Extreme Newbie Questions: Proceed with Caution :D

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by Ambilight_Chris, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Ambilight_Chris

    Ambilight_Chris New Member

    Mar 12, 2010


    Evening folks!

    I'm sure it's a common story. I have Comcast, cannot deal with the DVR anymore, need something better, BOOM new Tivo comes out in a few weeks, seems meant to be, research ensues, newbie questions loom. Be kind :)

    I know I'm going to need a multistream cablecard from Comcast, it should be free, they probably have to come install it (I'm in Chicagoland), shouldn't be a big deal.

    Question 1: Am I pretty much set after that? Is there any reason to also connect an OTA antenna? Better picture quality than Comcast on those stations? Any other potential advantages? Don't bother?

    Question 2: This is really petty. Does Tivo allow you to customize their interface? Can I change background images? colors? fonts? etc. These small things make a world of difference to me believe it or not.

    Question 3: Is it fairly simple to watch DVR content on your computer and watch computer content (video, pictures, music) on your Tivo? I know most of this is possible, but is it intuitive?

    I think that's about it for now. I know that not all the info is out there on premiere but still hoping to get a ahead start as I make the final decision to buy into Tivo. Anyone want to talk me out of it and recommend something better? :)

    Thanks again folks!

  2. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    1: Yes, OTA HD is often better than HD over cable. I say that only as repeated from what I've heard other say, e.g. on HD oriented podcasts.

    Also, as a BACKUP if cable goes out. While you will probably get into the "record everything don't watch anything live" idea, even if the better picture doesn't matter to you, IMHO having a backup is a good idea. (Plus it may make you realize you aren't watching as much cable as you thought and you could cancel it to save a lot of money.)
    Disclaimer: I say this as someone who essentially does not have an antenna. (I have the little telescoping antenna that I think came with the S3 -- but I barely get any of my OTA stations on it, and I have most OTA channels disabled in my Tivo even though it's configured for that.)

    2: No.

    3: I haven't really done computer content on Tivo (just BARELY started trying out the streaming/download options). But ESP if you use the official products, they're about as easy as downloading FROM the Tivo.
  3. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001
    2. Closed captioning colors, fonts, and sizes are currently customizable, but most of the interface is not (on the current models - it hasn't been mentioned for the Premier so I assume not there either).

    3. Music and photos are very easy and intuitive (though that does mean you can't do some more complicated things like have both at once). Video depends greatly on the input format. Some things work well, and some don't, and since everybody is changing their format all the time, you will encounter problems eventually. The S4 should accept things better than the S3 since the hardware is 3 years newer...
  4. David Platt

    David Platt Mouse Master TCF Club

    Dec 13, 2001
    Portland, OR
    3. Watching DVR content on your computer is kind of a pain, actually. You have to transfer the show to your computer to watch it; there's no streaming. You also can't watch the program until the entire thing has transferred to the computer, so there's not instant gratification of watching something right now; you'll have to wait for it to transfer before you can watch it.
  5. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001


    Is that really an issue for most folks? I suppose it's an issue if your critical resource is number of screens to view things on, and you need to see something while the TV is otherwise used. But most folks have a lot more space on their PCs than their TiVos, I suspect, and auto-transfer and archive shows they want to watch on their PC disk. Timing is not a problem there.

    If you often want to watch a show on a remote PC (outside your LAN), you can use a slingbox connected to your TiVo and not have to wait at all since that is streamed.
  6. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    and also you actually can watch it before the whole thing is copied if you use windows Media player. The FF and RW are just loopy until the whole thing is copied.

    Now that said - I pull shows off the Tivo to convert and load onto my phone so I have something to watch when waiting somewhere or doing munch by myself, etc..
    That is not quite so intuitive but easy enough once you get the steps down.

    I also rip movies from DVDs to my hard drive and then have those movies show up in a folder in my now playing menu on TiVo so I can copy one over and watch it -
    again not intuitive but once you have the steps down it is easy enough.

