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Old 10-23-2014, 01:58 PM   #1
RobChuck
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Does Tivo Mini Require a Constant Internet Connection?

In my household, we use a limited amount of internet, so have chosen not to subscribe to any wired broadband services. Our internet needs are met through the cellular data of our smartphones, and occasionally, we will use mobile hotspot on our iPhones when we need a data connection beyond the iPhone.

We have had a Tivo Roamio basic model set up for OTA for a few months, and force a manual connection over wifi through the iPhone hotspot every 3-4 days to update the guide data. This works very well for our needs, and other than a persistent C130 error on the main Tivo screen, the Roamio has been flawless in meeting our DVR needs.

We also have an older CRT TV in the basement that we would like to connect a Tivo Mini to. I've come up empty in researching how to configure a Mini in this setup, and need help w/ the following questions:

1. Can the Mini operate as a DVR extender without a constant internet connection? (I understand that there would be reduced functionality, but my only desires are to extend live TV and recordings from the Roamio.)

2. Can the Mini connect directly to the Roamio through an ethernet crossover cable? Would the Roamio still be able to retrieve guide data through wifi?

3. If not, my idea is to use an Airport Extreme router that I already have and connect it to our iMac. The Roamio, Mini, and iMac would all be hardwired with ethernet cables to the router. When we need to feed a data connection to the network, I would connect my iPhone to the iMac and share it's internet connection to the router. Would this setup work? Any other suggestions?

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Old 10-23-2014, 02:27 PM   #2
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I think 3 is your best option. Connecting them all to the router creates a complete internal network so the Roamio and Min can properly communicate.

See here: http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/...t%20connection

and expand "Connection States for Tivo Mini".

Your situation with everything connected to the router would be row 4. You'll be able to do most things related to watching your content, but will not be able to do Search, Browse, see the Discovery Bar, view Poster Art, or use OTT apps like Netflix or Pandora.

ETA: With the Mini connected to a CRT, you'll need to order a special breakout cable from Tivo so you can hook it up via the RCA style (red, white, yellow) cables. Do to limited space on the back of the Mini, there's only a single yellow port which the adapter will split out to standard RCA.

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Old 10-23-2014, 03:45 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info....that Tivo link is exactly what I was looking for!

The connection states shown on line 4 are how I had hoped this setup would work.

Oh, and thanks for the heads up on the breakout cable.

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Old 10-28-2014, 01:05 PM   #4
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tatergator1,
Thanks again for your advice!

My Mini arrived yesterday and works well in network configuration #3, with and without the hotspot connected.

(I ended up connecting the Roamio and Mini through the ethernet ports of the extreme, then bridged the iPhone mobile hotspot through a Netgear wireless ethernet adapter hooked into the WAN port of the Airport Extreme -- on a side note, I now have a legitimate wired/wifi network running when the hotspot is running!)

I also tested the connections and operations of all the devices operating in a variety of network states, and can confirm that my results with both the Mini and Roamio validate what Tivo lays out in the "Connection States for Tivo Mini" table.

The only downside so far is that I haven't run the ethernet cable to the CRT Tv yet, so I had to do all the testing of the Mini on the composite input of my HDTV. The Tivo AV breakout cable hasn't arrived yet, so I had to use an old one that I had laying around. At first, the TV didn't get any signal at all, so I switched the cables around and found red was able to pass a video signal through.

The video was very choppy and rolling through the guided setup, and the menu screens blacked out after every button press of the remote. I hope it's just a case of the breakout cable rings not being matched for Tivo's AV output, and I will bring my multimeter home from work to test the cable tonight (btw, the cable I used was from a Canon miniDV camcorder). I've been doing a bit of reading on Tivo AV cables this morning, so I hope the correct layout of connections will eliminate the video issues (sound was fine, and the choppy, rolling issue persisted even when both audio connections were disconnected).

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Old 11-11-2014, 03:34 PM   #5
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After a few weeks of running this setup, I figured I would come back and provide a quick update:

Network configuration #3 has worked out very well, and both the Roamio and Mini function reliably and as expected with the intermittent connection to the internet, even after several days without a connection to the Tivo service.

The Canon AV cable turned out to be problematic due to its configuration, and the Weaknees AV breakout cable that I ordered through Amazon has worked perfectly. It should also be noted that the Mini died after less than 12 hours on the job due to a faulty ethernet port. I was able to get a replacement unit within a few days, and the replacement Mini has worked perfectly for the last 10 days or so.

