>...
>> Sounds nice. When they add Show Sharing, Commercial Advance, Remote
>> Programming, Networked Units so you can watch and control any machine in
>> any room, and the ability to archive and retrieve to and from a PC from
>> any networked machine then perhaps it'll be worth a look. For the time
>> being it seems to be far less sophisticated than ReplayTV. Maybe
>> they'll catch up. I do like Tivo's idea of having dual tuners though.
>> As for Dish vs. Cable, the total package including a cable modem still
>> seems to work out better than the DISH option fo me.
>> As for the Commercial Advance feature, ReplayTV records the entire
>> program including commercials. You can watch them if you choose to. You
>> can also skip them automatically if you prefer. As for the advertisers
>> getting their money's worth - I don't care. I don't drink beer, need a
>> mortgage, drive the cars the they advertise, eat fast food, use feminine
>> hygene products, need advice on what drugs to "ask my doctor about"
>> (that's what I pay HIM to do!) or much believe anything in the ads
>> anyway. That being said, I sometimes just watch shows live anyway and
>> get exposed to and ignore that drivel. If they didn't bombard me with 10
>> obnoxious spots at a time every 7 minutes MAYBE I'd be more attentive.
>> If advertisers stop advertising then the networks will have to charge
>> for their programming and that's fine with me.
>>
>> From:Nobody Home
>> nobody.home@sbcglobal.net
>>
>> > Hi, everyone:
>> >
>> > I would like to offer the following review of DIRECTV with TiVo
>> > service, and to spark reviews of similar pay TV and DVR services you
>> > use. This way, prospective customers can make better choices, and
>> > those of us who only use one service can discover other alternatives.
>> >
>> > Pricing:
>> > Let's start with why I chose DIRECTV service with TiVo. It was purely
>> > economical. I compared the two satellite services and my local cable
>> > provider to determine who was going to offer the best combination of
>> > basic cable service plus HBO, the one premium service I wanted to add.
>> > (I just couldn't curb my enthusiasm for HBO's original programming,
>> > such as "The Sopranos"!)
>> >
>> > DIRECTV offered the most channels, plus local service at the lowest
>> > price, and offered "digital quality" (more on that later), claiming
>> > superior video quality compared to cable. DIRECTV's Total Choice Plus
>> > (all non-premium channels) with Local Channels ran me $39.99 a month.
>> > Total Choice Plus added a handful of channels more than Total Choice,
>> > maybe one of which I would watch, but it only cost an extra dollar a
>> > month, so why not? (Rates have since gone up. You'll have to compare
>> > current prices yourself, since these things change.)
>> >
>> > DIRECTV's TiVo service added the TiVo box with built-in DIRECTV tuners
>> > (so you don't need a separate satellite box), for $99.00 with a
>> > commitment to keep a minimum level of DIRECTV service for a year.
>> > Programming for the TiVo unit costs another $4.99 per month, which is
>> > the same as I would have paid for a second DIRECTV tuner, had I stayed
>> > with my previous VCR strategy. To me, this is a true bargain over
>> > stand-alone TiVo, which charged substantially more for the programming
>> > service. (Consult DIRECTV's web site http://www.directv.com for their
>> > current promotions and pricing.)
>> >
>> > Using the service:
>> > I received free installation, and set up was relatively easy, by
>> > calling the 800 number they gave me, and giving them the information
>> > from my tuner and TiVo units. I will give some advice later on how to
>> > make your installation go smoothly.
>> >
>> > TiVo Features:
>> > My TiVo unit is a Hughes Electronics HDVR2. The biggest feature I see
>> > with this setup is the fact that it contains two tuners, which to me
>> > makes it unbeatable if you record a lot of shows. You can record two
>> > programs at once from the tuners, even while watching another
>> > pre-recorded program off the disk. If you are not recording anything,
>> > you can also switch back and forth between the two tuners live, and
>> > pause or rewind live TV on both! (You Letterman fans who also like
>> > Leno will now be able to watch both shows at the same time, and can
>> > rewind one tuner to catch the Jay Walking segment that you missed
>> > while you were watching Will It Float on the other!)
>> >
>> > My TiVo unit came with a 40GB Hard Drive, advertised to store up to 35
>> > hours of programming. I found it to record somewhat less than 35
>> > hours, but still more than I can possibly watch without giving up my
>> > whole life to TiVo. Unfortunately, the TiVo does not give any
>> > indication on how full the hard disk is. Because different programs
>> > take up different amounts of space for the same amount of time (an
>> > hour of black and white with no stereo is less data than an hour of
>> > color, DTS Surrount Sound with subtitles), it is impossible for the
>> > TiVo to tell you how many hours are free. Still, something simple,
>> > like percent free, etc. would be a good addition.
>> >
>> > TiVo allows you to watch one program from the hard disk while
>> > recording two other programs from the tuners. The instant a program
>> > begins recording, it shows up on the "Now Playing" list (the list of
>> > all recorded programs), and you can begin watching it immediately,
>> > even while it is still recording, without any special procedures.
>> >
>> > The TiVo unit is easy enough to use, that you probably don't even need
>> > the manual to get started using it. Recording and watching shows,
>> > rewinding and pausing live TV, and other features were intuitive and
>> > easy to do. Even people who can't program a VCR should have no
>> > trouble recording a show with the TiVo. You can use the Program Guide
>> > to search through a programming grid, or use the remote to spell out
>> > the name of a program, and let the TiVo hunt for it.
>> >
>> > It offers features such as "Season Pass"(TM), to record an entire TV
>> > series, which lets you decide whether you want repeats or only new
>> > shows. TiVo also has a feature they call "Wish Lists", which allow
>> > you to select programming by type, actors, directors, or keywords.
>> >
>> > Another added feature is "TiVo Suggestions", where the TiVo records
>> > shows it *thinks* you will enjoy. Contrary to rumors I've read
>> > elsewhere, the TiVo will never erase programs you've recorded to make
>> > room for suggestions. Further, suggestions will never be saved over
>> > your own recordings. If, however, something catches your eye from the
>> > suggestions list (identified by a different icon), you can tell the
>> > TiVo to save the same as a program you recorded. When you first get
>> > your TiVo, the suggested programs it records won't make much sense
>> > until you "train" your TiVo by using the Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down
>> > buttons. You can use this feature, for instance, if you like a show
>> > well enough to watch it if you have time (or disk space), but not well
>> > enough to record at the expense of other programs. If after all this,
>> > you find the suggestions just too annoying, you can disable the
>> > feature altogether, and only get the programs you record.
>> >
>> > Each program that gets recorded has an expiration date, which you can
>> > program. When you set up recordings, you can choose to save until
>> > room is needed (whereby old recordings get deleted first), or save
>> > until you delete (whereby it will save the program even if it means
>> > not recording anything new). Once a show is recorded, you can choose
>> > how long to save it by setting a date, or "Save until I delete".
>> > Icons on the program list tell you at a glance whether a program is at
>> > risk of being deleted.
>> >
>> > You can also choose how many episodes of each show to save. In my
>> > case, I like Letterman and Leno, but don't always have time to watch
>> > them. So, limiting the TiVo to one copy of each show at least keeps
>> > last night's episode available in case I hear something good was on
>> > after the fact, but they won't pile up on me when I'm busy.
>> >
>> > The TiVo doesn't allow you to edit programs saved on disk. In other
>> > words, if a sporting event or movie ended 30 minutes earlier than the
>> > recording, there is no way to "chop off" the excess half hour, which
>> > would leave room for more recording. Naturally, editing out
>> > commercials is out of the question as well. I'm hoping that TiVo adds
>> > simple editing in the future.
>> >
>> > DIRECTV with TiVo does not currently offer any networking options,
>> > either to program it remotely (a feature that may be coming soon to
>> > standard TiVo's) or to share program files with computers or other
>> > TiVo units. However, my TiVo unit does have two USB ports, possibly
>> > for future expansion.
>> >
>> > Because the DIRECTV TiVo unit constantly stores the last 30 minutes of
>> > material from each tuner it is not using to record, you can often
>> > record a program from the beginning if you come in at less than 30
>> > minutes from the beginning, or you can simply rewind live TV to the
>> > beginning and watch it from there. (This always happens to me when I
>> > switch on the TV, and Discovery is in the middle of something that
>> > hooks me in.) I have not confirmed this, but I read that if you
>> > record a program in progress, the buffer is actually longer than 30
>> > minutes, allowing you to catch the beginning of some shows even if you
>> > can't rewind back that far "live". This only works if the tuner was
>> > already tuned to the program. If you switch channels, the previous
>> > information is lost and you can only rewind to the point where you
>> > switched.
>> >
>> > I must say that the best feature of TiVo service is, it is now
>> > (nearly) impossible for a TV network to "hide" a show from me that I
>> > want to record. You "Scrubs" fans with VCR's know what I mean!
>> > Sometimes it's on Tuesday, sometimes Thursday. Sometimes it starts
>> > early, sometimes it runs long. As long as the network tells the DVR
>> > service when a show will air (and properly reports whether it starts
