S3 and OTA - will it record SD as HD?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by zync, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. Sep 8, 2006 #1 of 22
    zync

    zync Long live TiVo

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    Feb 21, 2003
    If I have a S3 recording a OTA HD signal from NBC or CBS, etc. will it record all content as HD or will only HD content be treated as HD? This may sound confusing, but from my experience with the SA8300HD EVERYTHING is recorded as if its HD. Perhaps this is because that box upconverts everything.

    I'm wondering if OTA is upconverted (by the broadcaster) as well and thus any recording from an OTA channel, or even an "OTA" channel carried by a cable provider, will be treated as HD and thus consume vast quantities of disk space.
     
  2. Sep 8, 2006 #2 of 22
    terryfoster

    terryfoster TiVo Pioneer

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    Jul 21, 2003
    Dayton, OH
    I doubt that your SA8300HD is at fault here. Your local affiliate is probably to blame as they transmit their SD content pillarboxed and upscaled to their main broadcasting format (1080i or 720p). So watching your Price is Right in the afternoon you will find that your local affiliate is broadcasting this show at 1080i.

    The solution to this would be to record the SD subchannel (if one exists which they rarely do) or record the digital SD simulcast on your digital cable (if one exists). I'm not sure, but I think a 1080i stream takes up less space than an encoded (at best quality) analog signal so I wouldn't recommend recording the analog version over any digital version (but I could be WAY OFF here).
     
  3. Sep 8, 2006 #3 of 22
    vman41

    vman41 Omega Consumer

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    The S3 is going to record the bit stream sent by the broadcaster, non-HD programs sent out by the broadcasters on the HD channel are always upconverted to the HD resolution and bitrate. Short answer is yes.
     
  4. Sep 8, 2006 #4 of 22
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    zync,

    The S3 records the original digital bitstream without any change or modification. Digital SD and HD channels on cable and OTA are essentially streaming MPEG-2 files. The Series3 just saves those digital files to the hard disk.

    (Obviously, it's a little more complex than that because the Tivo supports all sorts of trickplay features, but that's the jist of it.)

    If SD is upconverted by your local provider as 19.4Mbps 1080i, then that's exactly what your Series3 will record. Thankfully, the Series3 has 50% more drive space than the SA8300, and makes external drive expansion cheap and easy.

    With the Series3, you can easily add a silent 500Gb external hard drive for about $150 that will increase your minimum HDTV storage capacity to ~90 hours -- that's in the scenario where the cable or broadcast channel uses the absolute maximum allowed bit rate for high-def. On a provider like Cox or Time Warner, that would translate into around 140 hours. If you want even more capacity, you can go for a 750Gb drive, or a SATA drive array with multiple 750Gb drives.
     
  5. Sep 8, 2006 #5 of 22
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Yeah, you're wee bit off. You're looking at around 6-Mbps for a "highest quality" recording off an analog channel, as compared to 19.4Mbps for a max bitrate digital broadcast.

    Note I don't think you have to be concerned about side bars on 4:3 content -- the Series3 should provide the option to crop them off for owners of older 4:3 HD displays.
     
  6. Sep 8, 2006 #6 of 22
    ITGuy72

    ITGuy72 New Member

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    I had a spare SATA drive kicking around so I bought a Vantec NexStar 3 3.5" SATA to eSATA / USB 2.0 External hard Drive Enclosure. Hoping that will do the trick once the S3 is out. $40 solution if you have a SATA drive already to put in it.
     
  7. Sep 8, 2006 #7 of 22
    Cormode

    Cormode New Member

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    Feb 27, 2003
    Louisville KY
    I'm a little confused about the tuners in the S3.

    - QAM w/ decryption by Cablecard - Yes

    - ATSC digital OTA tuner - Yes

    - NTSC analog OTA tuner - ?

    - NTSC analog cable tuner - ?


    The local ABC affiliate has a such a weak signal on the digital broadcast that to tune it, one must be living almost directly underneath it. However the analog signal is fine. Will I be able to watch LOST with the S3 or will I need to get cable?
     
