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post #811 of 18763 Old 05-28-2007, 09:29 PM
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(What do you mean by "HD" support? External Hard Disk Drive or "HDD" support)? As I stated, SARA is Scientific Atlanta's reference software design for their boxes. Any new features that they add to PowerTV and their applications middleware API set will be reflected by new features in SARA; it's their proof of concept for them. I worked cell phone applications; Qualcomm provides the development tool chain for that, including the base RTOS and many packages of optional APIs. They also provide their reference platform source, in which they give examples of how to use those capabilities (like support for cameras, or movie playback, etc). Like SARA, it has an extremely plain, awkward and unattractive UI, but it's not meant for deployment, it's just a platform on which Qualcomm can give their customers working examples of their OS and middleware features. I have no doubt that third-party developers who license PowerTV and SA's middleware APIs, like Aptiv Digital, have the full source code of SARA.

I fully expect to see future versions of SARA which include support for emerging technologies like OCAP, and maybe at some point they'll hire professional graphics designers to doll it up and human factors people to rearrange the GUI to be easier to use and more powerful--who knows? I personally would have a hard time drawing a business case for that.

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post #812 of 18763 Old 05-28-2007, 09:42 PM
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HD as in High Definition 16:9 display of the IPG, it was added to version 1.89 with a recommendation not to use it yet.

No disagreement with everything else you said, but I'm not sure what you mean by your last sentence. I really don't think SA intended to be in the IPG display business and expected 3rd parties like Pioneer/Aptiv to do that.

I know you can't seriously think SA's programmers are incapable of dolling things up with more colors and different fonts (though I can see why you might come to that conclusion ). I'm quite confident they can do all the others things too, IMHO that just hasn't been part of the business plan, though it clearly should have been. I think folks forget they make this stuff work across platforms, including the legacy crap cableco's like Cox still use. I once asked if Passport runs on legacy stuff like the DCT-2000 and never got an answer. My guess is RAM limitations wouldn't allow it.

Cheers, Dave
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post #813 of 18763 Old 05-28-2007, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I know you can't seriously think SA's programmers are incapable of dolling things up with more colors and different fonts (though I can see why you might come to that conclusion ). I'm quite confident they can do all the others things too

I have no doubt that they could try, I just doubt that they'd come up with anything more than marginally better. That's why consumer electronics companies (like the cell phone companies I've worked for) hire professional graphics designers and Human Factors engineers. Things with large, complex menu systems are no longer designed by programmers--it's a speciality with its own college curriculum. And if you want the art in your GUI to be eye pleasing, you hire artists. I assume that if SA ever wants to spiff up SARA, they'll add some HF engineers to their staff and comission a new graphics design. I just don't see where spiffing it up (either by hiring experts to do it or wasting money by asking their SEs to do it) will enhance their business. As trashy as it looks, it's a wildly sucessful product, deployed in millions of homes.

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post #814 of 18763 Old 05-28-2007, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I don't think that's true. (Does Adelphia exist anymore? I thought that they had some huge mismanagement scandal, requiring that they sell off their cable business. Locally, TWC bought off their Southern California system and are presently operating them). I can't comment on Charter, but Cox and Comcast comissioned TiVo to port a version of their UI to their deployed boxes--I believe that Comcast is very close to rolling out and that Cox should follow by early next year. TiVo will be an extra-cost subscriber option, and they're sticking to SARA and Passport as their "free" alternatives.

Mike,

Adelphia is still around. I have a friend in Vermont that has their cable service. He thinks that all cable companies suck! hahaha!

Here is Adelphia's website if anyone's interested:

http://www.adelphia.com/home.cfm

Jack

SA-8300HDC DVR with TWC Navigator Guide
Guide Version -ODN 7.2.11
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post #815 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I have no doubt that they could try, I just doubt that they'd come up with anything more than marginally better. That's why consumer electronics companies (like the cell phone companies I've worked for) hire professional graphics designers and Human Factors engineers. Things with large, complex menu systems are no longer designed by programmers--it's a speciality with its own college curriculum. And if you want the art in your GUI to be eye pleasing, you hire artists. I assume that if SA ever wants to spiff up SARA, they'll add some HF engineers to their staff and comission a new graphics design. I just don't see where spiffing it up (either by hiring experts to do it or wasting money by asking their SEs to do it) will enhance their business. As trashy as it looks, it's a wildly sucessful product, deployed in millions of homes.