>> > two minutes early or runs 10 minutes long), you will get your show.
>> > Note: When I first got my TiVo, I was missing the first two minutes
>> > of "ER", and missing the last few minutes of "Scrubs", due to NBC
>> > playing games with start and stop times. The network has since begun
>> > reporting the actual times (9:59PM for ER, for instance), so the TiVo
>> > has a chance to record the whole show. When they don't, the TiVo lets
>> > you pad programs up to 10 minutes before the start or 3 hours past the
>> > end.
>> >
>> > TiVo does not have commercial skip. All programming is recorded as
>> > broadcast, including commercials. Since TiVo service depends on good
>> > relations with broadcasters, who get paid to air commercials, this is
>> > not likely to change. However, you can hunt the web for a TiVo
>> > "Easter Egg" that enables a 30 second skip from the remote.
>> >
>> > How DIRECTV with TiVo differs from standard TiVo:
>> >
>> > Software:
>> > While the software is written by TiVo, the service is maintained and
>> > updated by DIRECTV, so you must get your support from DIRECTV if there
>> > are problems. This also means that DIRECTV customers don't always get
>> > the same level of software as standard TiVo customers, and may lag
>> > behind by a few versions until DIRECTV qualifies a release for all
>> > it's customers. As of this writing, for instance, DIRECTV does not
>> > offer the version of software that includes folders for stored
>> > programs. The DIRECTV logo and name are prominent on the DIRECTV TiVo
>> > as well as the remote to remind you this is not your ordinary TiVo.
>> >
>> > Video Quality:
>> > Stand-alone TiVo units contain their own Analog to Digital conversion
>> > circuitry (standard audio / video inputs from your cable box, VCR,
>> > etc., are converted to the digital format stored on the hard drive),
>> > allowing you to select quality levels for each program, so you can
>> > choose between high quality which takes up a lot of disk space, or
>> > lower quality so you can store more programs. Since DIRECTV service
>> > is already digital, their TiVo unit does no such conversions, so there
>> > is no quality setting. You always get the best quality, meaning what
>> > you play back is exactly the same as what came through the dish.
>> >
>> > Inputs:
>> > The DIRECTV TiVo unit does not have external video inputs, and can
>> > only record from the DIRECTV tuners. This means that if you cancel
>> > your DIRECTV service and switch to cable, you will have to get another
>> > DVR.
>> >
>> > As far as I know, the DIRECTV version is the only one I am aware of
>> > that can record two programs at the same time. Every stand-alone TiVo
>> > I've seen has only one set of inputs to record from.
>> >
>> > DIRECTV Service:
>> > DIRECTV uses Digital Satellite Broadcasting, resulting in very clear
>> > signals to my monitor. However, that clarity also exposes digital
>> > anomalies (see side bar below). I have had numerous incidents where
>> > the signal has gone away for a second or two, or a few. This usually
>> > results in the picture freezing, getting severely pixellized, or
>> > sometimes a truly ghastly effect: I once saw David Letterman's face
>> > look like he was being burned to death, as red pixels from who knows
>> > where invaded his face making the skin appear to melt away! The audio
>> > often survives, but in the worst cases, the audio can come and go as
>> > well. I have never seen these incidents last longer than a few
>> > seconds, though it can happen a few times in a minute or two, and then
>> > clear up.
>> >
>> > Summary:
>> > DIRECTV with TiVo service provides the best combination of programming
>> > and DVR flexibility that I have seen. The TiVo unit with two tuners
>> > is a revolutionary way of watching TV, that has forced me to have to
>> > choose programs NOT to watch, just so I can get other things done in
>> > my life.
>> >
>> > Picture quality is mostly good to excellent, with the best being near
>> > DVD quality, and the worst being highly pixelized due to either poor
>> > digital conversion or low bandwidth. The worst channel I have seen is
>> > TVLand, however, which is probably a good choice, since new, original
>> > programming is watched more, and should get the best bandwidth.
>> >
>> > The pricing was the best I found at the time, offering more channels
>> > than Dish network, and better pricing than Comcast. Consult
>> > http://www.directv.com for current pricing information.
>> >
>> >
>> > Side Bar:
>> > Digital Video:
>> > OK, folks, here is something you may or may not be aware of: Digital
>> > Video is NOT perfect. Some of us with decent monitors can see video
>> > anomalies that simply are not present in traditional analog video
>> > programs. If you compare DIRECTV with a good, clean off-air
>> > broadcast, you will see pixellation. However, Digital is here to
>> > stay, and if you want any kind of premium programming, you're stuck
>> > with it.
>> >
>> > You may think that your analog cable service is not digital, but it is
>> > also digital at the source, though it may be transmitted through an
>> > older analog cable converter or directly to your cable ready TV.
>> > Before I switched to DIRECTV, I was able to see from my basic cable
>> > service (Comcast), that they were indeed processing the video
>> > digitally before retransmitting it to me. Services have only a
>> > certain amount of bandwidth to use for digitized video, and some
>> > premium services (HBO, for instance) will get more bandwidth than, say
>> > TVLand or Fox. (Fox was the worst one from Comcast, and TVLand is one
>> > of the worst from DIRECTV.)
>> >
>> > Old school thinking:
>> > Once upon a time, analog cable was all analog. They took TV signals
>> > off satellite dishes for cable channels, or off the air for broadcast
>> > channels, coverted them to their cable channels, and sent them down
>> > the cable. What cable customers saw, then, were defects caused by
>> > rebroadcasting so many channels all together on the same cable,
>> > sometimes interfering with one another. Those with cable, take a good
>> > look at your screen, and notice the faint wavy lines in the picture
>> > that are not part of your original program. That's from being
>> > rebroadcast over your cable in analog form.
>> >
>> > Digital video:
>> > Now, everyone decided that digital is the way to go, because with
>> > computers we can do all kinds of things with the video, and if we can
>> > decode it directly to a monitor (not through a TV tuner or analog
>> > cable box), we can lose all the interference described above, as well
>> > as ghosts and other strange anomalies from broadcast TV. However,
>> > digital video has it's own shortcomings, which you can spot even on
>> > high quality DVD's. Look at the sky, or a solid background or dark
>> > scene, and you will see the blotches of color that are not as smooth
>> > as they should be. Well, this is your future, kids.
>> >
>> > OK, DIRECTV's service is purely digital, so it has all the digital
>> > anomalies I hate, but so does cable nowadays. With DIRECTV, however,
>> > you lose the added insult of cross interference that you get with
>> > analog cable. I imagine that digital cable should be just as clear as
>> > DIRECTV's, however. When DIRECTV does a good job of encoding a
>> > program, it can look like you've got a direct window into the studio
>> > where they made the show you're watching.
>> >
>> > So, with DIRECTV, I will never see analog interference or poor quality
>> > caused by analog signals, right? Wrong! Guess what? If you're
>> > watching local broadcast programming through DIRECTV, you are watching
>> > TV from their off-air antennas (antennae?), so if there is a storm
>> > brewing in your town, your DIRECTV transmitted NBC station will have
>> > the same interference as your rooftop antenna, except that DIRECTV
>> > probably has a much better antenna, much closer to the source than
>> > you. Further, would it surprise you to find out that some cable
>> > channels still transmit their signals over analog satellite channels?
>> > Well, they do, and your service provider has to digitize them and send
>> > them to you.
>> >
>> > So, when you see the commercials claiming digital clarity, they are
>> > only talking about how the signal gets from their broadcast center or
>> > head end to your house, not the whole path these signals take.
>> >
>> > Side Bar:
>> > Making your Satellite Service Installation go more smoothly:
>> > Many of you probably think that if you get free installation of your
>> > satellite service, the installer will cut through the walls, run cable
>> > inside them (two sets for DIRECTV with Tivo, by the way), and patch up
>> > the wall before they leave. Wrong! Free installation includes
>> > running coax OUTSIDE your house, and punching it through to ONE tuner
>> > box.
>> >
>> > If you're like me, you don't want ugly cables hanging outside your
>> > house, and you certainly don't want the installer choosing where to
>> > put the dish! Do your homework ahead of time, and plan where the dish
>> > should go first. In my area, DIRECTV needed a clear, south facing
>> > spot for the dish. If you can avoid it, don't let them put the dish
>> > on top of the roof, on or under the shingles. If you have a sturdy
>> > fascia on the side of the roof, the installer can us a mount designed
>> > to go there. Pick a location close to where all your coax feeds will
>> > come through.
>> >
>> > If you are so inclined, I highly recommend running your own coax
>> > inside the walls before the installer arrives. Most houses are
>> > pre-run with either coax or twin lead antenna cable, which will have
>> > to be replaced. Go to your local electronics or home improvement
>> > store (Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, and Home Depot are good choices),
>> > and purchase RG6 coax, which is the best quality for satellite
>> > reception. If you are getting a DIRECTV with TiVo, you will need TWO
>> > runs of coax to the TiVo unit if you want to use both tuners. The
>> > installer can help you hook it all up, or you can research further on
>> > the web.
>> >
>> > Dan
Anonymous
May 16, 2004 6:44:05 AM

