Cable Card TiVo DVR alternatives

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by hahathatsfunny, May 12, 2020.

  1. hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

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    Most or almost all of the TiVo alternatives I read about have Over the Air as the source. Are there any good alternative DVRs that support cable card instead of over the air?
     
  2. Ken H

    Ken H Better Living Thru Expensive, Electronic Devices

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    Other than a TiVo, only Windows Media Center (included with Windows 7, and as a paid upgrade to Windows 8/8.1) can use a CableCard for DRM copy protected channels.

    When using a dedicated PC with Windows 7 for WMC, it's safe and secure, and you can even turn off Windows Update. Just don't use the PC for any other online tasks. Windows 8/8.1 is still supported until January 2023, so it would be acceptable to use until then for other on line use.

    There is one issue, which is easily fixed; Microsoft no longer provides the guide data that WMC uses. The solution is to get the free software EPG123 which lets WMC get data from another source, and pay $25 a year to Schedules Direct for the data itself. If you can set up WMC, then using EPG123 and Schedules Direct is easy and once it's set up, it works automatically.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
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  3. hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

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    Thanks.
     
  4. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Depending on your cable system and the kinds of things you record, you may be able to get by without being able to record copy protected channels. Off the top of my head, I know FIOS and Spectrum protect few channels besides premiums and sports. For premiums, you can usually get just about everything on demand, so no need to record. In that case, any software DVR that works with the HD HomeRun Prime or older Ceton InfiniTV devices will work. See the second table below and look for at least partial cable card support. In addition, Silicon Dust has its own really terrible but functional DVR software. There's also "Channels" and "Google Live Channels". I've use the latter with HomeRun tuners successfully. "Channels" can do a lot without a cable card because it can record on demand using your TV Everywhere login. It's probably the best software DVR out there at the moment, but it does have a fee, unlike most of the others. You get what you pay for.
    Comparison of DVR software packages - Wikipedia

    Personally, I've switched to a streaming service with an unlimited cloud DVR. Much cheaper and simpler than traditional cable card solutions and whatever Rube Goldberg system you'd have to use in place of Tivo. This is coming from a guy who ran a whole home Windows Media Center solution for several years before switching to Tivo for a few years.
     
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  5. Scottyksm

    Scottyksm New Member

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    Hi mdavej - Please tell us what streaming service with an unlimited cloud DVR you are using - I'm planning to switch and have been shopping around.

    - Thanks Much !!
     
  6. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Realize that all streaming services, even ones with unlimited cloud DVR, don't keep recordings forever. But mine, YTTV, keeps them the longest - 9 months. The runner up, AT&T TV, keeps them only 3 months and costs almost twice as much.

    I would shop around based on price and channel lineup. Going from least expensive to most expensive is Philo, Sling, YTTV, Hulu, Fubo, AT&T, with number of channels correlating with price generally. But AT&T's price per channel is much higher than the others.

    Also consider that YTTV has things the others don't, like profiles, PBS, custom channel lists, custom channel order and more supported platforms. They're head and shoulders above the other services in most respects.

    Good luck
     
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  7. CommunityMember

    CommunityMember Active Member

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    Charter (branded as Spectrum) is all over the place regarding protected path required content. They mostly left whatever requirements existed when they acquired the franchise, and the largest (by a large percentage) of acquisitions was TWC, which is 100% protected path required (except for the OTAs), so location, location, and of course location. Comcast, on the other hand, is pretty much all copy-freely except for the premiums.
     
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  8. Scottyksm

    Scottyksm New Member

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    Thanks much Gents - Going to shop around for the latest and will report back.
     
  9. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    Right now, because of the watching we do (including a focus on the hallmark channel, especially around the holidays), Comcast is still a tad cheaper for us than the alternative of Burlington Telecom. Yes, there clearly are benefits of fiber (including synchronous up/down, etc) but our comcast has been stable. Now, if Comcast were to up fees even more, or if TiVo/CableCards/etc were to go away or stop being supported, etc., then we clearly would jump right to BT, with YTTV and FrndlyTV to get the Hallmark channels.....

    upload_2021-2-16_9-49-16.png
     
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  10. spiderpumpkin

    spiderpumpkin Say no to Hydra!

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    Nice comparison
     
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  11. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    Sometimes a little tech helps!
     
  12. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    That's the exact kind of comparison I would do too. But shouldn't the right-side column, where you switch to BT plus streaming TV, include the money you could get from selling your TiVo Bolt (with a 2 TB hard drive!) and TiVo Mini Vox, both of which have lifetime service? The Bolt should fetch $300 or more on eBay while the Mini Vox should bring about $125. Even after transaction fees and shipping costs, you could reasonably expect to bring in around $350 on those two items. If you averaged that out over, say, the next 24 months, that would bring down the right column monthly total to just $109.54, which is less than you're paying to stick with Comcast + TiVo. You'd be getting better FTTH internet and TV service that is in most ways better than Comcast (although with a cloud DVR that is, in some ways, inferior to TiVo).

