A slew of questions about Tivo, Cablevision and recording to DVD

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by lemur21, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. lemur21

    lemur21 Member

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    Hello,

    I was recommended to start a thread over here by someone on another board. I have a bunch of questions, as I'm considering moving to Tivo.

    I currently (as in - just last week) have two Cablevision Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD DVRs. There are two problems: 1) no way to record in SD instead of HD (which uses up more space) and 2) no way to offload the programs onto a DVD, except one at a time (i.e., I can't go to work in the morning and set the DVD-Recorder to record say 3-4 shows, so the DVD is done when I get home).

    Someone mentioned a few key features about Tivo, and I'm intrigued.

    So, here are my bunch-o-questions:

    1. I understand Tivo will *replace* my cablebox? This is accurate? So, instead of paying $17.90 for my Cablevision DVR, I'll pay $20 for my Tivo?

    2. I'm assuming the Tivo operates as a tuner, as well? I know it's not providing the signal; but it can interpret the digital signal (I no longer have an analog signal).

    3. How many programs can the Tivo record/watch simultaneously -- I know the Cablevision box can watch one (live) and record two, or it can watch one recorded and can record another one. I'd like the same capacity (or more).

    4. Can the Tivo record in SD mode?

    5. Size of the hard drive doesn't matter, since I intend to offload the programs onto DVD (until such time as I either cut down the shows I watch, or I catch up with my watching). So, the first question is -- can I directly record from the Tivo hard drive onto a DVD-Recorder? And, if so, can I set it up to record multiple shows in a row (so I can leave in the morning and return in the evening, to have a DVD fully completed)?

    Now - I've also heard about Tivo Desktop - which sounds fascinating -- my perception is this:

    I'll be able to "transfer" recorded shows over my network to my PC, where I can then work with them on the PC. -- a few questions about this:

    a. Do I need a wired connection or does a wireless connection work?
    b. Can I *then* transfer the shows to a DVD, after being on my PC? And, if so, can I copy multiple shows; and do they transfer as *data* (in other words, faster than recording the show in real time)?

    I think that's all the main questions I have - no doubt I'll have more. But, I'm excited about the prospect of having the control to record/watch the way that works best for me!

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Chris
     
  2. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    I am assuming you are referring to a TiVo Premiere, herein after abbreviated as TP.

    The $20 a month is for the TiVo service. You may still have to pay a monthly "Digital Outlet" fee to Cablevision. If you get more than one TiVo, you should qualify for a Multi-Service Discount (MSD) from TiVo. For a TP, that reduces what you pay to TiVo to $14.95 a month for each TiVo. You also have the option of getting "lifetime" service. Note that this is for the lifetime of the TiVo, not your lifetime.

    Yes, a TP has both digital and analog cable tuners. It also has over the air tuners. You will have to get a CableCARD from Cablevision. Based on the posts of other Cablevision customers, you may also need to get a Tuning Adapter.

    Are you sure about that? Like all other non-DirecTV TiVos, a TP is always recording something. If not recording specific program(s), it is recording "live" TV. A TP has two 30-min "live" buffers which are recording whatever the two tuners are set to. When you are watching "live TV", you are actually watching from one of these buffers. You can record two channels at once while watching something else you have previously recorded. You could also be transferring something to/from another TiVo or your PC.

    Most, if not all DVRs, including the TiVo and probably your current ones, don't distinguish between SD and HD per se. The distinction is between digital and analog channels. For digital channels, the stream is recorded as it comes in, compressed by the cable operator. For analog channels, if you had any on your cable system, the TiVo converts them and the space required will vary depending on what "quality" is chosen. Since you say you don't have any analog channels, that point is moot.

    If you're talking about a stand alone DVD recorder, the answer is...yes and no. You can playback an entire folder (most folders are by show. You have no control on how the folders are set up). You cannot select a list of shows to be played back. You are also going to be limited by how much will fit on one DVD.

    Again, based on posts of other Cablevision customers, you may not be able to transfer anything but shows recorded from local channels. Apparently, Cablevision is setting the CC1 bit for most channels. If this bit is set, you cannot transfer the file. At least, that is my impression.