Given that rationale, you are probably right.

Cheers, Dave
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post #816 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Cox and Comcast comissioned TiVo to port a version of their UI to their deployed boxes--I believe that Comcast is very close to rolling out and that Cox should follow by early next year. TiVo will be an extra-cost subscriber option, and they're sticking to SARA and Passport as their "free" alternatives.

WOW, didn't know that! Funny, from 3 years ago I thought TiVo's best move was exactly this, get out of the hardware and head end business and license the software.

So their plan is a free basic UI and an extra cost UI? VERY curious if you've heard any possible pricing...

Time Warner NYC (Man North Head End) - 8742HD DVR ODN 5.2.0_9

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post #817 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

I'd be delighted to have the option of "sticking" with Passport.

ONLY if they fix the trick play bug. BUT, being ever cynical, they'd leave enough bugs in Passport to convince (force) users to spend extra money for a fully functioning IPG.

I also suspect they CAN do this... I think one of the "trail" Navigator locations had it downloaded only to non DVR boxes (there were folks who had DVR and non DVR boxes, same household and had Nav. on the non-DVR and Passport on the DVR).

Now assume trick play is fixed. At that point, I see the difference between that and TiVo to be not worth more than a buck extra per month...

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post #818 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 08:11 AM
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I wonder what prompted TWC to not move to the same model: basic SARA reference design, or TIVO/PASSPORT Cadillac version.

If SARA is a [exemplar / reference O/S-Application design], should it not come free with the equipment? And be updated to ensure the equipment works with all the new standards/tech? I wonder when the software support agreement runs out...

Or when it ran out on the head-end servers...

Could the biggest feature of Navigator to TWC be not in the STB, but in the head-end server software or capability to work with different head-end configurations? (capability, not necessarily current execution...).


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post #819 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverside_Guy View Post

WOW, didn't know that! Funny, from 3 years ago I thought TiVo's best move was exactly this, get out of the hardware and head end business and license the software.

So their plan is a free basic UI and an extra cost UI? VERY curious if you've heard any possible pricing...

Jeez, RG, where ya' been? The Comcast and Cox TiVo deals have been all the scuttlebutt for the past couple of years. I have a friend who works on firmware for TiVo's dread advertising features for the past year and some. I spoke to him recently and he'd been on a death march to meet the deadline for the final or near final or customer-beta release of the Comcast version for Moto boxes.

I'm not sure what Cox is planning, but the word is that on Comcast it'll be available for an additional $5/month. For long time TiVo users who can't justify the expense of the Series 3, that's nothing.

I'm not sure what Comcast is using as a base alternative IPG. They seem to be using Gemstar's i-Guide in at least some markets (beware--the demo links on that page open a new full-screen window with voice narration). There's an AVS Forum thread discussing it.

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post #820 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CANNON-FODDER View Post

If SARA is a [exemplar / reference O/S-Application design], should it not come free with the equipment? And be updated to ensure the equipment works with all the new standards/tech? I wonder when the software support agreement runs out...

I suspect that it comes free with PowerTV and the middleware for development purposes (it's one huge source code example), but actually deploying it might involve further licensing.

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post #821 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satch Man View Post

Correct me if I am wrong,

But it is my understanding that Adelphia, Comcast, Cox, and Charter, have developed "In house" digital program guides that don't have hardly any of the problems associated with Navigator.

Not all of them have their own program guides. And those who do they actually subcontract work out to software professionals in the program guide industry (TV Guide, Aptiv).