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

Well, 1st of all, ReplayTV is not a Panasonic product. Panasonic used to
market an earlier version of RTV under their brand but not any longer.
RTV has a "Quick Skip" button on the remote that jumps ahead 30 seconds
or, if you press a numeric key first, it will jump that number of
minutes. So, if you press 12 then the QS button you'll jump forward 12
minutes. It also has a Show Nav function to jump to the next scene.
Commercial Advance is fully automatic and is my favorite feature but no
longer offered on the 5500 series. 5000 series are still readily
available from the ReplayTV site or on ebay.
ReplayTV's are stand-alone and can be used with any cable or sat box
but are not combined (currently) with any other boxes.
As for "how hard would it be to watch a program from a remote unit
while the one closest to you is recording?" It's not hard at all - in
fact it's easy. You can watch any show from any networked machine while
any machine is recording. So, if the one "closest to you" is recording
something you can still use it to watch a show recorded on another
machine or archived to your PC. The video from the remote machine is
streaming and is not stored on the machine you are viewing it from.
Also, if you pause the show in one room and then go to watch it in
another room, you can either pick up and continue the paused show or
start fresh in the other room.
I have 5 RTV's (all 5000 series) and I'm very pleased with them. The
networking is rock solid and required virtually no effort or router
configuration. Port Forwarding needs to be done for Show Sharing with
other people's units.
Due to an error on my part I missed recording one of my favorite shows
the other night. I went to Poopli.com and requested the show I missed.
Within an hour another kind soul had sent me the show which I was able
to d/l overnight and watch the next day. Sure beats waiting for the
rerun!