    The TP has a built-in wired Ethernet adapter. You can also use a wireless USB-Ethernet adapter. If you get a TP XL, which comes with the slide remote whose blue-tooth receiver plugs into a USB slot, you will need a supported USB hub as there are only 2 USB slots and the Tuning Adapter (see above) also requires one.

    You cannot transfer them directly to DVD. You can use TiVo Desktop (or other alternatives) to select files to transfer and leave it to do unattended. If you use TiVo Desktop, you will need to convert them to some other format before you put them on DVD if you want to play them on a DVD player.

    Note also that it doesn't move the programs. It copies them to the PC. They still also reside on the TiVo.

    Hope this helps. I am sure that if I have made any egregious errors or omissions, someone will jump in to correct me.
     
  3. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    Are you looking to potentially archive shows, or to simply save them for later? You can add in a much larger hdd, easily up to 2TB, on your own for just the cost of the drive itself.

    I recommend reviewing some of the other threads around here- they will both add to your understanding and may trigger additional questions.
     
  4. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    It sounds to me like you are talking about a Premier, and uploading content to a PC. I do not recommend the Premier, especially not for someone in your position. I thnk a better choice might definitely be an S3 or a THD. Both can be bought on e-bay, sometimes with lifetime service. Without lifetime service, the THD and S3 are less expensive per month than a Premier.

    Yes. It has two analog tuners, two OTA tuners, and two QAM tuners, allowing it to record any two of OTA, analog, or digital Cable channels at a time.

    It can record two signals at once and download one (or in some circumstances two) internet or LAN offering simultaneously. It can watch any show that is recording and usually can also watch any show that is downloading. Sometimes there is a delay before one may watch a show that is downloading from the internet or the local LAN. It can always watch any prevously recorded or downloaded show.

    It can record analog in several different quality modes, somewhat similar to a VCR. Digital content is always recorded to the hard drive as-is, regardless of whether it is SD or HD. The hard drive in the TiVo is much bigger than that in the 8300HD, and you can upgrde to a *MUCH* larger drive for under $75. With a TiVo and an appropriately sized drive, space won't be an issue.

    A large drive is so cheap ( NewEgg has 1.5T drives for $59.99 with free shipping), I still recommend you upgrade. That, plus if you upgrade the internal drive, then you can take the original drive and set it on a shelf as a backup in case the new drive fails. That way you can be back upa nd running in a matter of minutes.

    I also don't recommend burning to DVD. That's slow and expensive. Offload to a PC, instead.

    You mean using a set-top DVD recorder fed from an anlog output of the Tivo? Yes. I don't recommend it.

    Not to an analog output, no. Using a program like kmttg Galleon, or pyTivo, you can queue up a bunch to upload to a PC.

    Yes, but I don't recommend TiVoDeskTop. It's a poor application. I recommend kmttg, Galleon, or pyTivo, instead.

    I don't recommend wireless, but it certainly can be done.

    Yes, with one caveat: if your CATV provider sets the CCI byte on a program to anythng other than 0x00, you will not be able to transfer the program in question using an unmodified DVR. I believe your CATV company does this on everything but OTA channels. This is one major reason I do not recommedn a Premier. As of this time, no one has successfully modified a Premier to circumvent CCI byte settings. For details on modifying an S3 or THD, see the "other" TiVo website.

    Yes.

    That depends on a lot of factors, including which Tivo you have and whether or not it is modified. Since the process can be unattended, however, the speed of transfer is not terribly important.
     
  5. lemur21

    lemur21 Member

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    Thanks for all the good feedback. I'm probably going to need to chat with Tivo, as well.

    I'm going to answer some of the questions (and ask a few more).

    I don't know what a "digital outlet" is or a "tuning adapter" -- I probably need to find someone who has Tivo *and* Cablevision.

    Hmmm - it sounds like I'd be getting at least what I wanted (and maybe more) - Could I (for example) tape one show on Fox and one show on NBC, while watching Monday Night Football live? If so - I'm good with that.

    Are "local channels" the NBC, FOX and CBS, etc.? If so - that's fine with me. And, I have a router right near the TV (although, I'll need to bring another line into my Bedroom, unless I decide to put a Tivo in the basement...

