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Old 12-30-2012, 02:55 AM   #1
CaptainStarbuck
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Cox customer looking for relief

I'm in Orange County CA (Irvine area) and Cox is the only option. The prices go up while quality and service get worse. I'm thinking about ditching TV and phone services completely, and considering Tivo, Roku, Boxee, XBox, or some "other" smart box for the TV part.

I will be doing my homework elsewhere but I'd really appreciate comments on any of the points below.

Our desires are modest. We don't watch sports. We do get HBO but wouldn't cry about losing it. We like BBC America, science/history/nature programs. We don't care much about network TV, but the wife does like some ABC programming. We also don't care about watching TV on mobile devices, though I like the idea of setting programming through my Android.

So, for other Cox (especially OC) customers:
1) Why did you go to Tivo?
2) If you're still with Cox, why?
3) I hear about Cox dropping HD channels for Tivo users. How is that legal?
4) Does the Tivo box become the tuner/DVR to replace Cox hardware?
5) Is that why they need to be informed about the Tivo?
6) Do they require a Card? Any idea how much it is around here?

7) I'm also not getting warm fuzzies about Tivo these days. I looked closely at it years ago and was impressed with the developer community, hacking, third-party software enhancement capability, etc. But a decade later I still see people complaining about limited features. What's up with that?

8) That said, I'm looking at Premier (99-149) just to start, may get a v4 later, don't need XL4. Are there any "if I had known then what I know now I would have got the other one" notes?

9) (Tender subject) I see people here saying they're having a hard time getting their LT agreements transferred to new hardware. Seriously? What's up with that? From my noob perspective I'm wondering if I'm going to get my 500 bucks worth as hardware continues to improve. Is this something for concern?

10) Some people get Tivo and another box. Why? What are we missing or gaining with Tivo?

11) Can we get content via Roku or another box and save it in the Tivo DVR to continue watching over time?

12) How is OTA in this area? We don't care about network TV, but if we can get it OTA, especially in HD, it would be nice. And I'm wondering how many channels, quality, etc. Oh, and which antenna are you using?

13) Finally (really?), we might ditch Cox and go with DirecTV. I see there's a lot of synergy with Tivo. Anyone recently make this move?

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your patience and consideration
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:15 PM   #2
lrhorer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
So, for other Cox (especially OC) customers:
Well, I'm not with Cox nor anywhere near OC, but I think I still can answer some of the questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
1) Why did you go to Tivo?
Well, many, many reasons, but I suppose first and foremost is the fact it is the one and only 3rd party DVR available off the shelf. The only other option for a consumer-owned box is an HTPC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
3) I hear about Cox dropping HD channels for Tivo users. How is that legal?
Well, put that way, it wouldn't be. I think that of which you may be thinking is there are some tiers available at extra cost that the TiVo cannot receive, which is a slightly different matter. VOD is also not available on the TiVo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
4) Does the Tivo box become the tuner/DVR to replace Cox hardware?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
5) Is that why they need to be informed about the Tivo?
Well, not exactly. You have to get a CableCard (or 2 CableCards if it is an original S3 TiVo) from Cox for ewach TiVo in order for the Tivo to work, and they have to pair the card with the TiVo. (At least most MSOs do. Not all of them require pairing, and I am unsure about Cox.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
6) Do they require a Card?
Yes, a CableCard. It is the decryption and security device. It is what implements the ability to receive and decode the channels for which you pay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
7) I'm also not getting warm fuzzies about Tivo these days. I looked closely at it years ago and was impressed with the developer community, hacking, third-party software enhancement capability, etc. But a decade later I still see people complaining about limited features. What's up with that?
IMO, not much. Very few of the features about which I see people whine here are of any interest to me at all. YMMV, of course. Third party software development is alive and well, although lacking a lot in the way of support from TiVo. Hacking is still alive and well for all models up to the TiVo HD, released back in 2007. No viable hacks have been released for the Premiere series of TiVos, and at this point any hacking of the S4 line seems highly unlikely. The only extension option is replacing the hard drive with a larger one, which can be done rather easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
8) That said, I'm looking at Premier (99-149) just to start, may get a v4 later, don't need XL4. Are there any "if I had known then what I know now I would have got the other one" notes?
Well, its more like "I'm glad I did my homework and so did not consider a purchase of a Premiere". I do have a Premiere provided to me at no additional cost by my CATV provider.

The Premiere is considerably faster, especially at networking, than the Series-III lineup. It is also able to display 1080px24 content, which is quite nice. The Series-III boxes can read 1080p content, but they down-scale it to 1080i for display. In addition, the TiVo HD sometimes has a little trouble keeping up with 1080p content during high bandwidth interludes such as one encounters with falling snow or drifting smoke in the picture. In Batman Begins, for example, at the beginning when tens of thousands of bats swarm across the screen, the THD tends to halt and stutter if the movie is recorded as 1080p24. The original S3 does not have any problems with it, and of course neither one has any problems if the source file is 1080i or 720p.

