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Old 12-29-2010, 07:46 AM   #1
teewow
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Tivo - offer option to disable buffering of Live TV !

I came back from a four week vacation and was aghast to find that both tuners on my Tivo Premiere were locked onto HD channels and were busy buffering video to the hard drive.

I could have turned off the Tivo before going on vacation but then I would forgo the Season Pass shows.

Tivo ... allow us the option to disable buffering ... especially for situations like these ... think GREEN !!!
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by teewow View Post
I came back from a four week vacation and was aghast to find that both tuners on my Tivo Premiere were locked onto HD channels and were busy buffering video to the hard drive.

I could have turned off the Tivo before going on vacation but then I would forgo the Season Pass shows.

Tivo ... allow us the option to disable buffering ... especially for situations like these ... think GREEN !!!
If you put it in standby mode it will still do scheduled recording, but won't do suggestions and wot-not (at least that's what I have read, I'm not sure I ever left it in standby long enough to prove that is true).
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:17 AM   #3
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The TiVo is always buffering, even in standby. I don't know if buffering HD uses more power than SD, but I doubt it.

The Premiere is a fairly energy-efficient box. It is a minor contributor in my house, between furnace, water heater, security lights, etc. I turn all down as much as possible, but can't shut down the furnace.

Weigh the electricity vs. the value of the shows it recorded while you were gone. If it makes sense, then it might be best to pull the plug.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:46 AM   #4
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Weigh the electricity vs. the value of the shows it recorded while you were gone.
How about they make it record the shows while I am gone ... but not buffer live TV ? ... my antiquated/awful/awkward Comcast Scientific Atlanta DVR box is able to do just that ... via an ON/OFF button on the front of the box. //
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by teewow

How about they make it record the shows while I am gone ... but not buffer live TV ? ... my antiquated/awful/awkward Comcast Scientific Atlanta DVR box is able to do just that ... via an ON/OFF button on the front of the box. //
Just because it has an off/on switch doesn't mean it is actually "off". I do not have your specific box, but most DVRs (satellite/cable) turn off the unit's front lights and disable video output. However they are still actually on and processing. In the grand scheme of things, DVRs really do not use that much electricity. Most modern electronics aren't actually off, but instead in standby still using electricity.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:41 AM   #6
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Interestingly, the DirecTiVos did disable live TV buffering while in Standby. I'm not sure why the difference.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:37 PM   #7
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I guess I am not sure why someone would want this... Power conservation? Would you then need to wait for power-up to start using it?

I can't tell you how many times I have flipped on the tv an found something interesting on. "Hmmm, let me rewind that a bit."

If any thing I would love to have a 1 hour buffer!
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:03 PM   #8
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If any thing I would love to have a 1 hour buffer!
This^
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by teewow View Post
I came back from a four week vacation and was aghast to find that both tuners on my Tivo Premiere were locked onto HD channels and were busy buffering video to the hard drive.
Tivo ... allow us the option to disable buffering ... especially for situations like these ... think GREEN !!!
I seriously doubt it would make any real difference in total power usage if it were not buffering..... unless they were to actually have the unit spin down the hard drive. But spinning the drive up and down and up and down thousands of times could also wear the drive more quickly. CPU load for "recording" of digital streams is almost nil. The power supply still has to be "on", the fans will likely still need to run.

You could always try "standby", but I believe that doesn't really do much.

That said- I am *never* against users having more control and options. Although they should be prioritized, and this one sounds really really really low.
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:39 PM   #10
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From the TiVo Premiere FAQ:

As an ENERGY STAR compliant DVR, how many watts does the TiVo Premiere consume?

With early software, the TiVo Premiere dissipates 23 watts in standby and 26 watts while recording.


Teewow, why would 3 watts leave you feeling aghast? All I can say is good grief dude, why did you even get a device known to always be on?
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:10 PM   #11
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From the TiVo Premiere FAQ: With early software, the TiVo Premiere dissipates 23 watts in standby and 26 watts while recording.[/i]

Teewow, why would 3 watts leave you feeling aghast? All I can say is good grief dude, why did you even get a device known to always be on?
Yes, I do recall reading that somewhere. It is hardly worth even having a standby mode. It does make one wonder exactly what comprises the measly 3 watts. Also, if that has changed at all since that is "with early software".
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:04 PM   #12
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The right way to look at those numbers is not as "3 watts less", but as "nearly 9% less". Which seems very worthwhile to me.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:20 PM   #13
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The right way to look at those numbers is not as "3 watts less", but as "nearly 9% less". Which seems very worthwhile to me.
Of course you are right. But when your TV uses 100 to 200 watts, the AMP uses 50+ watts, the computer uses 250 watts, etc, it just doesn't seem worth the effort to spend time turning on/off standby to save 3 watts. Even if it could save 3 watts a day, 20 hours a day, every day, in my area that is about $0.19 of electricity in a month

Further speculation- If it got that savings by spinning down the drive, and it shortened the life of the drive even a few percent, the ultimate cost would be far higher over the would-be life of the box.

