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post #11281 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TomCat View Post
In central Phoenix, clear QAM is still there.

Rules change, but my understanding is that local stations must never be encrypted or blocked by cable TV, and local stations are all in HD and the SD versions disappeared in 2009, so the HD channels then should always be available without a STB.
I don't believe that's true as long as they provide at least one free receiver when they go all-digital. AFAIK, Comcast is all digital and Charter, in at least parts of Wisconsin, went all-digital back in September. I know because I installed my aunt's digital receivers for her when we visited last fall, she was given 1 free and has to pay for the 2nd. The receivers are very small, about the size of those analog conversion boxes folks use/used for OTA with older analog TVs. IIRC, and I know more specifics are somewhere in this or the old SA8300HD thread, cable has always been allowed to go all-digital, but the receivers back when the conversion took place were big and too expensive to provide free. Now they are small and cheap, though we all know nothing is really free with cable or satellite service. The link I posted shows that Cox is preparing to go all-digital too and may even have started in some areas. From what I understand, they are also moving to downloadable security to eliminate the need for cablecards, though they'll have to continue to support those for a long time.

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post #11282 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 06:32 AM
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You may be right about that, Dave.

But you are talking about something different than what I am talking about. I am talking about the situation on the ground currently, while you are talking about a hypothetical situation as far as Phoenix viewers are concerned, because "all-digital" is not what we are currently experiencing. That this is inevitable is a discussion we all should have, however.

Broadcasters pressed for the restriction that locals remain in the clear in 2009 because otherwise when the analog shutoff occurred they were facing the loss of all of those bedroom TVs that did not have STBs, meaning a huge drop in viewers, especially for 10 PM news.

Cable was OK with that because they don't want the phone to ring. So there was little opposition to it. While it is still probably the law of the land, it obviously must have a sunset provision so that repealing that makes sense when all TVs are HD and all viewers view in HD, which may be coming in the next year or so.

Cable also created their own SD versions of local channels to keep the status quo for SD viewers until that time, as in early 2009 only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the sets out there were HD-capable.

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post #11283 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TomCat View Post
You may be right about that, Dave.

But you are talking about something different than what I am talking about. I am talking about the situation on the ground currently, while you are talking about a hypothetical situation as far as Phoenix viewers are concerned, because "all-digital" is not what we are currently experiencing. That this is inevitable is a discussion we all should have, however.

Broadcasters pressed for the restriction that locals remain in the clear in 2009 because otherwise when the analog shutoff occurred they were facing the loss of all of those bedroom TVs that did not have STBs, meaning a huge drop in viewers, especially for 10 PM news.

Cable was OK with that because they don't want the phone to ring. So there was little opposition to it. While it is still probably the law of the land, it obviously must have a sunset provision so that repealing that makes sense when all TVs are HD and all viewers view in HD, which may be coming in the next year or so.

Cable also created their own SD versions of local channels to keep the status quo for SD viewers until that time, as in early 2009 only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the sets out there were HD-capable.
That's all basically true, but you said "local stations must never be encrypted" and "always be available without an STB" (kind of like you can keep your doctor, etc. ), both of which are simply not the case and that's all I was commenting about. As I remember the discussion back then, cableco's (reluctantly?) agreed to hold off until at least 2012. The only reasons they agreed were because it was too expensive for them to provide receivers at the time to all the customers you mentioned and the FCC was going to pass the rule anyway. So, unless things have changed, Clear QAM for locals is required unless they provide at least 1 receiver and the link I provided shows it's coming. We both agree that what Cox is providing today requires Clear QAM and I haven't seen any ETA for that to change, but it's coming.

Cheers, Dave
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post #11284 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 08:03 AM
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That's all basically true, but you said "local stations must never be encrypted" and "always be available without an STB" (kind of like you can keep your doctor, etc. ), both of which are simply not the case and that's all I was commenting about. As I remember the discussion back then, cableco's (reluctantly?) agreed to hold off until at least 2012. The only reasons they agreed were because it was too expensive for them to provide receivers at the time to all the customers you mentioned and the FCC was going to pass the rule anyway. So, unless things have changed, Clear QAM for locals is required unless they provide at least 1 receiver and the link I provided shows it's coming. We both agree that what Cox is providing today requires Clear QAM and I haven't seen any ETA for that to change, but it's coming.
As a TiVo owner I would love if they got rid of Clear QAM to rid us of the horrible invention called SDV. Unfortunately I know SDV is here to stay.

