Most economical TiVo DVR to skip commercials on Comcast - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-10-2013, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I wish to skip over commercials in the worst way. I do not need to record programs or record one channel while watching another. A storage capacity of just 1 hour HD would be fine for my purposes. Currently I have an HD STB with Comcast in the S FL area. Can anyone tell me which used TiVo DVR models would meet my requirements. Suggestions and/or advice much appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-10-2013, 10:05 AM
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One way would be to get a used lifetime Tivo HD or S3 model on fleabay or craigslist for $250 or so with full recording/playback capability. Or, cheapest (if you really want to cheap out) way would be to buy an unactivated Tivo Premiere for $50 or so if all you want is live TV, but you'll only get a 30 minute buffer to be able to skip (has to be unactivated to keep trick play enabled, if it's connected to Tivo they will disable trick play with a software update).
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-10-2013, 10:23 AM
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A used, bottom-of-the-line, 2-tuner Premier with 320GB HDD and lifetime should run you around $300 and do everything you want -- it will do a lot more which you will probably take advantage of once you start using the unit. A 320GB HDD will give you ~40-45 hr of HD recording capacity. The TiVo is always recording and never shuts off. It buffers both tuners to 30 min independently. This means that if one of the tuners is sitting on the channel for the 6:00 news and you get to the TV 15 min late, you can back up the buffered live broadcast to the beginning and skip through the commercials until you catch up to real time. The TiVo needs a cable card but takes the place of your STB so you can apply a portion of the STB rental fee to the cheaper cable card rental fee and come out ahead.

Your comment about only needing 1 hr of storage seems to indicate a partial understanding of a DVR. You can't skip commercials in real-time -- you have to record it first and skip them while you watch the recording. This is called time-shifting. An hour of broadcast HDTV contains around 18-20 min of commercials so you would have to record at least the first 20 min of the program before you start watching it so you can skip through the commercials and end the show in real time. If you want to watch 3 1hr shows in a row, you would have to record the first hour before you start watching -- it would be recording the second show while you are watching the first. Use the guide to schedule it to record the shows you want to watch and watch them whenever you want.

Be aware that a TiVo requires an Internet connection to get guide updates and firmware updates. I comes with a socket for hardwire but if you want to use wireless you have to buy a wireless adapter which you could also find on the used market.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-10-2013, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

One way would be to get a used lifetime Tivo HD or S3 model on fleabay or craigslist for $250 or so with full recording/playback capability. Or, cheapest (if you really want to cheap out) way would be to buy an unactivated Tivo Premiere for $50 or so if all you want is live TV, but you'll only get a 30 minute buffer to be able to skip (has to be unactivated to keep trick play enabled, if it's connected to Tivo they will disable trick play with a software update).
Thanks. There are couple of points you made that I don't understand. First, what is an S3? Second, where do you fnd an unactivated Premiere for $50? That's much cheaper than anything I've seen on eBay. I believe that 30 minute buffer would be adequate to skip commercials. I'm guessing that the term 'trick play' refers to skipping commercials. Is that correct?
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-10-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

A used, bottom-of-the-line, 2-tuner Premier with 320GB HDD and lifetime should run you around $300 and do everything you want -- it will do a lot more which you will probably take advantage of once you start using the unit. A 320GB HDD will give you ~40-45 hr of HD recording capacity. The TiVo is always recording and never shuts off. It buffers both tuners to 30 min independently. This means that if one of the tuners is sitting on the channel for the 6:00 news and you get to the TV 15 min late, you can back up the buffered live broadcast to the beginning and skip through the commercials until you catch up to real time. The TiVo needs a cable card but takes the place of your STB so you can apply a portion of the STB rental fee to the cheaper cable card rental fee and come out ahead.

Your comment about only needing 1 hr of storage seems to indicate a partial understanding of a DVR. You can't skip commercials in real-time -- you have to record it first and skip them while you watch the recording. This is called time-shifting. An hour of broadcast HDTV contains around 18-20 min of commercials so you would have to record at least the first 20 min of the program before you start watching it so you can skip through the commercials and end the show in real time. If you want to watch 3 1hr shows in a row, you would have to record the first hour before you start watching -- it would be recording the second show while you are watching the first. Use the guide to schedule it to record the shows you want to watch and watch them whenever you want.