From:Nobody Home
nobody.home@sbcglobal.net

> There is a hidden "easter egg" in the TiVo software that allows the
> "catch up" button ("->|" button) to act as a 30 second skip, but you
> have to enter the sequence every time the TiVo reboots. (For you
> TiVo-ites, play a program, then press Select, Play, Select, 3, 0,
> Select and you've got it.)
>
> Perhaps someone would like to write a detailed review of Panasonic's
> Replay TV. I would particularly be interested in a review from
> someone who has moved from TiVo. Any dual tuner Replays out there?
> Any Replay's with integrated satellite tuners, similar to DIRECTV's
> TiVo?
>
> How about the networking? How hard would it be to watch a program
> from a remote unit while the one closest to you is recording? Does
> the program have to copy to your unit first, or can it play directly
> from the other unit on the network?
>
> Dan
>
> "BruceR" <brNOSPAM@hawaii.com> wrote in message
> news:<Cu%ic.4463$IO6.3323@twister.socal.rr.com>...
>> Sounds nice. When they add Show Sharing, Commercial Advance, Remote
>> Programming, Networked Units so you can watch and control any
>> machine in any room, and the ability to archive and retrieve to and
>> from a PC from any networked machine then perhaps it'll be worth a
>> look. For the time being it seems to be far less sophisticated than
>> ReplayTV. Maybe they'll catch up. I do like Tivo's idea of having
>> dual tuners though. As for Dish vs. Cable, the total package
>> including a cable modem still seems to work out better than the DISH
>> option fo me. As for the Commercial Advance feature, ReplayTV
>> records the entire program including commercials. You can watch them
>> if you choose to. You can also skip them automatically if you
>> prefer. As for the advertisers getting their money's worth - I don't
>> care. I don't drink beer, need a mortgage, drive the cars the they
>> advertise, eat fast food, use feminine hygene products, need advice
>> on what drugs to "ask my doctor about" (that's what I pay HIM to
>> do!) or much believe anything in the ads anyway. That being said, I
>> sometimes just watch shows live anyway and get exposed to and ignore
>> that drivel. If they didn't bombard me with 10 obnoxious spots at a
>> time every 7 minutes MAYBE I'd be more attentive. If advertisers
>> stop advertising then the networks will have to charge for their
>> programming and that's fine with me.
>>
>> From:Nobody Home
>> nobody.home@sbcglobal.net
>>
>>> Hi, everyone:
>>>
>>> I would like to offer the following review of DIRECTV with TiVo
>>> service, and to spark reviews of similar pay TV and DVR services you
>>> use. This way, prospective customers can make better choices, and
>>> those of us who only use one service can discover other
>>> alternatives.
>>>
>>> Pricing:
>>> Let's start with why I chose DIRECTV service with TiVo. It was
>>> purely economical. I compared the two satellite services and my
>>> local cable provider to determine who was going to offer the best
>>> combination of basic cable service plus HBO, the one premium
>>> service I wanted to add. (I just couldn't curb my enthusiasm for
>>> HBO's original programming, such as "The Sopranos"!)
>>>
>>> DIRECTV offered the most channels, plus local service at the lowest
>>> price, and offered "digital quality" (more on that later), claiming
>>> superior video quality compared to cable. DIRECTV's Total Choice
>>> Plus (all non-premium channels) with Local Channels ran me $39.99 a
>>> month. Total Choice Plus added a handful of channels more than
>>> Total Choice, maybe one of which I would watch, but it only cost an
>>> extra dollar a month, so why not? (Rates have since gone up.
>>> You'll have to compare current prices yourself, since these things
>>> change.)
>>>
>>> DIRECTV's TiVo service added the TiVo box with built-in DIRECTV
>>> tuners (so you don't need a separate satellite box), for $99.00
>>> with a commitment to keep a minimum level of DIRECTV service for a
>>> year. Programming for the TiVo unit costs another $4.99 per month,
>>> which is the same as I would have paid for a second DIRECTV tuner,
>>> had I stayed with my previous VCR strategy. To me, this is a true
>>> bargain over stand-alone TiVo, which charged substantially more for
>>> the programming service. (Consult DIRECTV's web site
>>> http://www.directv.com for their current promotions and pricing.)
>>>
>>> Using the service:
>>> I received free installation, and set up was relatively easy, by
>>> calling the 800 number they gave me, and giving them the information
>>> from my tuner and TiVo units. I will give some advice later on how
>>> to make your installation go smoothly.
>>>
>>> TiVo Features:
>>> My TiVo unit is a Hughes Electronics HDVR2. The biggest feature I
>>> see with this setup is the fact that it contains two tuners, which
>>> to me makes it unbeatable if you record a lot of shows. You can
>>> record two programs at once from the tuners, even while watching
>>> another pre-recorded program off the disk. If you are not
>>> recording anything, you can also switch back and forth between the
>>> two tuners live, and pause or rewind live TV on both! (You
>>> Letterman fans who also like Leno will now be able to watch both
>>> shows at the same time, and can rewind one tuner to catch the Jay
>>> Walking segment that you missed while you were watching Will It
>>> Float on the other!)
>>>
>>> My TiVo unit came with a 40GB Hard Drive, advertised to store up to
>>> 35 hours of programming. I found it to record somewhat less than 35
>>> hours, but still more than I can possibly watch without giving up my
>>> whole life to TiVo. Unfortunately, the TiVo does not give any
>>> indication on how full the hard disk is. Because different programs
>>> take up different amounts of space for the same amount of time (an
>>> hour of black and white with no stereo is less data than an hour of
>>> color, DTS Surrount Sound with subtitles), it is impossible for the
>>> TiVo to tell you how many hours are free. Still, something simple,
>>> like percent free, etc. would be a good addition.
>>>
>>> TiVo allows you to watch one program from the hard disk while
>>> recording two other programs from the tuners. The instant a program
>>> begins recording, it shows up on the "Now Playing" list (the list of
>>> all recorded programs), and you can begin watching it immediately,
>>> even while it is still recording, without any special procedures.
>>>
>>> The TiVo unit is easy enough to use, that you probably don't even
>>> need the manual to get started using it. Recording and watching
>>> shows, rewinding and pausing live TV, and other features were
>>> intuitive and easy to do. Even people who can't program a VCR
>>> should have no trouble recording a show with the TiVo. You can use
>>> the Program Guide to search through a programming grid, or use the
>>> remote to spell out the name of a program, and let the TiVo hunt
>>> for it.
>>>
>>> It offers features such as "Season Pass"(TM), to record an entire TV
>>> series, which lets you decide whether you want repeats or only new
>>> shows. TiVo also has a feature they call "Wish Lists", which allow
>>> you to select programming by type, actors, directors, or keywords.
>>>
>>> Another added feature is "TiVo Suggestions", where the TiVo records
>>> shows it *thinks* you will enjoy. Contrary to rumors I've read
>>> elsewhere, the TiVo will never erase programs you've recorded to
>>> make room for suggestions. Further, suggestions will never be
>>> saved over your own recordings. If, however, something catches
>>> your eye from the suggestions list (identified by a different
>>> icon), you can tell the TiVo to save the same as a program you
>>> recorded. When you first get your TiVo, the suggested programs it
>>> records won't make much sense until you "train" your TiVo by using
>>> the Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down buttons. You can use this feature,
>>> for instance, if you like a show well enough to watch it if you
>>> have time (or disk space), but not well enough to record at the
>>> expense of other programs. If after all this, you find the
>>> suggestions just too annoying, you can disable the feature
>>> altogether, and only get the programs you record.
>>>
>>> Each program that gets recorded has an expiration date, which you
>>> can program. When you set up recordings, you can choose to save
>>> until room is needed (whereby old recordings get deleted first), or
>>> save until you delete (whereby it will save the program even if it
>>> means not recording anything new). Once a show is recorded, you
>>> can choose how long to save it by setting a date, or "Save until I
>>> delete". Icons on the program list tell you at a glance whether a
>>> program is at risk of being deleted.
>>>
>>> You can also choose how many episodes of each show to save. In my
>>> case, I like Letterman and Leno, but don't always have time to watch
>>> them. So, limiting the TiVo to one copy of each show at least keeps
>>> last night's episode available in case I hear something good was on
>>> after the fact, but they won't pile up on me when I'm busy.
>>>
>>> The TiVo doesn't allow you to edit programs saved on disk. In other
>>> words, if a sporting event or movie ended 30 minutes earlier than
>>> the recording, there is no way to "chop off" the excess half hour,
>>> which would leave room for more recording. Naturally, editing out
>>> commercials is out of the question as well. I'm hoping that TiVo
>>> adds simple editing in the future.
>>>
>>> DIRECTV with TiVo does not currently offer any networking options,
>>> either to program it remotely (a feature that may be coming soon to
>>> standard TiVo's) or to share program files with computers or other
>>> TiVo units. However, my TiVo unit does have two USB ports, possibly
>>> for future expansion.
>>>
>>> Because the DIRECTV TiVo unit constantly stores the last 30 minutes
>>> of material from each tuner it is not using to record, you can often
>>> record a program from the beginning if you come in at less than 30
>>> minutes from the beginning, or you can simply rewind live TV to the
>>> beginning and watch it from there. (This always happens to me when
>>> I switch on the TV, and Discovery is in the middle of something that
>>> hooks me in.) I have not confirmed this, but I read that if you
>>> record a program in progress, the buffer is actually longer than 30
>>> minutes, allowing you to catch the beginning of some shows even if
>>> you can't rewind back that far "live". This only works if the
>>> tuner was already tuned to the program. If you switch channels,