Time Warner Cable tried to re-invent the wheel but they're not software professionals and apparently have no concept of what a QC dept is. They were hoping Lincoln will be their QC Dept or rather "lab rats".
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post #822 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 03:44 PM
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I have not seen this. Looks like one of the main people responsible for getting Navigator going? http://www.wict.org/WICT/Education/P...V/Bio_Egan.htm
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post #823 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 03:47 PM
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And another key player on the same site: http://www.wict.org/WICT/Education/P...io_Hawkins.htm
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post #824 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danki6x View Post

And another key player on the same site: http://www.wict.org/WICT/Education/P...io_Hawkins.htm

From this link I picked up this key phrase:
Quote:
this navigator became the first OCAP application to successfully launch on a US cable system to a customer trial base.

Successfully Launch ?????????????????

Customer Trial Base !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There you have it Lincoln Cable Board - TW PR dept does admit to it being a trial (and they claim it was successful!).

Dave Hancock
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post #825 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

From this link I picked up this key phrase:


Successfully Launch ?????????????????

Customer Trial Base !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There you have it Lincoln Cable Board - TW PR dept does admit to it being a trial (and they claim it was successful!).

"Ms. Hawkins became a pioneer in the OpenCable initiative in December 2005 when an early release of this navigator became the first OCAP application to successfully launch on a US cable system to a customer trial base."

The Lincoln launch was apparently a mess, but I didn't think it went back to 2005, did it? I think they were really talking about a previous launch in 2005, at some undisclosed location, rather than Lincoln. I wonder where that one was, or what the customer reaction was.

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post #826 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 05:53 PM
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vicw: I see your point - but I suspect that some writer merged her earlier activities in specifying OCAP (which would have been in Dec 2005 - OCAP was announced in Jan 2006) with the Lincoln Launch.

BUT: If it was successful in 2005, what would they call the Lincoln mess? If they could do it right in 2005, why can't they do it right in 2007?

All I can conclude is that the writer screwed it up (just like TW has screwed the launch up).

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post #827 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

vicw: I see your point - but I suspect that some writer merged her earlier activities in specifying OCAP (which would have been in Dec 2005 - OCAP was announced in Jan 2006) with the Lincoln Launch.

BUT: If it was successful in 2005, what would they call the Lincoln mess? If they could do it right in 2005, why can't they do it right in 2007?

All I can conclude is that the writer screwed it up (just like TW has screwed the launch up).

I think you may be right. The writer may well have just misassembled a bunch of factoids together, out of context. It's hard to imagine that they could have made any kind of prior successful launch that would have not been noticed at the time, and not subsequently bragged about by TWC in a more public way.

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post #828 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 06:14 PM
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Or an editor was a bit heavy handed with the delete key!

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post #829 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I'm not sure what Cox is planning, but the word is that on Comcast it'll be available for an additional $5/month. For long time TiVo users who can't justify the expense of the Series 3, that's nothing.

I can't imagine anyone who uses a DVR the way many of us do not being able to justify another $5/mo, including me. The only caveat is that the port include most of the features that were recently posted in one of these threads, including search capabilities and the Wishlist. Am I right to assume the Comcast IPG data will be used and not Tivo's data?

Cheers, Dave
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post #830 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I can't imagine anyone who uses a DVR the way many of us do not being able to justify another $5/mo, including me. The only caveat is that the port include most of the features that were recently posted in one of these threads, including search capabilities and the Wishlist. Am I right to assume the Comcast IPG data will be used and not Tivo's data?

I beg to differ - I came from the VCR world and am quite happy with the way that SARA works. I would not pay one cent more for TiVo like features (but that's me). Further, from all that I have read, I do prefer SARA to Passport as SARA seems to make greater use of the hardware.

Bottom Line: I'm happy that SARA is last on the conversion to Navigator list.

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post #831 of 18763 Old 05-29-2007, 08:14 PM
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Not to seem wishy-washy, but I like SARA too and have stated so many times. But it would be worth $5/mo to have access to TitanTV-type capability without needing my notebook, etc. Of course, I believe there will be other options on or before the timethe Tivo port actually gets to SA boxes here with Cox, so I could afford to be gracious.

