Noobie here looking for solutions

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by lschwarcz, Mar 6, 2021.

  1. Mar 6, 2021 #1 of 15
    lschwarcz

    lschwarcz New Member

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    Mar 6, 2021

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    Hi everyone,

    I just joined this forum and want to avoid one of the cardinal sins of forums, asking something that I should have read in an FAQ.

    I did try looking around but it seems that this site is broken unto separate forums for each of the TiVo models.

    In my case I don't have a TiVo yet and I'm not sure which I should buy if any of them.

    I was going to write a post where I give my criteria for a DVR and then see if there's a TiVo solution or a solution from some other brand.

    So before I cause any bigger of a stir, maybe someone can point me to the right area. Hopefully this is the right forum. Maybe there's a forum out there that covers other brands of DVRs too where I should first look.

    Any pointers or suggestions would be appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Larry.
     
  2. Mar 6, 2021 #2 of 15
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Larry, this forum is both fairly friendly and also fairly sloppy in terms of what can be posted where, so I wouldn't worry about posting etiquette/rules too much. Go ahead and tell us what it is you're looking for in a DVR and how you want to use it (including with what kind of TV source: OTA antenna or which specific pay TV provider).
     
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  3. Mar 6, 2021 #3 of 15
    kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

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    TiVo Alternatives?

    My gist is: TiVo is the worst DVR on the planet, except for all the rest...

    Get a used Roamio with Lifetime, unless you insist on 4k for TV Recording (which you don't need) or a new Edge.

    -KP
     
  4. Mar 7, 2021 #4 of 15
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    This subforum is fine for your question so carry on.

    Are you planning to use cable TV or just OTA?

    Are you dead set on a TiVo or will you consider a streaming solution such as YouTube TV, which offers a channel list, and VOD videos, competitive with cable TV plus many local stations, and includes an unlimited cloud DVR? Current subscription cost is $65 + Tax and you can turn it on/off every month with just a few clicks on a web page (compare that to dealing with phone agents for cable TV). A number of us on this forum, who are former TiVo users, have dropped cable TV and now use YTTV with satisfaction. (I still use my Roamio TiVo with lifetime subscription to record my local OTA stations, since that gives me a free backup for YTTV for those channels.) If your cable TV is provided by Charter/Spectrum you will probably need a Tuning Adapter to get all your channels with a TiVo, and TA’s are notorious problem causers — another factor making YTTV more attractive.
     
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  5. Mar 7, 2021 #5 of 15
    Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    We'll need to know more about your plans to properly assist you. Most important: are you planning on cable or over-the-air (OTA) TV?
     
  6. Mar 7, 2021 #6 of 15
    lschwarcz

    lschwarcz New Member

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    Mar 6, 2021
    My plan is to use streaming services like YouTube TV and Philio initially. Eventually I'll also install a good roof top antenna to also have OTA ability.

    I've been with DirecTV for a long, LONG time and and am totally fed up with them.

    Initially I wanted the ability to record the live TV from those streaming services but I've yet to find any off the shelf DVR that can do that. I thought that the streaming services had only a limited amount of DVR space on their cloud recording services. I now see both of those services have unlimited recording. So the need to record from this is far less important now.

    What I would like is a device that can act like a DVR and record OTA programming and ideally make the transition from the different streaming services smoother. Having to know which shows are on which service and then go to a particular app is irritating.

    The DVR should have the ability for me to either put a larger drive inside or to use a large external drive.

    And, what to me is likely the single most important feature, the ability to backup the recordings. The single purpose of the DVR is to store content. If the drive or device fails, I've lost all the content. I would like to be be able to have a backup disk and be able to restore the content to either the same device with a new disk or restore the content to a replacement device. I don't need it to enable me to defeat any copy protection. Just the ability to protect the content.

    And the ability to view recorded content on other TVs in the home (or maybe even view if I'm away from my home network) would be nice too.

    So, does such a device exist? I'm starting to think that it doesn't.

    Thanks!
    Larry.
     
  7. Mar 7, 2021 #7 of 15
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    OK, so to clarify, it sounds like you plan to use a streaming cable TV service such as YouTube TV, or AT&T TV, or Philo. Each of those services includes a cloud DVR with unlimited storage (although YTTV recordings auto-delete after 9 months, AT&T TV recordings after 90 days, and Philo after 30 days). Be aware that most/all your major local broadband stations are included with a subscription to YTTV and AT&T TV, which may mean that you wouldn't really need to bother with an OTA antenna.

    The next part of the equation is something that will help you keep track of content from the various different streaming services you would use. By this, I assume you mean on-demand services like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney+, Paramount+, Showtime, Prime Video, etc.

    And then lastly you want the ability to incorporate live and DVR-recorded OTA TV into that streaming solution (assuming that you still care about OTA despite getting your local ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. from either YTTV or AT&T TV).

    As far as keeping track of content from various streaming services, the best solution so far is the Apple TV app on the Apple TV 4K box. It has a unified Up Next watchlist that tracks what you're watching across lots of different services (except Netflix, which won't participate in Apple's system). It even tracks your cloud DVR recordings from AT&T TV (although not YTTV or Philo). Another option -- overall not as polished, but much less expensive -- is the new Chromecast with Google TV. It also has a universal watchlist feature but, like Apple's system, Netflix doesn't really support it. But other apps do. And it fully supports YTTV.

