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Old 11-22-2013, 03:20 PM   #1
aryndub
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Tivo Mini tuner sharing ("piggybacking")

I've just received my Roamio Plus and 3 Mini's the other day and am still working through the setup. I'm coming from a Windows Media Center setup with 4 extenders spread throughout the house. I'm comparing features and noticed that tuner allocated to the mini won't "share" with the main Roamio while it's being viewed in another room.

For instance, Roamio Plus is recording 4 shows and viewing live channel ABC. If I tune to ABC on the mini it takes the 6th tuner to do this rather than "share" the 5th already watching the same channel. Is this the expected behavior? If so, is there any plan to piggyback in the future like Windows Media Center? Since they addressed dynamic tuner allocation with a firmware update, maybe they could do the same with this?
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:33 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by aryndub View Post
I've just received my Roamio Plus and 3 Mini's the other day and am still working through the setup. I'm coming from a Windows Media Center setup with 4 extenders spread throughout the house. I'm comparing features and noticed that tuner allocated to the mini won't "share" with the main Roamio while it's being viewed in another room.

For instance, Roamio Plus is recording 4 shows and viewing live channel ABC. If I tune to ABC on the mini it takes the 6th tuner to do this rather than "share" the 5th already watching the same channel. Is this the expected behavior? If so, is there any plan to piggyback in the future like Windows Media Center? Since they addressed dynamic tuner allocation with a firmware update, maybe they could do the same with this?
Such a feature is probably unlikely to be implemented. Given how the Roamio and Mini currently interact, if the Mini has a tuner, it would suggest the program is being actively viewed at the TV connected to the Mini. The control of that tuner is rightly delegated to the Mini. The viewer at that location can pause/rewind/change channel at will. Allowing the a viewer at the Roamio to "piggyback" on the Mini's tuner would have to be in a sort of "read only" mode. Your viewing of the Mini's tuner would be at the mercy of the other viewer.

Sure, in the case where both TV's would be simply doing Live TV only, it would be fine. However, such a feature could introduce too many negatives to the viewing experience that Tivo is unlikely to provide such a feature.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
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I have yet to test on my own, but will once I get home... but if with the prior example, the Roamio is recording The Walking Dead on one of it's tuners and I select the AMC channel on the Mini, will it acquire the 6th tuner for The Walking Dead or is it smart enough to playback the already in progress recording without me selecting the recording?
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by aryndub View Post
I have yet to test on my own, but will once I get home... but if with the prior example, the Roamio is recording The Walking Dead on one of it's tuners and I select the AMC channel on the Mini, will it acquire the 6th tuner for The Walking Dead or is it smart enough to playback the already in progress recording without me selecting the recording?
No. The Mini live-tv tuner can only be used for Mini live-tv - it never has a recording associated with it. You can, of course, select the recording in progress and play from that buffer.

You would need very fine-grained communication between all TiVos on the network if you want dual-purpose live-tv tuners - it's not at all simple to make sure they don't interfere with each other, and very difficult to convey conflicts to the user understandably.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:35 PM   #5
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It works the same way as Tater already explained, the mini gets its own tuner and is controlled by the mini. "smart enough" is a misnomer, as it is smart enough to let each unit work independently.
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:32 PM   #6
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I think "smart enough" is the appropriate term. If the Tivo is constantly buffering on all 6 tuners, why couldn't it allow the Mini to view the session of an already tuned channel?

Again, I'm trying to understand as a new Tivo owner coming from Media Center. As a test, I have both WMC and Tivo setup at the moment and tuned to ESPN. On the Tivo, it immediately starts it's new buffer as it wasn't previously tuned to this channel, while WMC starts the buffering when tuned (as it shuts off tuners when not actively viewing or recording). On the Mini, I tune to ESPN and it comes up no problem, I do the same for the extender... no problem. I then go back to the Roamio to list all the tuner activity, it lists ESPN amongst it active channels, while one of the tuners is locked to the Mini. While on WMC, the already buffered channel is actively available and only consuming one tuner. Each extender (and master WMC box) can fast forward, skip/reward the buffer independently without affecting the other. If I change the channel, it simply tells another tuner to start, but if I change back to ESPN, it again uses the already live tuner and buffer. The way Tivo is doing it is just giving the Mini a tuner rather than selectly streaming something it already has available. In my opinion, streaming the already active tuner is "smart" rather than giving one up blindly.

I absolutely love the Netflix integration, better looking menus (at least HD ones) and the streaming to iOS devices though. I hope this isn't coming off as trying to offend anyone, I'm just hoping something like this might be on the roadmap for the Mini (or Mini v2 should one come out). I'm currently evaluating the system to see if it passes the wife test, but has been a tough sell especially due to the high initial cost.

