HD TiVo (non-DirecTV) - wish list

Discussion in 'TiVo Suggestion Avenue' started by HotStuff2, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Dec 8, 2005 #1 of 11
    HotStuff2

    HotStuff2 New Member

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    I've had my TiVo Series2 for a year now (the warranty is over, time to upgrade the HDD! LOL) Recently, I bought a 50" HD plasma, and I *love* HD TV. TiVo, of course, is Standard Digital (SD), so it looks, well, "watchable" at best. I don't want to switch to DirecTV, as I like Bright House networks (BHN). And of course, the recent announcement of DirecTV severing their ties with TiVo is well known. Yes, I know TiVo is supposed to be unveiling some sort of cable card unit at CE in January 06, but I thought I'd post a "wish list" of things *I* would like to see in a "Series3 Cable Card TiVo unit" (basically, my wish list of things I'm *hoping* are already in there - and if not, maybe someone who works at TiVo will see this and at least consider it):

    1. Let's talk interface - HD output, I mean:
      • HDMI is preferred; DVI would be acceptable, component (Yb Yr Yg) should be included as well.
      • This seems to be pretty much a given, as a cable-card TiVo *should* be able to record HD content, it would need an HD output to send it to the TV. Every HD output unit I've seen included either HDMI or DVI, and component output.
    2. Upscaling SD to higher res:
      • This is a must, IMHO. I think this would sell people on buying a new unit much more quickly.
      • Use the Faroudja DCDi chip. Many lower-cost HD upscaling DVD players (such as the Oppo OPDV971 DVD player and others) use this chip to do exactly that. It's considered one of the best low-cost upscaling chips out there.
      • The TiVo unit could upscale SD to 720p or even 1080i and make it look much better on HD screens.
    3. Built-in Dolby digital Decoder, with Dolby Digital (AC3) 5.1 Channel Output
      • Let's face it, more and more people have home-theater setups. It doesn't cost THAT much more to do this. Again, look at the Oppo DVD player. It has this, the Faroudja DCDi chip, and more, and costs under $200.
      • Since we're talking audio output, the unit should include both digital coax and optical (TOSlink) outputs for Dolby 5.1
      • I'm pretty sure HD content requires 5.1 output, so this, too, is probably a given.
    4. A lot of people are saying "dual tuners is a must!" I disagree.
      • Series1 and Series2 have only one tuner. I'm happy with that. While having 2 tuners would be *nice*, it's not a requirement for me. I'd much rather be able to watch recorded content on my TiVo while it's recording something - especially if it can record HD content!
      • I'm sure TiVo could come out with a Series3.5 (or Series4?) HD CC TiVo when the new CC standard is finalized; the new CC standard would then support dual tuners, and people could either upgrade to them or not (just like Series1 people now.)
    TiVo hasn't updated their box in what, 3 years now? That should have been plenty of time to realize the HDTV market is where it's going, especially with the gov't mandated 2007 cut-off date for all content to be broadcast in HD. (Yeah, I know, it's probably going to be extended past that, if it hasn't already, but still.) I'm anxiously awaiting the unveiling in a few months (if it actually happens.) I don't think any of this is un-doable or prohibitively expensive; I expect the CC TiVo (Series3?) to start off at around $499 or so, and like all things, drop in price later.

    What I'd REALLY like to see TiVo do is to sell those cable-card HD TiVo units to cable companies, let the cable companies put in the cable card, then rent them to their customer. The unit could do "TiVo basic" out of the box, and if the user wants "enhanced TiVo" (wishlists, etc.), they pay $6.95/month to TiVo. Basically, just like the Humax DVD recorder w/ TiVo. That'd be a win-win, IMHO.
     
  2. subtvdan

    subtvdan New Member

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    Dec 15, 2005
    Nederland,...
    Your wish list is pretty much on target. I would also like a dual tuner option with the option of cable on both or air (Local antenna) on the second. The tuners need to be atsc. In our local market our only hd channel is only available in analog over cable and not likley to change anytime soon. Cable cards are ok but currently lack 2 way communication if i wanted a pay per view show i would still need a cable box. Future technology may make this a mute point. The tv manufactures are shifting more towards hdmi which is fine and component connections should remain as a standard for some time to come. THe digital audio out can be either coax or optical , both would be a plus. Please make the ethernet connection built in. I HATE DONGLES. Add to my wish list an ir/rf remote control. Must have my dvd burner even if standard definition quality in the beginning.
     
  3. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    HD video (DVI/HDMI/Component) is a given, as well as digital audio out.
    As is dual tuners, as dual digital tuners is easy. The prototype reportedly has ethernet.
     
  4. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    I'll put a plug in for Hybrid hard drives. Hybrid hard drives marry flash memory chips and magnetic disks. There are 2 styles/camps one where the flash memory is built into the hard drive and the other where the flash memory is built onto the mother broad.

