Record an HD program in SD?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by grinchers, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Feb 9, 2009 #1 of 56
    grinchers

    grinchers New Member

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    Some of you may think I'm crazy, but I really don't want HD programs to record in HD and eat up all my storage space with their massive file size...and I really don't feel like making another investment right now and buying an expander.

    My TV is SD -- the reason I upgraded from my Tivo S2 with OTA Digital converter box to TiVo HD is that I wanted to watch my Netflix on Tivo -- plus it has the digital OTA tuner without having to use a converter box.

    It had never occured to me before I bought the HD box that I couldn't control the recording resolution on HD broadcasts. Is there a trick to recording HD programs in SD that I don't know about?
     
  2. Feb 9, 2009 #2 of 56
    pkscout

    pkscout Well-Known Member

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    Some OTA stations have an "SD feed" (i.e. 480p) on one of their sub-channels, but that will vary from station to station. Check the .2 or .3 subchannels for a given station and see what options you have.

    Other than that I think you're out of luck. You can't tell the TiVo to down sample the HD into something smaller, as it doesn't do anything when it's recording except copy the data stream to the hard drive.
     
  3. Feb 9, 2009 #3 of 56
    V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    Sorry, there is no way to control the recording quality of digital programs.

    The one thing you might try is recording from non-HD channels. Just about every HD station currently has a companion non-HD channel broadcasting the same programs. Unfortunately for you, all of them will be digital soon, but the digital and non-HD program might still be smaller than the HD ones. I personally have not tried to compare that since I don't want anything that is not HD, but you might want to check it out yourself. Good luck.
     
  4. Feb 9, 2009 #4 of 56
    Dancar

    Dancar Member

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    This brings up a good question. It is easy to forget that digital and HD are not really the same thing. When OTA stations convert to digital this year, will all broadcasts be in 720p or 1080i, or will there be 480i digital broadcasts as well?

    I understand that converter boxes downconvert HD to 480i, so is the assumpion that everyone has a converter, cable, or a TV that can process a 1080i signal? Can all 720p TV's view 1080 digital signals on their own, including early models bought several years ago?
     
  5. Feb 9, 2009 #5 of 56
    That Don Guy

    That Don Guy Now with more GB

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    I wish.

    I tried recording an HD signal with my DVD recorder. The result was not pretty.

    -- Don
     
  6. Feb 9, 2009 #6 of 56
    rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    OTA stations already exist in digital. They will just be turning off the analog broadcasts. OTA channels will not be changing their output resolution after the analog cutoff. Cable channels will not be affected by the change.
     
  7. Feb 9, 2009 #7 of 56
    Dancar

    Dancar Member

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    Rainwater,

    Yes, OTA exists in digital, but the digital OTA broadcasts at this time are typically 1080i or 720p. When the analog is shut off, will locals broadcast digital 480i or 480p in addition to the HD broadcasts?
     
  8. Feb 9, 2009 #8 of 56
    Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Well-Known Member

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    It varies from station to station. Some smaller independent stations don't broadcast HD at all, they only transmit 480i or 480p. The ones that transmit HD also vary. Many only transmit HD, but some others also transmit SD subchannels. The SD subchannels might be a copy of the main HD program or might be other programs entirely (PBS is probably most notable at multi-casting different programs.) So don't count on being able to record from SD station to save space. On many of the stations in my area, the only thing on the subchannels is weather radar, or local news repeats.

    720p TVs can all convert 1080i input to their native resolution internally. Some older 1080i CRT based TVs don't accept 720p; in this case the TivoHD or other STB has to convert to 1080i.
     
  9. Feb 9, 2009 #9 of 56
    rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    Again, nothing will change for most stations when the analog is cut off. No, stations will not go from 720p to 480i. That would not make any sense. There are a few stations that do broadcast a SD digital version of their channel on a sub channel. In this case, whether or not they keep it will be up to the channel operators. All converter boxes and "SDTV" televisions can view 1080i and 720p signals so there will not be any issues in that regards.
     
  10. aindik

    aindik Well-Known Member

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    All OTA broadcasts will be in 720p or 1080i on any channel that broadcasts anything in HD.

    You will be able to record these channels in SD with a TiVoHD only if you subscribe to cable and record off the SD feed that cable companies will continue to offer their subscribers.
     