Not that I am against energy savings, but one could save 2500%+ as much electricity by changing a single high-use incandescent light bulb to florescent.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:50 AM   #14
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Well, it doesn't spin down the drive in Standby, as we've established. It doesn't even stop buffering. It just turns off the video output and decoding circuitry, and the front panel lights.

My TiVo is on much more than my TV, too (24 hours a day, vs... less), so the multipliers are different there.

For those who find it too much effort, I made a nice big Standby button on my network remote to make it easy.
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:04 AM   #15
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Tilting at windmills? An Inspector Jarvet approach to energy conservation? Perhaps.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:31 AM   #16
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Of course if you can afford to go on 4 week vacations, perhaps you shouldn't be worrying about 3 watts/day?
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:58 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by robm15 View Post
From the TiVo Premiere FAQ:

As an ENERGY STAR compliant DVR, how many watts does the TiVo Premiere consume?

With early software, the TiVo Premiere dissipates 23 watts in standby and 26 watts while recording.


Teewow, why would 3 watts leave you feeling aghast? All I can say is good grief dude, why did you even get a device known to always be on?
What you grossly ignored was the fact that - had the Premier not been buffering while on Standby (yes, it continues to buffer on standby) ... the power usage would be MUCH lower.

Let me restate it another way ... so as to avoid confusion ... Standby Mode in the Premiere does nothing much as far as energy usage. If they offered the option to disable buffering ... Standby mode w/ buffering disabled would use significantly less energy.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:09 PM   #18
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What you grossly ignored was the fact that - had the Premier not been buffering while on Standby... the power usage would be MUCH lower.
Actually, you don't know that. It completely depends on exactly what strategies are chosen for standby mode. Simply not buffering doesn't automatically equate to "MUCH" lower energy usage.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:12 PM   #19
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Actually, you don't know that. It completely depends on exactly what strategies are chosen for standby mode. Simply not buffering doesn't automatically equate to "MUCH" lower energy usage.
Unless TiVo turns off the hard drive, but with the TP using only about 24 watts I think too little savings to be concerned about.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:35 PM   #20
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We're debating the trauma of a 3 watt/24x7 power drain. Wth...this is just nuts.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:25 PM   #21
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We're debating the trauma of a 3 watt/24x7 power drain. Wth...this is just nuts.
I totally agree. I just assumed all dvrs buffer when off. I mean they still have to do work, it needs to stay on to manage scheduled recordings and stuff. Would the tivo premiere even be able to do that with the hard drive turned off/spun down? And if it can, is it healthy for a hard drive to be constantly turning on and off 24/7? I would imagine it would lower the life of the drive.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:28 PM   #22
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We're debating the trauma of a 3 watt/24x7 power drain. Wth...this is just nuts.
Hard Drives have a failure rate that is directly correlated to how active the drive is. Buffering 24/7 will reduce hard drive life ... especially the newer hard drives that undergo far less QC (thanks to stiff competition and lower margins).
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:11 AM   #23
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Hard Drives have a failure rate that is directly correlated to how active the drive is...
I believe Google's observation's have proven the opposite. Here's a layman's explanation of "Google’s Disk Failure Experience" relating to disk activity:

Quote:
Over work = early death?
A teenager might want you to believe that, but the Googlers found little correlation between disk workload and failure rates. Since most of us, including enterprise IT folks, have no idea how much “work” our drives do, utilization is a slippery concept. The authors defined it in terms of weekly average of read/write bandwidth per drive and adjusted for the fact that newer drives have more bandwidth than older drives.

After the first year, the AFR of high utilization drives is at most moderately higher than that of low utilization drives. The three-year group in fact appears to have the opposite of the expected behavior, with low utilization drives having slightly higher failure rates than high ulization ones.


