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Looking at the specs for the new Humax 9200 or at least the specs it will have, it looks to me as though the rest of the PVR world may be now catching up and maybe overtaking Tivo.

Can the more techy minded say exactly what Tivo does what the new Humax doesn't (or won't in the future)? I appreciate the Humax won't offer suggestions but how many Tivo users use that facility anyway - FWIW I've never used it myself.

I'm beginning to feel Tivo's time here has come and gone and can't see at least in the near future what Tivo even with new partners could offer that the rest of the market won't be offering.

I'm also convinced that at some point we'll all get a letter/email from Sky offering compensation for the termination of the Tivo service. Can't believe they make much out of maintaining it - and it might make sense for them to cut the Tivo-ers loose.

Feeling gloomy at the prospect of a Tivo-less world. :(
 

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Well, post these specs here so that we can examine them. Then we'll be able to tell you what it's not offering.

As to why you are "convinced" that you'll get a letter from Sky, there are hundreds of previous posts here so it's pointless starting that from scratch - read back on the forum and you'll feel a lot less gloomy!
 

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Funny thing is that Tivo is planning to offer the Tivo service/hardware officially in Australia early next year!

Can the Humax play a show while its still recording? Many other devices cannot.
 

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terryeden said:
With the release of FreeView Playback (or whatever it's called) season passes etc should become available.

T
But only like linked series similar to Sky+? AFAIK the Freeview EPG already has series links (for some programmes) and Topfield has a TPA which can process these but, they are still not as good as Tivo season passes.

For instance, when a new season starts, a Tivo season pass picks it up, a 'series link' doesn't. Also, when episodes are repeated either on the same channel, or a +1 channel or another channel, A tivo season pass (or passes) will work out which episode is which and not get any repeats (and Tivo can do programme clash resolution). Series links just can't handle this at all. Not even going to mention wishlists (oh I just did :D).
 

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Only Microsoft's MCE appears to have the ability to handle long-term series passes in the same way as the TiVo, since both of them use enhanced (i.e. coded) EPG data that can support the necessary series identification and episode matching. The only difference is that you explicitly pay for TiVo's EPG data, while Microsoft's data is free (if you ignore the cost of the operating system). In practice, the cost of Microsoft's hardware requirements is at least twice the cost of a TiVo plus lifetime subscription.

However, the MCE EPG data is no more accurate than TiVo's, and has a nasty habit of recording every episode of a series, including the repeat on +1 channels. The only benefit of MCE in this regard is that it is very easy to keep expanding the disk space to cope with superfluous recordings.
 

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iankb said:
In practice, the cost of Microsoft's hardware requirements is at least twice the cost of a TiVo plus lifetime subscription.
I don't think that's the case any longer. Any ultra-cheap PC is MCE capable now.
 

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TCM2007 said:
I don't think that's the case any longer. Any ultra-cheap PC is MCE capable now.
Of course, you're probably right for the TiVo-equivalent single-tuner, single-user configuration.

However, I think that anybody building an MCE machine nowadays should consider a machine that can handle multiple tuners, multiple concurrent users (via multiple Xbox360 extenders), and on-the-fly video transcoding for downloaded formats not supported by the Xbox codecs. That's what I built my machine to cope with, and why it cost a bit more. In my case, the multiple tuners are not much of an overhead, because the Hauppage Nova-T 500 card uses DMA, and very little CPU. However, the multiple users and transcoding are more resource-hungry.
 

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iankb said:
Of course, you're probably right for the TiVo-equivalent single-tuner, single-user configuration.

However, I think that anybody building an MCE machine nowadays should consider a machine that can handle multiple tuners, multiple concurrent users (via multiple Xbox360 extenders), and on-the-fly video transcoding for downloaded formats not supported by the Xbox codecs. That's what I built my machine to cope with, and why it cost a bit more. In my case, the multiple tuners are not much of an overhead, because the Hauppage Nova-T 500 card uses DMA, and very little CPU. However, the multiple users and transcoding are more resource-hungry.
Multiple users who are not transcoding is a minimal overhead too.