>>> the previous information is lost and you can only rewind to the
>>> point where you switched.
>>>
>>> I must say that the best feature of TiVo service is, it is now
>>> (nearly) impossible for a TV network to "hide" a show from me that I
>>> want to record. You "Scrubs" fans with VCR's know what I mean!
>>> Sometimes it's on Tuesday, sometimes Thursday. Sometimes it starts
>>> early, sometimes it runs long. As long as the network tells the DVR
>>> service when a show will air (and properly reports whether it starts
>>> two minutes early or runs 10 minutes long), you will get your show.
>>> Note: When I first got my TiVo, I was missing the first two minutes
>>> of "ER", and missing the last few minutes of "Scrubs", due to NBC
>>> playing games with start and stop times. The network has since
>>> begun reporting the actual times (9:59PM for ER, for instance), so
>>> the TiVo has a chance to record the whole show. When they don't,
>>> the TiVo lets you pad programs up to 10 minutes before the start or
>>> 3 hours past the end.
>>>
>>> TiVo does not have commercial skip. All programming is recorded as
>>> broadcast, including commercials. Since TiVo service depends on
>>> good relations with broadcasters, who get paid to air commercials,
>>> this is not likely to change. However, you can hunt the web for a
>>> TiVo "Easter Egg" that enables a 30 second skip from the remote.
>>>
>>> How DIRECTV with TiVo differs from standard TiVo:
>>>
>>> Software:
>>> While the software is written by TiVo, the service is maintained and
>>> updated by DIRECTV, so you must get your support from DIRECTV if
>>> there are problems. This also means that DIRECTV customers don't
>>> always get the same level of software as standard TiVo customers,
>>> and may lag behind by a few versions until DIRECTV qualifies a
>>> release for all it's customers. As of this writing, for instance,
>>> DIRECTV does not offer the version of software that includes
>>> folders for stored programs. The DIRECTV logo and name are
>>> prominent on the DIRECTV TiVo as well as the remote to remind you
>>> this is not your ordinary TiVo.
>>>
>>> Video Quality:
>>> Stand-alone TiVo units contain their own Analog to Digital
>>> conversion circuitry (standard audio / video inputs from your cable
>>> box, VCR, etc., are converted to the digital format stored on the
>>> hard drive), allowing you to select quality levels for each
>>> program, so you can choose between high quality which takes up a
>>> lot of disk space, or lower quality so you can store more programs.
>>> Since DIRECTV service is already digital, their TiVo unit does no
>>> such conversions, so there is no quality setting. You always get
>>> the best quality, meaning what you play back is exactly the same as
>>> what came through the dish.
>>>
>>> Inputs:
>>> The DIRECTV TiVo unit does not have external video inputs, and can
>>> only record from the DIRECTV tuners. This means that if you cancel
>>> your DIRECTV service and switch to cable, you will have to get
>>> another DVR.
>>>
>>> As far as I know, the DIRECTV version is the only one I am aware of
>>> that can record two programs at the same time. Every stand-alone
>>> TiVo I've seen has only one set of inputs to record from.
>>>
>>> DIRECTV Service:
>>> DIRECTV uses Digital Satellite Broadcasting, resulting in very clear
>>> signals to my monitor. However, that clarity also exposes digital
>>> anomalies (see side bar below). I have had numerous incidents where
>>> the signal has gone away for a second or two, or a few. This
>>> usually results in the picture freezing, getting severely
>>> pixellized, or sometimes a truly ghastly effect: I once saw David
>>> Letterman's face look like he was being burned to death, as red
>>> pixels from who knows where invaded his face making the skin appear
>>> to melt away! The audio often survives, but in the worst cases,
>>> the audio can come and go as well. I have never seen these
>>> incidents last longer than a few seconds, though it can happen a
>>> few times in a minute or two, and then clear up.
>>>
>>> Summary:
>>> DIRECTV with TiVo service provides the best combination of
>>> programming and DVR flexibility that I have seen. The TiVo unit
>>> with two tuners is a revolutionary way of watching TV, that has
>>> forced me to have to choose programs NOT to watch, just so I can
>>> get other things done in my life.
>>>
>>> Picture quality is mostly good to excellent, with the best being
>>> near DVD quality, and the worst being highly pixelized due to
>>> either poor digital conversion or low bandwidth. The worst channel
>>> I have seen is TVLand, however, which is probably a good choice,
>>> since new, original programming is watched more, and should get the
>>> best bandwidth.
>>>
>>> The pricing was the best I found at the time, offering more channels
>>> than Dish network, and better pricing than Comcast. Consult
>>> http://www.directv.com for current pricing information.
>>>
>>>
>>> Side Bar:
>>> Digital Video:
>>> OK, folks, here is something you may or may not be aware of:
>>> Digital Video is NOT perfect. Some of us with decent monitors can
>>> see video anomalies that simply are not present in traditional
>>> analog video programs. If you compare DIRECTV with a good, clean
>>> off-air broadcast, you will see pixellation. However, Digital is
>>> here to stay, and if you want any kind of premium programming,
>>> you're stuck with it.
>>>
>>> You may think that your analog cable service is not digital, but it
>>> is also digital at the source, though it may be transmitted through
>>> an older analog cable converter or directly to your cable ready TV.
>>> Before I switched to DIRECTV, I was able to see from my basic cable
>>> service (Comcast), that they were indeed processing the video
>>> digitally before retransmitting it to me. Services have only a
>>> certain amount of bandwidth to use for digitized video, and some
>>> premium services (HBO, for instance) will get more bandwidth than,
>>> say TVLand or Fox. (Fox was the worst one from Comcast, and TVLand
>>> is one of the worst from DIRECTV.)
>>>
>>> Old school thinking:
>>> Once upon a time, analog cable was all analog. They took TV signals
>>> off satellite dishes for cable channels, or off the air for
>>> broadcast channels, coverted them to their cable channels, and sent
>>> them down the cable. What cable customers saw, then, were defects
>>> caused by rebroadcasting so many channels all together on the same
>>> cable, sometimes interfering with one another. Those with cable,
>>> take a good look at your screen, and notice the faint wavy lines in
>>> the picture that are not part of your original program. That's
>>> from being rebroadcast over your cable in analog form.
>>>
>>> Digital video:
>>> Now, everyone decided that digital is the way to go, because with
>>> computers we can do all kinds of things with the video, and if we
>>> can decode it directly to a monitor (not through a TV tuner or
>>> analog cable box), we can lose all the interference described
>>> above, as well as ghosts and other strange anomalies from broadcast
>>> TV. However, digital video has it's own shortcomings, which you
>>> can spot even on high quality DVD's. Look at the sky, or a solid
>>> background or dark scene, and you will see the blotches of color
>>> that are not as smooth as they should be. Well, this is your
>>> future, kids.
>>>
>>> OK, DIRECTV's service is purely digital, so it has all the digital
>>> anomalies I hate, but so does cable nowadays. With DIRECTV,
>>> however, you lose the added insult of cross interference that you
>>> get with analog cable. I imagine that digital cable should be just
>>> as clear as DIRECTV's, however. When DIRECTV does a good job of
>>> encoding a program, it can look like you've got a direct window
>>> into the studio where they made the show you're watching.
>>>
>>> So, with DIRECTV, I will never see analog interference or poor
>>> quality caused by analog signals, right? Wrong! Guess what? If
>>> you're watching local broadcast programming through DIRECTV, you
>>> are watching TV from their off-air antennas (antennae?), so if
>>> there is a storm brewing in your town, your DIRECTV transmitted NBC
>>> station will have the same interference as your rooftop antenna,
>>> except that DIRECTV probably has a much better antenna, much closer
>>> to the source than you. Further, would it surprise you to find out
>>> that some cable channels still transmit their signals over analog
>>> satellite channels? Well, they do, and your service provider has to
>>> digitize them and send them to you.
>>>
>>> So, when you see the commercials claiming digital clarity, they are
>>> only talking about how the signal gets from their broadcast center
>>> or head end to your house, not the whole path these signals take.
>>>
>>> Side Bar:
>>> Making your Satellite Service Installation go more smoothly:
>>> Many of you probably think that if you get free installation of your
>>> satellite service, the installer will cut through the walls, run
>>> cable inside them (two sets for DIRECTV with Tivo, by the way), and
>>> patch up the wall before they leave. Wrong! Free installation
>>> includes running coax OUTSIDE your house, and punching it through
>>> to ONE tuner box.
>>>
>>> If you're like me, you don't want ugly cables hanging outside your
>>> house, and you certainly don't want the installer choosing where to
>>> put the dish! Do your homework ahead of time, and plan where the
>>> dish should go first. In my area, DIRECTV needed a clear, south
>>> facing spot for the dish. If you can avoid it, don't let them put
>>> the dish on top of the roof, on or under the shingles. If you have
>>> a sturdy fascia on the side of the roof, the installer can us a
>>> mount designed to go there. Pick a location close to where all
>>> your coax feeds will come through.
>>>
>>> If you are so inclined, I highly recommend running your own coax
>>> inside the walls before the installer arrives. Most houses are
>>> pre-run with either coax or twin lead antenna cable, which will have
>>> to be replaced. Go to your local electronics or home improvement
>>> store (Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, and Home Depot are good
>>> choices), and purchase RG6 coax, which is the best quality for
>>> satellite reception. If you are getting a DIRECTV with TiVo, you
>>> will need TWO runs of coax to the TiVo unit if you want to use both
>>> tuners. The installer can help you hook it all up, or you can
>>> research further on the web.
>>>
>>> Dan
Anonymous
May 16, 2004 10:14:48 AM

