Is there really no TivoHD alternative?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-26-2007, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Here we are in the capitalist center of the world and from what I understand there's absolutely no competition to Tivo out there to record OTA HD broadcasts on a hard drive, short of hooking up a computer? I either have to subscribe to some extortionate satellite or cable service to get a DVR box ($30 a month for local channels? Fuggeddit) or pay Tivo's silly monthly fee to record about three hours a week? Is there any way of using the Tivo unit without an annual subscription?

Here I am with nice, free OTA HD channels and no way of recording them short of hedging my bet on blu-ray vs. HD-DVD and buying stacks of blank HD DVDs (then throwing them into a landfill after one use), or buying a new computer. Makes me long for the good old days of low def, low price VCRs.

(pardon the rant)
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-27-2007, 12:48 AM
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Look for a used Sony DHG-HDD500/250 or LG 3410A.
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-27-2007, 04:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pipspeak View Post

Here we are in the capitalist center of the world and from what I understand there's absolutely no competition to Tivo out there to record OTA HD broadcasts on a hard drive, short of hooking up a computer?

Just not enough money in it. TiVo loses money. Both competitors without monthly subscriptions have pulled out of the market due to lack of profit. I think the technology is still too expensive to justify a mass-market product offering.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-27-2007, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Probably because cable/satellite has a stranglehold on the market and won't let go. It's not like the technology is cutting edge... a digital tuner interfacing to a HDD. Been done for years for low-def TV and it's simple to set up with any computer (though buying a new computer is overkill). What's so different with high-def that makes putting this together in a dedicated box prohibitively expensive? I just don't buy it (pardon the pun).

You don't even need a subscription to TV guides... for decades VCRs have been programmable and never relied on an over the air TV guide to set recording times. Moreover, HD Tivo alternatives are available in Europe relatively cheap, so why not here? The whole thing just smacks of cable companies trying to control the digital airwaves with the tacit approval of the toothless FCC.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-27-2007, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pipspeak View Post

You don't even need a subscription to TV guides... for decades VCRs have been programmable and never relied on an over the air TV guide to set recording times.

And what percentage of people with them could ever actually accomplish that? Ever heard of "blinking 12:00 syndrome"? It's because so many people couldn't figure out how to program even the *time* on their VCRs - nevermind programming them for a scheduled recording. DVRs make that a whole lot easier *because* they fuse the guide data with automatic recording.

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Moreover, HD Tivo alternatives are available in Europe relatively cheap, so why not here?

Because over there they don't have to fight CableLabs/the NCTA on everything; everything's neatly standardized. They have this amazing concept of standardization implemented in DVB - if you receive digital television, it's DVB, and you just go buy a DVB receiver/DVR box. Done and done. Nice and simple. The cable companies (I guess they have them) even use DVB-C, so all you need is the appropriate access card. I don't think they even have/had the integrated cable receiver boxes like we did here in the US. Unfortunately here, it's all piecemeal, and getting everyone to follow a single, sensible standard is a monstrous pain in the balls. Everyone thinks they know better. Good ol' NIH syndrome everywhere you go. Gotta love it.

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Originally Posted by pipspeak View Post

The whole thing just smacks of cable companies trying to control the digital airwaves with the tacit approval of the toothless FCC.

Yeah, that doesn't help either...
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-29-2007, 04:36 AM
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There have been discussions in several recent threads on this very topic. The basic problems are as follows (not in any specific order):

1. Too many Americans have the "WalMart mentality" and want everything as cheap as they can get it. They do not understand the true value of things. So companies who can produce this technology are not interested in selling it in the USA. They would rather sell in Europe and Japan where they can make a profit. The SD DVR I bought 2 years ago with no monthly fees cost me $600 (which is at a discount).

2. TV-Guide/Gemstar has a stranglehold on "guide data" in the USA. So the choices are; a) pay TiVo, b) pay cable/DSS, c) buy a product with no guide at all, d) buy a more expensive product (see 1 above) with guide licensing built in. While us techies have no problems with programming VCRs and setting timer recordings on computers & DVRs, most of the population apparently does. The on-screen guide and user friendly GUIs of modern DVRs has solved the problem .. for a price.