    I think it would be great if TiVo could build enough flash memory onto their mother boards to keep the operating system and cached TV program there instead of on the hard drive. This would allow for the TiVo to still function with a dead hard drive and allow for easy hard drive upgrades or replacement.

    Thanks,

    atmuscarella
     
  5. megazone

    megazone Hardcore TiVo Geek

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    One of my old RFEs was for the system to have enough of a bootable image on the board to boot to a state where it could format a hard drive and then call home, especially over the network, to download the full OS image. That would make recovering from a bad drive as simple as plugging in a new drive.
     
  6. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    megazone:

    Maybe someday we will get our wish - they actually make laptops now without hard drives for high security networks. The operating system is stored in flash memory and locked down everything else is stored on network servers.

    It would be fairly simple for TiVo to do the same thing. They could even eliminate the internal hard drive and provide USB or networked ones instead my guess is they could actually save money by not needing to mail around defective TiVo units.

    With this type of setup you can start to see lots of possibilities - like TiVo built into TVs - without internal hard drives the lifespan should equal the TVs and should cost less than a stand alone unit while allowing you to add as much external storage as you want/can afford.

    Thanks,

    atmuscarella
     
  7. megazone

    megazone Hardcore TiVo Geek

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    You'd still need a drive to hold the recordings. For reliability you wouldn't want to use a network drive. And requiring the end user to buy USB, FireWire, or SATA external drives wouldn't go over well with most consumers. TiVo can get drives a lot cheaper than consumers can, especially sans the enclosures for an external drive. Flash memory will remain more expensive per unit compared to magnetic storage for some years to come. So it wouldn't make sense to go to flash for the basic recording capability.
     
  8. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    I agree that for long term (more than the 30 min cached program) storage hard drives are and most likely will be the solution for some time to come. But I also don't see any problems with using external USB hard drive storage it isn't any more or less reliable than the same drive built in. There are DVRs out there now that allow you to add storage with external USB hard drives - just plug them in and that's it. Being able to simple replace a USB hard drive instead of the Stand alone TiVo/Cable Box/Satellite Receiver/TV or what ever the DVR is combined with would seem to make both the companies and the consumers lives allot easier.

    As for costs - I am sure it would add some -but I just purchase a 1 gig flash drive for $42 and an external hard drive enclosure for $18 so it shouldn't cost TiVo much to have 1-2 gigs of flash on the mother board and an external USB drive vs the same setup with just an internal drive.
     
  9. Jan 2, 2006 #9 of 11
    HotStuff2

    HotStuff2 New Member

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    Feb 21, 2005
    I disagree. You're comparing the cheap retail price you paid, with TiVo having to:

    1. Redesign the mobo
    2. Fab the new mobo
    3. Re-design (or completely rebuild) the UI and underlying OS
    4. Build new boxes
    5. Test said boxes in a multitude of environments
    6. Re-design or fix issues
    7. And finally, sell new boxes.

    TiVo can't just slap in a flash chip on the mobo and have it work. R&D, testing, design, re-design, more R&D, and purchasing enough chips in quantity (or testing multiple chips from multiple vendors) would equal millions (or more) in costs.

    Hard drives are cheap, easy, and already in use. I don't see that changing in the near (5-10 years) future, unless something drastic happens.
     
  10. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    HotStuff2:

    I agree that's what TiVo would have to do and that's exactly what TiVo should be doing continuously. Does anyone really believe any electronic manufacture can just build and sell the same old product year after year? My comments on cost where meant to show it should not cost much more to manufacture products with these options as I assume development costs are continuous and not optional.

    If TiVo isn't going to develop better platforms to run the TiVo service on who is? How long does TiVo survive without new/better/updated hardware? What is a reasonable new/updated product development cycle time frame for TiVo hardware?

    I am sure TiVo would love to be like microsoft and provide software (the TiVo service) while everyone else continuously develops better hardware to run it on but so far that hasn't seemed to work to well for TiVo, many of the companies that have built hardware to run the TiVo service in the past are now building some type of competing product (Sony, Pioneer, Toshiba, & Humax all build products with non-tivo DVRs in them).

    Regarding flash memory - well Intel, Microsoft and Samsung are already developing these products Intel expects to have laptops with up to 4 gigs of flash on their mother boards this year. Samsung is going the combo flash/hard drive route and also will have these hybrid hard drives this year. So why is it out of line to hope TiVo uses the same technologies sometime in their future product development cycle? after all this is a wish list forum.

    Thanks,

    atmuscarella
     
  11. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Ontario Canada.
    The HD DVR is nearing the end of develompent (probably where they are field testing hardware and preliminary software).

    That said, you need only 128MB or less RAM.
    The way it would work, is the DOC (Disk ON Chip) would boot, find an HDD, check if it has a vailid OS, and if so, boot it, if not, establish an IP connection with the TiVo servers and install one, which when ran, would further format and obtain media and files for the recorder to function.
     

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