Best non Tivo PVR in UK?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by moomin, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. cyril

    cyril Active Member

    1,128
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    Sep 5, 2001
    London UK

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    They just dont think that software is important enough.

    Current so-called PVRs are like having 10 Ghz triple core pentium 5 or Athlons, but running DOS 1.
    There is so much they COULD do, but cannot due to software limitations.

    A TiVo is like a pentium 3 running Xp or a G4 running OS X at 2 ghz.

    The other dvr companies hardware is fantastic but their software is not so good.

    A bit like having a GT40 that breaks down every hour, and is too wide for our roads.


    Financial and commercial companies will pay millions of pounds for software, which usually costs hundreds of thousands of pounds to develop.

    I guess DVR companies dont want to spend that kind of money on software development as hardware is cheaper and the consumer isnt smart enough to realise how important the software is. They probably do not think that people will pay extra for better software.
    As a concept it is difficult to explain.
    Hardware is much easier - i.e. dual tuners, smaller size box.
    Ease of use and ergonomics is also difficult to sell.
    The Treo and Blackberry smartphones may not have the best specs, but their ease of use and ergonomic factors mean that they have legions of devotees like the Tivo.

    However all that hardware is fairly useless without reliable good quality software that makes the product easy to use and maintain.

    TiVo also hold a number of patents so other companies will have to pay them or spend a lot of money developing software.
     
  2. Paul Stimpson

    Paul Stimpson New Member

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    Aug 19, 2002
    Farnborough,...
    Hi,

    If I understand corrently TiVo have patents on many of these features and other manufacturers therefore can't replicate them without paying a licence fee to TiVo. I would guess that either TiVo is not willing to licence these features as they are what makes the US TiVo product better than its competitors or that the price TiVo wants for such licenses are more than the other manufacturers are prepared to pay.

    There is also the issue that for TiVo to do what it does it needs a supply of good quality guide data (No... Please don't turn this into a Tribune are crap discussion! :eek: ) which includes genre information and cast/crew info to match against wishlists. Any manufacturer wanting to take on the TiVo patents would have to provide a source of this info if the service guide data didn't give it. I don't think most hardware companies would want to go there!

    All the best,
    Paul.
     
  3. alextegg

    alextegg Tall Member

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    May 21, 2002
    Kingston...
    Doesn't that imply rather a lot :D :p
     
  4. sanderton

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

    6,341
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    Jan 4, 2002
    It's because the software needs a proper EPG database containing epiosode, series and genre metadata to work from to be able to do what TiVo does, and the other systems don't have access to one.

    The Freeview EPG has no metadata and what there is is not broadcast in a coherent way - the Topfield wishlist hack has to tune to each channel in turn in the small hours and save a copy of the EPG for each channel before it can work.

    Similarly Sky's EPG is designed to have limited information held in RAM on a regular box; there is no database on Sky+'s hard disk for it to analyse. Series Links are "next showing is at this date and time" hard coded by the broadcaster into the info for each show which has them.

    EPGs that can do TiVo's tricks cost money to create, which is why you either pay £10 a month for TiVos, or you're Microsoft and can absorb it as a marketing cost. I believe some of the new Freeview machines will have an ad-funded EPG which might solve the problem, althoughi'd rather pay the money!

    There is a free, data rich EPG in development called TV Anytime which will enable Freeview PVRs with TiVo-like functionality to be built, but it's a long way from being rolled out yet. Our own aerialplug is developing it, so i'm sure he can explain better.
     
  5. sanderton

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

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    Jan 4, 2002

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    I don't think the patent thing is that important. Certainly other systems exist which have all or most of TiVos functionality; just they are not available here (with the exception of MCE).
     
  6. Restorer

    Restorer New Member

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    Jan 6, 2002
    NE England
    That makes sense to me now, Stuart. Thanks.
     
  7. cwaring

    cwaring VM Tivo User

    9,015
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    Feb 11, 2002
    Knaresboroug...
    http://backstage.bbc.co.uk/news/archives/2005/06/7_day_bbc_tv_an_1.html
     
  8. iankb

    iankb New Member

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    Oct 9, 2000
    Reading, UK
    While TV Anytime may well work for FreeView channels, I can't see Sky ever supporting that format for the additional channels on Satellite and Cable, since they can tie people into using Sky+ with their proprietary EPG. I think it's about time that we contracted the Russian Mafia to develop an alternative access to the Sky platform. ;)
     
  9. Anndra

    Anndra New Member

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    Oct 12, 2004
    Harrow, UK
    I thought Sky was the Russian Mafia?
     