    I can't buy an S3 or THD new, I suppose? No warranty, then, either. Are they "stable?" Why are they the better choice, though?

    I quoted this next one in total, b/c there was a lot of interesting stuff:

    How many hours of TV would the 1.5T drive give me? And, is that an internal drive or an eSata drive? (and, I'm assuming we're still talking about the S3, not the TP.


    But, basically, that's the way to do it, if I want to offload to a DVD? Put it to the computer and then transfer it? I'd like to be able to leave in the morning and come back in the afternoon to have the shows transferred to DVD (however many will fit - 3-4, maybe?

    Thanks again!
     
  6. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    A "digital outlet" is just a receiver (TV, DVR, whatever) with digital service. Sone companies try to charge an extra outlet fee because the TiVo has 2 tuners. Some charge more for digital services than analog.

    The CATV spectrum is quite finite, which means a traditional CATV lineup can only consist of a set number of channels and very limited numbers and types of interactive services. It's also quite wasteful of bandwidth, because every subscriber gets all the channels in the lineup, even if he is only watching one or two, or maybe not watching at all. To counter this limited and wasteful state of affairs, CATV engineers developed a system that does not send the entire spectrum to every subscriber in the city. Rather, each fiber node can be sent only the video streams being watched by the homes served by that node. This potentially allows the CATV company to offer an unlimited number of channels - even HD channels - and a vast array of interactive services. The system is known as Switched Digital Video. The only down side is that it requires bi-directional communications between the host and the headend. The TiVo is not a bi-directional host. It is only a receiver, and thus cannot by itself receive SDV channels. The Tuning Adapter is a device that allows the TiVo and other uni-directional devices (UDCPs) to receive SDV channels.

    If the services tiers to which you subscribe do not have any SDV offerings, then you won't need one. Otherwise, you may not be able to see some number of channels in the tiers for which you are paying.

    No, not with just a single TiVo. You can record two things and download a 3rd from the internet. You can watch any one of the three, or watch something recorded earlier. You can also wait 16 minutes ( 8 for a 30 minute show) after one of the shows starts recording to start watching so you can fast forward through all the commercials.

    Anything that is broadcast over the airwaves in the market local to your CATV franchise.

    No. Neither one is being manufactured any longer.

    Probably not. That's up to whoever sells it to you.

    Yes.

    1. They are less expensive.

    2. The Premier has few significant features they lack. The only one I consider significant is network speed.

    3. They can be hacked. For more about this, see the "other" TiVo forum.

    Well, that depends on more than one factor. DVR_Dude is selling drives up to 2T in size that can be fully used by an S3. Otherwise, if your S3 i s not hacked, it can only make use of 1.2T of that 1.5T drive. That's about 150 hours of HD material or over 700 hours of SD material. An unhacked THD can make use of the whole 1.5T if the user employs JMFS to upgrade the drive.

    And yes, I am talking about upgrading the internal drive. IF you leave the internal drive alone, and go with an external drive, bump these numbers by 160G for a THD or 250G for an S3, or 1T for a THD XL.

    It's the fastest and easiest way, yes, plus you can edit the video before burning.

    On a DVD? 3-4 what? It's variable depending on a lot of factors.
     
  7. lemur21

    lemur21 Member

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    Thanks Lrhorer...

    I chatted with a woman from Tivo *and* a rep from Cablevision tonight. Here's what I learned.

    1. Cablevision does require a tuning adapter -- it's complimentary, however.
    2. I already pay the $1.50 digital outlet fee.
    3. There's a $2 fee for a cablecard

    4. Yes, I had misread Cablevision - basically, I can watch a recorded show and tape two others (not watch a LIVE show).

    5. I don't know what the "other" Tivo forum is :) I have questions re: this, but I don't know if it's relevant to what I need.

    Basically, I was told (by both) that I can transfer the show to the PC (using the software -- or another one, I suppose). Then, I can burn it to a DVD using Roxio (or something like that). It's faster than real-time -- 15 minutes to transfer an hour-long show to the PC.

    I was also told (by Tivo) to check whether Cablevision has channels with a copy protection that disallows recorded shows to be transferred to other devices. The rep from Cablevision said that wasn't the case -- once the show has been recorded on the Tivo device, it's on the hard drive -- since it's being transferred by ethernet, there's no problem with that.