Also remember those cheapo entry level machines are dual core now. My MCE PC is a Pentium D 910, and that's blown away by these supermarket machines, which are usually Core 2 Duo!

Mine can't transcode two things at once, but it's quite happy running MCE directly to a main TV while someone else uses a 360 and background services transcode TiVo video to WMV, run a BT client, and a web server uploading video to an expat friend. Only the transcoding bit makes a serious performance hit.
 

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johala_reewi said:
But only like linked series similar to Sky+? AFAIK the Freeview EPG already has series links (for some programmes) and Topfield has a TPA which can process these but, they are still not as good as Tivo season passes.
The Freeview series links are similar to those on Sky+, but they aren't the same, so don't assume they have the same limitations.

It's difficult to predict how good a job the various pvr manufacturer will make of implementing the Freeview Playback spec so don't expect that all features will be available on all models. But if fully implemented Freeview Playback don't have the series link limitations you mention.

johala_reewi said:
For instance, when a new season starts, a Tivo season pass picks it up, a 'series link' doesn't.
Provided the broadcaster continues to use the same series id the new series will be picked up by the series link.

johala_reewi said:
Also, when episodes are repeated either on the same channel, or a +1 channel or another channel, A tivo season pass (or passes) will work out which episode is which and not get any repeats (and Tivo can do programme clash resolution). Series links just can't handle this at all.
The episode id can be used to identify individual episodes, work out repeats, and schedule alternatives to resolve clashes. This works across channels - e.g. Eastenders on BBC1 and the repeat on BBC3 use the same episode id.
 

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Do you have information on exactly what fields are present in the freeview enhanced guide data for the provision of series links etc? Are all the actor/director/genre fields present as well?
 

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Has anyone compared MCE with the alternative PC-based options? I currently use MediaPortal (open source) on Windows XP, and am very happy with it for playback of music and downloaded video, but I don't have a TV tuner installed. I'd be curious to know how the MCE feature set compares with something like MediaPortal.
 

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The Freeview Playback metadata gives you series id and episode id. With those a pvr manufacturer can implement something pretty close to Season Pass functionality, apart from first run/repeat.

The content descriptors gives you the equivalent of genre, although the UK broadcasters don't currently take advantage of the sub-content but limit themselves to a few broad categories. (e.g. Film but not Comedy, Action, Horror etc).

There is currently no actor/director metatdata broadcast - those would come with a TV Anytime rollout but that's not likely anytime soon.

So in terms of functionality a good Freeview pvr implementation could get close to Season Pass, but would be very limited compared to Wishlists. Searching would be basically keyword and genre.
 

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The functional spec as published by the DTG makes no mention of wishlist functionality, only Season Pass/Series Link equivalent.

It seems that Freeview Playback is a halfway house between TiVo's approach of "send the TiVo the data, let it work everything out for itself" and Sky's "Everything is done at the server end", but perhaps leans a little Sky's way.

For instance Freeview Playback appears to have a concept of "Alternative Instance Information" - ie, in the case of a clash one of the alternatives is recorded instead. But this information appears to be directly in the EPG data for a showing, not derived by the STB from the database. (I could be wrong on that as only the functional spec is freely available; anyone have a copy of the relevant bits of the "D book" I could have a look at?
 

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http://www.freeview.co.uk/docs/manufacturer_licence.pdf
Makes mention of suggestions
2.6. Series Recordings Display (Group 2) The display of programmes selected for recording shall include an indication if the programme is included as a consequence of being one of a series or recommendation.
As for wishlists...
It is recognised that some recorders may wish to obtain their schedule data from sources other than EITschedule. These may be used as long as they conform to the equivalence rules below.
Deliver the title, synopsis, duration, start time and date of each programme in the schedule, together with genre and access service availability;
So the EIT should have synopsis and genre - but no definite mention of actor or director. Unless you get it from a different source.
 

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