Far more than offsetting that for me, however, the Premiere is irretrievably left high and dry if one wishes to transfer programs from the TiVo to an external PC and one's CATV provider has marked the programs as protected. The Series-III boxes cannot do so out of the box, but they can be modified and made capable of it.

TiVo also for some reason saw fit to gut the platform of one of the most important recording utilities. The Series-III lineup has an extremely important and powerful facility that alows the user to browse a list of all upcoming shows optionally filtered by categories such as movies, sports, kids programming, etc. Inside each of these filters is also an optional sub-category relevant to the selected main category. One cans also filter for HD-only programs. TiVo has inexplicably replaced this extremely important and powerful feature with an almost useless title search.

There is quite a bit more, but those are the big issues, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
9) (Tender subject) I see people here saying they're having a hard time getting their LT agreements transferred to new hardware. Seriously? What's up with that? From my noob perspective I'm wondering if I'm going to get my 500 bucks worth as hardware continues to improve. Is this something for concern?
The simple fact is it costs TiVo more to deliver and support a box than they are charging for the box plus PLS. TiVo is already losing money on every box they sell, so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to cede much more to the consumer, regardless of the consumer's economic perspective. That said, while PLS is a little bot of a gamble, unless the user only expects to keep the TiVo for a relatively short time (under 2 years), PLS is ordinarily the better economic choice in the long run, despite the larger initial cash outlay. NOt only will one break even in about 18 months, but a TiVo with PLS commands a much higher used sale price than one without, whihc somewhat mitigates any issues preventing a transfer of PLS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
10) Some people get Tivo and another box. Why? What are we missing or gaining with Tivo?
You are gaining a DVR. There is no other consumer DVR on the market, unless you purchase a used (now defunct) Moxi or roll your own HTPC. The TiVo' DVR fuctionality is unsurpassed by any other DVR out there, not to mention the others are all leased, with all the good and bad that implies. TiVo, partnering with other companies, has made some attempts to provide additional capability for other, mostly networking, features added to the TiVo box. Their success in that respect has been limited and spotty. To be sure, there are other networked boxes out that do better with NetFlix, YouTube, Amazon VOD, etc.

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Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
11) Can we get content via Roku or another box and save it in the Tivo DVR to continue watching over time?
Generally, no, the content providers see to it that is not possible. There are certainly exceptions, but I cannot speak to what the Roku can or cannot do, since I do not own one. Certainly, if the content can be decrypted (if necessary) and saved to a hard drive of a PC, then it can be sent back to a networked TiVo. Here is the list of movies and TV series I have saved on my main server ready to transfer at any time to any one of my four TiVos. This content almost all originally was recorded on one of the TiVos, but it would not make any particular difference if they had come from a Roku or other device.

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Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
13) Finally (really?), we might ditch Cox and go with DirecTV. I see there's a lot of synergy with Tivo.
Well, I would not characterize it as "a lot". There is a DirecTiVo available from DTV, but it lacks most of the networking features of even the Premiere. What's more, although one has to pay a premium for getting a TiVo rather than a regular DTV box, the user does not own the unit. I believe one can still expand the unit with an external hard drive, but since one does not own the unit, one cannot even legally expand the internal drive, let alone hack the unit.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
CaptainStarbuck
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@lrhorer, that's VERY helpful, TYVM, and I hope other newcomers find it here too.

The 1080p situation is discouraging.

The issue with searching is serious for me. The search by title is all we have with the MSO, that's one of the reasons I've appreciated TiVo even from a distance. This is one of the key areas where I figured third-party developers would reign - improving the searching and personalization of the platform to make it easier to use, thus more attractive to prospects, thus more profitable for the provider. But again, a decade later and we're back to title-only searches? Sad beyond belief at the dominance of the "cathedral" over the "bazaar" here.

As far as the PLS, I want TiVo to remain profitable or everyone loses the platform, so I guess I won't whine about that. I just hope they work out other ways to provide more value at a reasonable cost to keep it all going ... maybe they should follow the model of Apple and Google and create an app store and related industry, rather than suppressing the developer community.

I look forward to other comments.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:12 PM   #4
WhiskeyTango
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Just to be clear, the Tivo does not replace your cable provider. You will either need cable service to provide the programming or you can use an antenna which will limit the number of channels you receive.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:11 PM   #5
HerronScott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
9) (Tender subject) I see people here saying they're having a hard time getting their LT agreements transferred to new hardware. Seriously? What's up with that? From my noob perspective I'm wondering if I'm going to get my 500 bucks worth as hardware continues to improve. Is this something for concern?
And just to clarify lifetime is product lifetime service which means it is only for the life of the hardware you purchase it for. Generally there are no transfers to new hardware other than warranty or extended maintenance replacements.

