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An alternative idea to a TiVO mini

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by buscuitboy, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Mar 18, 2013 #61 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    Dan, I come from an engineering perspective. To me, I also more or less agree that TV shows are not that important. However, the ONLY reason for me to have Tivo is to insure that what I DO want, is recorded, and retained. Without that, Tivo is absolutely worthless to me. I'm not being derogatory - that's just why I have it. Otherwise, Tivos would not be in my home That's why I paid the premium to have Tivo as opposed to other alternatives. My point is that Tivo is a "premium" even by their own description. These days a whole lot is NOT available from alternative locations yet. Frankly, when it is, then there's another challenge for Tivo, because once again, the value of the Tivo will (without other value additions which don't exist today) become further degraded.

    My experience with Tivo failures includes a total of 3 HDs and 2 Elite/XL4s. None have been abused or mistreated. All are on UPS's. I also have multiple displays, audio systems, Xbox, PS3, etc etc etc. The Tivos do not get moved, they are in well ventilated and protected areas, and all on UPS. I have not had these issues with any other device, including the probably more than 20 PCs, etc that have been through here in that time (right now there are 7 machines in the house).

    Most of my Tivo failures have not been hard drives. Matter of fact, I believe only one was. And I can't blame Tivo for that - they don't manufacture drives any more than anyone else. They're mechanical devices, and can sometimes fail. My device failures were when the Tivo behaved totally irrationally, and support would try for ages to fix the issues finally getting to the resolution of replacing the device. In "most" cases, replacing the device fixed - or at least improved - the problem. Problem is with Tivo (or Cableco DVR for that matter) when you lose one, you lose it all. And as opposed to current situation, if you go with a 6 tuner and a bunch of minis, if ANYTHING goes wrong with the 6 tuner, you have absolutely no TV capability in your home other than IP based.

    It's all personal preference. No matter what however, reliability and predictability of recording is an absolute core function of the Tivo.
     
  2. Mar 18, 2013 #62 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    Also, I already mentioned in another post that Tivo should already be unifying the "now playing" list and "to do" list. With current technology using their own completely controlled APIs and web services, there is no reason whatsoever that this is not technical feasible. It's just a matter of priority. So, it's not an either or - unless Tivo chooses to make it so.
     
  3. Mar 18, 2013 #63 of 148
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Actually we've discussed the possibility of multiple TiVos sharing a single To Do List before and I honestly don't think it's ever going to happen. While the protocols to make it happen mostly already exist, reliability is still a big concern. There are a ton of situations you'd have to account for if communication between TiVos was lost after something was scheduled but before it was recorded. Add to that the fact that TiVo's scheduling system isn't dynamic and wouldn't be able to react to a loss of communication that occurred "last minute" and I just don't see it as a viable option.

    It's much easier, and more reliable, for TiVo to simply increase the number of tuners in a single box and try their best to make the hardware as reliable as possible. And I believe that's going to be their plan going forward.
     
  4. Mar 18, 2013 #64 of 148
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    It would not be rocket science to implement. They just haven't bothered. It would be a great feature to have to be able to re-schedule tuners and then maintain a single NPL that's universal to all boxes in the house, and THEN add users to that so that each user has their own, sharing duplicate show files, all fully distributed.
     
  5. Mar 18, 2013 #65 of 148
    mattack

    mattack Active Member

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    Yes, with call help lines being low paid script monkeys, *unfortunately* your expectations are way too high.. (essentially the same as help in a store -- btw, I admit to WILLINGLY helping the latter go down in quality since I buy on price, not on salespeople knowledge quality, which means the products cost more.)
     
  6. Mar 19, 2013 #66 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    We'll have to agree to disagree - strongly. "help in a store" is entirely and totally different than a call center product focused sales force. Their singular and only purpose in life while at work is to sell a very small number of different devices and services, and they work directly for the company that designs, engineers, manufactures, sells, distributes and supports the products in question. When so many have such apparently incorrect - but also very consistent - explanations of the core functions of a product, it is not the sales force. It's the company, and extremely poor product training and an extremely poor knowledge base. On the tech support side of Tivo, we all have experienced that. How many times have people on this site called in to report an "issue" only to be told that "we've never heard of that before" - yet tons of people have already reported it and have reference numbers? Broken and/or ineffective KM.

