TiVo Alternatives?

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

  1. Apr 23, 2020 #941 of 1017
    wizwor

    wizwor Guest

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    They also built the dual tuner DVR that put the Simple TV folks out of business.
     
  2. Apr 23, 2020 #942 of 1017
    wizwor

    wizwor Guest

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    and publicity/awareness.
     
  3. May 29, 2020 #943 of 1017
    hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

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    I haven't read through the numerous pages of this thread, but read some positive threads for Tablo. But what's everyone's current thoughts on Tablo? Is channel changing slow?

    In addition to being a FIOS customer, I currently have an over the air antenna and AirTV player, that I bought a couple years ago, for other TVs in my house. I'm looking to replace that as I have a few dislikes with watching my over the air locals on Sling including
    -Sling app/AirTV every once in a while thinks it detects a new hard-drive and wants to reformat.
    -Sometimes after that reformat, the hard-drive is not recognized when it just worked before
    -Sling app has a My Channels ability for favorite channels, but defaults to All Channels. Channels are scattered all over the place, with the major networks displayed first, some free Sling and then rest of locals last. Difficulty hiding channels/adding channels.
    -Tuner is fickle thinking more than two streams are being used when they are not.
    -FF isn't great. I realize that Sling/AirTV are very primitive and it's a major downgrade in someways relative to some of the old TiVos that I used to own that would work with OTA and cable.
    -I only subscribe to Epix on Sling and could eliminate the AirTV portion, if I went with another over the air source.

    I called Tablo this morning and got a well informed agent from Canada, who talked about the different products. I'm leaning to buy a 4 stream supported device.

    In contrast, when I call TiVo and it happened today, it's someone from the Phillipines who can't explain the TiVo Stream 4k very well and pitches its streaming ability to view Netflix. I was even transferred to technical support and they couldn't answer TiVo 4k Stream questions very well. When I inquire about the out of stock TiVo Mini Vox, it's suggested to buy more TiVos. $$$. I suppose I'm old fashioned but like buying a product with customer service.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  4. May 29, 2020 #944 of 1017
    tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

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    I own two Tablo's, Two TiVo Bolts (only one is currently active) and a FireTV Recast.

    Tablo is a very good solution for OTA recording. They have apps that actually work for nearly all of the major streaming box platforms, as well as versions for some smart TV brands (LG, etc). The guide service works just fine, setting up recordings is pretty easy- not quite one button setup on Tivo, but not difficult. External storage is roll your own of whatever size/flavor USB drive that you choose to attach.

    Unlike TiVo, which wants to be the center of the television universe, Tablo is more like a planet. You open an app to view and use the Tablo DVR services. If you want to stream Netflix or Amazon prime, you go to another app. There is no integration of the Tablo guide with OTT packages such as SlingTV or Hulu.

    The Recast, in this space analogy, is more like the moon. It's tied to a specific planet (that is, it only works with FireTV devices), however the Recast guide can be enhanced by adding in streaming services such as Sling or HBO channels from Amazon. Recording setup is a breeze, using the integrated Alexa voice service (talk into the remote on your fireTV).

    Tablo and TiVo both transcode the signal received from the antenna to a format that can be streamed to the appropriate device. Where and how that happens makes a difference. Tablo does the transcoding at the time of recording- what is recorded is the transcoded format. A four tuner Tablo can record (or transcode live on the fly) on all four tuners, meaning that four TV's could watch different almost live channel sources at the same time. I think something like six recorded streams can be accessed and played back at the same time.

    The Recast records the native broadcast MPEG format, and transcodes these on output. The hardware power required is substantial, and ties up a tuner in the process, so only two televisions can access live or DVR recorded material at the same time- even if the Recast has four tuners.

    The output resolution can be varied from the Tablo, although changing that can change the file size, as well as cause buffering issues on wifi. Recast is fixed at 720p/60. The de-interlacing programs used in the transcode differ dramatically. Tablo has challenges with Standard Definition video, leaving lots of combing artifacts. A diagonal line will look jagged, not smooth. Those of us who notice this can never un-see this defect again. Those who don't notice it are just wrong, and should be shunned. The Recast doesn't suffer as much from this defect, although from time to time....

    Many folks will say that all they watch are HD quality programs from the local network affiliates. Great. But you will find that nearly all of the sub-channels in your market are SD video (and some with really bad bit rates), so the video issues may be a problem.

    All of that said, Tablo is a pretty good alternative, but I prefer the Recast. The tuners are a skosh better than the Tablo (and both are light years better than what Tivo has in the Bolt). Tablo does offer automated commercial skip (for an added price), but I'm used to using the shuttle commands on the FireTV remote. Neither of them currently pre-roll advertising, although I got to believe that the folks at Amazon have considered doing so. If I had a large family watching multiple televisions, Tablo would be the choice.

