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Old 03-13-2013, 09:09 AM   #1
buscuitboy
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Wink An alternative idea to a TiVO mini

OK, I was waiting for this TiVO Mini to come to the market before I moved on some other possible choices for having multiple live TVs in my home. Now that it has arrived, I might go another route.

Instead of getting a mini; $99 lifetime a Series 3 TiVo (since I have a Premiere 2-tuner) that I recently obtained from Craigslist for $40. Then simply throw a cable card in it for $1.50/month. Will not only essentially have a live cable box (with its own dedicated tuner), but also additional storage for recording programs (that can be transferred as needed), Netflix access and ability to have pyTivo.

I'm sure everybody's needs are different and you would probably go with a mini if you don't have a cable outlet nearby the needed TV. I personally am gonna try the above method for a guest bedroom that isn't used frequently, but what true benefit would a tivo mini have over just getting a cheap series 3 TiVo instead? Is it really just the fact that you would have a central access point (4-tuner Premier) to control all network activity? I also realize you can watch premium channels on a TiVo mini as opposed to them being blocked with my Comcast system.

Maybe there are some other factors? Just curious.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:41 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by buscuitboy View Post
OK, I was waiting for this TiVO Mini to come to the market before I moved on some other possible choices for having multiple live TVs in my home. Now that it has arrived, I might go another route.

Instead of getting a mini; $99 lifetime a Series 3 TiVo (since I have a Premiere 2-tuner) that I recently obtained from Craigslist for $40. Then simply throw a cable card in it for $1.50/month. Will not only essentially have a live cable box (with its own dedicated tuner), but also additional storage for recording programs (that can be transferred as needed), Netflix access and ability to have pyTivo.

I'm sure everybody's needs are different and you would probably go with a mini if you don't have a cable outlet nearby the needed TV. I personally am gonna try the above method for a guest bedroom that isn't used frequently, but what true benefit would a tivo mini have over just getting a cheap series 3 TiVo instead? Is it really just the fact that you would have a central access point (4-tuner Premier) to control all network activity? I also realize you can watch premium channels on a TiVo mini as opposed to them being blocked with my Comcast system.

Maybe there are some other factors? Just curious.
As I understand it, you have to have a cable outlet (or Ethernet) for a mini to work.

The premiere you have is capable of outputting on HDMI and component at the same time. I bought a 50ft component cable and routed to a 2nd TV, and use the iphone remote to control the TiVo.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:43 AM   #3
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Well multiple DVRs has always been a solution. My thoughts are:
  1. With multiple DVRs you have to manage 2 too do lists and deal with conflicts yourself
  2. If any of the DVRs are Series 3 then you can not stream between DVRs and some transfers (MRV) maybe restricted by your cable company
  3. With multiple DVRs you will have to pay for additional cable cards and perhaps other fees like an outlet fee
  4. On the plus side with multiple DVRs if one breaks you still have assess to cable via the other one.
  5. Also dual tuner Series 3 & Premiere DVRs will also do OTA which maybe import to some people.
In the end what is the better solution is personal so just make the best decision for you.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by buscuitboy View Post
OK, I was waiting for this TiVO Mini to come to the market before I moved on some other possible choices for having multiple live TVs in my home. Now that it has arrived, I might go another route.

Instead of getting a mini; $99 lifetime a Series 3 TiVo (since I have a Premiere 2-tuner) that I recently obtained from Craigslist for $40. Then simply throw a cable card in it for $1.50/month. Will not only essentially have a live cable box (with its own dedicated tuner), but also additional storage for recording programs (that can be transferred as needed), Netflix access and ability to have pyTivo.

I'm sure everybody's needs are different and you would probably go with a mini if you don't have a cable outlet nearby the needed TV. I personally am gonna try the above method for a guest bedroom that isn't used frequently, but what true benefit would a tivo mini have over just getting a cheap series 3 TiVo instead? Is it really just the fact that you would have a central access point (4-tuner Premier) to control all network activity? I also realize you can watch premium channels on a TiVo mini as opposed to them being blocked with my Comcast system.