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

When watching a show on a networked RTV - meaning another unit in your
home connected to your LAN - the video is streaming from the remote
unit to the local one and it is not loaded on the local machine. If you
are doing Show Sharing - meaning that your are downloading a show from
someone's machine in another home via the internet - the show is
downloaded before you play it back. The reason is that it typically
takes 6-12 hours to download a show at standard quality due to the
upload speed restrictions on most DSL/Cable broadband plans. Of course
there are no such limitations on your LAN so streaming works fine.

As for dual tuners, no, RTV doesn't have them. However the Cable Box/DVR
combos offered by some cable companies do have dual tuners that let you
record one program while watching another. Also, Sony has announced a 7
(count 'em!) tuner DVR with 1 TB of storage (that's one TeraByte!). It
will be released in Japan shortly but plans to market it in the USA have
not been announced.


From:Gary Tait
classicsat@yahoo.cominvalid

> On 15 May 2004 18:55:40 -0700, nobody.home@sbcglobal.net (Nobody Home)
> wrote:
>
>> There is a hidden "easter egg" in the TiVo software that allows the
>> "catch up" button ("->|" button) to act as a 30 second skip, but you
>> have to enter the sequence every time the TiVo reboots. (For you
>> TiVo-ites, play a program, then press Select, Play, Select, 3, 0,
>> Select and you've got it.)
>>
>> Perhaps someone would like to write a detailed review of Panasonic's
>> Replay TV. I would particularly be interested in a review from
>> someone who has moved from TiVo. Any dual tuner Replays out there?
>> Any Replay's with integrated satellite tuners, similar to DIRECTV's
>> TiVo?
>
> To my knowlege, there are no dual tuner analog DVRs of any sort,
> Replay or otherwise. Replay has no satellite partners as of yet (I
> read somwhere they could be involved in the Starchoice DVR, but that
> is rumour).
>
>> How about the networking? How hard would it be to watch a program
>> from a remote unit while the one closest to you is recording? Does
>> the program have to copy to your unit first, or can it play directly
>> from the other unit on the network?
>
> I think the program has to download first.
>
>> Dan
>>
>> "BruceR" <brNOSPAM@hawaii.com> wrote in message
>> news:<Cu%ic.4463$IO6.3323@twister.socal.rr.com>...
>>> Sounds nice. When they add Show Sharing, Commercial Advance, Remote
>>> Programming, Networked Units so you can watch and control any
>>> machine in any room, and the ability to archive and retrieve to and
>>> from a PC from any networked machine then perhaps it'll be worth a
>>> look. For the time being it seems to be far less sophisticated than
>>> ReplayTV. Maybe they'll catch up. I do like Tivo's idea of having
>>> dual tuners though. As for Dish vs. Cable, the total package
>>> including a cable modem still seems to work out better than the
>>> DISH option fo me. As for the Commercial Advance feature, ReplayTV
>>> records the entire program including commercials. You can watch
>>> them if you choose to. You can also skip them automatically if you
>>> prefer. As for the advertisers getting their money's worth - I
>>> don't care. I don't drink beer, need a mortgage, drive the cars the
>>> they advertise, eat fast food, use feminine hygene products, need
>>> advice on what drugs to "ask my doctor about" (that's what I pay
>>> HIM to do!) or much believe anything in the ads anyway. That being
>>> said, I sometimes just watch shows live anyway and get exposed to
>>> and ignore that drivel. If they didn't bombard me with 10 obnoxious
>>> spots at a time every 7 minutes MAYBE I'd be more attentive. If
>>> advertisers stop advertising then the networks will have to charge
>>> for their programming and that's fine with me.
>>>
>>> From:Nobody Home
>>> nobody.home@sbcglobal.net
>>>
>>>> Hi, everyone:
>>>>
>>>> I would like to offer the following review of DIRECTV with TiVo
>>>> service, and to spark reviews of similar pay TV and DVR services
>>>> you use. This way, prospective customers can make better choices,
>>>> and those of us who only use one service can discover other
>>>> alternatives.
>>>>
>>>> Pricing:
>>>> Let's start with why I chose DIRECTV service with TiVo. It was
>>>> purely economical. I compared the two satellite services and my
>>>> local cable provider to determine who was going to offer the best
>>>> combination of basic cable service plus HBO, the one premium
>>>> service I wanted to add. (I just couldn't curb my enthusiasm for
>>>> HBO's original programming, such as "The Sopranos"!)
>>>>
>>>> DIRECTV offered the most channels, plus local service at the lowest
>>>> price, and offered "digital quality" (more on that later), claiming
>>>> superior video quality compared to cable. DIRECTV's Total Choice
>>>> Plus (all non-premium channels) with Local Channels ran me $39.99
>>>> a month. Total Choice Plus added a handful of channels more than
>>>> Total Choice, maybe one of which I would watch, but it only cost
>>>> an extra dollar a month, so why not? (Rates have since gone up.
>>>> You'll have to compare current prices yourself, since these things
>>>> change.)
>>>>
>>>> DIRECTV's TiVo service added the TiVo box with built-in DIRECTV
>>>> tuners (so you don't need a separate satellite box), for $99.00
>>>> with a commitment to keep a minimum level of DIRECTV service for a
>>>> year. Programming for the TiVo unit costs another $4.99 per month,
>>>> which is the same as I would have paid for a second DIRECTV tuner,
>>>> had I stayed with my previous VCR strategy. To me, this is a true
>>>> bargain over stand-alone TiVo, which charged substantially more
>>>> for the programming service. (Consult DIRECTV's web site
>>>> http://www.directv.com for their current promotions and pricing.)
>>>>
>>>> Using the service:
>>>> I received free installation, and set up was relatively easy, by
>>>> calling the 800 number they gave me, and giving them the
>>>> information from my tuner and TiVo units. I will give some advice
>>>> later on how to make your installation go smoothly.
>>>>
>>>> TiVo Features:
>>>> My TiVo unit is a Hughes Electronics HDVR2. The biggest feature I
>>>> see with this setup is the fact that it contains two tuners, which
>>>> to me makes it unbeatable if you record a lot of shows. You can
>>>> record two programs at once from the tuners, even while watching
>>>> another pre-recorded program off the disk. If you are not
>>>> recording anything, you can also switch back and forth between the
>>>> two tuners live, and pause or rewind live TV on both! (You
>>>> Letterman fans who also like Leno will now be able to watch both
>>>> shows at the same time, and can rewind one tuner to catch the Jay
>>>> Walking segment that you missed while you were watching Will It
>>>> Float on the other!)
>>>>
>>>> My TiVo unit came with a 40GB Hard Drive, advertised to store up
>>>> to 35 hours of programming. I found it to record somewhat less
>>>> than 35 hours, but still more than I can possibly watch without
>>>> giving up my whole life to TiVo. Unfortunately, the TiVo does not
>>>> give any indication on how full the hard disk is. Because
>>>> different programs take up different amounts of space for the same
>>>> amount of time (an hour of black and white with no stereo is less
>>>> data than an hour of color, DTS Surrount Sound with subtitles), it
>>>> is impossible for the TiVo to tell you how many hours are free.
>>>> Still, something simple, like percent free, etc. would be a good
>>>> addition.
>>>>
>>>> TiVo allows you to watch one program from the hard disk while
>>>> recording two other programs from the tuners. The instant a
>>>> program begins recording, it shows up on the "Now Playing" list
>>>> (the list of all recorded programs), and you can begin watching it
>>>> immediately, even while it is still recording, without any special
>>>> procedures.
>>>>
>>>> The TiVo unit is easy enough to use, that you probably don't even
>>>> need the manual to get started using it. Recording and watching
>>>> shows, rewinding and pausing live TV, and other features were
>>>> intuitive and easy to do. Even people who can't program a VCR
>>>> should have no trouble recording a show with the TiVo. You can
>>>> use the Program Guide to search through a programming grid, or use
>>>> the remote to spell out the name of a program, and let the TiVo
>>>> hunt for it.
>>>>
>>>> It offers features such as "Season Pass"(TM), to record an entire
>>>> TV series, which lets you decide whether you want repeats or only
>>>> new shows. TiVo also has a feature they call "Wish Lists", which
>>>> allow you to select programming by type, actors, directors, or
>>>> keywords.
>>>>
>>>> Another added feature is "TiVo Suggestions", where the TiVo records
>>>> shows it *thinks* you will enjoy. Contrary to rumors I've read
>>>> elsewhere, the TiVo will never erase programs you've recorded to
>>>> make room for suggestions. Further, suggestions will never be
>>>> saved over your own recordings. If, however, something catches
>>>> your eye from the suggestions list (identified by a different
>>>> icon), you can tell the TiVo to save the same as a program you
>>>> recorded. When you first get your TiVo, the suggested programs it
>>>> records won't make much sense until you "train" your TiVo by using
>>>> the Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down buttons. You can use this feature,
>>>> for instance, if you like a show well enough to watch it if you
>>>> have time (or disk space), but not well enough to record at the
>>>> expense of other programs. If after all this, you find the
>>>> suggestions just too annoying, you can disable the feature
>>>> altogether, and only get the programs you record.
>>>>
>>>> Each program that gets recorded has an expiration date, which you
>>>> can program. When you set up recordings, you can choose to save
>>>> until room is needed (whereby old recordings get deleted first),
>>>> or save until you delete (whereby it will save the program even if
>>>> it means not recording anything new). Once a show is recorded,
>>>> you can choose how long to save it by setting a date, or "Save
>>>> until I delete". Icons on the program list tell you at a glance
>>>> whether a program is at risk of being deleted.
>>>>
>>>> You can also choose how many episodes of each show to save. In my
>>>> case, I like Letterman and Leno, but don't always have time to
>>>> watch them. So, limiting the TiVo to one copy of each show at
>>>> least keeps last night's episode available in case I hear
>>>> something good was on after the fact, but they won't pile up on me
>>>> when I'm busy.
>>>>
>>>> The TiVo doesn't allow you to edit programs saved on disk. In
>>>> other words, if a sporting event or movie ended 30 minutes earlier
>>>> than the recording, there is no way to "chop off" the excess half
>>>> hour, which would leave room for more recording. Naturally,
>>>> editing out commercials is out of the question as well. I'm
>>>> hoping that TiVo adds simple editing in the future.
>>>>
>>>> DIRECTV with TiVo does not currently offer any networking options,
>>>> either to program it remotely (a feature that may be coming soon to
>>>> standard TiVo's) or to share program files with computers or other
>>>> TiVo units. However, my TiVo unit does have two USB ports,
>>>> possibly for future expansion.
>>>>
>>>> Because the DIRECTV TiVo unit constantly stores the last 30