I wanted to come back and post, because I found either lacking or conflicting information of using Tivo devices with wireless hotspots, and wanted to share with the community that I found a satisfactory solution that works for my use case.

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Old 11-12-2014, 09:27 PM   #6
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Sure, it will work just as poorly as the Roamio. However, it's a rare case that someone has no access to wireline internet, but access to OTA TV. Anyone with a Roamio Plus or Pro has access to cable internet.

If you have access to wireline broadband, then you should be subscribing to that, as cell phones are not a replacement for a real internet connection.

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Old 11-13-2014, 11:02 AM   #7
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I shared this info with the community, as when I was researching DVR options, I found other cases where people were asking the same questions that I had. However, responses to those questions didn't seem to include any definitive answers of how this type of setup would work, other than Tivo is designed to only work with a continuous internet connection.

For my usecase, my Romio/Mini combo works exactly as I hoped it would: a 4-tuner DVR for OTA on our main TV, with the Mini serving as reliable extender on our basement TV. The guide data gets updated every 3-5 days, and any inconsistencies that pop up are still a better experience than what we had before (we have yet to discover any issues).

My family doesn't use any of the OTT services on the Tivo box, and is very light on TV watching as it is, so a continuous data connection is not necessary for us. We had a DishTV PAL DVR (OTA) for a number of years that worked reliably well (at least until the Rovi guide service was cut off), but had its own share of issues once it relied on PSIP info for its guide data. I've tried a few of the other OTA DVR solutions that do not require a constant data connection and have been left very disappointed; and I didn't even want to deal with the hassle of a WMC or Linux setup.

As far as cellular data versus wireline data, cellphone hotspots are a suitable replacement in my family's use case. We have used inexpensive cellular data for over five years and use an average of about 5-6 GBs total in a month. We don't have any desire to use the internet beyond that and are comfortable with that choice. There is no justification to spend $70+ for wireline data, when the solution we use works for our use case.

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Old 11-13-2014, 11:40 AM   #8
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Glad to hear it's working well.

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Old 11-13-2014, 12:04 PM   #9
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Yeah wonder if that's a trend that will take off. The dumping of a home broadband plan for those that are fine with cellular data.

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Old 11-13-2014, 05:06 PM   #10
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Yeah wonder if that's a trend that will take off. The dumping of a home broadband plan for those that are fine with cellular data.
It sure is what Verizon is expecting...that's one of the reasons they stopped investing in FiOS and are putting all their efforts into wireless.

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Old 11-13-2014, 09:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RobChuck View Post
I shared this info with the community, as when I was researching DVR options, I found other cases where people were asking the same questions that I had. However, responses to those questions didn't seem to include any definitive answers of how this type of setup would work, other than Tivo is designed to only work with a continuous internet connection.
1. Most TiVo users use cable. Which means they have cable internet as well. And the OTA users are generally tech savvy, and are mostly in places with land-based internet.
2. TiVo is designed to only work with a continuous connection. It used to be to a phone line, and TiVo would decide when to dial in, and since the Series 2 units, they use the internet to get guide data.

Quote:
For my usecase, my Romio/Mini combo works exactly as I hoped it would: a 4-tuner DVR for OTA on our main TV, with the Mini serving as reliable extender on our basement TV. The guide data gets updated every 3-5 days, and any inconsistencies that pop up are still a better experience than what we had before (we have yet to discover any issues).
The TiVo App is going to be pretty broken without a functioning internet connection and home network, and the TiVo won't get last-minute guide data updates the way it is supposed to.

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As far as cellular data versus wireline data, cellphone hotspots are a suitable replacement in my family's use case. We have used inexpensive cellular data for over five years and use an average of about 5-6 GBs total in a month. We don't have any desire to use the internet beyond that and are comfortable with that choice. There is no justification to spend $70+ for wireline data, when the solution we use works for our use case.
Cellular data is not a replacement for a real, always-on internet connection. Where on earth do you live that it costs $70/mo for internet? I don't even pay that, and I have a 105/10 cable connection. A basic 25-50mbps cable connection is usually around $50/mo, maybe $60ish debundled.

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Yeah wonder if that's a trend that will take off. The dumping of a home broadband plan for those that are fine with cellular data.
No. The physics doesn't work out, which is why mobile data is so expensive. I wouldn't really want a $4,000 phone bill every month LOL.

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Old 11-14-2014, 12:42 AM   #12
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3 will work, but no promise that we are going to be happy with the end product. Tivo does real time updates with the tivo service and is really designed to work with a broadband connection.

