TiVo Alternatives?

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

  1. Sep 21, 2019 #21 of 1017
    Lurker1

    Lurker1 Well-Known Member

    736
    329
    Jun 4, 2004

    Advertisements

    Who provides the guide data for each of the alternative DVRs? I think I am leaning towards switching to Tablo, but I want to make sure I don't end up with Rovi crap again.
     
    JandS likes this.
  2. Sep 21, 2019 #22 of 1017
    schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

    1,529
    544
    Mar 17, 2007
    Do any Roku models have the ability to pause live TV apps like Xfinity even for 20 minutes or so?
     
  3. Sep 21, 2019 #23 of 1017
    WhenenRome

    WhenenRome Member

    39
    24
    Nov 13, 2010
    Gracenote is Tablo's data provider.
     
    OrangeCrush likes this.
  4. Sep 21, 2019 #24 of 1017
    gary.buhrmaster

    gary.buhrmaster Active Member

    110
    74
    Nov 5, 2015
    One should, of course, remember that guide providers can change (I know of at least one alternative solution who changed guide providers a couple of years ago). It is, essentially, about money, and TiVo (Rovi) has certain advantages in some cases (at least as they are currently structured; that will likely shift a bit with the eventual spin-out), and those savings may become compelling for some companies.
     
  5. Sep 21, 2019 #25 of 1017
    wizwor

    wizwor Guest

    1,081
    301
    Dec 17, 2013

    Advertisements

    A lot of passionate and uninformed responses to your post. I have some of those too, but I think it is best to ask you what you watch and how you watch it.

    If skipping commercials and time-shifting is what you want, I love the Recast and the Tablo TV DVR. The Recast has a lot going for it, but picture quality is not one of them. If you have an ISP (necessary for both), Recast integrates some OTT programming seamlessly -- which might make your family happy.

    I don't like the HDHomeRun experience, but picture quality is good.

    I like YouTube's streaming package. If you are satisfied with OTA (like me), just put up an antenna and get a DVR+ off ebay.

    I think most people would be most happy with a Recast, an antenna, Sony Vue, Philo TV, and a couple Prime Channels.
     
    mjcxp likes this.
  6. Sep 21, 2019 #26 of 1017
    dishrich

    dishrich Well-Known Member

    1,026
    99
    Jan 16, 2002
    Springfield, IL
    Since the subject was brought up, who IS Recast's guide data provider???
     
  7. Sep 21, 2019 #27 of 1017
    tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

    492
    181
    Apr 26, 2017
    Sacramento, CA
    I'll politely disagree with some here on a point or two- my experience comes from using Tivo's (from HD platforms through Bolts), Tablo, and Recast. The Tablo is currently not active, but I have lifetime service purchased with an initial four tuner model (that I managed to break), replaced by a Tablo Dual 64.

    As for picture quality:
    Your best for OTA is from Tivo, as there is no transcoding or modification of the source received by your antenna. While others may have a different experience, the Amazon Recast is second- while it transcodes the video to 720P/60 (no matter the source), the upscaling applied by a good television display typically provides for a good picture quality (no OTT live channel streams, such as from Hulu Live or Sling TV are at higher resolution). Some folks have issues with the bit rate starting out low, but in my configuration the network connections are all hard-wired, so I don't see this issue. The Tablo video transcode resolution can be user adjusted, but my experience is that Tablo does not transcode SD source material very well, and seems to stumble de-interlacing some SD material, leaving lots of mouse-toothing on angular edges, as well as other artifacts. For HD sources material, Tablo performs as well as the Recast.

    As for the user experience:
    Provided you aren't watching more than two screens at one time, the Recast works well using the Recast tuners for both live viewing, and DVR recording. It's an easy jump between live and DVR inside the fire tv app, and the standard guide is well integrated. I've referred to this arrangement in other places as a lunar orbit system- the moon-like DVR, which is dependent upon the influence from FireTV earth, works in concert with each other, locked in a gravity embrace. That said, it only works with FireTV based systems (sticks or FireTV edition TV's).

    Tablo is a planetary videosystem, and as the Tablo is more platform independent, works independent of the streaming platform used. That said, it's slow to tune changing stations, and is not as snappy as others for Channel Surfing. It can stream to up to six screens at the same time, independent of recording, as the transcoding occurs as the recording is made. If the SD video quality doesn't bother you, it's a pretty good choice, although not as tightly integrated as others.

    TiVo, of course, is and wants to be the center of your viewing universe. If Tivo were to offer more OTT apps, such as Sling TV or Hulu Live (unlikely to ever happen, given Tivo's market dependence as a supplier of cable system set top boxes), it would likely be the perfect user experience. That said, to utilize non-Tivo apps requires a separate OTT source, and a change of input configurations, and different look and feel interfaces for each.