>>>> minutes of material from each tuner it is not using to record, you
>>>> can often record a program from the beginning if you come in at
>>>> less than 30 minutes from the beginning, or you can simply rewind
>>>> live TV to the beginning and watch it from there. (This always
>>>> happens to me when I switch on the TV, and Discovery is in the
>>>> middle of something that hooks me in.) I have not confirmed this,
>>>> but I read that if you record a program in progress, the buffer is
>>>> actually longer than 30 minutes, allowing you to catch the
>>>> beginning of some shows even if you can't rewind back that far
>>>> "live". This only works if the tuner was already tuned to the
>>>> program. If you switch channels, the previous information is lost
>>>> and you can only rewind to the point where you switched.
>>>>
>>>> I must say that the best feature of TiVo service is, it is now
>>>> (nearly) impossible for a TV network to "hide" a show from me that
>>>> I want to record. You "Scrubs" fans with VCR's know what I mean!
>>>> Sometimes it's on Tuesday, sometimes Thursday. Sometimes it starts
>>>> early, sometimes it runs long. As long as the network tells the
>>>> DVR service when a show will air (and properly reports whether it
>>>> starts two minutes early or runs 10 minutes long), you will get
>>>> your show. Note: When I first got my TiVo, I was missing the
>>>> first two minutes of "ER", and missing the last few minutes of
>>>> "Scrubs", due to NBC playing games with start and stop times. The
>>>> network has since begun reporting the actual times (9:59PM for ER,
>>>> for instance), so the TiVo has a chance to record the whole show.
>>>> When they don't, the TiVo lets you pad programs up to 10 minutes
>>>> before the start or 3 hours past the end.
>>>>
>>>> TiVo does not have commercial skip. All programming is recorded as
>>>> broadcast, including commercials. Since TiVo service depends on
>>>> good relations with broadcasters, who get paid to air commercials,
>>>> this is not likely to change. However, you can hunt the web for a
>>>> TiVo "Easter Egg" that enables a 30 second skip from the remote.
>>>>
>>>> How DIRECTV with TiVo differs from standard TiVo:
>>>>
>>>> Software:
>>>> While the software is written by TiVo, the service is maintained
>>>> and updated by DIRECTV, so you must get your support from DIRECTV
>>>> if there are problems. This also means that DIRECTV customers
>>>> don't always get the same level of software as standard TiVo
>>>> customers, and may lag behind by a few versions until DIRECTV
>>>> qualifies a release for all it's customers. As of this writing,
>>>> for instance, DIRECTV does not offer the version of software that
>>>> includes folders for stored programs. The DIRECTV logo and name
>>>> are prominent on the DIRECTV TiVo as well as the remote to remind
>>>> you this is not your ordinary TiVo.
>>>>
>>>> Video Quality:
>>>> Stand-alone TiVo units contain their own Analog to Digital
>>>> conversion circuitry (standard audio / video inputs from your
>>>> cable box, VCR, etc., are converted to the digital format stored
>>>> on the hard drive), allowing you to select quality levels for each
>>>> program, so you can choose between high quality which takes up a
>>>> lot of disk space, or lower quality so you can store more
>>>> programs. Since DIRECTV service is already digital, their TiVo
>>>> unit does no such conversions, so there is no quality setting.
>>>> You always get the best quality, meaning what you play back is
>>>> exactly the same as what came through the dish.
>>>>
>>>> Inputs:
>>>> The DIRECTV TiVo unit does not have external video inputs, and can
>>>> only record from the DIRECTV tuners. This means that if you cancel
>>>> your DIRECTV service and switch to cable, you will have to get
>>>> another DVR.
>>>>
>>>> As far as I know, the DIRECTV version is the only one I am aware of
>>>> that can record two programs at the same time. Every stand-alone
>>>> TiVo I've seen has only one set of inputs to record from.
>>>>
>>>> DIRECTV Service:
>>>> DIRECTV uses Digital Satellite Broadcasting, resulting in very
>>>> clear signals to my monitor. However, that clarity also exposes
>>>> digital anomalies (see side bar below). I have had numerous
>>>> incidents where the signal has gone away for a second or two, or a
>>>> few. This usually results in the picture freezing, getting
>>>> severely pixellized, or sometimes a truly ghastly effect: I once
>>>> saw David Letterman's face look like he was being burned to death,
>>>> as red pixels from who knows where invaded his face making the
>>>> skin appear to melt away! The audio often survives, but in the
>>>> worst cases, the audio can come and go as well. I have never seen
>>>> these incidents last longer than a few seconds, though it can
>>>> happen a few times in a minute or two, and then clear up.
>>>>
>>>> Summary:
>>>> DIRECTV with TiVo service provides the best combination of
>>>> programming and DVR flexibility that I have seen. The TiVo unit
>>>> with two tuners is a revolutionary way of watching TV, that has
>>>> forced me to have to choose programs NOT to watch, just so I can
>>>> get other things done in my life.
>>>>
>>>> Picture quality is mostly good to excellent, with the best being
>>>> near DVD quality, and the worst being highly pixelized due to
>>>> either poor digital conversion or low bandwidth. The worst
>>>> channel I have seen is TVLand, however, which is probably a good
>>>> choice, since new, original programming is watched more, and
>>>> should get the best bandwidth.
>>>>
>>>> The pricing was the best I found at the time, offering more
>>>> channels than Dish network, and better pricing than Comcast.
>>>> Consult http://www.directv.com for current pricing information.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Side Bar:
>>>> Digital Video:
>>>> OK, folks, here is something you may or may not be aware of:
>>>> Digital Video is NOT perfect. Some of us with decent monitors can
>>>> see video anomalies that simply are not present in traditional
>>>> analog video programs. If you compare DIRECTV with a good, clean
>>>> off-air broadcast, you will see pixellation. However, Digital is
>>>> here to stay, and if you want any kind of premium programming,
>>>> you're stuck with it.
>>>>
>>>> You may think that your analog cable service is not digital, but
>>>> it is also digital at the source, though it may be transmitted
>>>> through an older analog cable converter or directly to your cable
>>>> ready TV. Before I switched to DIRECTV, I was able to see from my
>>>> basic cable service (Comcast), that they were indeed processing
>>>> the video digitally before retransmitting it to me. Services have
>>>> only a certain amount of bandwidth to use for digitized video, and
>>>> some premium services (HBO, for instance) will get more bandwidth
>>>> than, say TVLand or Fox. (Fox was the worst one from Comcast, and
>>>> TVLand is one of the worst from DIRECTV.)
>>>>
>>>> Old school thinking:
>>>> Once upon a time, analog cable was all analog. They took TV
>>>> signals off satellite dishes for cable channels, or off the air
>>>> for broadcast channels, coverted them to their cable channels, and
>>>> sent them down the cable. What cable customers saw, then, were
>>>> defects caused by rebroadcasting so many channels all together on
>>>> the same cable, sometimes interfering with one another. Those
>>>> with cable, take a good look at your screen, and notice the faint
>>>> wavy lines in the picture that are not part of your original
>>>> program. That's from being rebroadcast over your cable in analog
>>>> form.
>>>>
>>>> Digital video:
>>>> Now, everyone decided that digital is the way to go, because with
>>>> computers we can do all kinds of things with the video, and if we
>>>> can decode it directly to a monitor (not through a TV tuner or
>>>> analog cable box), we can lose all the interference described
>>>> above, as well as ghosts and other strange anomalies from
>>>> broadcast TV. However, digital video has it's own shortcomings,
>>>> which you can spot even on high quality DVD's. Look at the sky,
>>>> or a solid background or dark scene, and you will see the blotches
>>>> of color that are not as smooth as they should be. Well, this is
>>>> your future, kids.
>>>>
>>>> OK, DIRECTV's service is purely digital, so it has all the digital
>>>> anomalies I hate, but so does cable nowadays. With DIRECTV,
>>>> however, you lose the added insult of cross interference that you
>>>> get with analog cable. I imagine that digital cable should be
>>>> just as clear as DIRECTV's, however. When DIRECTV does a good job
>>>> of encoding a program, it can look like you've got a direct window
>>>> into the studio where they made the show you're watching.
>>>>
>>>> So, with DIRECTV, I will never see analog interference or poor
>>>> quality caused by analog signals, right? Wrong! Guess what? If
>>>> you're watching local broadcast programming through DIRECTV, you
>>>> are watching TV from their off-air antennas (antennae?), so if
>>>> there is a storm brewing in your town, your DIRECTV transmitted
>>>> NBC station will have the same interference as your rooftop
>>>> antenna, except that DIRECTV probably has a much better antenna,
>>>> much closer to the source than you. Further, would it surprise
>>>> you to find out that some cable channels still transmit their
>>>> signals over analog satellite channels? Well, they do, and your
>>>> service provider has to digitize them and send them to you.
>>>>
>>>> So, when you see the commercials claiming digital clarity, they are
>>>> only talking about how the signal gets from their broadcast center
>>>> or head end to your house, not the whole path these signals take.
>>>>
>>>> Side Bar:
>>>> Making your Satellite Service Installation go more smoothly:
>>>> Many of you probably think that if you get free installation of
>>>> your satellite service, the installer will cut through the walls,
>>>> run cable inside them (two sets for DIRECTV with Tivo, by the
>>>> way), and patch up the wall before they leave. Wrong! Free
>>>> installation includes running coax OUTSIDE your house, and
>>>> punching it through to ONE tuner box.
>>>>
>>>> If you're like me, you don't want ugly cables hanging outside your
>>>> house, and you certainly don't want the installer choosing where to
>>>> put the dish! Do your homework ahead of time, and plan where the
>>>> dish should go first. In my area, DIRECTV needed a clear, south
>>>> facing spot for the dish. If you can avoid it, don't let them put
>>>> the dish on top of the roof, on or under the shingles. If you
>>>> have a sturdy fascia on the side of the roof, the installer can us
>>>> a mount designed to go there. Pick a location close to where all
>>>> your coax feeds will come through.
>>>>
>>>> If you are so inclined, I highly recommend running your own coax
>>>> inside the walls before the installer arrives. Most houses are
>>>> pre-run with either coax or twin lead antenna cable, which will
>>>> have to be replaced. Go to your local electronics or home
>>>> improvement store (Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, and Home Depot are
>>>> good choices), and purchase RG6 coax, which is the best quality
>>>> for satellite reception. If you are getting a DIRECTV with TiVo,
>>>> you will need TWO runs of coax to the TiVo unit if you want to use
>>>> both tuners. The installer can help you hook it all up, or you
>>>> can research further on the web.
>>>>
>>>> Dan
Anonymous
May 16, 2004 12:43:31 PM