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Old 11-14-2014, 06:40 AM   #13
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1. Most TiVo users use cable. Which means they have cable internet as well. And the OTA users are generally tech savvy, and are mostly in places with land-based internet.
2. TiVo is designed to only work with a continuous connection. It used to be to a phone line, and TiVo would decide when to dial in, and since the Series 2 units, they use the internet to get guide data.



The TiVo App is going to be pretty broken without a functioning internet connection and home network, and the TiVo won't get last-minute guide data updates the way it is supposed to.



Cellular data is not a replacement for a real, always-on internet connection. Where on earth do you live that it costs $70/mo for internet? I don't even pay that, and I have a 105/10 cable connection. A basic 25-50mbps cable connection is usually around $50/mo, maybe $60ish debundled.



No. The physics doesn't work out, which is why mobile data is so expensive. I wouldn't really want a $4,000 phone bill every month LOL.

This is not his use case though. He found a solution that works for him. What's the issue?

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Old 11-14-2014, 09:18 AM   #14
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1. Most TiVo users use cable. Which means they have cable internet as well. And the OTA users are generally tech savvy, and are mostly in places with land-based internet.
2. TiVo is designed to only work with a continuous connection. It used to be to a phone line, and TiVo would decide when to dial in, and since the Series 2 units, they use the internet to get guide data.
I understand that I am not using Tivo exactly as it is designed, but the setup that I now have works well for me (OTA tuner(s) + DVR on multiple TVs). This setup is still miles ahead of the PSIP-based DVRs that I've used in the past that would miss recordings, have drifting clocks, etc.

Quote:
The TiVo App is going to be pretty broken without a functioning internet connection and home network, and the TiVo won't get last-minute guide data updates the way it is supposed to.
We don't use any of the apps and I'm not terribly worried about the guide data. The PSIP-based DVRs that we used previously were a much, much worse experience with "current" guide data, versus 3 day old guide data on Tivo.

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Cellular data is not a replacement for a real, always-on internet connection. Where on earth do you live that it costs $70/mo for internet? I don't even pay that, and I have a 105/10 cable connection. A basic 25-50mbps cable connection is usually around $50/mo, maybe $60ish debundled.
The two broadband options where I live are 1.5 Mbps telco DSL for $39.99, or the standard 25 Mbps Comcast offering is $66.95 (plus taxes). My family has no need (or even desire -- we are happy w/ cellular data!) for an always-on internet connection, so we have chosen to spend that $70 elsewhere in our budget.

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Old 11-14-2014, 01:47 PM   #15
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No. The physics doesn't work out, which is why mobile data is so expensive. I wouldn't really want a $4,000 phone bill every month LOL.
Yeah like I actually was wondering when people will start paying $4k/mo for cellular data instead of $60/mo for Broadband.

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Old 11-15-2014, 02:00 PM   #16
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This is not his use case though. He found a solution that works for him. What's the issue?
Home internet is for home. Mobile internet is for mobile. Mobile internet doesn't work for home use and visa versa. There are some people who have few options, but for anyone with a decent land-based option, it's just stupid to be using mobile broadband in place of home broadband.

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I understand that I am not using Tivo exactly as it is designed, but the setup that I now have works well for me (OTA tuner(s) + DVR on multiple TVs). This setup is still miles ahead of the PSIP-based DVRs that I've used in the past that would miss recordings, have drifting clocks, etc.
And it's still not working as a TiVo or MSO-supplied DVR should.

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The two broadband options where I live are 1.5 Mbps telco DSL for $39.99, or the standard 25 Mbps Comcast offering is $66.95 (plus taxes). My family has no need (or even desire -- we are happy w/ cellular data!) for an always-on internet connection, so we have chosen to spend that $70 elsewhere in our budget.
Gee, you've got Comcast available. So you do have a good option for broadband. You also get more than a couple of GB of usage, so you can actually USE the internet and not constantly be worried that you're going to go over your cap and be restricted to all but the most basic of uses.

You're also looking at an elevated price. If you had cable or phone bundled with the internet, it would be significantly cheaper.

Heck, if you're willing to put up with a slow as molasses connection, Comcast offers 6/1 internet for something like $40/mo unbundled. It is, however, crippled, as it can't handle Netflix SuperHD, Amazon 1080p, or VUDU HDX and if one user tries to stream while another does anything, the whole thing sort of melts down. A friend had it very briefly before he moved out of his prior apartment and it was truly awful. Blast! is great, it's almost impossible to slow it down even with simultaneous downloads, streams, etc with 105mbps of downstream and 10-20mbps of upstream depending on the market.

