1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Increase in Recording Quality/Size in mid-December - across channels and Tivo's

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by lynnalexandra, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Feb 3, 2013 #1 of 63
    lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

    107
    0
    Apr 26, 2009
    I've talked to Tivo twice - and poured over threads about recording quality. I see people saying that digital channels (including sd channels) will just record at the quality and file size they are transmitted - that there is no such thing as the ability to select basic, medium, high or best quality. I see that people have said that if you're using a cable card and getting digital channels, that you simply get the file size that is transmitted.

    However - my experience is different than these claims. And the impact on me is huge. I have bought two Tivo Elites (now called XL4). I like to keep a lot of recordings - and would not have the space to store all of it if it were in high/best quality sd or hd. For a couple of years (after Comcast became all digital - and with cable cards the whole time), I have been recording series that I'd like to keep in sd (on basic or medium quality). Each 1/2 hour sitcom (for example) would be about 350-550 MB. This quality and file size would allow me to get the 2774 hours of sd recordings that Tivo claims you can get with a 2TB drive. And I wanted that many hours of recordings.

    Last month, everything changed. At some point in December (between the 4th and 11th) - I think after the fall update, I noticed that my sitcoms were now 2100MB in size. When I first went to Tivo Desktop plus to pull it to my PC (for commercial cutting with VideoRedo) and eventual storage, I noticed that some of these 1/2 hour sitcoms were over 2GB in size. At first I thought that the fall update might have reset my season passes to record from the HD channels. So once the holiday busy-ness was over, I re-did some of my season passes. Then discovered that they were definitely recording on the sd channel (ABC, NBC, FOX,, Nick, TBS, BBC, G4 - as far as I have noticed, this is occurring on all channels) - but were recording as highest quality and largest file size. Then I thought that perhaps the fall update changed the recording quality to a default of highest quality.

    I have a Tivo premier and went in and made sure to set the recording quality on basic. I went to change the recording quality on the two Tivo Elites (Tivo 4's) - and saw there was no option to choose recording quality on these. I called Tivo twice - both people were surprised at this and unaware of it - but both checked. One said what I've read here - that digital channels will record at whatever quality/size they are broadcast. Tivo has nothing to do with that size. But - again - until mid-December, I was able to record sd channels at different qualities and file sizes across all my Tivos (Tivo 4, premier and HD). The other Tivo rep said there should be some software change they can make and he'll escalate my issue bc. I would not have bought the last Tivo XL4 if I'd only be able to record about 500 sd hours.

    It seems that none of what I've read or heard reconciles with my experience. I have a Tivo Elite I got in April, 2012. It is filled with sd recordings I've made. I have one hour dramas (like Parenthood) with a file size of 990MB up until Dec, 4, 2012. After that, an hour episode (same channel) is 2100MB large. It's also striking to me that both 1/2 hour sitcomes and full hour shows in sd are both 2100MB. Same with Dr. Who (BBC) - one hour episode was :confused:990MB until Dec. 6, and 2100MB starting on Dec. 7. December 7 is the date that I got the fall update rolled out to my Tivo's. Various sitcoms were 350- 650MB range before mid-December. Now all my 1/2 hour shows are 2100MB. This is not a big space saving above HD, where a 1/2 hour show in high definition is in the 2600-2900MB range. Since this change has occurred across all networks, I do not think it's a matter of the networks changing the quality/file size of the shows they transmit. And I definitely was getting SD shows recorded in much less space before December.

    So I think I am asking for a few things:

    1- a way to understand why this change occurred. These channels have been digital all along and I've used cable cards all along

    2 - is it possible that Tivo software could reverse this change?

    3 - managing my recordings is already taking too much of my time. I have been learning to use VideoRedo more efficiently and do batch managing to remove commercials. I like to save my videos as Tivo files - so that the meta-data is kept - and when I transfer the edited shows back to my Tivo, they group together in the same folder. For those reasons, I want to keep saving my edited files as Tivo files. If I do that, is there an easy way to reduce the file size? I know if I create a DVD (which I haven't done in a couple of years and don't quite remember), I can reduce file quality/size. If there is no way to still record shows with a smaller file size, is there an easy way to change the size later?

    I hope my questions are clear. I know there are many on these forums that would not want to record in reduced quality/file size. But I've also seen some who share my concern for conserving space.

    Thank you for any input, similar experiences, suggestions, etc.

    Lynn.

    PS - ultimately, I want to store my videos on a NAS (but still don't want 2GB sitcoms) - that could group series of shows, and show playlists to pull to Tivo. Right now I just got the NAS - don't know how to use it, haven't had time to post here about how to get Tivo recordings on it, etc. But after my next period of work crunch, I may devote more time to this. And that solution might incorporate my desire to keep smaller-sized recordings.
     