  11. rjhall

    rjhall New Member

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    Oh - this is interesting to me.
    So today I have my S2ST tivo connected directly to my cable feed (no cablebox) and to my hdtv. If I bypass the tivo, I get a handful of HD channels (locals, tv36 etc.)...
    I was about to upgrade to THD and get the cablecard from comcast - but i believe when i do that pretty much ALL the channels will be in HD.
    So - my current 40h S2ST tivo would be replaced by a 180h THD, but if everything is in HD I would really only get 20h of recording time?
    ouch.

    Looking for confirmation, so i know i need to get MyDVR asap :)

    thanks,
    richard
     
  12. aindik

    aindik Well-Known Member

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    Not all. Most won't be. Probably something like 30-50 channels will be in HD (probably the ones you watch most often).

    That depends on whether you want to record in HD. If you record everything in HD, you'll get about 20 hours.

    If you record nothing in HD, you'll get about 160 hours.

    If you record a mix, you'll get a mix.

    For a given show, on cable you are very likely to be able to decide to record it from the HD feed or the SD feed. There are very few channels on cable that are available in HD but not in SD. UHD, Palladia, HDNet if you get those. Really not that many. Most of the time you'll have a choice.

    I don't see the point of buying a TiVoHD and an HDTV and then recording in SD. But to each his own.
     
  13. ciper

    ciper Active Member

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    It has been my experience in pretty much the entire state of California that the OTA digital version of a channel has the HD video on the main (say 2.1) and the SD version on a subchannel (say 2.2 or 2.3).

    Digital does not automatically equal HD.
     
  14. aindik

    aindik Well-Known Member

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    It has been my experience in Philadelphia that none of the OTA channels do that.

    It seems like a waste of bandwidth to me.
     
  15. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    the digital SD recording would not be as small a size as the lowest analog setting. It is the lowest analog setting that will get you the 160 hours.

    Somone with cable cards and recording mainly SD in digital could give a real life reading but my guess would be somewhere closer to 50 hours on a stock TiVo HD recroding digital in SD.


    Since rjhall seems to not want to open the case and do his own hard rive upgrade, then I would say skip the MyDVR purchase and put the money towards getting a TiVo HD XL, that comes stock with a 1 terraByte drive.
     
  16. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    Perhaps it woudl be worth it to you to get "lifeline/basic" cable to supplement your OTA. Comcast basic for me is $11/month.
     
  17. aindik

    aindik Well-Known Member

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    This is true. I'd put it at between 80 and 106 hours (between 1.5 GB and 2 GB per hour, which translates to 3.41 Mbps to 4.55 Mbps).

    But you only get this digital SD recording if you use CableCARDs. If you use cable without CableCARDs, your recordings are analog and the quality is user-selectable.

    (Unless we're talking about manual recordings on the QAM channels. Which is a whole 1500+ post thread).
     
  18. ShoutingMan

    ShoutingMan Member

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    Except when they're not :) There's a lot of variability. My NBC affiliate broadcasts digitally a variety of shows in SD, even though they are available in HD. They also don't broadcast digital surround, but a stereo downmix.

    If only the digital transition guaranteed HD broadcast of all digital signals...

    But to the OP's original question, I'll second the idea of "lifeline" cable. I've got an S2 Tivo on lifeline cable at about $10/mo, supplementing the new Tivo HD with OTA digital reception.
     
  19. aindik

    aindik Well-Known Member

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    That doesn't meant he broadcast isn't 1080i. It doesn't look 1080i, but from the perspective of bandwidth and disk space (the point of the thread), and from the perspective of what your TV thinks, the broadcast is 1080i. When they send something that's in SD, they don't reduce their bandwidth or the output resolution.

    I didn't say that it did. But nearly all channels that are in HD are broadcasting with HD resolution and bitrates 24/7, even though the content sometimes isn't actually HD.

    Prices of lifeline cable vary. Here, it's almost $25 a month.
     
  20. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    It would be purely a saving space thing, Some shows don't benefit much from the HD version. For example The Daily Show, Leno, Letterman would HD be nice sure but its not critical. I would rather save space for Battlestar, 24, Terminator, etc. Of course the easy fix is buy the expander or THDXL or an XL with an expander
     

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