Telewest TV Drive PVR / DVR - any Tivo owner feedback?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by childe, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Dec 16, 2005 #1 of 141
    childe

    childe Tivoer since 11/2000

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    Leeds, UK
    I accidentally posted this on the Chit-Chat forum, but think it belongs here.

    Now the Telewest TVdrive pilot is underway, are there any Tivo users who would care to share their views? It has some features which are clearly better than Tivo, but do they compensate for any other shortcomings it may have? Which is the better overall package, and why?

    I'm very interested to hear from Tivo users as obviously their opinions are obviously to be highly respected, and they won't be overly impressed by features that we Tivo users take for granted.
     
  2. Dec 16, 2005 #2 of 141
    karl

    karl New Member

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    Oct 1, 2002
    Croydon,...
    Just had TVDrive installed yesterday. I wanted it because I'm planning to get HDTV next year and also I am having problems with my TiVo randomly rebooting at ever more frequent intervals.

    I also like the idea of the three tuners, 2 to record and 1 to watch, plus 90 minutes live tv rewind rather than 30. It also means the end of the "TiVo needs to change the channel at 8pm" message - which causes no end of confusion when my girlfriend comes round to watch Corrie!

    With two 120GB drives in my TiVo and recording everything in Basic (guess I have bad eyesight plus I don't watch sport), 80 hours recording time seems a bit of a comedown (only 20 in HD!).

    Obviously as you rent the box from Telewest there is no opportunity for hacking like there is with TiVo, so I guess you're stuck with this capacity. On the other hand, I suppose the rental business model means it's cheaper to upgrade in the future when Telewest upgrade capacity. I can't help feeling it's somewhat ironic that the cutting edge of TV tech takes you back to the old days of Radio Rentals, as it were.

    My initial impression from actually using the box was, perhaps predictably, that I immediately missed a TiVo feature. First thing I wanted to do was set up a season pass for Lost. Okay, so how do I type L-O-S-T? Oh, I don't - I have to find it in the EPG and press the yellow button! Impressive for a VCR user but frustrating for us spoilt TiVo users. Recording programmes by name is probably my favourite TiVo feature, ARWL for example is nice but I can live without it. Soon after getting my TiVo I disabled suggestions as I don't even have enough time to watch programmes I've explicitly recorded anyway. So recreating season passes is going to be problematic.

    I think it wouldn't be so bad if the Telewest EPG was presented in the clever way TiVo does it. The TiVo EPG fits a lot more programmes into the space available. On the other hand, once you have found the programme you want, setting the recording is a very fast process, one key press and the text background of the programme goes red instantly to reflect the recording being set.

    You can set start and end padding, but it applies to all recordings. But since there are two recording tuners, I don't foresee this being a problem for me in practice.

    Then I set up recordings for Space Cadets. After a trip out to see Doom at the cinema, I came home to watch it.

    One additional irritation seems to be that certain programmes will always require you to enter a PIN before you can watch the recording. It seems you cannot turn parental control off completely, very annoying if you have no kids.

    Oh dear, all it's recorded is a black screen.

    Early this afternoon I tried two simultaneous recordings. On watching one back, the picture kept breaking up and it kept losing the sound.

    So I tried the obvious tactic of rebooting the box. After reboot, it says TVDrive service not available, please phone Telewest Customer Care. I have a technician coming back next week.
     
  3. Dec 16, 2005 #3 of 141
    AMc

    AMc Active Member

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    Thanks for the review Karl. It all sounded quite encouraging up to the last 4 paragraphs, then worse for the last 3 and then that final one...
    Reminds me of when my Pace box died and TW 'hurried round' in just under a week.

    Loving TeleWest at the moment - just found out that Blueyonder have just deleted all my mail because I hadn't accessed the account for 90 days.
     
  4. Dec 17, 2005 #4 of 141
    davisa

    davisa New Member

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    Feb 19, 2002
    An interesting read, especially as I've been told no TVDrive availability until Q1 next year.

    I think the lack of programme search and soft padding would both be a show stopper for me :( I REALLY do have no idea what various channels show - and after years of TiVo I really don't care!

    Please do keep your thoughts and observations coming...
     
  5. Dec 17, 2005 #5 of 141
    cwaring

    cwaring VM Tivo User

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    Feb 11, 2002
    Knaresboroug...
    http://www.telewestinfo.co.uk/news.shtml#TVDrive
    There are 400 actual customers (as opposed to TW employees) who are trialing it this month, before a general release in Q1 next year. Lucky so-and-so's :(
     
  6. Dec 17, 2005 #6 of 141
    dave h-j

    dave h-j Clumsy Member

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    Oct 9, 2002
     
  7. Dec 17, 2005 #7 of 141
    cwaring

    cwaring VM Tivo User

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    Knaresboroug...
    True, but being able to review it for my site would be great. Plus, I still have my Tivo :D
     
  8. Dec 17, 2005 #8 of 141
    HyperionX

    HyperionX Back after 8 years

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    Dec 30, 2002
    Bucks, UK
    Thanks for the insight Karl, but could you clarify something for me please? Did I misread or does the TVDrive have a "season pass" like functionality?

