TiVo Alternatives?

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

  1. Sep 23, 2019 #81 of 1017

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC


    So Amazon DVRs are adding commercial skip at the same time TiVo DVRs are adding in commercials. How ironic.
    pj1983, V7Goose, ncted and 2 others like this.
  2. Sep 23, 2019 #82 of 1017

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

    Nov 25, 2003
    It has nothing to do with the service label, as they'd transfer a "Lifetime" or "All-In" plan from an eligible box to a newly purchased BOLT (specific to the last promo); the promos are just targeted at older boxes (most of which would more likely have "Lifetime" service plans, rather than "All-In," owing to when the box+plan was acquired).
  3. Sep 23, 2019 #83 of 1017

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    For folks who are considering buying an HDHomeRun Prime CableCARD tuner:

    Do you (or anyone else) know which channels are copy-protected on each of the major QAM cable TV providers (Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Cox, Altice)?

    I assume that premium channels like HBO and Showtime are copy-protected on all providers. I want to say that I've read that those are the only channels that are copy-protected on Comcast but I may have that wrong...
  4. Sep 23, 2019 #84 of 1017

    wombat94 Member

    Nov 18, 2007
    I can only speak to what I have (Verizon FiOS):

    FiOS have the CCI copy protection on on the premium networks and the Fox owned cable networks. Broadcast Fox channels do not have copy protection enabled.

    • FX HD (EAST)
    • Fox Sports 1 HD
    • BTN HD
    • Fox Business Ne
    • Fox News HD
    • National Geo HD
    • Nat Geo Wild HD
    • FXX HD
    NashGuy likes this.
  5. Sep 23, 2019 #85 of 1017

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

    Jan 19, 2008
    Silicon Valley


    Your TiVo can help you research this: https://tivoidp.tivo.com/t...
    NashGuy likes this.
  6. Sep 23, 2019 #86 of 1017

    wombat94 Member

    Nov 18, 2007
    I'm impressed enough after spending the weekend with the Channels Plus DVR that I went ahead and bought an HDHomeRun Connect Quatro OTA tuner today.

    Best Buy had a deal of $129.99 for the HDHR and a 6 month Plex Pass digital code. (Net total of $40.00 savings).

    Plus, I found a clearance deal at Lowes for a ClearStream Flex antenna for $15.99.

    I'm looking forward to setting up the HDHR tonight and really exercising Channels Plus.

    The only downside is that I have just one Apple TV at this point and will need to buy another 4K Apple TV, but I'm hoping I can sell the two Mini Vox's that I have for enough to cover most or all of that cost.

    This is definitely not a solution for everyone, but for me I am really liking getting all of our viewing back onto one box. (Albeit with different apps).

    Tivo never delivered on their promise of a robust streaming app platform - whatever the reason.

    I recognize that it is just business with the pre-roll adds, but I'm willing (eager) to take on a bit of extra complexity on the back-end with Channels for the simplicity and ease of use (and WAF) on the front-end.
    OrangeCrush likes this.
  7. Sep 23, 2019 #87 of 1017

    waterchange Member

    Jun 29, 2010
    Curious to understand what the use case is that Comcast's cloud DVR platform might be a better choice than TiVo. I read somewhere that commercials are forced (i.e. you can't skip through them) which seems like a complete deal breaker if true.
  8. Sep 23, 2019 #88 of 1017

    mdavej Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2015
    I ran Primes for several years with Charter (Spectrum). Most channels were copy freely. Premiums and some sports channels (ESPN, etc.) were copy once. But I didn't really care because I could record everything with WMC regardless.

    I've read that most other providers besides Verizon and Spectrum copy protect almost everything. So a Prime on anything except WMC is useless for recording if you have one of those other providers.

    I feel like I'm in a time warp, having this exact same discussion almost a decade ago.