    If TiVo decides to insist on pre-rolling advertising on DVR recordings I have made from OTA sources, we'd quickly shift to the Recast, full time.
     
  8. Sep 21, 2019 #28 of 1017
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

    3,778
    1,427
    Aug 13, 2015
    I don't recall the Xfinity app on Roku having pause capability. It only shows live TV.

    Is the point you're trying to make that Roku lacks the memory capacity to support any live buffering?
     
  9. Sep 21, 2019 #29 of 1017
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

    3,778
    1,427
    Aug 13, 2015
    A couple of sources have reported it's Gracenote (or whatever they're called now). I haven't noticed glaring errors or ridiculously verbose and subjective synopses like I often did with Tivo.
     
  10. Sep 21, 2019 #30 of 1017
    WhenenRome

    WhenenRome Member

    39
    24
    Nov 13, 2010
    That fee is running around $6 on our bill, and I included it in the per-month cost I described. And HOW I wish I could "delete that as an option," because we literally don't need Spectrum to deliver those OTA channels to us. But the way it totals right now, the Spectrum Choice package is still a better deal than Sling or any other OTT service, as far as the actual channels they make available and what we subscribe to. We'd actually lose one of those 10 if we went with Sling.

    I'll actually second that sentence. SD doesn't look that great on Tablo via Roku. But to be honest, the only SD channel that it is ever set to in our house - and it's like "background, I'm doing the dishes" TV - would be Buzzr (the retro game show channel) with Match Game playing. I'm the Los Angeles TV market. Pretty much everything we personally watch is available in HD, and it renders and operates really well for us on every TV (just fyi, that's through ethernet-wired Roku Ultra on a 4K HDR Vizio in our living room, and the wifi streaming plus sticks on three 1080's in other rooms).

    That is another poor spot for us with Recast - that you can't watch more than two Recast streams at one time. As you said, Tablo is capable of six. But there are so many out there who won't ever have an issue with that.

    Really, I feel like the Recast was made for people who are already in the FireTV ecosystem and enjoy that. We use Prime Video through the Roku pretty often, and we like the UI environment for that purpose... But using that structure as FireTV's home UI for navigating through different apps, and coming out of Tivo's user experience, Roku's home UI just feels more user-friendly and less chaotic.

    Let's just spotlight that elephant in the room: No streaming option is going to satisfy the need to flip through channels. Not Recast, Not Tablo... I didn't find a noticeable difference in their load times (5 seconds, maybe 7 on a wifi). But even if I did, I couldn't in good conscience say one is better than the other at channel surfing, because neither works for that purpose. Nothing via any streaming option. I'm just being upfront, not judging: If this is a need that one can't live without, there isn't a streaming solution for it... definitely stick with a Tivo or other non-streamer option.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
    JandS likes this.
  11. Sep 21, 2019 #31 of 1017
    schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

    1,529
    544
    Mar 17, 2007
    I thought one of the Roku's had a memory stick that allowed a small buffer that would work with any app. Xfinity was just an example.
     
  12. Sep 21, 2019 #32 of 1017
    BNBTivo

    BNBTivo Active Member

    162
    69
    Sep 7, 2015
    This question needs clarification. Roku has tons and tons of live video/TV apps that you can pause and time shift on any current model.
     
  13. Sep 21, 2019 #33 of 1017
    schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

    1,529
    544
    Mar 17, 2007
    Never mind I found the info. It was the Roku TV that could pause live TV with a USB stick, not a Roku Box or stick.

    Roku
     
  14. Sep 21, 2019 #34 of 1017
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

    3,778
    1,427
    Aug 13, 2015
    Lots of great points. But I never said any of what you quoted. I’ve never even seen a Tablo. I’m in no position to make any judgements about its picture quality.
     
  15. Sep 21, 2019 #35 of 1017
    Saturn

    Saturn Lord of the Rings

    12,786
    214
    Apr 10, 2001
    I'm actually really surprised that Recast and Tablo re-encode OTA. I figured all DVRs just dumped the OTA stream to disk, but I suppose realtime encoding is cheap enough that they can do it and increase # of hours per TB, so why not? Still seems strange, given how cheap disk space is these days.
     
  16. Sep 21, 2019 #36 of 1017
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

    3,778
    1,427
    Aug 13, 2015
    Recast records full resolution and does not re-encode. It just transcodes on playback to conserve bandwidth. I have no idea what a Tablo does.
     