    If this is the case, all I need to do is drop another ethernet cable into another room, and I think I'm ready for the switch.

    I said 3-4 shows -- is that ambitious? How many shows can I fit on a DVD RW? I'd thought it would take about 3-4... could it be more?

    With that in mind -- the Premiere does seem like a good machine (the 'comparison' chart on Tivo's site shows an awful lot of differences from predecessors). And there's a warranty (although, does anyone get the extended warranty? If you're gentle with your machines (as I am) - is it necessary?)

    Thanks again!
     
  8. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I have a hard drive/DVD recorder, and use it daily. (mostly recording to the hard drive, including a lot of stuff recorded originally on the Tivo).

    However, I suggest you instead look at offloading to an external hard drive. Through a computer that is.

    That way, you get the ORIGINAL quality recording (not downrezed to SD quality), and can then send them back to your Tivo when you want to watch them.

    For things you want to KEEP, sure, burn them to DVD.. But that might even be easier on the computer (though my DVD recorder is one of the best -- XS32, that has sophisticated editing capabilities).

    But if all you're doing is trying to save more recordings for later, I really suggest just getting a big external drive (3 TB drives are in the $120 range now.. that's the bare drive, so add a bit for a box or an external dock) and offload to that.
     
  9. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    Not sure what the official definition of a "digital outlet" is , but basically it is any device capable of receiving all of the digital channels. Examples are a digital STB or a TiVo.

    A Tuning Adapter is an add-on device that enables a TiVo to receive SDV channels.

    Unless your TV can get ESPN w/o a cable box, can't be done. The TiVo only has 2 tuners. You would need another digital outlet, like a cable STB to do that.

    Yes, locals are your local broadcast channels.



    Well, the warranty is only 90 days anyway, so... I think the main advantage is that the monthly subscription fee is lower. Personally, I wouldn't recommend an S3. For one thing, it requires two CableCARDs for both tuners to work. For another, I don't believe it can use all the space on even a 1.5 TB drive if you do the upgrade yourself.

    On a TiVoHD, it is a max of @235 HD hours. It will vary, depending on resolution and compression of the transmitted video. Again personally, I would go with either a 1TB(157 hours) or 2TB(318 hours).


    I'm gonna let someone else handle most of this one. I don't know what tools are available for automating this process. The only thing I have to say is that unless you convert it to a more compressed format, you would be lucky to get 1 hour of HD or 3 hours of SD digital on one single layer DVD.

    I see that other people have chimed in while I was composing this but I'm gonna go ahead and post it.
     
  10. lemur21

    lemur21 Member

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    Ooh - this is a great idea. Then, I don't need a DVD burner OR multiple DVDs. I can keep the 3 TB drive (and - if I fill that up (God forbid!) - I can always buy another one!).

    How many hours can fit on a 3TB drive, y'think?

    I don't much care about keeping things in native HD format though -- I'm more interested in maximizing space.
     
  11. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    You know what gets me? Hard drive storage is actually cheaper than DVD storage.
     
  12. dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    Does Cablevision not have any SD channels? I am only familiar with Comcast, but most, if not all, of the HD channels also have SD channels(digital, but SD).

    For comparison, a 2 TB drive holds about 318 hours of HD shows. About 2800 hours of SD programming.
     
  13. lemur21

    lemur21 Member

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    Nope - a while ago, cablevision did away with the SD versions (for example, CBS SD used to be "2" and HD was "702" -- too many people tuned in to '2" and complained they weren't getting the HD signal; so Cablevision turned anything with an HD signal into the default -- no way around it.

    There's not even the option to record in SD as compared to HD, if you want -- and that's a shame, b/c I'd really prefer to watch these taped shows in SD.
     
  14. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    The smallest HD hour I currently have on a TiVo (last weeks "Rookie Blue") is 3.17GB. The four episodes of "Poker After Dark" are 4.8GB each.

    One episode of 12 O'Clock high, which is digital but SD, 1.48GB
     
  15. JoeTaxpayer

    JoeTaxpayer Member

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    My Rookie Blue from 8/11 is 8096MB. Smallest HD hour is Warehouse 13 at 4880MB.

