Why my DVR Expander only for TivoHD?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by AZ_Tivo, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    Apr 12, 2005
    Cocoa, Florida

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    I'm tech -Savvy enough also. Had a hacked Dtivo for about 2 years and just recently switched to SA tivo's and would rather have a plug and play experience for a while. I am just am also basically lazy and don't want extra hoops to jump thru. The support end is real simple to handle also. Big letters in the manual if you don't use a supported drive you it may cause instabilities and no tech support provided. Same when you connect a non supported drive. If you don't have the supported drive you are on your own for the support. If they can tell if you don't have a supported drive to even use it now then they can tell if you have a supported drive for support calls. just give people the option without having to jump thru hoops.
     
  2. Icarus

    Icarus Member

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    Upcountry...
    Exactly. The firmware for drives optimized for media recorders is optimized to handle multiple simultaneous media streams. That means different error handling and different default acoustic profiles. Keeping up with the stream is more important than returning correct data in most cases.

    That doesn't mean that regular esata drives won't work. They will work, but when there are errors reading a stream from the disk (and there will be errors, modern disk drives push the technology so they normally see correctable errors at least), you will see more dropouts, stutters, etc as the drive attempts to reread, repair and/or correct the bad sector. In order to keep up with the media streams, it's usually better to not do any of that on reads. For computer data, the exact opposite is true.

    -David
     
  3. wildtexaschef

    wildtexaschef New Member

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    Jul 4, 2005
    I think I said this before as well...

    But TiVo isn't the only DVR Provider limiting which eSATA drives will work with their
    DVR. TWC & Cox cable are both limiting what units they will allow you to plug into your DVR.

    TGC
     
  4. JanS

    JanS Member

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    Oct 18, 2004
    San...
    Hi David,

    I'm learning this as well. I got talking to one of the HDD guys here at work (I work in a data storage server company) and we were talking about TiVo upgrades. He's got an old upgraded S1 that still works :)

    And it became really clear that the goals for data integrity vs. data streaming are really quite different :D

    After he described some of the firmware differences I asked - "sounds like there's no diff between a 1TB DeskStar and a 1TB CinemaStar, besides firmware" and he said true. Very cool.

    One thing I have learned from working in the storage industry is disks fail. They always have and always will. It's a matter of protecting the data on them

    So, one day hopefully we will have full RAID6 or better in a TiVo by default :D I'm really kidding. Not like I got my bank records on this thing. But I'm only half-kidding :D

    Cheers,
    --jans
     
  5. JanS

    JanS Member

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    Oct 18, 2004
    San...

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    I went and got a Weaknees solution after posting here last week about doing my own upgrade vs. buying one already done...

    Mainly didn't want to "screw this up" :) And I wanted it to "be easy".

    Plus after I posted, and from reading more here on TCF, I realized that there were indeed many options. Yes, it's good to have options, but sometimes it's overwhelming, at least to me.

    And a couple of things right from the get-go had me. 1) I didn't have a home Windows box which took me out of the running for the nice WinMFS method. And even with MFS Live CD on one of my Linux boxes would have been a go, but then I would have had to add a Sata disk controller PCI card and I didn't want to go down that path either...

    So, I wimped out and got a Weaknees pre-confid'g and pre-loaded 1TB box :eek: This weekend I'll open it up and see which 1TB disk they actually installed in it :) I'm assuming it's either a WD (presumebly a WD10EVCS) or a Hitachi CinemaStar (7K1000).

    Cheers,
    --jans
     
  6. rodbac

    rodbac New Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
    Translation: marketing.

    If any of that nonsense was a problem and a "DVR" version was an improvement, you'd have issues dropping in a "regular" SATA drive.
     
  7. husky55

    husky55 Member

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    Feb 2, 2008
    Madison, CT
    You did the right thing!!! I went to a lot of trouble to get my internal WD 1TB to work. The difficulty lies with the the computer sytem you have. If you have a fully loaded gaming sytem like what I have with 2 SATA DVD-RW drives, 2 IDE HD and 2 SATA HD the the WINMFS and or its linux version will have problems. I finally had to do it on a backup simplified computer system which has nothing but the simplest components to it and even then had to tried several times.

    So you took a very sensible approach!!!
     
  8. Icarus

    Icarus Member

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    Jun 15, 2002
    Upcountry...
    I did say that desktop drives will work, but they can and do cause problems.

    The microcode on these drives is very different. It's not just marketing. But if that's what you want to think, by all means, go right ahead. :)

    -David
     
  9. rodbac

    rodbac New Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
    Oh for pete's sake- no they don't. There is nothing magical needed for these drives to work reliably and without problems*.

    [edit]

    *Compared to any other drive, of course.
     
  10. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    Dec 13, 2001
    Burlington, VT
    I too fall into the camp of being tech savy but planning on going the plug-and-play route. Heck, if I opened the box and somehow managed to have a visit with Mr. Murphy, my wife and daughter would kill me.

    I would just love for a 1TB version to come out by the summer. And I would buy a "TiVo enclosure" in az heartbeat if we could put any drive in.

    Either way, looking forward to getting the My DVR Expander for my birthday.

    Are folks still suggesting the seperate eSata cable that was noted in the eSata thread or are picking sticking with and having success with the stock eSata cable that comes with the drive......?
     
  11. Gregor

    Gregor Wear Your Mask! TCF Club

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    Feb 18, 2002
    Folks seem to like the SIIG cable from Amazon. I'm using the stock drive and cable and it works just fine with my S3, which is buried in a cabinet so the drive or cable won't get bumped much.