3. The broadcasters don't like the fact that we can use DVRs to totally avoid commercials. They are even willing to "give" us a free DVR which has the FF functions (at least during commercials) disabled. TiVo, cable & DSS all have "broadcast interests".

4. TiVo, charging upwards of $20 per month for their guide (data), has not made a profit in years. At $200 they do not break even when they "sell" hardware. It costs quite a bit to run a service providing daily guide data to all their users.

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post #7 of 12 Old 10-29-2007, 10:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CA_Guy View Post

1. Too many Americans have the "WalMart mentality" and want everything as cheap as they can get it. They do not understand the true value of things.

While I agree that many have Wal-Mart mentality, it isn't a matter that they don't "understand" the "true value" of these things, but rather that they do not "acknowledge" the "potential value" of these things. If you sit one these people down and explain to them what's what, more often than not you'll still find them responding, "Yes, I understand -- that's very nice. However, I really don't care about that as much as you do..." This happens at many levels, top to bottom. I have some good friends who still don't even watch television more than an hour or so a week: It just doesn't provide them the kind of enjoyment it provides us.

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2. TV-Guide/Gemstar has a stranglehold on "guide data" in the USA.

To be fair, there are two companies that provide guide data: Gemstar and Tribune. No company has a "stranglehold" on guide data in the United States.

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3. The broadcasters don't like the fact that we can use DVRs to totally avoid commercials.

Indeed, it often specifically defeats the main objectives of the broadcasting company.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-30-2007, 10:39 AM
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I have both the SONY and LG boxes.
But I also run Snapstream on a PC for HD and it works very well also.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-31-2007, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstanl View Post

I have both the SONY and LG boxes.
But I also run Snapstream on a PC for HD and it works very well also.

What are you using to get the HD channels on your computer? I have a tv tuner for my computer but I don't want to get another HD box from comcast to get the HD channels on my computer.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-31-2007, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by pjrvero View Post

What are you using to get the HD channels on your computer? I have a tv tuner for my computer but I don't want to get another HD box from comcast to get the HD channels on my computer.

Using a a product like HDHomerun, you can get local HD channels from OTA and cable on your computer.

You probably won't get any more than that without a new $1200-$1500 Vista CableCard PC, but if locals is all you care about, it works well. It's almost as expensive as a TivoHD, but you avoid the monthly fee for guide data so long as you already own Windows Media Center, Vista Professional, Vista Ultimate, or other software with a license to download guide data.
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post #11 of 12 Old 11-02-2007, 12:32 PM
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DirectTV satellite TV. No landline. Direct says we cannot use a DVR unless we have a landline. Is there any other way to get the guide capacity to use the Direct DVR just to simplify scheduling recordings?
For plain HDTV recording to a HDD as a VCR function, our only choises are the Sony DHG-HDD250/500 or LF 3410A?? (my Philips SDTV HDD DVDR has a "code" entry position in the timer setup - VCR-Plus?) which should be fine. We each have cellphones and no need or any landline. Why sould we be discriminated for that? We do have internet -cable- Maybe a built PC based PVR is our best choise? Whats the 'cheap and easy' answer?
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post #12 of 12 Old 11-08-2007, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pipspeak View Post

Probably because cable/satellite has a stranglehold on the market and won't let go. It's not like the technology is cutting edge... a digital tuner interfacing to a HDD. Been done for years for low-def TV and it's simple to set up with any computer (though buying a new computer is overkill). What's so different with high-def that makes putting this together in a dedicated box prohibitively expensive? I just don't buy it (pardon the pun).

You don't even need a subscription to TV guides... for decades VCRs have been programmable and never relied on an over the air TV guide to set recording times. Moreover, HD Tivo alternatives are available in Europe relatively cheap, so why not here? The whole thing just smacks of cable companies trying to control the digital airwaves with the tacit approval of the toothless FCC.

Those are more words exactly. Word up!

JoshK on most other audio forums
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