Series 3 lite ...record in SD off digital tuner?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by gastrof, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

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    Potato and pen.

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    I think a few people have even suggested this might be what the lower-cost version of the Series 3 might be, something that'll have a digital tuner, but not be a true HD device.

    I've poo-pooed such an idea. After all, who'd build a digital TV device that CAN'T provide HD?

    Then I got my new TV.... a TV that has a digital tuner that gets OTA and QAM along with its analog tuner ....

    ...and yet is a SD television with a 4x3 screen.

    This suggests something in the set is down-converting any HD signal the tuner gets into SD format before sending it to the screen.

    Could a TiVo do the same? Down-convert any HD digital signals into a SD form before recording them?

    Might my "Oh they'll never do that!" theory be all wet?

    Could the "Series 3 lite" be a SD device only, and thus be able to fit more on a hard drive despite its recording digital broadcasts that were sent out in HD?
     
  2. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Your TV is just tossing bits to derez before sending them to the screen.

    To do what you would suggest, the Tivo would have to toss the bits then re-encode them in real time. Converting a commercial encoding to one performed on the fly by a 10 buck encoder chip is not going to yield a heck of a lot of storage savings.

    Is there any other motive you can think of for doing such a thing? Doesn't make much sense to me.
     
  3. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

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    Potato and pen.
    I'm just wondering if that might be what the 3-lite ends up being. SD all the way, despite having a digital tuner.

    I mean, if my TV is downrezzing any HD signals it gets, couldn't a TiVo do the same with the video portion of any HD broadcast it gets, before sending it to the hard drive?

    I've always assumed the TiVo records the video and audio "decoded" off an analog tuner, not the analog signal itself.

    If a $150 TV can downrez before sending the video to the screen, couldn't a TiVo do it before sending the video to the hard drive? Couldn't it record the "decoded" audio and "decoded-and-downrezzed" video?
     
  4. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    It would cheaper to output the original HD signal then down sample it to SD, so if the true goal of this device is to reduce costs then it'll be HD capable. Plus the "photos" posted over in the S3 forum clearly show it as having an HDMI port and component outputs.

    Dan
     
  5. SMWinnie

    SMWinnie Dis Member

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    Lemme see if I'm following:

    1. The HD ATSC bitrate is about 8GB/hour, and that will be your approximate bitrate regardless of whether you get the signal OTA or from your MSO.

    2. Transcoding the HD file to a smaller SD file requires substantial processor power, and the S3 isn't going to do that.

    What this doesn't preclude is the possibility that an S3Lite might just ignore HD channels. I have a Motorola converter slaved to my S2DT that does exactly that, and my cable provider provides an equivalent SD signal for most of my HD channels.

    I don't think it's likely, but it seems possible. It certainly doesn't make sense if the leaked photos are for real.

    Edit for brain lock.
    Oh, and Rogers' March announcement indicated that TiVo was looking to release "a lower-priced, mass appeal High Definition product" (bold mine) in order to give BestBuy and Circuit City something to bundle with their 42" plasmas this Christmas.
     
  6. wolflord11

    wolflord11 Lord of Darkness

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    With the Series 3 Lite it is supposed to be a stripped down Series 3 at a reduced cost.

    So where exactly are Tivo going to reduce costs without turning the unit into a glorified Series 2? Maybe the HD for one might get downsized.

    gastrof: It seems possible, could very well be done, but I do not believe it would happen.

    But your post got me thinking too :D

    My TV has a built-in HDTV/QAM Tuner for access to Digital Programming Off-Air or on Cable and is Digital Cable Ready with CableCARD Input - No Cable Box Needed.

    So, why not just remove the CableCards entirely from the Series3 Tivo Lite unit. The TV gets both HD and SD programming, so no problems there.

    The Tivo would record from a TV out to the Tivo. All the Tivo would be is a DVR to record a show much in the way an old VCR worked. Sure you would lose 30 Second Skip and all that, but the price of the Series3 Lite would be drastically reduced. Dont knock me, its just a thought.
     
  7. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    Its hard to decide what TiVo's long term plain is.

    If they are trying to be a high volume DVR producer they need to widen their product line out substantially including getting back into the combo DVR/DVD market and into the commercial DVR market. After all now that the cable companies new DVRs have to use cable cards Tivo should be able to build them as easily as Motorola or SA.

    If they are trying to be a DVR software provider who also produces a niche DVR lineup (which is what I would say they are now) then they only need a few models.

    Frankly the deal to put TiVo software on existing cable company DVRs maybe good for TiVo and those lucky enough to be getting cable from those companies but I suspect it has substantially slowed down development of future stand alone TiVos.