Thanks.
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:42 PM   #7
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Example: Two Minis, both streaming live-tv on the same channel. In your scenario, they would be using the same tuner. Suppose 5 other shows are recording. Now one of the Minis wants to change the channel (they are watching live-tv after all). What happens?
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:34 PM   #8
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Example: Two Minis, both streaming live-tv on the same channel. In your scenario, they would be using the same tuner. Suppose 5 other shows are recording. Now one of the Minis wants to change the channel (they are watching live-tv after all). What happens?
Exactly, the Mini logic is that the user utilizing it should have a tuner to do whatever they want with, and that would include changing the channel, so they don't "share"

Trying to mimic WMC and its extender logic won't work, apples and oranges, etc.
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Old 11-30-2013, 01:37 AM   #9
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I've done a bit more research on this and it appears DirecTV Genie clients do the same thing as WMC.

Regarding the example of two mini clients viewing the same live channel while the other 5 are busy recording. I could see this as a prompt for the other user to choose another "live/recording" channel or choose to interrupt... or simply prompt to take it over much like it does when the main unit wants to record using that additional tuner. I see this scenario as far, far more useful than locking the tuner and taking it out of the mix. If anything, give us the option to enable something like this as it would completely solve all of my issues. As at this point, I'm either going to DirecTV or sticking with WMC due to this issue and Comcast only allowing 4 "stable" and 5 "somewhat stable" tuners with my current cablecard firmware.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:42 AM   #10
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Having the mini share a tuner if on the same channel as another box's tuner should not be overly difficult to implement. It makes a lot of sense and Tivo should do it.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:57 AM   #11
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I'll never understand why so many people with such a great DVR resort to live TV so often. Nobody needs to try and explain it, its simply beyond my comprehension. However, everyone is free to use their Tivo however they see fit, and I certainly don't see it as "wrong" (and don't want to institute yet another discussion on the topic).
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:34 PM   #12
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I've done a bit more research on this and it appears DirecTV Genie clients do the same thing as WMC.

Regarding the example of two mini clients viewing the same live channel while the other 5 are busy recording. I could see this as a prompt for the other user to choose another "live/recording" channel or choose to interrupt... or simply prompt to take it over much like it does when the main unit wants to record using that additional tuner. I see this scenario as far, far more useful than locking the tuner and taking it out of the mix. If anything, give us the option to enable something like this as it would completely solve all of my issues. As at this point, I'm either going to DirecTV or sticking with WMC due to this issue and Comcast only allowing 4 "stable" and 5 "somewhat stable" tuners with my current cablecard firmware.
When I'm watching a football game and want to briefly check another game on another channel, neither I nor my son in the basement watching the same game with friends will appreciate having to negotiate what channel will be changed.

You folks are suggesting a fundamental change in the way people use TiVo - that other people would then be allowed interfere with what you are watching on the TV in front of you. The way it is now, if you can start watching live-tv, then you are in control of what you watch and don't have to worry about others.

The Roamio is a whole-house DVR solution; it's meant to accommodate several people watching TV at once. In such a family situation, minimizing the conflicts between viewers is a high priority!!!
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:07 PM   #13
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tuner sharing does not mean that you wouldnt get to watch what you want to watch. if you and your son are sharing a tuner and watching the same football game on two separate tvs, and you want to flip to a new channel, then you would get a new tuner but your son would stay on the tuner he is on. if you want to go back to the same game your son is watching then your tuner would be released back into the pool and you would share again.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:13 PM   #14
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tuner sharing does not mean that you wouldnt get to watch what you want to watch. if you and your son are sharing a tuner and watching the same football game on two separate tvs, and you want to flip to a new channel, then you would get a new tuner but your son would stay on the tuner he is on. if you want to go back to the same game your son is watching then your tuner would be released back into the pool and you would share again.
Did you read the post I was replying to?

I had earlier asked what should happen if there are 5 shows recording at the time. His answer was that permission should be asked of the other shared tuner. What is your answer?
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:42 PM   #15
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well rather than asking the other tuner to change, you should be prompted to stop recording one of the shows on the other five tuners. after all, if you were originally given your own tuner, one of the shows wouldnt have even started recording.
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:14 AM   #16
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Seriously! Some of you sure do spend a lot of time trying to justify a Tivo behavior as technically "required" when it's totally not.

If multiple Minis could share a tuner, then the scenario where all tuners are in use and one of the Mini users tried to change to channel that is not currently tuned on any tuner, it's really no different than if all tuners are recording something and the user of the main box tries to change to a channel that is not currently tuned.

In that case, the user trying to change the channel should be prompted to choose what tuner they want to use (showing what each one is currently doing), and they can choose to cancel an in-progress recording, change the channel that one or more other Minis are using, or Cancel and stay on the current channel.

If Junior is watching the same football game downstairs, then Dad could choose to cancel what another tuner is doing in order to change his own channel, or Dad could choose to change what he AND Junior are watching.

How is that different than if Mom is watching something that is currently recording "near-live" and all other tuners are in use, and Dad chooses to cancel that recording (that Mom is watching) in order to change that tuner to something he wants to watch?
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:25 PM   #17
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I think that you are just about alone on your preference. You are welcome to it, no issues there, but alone nonetheless.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:39 PM   #18
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So, you're saying if you have 2 tuners and 3 TVs, the majority PREFERS to NOT be able to watch the same program on all 3 TVs at the same time?

The majority PREFERS to be required to buy an additional tuner in order to watch the same football game on a 3rd TV as is being watched on the other 2 TVs in the house (and not be able to record anything else while doing so)?

Wow.
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:31 PM   #19
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I think the majority would welcome the change and probably wouldn't even notice it... they would just notice that they have more tuners free and less recording conflicts.

Having said that, the Tivo service has been cancelled and are being shipped back. The Tivo experiment was fun, but I can't justify the costs based on the C133 errors, 4 out of 6 tuners working (due to Comcast cablecard) and not even being able to share the few tuners I have left. I'm back to Windows Media Center for now and will probably move to DirecTV shortly.
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:36 PM   #20
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So, you're saying if you have 2 tuners and 3 TVs, the majority PREFERS to NOT be able to watch the same program on all 3 TVs at the same time?

The majority PREFERS to be required to buy an additional tuner in order to watch the same football game on a 3rd TV as is being watched on the other 2 TVs in the house (and not be able to record anything else while doing so)?

Wow.
You completely misunderstand what I'm saying. Hit record and stream it almost live it you want to watch "live TV".
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:20 PM   #21
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You completely misunderstand what I'm saying. Hit record and stream it almost live it you want to watch "live TV".
Okay. That works. Mostly. It does not work as well as just explicitly letting multiple devices share a tuner (by transparently hitting Record for the user). Reasons I say that:

- If all tuners are busy and I want to watch something live from a Mini, I simply can't. Unless I just happen to know that one of the tuners is already tuned to what I want. And that tuner has explicitly intiated a Record. It would be EASIER for the user if, when you tried to tune something on a Mini and all tuners were already busy, it would inform the user that all tuners are busy, show the user what each tuner is doing, and give them the option to "attach" to one and start watching whatever that tuner is tuned to - regardless of if somebody else is watching it. That tuner is already recording to a 90-minute buffer, right? So at that point, I could even rewind up to 90 minutes, maybe, if I wanted.

- if I'm recording something and watching it near-live, and all other tuners are busy, somebody else could start watching my recording from another TV and be watching near-live also, without my knowledge. If I then switch over to another channel, I'll have to stop my recording or one of the others that is happening. If I choose to stop mine, I will inadvertently kill the program for the other person that is watching. In contrast, if sharing was explicitly supported, when I try to change channels, the device could prompt me that another Tivo device is watching the same tuner and allow me to pick a different recording to cancel (i.e. I switch to another tuner, so the other watcher is unaffected), cancel the current recording but KNOWING that I'm killing another person's viewing too, or simply let me Cancel and stay on the current channel. In other words, it gives ME all the info I need and lets ME decide, instead of being locked out of certain choices.

Sharing a tuner to watch live is not really any different than sharing a recorded program to watch on 2 devices simultaneously. Even live TV is recorded (just into a rolling buffer with a fixed length). So, the concerns about each one being to do its own pause/rewind/ff seems unfounded. The only issue I can see is controlling what the tuner is doing. And for that, I don't see why any Tivo device (Roamio or connected Mini) shouldn't be able to explicitly control the tuners. You're talking about people in the same house, right? If all the tuners are busy, and somebody wants to change one, why should it be locked to the device that tuned it? What's wrong with relying on Mom or Dad to check with the other people in the house to determine what tuner to change (if all the tuners are busy and they want to change one)? That seems better than having tuners locked to individual devices (to me).
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:40 PM   #22
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From Tivo's perspective, I think what you're advocating is drifting into "Power User" features with too limited of an audience to make it worth their time to develop the necessary software for these features. All of them are certainly possible since all video that is output from a Tivo is coming from the hard drive.