TiVo has only allowed upgrade transfers in a couple of instances and at least for the S1/S2 to original S3 deal, there was a charge of $199 to "transfer" it (I did it for our 2 original S1's to 2 S3 OLED units). I would not count on this ever happening again. You buy PLS because you know you are going to use the hardware for what it does when you buy it for at least long enough to break even when compared to monthly charges as lrhorer indicated.

Our S3's are still doing what we bought them for after 6 years (next month) and over the years we got some bonuses that we use including Netflix streaming and Pandora.

Scott
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:25 PM   #6
lrhorer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
@lrhorer, that's VERY helpful, TYVM, and I hope other newcomers find it here too.
You're very welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
The 1080p situation is discouraging.
A little, especially if one has a very large screen. OTOH, it's not like 1080i looks bad or anything like that. It is still stunning, just not quite as stunning for some material. The vast bulk of my material is 1080i, anyway.

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The issue with searching is serious for me. The search by title is all we have with the MSO, that's one of the reasons I've appreciated TiVo even from a distance.
Yeah, it's pathetic in the extreme.

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Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
This is one of the key areas where I figured third-party developers would reign - improving the searching and personalization of the platform to make it easier to use, thus more attractive to prospects, thus more profitable for the provider. But again, a decade later and we're back to title-only searches?
Well, not on the S3, which is just one more reason I don't recommend the S4. With a modified S3, one can employ the filtered index list in TiVoWebPlus, which is even more powerful still.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
Sad beyond belief at the dominance of the "cathedral" over the "bazaar" here.
You are preaching to the choir, here. I don't mind having features laying around that cater to Joe Six-pack, but I cannot abide having those things impact those of us who want more power and flexibility. An "idiot mode" is just fine as long as it is not the only mode available to the platform, and as long as its implementation does not impact the performance when the mode is turned off.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:19 PM   #7
LynnL999
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Originally Posted by CaptainStarbuck View Post
I'm in Orange County CA (Irvine area) and Cox is the only option. The prices go up while quality and service get worse. I'm thinking about ditching TV and phone services completely, and considering Tivo, Roku, Boxee, XBox, or some "other" smart box for the TV part.
Hi there. I'm in Irvine too, with Cox.

First, if you are considering dumping cable and using other services instead, you really don't want or need a TiVo. It would only work with an antenna for broadcast channels, and unless you watch a lot of broadcast TV, it's probably not worth the investment.

I'll try to answer the questions that apply to me or haven't been answered upthread....

Quote:
1) Why did you go to Tivo?
I had a single tuner series 2 TiVo in the days before HD. When I got my first HDTV, I wanted HD programming and Cox had a DVR that offered it. I went back to TiVo because the Cox DVR only had space for about 10 hours of HD, while the upgraded TiVo HD I bought had space for over 100 hours.

Quote:
2) If you're still with Cox, why?
I want cable channels, and I just don't see any particular advantage to satellite, either cost or programming wise.

Quote:
3) I hear about Cox dropping HD channels for Tivo users. How is that legal?
They aren't dropping channels -- they are starting to encode certain HD channels with a codec the series 3 TiVo's (series 3 and HD's) don't support. In OC, this applies to the "plus pak" channels, which are extra premiums in HD (HBO2, HBO Family, etc.) and a few other random HD channels like DIY and Outdoor. If you are going to buy a Premiere, you won't be effected by this.

Quote:
4) Does the Tivo box become the tuner/DVR to replace Cox hardware?
Yes!

Quote:
5) Is that why they need to be informed about the Tivo?

6) Do they require a Card? Any idea how much it is around here?
Yes, they need to be informed because you need a cable card and a tuning adapter for each TiVo. You pick them up at any Cox store, follow the instructions on the TiVo getting started poster, then you call a special Cox number to activate each one.

It's quite important to follow the instructions and to activate the cable card first, then the tuning adapter. When I did this recently, it was really a breeze. The tech support people who answer the cable card/TA activation lines pick up the phone themselves and are pretty knowledgeable.

The cable cards are $1.99/month each in Orange County. The tuning adapters are free. I picked up mine last month at Quail Hill, but any of the stores should have them.

Quote:
8) That said, I'm looking at Premier (99-149) just to start, may get a v4 later, don't need XL4. Are there any "if I had known then what I know now I would have got the other one" notes?
When I upgraded I got the XL4, because I wanted the four tuners and extra space. Whatever you think will work for you is fine.

Quote:
9) (Tender subject) I see people here saying they're having a hard time getting their LT agreements transferred to new hardware. Seriously? What's up with that? From my noob perspective I'm wondering if I'm going to get my 500 bucks worth as hardware continues to improve. Is this something for concern?
Generally TiVo doesn't transfer LT service at all. They are making some exceptions now for people in OC with series 3 TiVo's who are impacted by the codec change (I am one of them).