I do have a lot of Wishlist-type entries on TitanTV and 14 days data is nice. You did read my caveat, right? I think that will give me plenty of reason to opt out at the time. If all I get is a Passport/Tivo look without features I want, then I'll stick with SARA too. I really don't think the port is going to live up to expectations, but I also won't mind being surprised. If nothing else, it will put pressure on SA to improve SARA and I never rush to jump ship anyway.

Cheers, Dave
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post #832 of 18763 Old 05-30-2007, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

vicw: I see your point - but I suspect that some writer merged her earlier activities in specifying OCAP (which would have been in Dec 2005 - OCAP was announced in Jan 2006) with the Lincoln Launch.

BUT: If it was successful in 2005, what would they call the Lincoln mess? If they could do it right in 2005, why can't they do it right in 2007?

All I can conclude is that the writer screwed it up (just like TW has screwed the launch up).

Actually, in my wandering search for information about the Navigator (as a member of the Lincoln Cable Board) I'd come across Ms. Hawkins before; in fact had seen her bio, though I don't recall having come across Ms. Egan yet.

Ms. Hawkins' name is mentioned in this article from 2003:

http://www.cable360.net/cableworld/video/16382.html

as one of the players in "Mystro TV," a project that was apparently put together in 2003-2004 and rolled out in Green Bay sometime around late 2004 or early 2005. The project quickly crashed & burned (for reasons that apparently are unrelated to the interactive program guide that was being used, though trust me - I've dug deep, trying to find any indication of how close that guide was to the Navigator.)

The crash apparently led to the booting of Jim Chiddix from Time Warner (Chiddix then joined OpenTV and later made a sweetheart deal with TWC; OpenTV has subsequently been bought by the Swiss Kudelski Group, and the Group has apparently turned Mr. Chiddix out on the streets once again. But as far as I know OpenTV still has the sweetheart deal with TWC, and is still using the name OpenTV.)

So anyway, yeah, I think Green Bay was the (successful?) trial test market mentioned in the article. However, I'd come across the Mystro article early on (thanks to someone in public testimony mentioning that they got sick of watching the word "Mystro" every time their machine rebooted, and thanks to TWC's decision to use the very Google-able phrase "Mystro TV" for their top secret project), so when the Cable Board was asked to submit questions to TWC about the Navigator, I asked the following question (similar in spirit to question in second paragraph of DaveHancock's post quoted above):

"Why do you think that the Navigator stands a chance of getting fixed anytime soon, given that it's apparently been in existence since October 2003 and still has the kinks that we're seeing today?"

To which TWC responded:

"This version of Navigator has not been existence since October of 2003" and then refers the reader to a separate chronology which shows product development in 2003-2004, completion of "Navigator V1" by First Quarter 2005, "EOL Navigator V1" in Second Quarter 2005 followed that same quarter by the start of "Navigator V2" which eventually turns into what Lincoln is using. (Interesting that their chronology thinks that there've only been TWO versions of Navigator; heck, I could swear that we've had THREE versions just this month!)

So there ya have it folks: The "successful launch" mentioned in the Hawkins bio was apparently the launch of "Navigator Version 1" in Green Bay, then TWC "fixed" it and gave us the highly buggy "Navigator Version 2." (Either that, or maybe the bios are a little thick on hype and thin on facts. Hmmm...)
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post #833 of 18763 Old 05-30-2007, 06:06 AM
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Following up on my previous post, for anyone interested in the historical underpinnings of the Mystro - Navigator connection, here are a couple of links that you could use as a start:

This one discusses a variety of IPGs, and is not too detailed on TWC's guide, but it does explicitly makes the connection between the Mystro TV project in Green Bay and the Navigator (though from the publication date I'm sure the TWC people would tell me that it's talking about "Navigator V1" instead of the new and improved "Navigator V2"):

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA417949.html

This one gets into more detail about the Mystro TV in general, but doesn't really mention the program guide directly:

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA330389.html

There's a lot more information out there; search Google for things like "MystroTV" and "Chiddix" and "Navigator".
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post #834 of 18763 Old 05-30-2007, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I can't imagine anyone who uses a DVR the way many of us do not being able to justify another $5/mo, including me. The only caveat is that the port include most of the features that were recently posted in one of these threads, including search capabilities and the Wishlist. Am I right to assume the Comcast IPG data will be used and not Tivo's data?

