Would it have been better for Series 3 to also work with cable boxes?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by gastrof, Sep 2, 2006.

  1. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    That's not a niche Tivo can fill. There isn't technology they could use in their box to add that capability, unless you mean Firewire recording. Firewire output from cable STBs is notoriously unreliable due to firmware / software bugs.
     
  2. Gregor

    Gregor save the princess save the world TCF Club

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    I think what you're asking for is targeted to a very small market, Tivo needs to get a mass-market HD box out there. The S3 is the first step in that direction.
     
  3. Shawn95GT

    Shawn95GT Tivo, in HD!

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    There isn't a consumer box on the market that will. Especially not at a sub $1000 price point.
     
  4. greenstork

    greenstork New Member

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    Doesn't one TiVo, do-it-all box, address the problem of converting a digital signal to analog and then back again. I understood this to be one of the major flaws of HD-TV currently -- that the signal gets converted a couple of times before you actually view it on your $2000 television.

    I ask because I don't currently own an HD TV nd I've been waiting to "jump in" until the technology is a little more polished. It bothered me that the transition from 4:3 to 16:9 channels was far from seamless on HDTVs, and that HD channels have varying levels of compression and artifacting from different cable providers, and that so few channels are available in HD. I'm typically an early adopter, but haven't felt the need to spend thousands until the technology is a little farther along, opting to patiently wait on the sideline and follow the progress of the S3 and the LCD vs plasma duel.

    Can anyone offer some insight into when we can expect more HD channels. Will it be a steady transition of the many hundred cable channels to HD over a long period of time (3-5 years)? Or will there be dozens more HD channels next year or something?

    Since SD channels tend to look so lousy on most LCDs, I'm really hoping that if I decide to invest in a new TV soon, that I wouldn't have to tolerate a terrible picture for too long.
     
  5. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Yup. Time will tell if the niches TiVo is going after will be big enough.
    The main thing I need is a HD DVR.

    I believe that market is almost as large as the number of folks who have Series 2 TiVos today and have HDTVs.
     
  6. dbtom

    dbtom Member

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    Yes.

    For $800 I would think they could have kept this feature. I can't imagine the additional cost being above $30-- if that. There must already be an MPEG2 encoder in the box if they are recording analog cable. It would add complexity, but Tivo has been managing this complexity since the start. It would add a lot more flexibility for me personally.

    I agree that it's not an ideal solution to have 2 boxes, but I'm going to need to keep a digital cable box for VOD anyway so might as well have Tivo use it too.
     
  7. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    why have TiVo use it as well ? why not just hook it straight to the TV?

    then TiVo can record two things and you can watch Live TV if you feel like it or if there is a 3 way conflict.

    and there is ongoing expense to TiVo to keep up with IR or serial codes and changes that occurr in STBs. Also the complexity of updating that code in both series 2 and series 3 bases. it is not just a one time fee of the stuff in the series 3 but an ongoing expense of supporting the feature over time.

    Even a well ordered, easier to maintain OOP design still means you have to deal with timing issues coming into the box as the channel change goes out, the IR responds and then you wait on an outside box to chnage it and then the signal coming in on input to catch up with the change. anyone remember the blocking issues, anyone complain recently about the black screen or channel surfing gripes. Good riddance to all that and make the design completely internal. It just makes sense. How many times can it be said that niche can get a series 2.
     
  8. dbtom

    dbtom Member

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    The chance of me having three conflicting programs is slim to none. Even if there was a conflict I would just record it on one of my 3 other Tivos and stream it (unless that feature is too niche too).

    We can all speculate as to whether Tivo should or should not have kept a feature they have had since the start. You think it adds a lot of cost through hardware and support. I think it is a very small cost to add incremental users. They may have to be constantly updating guide codes, but they will need to do this anyway unless they are going to stop supporting older Tivos soon. I would assume a very high degree of code reuse. We will never know whether it would be a smart business decision since we won’t see the financials at a box level.