  17. Sep 21, 2019 #37 of 1017
    Saturn

    Saturn Lord of the Rings

    12,786
    214
    Apr 10, 2001
    I was hoping this thread would also help others, but I'll give a little more detail: My wife watches most of the DVR'd stuff, on a single TV. When I watch, it is typically on a different TV, and it is football, pre-recorded or starting halfway through. Even lower priority is the guest and master bedrooms. I typically watch YouTube premium, and I also have a Plex server setup for some ripped movies, etc. We don't channel surf - well, occasionally visitors do but I'm not going to optimize for visitors. They can channel surf ACTUAL live TV from the antenna on any TV in the house if they want.

    Bad picture quality is probably a deal breaker, for me. I have a really nice 1080p TV I watch football on, and any artifacts or resolution issues would drive me crazy.

    What don't you like about HDHomeRun?

    OTA solves the issues that Hulu + Netflix does not. (honestly I'd rather dump Hulu). I have a fantastic antenna and get all the stations in at a signal strength strong enough to need attenuators.

    That's a lot of options. :/
     
  18. Sep 22, 2019 #38 of 1017
    wizwor

    wizwor Guest

    1,081
    301
    Dec 17, 2013
    I meant to say a Recast, an antenna, Sony Vue, PLUTO TV, and a couple Prime Channels. I have a Recast. I have seven Echo Shows and the Recast exists, primarily, to stream my antenna to the Shows, but I have a 4K Fire Stick on every television in my house (they are $25 all the time now). I have Pluto installed on each FTV Stick. The Recast does a good job recording and watching OTA television. Pluto -- which is free -- adds a lot of programming and integrates into the Recast EPG. This lifts WAF. Philo and Vue also integrate into the Recast EPG. Philo adds all the cable 'filler' channels for $20 per month. Vue is a true cable replacement for $50 per month. I have two televisions which are not near a coax feed or ethernet and use an FTV Stick to feed the 32" LED, but a Powerline adapter and a Mini feed the 60" plasma (which I watch football on) because the picture quality is much better.

    Most cord cutters are looking for a cable replacement. Vue is all that. Streaming it to a Roku or FTV Stick is pretty great -- five streams, cable news, cable sports, some locals, etc. A Recast adds the rest of the local channels (I am a Heroes and Icons fan who watches PBS sub-channels, StartTV, MeTV, ThisTV, Cozi, Laff, Escape Grit, Comet, Charge, Buzzr, ION, IONLife, Bounce, and GetTV -- which are not available as Vue locals). Prime Channels lets you add premium channels like HBO to the grid on a month to month basis.

    It's the 'stuff' that matters. I accumulate a lot of 'stuff' on the Recast and my TiVos. Very acceptable quality. For football, the Recast is soft. If you are simply time shifting the football, TCL's Roku TVs add a couple hour buffer by attaching a USB stick. Image quality is great and the guide data is PSIP so you do not need anything except an antenna. Add an ISP and you get all that Roku brings to the table. I have a couple of these in my home. We put one at my in-laws (they do not have an ISP or a landline) and one at my sister's camp (they do not even have reliable cell service at camp). Awesome television for antenna reception. Highly recommended.

    I didn't say it was bad. I said it wasn't good. There is a lot of spectrum between the two. I just do not like to watch sports via the Recast.

    Mostly the software. Don't want to pay a fee to use their DVR software and don't love Plex for Live TV. I have had reception issues with some channels via the HDHR that I do not see on the Recast or TiVos. I have a Plex Pass and use Plex for media, but there are better options for Live TV.

    I would not be in a hurry to dump TiVo. I would be interested to learn more about the 'stuff' your wife watches.
     
  19. Sep 22, 2019 #39 of 1017
    Saturn

    Saturn Lord of the Rings

    12,786
    214
    Apr 10, 2001
    Prime time TV - dramas and such. I couldn't tell you the channels/times, but I suspect the 3-4 tuners of the Bolt occasionally are actually useful. And the Olympics every couple of years.
     
  20. Sep 22, 2019 #40 of 1017
    Saturn

    Saturn Lord of the Rings

    12,786
    214
    Apr 10, 2001
    I should note that my current setup (TiVo Bolt w/lifetime + 3 TiVo minis) costs me $0 per month and I intend to keep it that way. I don't mind upfront costs, but for whatever reason monthly subscriptions drive me crazy*. I have cable Internet, so no need for anything exotic.

    * Yes, I realize this sometimes doesn't make sense, particularly if the upfront costs don't pay for themselves over time, but that hasn't yet been the case, despite paying TiVo 3 times to transfer my "lifetime" sub (S1 -> S3 -> Bolt).
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements