TiVo Alternatives?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Saturn, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Oct 17, 2019 #321 of 1017
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Satellites last about 10 years. So it depends on when they were launched. Their first sat was launched in '95. If they've been following the 10 year plan, then they've got about a year left, at least on some of them.
    How long does a satellite last? - The Solid Signal Blog

    Dish bought a crap load of spectrum in the last auction, so I imagine they're aiming to eventually get out the satellite business too, hence not super interested in buying DirecTV's fleet. If they did buy, it would be for the value of the eyeballs, not the hardware and infrastructure. They already have enough of that, except possibly in Latin America and other markets outside the US.
     
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  2. Oct 17, 2019 #322 of 1017
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Well, based on what I've gleaned from info on both systems' fleets on their Wikipedia pages, it looks like some sats have operated as little as 10 years while others have lasted around 20. So it varies. Based on what, I don't know. Folks seem to think that DirecTV's fleet would be fine until 2030 if not longer. I would imagine that DISH's fleet might become insufficient to offer a full nationwide service (including all those locals) at some point in the mid-2020s but that's just a SWAG on my part.

    I'm not aware of any proposed plan for DISH to buy DirecTV (either their business or their fleet). The proposal that is being pitched right now is for AT&T and DISH to spin off and merge their operations into a jointly owned subsidiary with AT&T retaining major ownership/control (given that DirecTV is larger and more valuable than DISH).
     
  3. Oct 18, 2019 #323 of 1017
    Bigg

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    I have no clue, as I'm not into the technical details on each bird and what life it has left, and what orbital positions they'd be willing to run without a backup bird on location.

    To me, that seems like two different services.

    They often go to being backup birds when they are running low on fuel. There also may be other services operating at some orbital positions, but I'm not sure if they share birds, or have separate birds. Newer satellites also have better spot beams that are more efficient, so there really are a lot of pieces to the puzzle. The numbers I have heard put the actual cost of the satellites as being very low, often only a few percent of the cost of programming. Of course that goes up as viewership goes down.
     
  4. Oct 18, 2019 #324 of 1017
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Well, sort of. But the line blurs. Warner is taking a lot of the content from their linear cable channels (e.g. TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network, etc.) and cannibalizing it under the HBO Max DTC SVOD (plus giving that service some fresh exclusive stuff too in the form of "Max Originals"). So you won't need a cable bundle to see stuff from TBS, etc. if you have HBO Max.

    NBCU will kinda do the same with Peacock. Although, in the first few years of Peacock, it looks like the only way it will contain current stuff from the NBCU linear channels (e.g. NBC, USA, SyFy, etc.) is if you're already paying for them via a channel package (e.g. Xfinity TV) and can authenticate that in the Peacock app. But eventually, I expect that they'll shift all their linear channel stuff into Peacock for standalone subscribers too, just as HBO Max is going to do from the get-go for everything but live sports and news.

    Same holds true for Disney with Hulu and Disney+. All three companies are gradually shifting their content and evolving viewers' viewing habits away from their linear channels and over to their DTC services. Just wait until all of ESPN becomes available as a standalone DTC OTT service...

    Eh, well, most of the cost of those satellites are sunk costs (although I guess there are certain ongoing operational costs in terms of ground uplinks, etc.). And there almost certainly won't be any more DBS satellites launched. DTV has said T16 was their last and I doubt we see any more launched by DISH either.
     
  5. Oct 20, 2019 #325 of 1017
    Bigg

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    I'm seeing the Peacock service being <$15/mo, with NBC content and maybe a few live streams of NBC channels. The vMVPD service is a $50-$60/mo cable replacement package like YouTube TV, PS Vue, etc. Same for ABC/Disney.

    Someone is going to have to launch more at some point. They will eventually run out of fuel and need to be replaced. We may be down to a single small arc that roughly approximates DirecTV's current system by then. DISH is down to 9.64M while DirecTV has 17.9M. DISH is spread across two arcs, and DirecTV has a LOT more commercial. I'd guess that no more than 1/3 of DISH subscribers are on EA, so if anything goes, that could be the first to go, merger or not.
     