  2. Feb 3, 2013 #2 of 63
    compnurd

    compnurd New Member

    1,011
    0
    Oct 6, 2011
    I would imagine it is not the networks but your cable company. They control how much they compress all channels on there system I have always averaged about 5GB for a 1 hour show. My cable company compresses video very little
     
  3. Feb 3, 2013 #3 of 63
    lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

    107
    0
    Apr 26, 2009
    Hi, Compnurd,
    That makes sense (it's not what I was hoping to hear, but at least it seems like a plausible explanation for all recording sizes changing). But before hitting "post" I thought I'd check on another experiment I'm running this weekend.

    I'm recording some of the same shows - but on different Tivos to see what file sizes I get. Just this weekend, I recorded some episodes of Friends on an older Tivo HD (which uses a cable card - and it's a cable card that was newly activated when I re-activated this Tivo in the past week). It gave me 1/2 hour episodes that are 990MB in size. So it seems as though the cable company's compression is not the only factor at play here. I recorded those same episodes/channels of Friends on the Tivo 4 and they are 2100MB. The Tivo Premier seems to have changed like the Tivo 4's - and is recording at larger sizes.

    This leaves me still confused as to what's going on......and a bit more hopeful that if the Tivo HD can still record in a smaller file size, that the size is being determined by the Tivo and not Comcast or the cable card.

    Did anybody else see a change in file size for sd recordings some time in December? if so, are differences on some Tivo's but not others? Are some people still getting sd recordings in smaller sizes (closer to 1GB for an hour).
    Thanks.
    Lynn.
     
  4. Feb 3, 2013 #4 of 63
    compnurd

    compnurd New Member

    1,011
    0
    Oct 6, 2011
    Cablecard would have nothing to do with it. you can rule that out now
     
  5. Feb 3, 2013 #5 of 63
    unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Sounds like you were previously recording analog cable channels and either your cable company has discontined the analog versions of those channels and the TiVo is now tuning the digital versions in order to get those shows, or for some other reason the TiVo has switched over to tuning the digital versions of the channels instead of the analog versions.

    Only on the analog versions do you get a choice of recording "quality" (which is how high a bitrate the TiVo uses to digitize the incoming analog signal).

    If it's digital coming in, it just gets "Xeroxed".
     
  6. Feb 3, 2013 #6 of 63
    compnurd

    compnurd New Member

    1,011
    0
    Oct 6, 2011
    Yes. That and the Elite Only records Digital Cable
     
  7. Feb 3, 2013 #7 of 63
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only

    5,755
    47
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Observation from using Desktop. Premiere set to 1080i only. Record a 1080i show and it will use around 7.5GB per hour. A 720P show needs about 3GB - 3.5GB.

    I enabled 480i and selected an SD channel. The size, while still recording a 30 minute show on NBC, was your 2,100MB from the start. The Duration was incrementing. My AVR shows 480i and screen looks like it also. Half way through recording I set the output back to 1080i. After the recording finished I began a transfer to my laptop. During the transfer the Duration started at 30 minutes and the size displayed an increasing amount. The size after the transfer finished was 509MB.

    I don't understand the results so I can't make a conclusion. I never record SD with the TiVo. Is it possible that you are looking at the size on the TiVo and not the size after the transfer? It's probable the size displayed on the TiVo is incorrect.
     
  8. Feb 3, 2013 #8 of 63
    SNJpage1

    SNJpage1 Active Member

    3,686
    11
    May 25, 2006
    Atlantic...
    You mentioned that a half hour show and a one hour show are both the same size now, 2100mb.It sounds like what another poster said, that the TiVo is showing the wrong file size. I think the size after it has been transferred to the computer might give you different sizes for half hour and one hour recordings.
     
  9. Feb 3, 2013 #9 of 63
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    19,173
    21
    Jan 31, 2002
    Northern...
    I've had hour long HD shows vary anywhere between 1GB and 8GB. And had SD shows be up to several GBs. The sizes have always been all over the place over the last twelve years that I've been recording HD content.
     
  10. dianebrat

    dianebrat I refuse to accept your reality TCF Club

    10,122
    78
    Jul 6, 2002
    boston'ish
    There's another thread floating around that after the fall update all shows were showing at 2.5GB or something similar, I have to wonder if this is the same issue.
     
  11. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    8,077
    2
    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    The output setting controls what is sent to the TV. It has zero effect on what is recorded or transferred.
     
  12. CoxInPHX

    CoxInPHX COX Communications

    2,350
    6
    Jan 14, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    The Fall Update did change the filesize that TiVo reports to approx 2.05 GB/0.5Hr block for SD. The file size reported for HD programming did not appear to change.