    The wife still prefers the Bolt, but the day that if fails... and the second unit currently in storage fails... I'll have her convinced to move to the Recast.
     
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  5. May 30, 2020 #945 of 1017
    ncted

    ncted A leaf on the wind

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    I found the Tablo to work better than the AirTV, and the Recast to work better than both of those. That said, I have had issues with the Recast recording what it says it will in the past. I don't know if a bunch of factory resets fixed the issue or a firmware update did, but I have not see that problem in a while now. That said, I am more or less giving up on OTA. I lost CBS in the repack when they moved to VHF8, and ABC is moving to VHF9 in a month. I am using YouTubeTV now. It is more than I want to pay, but there are no headaches. It just works as long as I have internet access. As the Recast didn't work when my internet was down, there was not big benefit to having OTA for me. YMMV depending on your home network setup.
     
  6. May 30, 2020 #946 of 1017
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    I think you meant to say Tablo and Recast transcode the signal.

    Scott
     
  7. May 30, 2020 #947 of 1017
    trip1eX

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

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    I've been looking at all of these OTA solutions. I'm not feeling the love with any of the 3 solutions- Recast, Tablo and Tivo.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
  8. May 30, 2020 #948 of 1017
    Lurker1

    Lurker1 Well-Known Member

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  9. May 30, 2020 #949 of 1017
    wizwor

    wizwor Guest

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    Pretty spot on comparison of the three devices. I own all three as well. I'm not moving from one platform to another or comparing the three. I am simply building a good experience for my home. The fact that I am using and plan to continue using more than one (OTA) DVR/streaming solution probably distinguishes me from most of the posters on this forum.

    I bought my Recast so I could watch television on my seven Echo Show devices. On these small screens, it looks great. When Amazon was selling the 4k Sticks for $25, I put one on each television. Most of my televisions have a Roamio/OTA on top and a FTV Stick attached.

    Two are not close to ethernet or coax, so they rely on the Recast/Stick solution. OTA plus Pluto integrated into a single guide is a great experience.

     
  10. May 30, 2020 #950 of 1017
    wizwor

    wizwor Guest

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  11. May 30, 2020 #951 of 1017
    ElT60

    ElT60 Member

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    The Tivo will also if it does any "streaming" to a non Tivo device. But yes , the antenna tuner inside a Tivo DVR doesn't need to jump onto the local network to get to the TV screen; so no need to transcode. Mini's get shipped the recorded data but that tends to soak more more local networking resources ( and why were not wireless boxes for long while).

    [ I think there was hope that if Recast , or future version, had access to a faster wireless local network that it would perhaps not transcode down (or at least transcode at highest possible picture quality). But the transcode down is meant to deal with older WiFi networks and more limited memory clients. ]
     
  12. May 30, 2020 #952 of 1017
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    If you miss your VCR, you'll love the HomeWorx. Barely any guide, set recordings with timers, no titles on recordings, single tuner. It's like going back to the 70's but without the flashing clock.

    If @trip1eX has no love for Recast, Tablo, etc., I don't think he'll be enamored with HomeWorx unless he's really, really nostalgic.

    What I like about Recast is there's just one box, then any of my existing Fire TVs connect automatically. No separate tuner, NAS/HDD or subscription required. So it's like having my old Tivo OTA plus access to ALL the streaming apps I can imagine.
     
  13. May 30, 2020 #953 of 1017
    jebbbz

    jebbbz Member

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    35th and...
    Re: Tablo v Recast

    If price is a consideration the Recast wins as lifetime guide service is included, especially if you catch a sale on Amazon. The Tablo costs $150 for lifetime ($5 per month or $50 per year).

    If you are inclined to archive or backup shows the Tablo wins as user-written software makes it easy to copy shows to a networked PC giving you, effectively, unlimited storage (although you must use an app to watch as the Tablo will not play from networked storage). There is no easy way to do this with the Recast.

    If you are usually in front of your TV the Recast is fine but with the Tablo you can do pretty much everything from a phone, tablet or your PC -- watching, managing recordings, scheduling on the spur of the moment or looking through every show coming up in the next two weeks and planning ahead.

    I find channel changing faster on the Recast but acceptable on the Tablo. If you have a four tuner Tablo and cycle among up to four channels things are very fast as the Tablo keeps buffering all of them as long as you don't wait too long (20-30 minutes?) before checking each one.
     
  14. May 30, 2020 #954 of 1017
    hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

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    I ended up purchasing a Recast from my local Best Buy today. Ordered in the morning and it was ready in two hours for curbside. I wanted to wait until I got my new rooftop antenna put up before buying a new DVR, but just went ahead with the antenna I already have set up. And, interestingly enough, the Best Buy stores in my area don't have the Firesticks stocked, and it takes a week to ship to store. So, I bought an accompanying Firestick from my local Target.