    I'm sure Channels app is awesome, but I have a hard time paying a fee when my lifetime Tivo and Recast are free. So I have no compelling reason to pay for anything or go back to my old WMC system. More power to those who are willing to pay for several components and services and set up and maintain them. I'd rather keep it simple. So Recast is perfect for me. Cable channels are a non-issue since I cut the cord. I couldn't care less about cable cards and copy protection.
    aristoBrat and NashGuy like this.
  9. Sep 23, 2019 #89 of 1017

    chiguy50 U.S. Army (ret.)

    Nov 9, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Not better, just the best alternative to TiVo if I had to choose one. (In fact, I pointedly labelled it a step back.)

    I have not heard anything about forced ads on their cloud DVR, and I would be surprised (and quite disappointed) if that is true. I do know that this is the case for some of their VOD offerings, but that's a different critter.
  10. Sep 23, 2019 #90 of 1017

    Lurker1 Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2004
    TiVo Ted just announced that pre-roll ads are a "feature" and will NOT be coming to TE3. My panicked search for a TiVo alternative can be tabled for now, to be resumed when TE3 becomes End of Life.
  11. Sep 23, 2019 #91 of 1017

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    When Verizon FiOS contracts get renewed with Fox and/or Disney, I would expect that FX, FXX, Nat Geo and Nat Geo Wild would cease to be copy-protected since Fox sold those networks to Disney months ago. Still though, looks like an HDHomeRun Prime CableCARD tuner might not work for some folks on Verizon FiOS, leaving their only straightforward solutions being TiVo and the FiOS DVR. (However, the new feature in Channels Plus that allows recording of TV Everywhere streams might obviate the need for those users to record the Fox cable channels directly from FiOS via CableCARD.)
  12. Sep 23, 2019 #92 of 1017

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    Channels has a few levels of features/functionality.

    Level 1: Buy an HDHomeRun tuner(s) -- either OTA or CableCARD -- and connect it to your home network's router (preferably by ethernet). Then use the Channels app on Apple TV, Fire TV, and/or Android TV devices to enjoy live TV with program guide info and trick play (pause, rewind, FF live TV).

    Level 2: Subscribe to their Channel Plus service ($8/mo or $80/yr) and get DVR features added inside the Channels app. To do this, you'll need to run the Channels DVR software on a Mac, PC or NAS connected to your home network's router (preferably by ethernet). This comes with a 30-day free trial and lets you download the Channels app for free. (If you don't subscribe to Channels Plus, and only want to stick with the Level 1 functionality described above, then you must purchase the Channels app. It's a one-time cost of $25 for Apple TV. Don't know about Fire TV or Android TV.)

    Level 3: If you subscribe to a traditional or streaming cable channel package service (e.g. Xfinity TV, Spectrum TV, FiOS TV, PS Vue, YouTube TV, AT&T TV, etc.), you can use your credentials from that service to enable the new Channel Plus "TV Everywhere" feature. This will run (I think) on the same Mac, PC or NAS where the Channels DVR engine runs. It will use your credentials to log into the websites of all of the cable channels in your package which allow for live "TV Everywhere" streaming of their content via web browser. The DVR can set up recordings of those channels' live streams, regardless of whether your HDHomeRun tuner can access those channels via CableCARD. Actually, you don't even need a tuner at all in order to use the Channels DVR to record TV Everywhere streams! You might not use a tuner at all, or you might use an OTA tuner to record your locals from an antenna and use your cable service credentials to record those channels' live "TV Everywhere" streams to your own hard drive.
    OrangeCrush and wizwor like this.
  13. Sep 23, 2019 #93 of 1017

    wombat94 Member

    Nov 18, 2007
    I can confirm that the TVEverywhere option for Fios DOES allow DVR of these channels... thus making the CCI bit copy protection no problem for Fios users. Even if you do use HDHR Prime with cablecard for the rest of your lineup, you can still add a TVEverywhere "tuner" to the DVR server and have access to recording those channels today.
    NashGuy likes this.
  14. Sep 23, 2019 #94 of 1017

    spiderpumpkin Say no to Hydra!

