Is it time to ditch Tivo for an xFinity DVR?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by smbaker, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Comcast deserves to be slammed for their crappy TV service. For internet, their internet service is good for cable internet. It's way too expensive (most are, unless you're in a competitive market), and the upload is way too low (again, most are because they are low-split).

    The VQ is objectively terrible. It's bit-starved and blurry. Cable news is fine, because talking heads don't move much, but most sports content, anything with fast motion, nature scenes, etc, is atrocious.
     
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  2. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    I can provide a side by side comparison as well. I have used both side by side as well as in close proximity time wise to each other.

    The first thing to keep in mind is that the TiVo is a DVR, the X1 is a Comcast box that equally balances DVR, VOD, and live TV functionality. I believe some (all?) areas have lost TiVo VOD on Comcast, but X1 is far better anyway, as it is native to Comcast, and most (all?) are now using IP-VOD as opposed to QAM-VOD. Meanwhile, the TiVo has a better interface for using the DVR and trickplay sorts of things.

    With X1, there are a couple of generations of hardware, the XG1v1 and Xi3 are slow and laggy, and generally frustrating to use compared to a TiVo Roamio or newer (or even a Premiere post-Haxe). I have heard that the XG1v4 is MUCH faster, and I have used an XiD running as an XG1v1 client, and it was FAR faster than either the XG1v1 or the Xi3. It was VERY responsive, and I was able to button mash through that thing like nobody's business. I will note that the XiD is on what I believe to be an RFoG overbuild in a bulk MDU, while the XG1v1 and Xi3 are on traditional HFC in an exurban area, but I don't think that matters, I believe it's the hardware itself.

    The overall interface in the X1 is relatively easy to use, but doesn't seem to have as many options as TiVo does. It's very click-heavy, it seems like Nokia designed it, which is a HUGE negative on the XG1v1 and Xi3, but not a big deal on the XG1v4 and XiD, since they are so fast. TiVo's interface is still aesthetically much more pleasing, but the X1's interface is mostly functional, and offers easy access to live TV, apps, and VOD. The apps aren't actually that bad, but they are very slow on the older hardware. They are much faster and more responsive on the newer hardware.

    The TiVo Peanut is generally superior to the X1 remote (note there are several types of each). The Peanut feels better in your hand, and like the entire TiVo box, is made for a DVR, where the X1 remote is made to be equally as good with live TV, VOD, and DVR, so it's not great at any of them. The one HUGE advantage of the X1 remote is that you can use the number pad as a T9-esque text input system, and it is a REALLY easy way to find channels or shows that you want, even when you can't remember the third version of Comcast's HD channel lineup (varies by system and region).

    In terms of trick play, TiVo is WAY ahead, due to commercial skip as well as 30 second skip and 6 second back. The back functionality on the X1 isn't too bad, but you have to manually FF the commercials, as opposed to 30 second/ 6 second mashing them, which is an acquired skill, but a skill that any TiVo user has down. I find the X1 transport controls downright aggravating, but I will say that I have only used them for one show on the XiD, and it was WAY easier to use than the XG1v1 and Xi3.

    In terms of raw hardware, the XG1 boxes all have 5 or 6 tuners, although those can be used for live TV by Xi3/6 and XiD boxes, and a 500GB hard drive. They also mirror 60 hours to the cloud, so you can watch it on a PC or mobile device when you are out of the home. TiVo definitely has the advantage in terms of hard drive space, although the 500GB drive will hold 250 hours of Comcast's extremely over-compressed MPEG-4 video, and an average of at least 160 hours of HD, even when accounting for some MPEG-2 local channels until those are converted to over-compressed MPEG-4 as well.

    Lastly, in terms of VQ, there is some discussion about whether the VQ is slightly less horrendous on the X1 boxes, and I believe it likely is, although it's very hard to tell. It's the same over-compressed disaster coming into to both boxes, but I believe that the XG1 is applying some sort of scaling or smoothing to hide what few artifacts are in the video, and saturate the colors a bit more. Comcast does't have too big of an issue with artifacts since they throw a TON of CPU power at encoding, the main problem is that bit-starving and CBR constraining their video causes motion to become blurry and lacking detail, which is why it jarringly goes from looking like the 720p that it is during relatively still scenes, or scenes with easily compressed graphics to looking like barely DVD/480p quality during motion, especially in sports and nature scenes, resulting in the jarring sensation of changing resolutions constantly. That being said, the XG1 video looks slightly better to me, although it's really hard to tell since I've compared them mostly on different TVs, which could have an even larger effect on processing than the box itself. AFAICT, newer TVs with more processing power are able to clean up the mess a little bit more than older TVs with less processing power, but in the end, garbage in equals garbage out, and that is the case with any box on Comcast.

    All that being said, we're comparing one dinosaur to another dinosaur, given that TV is moving away from traditional MVPDs and linear pay TV and towards OTT SVOD and vMVPDs. I haven't tried YouTube TV for myself, but I have heard really good things about both it's VQ and it's UI/UX, as well as the DVR functionality, which is fundamentally different from a local DVR and is better in some ways but worse in others.
     