Maybe there are some other factors? Just curious.
1) Some people must pay $7 to $9 /month for the Cable card, a Mini does not need one
2) The Mini does need a cable outlet, or a direct connection to your router to work, most people have more cable outlets than RJ45 outlets, you can't use any wireless setup with a Mini
3) Both setups can watch premium channels if you are paying for them.
4) Some cable systems need a tuner adapter, a Mini does not
5) Your Series 3 uses more power, more noise, and because of the hard drive less long term reliability.
6) Lifetime Series 3 (TiVo-HD) go for about $340 on E-Bay, so you could sell your Series 3 and sell your Series 4 for $540 for a total of about $800, Purchase a TP-4 + Mini for about $870. You would not need any Wireless adapter as both units can use the built in Moca.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:36 AM   #5
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Another consideration of picking up the Mini versus a Series 3 box is the inability to use MRS between a Premiere and a Series 3. For anyone on Time Warner and a few other Cable companies, we're crippled by copy protection on all but the local broadcast channels. We'd be fine with another premiere, but even another Lifetimed 2-tuner is going to run you $400 (Tivo had such a deal several months ago on the 75hr Premiere). You'd save $150 with the Mini and still be able to have a multi-room experience not crippled by the copy protection.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by atmuscarella View Post
Well multiple DVRs has always been a solution. My thoughts are:[list=1]
[*]With multiple DVRs you will have to pay for additional cable cards and perhaps other fees like an outlet fee
Yea, I thought about the additional cable card fees, but at only a $1.50/month for mine, it would take a LOT of months to break even versus the cost of a Mini with lifetime ($250). Hell, even if I didn't do lifetime on a mini, its still $6/month Mini vs $1.50/month S3 cable card. Also, about the same outlay for the equipment; $150 for S3 with lifetime (if able) vs $150 for mini.

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Originally Posted by atmuscarella View Post
Well multiple DVRs has always been a solution. My thoughts are:
  1. On the plus side with multiple DVRs if one breaks you still have assess to cable via the other one.
  2. Also dual tuner Series 3 & Premiere DVRs will also do OTA which maybe import to some people.
Yea, these are two additional advantages I didn't think of. Good points. Of course, I guess I would also ultimately lose some storage capacity, but you can't win them all

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6) Lifetime Series 3 (TiVo-HD) go for about $340 on E-Bay, so you could sell your Series 3 and sell your Series 4 for $540 for a total of about $800, Purchase a TP-4 + Mini for about $870. You would not need any Wireless adapter as both units can use the built in Moca.
This is another good option to possibly consider as well (since my Premiere is lifetimed).

And I forgot that some sort of connection (coaxial or Ethernet) is still needed with the mini.

As stated, I guess in the end what is the better solution is personal so just make the best decision for you (especially if you have to pay $7-9/month extra for each cable card).

Last edited by buscuitboy : 03-13-2013 at 12:12 PM. Reason: update
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:05 PM   #7
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The Mini is designed to be part of a whole home solution where you have one central TiVo that does all the recording and then spread these Mini thin clients around the house everywhere you want to watch that content. It's main advantages are that it's cheaper then buying a second TiVo and that it can borrow a tuner from the host TiVo for live TV so there is no need for an additional CableCARD or outlet fee.

If you don't see any advantage to those features, and can get a second TiVo cheap enough, then that is a viable option. However I would recommend sticking to Premiere units. The ability to stream recordings between TiVos is only supported by Premiere units. And the old MRV method of copying shows between units is slow and crippled by copy protection.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:34 PM   #8
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Yea, I thought about the additional cable card fees, but at only a $1.50/month for mine, it would take a LOT of months to break even versus the cost of a Mini with lifetime ($250). Hell, even if I didn't do lifetime on a mini, its still $6/month Mini vs $1.50/month S3 cable card. Also, about the same outlay for the equipment; $150 for S3 with lifetime (if able) vs $150 for mini.
Are you sure about that cost of the additional CableCard? We're in the same market, and I was charged $9.95/month two years ago when I had a CableCard for another device. Of course you may not be a Comcast customer, but they have the majority of the market in Atlanta.

The Mini is a great device. Love the ability to pause TV in our living room and then go to the master bedroom and resume TV.

My coax outlet is on the other side of the room. I ran the cable underneath the baseboard so it's unnoticeable. I have a MoCA bridge in my office, but once I have ethernet wired to the living room, I plan to use the XL4 as a MoCA bridge. The MoCA is pretty fast. No lag times whatsoever in streaming live or recorded content to the Mini.