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Yeah like I actually was wondering when people will start paying $4k/mo for cellular data instead of $60/mo for Broadband.
Well, at current pricing, that's what my AT&T bill would look like if I used it to replace Comcast.

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Old 11-15-2014, 06:03 PM   #17
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Old 11-16-2014, 03:47 PM   #18
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And it's still not working as a TiVo or MSO-supplied DVR should.
I don't care how it SHOULD work. This configuration works perfectly for ME.

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Gee, you've got Comcast available. So you do have a good option for broadband. You also get more than a couple of GB of usage, so you can actually USE the internet and not constantly be worried that you're going to go over your cap and be restricted to all but the most basic of uses.

You're also looking at an elevated price. If you had cable or phone bundled with the internet, it would be significantly cheaper.

Heck, if you're willing to put up with a slow as molasses connection, Comcast offers 6/1 internet for something like $40/mo unbundled. It is, however, crippled, as it can't handle Netflix SuperHD, Amazon 1080p, or VUDU HDX and if one user tries to stream while another does anything, the whole thing sort of melts down. A friend had it very briefly before he moved out of his prior apartment and it was truly awful. Blast! is great, it's almost impossible to slow it down even with simultaneous downloads, streams, etc with 105mbps of downstream and 10-20mbps of upstream depending on the market.
I don't need (or want) cable. I don't need (or want) a voice line. I don't need (or want) a home broadband connection. So in my case, spending $70+ a month on something that my household doesn't need or even want just doesn't make sense.

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Well, at current pricing, that's what my AT&T bill would look like if I used it to replace Comcast.
And our (equal) portion of an AT&T family plan is $60 (incl. taxes) and we have 10 GB of a share plan. We've never paid more than that since cutting ALL cords and have never used more than 6 GB in one month. I don't know how else I can convince you that my family doesn't want or need anything more than we currently have.

This thread has gone wildly off topic. I don't have to justify how I use my electronics or why I don't have a home broadband connection to a stranger on the internet.

I'm going to return to lurker status and go watch my Tivo the way I want to and the way it works for me!

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Old 11-16-2014, 07:14 PM   #19
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plus, you got that AT&T plan from Lilly. She's hot.

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Old 11-16-2014, 08:00 PM   #20
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I don't need (or want) cable. I don't need (or want) a voice line. I don't need (or want) a home broadband connection. So in my case, spending $70+ a month on something that my household doesn't need or even want just doesn't make sense.
Everyone needs a home broadband connection to be part of the modern world. Unfortunately, due to Comcast's bundling practices, in Comcast monopoly areas, if you don't subscribe to cable or phone, you have to pay their de-bundling surcharge, but that's how it is. I think that practice should be ended, I don't feel bad for these "cord cutters", but it is highly anti-competitive to DirecTV and DISH, and hurts pay-TV provider choice for everyone.

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And our (equal) portion of an AT&T family plan is $60 (incl. taxes) and we have 10 GB of a share plan. We've never paid more than that since cutting ALL cords and have never used more than 6 GB in one month. I don't know how else I can convince you that my family doesn't want or need anything more than we currently have.
While there are some people who have no choice, and are forced to pay huge amounts for AT&T or Verizon LTE service or satellite every month, either of which is well north of $100/mo for service that is still sub-standard, you have a real internet connection available. I've used AT&T as a primary ISP for a few days while staying with my grandparents in a location with no cable plant and no RDSLAM, so I know how much it totally sucks for that use, and how quickly you rack up data usage, even after having run everything that uses a lot of data on a Comcast connection before I set off for the location with no real internet. There is no way you can even keep your computers, devices, and their software up to date without a real internet connection, and the phones require Wifi to download updates. You can't stream much of any video, or a whole lot of audio. Even a decent amount of regular web use will quickly burn through that data allotment. Even my 80+ year old grandparents know this, they have 30mbps Brighthouse at their year-round residence.

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Old 11-16-2014, 08:52 PM   #21
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I have Comcast unbundled going on year 3 at $37 a month. All depends on where you live and if you have choices.

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Old 11-16-2014, 09:15 PM   #22
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This thread has gone wildly off topic. I don't have to justify how I use my electronics or why I don't have a home broadband connection to a stranger on the internet.

