TiVo Alternatives?

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

  1. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

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    Recast via fire tv is a touch faster, although surfing still requires an alexis voice command, or mash the down part of the toggle ring on the remote to bring up a scrollable display of channel selections across the bottom of the screen, them select. Tablo surfing is a bit faster than their first generation software.
     
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  2. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Looks like Tablo's app for Android TV does support the ad skip feature (which is apparently still in beta).
    https://www.tablotv.com/blog/tablo-ota-dvr-feature-automatic-commercial-skip/
     
  3. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

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    It depends on the scaler in your TV. I don’t perceive any difference in 1080i source material streamed from either the Tablo or the Recast. SD source material from the Tablo may leave artufacts that may annoy some people, like me, but not others. Your experience may be different.
     
  4. spiderpumpkin

    spiderpumpkin Say no to Hydra!

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    Channels DVR, by default, streams content locally at original recorded quality. It can also stream remotely at original but that's not the usual setting.
     
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  5. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Great info in this thread! There's always some inherent loss of quality when transcoding, but how well it's done and at what bitrate will determine if you can see the difference. My concern would be that as channels share and compress more heavily, the lower quality source material will make the transcoding look worse, as it's starting with a lower quality image with less information to compress based off of. Also, I'm not sure why channel surfing speed would be an issue, we're looking at recording a few OTA shows here and there, and there are only a few channels to begin with.

    Can Channels Plus stream out to devices that support it directly in MPEG-2 as recorded? Or does it have to transcode? If it can, do any Android TV devices support MPEG-2? NVidia Shield Pro?
     
  6. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    You read my mind! You answered most of my question before I posted it!
     
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  7. spiderpumpkin

    spiderpumpkin Say no to Hydra!

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    Channels DVR can use a mix of HDHR OTA and HDHR Primes in any abundance.
     
  8. jebbbz

    jebbbz Member

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    On the whole, it works usefully but not perfectly. It depends on the channels's transitions into and out of commercials. Distinct channel fades into and out of black work well. I still consider a feature being developed.
     
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  9. jebbbz

    jebbbz Member

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    If, however, you are surfing among a limited number of channels, going back to a previously viewed channel may be very quick. I have only a dual tuner Tablo but it seems to continue to buffer for several minutes (I have seen it go for 30) but toggling between channels is very quick if they have both been previously tuned. Switch to a completely new channel and the buffering starts. The grid guide blinks channel numbers in red if they are still available quickly.
     
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  10. MassMan

    MassMan Member

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    I'm no pro when I comes to all this but I'm I'm running both a Tivo Premiere and a HDHR Quatrto with Channels on an old pc.

    Channels is growing on me. There's a few things I'd miss, like the guide showing live tv in the corner while I surf around but the video quality on both my Apple TV 4k and my 2nd gen Fire TV (the flat one with ethernet) is very good.
     
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  11. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

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    If you have reception issues, such as low strength signal from the towers or local breakups from multi-path issues, Tablo commercial skip will typically fail. In really bad cases, Tablo will stop and restart, creating separate recordings broken up for the same show. Recast will just give you a nag screen warning at the start of the recoding playback that the signal was weak.

    Tablo actually streams your completed recording out to their servers, applies the skip algorithm, and returns the auto skip enabled version back to your local drive (meaning it isn’t always instantly available).
     
  12. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

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    I have looked at Channels, but already have shelled out enough money over the years for Tivo, Tablo, and Recast. I’m pretty happy with recast, and hopeful that Amazon will extend their guide integration to more than just Philo or PSVue. I also look forward to commercial skip. FireTv has a great selection of apps, and the recast used with the latest generation fire tv stick (with the volume toggle remote) is an easy solution. i have four sets connected, although only two at any one time, and the third and fourth sets are insignia Fire Tv os sets, so no stick needed at all.

    All of these solutions lack a few things that would make them world beaters. Tivo doesn’t offer live tv OTT service apps. Recast locks you into a FireTv system for TV viewing. Channels is more of a roll your own set up, and Tablo supports the largest number of devices, but doesn’t offer other apps. The cost investment is all over the map. A recast at Black Friday prices, with a firetv stick, is a pretty economical investment with the simplest operation, followed next be the Tablo. Channels solutions continue to improve, but may be pricey. TiVo has been a great choice for OTA image quality and recording management, but comes at a higher cost, and limited app functionality. Hold your breath, and choose wisely.

    The wife prefers the Bolt with TE3, even with a fireTv. I mostly prefer the Recast solution. That is why we have chocolate AND vanilla ice cream in this world.
     
  13. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    Why won't/can't the Smart TV manufacturers integrate a DVR into the TV set such that you could plug your OTA into the TV via the built-in DVR? PQ would be retained and you wouldn't need all these stand-alone plastic boxes.
     
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  14. Lurker1

    Lurker1 Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget, you also have the choice to use Tablo free with no service fee. You get a 24-hr guide for free, or a 14-day guide by paying.
     
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  15. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that exists in other parts of the world, from major brand TVs like LG. Just connect your own USB hard drive or flash drive and you can set up DVR recordings. Not sure why it isn't done here in the US. Maybe it's to avoid licensing patents from TiVo and/or paying for program guide data; perhaps the TV manufacturers think that, since OTA TV is used by relatively few Americans, it doesn't make sense to spend more money on OTA-related features for their TVs.
     
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  16. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I tried that. It's not a great user experience, although if you're not using the Tablo for live TV and you only want to set up a few manual recordings of shows that always tend to come on at the same time (e.g. evening news, SNL, daily soap opera, etc.), then it's an OK cheap solution.
     
  17. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    For those who are very interested in an OTA DVR solution that retains and stream recordings at their original quality in MPEG-2 format (i.e. doesn't transcode), consider the HDHomeRun Scribe. You must connect it to your router via ethernet, though, and I would also suggest connecting your smart TV or streaming device by ethernet too unless you have a fast, solid wifi signal. The weak point with this solution, though, is the HDHomeRun app, which has a UI and feature set that isn't as good as Tablo or Fire TV Recast.

    But at $150 for a 2-tuner model with a 1TB hard drive and first year of service included ($35/yr thereafter), it's not a bad deal.

    Review here:

    HDHomeRun Scribe Quatro and Servio review: Great video quality, but clunky software
     
  18. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Channels could be a really good solution for people who have locals in different directions, as they could use multiple HDHR tuners connected to their network, each connected to a different antenna.

    Are you sure? That sounds like it would chew up an insane amount of bandwidth to do something relatively simple. I could see some cloud data being exchanged, but not a copy of the entire show.
     
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  19. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

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    [QUOTE="Bigg, post: 11911370, member: 59672]
    Are you sure? That sounds like it would chew up an insane amount of bandwidth to do something relatively simple. I could see some cloud data being exchanged, but not a copy of the entire show.[/QUOTE]

    Remember it is sending the transcoded file. Tablo says they send a “small portion” of the recording for analysis, and will use 100 to 200 MB/recording hour of external nternet bandwidth.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
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  20. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    That's very different than sending the entire recording. Still, that could be a burden on upstream bandwidth on a lot of cable and xDSL connections.
     

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