I'm planning on purchasing an additional Mini to go in my office, and if TiVo allows dynamic tuner support, I probably will buy another 4 (one for the home theater room to be built soon and 3 for the guest bedrooms).
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:56 PM   #9
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Here's my proposed workaround - I know people are doing this already but now that no 2 tuner support in the future is confirmed, and I already own a roku, I'm going to try kmttg auto-transfers using KUID flag. kmttg will copy to server when I flag a show as KUID, then roku can view these recordings via plex channel. This gets me pretty close to what the mini offers, with the exception of live tv, and it's free in my case since I already own roku and server. Any issues with my plan, please advise.

I like the cheap tivo plan but my goal is to not give comcast any extra money and here they charge a lot for a 2nd cable card so that's out for me.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:14 PM   #10
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The biggest issues with your plan...

1) Copyright. Only shows that are not protected can be transferred to a PC. There is no obvious way to tell from the TiVo itself whether a show is protected or not. The Mini, or a second TiVo, can stream and show from another TiVo regardless of it's copyright setting.

2) Convenience. You can't transfer a show to a PC until it has finished recording. Streaming works even with in-process recordings.

3) Speed. TiVo to PC transfers are slow, then even after it's done you have to wait for kmttg to decrypt the show before you can play via Plex.

With two Premiere units, or a Premiere/Mini combo, you simply pull up the other TiVo's My Shows list, highlight the show you want to watch and press play. It instantly starts playing the show with full FF/RW capabilities. It's virtually identical to the experience of sitting in front of that TiVo and using it directly.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:51 PM   #11
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The biggest issues with your plan...
Thanks for the feedback. While I am unlucky enough to have to pay a lot for additional cable cards, I am also lucky enough to have everything except premium channels unprotected. As for 2 and 3, I'd like to have those features but in exchange for no additional money from me to anyone? I can live with it.

Given my setup, (2 tvs, generally only one being used, one tivo) running a 2nd video line from my tivo to my other tv and using wifi remotes sounds pretty appealing. But that's gonna involve some holes in walls so will try the server/roku option first.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:37 PM   #12
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Can you always get the $99 Lifetime deal?
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:28 AM   #13
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I ordered a TiVo Mini yesterday for the master bedroom. I currently have a Comcast DVR in there that I'm paying $9.95 per month for, plus I hate the user interface. The Comcast DVR is going back to save the $9.95 towards the Mini. I currently have two TiVo's with cable cards and the cards are free. This will be perfect for me
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:10 AM   #14
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I was interested in the mini but after talking to TiVo yesterday, it's a non starter. If you already have multiple tivos in the home, the mini unfortunately can only see content on the one host it is using for the tuner. If it weren't for that I'd be interested. However based on that, it's a non starter and i would never consider it. I'm not sure why TiVo chose to implement it that way but I can't imagine somebody with multiple tivos really being interested for any reason than just to jump on the bandwagon. I don't know why TiVo could not at least match the capabilities of the cable companies in this case.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:35 AM   #15
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I was interested in the mini but after talking to TiVo yesterday, it's a non starter. If you already have multiple tivos in the home, the mini unfortunately can only see content on the one host it is using for the tuner. If it weren't for that I'd be interested. However based on that, it's a non starter and i would never consider it. I'm not sure why TiVo chose to implement it that way but I can't imagine somebody with multiple tivos really being interested for any reason than just to jump on the bandwagon. I don't know why TiVo could not at least match the capabilities of the cable companies in this case.
Not true. You can stream content from any Premier/S4 box on your network. You just need a P4/4XL to set up the Mini
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:16 AM   #16
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Here's my proposed workaround - I know people are doing this already but now that no 2 tuner support in the future is confirmed, and I already own a roku, I'm going to try kmttg auto-transfers using KUID flag. kmttg will copy to server when I flag a show as KUID, then roku can view these recordings via plex channel. This gets me pretty close to what the mini offers, with the exception of live tv, and it's free in my case since I already own roku and server. Any issues with my plan, please advise.