As the graph shows, infant mortality is much higher among high utilization drives. So shake that new drive out while it is still under warranty. And don’t worry about doing those daily backups to disk and other I/O intensive work.

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Old 12-31-2010, 08:08 AM   #24
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I believe Google's observation's have proven the opposite. Here's a layman's explanation of "Google’s Disk Failure Experience" relating to disk activity:
And I would tend to agree with it. In that study, they are examining the difference in life between heavy and light use of drives. The only difference between the two would be how much the stepper motors are used to move the heads, and the use of the electronics.

Electronics' life doesn't vary much with light vs. heavy continuous on-time use. And the head movement doesn't change the thermal envelope much. Plus they are designed to be used sporadically like that.

But the study has nothing to do with "powering down" the drive- in which we really mean not only making the heads idle, but spinning down the drive (which is where most of the power is going). Drives spin at a constant rate (RPM). Spinning a drive down drastically changes the thermal profile of the drive- cooling it down and then heating it up again when spun up again. This also drastically changes the load characteristics on the bearings. Drive motors simply do not like this thermal cycling. Electronics also do not like thermal cycling- it causes boards, components, traces, etc to expand and contract over and over again.

So while it shouldn't make any real difference in overall drive life if the drive is "used" a little or a lot, I am pretty confident that spinning down the drive repeatedly to save electricity will greatly shorten its life (when it is done frequently). My experience with drives and electronics used in various ways validates my statement, although it is certainly not a scientific study.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:12 AM   #25
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What you grossly ignored was the fact that - had the Premier not been buffering while on Standby (yes, it continues to buffer on standby) ... the power usage would be MUCH lower.

Let me restate it another way ... so as to avoid confusion ... Standby Mode in the Premiere does nothing much as far as energy usage. If they offered the option to disable buffering ... Standby mode w/ buffering disabled would use significantly less energy.
Define MUCH lower. Such a relative term is meaningless since your "MUCH" could be my "insignificant". Your making assumptions with out data and I completely disagree, so here is data for you.

If the hard drive used in the early Premiere models is still comparable to the hard drives used today, according to the FAQ the hard drive is a Western Digital Model WD3200AVVS.

According to the data sheet, found here: http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/librar...879-701250.pdf, the data usage of a WD3200AVVS during read write is 4.7 Watts. At idle 2.3 Watts. And at standby and sleep it is 0.8 Watts.

So at perfect best, you could be saving 4.7 Watts. In sleep mode you could be saving 3.9 Watts.

Again, this is insignificant in my book. Over one years time this would save me only $2.50.
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:27 PM   #26
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Define MUCH lower. Such a relative term is meaningless since your "MUCH" could be my "insignificant". Your making assumptions with out data and I completely disagree, so here is data for you.

So at perfect best, you could be saving 4.7 Watts. In sleep mode you could be saving 3.9 Watts.

Again, this is insignificant in my book. Over one years time this would save me only $2.50.
It would save me $5.40 so you must be paying under $.08/KWH, but that assuming the TiVo was in deep sleep 24/7, than why have a TiVo at all.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:10 PM   #27
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It would save me $5.40 so you must be paying under $.08/KWH, but that assuming the TiVo was in deep sleep 24/7, than why have a TiVo at all.
your right. I pay $0.06 per KWH.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:24 PM   #28
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It would save me $5.40 so you must be paying under $.08/KWH, but that assuming the TiVo was in deep sleep 24/7, than why have a TiVo at all.
True. And how much will be saved if the hard drive in an out-of-warranty, lifetime, Premiere dies due to the constant thermal stress of being spun down and up hundreds or thousands of times?
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:47 PM   #29
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True. And how much will be saved if the hard drive in an out-of-warranty, lifetime, Premiere dies due to the constant thermal stress of being spun down and up hundreds or thousands of times?
+1
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Old 12-31-2010, 03:47 PM   #30
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True. And how much will be saved if the hard drive in an out-of-warranty, lifetime, Premiere dies due to the constant thermal stress of being spun down and up hundreds or thousands of times?
-1

I am not suggesting spinning down the drive (because Tivo does housekeeping quite frequently). I am asking it to remain idle (no buffering). That google report can be read either way ... idle drives don't necessarily fail more often than a heavily used drive.

On a related note, my Tivo is connected to a UPS. Without a UPS, a hard drive that is constantly thrashing is too much of a risk.
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