    Thanks,
     
  8. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    this is all very simple

    S2 analog and SD
    S3 digital and SD/HD

    if the S3 lite has cable cards then it will just record the digital stream stright to the hard drive via a digital tuner. There really is no better way for such a process

    it would save some little cost if the analog part was stripped out of the S3 lite, not the HD part. However that would not be a functionally wise thing to do as many people would buy it and hook up analog cable still. plus there is OTA adn lifeline cable as a really nice alternative to digital cable, etc..
     
  9. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Oh? Just as easily?

    Tell me how it is possible for any third party vendor to build a box that supports changing channels to SDV, VOD or PPV.

    If Tivo is so confused about what they want to do that they haven't figured out how to build high volume DVRs, then tell me, why have Pioneer, Sony, Hitachi, Pioneer, Philips, and Samsung not figured it out? Are they dummies too?

    Penetrating analysis you have there.
     
  10. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    I think he meant specifically for a cable company to sell directly to the cable company.
     
  11. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    No need to get testy there but:

    Yes I would say any company that can not figure out how to be profitable is confused. Best I can tell TiVo started out as a Software and engineering firm - meaning they provided software and hardware engineering for equipment other companies made and marketed. Then they moved into making hardware under their own name and all of there former partners pulled out now they are going back into providing software for other vendors hardware again. So do they really want to be a hardware company? or were they forced into it?

    My point was if they really want to be a hardware company why not go after the cable companies hardware (DVR and/or STB) buisness? Everyone had to re-design their hardware to use cable cards so it seems like TiVo could have just as easly designed a cable card DVR and/or STB for the cable companies as Motorola or SA after all they are just about done developing software for the cable companies so its not like they haven't been working with them and don't know what they want.

    On the consumer side again if they actually want to be in the hardware business I believe they should broaden their product line. Other companies are selling combo DVR/DVD burner units and other companies are selling high end media centers it really isn't a big leap to think that a leading DVR company should be covering all segments of the market.

    Thanks,
     
  12. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Well-Known Member

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    True, but if you really wanted to do it you could design the box to do it at very low overhead.

    Don't do the downres digitally. Stick a HD decoder chip capable of SD output inside the TiVo with its output hooked directly into an SD mpeg2 encoder chip. Presto, real time SD recording of HD input.

    Sure it's dumb, and you get additional quality loss from the extra D/A - A/D conversions. But it is quite cheap (compared to a substantial processor) and it's inherently realtime.


    I doubt TiVo would do that though. Why bother. It's even less trouble (and expense) to just record the HD stream directly.
     
  13. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    You guys are over thinking this. The point of this product is not to strip out features, it's to keep as many features as they possibly can while lowering manufacturing costs. and inturn the selling price of the S3 units They may remove some niceties like the OLED display, the front panel controls, the piano black case and THX certification but all in all the S3 lite will have the same basic functionality as the full blow S3 untis we have today. Just like the 540 series S2 units had the same functionality as the previous generation S2 units. They were just a little cheaper to make. (and a little slower as a result, which is a trend I hope doesn't carry over here)

    Dan
     
  14. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Dan you are eminently reasonable, but eminently reasonable is no fun.

    And besides, all I have to do is change diapers- that leaves me a few spare cycles to mull over things twice, 4 times, 20 times..... I figure it's my job to overthink things.

    So I say it's smarter design board just like you say, but it has an empty socket for an image enhancement chip such as the silicon optix reon for the premium S3.5 which also uses the higher mhz/ memory BCM7400.

    If I were unreasonable I'd be looking for a HD-SDI input and an encoder that could handle the data stream. Never mind where the SDI data is coming from. But I know- that would be like asking Santa for a B-29.

    Instead I'll just ask for a P-38 Lightning, and if he doesn't deliver I'll never believe in him again and stomp my feet.
     
  15. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    They don't. They deliver navigation services. Hardware and software are a means of delivering that service.

    Other companies are in the contract busines of building software for Cable and Satcos. Other companies are in the business of making money off of selling the latest and greatest CE device in the retail channel.

    None of those has ever been Tivo's business model. Perhaps you misunderstood what Tivo's purpose was in licensing it's hardware platform. Anything that spreads the box is good- the purpose is not to make a profit on the box. And just because folks are not interested in analog dvrs anymore doesn't mean they aren't interested in licensing HD dvr platforms. Yep- I wouldn't be too awfully surprized to see Tivo integrated into other company boxes and televisions in the future.
     
  16. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Perhaps, but there is one thing missing from your list -- they haven't said anything about discontinuing the current S3, which means that there needs to be a substantial difference in value provided between the two boxes -- a difference that substantiates the promised $200-$300 difference in price.
     
  17. magnus

    magnus Tivo User

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    Bingo, my thoughts exactly.

     
  18. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Amen.

    Please provide documentary evidence that someone promised ...
     
  19. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

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    Potato and pen.

    Then why does my new TV have a digital tuner and a Standard Def display? (And cost only $150?)
     
  20. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

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    Potato and pen.
    See my above question to Dan.
     

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