I like the cheap tivo plan but my goal is to not give comcast any extra money and here they charge a lot for a 2nd cable card so that's out for me.
I think it would be great if TiVo sold subscriptions for the Mini software so it could just be run from the Roku box...
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:12 PM   #17
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Instead of getting a mini; $99 lifetime a Series 3 TiVo (since I have a Premiere 2-tuner) that I recently obtained from Craigslist for $40. Then simply throw a cable card in it for $1.50/month.
$99? Congrats. Comcast charges me $7.45 for the 'outlet fee' and the card is free (wahoo). The $1.50 only applies if one appliance needs two cards. So for me, the first TiVo is part of the cable package, but each additional one is $7.45 (except for a series 2 that runs off a DTA, that's $1.99)

An uncarded 3 would let me move shows, but nothing 'live.' I'm considering this option for the basement, where I have a treadmill, and never channel surf. But, I digress.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:15 AM   #18
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Not true. You can stream content from any Premier/S4 box on your network. You just need a P4/4XL to set up the Mini
I was very very explicit in my discussions with TiVo. They insisted, two days ago, with two different reps on two different calls, that your statement is incorrect. Specifically, they insisted that the mini could only see content on the xl4 that it was using as the tuner host. When asked independently, they said that if you had another premier on your network, you would need to stream from that premier to the host xl4 for you to view it through the mini.

I can provide date/time of each call. So, either TiVo sales is broken or their product is subject to this disadvantage. I'd like to know which. Obviously neither is good. Frankly, both reps said that they had worked with the technology in their demo lab but both seemed to have a flawed description of streaming to begin with.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:19 AM   #19
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I was very very explicit in my discussions with TiVo. They insisted, two days ago, with two different reps on two different calls, that your statement is incorrect. Specifically, they insisted that the mini could only see content on the xl4 that it was using as the tuner host. When asked independently, they said that if you had another premier on your network, you would need to stream from that premier to the host xl4 for you to view it through the mini.

I can provide date/time of each call. So, either TiVo sales is broken or their product is subject to this disadvantage. I'd like to know which. Obviously neither is good. Frankly, both reps said that they had worked with the technology in their demo lab but both seemed to have a flawed description of streaming to begin with.
Read the boards. Its here, you can stream from any Premiere on your network. If it streams from Premiere to XL4/4 to Mini or Premiere directly to Mini, I dunno. But it works. There is so much false info about this product and so many pissy people about the price and what it does/doesn't do.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:24 PM   #20
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Read the boards. Its here, you can stream from any Premiere on your network. If it streams from Premiere to XL4/4 to Mini or Premiere directly to Mini, I dunno. But it works. There is so much false info about this product and so many pissy people about the price and what it does/doesn't do.
I would prefer to get confirmation from TiVo rather than an unofficial board. Where is the clear TiVo documentation that shows this.

Let me be clear.

If you have an xl4 and 2 premiers, and then you add a mini, I assume the mini will consume one of 4 tuners on the xl4. Will the mini be able to natively see and play all recorded content on ALL of the tivos?

2 different TiVo sales people at TiVo said explicitly NO. They said that the TiVo mini will only see content that is on the "host" xl4.

This is not being pissy. It is called being thorough and pragmatic. I think asking a basic question like this of the people who design and sell the device is quite reasonable.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:28 PM   #21
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And actually another question. Assuming the highly theoretical idea of one host xl4 and a bunch of minis, how do multiple minis consume the xl4 tuner? Can 5 minis use a single xl4 tuner -all on different channels at the same time, and still allow th other 3 tuners on the xl4 to operate independently?
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:52 PM   #22
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And actually another question. Assuming the highly theoretical idea of one host xl4 and a bunch of minis, how do multiple minis consume the xl4 tuner? Can 5 minis use a single xl4 tuner -all on different channels at the same time, and still allow th other 3 tuners on the xl4 to operate independently?
At this point, I believe a limit of 2 Minis per host. I can't find the definative language to that, but this has been the understanding since before the Mini was released. There is rumor of up to 9 Minis tied to one host when Dynamic Tuner Allocation is released, but that is in the future.

Currently, in the case of 1 tuner allocated on the host, 2 Minis would then share the tuner on a first-come, first-served basis. In that setup, only 1 Mini could watch Live TV at a time. There are certain timeout limits and such, but the basic answer is 1 tuner allocated, 1 Mini with Live TV.

I'm unclear whether the 2nd Mini could use MRS from host at the same time. Someone else with 2 Minis would have to clear this up.