  10. sammoj

    sammoj New Member

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    Jun 22, 2001
    Cramlington,...
    Well they certainly can be difficult to leave their company! It took me a 25 minute phone call before they finally agreed to terminate my account.

    Then I get a £2 phone charge for the privilege as they use an 0870 number which is not covered by my unlimited package!!!

    J
     
  11. jed

    jed New Member

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    Oct 16, 2001
    Portsmouth,...
    Maybe a little off topic, but I'm for helping people leave sky, check out http://www.saynoto0870.co.uk/search.php a quick search on Sky reveals a number of alternative non 0870 numbers for them.
     
  12. cyril

    cyril Active Member

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    Sep 5, 2001
    London UK
    I got a FVRT150 for the wife so she can dynamically turn subtitles on and off and also watch live TV.

    I hate its software (except for the subtitles) , but I guess it is OK value for the price and it is reasonably reliable.
     
  13. ChrisH

    ChrisH New Member

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    Jun 22, 2005
    very nice website - thank you!
     
  14. 6022tivo

    6022tivo A Happy Member

    2,062
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    Oct 29, 2002
    UK
    Apparently the NEW Humax PVR9200T

    Twin tuner, USB 2 Port.. etc. look up the spec..

    It is new, only just out, apparently quite good, under £200
     
  15. sanderton

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

    6,341
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    Jan 4, 2002
    Humax - you can't play a recording from the start while it's still recording and it only has 20 (manually set) timers, there seems to be a one in 5 chance of video extracted via USB being corrupted....

    The only options worth thinking about are MCE, Sky+ and the Topfield.
     
  16. Sneals2000

    Sneals2000 New Member

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    Aug 25, 2002
    Maidenhead, UK
    Yep - MCE or the Topfield seem to be the two choices for decent dual-tuner, Freeview functionality. I haven't got a Toppy, but the people I know who have rave about it.

    You can even bung it on Ethernet to get video off it using a hacked Linksys NSLU2 NAS adaptor.
     
  17. jed

    jed New Member

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    Oct 16, 2001
    Portsmouth,...
    Does anyone know if the Toppy is able to record programmes by title out of the box, or does it need a TAP to do so. If it does need a TAP, is it a one off PC connection, or do you have to set it up from a PC for every season pass?
    I 'm sure I saw something on the turbosat website the other day which suggested it could record by title, but can't find it now.
    I need a decent replacement for my STB (as opposed to Tivo's STB), which has broken (usual 221T problems) and may as well go for one with HDD.
    I'm not sure I want to get into TAPs (or pay £280), unless I can easily do something akin to season passes.
    There is loads of info about the Toppy out there, but alas not all understandable to me at this stage.
    Thanks in anticipation.
    Jed
     
  18. sanderton

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

    6,341
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    Jan 4, 2002
    It needs a TAP to do the equivalent of a keyword wishlist. There is no equivalent of SPs. It also needs to do some really convoluted auto switch-on and retuning to various channels in order to build the EPG first!

    I think TAPs are installed over a USB connection, but I could be wrong.
     
  19. DX30

    DX30 New Member

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    May 22, 2005
    You copy TAP's onto the Topfield via the USB connection. Any you put in the Autostart folder will be run automatically.

    The most popular for recording by title is JAG's EPG TAP. It provides an alternative EPG, and can also automatically record by keyword match. The search can be refined by time and channel, but is still limited by lack of meta data in the Freeview EPG data. This solution will operate stand-alone, although you'll need a PC to install the TAP.

    It's also possible to use the internet based Digiguide. You can use Digiguide on a PC to do the searches and prepare a timer list of desired recordings. This can then be downloaded onto the Topfield and imported via a TAP such as UK Timers. This is more powerful than JAG's EPG, but its ongoing reliance on a PC may be an issue.
     
  20. Sneals2000

    Sneals2000 New Member

    1,541
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    Aug 25, 2002
    Maidenhead, UK
    Do these work over Ethernet if you use a Linksys NSLU2 Ethernet->USB NAS (ideally with a Wifi AP) solution with the Topfield interface software flashed onto it? If the Toppy could be neatly remotely controlled by Digiguide over a network that would be a neat solution. Having to have it directly connected using USB is a bit less desirable I would have though.
     

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