I'm going to return to lurker status and go watch my Tivo the way I want to and the way it works for me!
+1. We found a workable solution for an uncommon situation. Just ignore the soap box rants and move on.

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Old 11-16-2014, 09:59 PM   #23
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I have Comcast unbundled going on year 3 at $37 a month. All depends on where you live and if you have choices.
Do you have other decent ISPs available?

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Old 11-16-2014, 11:00 PM   #24
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Somewhat, Comcast is actually great here. Fios throttles like crazy but Comcast doesn't, well not since the peering agreement. Fios is almost twice the cost but it being here keeps my Comcast price low. Happy with the service, but I hate the company. I hate Verizon more though.

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Old 11-17-2014, 01:05 AM   #25
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Somewhat, Comcast is actually great here. Fios throttles like crazy but Comcast doesn't, well not since the peering agreement. Fios is almost twice the cost but it being here keeps my Comcast price low. Happy with the service, but I hate the company. I hate Verizon more though.
What is FiOS throttling? Around here I have no issues with FiOS. It isn't throttled here. Netflix and other streaming services work great. And I've had no issues using 1TB to 3TB or more of data each month on FiOS.

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Old 11-17-2014, 06:34 AM   #26
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What is FiOS throttling? Around here I have no issues with FiOS. It isn't throttled here. Netflix and other streaming services work great. And I've had no issues using 1TB to 3TB or more of data each month on FiOS.
I know, it is odd but any kind of streaming service is being throttled in my area. I have multiple neighbors that have issues with it. Connected with a wire they get buffering on YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, even funny or Die.

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Old 11-17-2014, 05:42 PM   #27
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I know, it is odd but any kind of streaming service is being throttled in my area. I have multiple neighbors that have issues with it. Connected with a wire they get buffering on YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, even funny or Die.
That is NOT throttling, and it has absolutely nothing to do with their last-mile infrastructure. That is remnants of their racket against Netflix and Cogent at the peering points, and is mostly resolved at this point. It was resolved by Comcast much more quickly, since they had already put the links in place to resolve it, they were just waiting for their protection money to turn them on. Verizon didn't have anything ready, so their engineers have been scrambling for a few months to put the pieces of the direct connection together now that Netflix paid the protection money to Verizon's racket.

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Old 11-17-2014, 08:39 PM   #28
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Yeah I know about it in the case of Netflix but it is still affecting other services as well. Comcast has been great, the exception not the rule of course. I'm fully aware of the issues that are widely reported I just haven't had those issues. Im Internet only so I can't comment on their tv service.

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Old 11-18-2014, 05:26 PM   #29
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Yeah I know about it in the case of Netflix but it is still affecting other services as well. Comcast has been great, the exception not the rule of course. I'm fully aware of the issues that are widely reported I just haven't had those issues. Im Internet only so I can't comment on their tv service.
I'm not saying there aren't legitimate issues there with peering, but Verizon does NOT throttle, and there are no common last-mile issues with FIOS like there are with cable.

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Old 08-11-2015, 06:18 PM   #30
TV_Tom122
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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I realize that this is an old thread, but just in case the OP is still around I wanted to say that this information helped someone else.

I have a similar situation where we have a small 2nd home out in the country in the middle of nowhere. There is no cable, no DSL, no fiber, etc. The only internet options are satellite, or mobile wireless. Since we only stay there occasionally, satellite with monthly payment and contracts (or anything with a contract) does not make sense (not to mention other issues with satellite internet). We use our phones and tether to a router to provide internet connection to the house when we are there.

I had to put up a tower and an big antenna, but we do get OTA from ~100 miles away. Currently we have been using WMC, but because of the specific setup, it is not one or two button presses on a remote so it has low WAF and is only on one TV. With MS dropping WMC from Windows 10 and changing program guide vendors, you have to wonder about the remaining life of WMC.

I have recently been looking at options. PC/HTPC options are all complicated enough to have low WAF. We have TiVo Roamio + mini at home so she is used to that and it is one button push. I was wondering about TiVo options at the 2nd house but was concerned about the need for an always on internet connection. Even though the internet connection will be on when we are there, I don't want the TiVo to use our limited bandwidth just to "keep in touch" with the TiVo servers. I would like to download updates when needed and download the guide when we get there and that is it. Other than that it would be disconnected from the internet.

I was looking at options like used Series 3 HD (which I understand is more tolerant of intermittent internet) or Roamio (regular or OTA) + mini (which would be my preference).

Based on this thread the Roamio + mini looks like it would work in my case too.

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