    Dec 1, 2017
    That's great to hear and I plan to keep using my 3TB Tivo for years to come. I'm really liking Channels and will probably keep using it for additional high volume recording to a huge storage device. I'm going to buy a HDHomeRun OTA and antenna to add more to Channels.
  15. Sep 23, 2019 #95 of 1017

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

    Aug 2, 2003
    The extra channels -- the ones numbered 6700 and up -- everyone on Channels DVR gets for free, regardless of provider (although I think they only add them when you add a TV Everywhere provider).

    Yeah, unfortunately some channels aren't available. CNN (non-International), for example, doesn't show up with either YouTubeTV or Xfinity, though it's in both their regular lineups. Per this chart, the only streaming service that activates it is PS Vue.

    The quality varies widely, because the quality of the source feeds varies. It goes directly to each channel's "TV Everywhere" feed, and not through the cable or streaming service, which is just used to authorize it. Some of these feeds don't look as good as, e.g., the YouTube TV version of the channel. But at least, AFAICT, Channels DVR doesn't make them any worse (by default -- you can set it to). Most are OK.

    If it's only for this, you might consider an Amazon Fire TV stick (it's cheaper).
  16. Sep 23, 2019 #96 of 1017

    WhenenRome Member

    Nov 13, 2010
    Yesterday, I decided to shop a few different multi-network OTT / Streaming TV services. We're currently using Spectrum TV Choice. But they recently made some changes to it (and gave a snooty CS response), which inspired me to shop around. I only tried out hands-on the ones that had most of my "top 10" channels available, and that offered DVR... We already have Tablo for OTA DVR, so I'm not giving heavy weight to local channels here:

    Tried the "Blue" package + Lifestyle + News add-ons, and DVR, which totals $40/month.
    It gives you 3 streams - meaning 3 different devices can watch at the same time. 50 HOURS of cloud DVR. It also on-demand libraries for the channels in your package. It had 9 of my "top 10" channels (no Animal Planet).

    The good: It's a great price. The OK: The UI & the guide. Sling has weird colors and makes use of them. The picture quality, it's alright - I've seen worse... The not so hot: You can't pause or rewind live TV on any channel. Different channels have different rules for DVR capability. It's not fun to keep track of things like that... The super weird: On some channels, like A&E, the programs in their on-demand libraries can be watched, but no rewind, fast-forward, not even Pause! And if you STOP the program and come back to it, there's no resume option: it goes back to the beginning.

    Overall, it *feels* like a budget service... the look of its UI even makes you feel that way. The 50-hour limit on DVR would be no big deal if their on-demand content didn't have such bizarre inconsistencies. No pause? No way.

    The base service is $50/month. It had 8 or my top-10 (no A&E or VH1). The DVR has unlimited capacity, but has a limit on the amount of time a program can stay on their cloud: 9 months. Six streams can be viewed at one time, that's the best available out there.

    The good: Picture quality is quite awesome. You CAN pause & rewind live TV. You can also have
    six different account (gmail) profiles, each with their own DVR library. And a bonus here - for our LA TV market, it had every major local channel except CW (and keep in mind, CW's separate Roku app has all their programs & is free to use)... The OK: The UI & guide are decent, a little smoother & more attractive than Sling's. Not so hot: The price is pushing up there. If you do add-ons, it's going to get expensive... The weird: There's no option to record only NEW airings on the DVR. YT's response to that is, "but that's ok - we have no limit on capacity." True. But who wants to sift through reruns to "find" an episode of a show?

    YT-TV has the best picture quality of the four services here - just a tiny bit better than the Spectrum app on Roku. Six streams, and the personalization of DVR lists & user profiles blows the competition out the water. If you don't care about the weird "record every episode" aspect, it's worth considering.

    It's a sports-centric platform, but it actually had ALL 10 of my top-10 channels - the only OTT service to offer those outside of Spectrum's ala-carte TV Choice & AT&T Now's $100/month plan. I chose a $60/month "family plan" with over 75 channels and a 500-hour DVR with no time limitation. Three streams can be watched at one time.