Be aware that a TiVo requires an Internet connection to get guide updates and firmware updates. I comes with a socket for hardwire but if you want to use wireless you have to buy a wireless adapter which you could also find on the used market.

Thanks. I understand your first paragraph and that pretty much matches my understanding. With respect to your second paragraph I still think 1 hour will suffice. We typically watch the news and might pause for 15-20 minutes before watching. That gives us enough time shifting for a 30 minute news segment. The minute we're into real time we can always find something else to do after putting the DVR into pause mode. We do have lots of experience using a DVR with the Dish Network service so are accustomed to the principles of commercial skipping. We are not familiar with how the 2nd tuner may offer advantages with respect to commercial skipping. It might be nice to jump between two channels and skip commercial on either if that were feasible.

That's useful information in your 3rd paragraph. The unit would be located adjacent to our router so we could connect it via Ethernet cable or WiFi. Thanks again.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-15-2013, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by paroots View Post

I started a thread here (post #144):
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1460986/hd-pvr-2-1512-owners-thread/120

but no one can explain how a Hauppauge can be used to skip commercials. Does anyone here have more info on this topic? Thanks.
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Quote:
The unfortunately-named PVR boxes do nothing more than take the output from a video source - cable box, satellite tuner, video game console - and convert it to a form that can be turned into a file on a computer.
That's all the HD-PVR does -- it is a recording accessory for a PC, not a playback device. Playback of the file, including trickplay such as commercial skip, is done by a separate device of your choosing such as a PC software player or a media streamer like the WDTV Live-SMP. The HD-PVR is only a PC capture device.

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post #7 of 10 Old 09-15-2013, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Dr Don already answered that question with
That's all the HD-PVR does -- it is a recording accessory for a PC, not a playback device. Playback of the file, including trickplay such as commercial skip, is done by a separate device of your choosing such as a PC software player or a media streamer like the WDTV Live-SMP. The HD-PVR is only a PC capture device.
Thanks. OK, now I get it and what you say makes sense.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 08:54 AM
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If you intend to use a PC, the Hauppauge is used to record component video, as from a cable box. Another alternative would be a PC tuner that takes a CableCARD, such as a Ceton Echo or a Silicon Dust HDHomeRun.

PC tuners are more convenient to use with, say, Windows Media Center. However, a PC tuner will "respect" copy-protected content, such as premium channels like HBO. You wouldn't be able to copy protected recordings to another device and play them; you'd have to play your recordings on that PC (or an approved "extender" such as an XBox).

BTW, for non-copy-protected shows, if you're willing to wait until the program has been completely recorded, there is PC software to automatically locate commercials and skip over them during playback. Much of the time, you won't even have to hit the "skip forward" button. This software isn't perfect, though; sometimes it misses a commercial and you have to skip forward as usual.

If you'd like to go this route, here's yet another thread to check out. Read at least the first post: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1422535/windows-media-center-vs-tivo-premiere

PS: that post links to an article which recommends some commercial-skipping software. The commercial-detection software it recommended was ShowAnalyzer, which was probably the best available at the time. But ShowAnalyzer is showing its age; nowadays, you might consider Comskip instead.

PPS: the "free" version of the commercial-skipping add-in (included with the DVRMSToolbox software) is not compatible with Windows 8. If you have Win 8, you'll need to donate a few $$ to the DVRMSToolbox developer to get access to the latest version of his software.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

for non-copy-protected shows, if you're willing to wait until the program has been completely recorded, there is PC software to automatically locate commercials and skip over them during playback. Much of the time, you won't even have to hit the "skip forward" button. This software isn't perfect, though; sometimes it misses a commercial and you have to skip forward as usual.
I'm finding more and more troublesome commercials where the lead-in has a full compliment of black frames but the lead-out from the commercial does either a blended transition over a frame or simply an abrupt frame switch -- neither of which have any black frames for commercial skip software to key in on.

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post #10 of 10 Old 09-16-2013, 11:58 AM
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Sounds like the broadcasters are getting nastier. mad.gif Using ShowAnalyzer, I've recently noticed it missing part of the "middle" commercial break in a 30-minute show more often, and I have to manually edit the .edl file to clip the rest out. A lack of black frames is one common reason: makes it look like the last commercial in the break is part of the show.

I guess it just depends on how much work you're willing to put into being lazy wink.gif
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