I thought that TiVo was using Tribune Media's guide data, but it appears that in '03 TiVo and Gemstar settled suites against each other in part by TiVo switching to Gemstar's content. I think that most of the guide data in cable provider IPGs comes from Gemstar, as does the non-interactive TV Guide Channel that they all feature. TiVo gives its users access to much more of that data than is exposed in any of those IPGs (that I've used). You can ask for additional info on any listing and get a long list of series regular cast, episode guest stars, director, producers, etc.

TiVo has a built-in fan base of people who'd been using their SD analog over-the-air/cable models and their DirecTV models. Many of these people have had to suffer the pain of using far less well supported IPGs of vastly inferior design as foist on them by their cable companies just to be able to timeshift HDTV. TiVo introduced the Series 3, but many who were using and loving $150 SD TiVo's can't make that leap to a $600 initial expense plus service fees, but they can all easily pay $5 more a month to bring their beloved TiVo interface to the equipment they're already using. Many have always been curious about TiVo but with no inexpensive way to try one--now they have one. We'll see, but I think that the service will sell reasonably well.

I have no way of checking it out, but my friend on TiVo's development staff thinks that it came out well. I'll see whether I can pick his mind for a few details. He's very serious about his NDA, though.

TiVo has a great number of features and they add more all the time. There's a genre/subgenre filter for the interactive guide which, when activated, visually emphasizes programming in the guide which matches that genre and (optional) subgenre and whittles the list of displayed channels down to those which have current and upcoming content matching the filter ("HD" is a main-genre, so you can reduce the guide down to channels with current or upcoming high-definition content). They recently added a very interesting thing called "Universal Swivel Search". When you access swivel search from the options of a program entry it brings up a two-column list with items on the left-hand side like the cast list; select one of those items and it will give you a list of upcoming things in the guide involving that actor or director or whatever, and a list of things available for download from Amazon (for a price). (I doubt that the Amazon download thing is going to be in the cable-providers' version, though). It's called "swivel search" because if you select one of the matched programs it'll give you the same search info for it. I don't know if elaborate features like that will make it into the cable providers' version at all.

Mike Scott (XBL: MikeHellion, PSN: MarcHellion)

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post #835 of 18763 Old 05-30-2007, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Jeez, RG, where ya' been?

Probably paying more attention to TW than Comcrap or Crux as TW is my ONLY option. AND generally not paying that close attention to TiVo up until the 3 as I had no interest whatsoever in the 2. AND not that much since the 3 as the cost benefit analysis I found tilted about 250% against TiVo.

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post #836 of 18763 Old 05-30-2007, 05:43 PM
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Michael,

I remember reading about Tivo settling with Gemstar, but I didn't realize that led to Tivo now using the same database as many cableco's, that's interesting and bodes well for the tivo port IMHO.

No argument about the fanbase and as I've already dsaid $5/mo certainly seems worth it. I've seen estimates though that run to $10, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the final number turns out to be.

I can also appreciate you friend sticking to his NDA and I hope he'd continue to do so, none of this is worth getting into trouble over, we will know soon enough.

Thanks for the info (and staying civil ).

Cheers, Dave
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post #837 of 18763 Old 05-30-2007, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Riverside_Guy View Post

......the cost benefit analysis I found tilted about 250% against TiVo.