    The good: It actually has a LOT of channels. The DVR option is a worthy alternative to YouTube TV's. Most channels that I could see are able to pause & rewind live TV. The OK: The picture quality is limited to 720p - it's probably on-par with Sling. For sports, which is what Fubo focuses on, that's not a reason to get excited. The UI has a clean look and operates well... The not-so-hot: $60/month. The weird: It has what I call a "bizarro" on-screen guide, where the channels are at the top - and the TIMES are on the LEFT. Why? I don't know. Maybe they just wanted to be different. (However, if you use their web interface, it's a normal setup - which somehow makes it more weird.)

    At this price, it's a better value than AT&T Now: More streams, less DVR limits. But it's "up there" compared to the competition. If the PQ could render better, and the guide setup be more intuitive (or at least have the option), $60/month might be worth it.

    Sprectrum TV Choice:
    This is what I'm subscribed to currently. You get all the locals for your area + 10 ala-carte channels of your choice, from a very good pool of networks, + Spectrum News, CSPAN networks, and anything else that would be part of a "basic" tier. The cloud DVR is a $5 add-on, and has a capacity of 50 *programs* - meaning that their time lengths aren't the capacity: You could have 50 episodes of Live PD at 3 hours each, or you could have 50 episodes of Mom at 30-minutes each. I'm on a promo rate right now, but the regular price will be $46/month ($40 + that wonderful "broadcast channel" fee, reportedly set to increase to $6 next month). And yes, you have to be a Spectrum internet customer to use this service.

    The good: You pretty much choose what you want, and they seem to let you change the selected channels - I've done it twice in 18 months. The PQ is actually really good. The on-demand library is extensive, so the 50-program DVR limit won't bother too many people - especially if you have a separate OTA DVR experience running like we do (Tablo). The OK: While you can't pause or RW live TV, that's never an issue on any DVR recording or On-Demand program - and the on-demand library's commercials always amount to noticeably less than what is aired on live TV. The guide & UI are going through an upgrade right now, and it's a mixed bag. It LOOKS and operates better BUT... The weird: They inexplicably REMOVED features that made its experience competitive (see photo). The not at all hot: Their customer service response to those concerns has been lukewarm. On social media, they're supposed to be putting on their best face. But when they don't bother to even do that, it makes you think they REALLY don't give a crap.

    For me personally, I'm still weighing the options here. My price is reduced by $13/month through March. I never like the idea of "price going up while the user experience goes DOWN. I don't need their OTA channels, since we have the Tablo. So will $45/month be worth it for 10 channels that I get to select? Would I be better off paying $5 more a month and lose 2 channels I like (YouTube)? Or even paying $15 more per month to get all the channels I like and then some? BUT this may be good for you. That's really why I posted all this - I hope it helps!

    indyrobb and powrcow like this.
  17. Sep 23, 2019 #97 of 1017

    powrcow Active Member

    Sep 27, 2010
    Cox has all channels except locals set to 0x02 - Copy Once. For a TiVo, that means a recording can be made and you can offload ONLY using the Stream, and that offloading means the TiVo copy is deleted.
    NashGuy likes this.
  18. Sep 23, 2019 #98 of 1017

    wombat94 Member

    Nov 18, 2007
    It is mostly about making the experience consistent between the family room TV and the bedroom TV (WAF - and frankly for myself as well). Part of the attraction of Channels DVR for me at this point is to keep all of the non-physical media consumption on a single input on the TV. The rest of our streaming is through the Netflix, Amazon Prime and Vudu apps on the Apple TV.

    I set up the HDHR Connect with antenna and I got most of my local channels, but signal strength and quality were so-so. A fair amount of pixelating and breaking up. Fortunately, I realized that the HDHR Connect can also tune Clear QAM... 5 minutes later, I have all of my locals from the Fios feed and I'm VERY happy.

    I think with this, I can seriously consider ditching even my cablecard. Between TVE and the HDHR Connect, I've got solid recording of nearly everything that I need.
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  19. Sep 23, 2019 #99 of 1017

    WhenenRome Member

    Nov 13, 2010
    If you use Channels DVR and access networks via TV Everywhere, does it still require an HD Homerun tuner?
  20. Sep 23, 2019 #100 of 1017

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    Don't you just love quotation marks?

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