  8. Sep 8, 2006 #8 of 22
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    - NTSC analog OTA tuner - Yes

    - NTSC analog cable tuner - Yes
     
  9. Sep 8, 2006 #9 of 22
    dbtom

    dbtom Member

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    Feb 14, 2002
    New York City
    I have the same annoyance with the 8300. It's really a pain to remember I should record this show on NBC HD and this show on NBC SD to save space. Plus I always hold on to hope that I will turn on the program and it will actually be in HD.

    Your system may vary, but I find that the SD stream sent to the HD channels is better than recording the SD stream itself. So in the end I would probably record the HD channel anyway.

    I have heard that (at least for OTA programs) there are ways to vary the amount of bandwidth that they are transmitting for programming. So the networks may actually be using less space than we think on certain broadcasts. I haven't figured out how to measure how much space each program is taking.

    BTW, the 8300 (some models) also supports external SATA drives like the Series 3. The extra 50MB on a S3 isn't much of a difference-- that space goes fast when you are recording HD. The only approced external drive I've found is about $300 from weaknees for 300GB. You can also buy an internal drive and enclosure. $150 for 500GB is a great deal if you can find it. You'll really need to be hunting.
     
  10. TiVo Troll

    TiVo Troll Registered Troll

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    Mar 22, 2006
    If a program is recorded at standard-def on Series 3, will MRV work as usual between it and Series 2?
     
  11. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    DC Metro Area
    Tivo has said they will be supporting MRV, but we don't know if will be supported from day one. Tivo has also said there could be some restrictions on what HDTV channels will work with MRV and TivoToGo, so we'll have to wait and see about that.
     
  12. TiVo Troll

    TiVo Troll Registered Troll

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    Mar 22, 2006
    OK, gotta' go! We'll have to wait and see about all the Series 3 questions.

    Bye, now.
     
  13. TiVo Troll

    TiVo Troll Registered Troll

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    Mar 22, 2006
    Thanks! MRV may not even work right away on Series 3, but if standard-def will MRV between Series 2 and 3 that's neat!.
     
  14. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    Sep 21, 2004
    TiVo has said nothing about eSATA support in the initial release. I think a lot of people are assuming it will not be available initially or will atleast be a hidden feature.
     
  15. CCourtney

    CCourtney Member

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    Mar 28, 2006
    El Dorado...
    The SA8300HD records the data stream raw. Upconversions of SD (and conversion from 720p->1080i or 1080i->720p) in fixed mode are done during the display/playback process not during the record process. It's whatever your CableCo sent down the pipe that gets recorded. In my area the SD shows on HD channels consume significantly less space.

    CCourtney
     
  16. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    4,471
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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Tivo has said nothing about ANYTHING in the initial release. :)

    eSATA was touted as a key feature at CES. We have no credible info to suggest that it won't be available at launch.
     
  17. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    11,335
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    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    Just to be clear, it'll record the subchannel from the bitstream, not the entire bitstream.

    The short answer is maybe, and it depends on the station sending it to you. As mentioned, quite a few of the boradcasters in my area do send an SD subchannel as well as the upconverted HD subchannel, that could be recorded in SD sizes. That is if the guide data is correct, which it rarely is.

    This is the reason I usually record D*'s local channels instead of the OTA ones, D* sends a much more compressed signal. (With some size/quality trade off.)

    With a series 3, I'm expecting things to be similar. If you have digital cable as well as OTA, you can record the digital SD channel for the best space saving. Supposedly in a lot of areas the basic channels are also sent as digital as well as analog over the cable.
     
  18. dbtom

    dbtom Member

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    Feb 14, 2002
    New York City
    CCourtney,

    How were you able to find out how much space your individual programs are consuming? I would be real curious to find out more about what kind of data stream is coming in.

    -DB
     
  19. CCourtney

    CCourtney Member

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    Mar 28, 2006
    El Dorado...
    Percent of Space Consumed by a program can be determined (Read percent, delete program, read percent again.) Go to recording list, hit 'B' button on remote and it will list the percent of space left. In particular recording 4hrs of Football SD vs 4hrs of Football HD show a significant difference.

    CCourtney
     
  20. Dajad

    Dajad Active Member

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    Oct 7, 1999
    Toronto
    Where did you find this nugget? I haven't seen that anywhere yet. As far as I understood TiVo was going to sell proprietary SATA sidecars. If we can just purchase SATA drives from anywhere and plug them in, that will be terrific. But I suspect unlikely.

    ...Dale
     

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