Quote:
10) Some people get Tivo and another box. Why? What are we missing or gaining with Tivo?
TiVo streaming is limited. It doesn't include, for example, HBOGO or Amazon Prime streaming.

Quote:
11) Can we get content via Roku or another box and save it in the Tivo DVR to continue watching over time?
I don't think so.

Good luck. There is a Cox thread in the series 3 forum, it's a good place to go if you need help when you get your new TiVo.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:56 PM   #8
tvmaster2
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Cox Orange County, Tivo and Youtube trouble

is anyone having any trouble playing HD Youtube material (720-1080) between the hours of 4pm - 11pm pst, either via Tivo interface or via other tech?
For the last five nights, between those hours, HD playback of Youtube material isn't possible.
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:00 AM   #9
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I was having trouble a couple of days back. Last night I was able to run 1080p/24 test clip on YouTube on my Roamio Pro without issue. My TV displays resolution upon resolution switch so I can tell right away if I'm watching 1080p/24.
Just ran the same "NVIDIA PureVideo HD 1080p Test" clip which worked last night just before posting, and it's not giving me 1080p/24 again. Tried a few other HD clips as well and did not manage to get 1080p/24 tonight. So looks to me like speculation that Cox may be limiting YouTube HD videos during peak hours here has some validity.

(Note that Netflix gives me 1080p/24 right away without issue).
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:04 AM   #10
tvmaster2
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I was having trouble a couple of days back. Last night I was able to run 1080p/24 test clip on YouTube on my Roamio Pro without issue. My TV displays resolution upon resolution switch so I can tell right away if I'm watching 1080p/24.
Just ran the same "NVIDIA PureVideo HD 1080p Test" clip which worked last night just before posting, and it's not giving me 1080p/24 again. Tried a few other HD clips as well and did not manage to get 1080p/24 tonight. So looks to me like speculation that Cox may be limiting YouTube HD videos during peak hours here has some validity.

(Note that Netflix gives me 1080p/24 right away without issue).
how do you know what resolution a TiVo is playing from Youtube? with a PC you can select resolution ...
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:22 AM   #11
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how do you know what resolution a TiVo is playing from Youtube? with a PC you can select resolution ...
Whenever my TV sees a change in resolution it briefly displays it in top right corner. So normally it's receiving 1080i/60 from my Roamio Pro, but if I play a Netflix HD title there's a brief sync change interruption on the TV and then it shows 1080p/24. When YouTube is working properly (without interference from Cox) I also get 1080p/24 resolution when playing HD titles.
(Of course you need to enable 1080p/24 as a valid output resolution on your TiVo).
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:14 AM   #12
tvmaster2
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Whenever my TV sees a change in resolution it briefly displays it in top right corner. So normally it's receiving 1080i/60 from my Roamio Pro, but if I play a Netflix HD title there's a brief sync change interruption on the TV and then it shows 1080p/24. When YouTube is working properly (without interference from Cox) I also get 1080p/24 resolution when playing HD titles.
(Of course you need to enable 1080p/24 as a valid output resolution on your TiVo).
so when Cox's caps activate, and Youtube spits out 360 or 480, the television indicates that?
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:30 PM   #13
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so when Cox's caps activate, and Youtube spits out 360 or 480, the television indicates that?
Depends on your TiVo output settings. I have only 1080i and 1080p/24 outputs selected on my TiVo. So normally I get 1080i/60 for everything except for 1080p/24 content which the TiVo passes through as is. If I were to have 480i set as a valid output for my TiVo then the TV would switch to that resolution for 480i/p sources as well.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:25 PM   #14
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what's funny is that most people don't even realize that their cable company is shaping their traffic and giving them reduced quality. Most people just see a picture and think "oh that youtube is such bad quality"
I wish more people understood what they are actually paying for, and what they are receiving instead....
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:51 AM   #15
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is anyone having any trouble playing HD Youtube material (720-1080) between the hours of 4pm - 11pm pst, either via Tivo interface or via other tech?
For the last five nights, between those hours, HD playback of Youtube material isn't possible.

This is a hijacking of a VERY old thread. It's not the subject the OP posed.

Please begin your own threads rather than hijacking ones with a vague connection to your situation.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:01 AM   #16
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"I'm in Orange County CA (Irvine area) and Cox is the only option. The prices go up while quality and service get worse..."

if you really think it's necessary for another bad Cox thread, I can start a thread about this if you like. But that opening sentence thread seemed pretty close to what I would have opened with before drilling down to specifics.

Cox customer looking for relief....yup, that's me too!

cheers

Last edited by tvmaster2 : 12-14-2013 at 03:07 AM.
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