    My personal situation

    I’ve posted the same information in other threads but here is what I would like to do:

    I was planning to run a setup where I use my cable box for extra channels (MTV, CNN, etc.) and use the OTA tuner in the Tivo for HD (at least for now). My reasoning is that:

    1. OTA is generally superior HD quality for me
    2. CableCard will cost me at least $40 to install vs 0 for the cable box
    3. The monthly savings for CableCard will be less than $3 so it will be over a year before I make up the install cost
    4. I'll need the cable box anyway to get onDemand
    5. The only HD channels I get via cable that I don't get OTA, I use for live sports so it is of limited use

    Also cable box support will save me if the cable card system ever breaks down. For example, if the CableCo switches to SDV, I could still use the cable box / Tivo Combination to record SD channels. It gives be a lot more future flexibility. While there are problems with a 2 box solution, I have accepted these problems and can manage it. I have no idea what problems the CableCard system will bring, but I am not naïve enough to think it will be a flawless solution.

    Bottom Line

    Having cable box support would make Tivo more useful to me. I’m someone who was planning to buy a Series 3 and not having cable box support makes me inclined to wait to see what a cable card equipped MCE PC will cost. Heck I would be happy if Tivo offered a USB IR dongle as an option and I could use the RF cable in for the cable box.

    I may be a niche, but if an $800 DVR isn’t a niche product, I don’t know what is. Tivo has already said that the S3 is their high-end model so I would have hoped that they would keep the fallback cable box option and not try to save a couple of bucks.
     
  9. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Clearly, the answer is because TiVo is unable to control enough variable in the marketplace. If, as it appears they may have, put too much reliance of their solution on CableCard, then it was a bad decision.
     
  10. chandler1818

    chandler1818 Member

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    of course. you're asking people to give up functionality (on demand, online PPV ordering) to use the tivo box. stupid decision.
     
  11. m_jonis

    m_jonis Member

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    I'll be in the great minority here. Yes, I think it would have been better if the S3 could support a cable STB. Assuming it didn't delay the product past this calendar year. Especially given that the cable companies (especially TW) will be implementing SDV and it'll be at least 2 years before CC 2.0 even attempts to address that issue.
     
  12. sommerfeld

    sommerfeld Lucky (?) 200 member

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    Indeed.

    "Would it have been better?"

    can only be answered when you know the answer to some other questions:

    How much longer are you prepared to wait? How much more are you willing to pay?

    For me, additional cost and complexity to support external tuners isn't worth it either in time or in cash; I wouldn't take advantage of the feature. Heck, even the cablecard slots may be excess baggage for me -- with my Cable Co's current lineup, I'm not even likely to bother with cable cards since I get decent OTA HD reception where I live and the incremental cost to switch to a digital cable package is not worth the 2 or 3 additional HD channels I might watch.
     
  13. headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

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    What is OTA? On the air? Off the antenna?
     
  14. CCourtney

    CCourtney Member

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    Over The Air (Usually referring to ATSC signal to be specific)
     
  15. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Given that component or HDMI input is a techical and/or economic impossibility, and ?Firewire is rather spotty (as I understande), why not get an S2 until they work things out?
     
  16. m_jonis

    m_jonis Member

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    The S2 cannot record HD SDV channels.

    Although that assumes that IF the Series 3 could work with an STB, that it would have the ability to record via component (don't know if anything with HDMI is possible?) And most cable companies have NOT implemented firewire on their boxes (they're only required by the FCC to enable it on ONE model, not all models).

    Guess when it really comes down to it, we're all at the mercy of the cable companies and their lovely STB/monopoly.
     
  17. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Uh, I believe you're mistaken. S2 can record HD SDV channels, through a cable box, which is something the S3 will be unable to do.
     
  18. Shawn95GT

    Shawn95GT Tivo, in HD!

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    A S2 can't record HD period. A SD downconvert from a HD source is no problem though. I do it every day.
     
  19. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    As I said, the S2 can record HD channels, even if delivered through SDV. Of course the S2 cannot record it in HD... if it could there would be no need for a S3, eh? However, S3 still cannot record HD channels delivered through SDV, either in HD or downconverted.
     
  20. m_jonis

    m_jonis Member

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    Well according to your logic, a VCR can also record HD channels. Recording and HD channel in SD, is, IMO, not "recording an HD channel".

    Perhaps you studied under the federal judge who declared that the DMCA does not violate the archival backup of a DVD because you could "still record it to a VCR tape"?
     

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