Well, IMHO any upfront cost is a sunk cost that will never be recovered, so I wouldn't consider it in any analysis past the simple desire to want the S3 or not. Once that decision is made, the analysis shifts to monthly fees. There it seems to me the S3 plus cabelcards plus Tivo fees comes out to about the same as the cableco DVR plus fees with quite a bit more functionality thrown in. Of course, the jury is still out on SDV, VOD, etc., and that makes me think it is still a tad too early to buy into the S3 (for me anyway) unless you don't care about amortization of costs and will be able to afford to replace it with the next version that will handle SVD and newer cablecards that support VOD, etc. Between my 8300 with SARA, TitanTV, and HDTVMagazine, I manage just fine and there is no second-guessing.

Cheers, Dave
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post #838 of 18763 Old 05-31-2007, 08:56 AM
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FYI, my financial analysis had the capital cost amortised, as is properly should be. Eliminating it as a "sunk" cost is accounting slight of hand and only used when trying to obscure the analysis. Eliminating it is simply incorrect in any kind of fiscal analysis. Besides, what you pay to "rent" the DVR from the cable company sure as hell includes hardware amortization factored in! I trust you realized my "250%" was an exaggeration for effect???

Not only that, but I used a 3 year cycle... which is a fairly standard (current) way most all businesses account for their capital costs for technology. AND I go back far enough to the times when such expenses were done on a 10 year depreciation cycles (I've been a "manager of budget" for 25+ years as a department head and have had to live with some of those old 10 year cycles for equipment that was long, long gone).

Plus did you use the 3 year locked in contract with a $200 cancellation fee for the TiVo cost? Right there you are not close to comparing apples and oranges. But even accepting that, the cost sees to drop to about 9 bucks per month. Add the cost of the cable cards and you're probably around 12 bucks or so.

Look, I am VERY familiar with such machinations to personally justify what one decides. I do it all the time, it's quite a natural thing to do. I DO understand how you arrive at your conclusions, I'm sure there decisions I make that are not based on a proper analysis, but sure as hell DO make me feel slightly better about the choices I make.

The REALLY funny part (to me) is that I always thought I could never set up something on my Passport 8300 that is easily done on a TiVo, setting up to record a particular directors movies when they arrive on the schedule. I thought TiVo had that al over the 8300/Passport, until I found out that one COULD do something like that (months ago I missed a Janis documentary that I wanted to see, so I set it up on my 8300 and just this week, it popped up in my list of scheduled recordings.

In any case, I'm reading about the deal between TiVo and Comcast recently. THIS is a very interesting development (I've thought from day one their best move was to deal with their stuff by license), although limited to a cable outfit I'll never see (the chances of me moving out of my area is nil). Nobody seem to know for sure, BUT paying an additional could of bucks a month for a TiVo over an 8300 is a MUCH better prospect from the consumer perspective. Frankly, I still think TWC would be better overall to have gone THAT route than the whole Navigator thing.

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post #839 of 18763 Old 05-31-2007, 10:50 AM
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Riverside_Guy, we discussed this in the SA8000/8300HD w/Passport thread (here). Unless your cost for leasing the DVR is especially low or your local cost for leasing CableCARDs is especially high, %250 is a fairly gross overestimation. Amortizing the cost of purchase and the 3-year-service contract over 36 months, I'm paying 188% of what I'd pay for a lease cable DVR. We're not comparing apples-to-apples--the TiVo S3 has 56% more storage built in than the SA8300 and a host of networked media-center capabilities, with more added all the time. After 3 years you can continue to use the TiVo, at a sudden reduction of $16.66 a month, making it a few dollars cheaper to use than the leased cable DVR.

Mike Scott (XBL: MikeHellion, PSN: MarcHellion)

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post #840 of 18763 Old 05-31-2007, 01:12 PM
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Guys,

I think that the Passport days may be shrinking. Here in Milwaukee, when TWC shows the "All The Best" commercials, whenever they show TMC's DVR Program Guide, it's Navigator. Does that mean that if Milwaukee customers upgrade to DVR service, that they will now automatically get Navigator? (I am a non-DVR subscriber. If that means I can keep Passport longer, than I will NEVER get a DVR!)

Jack

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