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

"BruceR" <brNOSPAM@hawaii.com> shaped the electrons to say:
>record one program while watching another. Also, Sony has announced a 7
>(count 'em!) tuner DVR with 1 TB of storage (that's one TeraByte!). It
>will be released in Japan shortly but plans to market it in the USA have
>not been announced.

The Type X is just a prototype with no production plans. Sony will be
releasing a unit based on the technology used in Type X in Q4 in
Japan, but has not announce any details on the final configuration or
any pricing. Except you can expect it to cost a LOT.

-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/&gt; <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/&gt; Eris
Anonymous
May 16, 2004 12:49:03 PM

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

nobody.home@sbcglobal.net (Nobody Home) shaped the electrons to say:
>Perhaps someone would like to write a detailed review of Panasonic's
>Replay TV. I would particularly be interested in a review from

That's been done a few times - done best by:
http://www.pvrcompare.com/

>someone who has moved from TiVo. Any dual tuner Replays out there?
>Any Replay's with integrated satellite tuners, similar to DIRECTV's
>TiVo?

No dual tuner RTVs. No satellite RTVs.

>How about the networking? How hard would it be to watch a program
>from a remote unit while the one closest to you is recording? Does
>the program have to copy to your unit first, or can it play directly
>from the other unit on the network?

Networking an RTV is fairly simple. And they use streaming for
playback on another unit. The advantage is jumping to anywhere in the
program like your local without waiting for a transfer. (Note that
you do not have to wait for the show to transfer on TiVo - like any
recording you can start watching it as it transfers and you can watch
any of the show that's transferred at that point.) The downside is
not being able to really move shows to another unit. To me that's
more important - I use a secondary 40-hor TiVo (and since I record in
Best is doesn't hold much) for conflict resolution, etc. To keep the
drive from filling I transfer the shows to my main unit - currently an
80 hour 810H (It used ot be a 222 hour S2, and I haven't gotten around
to upgrading the 810h) to hold until I get around to watching. I
rarely care about watching a show from another unit *right now*, but I
often move shows.

I do think streaming would be a useful addition to TiVo. And
streaming could enable simple 'slave' units that have either just a
lot of ram or a very small drive, that just do playback of content
streamed from the recorder. Digeo/Moxi have announced something like
that.

-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/&gt; <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/&gt; Eris
Anonymous
May 16, 2004 9:02:10 PM

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

BruceR wrote:

> As for dual tuners, no, RTV doesn't have them. However the Cable Box/DVR
> combos offered by some cable companies do have dual tuners that let you
> record one program while watching another.

Just to be clear, all the current PVRs let you record a show while you
are watching another recording (if your setup allows it watch something
live), with a dual tuner PVR, you can record two shows at the same time
and watch another recorded show or watch live tv.
!