With that said, I think some of those with Mini's should consider compiling a FAQ as a Sticky for this forum that covers everything and lays it out in black and white.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:01 PM   #23
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And actually another question. Assuming the highly theoretical idea of one host xl4 and a bunch of minis, how do multiple minis consume the xl4 tuner? Can 5 minis use a single xl4 tuner -all on different channels at the same time, and still allow th other 3 tuners on the xl4 to operate independently?
Call TiVo
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:23 PM   #24
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And actually another question. Assuming the highly theoretical idea of one host xl4 and a bunch of minis, how do multiple minis consume the xl4 tuner? Can 5 minis use a single xl4 tuner -all on different channels at the same time, and still allow th other 3 tuners on the xl4 to operate independently?
How could it use one tuner to provide the work of five tuners? And why on earth would all of these folks be watching Live TV if you have a Tivo with lots of content to choose from?
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:26 PM   #25
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And actually another question. Assuming the highly theoretical idea of one host xl4 and a bunch of minis, how do multiple minis consume the xl4 tuner? Can 5 minis use a single xl4 tuner -all on different channels at the same time, and still allow th other 3 tuners on the xl4 to operate independently?
No. A tuner can only be tuned to 1 channel at a time.

And in any case only one Mini can requisition a tuner at a time. Even if they both want to watch the same thing it still requires 2 tuners. Assignment of the tuners is first come first serve. So if you have 3 Minis and only have 1 tuner assigned for network use then the first Mini to request it will get it. If you try to access live TV from one of the other TiVos you'll get an error saying there no network tuners available.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:30 PM   #26
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Call TiVo
Ummm, please review post #18 in this thread.

I've called Tivo twice. According to others in this particular thread, the information provided by both of those TiVo representatives was not correct.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:34 PM   #27
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No. A tuner can only be tuned to 1 channel at a time.

And in any case only one Mini can requisition a tuner at a time. Even if they both want to watch the same thing it still requires 2 tuners. Assignment of the tuners is first come first serve. So if you have 3 Minis and only have 1 tuner assigned for network use then the first Mini to request it will get it. If you try to access live TV from one of the other TiVos you'll get an error saying there no network tuners available.
That is the answer I expected. And given that, it seems to me that the idea of a single Tivo multi-tuner box hosting multiple mini's is not actually practical unless people are willing to essentially go back to the old days.

I'm not even sure how this would work out in practice. People in this forum have talked about 6 mini's connected to a single xl4. The Tivo rep two days ago mentioned NINE!!!

I think there is quite a bit of confusion as to the true capability and use case of the mini. Clearly, asking Tivo has resulted in answers different than people here are claiming. In either case, I still maintain that for me it's really not much of a bargain, and still a step back from what cable providers have been delivering for years.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:36 PM   #28
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How could it use one tuner to provide the work of five tuners? And why on earth would all of these folks be watching Live TV if you have a Tivo with lots of content to choose from?
Ah, but if it's multiple mini's per multi-tuner Tivo, it means that if/when tuners are consumed by season pass recordings, and for example somebody wants to just watch something else for a short while, they can't - or else they sacrifice the recordings.

And btw, I never said all would be watching live TV. But more than one could easily be (live sports, etc).
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:50 PM   #29
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It appears you are confusing live tv with streams from the premiere. They are totally different.

Or- you wrote your initial question poorly, as you say
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Can 5 minis use a single xl4 tuner -all on different channels at the same time
Using a tuner requires live TV.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:57 PM   #30
Loach
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Omaha, NE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tatergator1 View Post
At this point, I believe a limit of 2 Minis per host. I can't find the definative language to that, but this has been the understanding since before the Mini was released. There is rumor of up to 9 Minis tied to one host when Dynamic Tuner Allocation is released, but that is in the future.

Currently, in the case of 1 tuner allocated on the host, 2 Minis would then share the tuner on a first-come, first-served basis. In that setup, only 1 Mini could watch Live TV at a time. There are certain timeout limits and such, but the basic answer is 1 tuner allocated, 1 Mini with Live TV.

I'm unclear whether the 2nd Mini could use MRS from host at the same time. Someone else with 2 Minis would have to clear this up.

With that said, I think some of those with Mini's should consider compiling a FAQ as a Sticky for this forum that covers everything and lays it out in black and white.
A member on another thread confirmed using 3 minis on a host earlier today without problems:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...76#post9573376
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