More options/features/customization are great, but Tivo has limited resources and it's just not in their interest to allocate development time to these features.
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:45 PM   #23
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Maybe so. But, it seems like they already somewhat support this idea. I mean, you already get prompted to choose when you try to change a channel and it would interrupt a recording. It already lets you choose what recording to cancel, or to not change channels after all.

And it already lets multiple users view the same content from the HD at the same time. So, it doesn't seem like a big stretch, for Development or for users to understand how to use in an intuitive way. But, I could certainly be wrong.

At this point, I am super happy with how far Tivo has come since my DirecTivo box. The Roamio and Mini setup, plus Streaming is all HUGE and I really hope I can "sell" the "boss" on the idea of going this way for our new house.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:27 PM   #24
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everything stuart says is right on. sharing tuners is clearly more complicated to implement on tivo's end but not rocket science, and would be a great upgrade.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:33 PM   #25
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Thanks, s10023.

And, tatergator, if all your tuners are in use, and a user fires up a Mini and tries to tune to a channel that one of those tuners is already tuned to, it doesn't seem like a Power User feature to me to have that Mini simply WORK (i.e. start showing the user the channel they asked for), instead of entering whatever failure mode they do now ("Sorry. No tuners available. Try again later." ?). I mean, it seems like all the devices have to do is automatically start doing a Record on that tuner, and then start playing the recording on the user's Mini, but fast-forwarded to the "end". Then, if nobody explicitly told it to Record that program, it could automatically throw the recording away when all the Tivos stopped using it.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:53 PM   #26
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Thanks, s10023.

And, tatergator, if all your tuners are in use, and a user fires up a Mini and tries to tune to a channel that one of those tuners is already tuned to, it doesn't seem like a Power User feature to me to have that Mini simply WORK (i.e. start showing the user the channel they asked for), instead of entering whatever failure mode they do now ("Sorry. No tuners available. Try again later." ?). I mean, it seems like all the devices have to do is automatically start doing a Record on that tuner, and then start playing the recording on the user's Mini, but fast-forwarded to the "end". Then, if nobody explicitly told it to Record that program, it could automatically throw the recording away when all the Tivos stopped using it.
What you're saying does make sense. I always have tuners so it's not an issue for me, but it does seem like something that should already be there.
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Old 12-15-2013, 05:05 PM   #27
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Thanks, s10023.

And, tatergator, if all your tuners are in use, and a user fires up a Mini and tries to tune to a channel that one of those tuners is already tuned to, it doesn't seem like a Power User feature to me to have that Mini simply WORK (i.e. start showing the user the channel they asked for), instead of entering whatever failure mode they do now ("Sorry. No tuners available. Try again later." ?). I mean, it seems like all the devices have to do is automatically start doing a Record on that tuner, and then start playing the recording on the user's Mini, but fast-forwarded to the "end". Then, if nobody explicitly told it to Record that program, it could automatically throw the recording away when all the Tivos stopped using it.
But that means if you are in front of your tv and watching live-tv, all of a sudden you can find that you've lost control of what you see (because someone else starts watching your show) and can't change the channel. Tat's something that cannot happen without you knowing about it and agreeing in the current implementation. That's not a happy family situation!
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:30 AM   #28
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But that means if you are in front of your tv and watching live-tv, all of a sudden you can find that you've lost control of what you see (because someone else starts watching your show) and can't change the channel. Tat's something that cannot happen without you knowing about it and agreeing in the current implementation. That's not a happy family situation!
Ummm, no. What I said was that, when you try to change the channel, you could/should be prompted to choose what tuner you want to use to tune into the new channel (assuming they are all in use). The prompt should show you what each tuner is currently doing (including showing if your current tuner is also streaming to another Roamio or Mini) and let you pick which tuner to change (or Cancel your channel change request).

In other words, pretty much just like it would do now if all tuners were recording and you tried to change channels.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:39 AM   #29
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Anyway, it's moot for me, now. Last week I thought I was going to get Comcast TV in my new house, so I was really trying to decide between a Comcast DVR or a Roamio (I have loved my Tivos in the past). Then I realized I could get DirecTV. I checked it out and it's MUCH cheaper than Comcast (they gave me some huge "returning customer" discounts - all my equipment was free!). And their Genie DVR setup seems to offer everything that the Roamio setup does, plus they claim to support streaming to Android tablets in addition to iPads, where Roamio Stream only works for iOS devices (at least, according to the info I could find online). We're mostly Android in my house, so that's a definite bonus.

So, I'm not looing at Roamio any more for now, and signing off these forums.

Y'all enjoy, take care, and have a merry Christmas!
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