    Another option to consider if you switched to BT is that, instead of YTTV plus Frndly TV for $72.99/mo, you could opt for AT&T TV's Entertainment package with a 2-yr contract (including 500 hr/90-day cloud DVR plus 1 free AT&T/Android TV box) for an average monthly cost of $76.50 for the first 24 months, based on current pricing. Not sure that's any more attractive to you, although their Entertainment package does include the Hallmark channels (plus History, A&E and Lifetime) which YTTV is missing, and with better picture quality to boot. But then YTTV has PBS plus some other benefits missing from AT&T TV.
     
  13. hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

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    For users that want streaming PBS, there is app on Roku call Local BTV. It's only available in New York, Philly, LA, Bay Area, San Diego and Phoenix. But it has the PBS stations in the local market, and complementary for those that want PBS but can't get it via Hulu Live or fubo. It even has a DVR.

    Here in the Philly market, it carries PBS 12, NJN and PBS 39, and some digitnets. I don't even think YouTubeTV carries PBS 39. It's totally free for now. It also has Nexstar owned WPHL 17 (primary feed) in Philly, Antenna TV, getTV, and Buzzr, and this news channel called NewsNet, and CMC a music channel, and some Spanish channels. Cozi is available but no recording is permitted. Must be a strange arrangement with NBC.
     
  14. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    To Nashguy’s point...I prob would sell but not immediately. And the mini was a birthday gift from my wife so that would feel a little weird. I would have to casually bring it up when discussing the general possibility of switching. She would need to be part of that whole discussion. But, in general, yeah, that would be the way to look at it.

    I will have to look at AT&T’s service.....
     
  15. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    Also, I just looked at AT&T TV's website and it does not include all of the locals. I have CBS AA/Paramount which would cover CBS, but it just seems weird to not have them all. It's pretty close to cost of YTTV in the long run.


    upload_2021-2-22_9-30-25.png
     
  16. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I guess there are still a few markets here and there where AT&T TV is missing one of the big 4 locals. But in most places now, they have the locals for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. And in lots of places The CW and/or My Network TV too. My guess is that it's just a matter of time until your local NBC station gets added. But in the meantime, that's certainly a reason to stay away. (Although if you happen to have Hulu or Peacock Premium, then you get just about all NBC primetime shows available for streaming next-day. But that still doesn't give you NBC live sports, news or local content.)
     
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  17. Sean from Chicago

    Sean from Chicago New Member

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    Use Plex with the subscription for the DVR and stream source. use the silicon dust prime with a network connection to connect your cable service via the cablecard in the SDust prime to plex server running on your pc or some NAS devices.
     
  18. lhvetinari

    lhvetinari Ambassador to the City of Chicago TCF Club

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    Yeah, locals are my only major complaint about ATT TV in Chicago. We've got 2-5-7-32-50 (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, MNT) but no CW (26) or WGN (9).

    Well, that and the DVR listing not remembering where I left it and returning to the top every time.
     
  19. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Do you get PBS (WTTW)?
     
  20. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    With these OTT streaming cable TV services, they have to have an agreement in place with the station owner group specifically for their stations affiliated with each particular national network. For instance, our local ABC station here in Nashville is owned by Nexstar, a big group that has lots of local stations across the country. AT&T TV didn't add our local ABC until they struck a deal with Nexstar to carry all their ABC affiliate stations. And then they had to strike separate deals to carry Nexstar-owned affiliates of CBS, NBC, etc.

    Your CW affiliate there in Chicago is WCIU 26, owned by Weigel. Which is an unsual situation. Weigel doesn't own many local stations around the country and only two of them carry The CW: WCIU 26 and a low-power station in South Bend, IN (WCWW 25). Rather than an owner of local stations, Weigel is more known nationally as the owner of the most popular retro network, MeTV. (And a big majority of Weigel's stations, including the one here in Nashville, carry MeTV. In fact, their station here puts MeTV on the .1 in 720p HD, which is nice. MeTV is only in SD in most places.)

    So, all that said, you might be in for a long wait before AT&T TV and Weigel strike a deal to include your local CW station. Weigel may try to tie such a deal to a broader agreement for AT&T TV to carry their MeTV affiliates sprinkled across the country. Or perhaps to carry a national feed of MeTV independent of local affiliates (as DISH satellite does). Who knows.

    In the meantime, CW network shows stream for free next-day (with unskippable ads, alas) in the free CW app which you should be able to install on your AT&T TV box from the Google Play app store. Or, for that matter, that content is probably already included in AT&T TV's own video on-demand library.
     

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