    As for an OTA DVR system, the best-quality option is Channels DVR paired with an HDHomeRun OTA tuner. You run the Channels DVR server software on a Mac, Windows PC, or NAS and then watch live and recorded OTA TV through the Channels app on streaming devices like Apple TV, Google TV/Android TV, or Fire TV.
     
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  8. Mar 7, 2021 #8 of 15
    lschwarcz

    lschwarcz New Member

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    Very good to know about the limited storage time for these services! Thanks for all the great info! I already have a 4th gen Apple TV and will look into the Channels DVR solution.

    Thanks!
    Larry.
     
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  9. Mar 7, 2021 #9 of 15
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    In addition to recording from an HDHomeRun OTA tuner, Channels DVR can also record online streams from many of the channels that are included in streaming cable TV services like YTTV, Philo, etc. in case you would prefer to have those recordings stored locally as opposed to stored in that service's native cloud DVR inside their app.

    Channels — Channels Plus
     
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  10. WVZR1

    WVZR1 Well-Known Member

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    The WV...
    But using TVE - I don't believe any 5.1 audio yet OR has this maybe changed?
     
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  11. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, if you use Channels DVR to record streaming cable channels, it's recording from their "TV Everywhere" (TVE) website that you have access to via your cable TV service credentials. And those TVE streams don't offer 5.1 audio, I don't think.

    But then among streaming cable TV services, I think AT&T TV is the only one that offers 5.1 audio in their own app. I know YTTV doesn't. AT&T TV has the best picture and sound quality of any of those services.
     
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  12. WVZR1

    WVZR1 Well-Known Member

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    The WV...
    well if the OP has a 'relationship' with a person who has a 'CableTV' that's maybe all the more reason to consider it!

    I've a Niece whose quite rural and using my TVE it does them very well for nearly everything 'broadcast & cable' She of course has a couple streaming services that do 'specialty streams'
     
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  13. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    So far I’m not seeing a reason you would want a TiVo at all. As far as recording local stations, I don’t see the motivation for the complexity and cost of Channels DVR (i.e., it requires a PC running to support it and a tuner card, plus an antenna) just to record local stations. As noted already, YTTV provides the major local stations in most regions, and of course its DVR will record from them.

    I use YTTV so I will provide you with the “cons” for it:
    1. As noted, no 5.1 audio.
    2. The “Library” UI (which is how you set up and manage DVR recordings”) is, let’s say, “quirky”. It takes some getting used to and even after that, there will be things that bother a lot of folks. The UI quirks vary with the viewing platform (e.g., apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, etc.) and documentation is pretty much the “trial-and-error” type.
    3. YTTV requires a viewing device (client) located at each TV, or the TV must be “smart” with the YTTV app installed (not recommended!). But these devices are inexpensive.
    4. YTTV (i.e., Google) support is spotty — the response you get depends on the nature of your issue. I’ve had cases where I would swear I’m just trading emails with a bot. I’ve had other cases where the response was great and I’ve even been given credits to compensate for a couple of issues.

    Despite these cons, I’ve been a YTTV subscriber for 15 months now and don’t plan to quit. But it’s nice to know that quitting can be done monthly with only a few clicks on a website.
     
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  14. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    Tivo can do SOME of those.. IF Tivo has support for the streaming service you want to use, you can make OnePasses that show up in the list of recordings that will then take you to the streaming service to watch that particular episode. So that helps with the keep track of which shows are where..
    (But I don't use the streaming apps in my Tivo, since they're too slow to launch, and the UI isn't as good as AppleTV or even the ones in my TV.. Bolts may be faster and have better UI)

    You can add bigger hard drives internally to a Tivo (with hacks many of us have used for a long time). You could theoretically unplug it and then copy the whole hard drive as a backup, or you can download unprotected shows from a Tivo (for many of us, basically anything except premium channels).

    Personally, even though I use streaming services, having the Tivo as 'backup' (since shows expire off of the streaming services) is well worth it, and a FAR better UI. Also, this is sort of an edge case, but Tivo let you play shows faster than realtime, which I use *constantly* with reality/news/game shows.. (just like I listen to all podcasts at 2x)
     
  15. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Right. You should get your "big 4" locals (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) with YTTV, AT&T TV, Hulu with Live TV and Fubo TV. You may also get your local CW channel on any of them too, although that's a bit spottier. So far, YTTV is the only one to offer PBS locals, but then in many areas you can stream your local PBS station in the free PBS app/website (which also offers lot of recent PBS content on-demand for free too).

    It's easy and cheap enough to just connect an OTA antenna directly to your TV if you can get good reception where you live with an indoor antenna. But going to the expense and hassle of an OTA DVR is not something many folks would want to bother with if they're already getting their major locals through some kind of cable channel package, like the four services I listed above. I do mess with an OTA DVR but then I just subscribe to on-demand streaming services like HBO Max, Epix, Showtime, Netflix, etc. I don't subscribe to any cable channel package.
     

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