  6. Oct 20, 2019 #326 of 1017
    Bigg

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    It's also possible that AT&T sells their TPs on 110 and 119 off to DISH, and DISH may be able to serve eastern HD LiL markets with just 110/119, with full WA for markets farther west if they get rid of SD MPEG-2 CONUS and LiLs on 110/119 to free up more space. Lots of things could happen.
     
  7. Oct 20, 2019 #327 of 1017
    Bigg

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  8. Oct 20, 2019 #328 of 1017
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yes. What's your point? Think of it this way: the DTC services are like getting just the content owned by a single network owner. Want just the stuff from the WarnerMedia channels? Get HBO Max. Want just the stuff from the NBCU channels? Get Peacock. Etc. All those DTC SVODs are going to cannibalize their affiliated linear channels, plus add some exclusive stuff that you can't get on the linear channels, hence the need to subscribe to the DTC. Eventually, everyone will just get the DTC services and not bother with linear channels. But that won't happen until one key type of content gets freed from linear channels, like everything else, and can be viewed inside DTC services: sports.

    Um, no. That's not going to happen. No one is going to flush millions of dollars on additional DBS satellite launches.
     
  9. Oct 21, 2019 #329 of 1017
    Bigg

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    My point is the network-based DTC service (mostly OTT SVOD with a bit of linear thrown in) is a totally different animal than the vMVPD service.

    As long as there is linear TV, there has to be a way to distribute it everywhere, and DBS is the only technology that can do that, unless LEO is cost competitive to do some sort of IP multicast, but that's likely beyond at least one more round of DBS birds.
     
  10. Oct 22, 2019 #330 of 1017
    tluxon

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    For a more traditional delivery of TV content, nothing compare to TiVo for ease-of-use and versatility (I have maybe 30TB of content I can stream through the TiVos via Streambaby), but I've been using a couple other solutions for several years now to keep up with alternatives.

    For a PC-based approach, the pinnacle for me has been Windows Media Center, but the benefit of that has declined significantly since Microsoft was leveraged - I assume - into dropping future support for it. Since I already had the HDHomeRun Prime (CableCARD with 3 tuners) and an HDHomeRun Connect Quatro (OTA with 4 tuners), I'm signed up for the HDHomeRun DVR application, but I've also been using Channels DVR for a year-and-a-half and it is far superior to the Silicon Dust DVR offering.

    Primarily for ease-of-deployment for all users of the household, the TiVos are still going strong for my family, but it seems like the sunset for that is approaching as more and more streaming alternatives are embraced.
     
  11. Oct 22, 2019 #331 of 1017
    mschnebly

    mschnebly Well-Known Member

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    I guess I just have to disagree. I've used the X1 for an extended time and it's just as easy to use as anything else. If you chose not to use the voice functions then it might be an extra button push here and there. It's just not as pretty looking. YTTV is also just as easy to use as is Channels DVR. Maybe you should say TiVo is easier to use for long time TiVo users who are trained in the way it works and don't like learning something new or different? My 8 year old Grand Daughter (and her 13yo sister) can fly though YTTV guides, recordings and searches like a wizard. They love having their own profile too.
     
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  12. Oct 22, 2019 #332 of 1017
    Bigg

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    X1 is like Nokia... a zillion clicks to do anything. It's not nearly as smooth and fast to use as TiVo.
     
  13. Oct 22, 2019 #333 of 1017
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    I just switched from AT&T TV NOW to YTTV after the big price hike was announced. I'm loving YTTV so far. Very easy to use and works so much better than ATTTVN. And since it has unlimited recording space and all my major locals, I hardly ever use my Recast anymore. I love the profiles too. Bonus is PBS is coming to YTTV next month. After that, I can disconnect my Recast entirely.
     
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  14. Oct 22, 2019 #334 of 1017
    Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    How easily are you able to skip commercials with the YTTV cloud DVR?
     
  15. Oct 22, 2019 #335 of 1017
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    OK, but my point is that they're NOT totally different animals. The DTC services are simply the receptacles into which the big traditional media players are shifting their content. The DTC services will gradually duplicate everything on the linear channels, while also including lots of popular new stuff that isn't aired on their linear counterparts at all.