    When I download the actual file it is approx 900MB. @ a quality/bitrate of 3,500Kbps

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Code:
    General
    [B]Complete name                            : R:\That Girl - Counter-Proposal 113 (11_05_2012).mpg[/B]
    Format                                   : MPEG-PS
    [B]File size                                : 804 MiB
    Duration                                 : 30mn 0s[/B]
    Overall bit rate mode                    : Variable
    [B]Overall bit rate                         : 3 746 Kbps[/B]
    
    Video
    ID                                       : 224 (0xE0)
    Format                                   : MPEG Video
    Format version                           : Version 2
    Format profile                           : Main@Main
    Format settings, BVOP                    : Yes
    Format settings, Matrix                  : Custom
    Format settings, GOP                     : Variable
    Duration                                 : 30mn 0s
    Bit rate mode                            : Variable
    [B]Bit rate                                 : 3 479 Kbps[/B]
    Maximum bit rate                         : 15.0 Mbps
    Width                                    : 720 pixels
    Height                                   : 480 pixels
    Display aspect ratio                     : 4:3
    Frame rate                               : 29.970 fps
    Standard                                 : NTSC
    Color space                              : YUV
    Chroma subsampling                       : 4:2:0
    Bit depth                                : 8 bits
    Scan type                                : Interlaced
    Scan order                               : Top Field First
    Compression mode                         : Lossy
    Bits/(Pixel*Frame)                       : 0.336
    Stream size                              : 747 MiB (93%)
    [​IMG]
    Code:
    [B]Complete name                            : R:\Americas Test Kitchen From Cooks Illustrated - Bistro-Style Steak and Potatoes 1226 (02_04_2013).mpg[/B]
    Format                                   : MPEG-PS
    [B]File size                                : 630 MiB
    Duration                                 : 29mn 53s
    Overall bit rate mode                    : Variable
    Overall bit rate                         : 2 948 Kbps[/B]
    
    Video
    ID                                       : 224 (0xE0)
    Format                                   : MPEG Video
    Format version                           : Version 2
    Format profile                           : Main@Main
    Format settings, BVOP                    : Yes
    Format settings, Matrix                  : Custom
    Format settings, GOP                     : Variable
    Duration                                 : 29mn 53s
    Bit rate mode                            : Variable
    Bit rate                                 : 2 698 Kbps
    Maximum bit rate                         : 15.0 Mbps
    Width                                    : 704 pixels
    Height                                   : 480 pixels
    Display aspect ratio                     : 4:3
    Frame rate                               : 29.970 fps
    Standard                                 : NTSC
    Color space                              : YUV
    Chroma subsampling                       : 4:2:0
    Bit depth                                : 8 bits
    Scan type                                : Interlaced
    Scan order                               : Top Field First
    Compression mode                         : Lossy
    Bits/(Pixel*Frame)                       : 0.266
    Stream size                              : 577 MiB (91%)
     

    Attached Files:

  13. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,940
    20
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    That's not correct. It doesn't matter if the program is SD or HD. There is now a minimum reported size for all shows of around 2 GB. Also the reported recording size of some shows I record in HD increased by about 25% despite being over 2 GB in length, while other shows did not increase. I think 720p recordings increased while 1080i one did not. It's possible that the TiVo is reporting the size that it thinks the recording would be if it was 1080i. In any case it's wrong.

    See my post in the original thread for more details.
     
  14. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Is this strictly an S4 scewup?
     
  15. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only

    5,755
    47
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Probably. But remember it's reported size, not real size. 480i 30 minutes is 2.1Gb, 720p is 4.2Gb. These are sizes as viewed by TiVo Desktop of the titles still on the TiVo. After transfer to the PC the real size is shown. It might get fixed, but I don't give it a high priority since the issue is now understood and not a fatal flaw.
     
  16. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    7,057
    1
    Sep 21, 2004
    To be clear to the OP, TiVos have no control over file size when recording from a digital channel. No TiVos have the ability to transcode digital channels real-time to a lower quality. You could easily check to see if your SD channels are digital by going to DVR Diagnostics. What you have experienced is most likely the result of your cable company switching 2-99 to be digital since you are using a cablecard.
     
  17. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,940
    20
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    Yes the actual recorded sizes haven't changed, but if the TiVo thinks a 400 MB file is 2.1 GB, it's free space indicator is likely wrong and it might incorrectly delete existing recordings to make room when there is plenty of space left on the drive. Effectively artificially turning a 2 GB Premiere XL into a 500 MB Premiere.

    I haven't actually taken the time to add up all the reported recording sizes to see if the reported free space matches the disk size, so I don't know if that's actually happening or not.
     
  18. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only

    5,755
    47
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Funny you brought that up. I have the 1/27 The Mentalist with a yellow dot. My Shows indicates 25% used and the Deleted Items is empty. I have already offloaded the title and want to see if and why it gets deleted tonight. I do wonder (I'm new to TiVo) if the box looks at the "To Do List" to warn of low space. My list has about 50 hours of titles now on my 45 hour box. I saw posted that might be a issue. I guess I'll keep playing.
     
  19. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,940
    20
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    The Premiere does take scheduled recordings into account when deciding when it will need to delete existing recordings, but the recordings should only be deleted at the time the space is actually needed.
     
  20. dianebrat

    dianebrat I refuse to accept your reality TCF Club

    10,122
    78
    Jul 6, 2002
    boston'ish
    A yellow dot simply means that it's available for deletion, not that it it will actually do so, I have yellow dots that are years old.
     

Share This Page