    Oh, and I'd like to see the 1TB expander, too, but I think I'll just look for an approved drive on sale and stick it in the Antec MX1 case and be done with it.
     
  12. AZ_Tivo

    AZ_Tivo New Member

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    Jan 17, 2005
    AZ
    Look what I found.

    Here are the spec of drive

    http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.j...7f70110VgnVCM100000f5ee0a0aRCRD&reqPage=Model

    It says a 500GB seagate with eSata and please see the attached pic for the price. Imagine getting a DVR expander for that price?
     

    Attached Files:

  13. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

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    Mar 12, 2002
    It's really not fair to be looking at pricing mistakes, store closeouts, limited rebates etc. Sorry but I'll only look at "normal" pricing in deciding if the DVR Expander is overly expensive.

    The drive costs $160, per the Seagate website, and doesn't include an eSATA cable. It's not clear if the enclosure has a fan is otherwise designed for 24/7 operation.

    I note the drive can interface with ESATA, USB and Firewall. I know the Western Digital external drives with the triple interface don't work with tivo I have no idea if this drive will work with tivo.

    Imagine people buying this drive and then buying one of the cables that doesn't work with tivo. Imagine if this drive has the same issues as the WD triple drive.

    $160 for the drive +$15 for the cable is $175. An extra $25 for a drive that's designed for DVR useage, that is certified to work with tivo sounds reasonable to me.

    Again people have choices. They can spend the money for a drive that's designed for DVR use and is know to work with tivo. Alternatively they can do their research, buy a drive/enclosure/cable that is expected to work. Tivo limits "plug n play" installation to drives that are certified to work "plug n play".

    I think one of your issues is the fact that online discounters such as buy.com and newegg.com aren't carrying the DVR expander. The list price for the DVR expander isn't really unreasonable, for what you get, but the unit doesn't seem to be available as a "loss leader".

    Other DVRs won't work at all with non-certified drives. Some DVRs will only work with a drive you purchase (or lease) from the cable company.

    Tivo is taking a reasonable compromise. Buy a certified unit for a "reasonable price" or go with a solution that's not "plug n play".




     
  14. rodbac

    rodbac New Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
    I don't really disagree too strongly with the argument that it's worth paying a bit more for the peace of mind that an item's components have been tested to work, but you guys really should stop spreading this FUD about "designed for DVR use".

    They *all* work flawlessly used 24/7, and they *all* handle the activities of a DVR just as well as the next.

    There are solid arguments for using tested equipment. That's just not one of them and I think you're giving people this artificial fear of items that aren't marked "CERTIFIED FOR DVR!", which does nothing but cost them money for absolutely no gain.

    I tend to agree with this for the most part, and also agree that it's not unusual for a company to limit what their equipment works with (usually with proprietary connectors, etc, but probably internally as well).
     
  15. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

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    Mar 12, 2002
    Some of the external drives don't have sufficent cooling for 24/7 DVR use. Some of the external drives don't have a hard power switch, which is an issue after a power failure. Some of the external (WD) drives operate in some kind of bridge mode which doesn't work with tivo. Some of the cheap cables don't work well with the tivo, they seem to fall out.

    The gain from using the certified DVR expander is you don't have to worry about any of those issues. The drive is literally "plug n play".

    I'm not even sure tivo uses some of the DVR specific modes the proponents of DVR drives talk about. I've always used whatever drive was on sale for internal upgrades. I think the case for DVR specific drives, for internal upgrades, is greatly overstated. Unless something has recently changed tivo doesn't even use DVR specific drives. The DVR specific drives have the acoustics set to quiet, I never had a problem with the "loud" mode.

    Tivo has done nothing to stop knowledgeable users from using whatever hardware they want to use. They're simply taking the, IMHO reasonable, compromise of limiting plug n play to external soutions that have been certified to work. I don't think the drive is "magic" but I think some of the external cases have issues.

    Basically you can either use an approved external drive or tivo says "you're on your own".

    It would be nice if larger drives were available and if other companies offered approved solutions.







     
  16. rodbac

    rodbac New Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
    No, that's the gain from using a drive that's tested to work with the Tivo, not one "certified for DVR use".

    Agreed on both points- Tivo deserves credit for not slamming the door on hacking, which is half the appeal of a Tivo to many (including me), and limiting their support to items they've tested to work is not terribly unreasonable or unusual.
     
  17. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

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    Mar 12, 2002
    My post said "certified DVR expander" which refers to the WD DVR expander. I could have worded my post better. I think most of the compatibility issues are related to the external enclosure, cable and interface. I'm not convinced a DVR hard drive offer much of an advantage over a regular drive but I understand some people disagree.

    I think Maxtor is only selling their external DVR drives to cable companies, that are free to charge whatever they want.

    People who are unhappy with the tivo solution should look at what other companies are doing.
     
  18. rodbac

    rodbac New Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
    Ah- sorry for misunderstanding.

    Well, they can disagree with you all they want, but they demonstrably don't .
     
  19. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Exactly what I said in an earlier post.

    TWC & Cox cable companies have limited their support to only the Western Digital DVR Expander as well. Currently only available in the 500gb version. WD will soon release a 1TB unit as well. However, the point I am trying to make is that both TWC & Cox have VERY limited support on which eSATA drives they allow you to use. Other eSATA drives may work, but they limit their support to just the WD unit.

    TGC
     
  20. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    Apr 12, 2005
    Cocoa, Florida
    If you can only connect a WD DVR Expander to it then it really isn't an ESATA port, it is a WD DVR Expansion port. An ESATA port would allow you to connect ANY ESATA drive not just a specific model.
     

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