    There are only a very few uses cases for the use of a mini - period.

    1) A mini connected to a single 4 tuner premier home.
    2) A mini connected to a multiple premier home which has at least one 4 tuner.
    3) A mini connected to a multiple Tivo home with at least one 4 tuner Premier.
    4) A mini attempting to be connected to any home without either a 4 tuner or any premiers.

    They all must be connected via either MoCa or Ethernet no matter what.

    How hard is it for Tivo to describe each of these? Sure doesn't seem that tough to me......

    BTW, I have been (and currently am) responsible for very large contact centers. I would never EVER endorse or accept that kind of performance.
     
  7. Mar 19, 2013 #67 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    Dan, I was thinking of a more simple approach. I agree that the timing and characteristics of doing this all via a single "to do" on a Tivo UI would be more than I'm comfortable expecting Tivo to execute with reliability. But there's another approach.

    I wasn't even worried about "realtime" ability. I'd be more than happy with a "unified" online GUI that is far more relevant than what currently exists in "My Tivo" on Tivo.com. Some examples:

    1) A consolidated "To Do" list that spans devices. There is no reason why this could not be generated whatsoever.

    2) A consolidated "scheduler" that spans devices.

    3) A way to "bulk delete" or something similar. Going back and deleting item by item on the device GUI is frankly irritating and inefficient IMHO. As such larger capacities and higher density of tuners have been added, legacy ways of managing data on the devices has gotten to the point where the process no longer scales.

    Since users would know that the "timeliness" of requests, etc are subject to the same restrictions that already exist within the Tivo.com experience, I simply don't understand the issue. Either Tivo should do this, or else it's a statement that the online experience (not using the device GUI) simply is not reliable.

    I for one would be very very happy to just have these feature/functions. Because Tivo.com isn't necessarily the most snappy of sites (in particular the MyTivo portion) having to jump back and forth between devices is simply ineffective. I typically maintain an excel spreadsheet to overcome the lack of capability within Tivo. It would sure be nice to be able to deal with this in a way other than jumping from screen to screen or manually updating spreadsheets. I realize this would not be realtime, and "short term" requests would still need to come via the devices.

    Does this make sense?
     
  8. Mar 19, 2013 #68 of 148
    tatergator1

    tatergator1 Active Member

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    Are you aware of the kmttg software developed by moyekj on this forum. Granted, it's not GUI consistent with the Tivo, but it is very powerful.

    Should Tivo offer something like this, maybe. They probably feel that the expense of developing and maintaining advanced features like these aren't cost effective for the number of subscribers that would actually use them.
     
  9. Mar 19, 2013 #69 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I am. I'm also saying that while I give huge kudos to moyekj, this is something that Tivo "Should" be doing. If Tivo is marketing a "Whole Home Solution" then it ought to be "whole home".

    This is not something that I feel is either advanced nor difficult. Either Tivo should be de-emphasizing the use of MyTivo online or they should incorporate. One of the biggest pet peeves I have with newer capabilities such as what Tivo and others are endorsing is providing such massively larger tuner and storage capacity, but failing to adopt feature/function management to scale with these changes.

    I'm not saying that Tivo does not share your perspective. I'm just saying that IMHO that perspective is flawed. Modern Tivo capabilities have outgrown "traditional" or "legacy" ways of managing them. Tivo has a real opportunity (since they totally own the UI, OS, etc) to very seamlessly combine the user experience. That IMHO could provide the single most compelling advantage for Tivo over competition moving forward - but only if Tivo acknowledges it and does something to enable it.
     
  10. Mar 19, 2013 #70 of 148
    lessd

    lessd Active Member

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    With a 30 day money back that TiVo offers on the Mini just purchase one and see if it meets your needs or expectations, if it does who cares what any TiVo CSR told anybody, if not just send it back for a refund. I have more trust with people on this form than any TiVo CSR.
     
  11. Mar 19, 2013 #71 of 148
    atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    +1 :up:
     
  12. Mar 19, 2013 #72 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    Very simple. And I've already said it before.

