TiVo Alternatives?

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

  1. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Hard to see how it's in SiliconDust's economic interests to spend the resources on trying to be able to record Copy-Only flagged programming like HBO. CableCARD is slowly dying, TiVo exists for folks who desire that capability, and the whole ballgame is shifting toward streaming anyhow.
     
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  2. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    I've heard the CEO of SD himself say they know how to do it but are terrified of the liability if their encryption gets cracked. One fine would bankrupt a small company like them. So it's NEVER going to happen. There's no wait and see. Doesn't matter what the developers hope. The buck stops with the CEO.

    Just like there will never be a Prime 6. I've use SD tuners since the very beginning and followed the Prime 6 very closely. They've missed every single deadline year after year after year, even after demoing the device at CES a couple of times. It ain't rocket science, but SD moves so slowly that every time they get something developed, a chip supplier stops making a component they need, so they have to start over. In the same span of time, Ceton developed two 6 tuner devices, both of which I used for years, then they exited the consumer market. So it's never going to happen. As @NashGuy said, the business case for a new cable card tuner of any kind gets weaker by the moment. SD won't even sell the 3 tuner Prime they already have.

    Bottom line, I appreciate your optimism, but I think it is misplaced. The future is streaming, not cable card devices. And in that future, the content providers retain complete control of the copies and ultimately sues anyone who threatens that out of existence.
     
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  3. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    @NashGuy @mdavej I assure you I included very little optimism when answering that question, though I try to be a glass-half-full kinda guy. But as data point, I'm certainly part of the glass-half-empty trend.

    I've never subscribed to HBO or any other premium channel, everything we record except one news talk channel can be found via OTA, most weeks we watch far more streaming than DVR, and we watch almost no live TV.

    And of course our Gen Z college kids will never ever get cable.
     
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  4. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    We're in our late 50s now and I keep cable because of sports and that's it, well also that the Tivo viewing experience is about as good as you're ever going to get. But like you more and more of our watching is going to streaming (or OnDemand which is pretty much the same thing).
     
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  5. Saturn

    Saturn Lord of the Rings

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    The latest Plex video player update on the Amazon Fire TV stick makes things a little better - it gives visual feedback when you hit the 30s skip forward and 10s back, and adds them up to show, for instance, 90s back if you hit the 30-sec skip forward button 3 times. That's pretty nice. The guide data for football is now fixed, but you still can't tell which game is which from the menu - you have to go into each one to see the full title. Stupid use of useless icons instead of actual text... The 30sec skip forward is typically very responsive. 10 sec back varies - sometimes it is really fast, sometimes it takes a seconds or two. During one playback, seeking backwards refused to go back further than a given point in the recording. Even trying to seek multiple minutes skipped to one particular spot - really strange.

    While my TiVos are still doing their thing, I don't miss having to wait 5-10 minutes for the mini to reboot when I want to actually use it and it has locked up.

    I still may give Channels a try. Plex may get incrementally better but given its background of a media repository, I'm guessing it will never be great for OTA recording.
     
  6. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    My impression of Plex was that it has a very pretty design but tries to do too many things, and ends up doing none of them well. I never tried the TV-related features, just music and movie file management and playback, but feedback I've seen here confirms my impression extends to other aspects.

    I find Channels to be much more focused on doing DVR well, and I very much appreciate that. It's sometimes still rough around the edges, but the devs are very responsive and I feel listened to ...as opposed to constantly marketed to by Plex. A movie file import feature is now available in pre-release builds of Channels, and I plan to experiment with that soon.

    (I also looked for a more focused solution for music, considering Audirvana, JRiver, and Roon before settling on LMS/Squeezebox with the Material Skin, Hi-Res enhancements, and plugins for Tidal, Qobuz, Bandcamp, and Radio Paradise.)
     
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  7. dadrepus

    dadrepus Active Member

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    Today Amazon is offering a deal on the HDHR Extend for only $99 God way to give an alternative a try with either Silicondust's software or Plex.
     
  8. reneg

    reneg Well-Known Member

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    I got an email yesterday from Silcondust that they are having a worldwide sale starting today. Where to Buy an HDHomeRun
     
  9. OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

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    The 2-tuner Connect is on sale for $65. There's very little benefit in paying more for the Extend if you'll be using it with Plex or Channels. Also, the 4-tuner Connect is $150 $140 but at that price, I'd just as soon buy two 2-tuner boxes. That allows easy use of multiple antennas if your reception situation is/gets tricky.

    Edit: had the 4-tuner price off by $10
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
  10. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    The Connect models have newer chipsets that I'm told do a better job picking up some channels. As all models are on sale, I'd go with the latest.
     
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  11. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Depends on where your stations are and if that's an issue. In my market, for example, my UHF stations are clustered, and the one oddball is VHF, so that can be done on the RF side. Although if I want to try and hit Springfield or Providence, I guess multiple tuners would be useful. The downside of multiple boxes is that you have multiple boxes, PSUs, coax cables, and ethernet cables.
     
