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I've had a Tivo mini for two hours, and here are my thoughts...

Discussion in 'TiVo Mini' started by redbeard25, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    2-3 seconds with the Premiere, 3-5 seconds with the Mini. Guide surfing is less painful than "up/down" channel surfing.
     
  2. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I've also had the mini for a couple hours (installed, that is - received it yesterday to try it out) and my observations are relatively consistent.

    1) When following the instructions, using Ethernet everywhere, I found the setup to be easy and worked well.

    2) Picture quality IS slightly less than natively on the Premier. I even used the same ports, same HDMI cables. The only difference is the mini. Tuning the TV does not correct it - it's really an issue of definition. It is, however, acceptable for what it is. I'm OK with it for a non-premium display. It's not premium, though.

    3) I'm now very confused about the tuner allocation. According to what I read, and what I asked, the tuner consumed by the mini on the premier would ONLY be unavailable by the XL4 if and when the mini was using it for "live TV". I was told expressly that if this was the case, and if 4 recordings were scheduled at a particular time on the XL4, then I'd get one of those messages asking if I wanted to change channels or continue with live TV. According to the documentation with the mini (which I never saw on presales marketing material) and according to what the XL4 indicated while turning on "tuner sharing" capability, this is not the case. The language there seems to indicate that my 4 tuner XL4 is (for recording) now ALWAYS just a 3 tuner XL4. I don't know if this is just poor syntax by Tivo for this process, or whether it's poor explanation of how it works during presales. Does anyone know for sure?

    The UI on the mini is snappier than on the XL4. Browsing "now playing" is much faster than on the XL4. Tuner is slower, but I suppose that's to be expected.

    Can't say much more than that. A lot will depend on the answer about tuner allocation from you guys. If in fact it does reduce the maximum recording tuner capacity to 3 even if live TV is not being watched at that time on the mini, it's kind of a showstopper at least at the moment. I'd need to make some other changes to consider the mini.
     
  3. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    It is "common knowledge" that dynamic tuner allocation (what you describe in list item 3) is not supported until a future update. I would be rather surprised if someone here told you otherwise. More than likely they misunderstood your question.

    So yes, if you allow a tuner for live TV viewing, your 4 tuner box becomes a 3 tuner box, regardless of whether or not the Mini is viewing live TV.
     
  4. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
    Every device is going to be different and you have to calibrate the TV differently even if using same input, cables, etc. The Mini is no exception. Once calibrated I find no dramatic difference between Mini and Premiere on same TV (and yes the TV inputs are calibrated differently for each, i.e. different settings for contrast, brightness, hue, etc).
     
  5. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I never asked the question here directly. I did ask it directly to Tivo. I was quite clear in my question - excruciatingly clear. I even asked that they validated with tech support, which they did. So, not only was I not clear, but (once again with this product) it is abundantly clear that Tivo internally has done an incredibly horrible job in training, product material, marketing, documentation, etc.

    So, I'll amend my review thus far.

    The mini is absolutely not (IMHO) a "whole house solution" from Tivo unless you are willing to disable functionality on existing 4 tuner Tivo devices for each mini you put in your home. Since you cannot record from a mini - period, it means that the mini actually reduces every homes recording capability by a linear measurement. Every mini kills a recording tuner permanently. That's a big deal. It means it diminishes the value of the host XL4.

    It's now a coin toss for me. I'd say it's at least 50% likely that the mini will get sent back. I sure don't want to lose a recording tuner.

    Thanks for the info. FWIW, can you point me to where people would really know the TRUE capabilities and effects of the mini? It seems that more than any other product I've seen in years, there is far far too much confusion concerning the mini. I've got clear documentation (and ticket numbers) which prove that not even Tivo internally understands their own product. I haven't seen a single "listing" here. Looking through multiple threads, it's hard to pick out the "supported" usage patterns and capabilities from the "non standard" stuff (like trying to force using it with a 2 tuner box). Not being lazy here - seriously haven't seen a single repository of one place to really "know".
     
  6. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    As I said, I went through tuning (calibration). I have not been able to make the mini output quite as good resolution as with the native Premier(e). YMMW.
     
  7. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    BTW, I also said it was perfectly fine, but I would probably not be as happy with it were it in my "primary" viewing location where surround, etc is. Of course, I also want Amazon download, etc capability in those locations so the mini would not be appropriate there to begin with.
     
  8. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
    Not so if you don't want it to and allocate 0 tuners to the Mini on the host XL4 (which implies no live TV on the Mini which I don't care about). For the few times where I may want "live TV" on the Mini, for now, since dynamic tuner allocation is not available, I will setup a recording on the host unit and then stream to the Mini to get almost live TV on the Mini. This is a stop gap solution until dynamic tuning is available on the Mini.
     
  9. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    Also, one other thing. While I'm still a bit confused about the tuner/recording thing for the mini (just noticed that it appears to let me schedule a future recording through the guide).

    Anyway, so far outside of the cost including the service fees, the mini was quite easy to set up, the display seems good enough, the UI is faster than ANY of my premier boxes, and streaming seems to work perfectly fine. Can't complain about any of those things at this point at least. I strongly believe that the cost is not appropriate, but that's a general TiVo issue where I think they're being very shortsighted, which could easily end up losing them major market share over time. What appears to be the "loss" of a recording tuner is simply not acceptable IMHO. But, giving credit where it's due, the general functions otherwise seem to work very well.
     
  10. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I understand that's what "you" want, but it's not advertised that way. If most people don't want to permanently give up live TV it's probably not an option that the general public purchasing it will accept. So, for the most common, and most commonly advertised and marketed situations, it appears to be a fact that it degrades the capability of your existing XL4.

    Given this design, I can understand why Tivo chooses to not support 2 tuner boxes. Doing so would further expose the design limitations of the Tivo Mini, and the "whole house" experience. I'm beginning to think more and more that the limited detail around the use and capabilities of this product is a deliberate ploy on Tivos part, designed to minimize the design constraints in hope that most people "don't really need 4 tuners". However, it's a bit counterintuitive given the increasing number of tuners being requested.

    Bottom line here is that for many people, I cannot see any possibility of a "whole house solution" that only has a single Tivo DVR and multiple minis. An XL4 with 2 minis means you have only 2 recording tuners, or else you can never ever watch live content in the other rooms.

    Or, am I missing something.
     
  11. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

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    Philadelphia...
    If I had my wish, it would be to disable live TV on all my boxes, at least as far as what the TiVo does when it goes idle. Why should I have to hit the TiVo button twice every time I sit down to watch TV? Why not be sitting ready with my NPL instead? I can always hit the Live TV button if there's a nuclear war or something I want to see live.
     
  12. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    Paradise...
    What I don't get is what the limitation is to set a recording on the tuner that's allocated to a mini? Why don't they make it so the first recording on a mini gets scheduled to that tuner only, then at that point if someone tries to watch it live, pop up the normal "all tuners busy" message and then give the customer a choice (wow, what a concept!) which of the recordings to stop, cancel, etc. I'm sure there's some technical reasons why not, they can't be THAT clueless, right?
     
  13. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    But with the mini, you can't - the only way to not lose a recording tuner is to permanently give up the ability to watch live content on the mini..There is no "live TV" button available.

    If you want the "live TV button" to even be available, you have to give up a recording tuner on the XL4. Meaning it's not there to use even if the mini is powered off.
     
  14. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

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    No, what I mean is I don't care about Live TV at all. If I had a Mini it would get ZERO tuners allocated. And if I had my way, Live TV would not display on a regular TiVo without explicitly pressing the "Live TV" button.
     
  15. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I'd actually prefer it if the main TiVo went to a screen saver like the Mini, instead of just dumping to live TV. Not because of any tuner allocation issues but because turning on the TV and having it blare whatever is on live TV at that moment is annoying.
     
  16. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    And that is EXACTLY how Tivo sales and Tivo tech support described it. They said:

    1) If you're watching live TV on the mini and the XL4 needs all 4 tuners to record stuff in your "to do" list, then a message would pop up on the mini display asking if you wanted to change channels or cancel the recording.

    2) If all 4 tuners were being used and you wanted live TV on the mini, you would be asked if you wanted to stop the recording.

    Very specific questions - very specific answers. Both seemed just as inaccurate as the answers I got about general streaming from the non-host Tivo Premiers on the network.

    Assuming that this is NOT what happens, it just cost me a tuner which I don't really want to give up. But neither do I want to give up live TV in the room I'm speaking of. I thought I would be able to eliminate a STB in a room that perhaps I can't without replacing one of my Tivos with one that has more tuners. So, the "$99" mini is FAR from $99. It will probably turn out to be almost 10 times that amount if I stay with it.
     
  17. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I understand. For you that's great. But that's not how it is advertised or marketed, and I seriously doubt that it fills the definition of "whole house" experience. There are other ways that do not require the cost or subscription of a mini to deliver what you're talking about. If it lacks tuner capability, then it has effectively delivered nothing of value IMHO. I would never consider it under those circumstances and doubt that the majority of the public voting with their wallets would either.
     
  18. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

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    It sounds like they are describing what happens after they activate dynamic tuner allocation. I guess someone gave the support staff the wrong info for the currently shipping product. But if they actually have that wrong information, maybe it is coming sooner rather than later?
     
  19. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

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    I understand that you want Live TV. I have never watched live TV in the bedroom or den, except when I forget to press TiVo,TiVo before pressing the power button.
     
  20. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    You can still have 3 recording tuners, you just can't have both TiVo Minis vieiwng live TV concurrently. This is how mine are set up. I share one tuner, from one of my Elites, between both of my Minis.
     

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