    If it is a "unadvertised" and "unspecified" function that "just happens to work" right now, then even if people here have it working today, there is no obligation to either continue support of that feature/function - nor to support it if/when it has an issue. Let's say 60 days after you get it, the mini fails to do what we're talking about and Tivo has never acknowledged it as a "as designed" feature/function. It makes absolutely no difference just how many great people on this forum think it should work - Tivo is under no obligation to try and make it work.

    There are all kinds of examples where this has happened (not just at Tivo). I doubt that I'm the only one who has experienced this. It is exactly the reason why hosting providers work via SLAs, why contracts exist, etc. If the feature/function is of critical importance to a prospective owner then acknowledgement of the feature/function being supported is critical.

    That being said, I called back late last night and a Tivo CSR this time DID say that the mini was intended to support streaming from multiple Premiers within a home network. This was the follow up call to the ticket created yesterday afternoon.
     
  13. Mar 19, 2013 #73 of 148
    innocentfreak

    innocentfreak Active Member

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    TiVos idea of a whole home solution is one box with multiple extenders not multiple boxes working as one.

    While many of us would love to see unification and that even includes Margret aka TiVoDesign on Twitter, there are multiple complex design decisions that would have to be addressed. TiVo's solutions may not be what people want either.
     
  14. Mar 19, 2013 #74 of 148
    atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    The Mini is a $250 piece of consumer electronics if at some point it doesn't function the way you want you through it away. I am all for doing product research but honestly I do not spend hours or days of my time on such a low cost item. You got the answer that you can stream from a dual tuner Premiere now, sure there is some slight chance that function could go away, same with the world ending tomorrow. I recommend deciding if you want it or not and moving on.
     
  15. Mar 19, 2013 #75 of 148
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    That function isn't going to go away. It's designed into the product. Whoever told you it couldn't do it originally was an idiot. Just because they work for TiVo doesn't mean they know what they hell they're talking about. CSRs are a crap shoot. Sometimes you get one that actually knows the products and what they can do and sometimes you get an idiot talking out of his a$$.
     
  16. Mar 19, 2013 #76 of 148
    DaveDFW

    DaveDFW Member

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    The Mini pricing discussion has probably been beaten to death, but I can't let this one slide. Obviously, not everyone agrees with your assessment of "low cost" since the topic continually resurfaces.
     
  17. Mar 19, 2013 #77 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I absolutely disagree that there are "multiple complex design decisions that would have to be addressed" in order to add this unification to the online "mytivo" experience. Bluntly, from a technology perspective, nothing is changed except for creating an "all" filter rather than by device to see a "to do" on Tivo.com. The "delete" capability, I agree, could have implications.

    So, there is no more nor less "design complexity" than already exists for the unified "to do" list or the unified "scheduling" function.

    Tivos idea seems quite short sighted, especially given the constraints of available tuners (even assuming a 6 tuner unit is to be released).

    JMHO.
     
  18. Mar 19, 2013 #78 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    Dan, the point here is that it was not just the "one person who told me you couldn't do it originally". It was that person, the next person, the person after that, and the person after that. All on separate calls - all saying the exact same thing. It was also Weakknees, who strongly indicated that this is exactly what Tivo had informed them as to product capability. It was additionally, the tech support people that the CSRs put me on hold each time to get the question answered, and where they yet again came back with the same, apparently incorrect, answer.

    This was a clear miss by Tivo in effectively preparing for a product launch.
     
  19. Mar 19, 2013 #79 of 148
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I think the initial confusion was caused by the fact that the Mini has two basic functions. One is streaming recorded programs and the other is streaming live TV. Live TV streaming only works with the 4 tuner host. However streaming recorded programs works with any Premiere unit on your network.

    The UI of the Mini is identical to the UI of a Premiere unit. When you access My Shows and it shows you the My Shows list of the 4 tuner host unit. And at the bottom it shows all the other Premiere units on your network which you can select to see their My Shows list and stream programs from them. The experience is nearly identical to using the 4 tuner host directly.
     
  20. Mar 19, 2013 #80 of 148
    atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    I am not talking about what the Mini may or may not be worth, I am saying any $250 item is a relatively low cost item even if someone doesn't have $250 it still isn't much money relative to what stuff costs today. Also what I am saying is if I am gong to buy something that costs me $30,000 (like a car) I am willing to spend more research hours than I would on something that costs me $250 (like a Mini) and at some point you have to stop the research and just make a buying decision.
     

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