    Anyways, got everything set up. Since I'm familiar setting up the AirTV (requires involvement of my mobile phone along the way, and switching the cell phone network for a minute to the air DVR network), it wasn't difficult learning setting up the Recast, although if I never had that experience, it might have gotten stuck somewhere and frustrated. But, it was fewer steps and easier doing a channel scan on Recast than with AirTV.

    So far I'm very impressed. The tuner has an amplifier that helps a few stations that come in weak. When I tune to those weak stations, it gives a weak signal message, but I can view it. The AirTV wouldn't pick them up. I also re-subscribed to Philo to see the integration. I also have Epix and the free channels on Sling, so added those too and Pluto. I noticed that it doesn't integrate all the Pluto channels, including the Pluto Dash music streams but that's ok.

    I like that the use of Favorites and ability to Hide channels. With Sling and AirTV, it's tedious to hide channels (must do a re-scan), and it defaults to All Channels over Favorites each time I open the Sling app.

    The Firecast over the air with Philo and Sling and Pluto kind of reminds me of my old TiVo that supported cable and satellite together. I wish TiVo went in this direction than in TiVo Stream 4k.

    I also like the Firestick better than the Roku. Faster scrolls through the grid, and slicker.

    But, I like the Roku Channel though as it has some free content, such as first four seasons of Bewitched and other series, with just minimal ads in the middle of the episode. I think there is a hack to get that on the Firestick and I could always use my other HDMI that is for DVD occasionally for that Roku device. The somewhat long process is adding all the apps that were on my Roku to Firestick.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
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  15. May 31, 2020 #955 of 1017
    wizwor

    wizwor Guest

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    ^^^ The Roku Channel comes to the Amazon Fire TV …sort of

    About a year ago, Roku launched The Roku Channel, which is an ad-support collection of movies, TV shows, and live news that is available for free on Roku devices. The channel has been quite popular, so Roku made it available on the web a month ago. In doing so, they’ve inadvertently also made it available to all Amazon Fire TV devices thanks to the Silk Browser. The web interface for The Roku Channel works so well through the Silk Browser that I’ve released a Bookmarker app for The Roku Channel, to make accessing it through Fire TV devices that much easier.

    To load The Roku Channel on a Fire TV device, you can either enter therokuchannel.roku.com manually into the Silk Browser or install my free Bookmarker for The Roku Channel app to get one-click access from the Fire TV home screen. The first time you load the page, you’ll need to allow protected content playback from a popup that appears. You’ll then be able to freely browse the available content.
     
  16. May 31, 2020 #956 of 1017
    hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

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    Just an update:
    I had to turn off the WiFi in my house yesterday night. My sister's holistic doctor is against WiFi and advises to turn it off at night.

    Anyways, I turned it back on in the morning, and I'm having Recast connection issues. (Never had this issue with AirTV, Sling and Roku).

    I can tune into the Philo channels, but for all the over the air, I get

    Connection lost
    The connection between your FireTV and streaming source has been lost.

    It's kind of a pain now troubleshooting this issue. I might have to go wired and keep all in same room for router, Recast box and antenna connection long term.
     
  17. May 31, 2020 #957 of 1017
    wizwor

    wizwor Guest

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    1. Power off your router, Recast, fire tv devices (including Echo Shows), and any other network equipment you have
    2. Power on the router and wait for it to be in the ready state
    3. Power on any other networking equipment you may have and wait for these to be in the ready state
    4. Power on the Recast and wait for it to be in the ready state
    5. Power on your fire tv devices
    6. Stop listening to your sister's holistic doctor
     
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  18. May 31, 2020 #958 of 1017
    hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

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    I got it back up but it was a lot of redoing the setup from yesterday, including associating back to the network.

    One other setback: I have noticed the picture quality of the local channels looks degraded.

    I got the 4 tuner 1 TB model. It's decoding weak signal in my area stations from Bethlehem/Allentown (WLVT, WFMZ, WBPH) that the AirTV wouldn't do making it viewable streaming, but the local stations that come in strong out of Philadelphia appear to have lower resolution, and are less sharp.

    I know it's not equal comparison right now, but between my Input1(Roku and FuboTV app on) and Input2(Firecast and local channel viewing via Recast), the local channels that I get on both, and can compare the same show, and on Fubo it's sharp/higher res. The locals viewed via AirTV/Roku, my previous setup, had higher resolution.

    But, I'll have to wait until I get my setup redone so that the fire stick is closer to the recast dvr.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
  19. May 31, 2020 #959 of 1017
    trip1eX

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

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    I thought that was only Better Call Saul.
     
  20. May 31, 2020 #960 of 1017
    trip1eX

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

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    yep that had even worse reviews. And looks like too much work.

    I might just punt.


    Can you record 2 NFL games at once with the Recast and then chase watch one of them at the same time?
     

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