    What is intuitive is streaming Netflix to the TiVo, which is a feature built in.
  7. gweempose

    gweempose Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Mar 23, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I really can't say enough good things about the Slingbox Pro-HD. It's not cheap, but it's essentially three devices all rolled into one. For starters, you can use it to sling HD video across your LAN. In my eyes, this is basically like adding an HD tuner card to every PC on your network. It can also be used to watch shows remotely (the more upstream bandwidth you have available, the better the experience). Lastly, it's great for real-time remote programming of your TiVo. :)
  8. NotVeryWitty

    NotVeryWitty Too Big to Fail

    Oct 3, 2003
    Central Mass.
    I just got a good chuckle looking at the "Connections" tab (http://www.slingbox.com/go/slingbox-prohd-connections) for this box.
    They mention a DVR that is not HD and hasn't been made for many years (ReplayTV), but don't mention the one DVR whose name has become synonymous with the product category (Tivo). :p
  9. Ambilight_Chris

    Ambilight_Chris New Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    Thanks for the great info gents!

    It's too bad Tivo doesn't allow you to fiddle with the interface, can't even change background colors? Even Comcast lets me do that :( Still it does seem like the best solution out there for DVR.

    A few follow ups if I may...

    1. How long is the typical transfer to a computer? This would all be happening over a wired 10/100/1000 ethernet.

    2. If I have the Cablecard and an OTA attached, is it fairly intuitive to say watch my local stations in HD on the OTA and then switch to Comcast for Food Network for instance? Can i assign certain channels in the guide to use the OTA if it ends up looking better?

    3. In terms of watching computer video (family videos for instance) on the Tivo, can that be initiated from the Tivo itself? Or do i have to use a desktop application to transfer the movies to the Tivo first?

    4. Probably not the right place to ask, but is there anything on the horizon that you could point me to that may make me not by a Tivo now and wait for some future technology?

    I think what I'm really interested in is probably an cablecard capable HTPC, but I just don't have time in my life right now to tinker with that and make it a solid stable solution. In that sense it would seem that Tivo is the best out of the box solution for what I need (good DVR, live TV control, "stream" to and fro computers.

    I do have a slingbox but it will not be connected to the DVR so I'd still need to snag stuff off the Tivo for viewing on my computer.

    As an aside, I do like my first gen HD Slingbox, but a recent forced firmware update actually bricked it and it took a little persuasion for Sling to replace it since it was out of warranty. They did replace it for free, but that type of behavior makes me wary of the company as a whole. Just my two cents.
  10. David Platt

    David Platt Mouse Master TCF Club

    Dec 13, 2001
    Portland, OR
    True, in that case waiting for a transfer to complete is not an issue. I'm speaking purely to an issue I run into quite often-- my wife wants to watch a show, so I let her use our TV. I go upstairs to the computer to watch a show, but I have to wait for it to transfer first. I rarely transfer a show to my PC for any reason other than watching it right then.
  11. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    It depends on the type and size of the program. A 1 hour program in HD takes about 1 1/2 hours to transfer for me.
    Yes. OTA and Cable channels are integrated in the guide. You can then pick and choose which channels show up in the guide.
    You can also pick "favorites" and have the guide only show those channels.
    You have to use an application on the computer to communicate with the Tivo. That can be TivoDesktop, PyTivo, kttmg, or Streambaby, etc.
    You choose which one based on your needs.
    Not at this time.
  12. kingkong316

    kingkong316 New Member

    Jul 12, 2008
    I use my pro-hd to 'sling' shows from my living room to my bed room since TWC has CCP flags on all my channels so I can't do MRV with my 2 tivos.
  13. rage777

    rage777 Member

    Aug 19, 2006
    You could wait for the Ceton InfiniTV to stream stuff straight to your computer.
  14. MickeS

    MickeS Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    He means if the playback is initiated from the TiVo or the PC. The answer to that is that after installing the applications mentioned above, your PC content is treated as a folder on your TiVo, in other words, playback is initiated from the TiVo.
  15. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    Consider who owns Sling, and the current state of that relationship with TiVo Inc. ....

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