    Nah, there's no law that says that all Americans have a right to access cable TV regardless of where they live. DBS operators won't spend the money to reach that dwindling number of rural Americans with their service if there's not enough demand for it to provide a sufficient return on the required investment in new satellites. I'm very doubtful that there will be. The existing DBS sats, between DTV and DISH, should be able to meet the declining demand for satellite TV through the 2020s. Beyond that, there just won't be enough demand for it to justify additional major capital outlays for it. It would be kind of like spending lots of money to build new buggy whip factories after Ford had rolled out the Model T.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  16. Oct 22, 2019 #336 of 1017
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Depends. If they're skippable, it's easy, and you can see thumbnails as you skip 15 sec at a time. If they're unskippable, it's not so easy. Seems to be totally arbitrary. Some have no ads, others one or two or many. No way to tell until you start watching. If that's a deal breaker, then AT&T would be better. But with them you're limited to 20 hours of DVR. I'm willing to accept the trade off.
     
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  17. Oct 22, 2019 #337 of 1017
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, if you have a vMVPD like YTTV, that offers all your major locals, there's really not a lot of point in bothering with OTA TV. Why switch to a different app/UI for your locals when they're already integrated into the vMVPD's app/UI?

    Now, that said, I do think it's pretty cool how Fire TV's native channel guide integrates OTA TV (either from Recast or from the built-in tuner on smart TVs running Fire TV OS) with the streaming cable channels from Philo, a skinny vMVPD that doesn't include any locals.

    Looking forward to see if AT&T TV offers anything similar. It would be easy enough for them to sell the AT&T Watch TV package and then integrate OTA locals into the UI of the AT&T TV box and app. They could make it compatible with existing HDHomeRun tuners and/or (more likely) sell their own network tuner like Sling has done with their AirTV. Plug in your own USB hard drive and you've got free OTA DVR service.
     
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  18. Oct 22, 2019 #338 of 1017
    Bigg

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    But they're two totally different ways of offering content, and won't be the same service, or at least not the same tier of a service.

    There's a new DBS operator, Orby, that launched a year or two ago, which seems sort of insane given the market. Between mobile, commercial, and rural, there is absolutely a market for DBS, and that's not even counting the folks who have DBS due to ISP caps. If the entire country had fiber with no data caps everywhere, then DBS would be on thin ice, but that's simply not the case. DBS may boil down to a single arc, or even a single satellite at some point as more content becomes VOD, and less is live, but DBS will be around in some form or another as long as there is linear TV, and no other reasonable alternative, i.e. LEO if that pans out. Even just on commercial, there is a market. Every airport, restaurant, etc, isn't going to have cable or fiber put in just to stream TV. Travel around the US a bit and see how many DirecTV dishes there are supplying commercial customers and get back to me on that one.
     
  19. Oct 22, 2019 #339 of 1017
    Bigg

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    They've got a USB stick for OTA on the Genie DVRs to provide locals that aren't available as HD LiLs, or during blackouts. It's a different code base and technology set, but it wouldn't be hard to make similar functionality for streaming offerings as well.
     
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  20. Oct 22, 2019 #340 of 1017
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, Orby basically just leases space on the Eutelsat 117 West A bird, which launched in March 2013. Its coverage area includes parts of both North and South America. Will be interesting to see how long Orby can survive. They don't carry any locals, or any of the channels owned by Disney, Comcast, CBS or Fox. So it's a $40 package of channels that looks a lot like the $15 AT&T Watch TV. Their receiver will integrate whatever locals you can pull in from an OTA antenna. Regular receiver costs $100 each, DVR receivers cost $200. It's all prepaid/no credit check, so they're definitely going after folks at the low end of the market who also don't have broadband. All things considered, seems like a fairly niche play.

    Mobile is a niche inside a niche. Rounding error. Pretty much all those commercial establishments already have broadband service, they're just using DirecTV because of their sports packages, particularly NFLST. When that becomes available via other means (and it will), you're gonna see a lot of them dump the dish. Yes, there will continue to be enough rural demand to keep a single DBS service alive for several more years but that group will steadily dwindle, especially after Starlink comes on line, which should initially happen about a year from now. (Did you see that Elon Musk tweeted via a Starlink connection today?)


    Yes. Was out for lunch with a friend yesterday at a sports bar and they were using DTV on their TVs mounted throughout. The picture went completely out on the TV I was facing for quite awhile. There was a light rain at the time.
     

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