  12. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    to be a glass half full kind of guy, the glass has to be filled up to the 50% line. ;)
     
  13. OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

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    True, but going with two 2-tuner boxes is $20 cheaper right now and affords an extra degree of flexibility that might be handy now or in the future. The internal wiring of a 4-tuner box is probably less lossy than you'd get through a splitter and extra coax to two 2-tuner boxes, but it shouldn't make a substantial difference in overall reception. To my thinking, two boxes can do everything one bigger box can do and more at the expense of a little untidiness. $20 will buy plenty of cable ties to keep everything neat.

    (Looks like I had the wrong price for the 4-tuner box, I'm seeing it for $140 now, so just a $10 difference vs. two 2-tuner Connects)
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  14. jcliff

    jcliff Member TCF Club

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    I got a HDHomerun Connect and setup the Plex DVR. It's neat, but... kind of unreliable. Sometimes things don't record at all or the recording is garbled and I don't know why. And it's definitely gonna depend on your hardware/NAS in terms of how well it can keep up with encoding.

    What's interesting to me is that it's even encoding live watching. Which makes sense once you think about it, but isn't something I considered. That means channel surfing is pretty much a no, since your system will have to buffer anything you want to watch. So maybe the "Live TV" part should be lowercase, as it's possible but nothing about it is setup to compete with the most basic TV guide.

    The guide is also incredibly slow to update, but it has a built-in feature to try and cut commercials.

    I had to experiment with different Plex transcoder and Plex DVR settings before I could even watch a channel. So definitely not an "out of the box" solution.

    Since my Bolts do OTA or cable and lifetime, it's not a compelling enough solution that I'd consider using it as my main DVR. Now if I only had one TiVo, it was month-to-month, and it broke... I might think differently.

    This isn't a bad way of describing it. Except Plex does the one thing it was originally meant for well. It's a media server, with wide support for different devices as clients. If you want to stream TV/movies to your tablet/phone/laptop/Roku/FireTV/Android TV/etc. and you don't mind letting Plex scrape your metadata with as little input from you as possible, it's fantastic.

    But the bonus features they've added over the years tend to be more half-baked. Hardware transcoding, DVR/Live TV, syncing (they killed their Plex cloud service), plugins (useful but they've now abandoned it completely, apparently only a small % of users needed it), parental controls, integrating online content into your library... none of it feels like a finished product.

    When it works for you, it's great! I'm a lifetime subscriber myself. But if you're the type who wants to control every aspect of your library similar to Kodi or you don't want to do much troubleshooting if your particular setup doesn't work, then it may not be the best fit.

    Plex also seems in a similar position to TiVo, in that it needs revenue so it's pushing their own ad-supported content service:

    Plex Introduces Free TV Show And Movie Streaming For Its Do Everything Media Platform | HotHardware

    So I'd guess less and less work will be directed at long-standing feature requests (things labeling subtitle/audio tracks):

    Feature Suggestions

    And more towards their streaming service.

    Two HUGE differences to TiVo+ being that A) it's very easy to hide from the main menu, and B) the content is a LOT better:

    2019-12-18_18-16.png

    Sure, there's the usual stinkers in there. But also things I might actually want to watch.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  15. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    Depends. Is it three fingers of Glenlivet? I'd be fully happy with that.
     
  16. OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

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    It does, but there was a period of time where they made a lot of goofy UI decisions that they only recently corrected course on. I think Plex's problem is they've made a good media server and now there's not much else to do. I have a lifetime subscription, so I'm not giving them any more money. I get that they need to keep chasing the next dollar, but they need to do it in a way that doesn't bother me and add more crap to my screens. I have no interest in News, Podcasts, Ad supported movies & TV, etc. I just want it to be a media library, not a dessert topping AND a floor wax.
     
  17. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    Great review, great points. Transcoding was the last straw for me; their server-side approach causes too many delays. I also hated that I couldn't adjust the arrangement of my library in the initial display each time the app opened. When I lost all meta data during an upgrade, I deleted the whole thing and moved on.
     
  18. dadrepus

    dadrepus Active Member

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    Moved on to what? I must admit I am a Plex user and there are many things about the App that I love. But.. much that infuriates me, (1)removing the plugins folder had me loose my Tivo-to-go plugin that allowed me to watch all my recordings in Plex.(2) Allowing special "extras" recordings in Movie dvds but not for TV dvds to show up under each dvd (this has been asked for, for years). Redoing the UI so ONLY their paid stuff show up on the home page (after an upgrade), then making me putz around with the UI to fix everything really pissed me off. And they have basically abandoned the TIVO and Raspberry Pi as a client platform.
     
  19. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    I feel your pain. This is what I moved on to, which would not address your points 1 & 2 but I'm happier: https://www.tivocommunity.com/com...
     
  20. foghorn2

    foghorn2 Well-Known Member

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    Im going with AirTv2 and Sling Blue vis firestick with KODI sideloaded.

    F Tivo!
     
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