    I think I saw soft padding (thank any deity that's listening!!) and multiple tuners (for that alone I'd be tempted to sacrifice a first born!)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  9. Dec 17, 2005 #9 of 141
    cwaring

    cwaring VM Tivo User

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    Knaresboroug...
    I'm certain it does have something similar. How reliable it is I don't know and hope Karl can tell us all :)
     
  10. Dec 19, 2005 #10 of 141
    karl

    karl New Member

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    Oct 1, 2002
    Croydon,...
    I can confirm that TVDrive certainly does have "season pass" like functionality. Not sure how sophisticated it is in terms of rescheduling, first run only, no duplicate episodes, 28 day rules etc.

    You can set padding options, but it is a global setting for all recordings. I'm not sure what happens when 2 programmes are recording in "pad time" and a third recording is scheduled to start, but I *think* the third is delayed rather than cancelled. In any case, having 2 recording tuners and a third viewing tuner should make clashes less likely. Also, there are options for clash resolution.

    I'm hoping that my box will get fixed tomorrow. Just to clarify, only the recording functionality of my box is currently broken, and it turns out TiVo can control TVDrive as if it was a regular set-top box using the front IR blaster. Whilst it's disappointing to have problems, it is after all a pilot scheme.

    Will try to post more once my box is working properly again!
     
  11. Dec 19, 2005 #11 of 141
    cwaring

    cwaring VM Tivo User

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    Feb 11, 2002
    Knaresboroug...
    Fron IR blaster? You sure? Does that mean the TVD uses standard IR and not IrDA? Also, I assume it controls one of the tuners so, theoretically, you could use the third TVD tuner to record something on Tivo while watching something previously recorded on said Tivo.

    I can feel a feedback-loop coming on ;)
     
  12. Dec 19, 2005 #12 of 141
    sanderton

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

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    Jan 4, 2002
    Nothing like going from one extreme to the other!
     
  13. Dec 21, 2005 #13 of 141
    HyperionX

    HyperionX Back after 8 years

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    Bucks, UK
    Thanks Karl. Great work. Thanks for taking the time to use the device so exhaustively and letting us know so thoroughly and quickly :up:.

    I look forward to more info about the TVDrive - especially about the "season pass functionality". :D

    I am assuming that the TVDrives are considered virtually ready for "public consumption" and this is the final stage testing....so we shouldn't expect to see too much diffferent from the final release... :confused:
     
  14. Dec 21, 2005 #14 of 141
    ash_bluewomble

    ash_bluewomble New Member

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    Oct 20, 2004
    Does it look like it would be possible to use the TVDrive alongside a TiVo? i.e. have TiVo control one of the tuners and the TVDrive use the other 2 to record it's stuff? Would this work? Would you still be able to watch programs from the TVDrive (or Teleport) without it affecting the TiVo's recordings?

    If this works, this setup surely provides the best of both worlds? Flexible, large, reliable and extensible TiVo, along side the TVDrive, which is unproven technology (and sounds a little unreliable in beta tests) offering help for resolving conflicts with TiVo, Teleport and HD recordings....
     
  15. Dec 21, 2005 #15 of 141
    teresatt

    teresatt TiVo TiVo TiVo!

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    Dec 21, 2001
    Walsall,...
    This is exactly what I'm hoping to do. TVDrive sounds great but I bet it'll still be dissapointing compared to TiVo.
     
  16. Dec 21, 2005 #16 of 141
    childe

    childe Tivoer since 11/2000

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    Jan 22, 2001
    Leeds, UK
    There is one feature of the TVdrive which I don't think has been commented on, but which could become a Tivo killer; it supports High Definition TV. I know there is no content yet, but there will be soon. Once I can afford a HD TV and the majority of the content is HD, I think that will be the end of the road for my Tivo, unless there are very compelling reasons to stick with it.

    In case there are some Tivo features that I can't bear to lose (Wishlists for instance), would there be any way of using the Tivo to control the TVdrive which could then record HD content? That would be brilliant.
     
  17. Dec 21, 2005 #17 of 141
    cwaring

    cwaring VM Tivo User

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    Knaresboroug...
    I have a feeling that I have been told there is something like Wishlists in the TVD. Maybe Karl could confirm?
     
  18. Dec 28, 2005 #18 of 141
    nickriley

    nickriley New Member

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    Sep 17, 2002
    Birmingham,...
    Is there any more info about the TVDrive - I for one am eager to hear reviews of the hardware and software
     
  19. Dec 29, 2005 #19 of 141
    HyperionX

    HyperionX Back after 8 years

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    Dec 30, 2002
    Bucks, UK
    Maybe I'm being daft but I wondered why soft padding would be necessary...? If you have multiple tuners and an EPG that is "constantly" updated (either at regular intervals - not once a day! - or in real-time) wouldn't padding be redundant...? :confused:

    I ask because I find I have to use it on TiVo because some of the channel providers use program start and finish times as rough guide lines especially during "reality tv season"...

    On a slightly separate point, is it safe to assume that the TVDrive's channel changing is integral and therefore should avoid/eliminate some of the channel changing anomalies that can arise with the IR Wand? I speak as someone who recently set TiVo to record a repeat of the new Battlestar Galactica pilot show second episode and woke to watch a riveting 1 1/2 hours of VH1 Xmas specials :eek:

    Thanks again....now all I have to do is hope that ntl and Telewest merge in time for me to take advantage of the TVDrive... :rolleyes:
     
  20. Dec 29, 2005 #20 of 141
    sanderton

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

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    Jan 4, 2002
    If only the TV companies were that accurate and reliable!

    If you've been recording Family Guy and American Dad over Xmas you'll have seem why soft padding was needed, even ona dual tuner machine.
     

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