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  3. NorthAlabama

    NorthAlabama tabasco rules

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    yes, that's what'll convince them to change their minds and agree with me, after i've been asked repeatedly to give it a rest - a wall of text! :oops:
     
  4. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    The answer of whether X1 or TiVo is a better DVR or cable box or whatever isn't as simple as a few lines. I have used both, and I tell it exactly like it is. I can both compare the relative merits of the devices themselves and observe the fact that linear TV is dying, and that Comcast's VQ sucks, just in the same way people surely had discussions about the merits of various buggy whips as the Model T was taking over.
     
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  5. WVZR1

    WVZR1 Active Member

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    You sound like Schiff!!! But you actually can't 'verify' squat!!!
     
  6. tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

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    Linear TV has been dying since affordable VCR's became available. Time shifting has been a thing for a very long time. Linear TV in some form will outlive all of us.
     
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  7. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    Sure but buggy whips are still here too so what are you saying? Cars will replace horses but there will always be buggy whips?
     
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  8. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    If I sound like Schiff, then my case is even more airtight and obvious to anyone with half a brain that half works than even I thought!

    Except that it hasn't. Pay TV peaked in 2010, and in 2018 and 2019, the losses have accelerated to a rate of what appears to be over 4M for CY19. Meanwhile, ratings on the networks are tanking, with the top show today getting lower ratings than the 11th show a decade ago. The whole pay TV ecosystem is going to implode. I probably should have said pay TV specifically before, but pay TV comprises most of what we know of as linear TV. While there will be some form of linear TV for a very, very long time, it won't be the primary mode of content consumption in even a decade, and it will be airing stuff that's already streaming, or is primarily delivered through streaming, not it's own content.

    Exactly. Someone still makes buggy whips. They are great for Mackinac Island or the Equine enthusiast. Doesn't mean most people care about them or they have any bearing on the greater economy, which, last time I checked was dominated by gasoline, diesel, and an increasing number of electric vehicles.
     
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  9. tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

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    OTA TV will be the last linear TV, sub channel digi nets will keep the zombie going. Internet streaming isn't affordable for more people than you think. The future will be expensive... There is no escape.
     
  10. mschnebly

    mschnebly Well-Known Member

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    When I still had Comcast last year I could see my streaming via Roku or ATV sharp and clear while the Comcast channels were always very soft.
     
  11. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Correct. OTA and some form of DBS will survive for a very, very long time, but the primary mode of consuming that content will be online streaming by the late-2020s at the latest, and linear TV will simply be a re-broadcast of what's available on streaming, syndicated content, re-runs, etc.
     
  12. WVZR1

    WVZR1 Active Member

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    I ran my Layer3 (streaming) side by side with my Roamio Xfinity on a 64" Premium 1080P Plasma for several days expecting to see differences. I didn't see noticeable differences for anything I considered 'broadcast'. When I returned to Xfinity I did the same with my Roamio, Mini and an XG1V4 before shipping the L3TV (now -T--Vision) back.

    There's much for an Xfinity or any other user to consider before leaving QAM.
     
  13. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    You're either talking about local broadcast channels that Comcast is not re-compressing, or you need to visit your local optometrist very badly.
     
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  14. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    Just 1 live TV buffer? Why the heck would they do that.

    Scott
     
  15. Saturn

    Saturn Lord of the Rings

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    I just popped in to say this is a really sad thread - "Should I ditch my TiVo for a cable box". :( Oh, how the mighty have fallen, (and cable companies have maybe gotten their stuff together).
     
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  16. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

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    But the future will bring more choices and competition, which, in theory, should lead to either lower prices or better quality for premium-priced content.
     
  17. KevTech

    KevTech Active Member

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    Kinda funny to me is the X1Gv4 and Tivo Edge are both made by Arris.
     
  18. tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

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    Most people will never see broadband/high speed internet below 40 to 50 dollars, content doesn't matter if you can't afford to stream it. The price wars are never coming.
     
  19. mattyro7878

    mattyro7878 Well-Known Member

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    Come over my hous and look at my Xfinity picture . It won't take long for you to agree.
     
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  20. LarryR2

    LarryR2 New Member

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    I'm in a forced mode to do the original topic (ditch Tivo for Xfinity DVR). I've had Tivos for many years, and even a DirecTV THR22 for 5 years. However, my building has switched from DTV to Comcast, so I now have an XG1-A. The picture is indeed nice, but the remote will take much getting used to, and I already miss Tivo's Wishlist function, where I can automatically record a set of programs (not an official "series"), even if nothing is scheduled to air within 2 weeks. I already did the trickplay hack on the Xfinity remote (exit exit exit 0030) to restore the Tivo-ish skips, but I still don't like the remote.

    I bought an inexpensive refurbished Tivo Premiere XL4 and ordered a CableCard from Comcast. If it works, I might use the XG1 only to support IP channels and the Roku Xfinity app (which seems very good). If not, I'm pretty sure I can sell the Premiere, and use my (still working) Series 2 as a fancy Guide/Wishlist. I don't like change.
     

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