    With my TiVo reporting 237HD hrs for the 1.5TB drive, it seems to expect about 6330MB per HD hour.

    Since the OP is asking what will fit on the 3TB drive on the PC, it's about 475 hrs of HD, un-rencoded. I'm curious, why the desire to archive so many hours of TV. We get behind a bit, but caught up between seasons, summer ending now, but fall starting in 3rd week of September.
     
  16. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    Looks like my local Comcast may compressing ABC quite a bit. Could be the local ABC affiliate. Some of their bandwidth is being used for a sub-channel to broadcast MeTV.

    Warehouse 13 was 4.7GB.
     
  17. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    That's not too bad. I forgot to mention, and someone else pointed out that an S3 requires two CableCards to function fully. A TiVo HD only requires one CableCard if it is a multi-stream CableCard (M-card).

    It's at deal database dot com slash forum.

    Most people recommend one of the versions of VideoRedo. An SD video will transfer somwhat faster than that, at least on an S3. An HD program will not. For HD content, you'll be doing fairly good to transfer at real-time speeds to the PC, even from an S3.

    Don't trust the rep on this. Few, if any CSRs have even the faintest notion what the CCI byte is or when and where it applies. Being on the hard drive or transferring via Ethernet HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

    I did a Google search for "CCI" and "CableVision", and it appears at least some of the systems are setting the CCI byte on many or possibly most channels. If this is the case, then believe me, you will not be able to transfer the show from an unmodified TiVo, and that means not from any Premier, period. What's more, even if your CATV provider does not set the CCI byte today, this does not mean they won't change their policy tomorrow. I'm on Time Warner Cable, whose CCI byte policies are the most aggressive in the nation. Four years ago the CCI byte was not set on any channels. Now it is set to 0x01 on everything but the locals. On an unmodified S3 class TiVo, neither TiVoToGo (TTG) nor Multi-Room Viewing (MRV) are functional.

    Other than speed, it has absolutely nothing over and above the S3 / THD that I consider worth much. The fact it cannot (as of yet) be modified means for me it would be little more than an expensive brick. Certainly if in fact none of the channels on your CATV system have the CCI byte set, then the limitations of the Premier may not be important to you at this time. I cannot in good conscience recommend it, though. I certainly am not going to buy one.

    It's not really about being gentle. It's about odds. If you rarely buy anything much in the way of electronics, and this would represent just about your only fairly large investment in electronic devices, then the loss of this unit might represent a loss of value significantly larger than the cost of the extended warranty. If, OTOH, you buy a fair amount of electronics, then the cost of all those extended warranties will far exceed the cost of replacing one or two failed units.

    Indeed, that is principally how manufacturers make money on extended warranties - or at least honest manufacturers do. The cost to them of fixing or replacing a unit here and there is far less than the revenue obtained from the purchases of all the extended warranties.
     
  18. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    There is no such thing as a sub-channel on a QAM (CATV carrier). OTA carriers have sub-channels. A QAM is a digital bit stream composed of multiple timeslots. This is from memory, and I could be off by 1 timeslot, but with industry norm rate-shaping, the QAM can contain 12 SD channels, 1 HD channel and 6 SD channels, or 2 HD channels and 1 SD channel.
     
  19. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    Remember, too, that editing will recover quite a bit of space. If the program is recorded from network television, 16 minutes out of every hour are commercials. Add a 1 minute padding to the front and end, and that makes 18 minutes one can recover by editing a one hour video. Edit 4 videos, and now 4 videos can sit in the same space originally taken up by 3 of them.

    The main reason would be to build one's library. I have over 2000 videos on my server - easily more than 3500 hours.
     
  20. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    Yes. The RAID array on my server has eight 3T drives configured as RAID6. That allows for more than 17T of storage.

    About 450 in MPEG2 HD. Well over 2000 hours of SD.

    Recoding a video from HD to SD takes a very long time. If you are going to recode, I suggest keeping the display format and going with h.264 encoding in an MPEG4 container. This will save about 30% on space, and allow the video to transfer back to the TiVo up to 4x faster, especially on an S3 or THD.
     

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