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post #11285 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kingpcgeek View Post
As a TiVo owner I would love if they got rid of Clear QAM to rid us of the horrible invention called SDV. Unfortunately I know SDV is here to stay.
Do you really think that's the reason we have SDV? I could be wrong, but my understanding is we'd still have SDV regardless. Since I started rebooting my TA every month or so, I haven't had any trouble with SDV channels. To be honest, I'm surprised we don't have to pay for the TA and that TiVo didn't add the support to the Roamio series. But then I don't know what it takes to support SDV directly.

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post #11286 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 09:50 AM
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Do you really think that's the reason we have SDV? I could be wrong, but my understanding is we'd still have SDV regardless. Since I started rebooting my TA every month or so, I haven't had any trouble with SDV channels. To be honest, I'm surprised we don't have to pay for the TA and that TiVo didn't add the support to the Roamio series. But then I don't know what it takes to support SDV directly.
Actually I should have said get rid of analog. Supposedly the reason we have SDV is to decrease bandwidth requirements and add more channels. Drop analog and you free up a lot of bandwidth right?

There might be hope for us TiVo owners to get rid of the TA someday. http://www.multichannel.com/news/tec...eo-tech/376007

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post #11287 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kingpcgeek View Post
Actually I should have said get rid of analog. Supposedly the reason we have SDV is to decrease bandwidth requirements and add more channels. Drop analog and you free up a lot of bandwidth right?

There might be hope for us TiVo owners to get rid of the TA someday. http://www.multichannel.com/news/tec...eo-tech/376007
Totally agree with that and it will be interesting to see what happens when they do go all-digital. I haven't kept up with the all-digital stuff for years because it doesn't really apply to me, I did know about the TA maybe going away at some point. Still not sure SDV will go away then though.

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post #11288 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 03:05 PM
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I still have HD stations on my un-boxed, cabled computer attached box.

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post #11289 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by kingpcgeek View Post
As a TiVo owner I would love if they got rid of Clear QAM to rid us of the horrible invention called SDV.
The existence of ClearQAM and SDV are unrelated. The disappearance of ANALOG channels lessens the need for SDV somewhat (though Cox will probably use the gained bandwidth for HSI), but ClearQAM disappearing would have no impact on SDV.
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post #11290 of 11308 Old 02-08-2015, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post
Totally agree with that and it will be interesting to see what happens when they do go all-digital. I haven't kept up with the all-digital stuff for years because it doesn't really apply to me, I did know about the TA maybe going away at some point. Still not sure SDV will go away then though.
As long as cable companies use 1GHz bandwidth equipment and MPEG2, SDV will exist.
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post #11291 of 11308 Old 02-09-2015, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post
The existence of ClearQAM and SDV are unrelated. The disappearance of ANALOG channels lessens the need for SDV somewhat (though Cox will probably use the gained bandwidth for HSI), but ClearQAM disappearing would have no impact on SDV.
Thus me correcting my statement right after I made it.

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post #11292 of 11308 Old 02-09-2015, 03:38 PM
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That's all basically true, but you said "local stations must never be encrypted" and "always be available without an STB" (kind of like you can keep your doctor, etc. ), both of which are simply not the case and that's all I was commenting about...
Let's try to keep the record straight. I was commenting on Bryan's statement regarding whether Cox IS encrypting channels. I did not decree "always" and "never" regarding what they are allowed to do, because I didn't really know, which is why I indicated to you that "you may be correct about that". I was simply saying that that was my understanding, which it was, and that clearQAM channels were still available where I was, which they are. You were originally commenting about neither of those things, and about what they might do in the future. Later you were trying to tell me that I was misinformed about the rule being still in effect, and you were correct about that particular point. But I was not really responding to that; I was responding to Bryan and trying to get back to that point.

I am just fine with being told I am wrong about whether the rule is still in effect, because this subject affects me quite directly in that I am responsible for a house system that extends Cox service with 200 outlets and just a couple of STBs, so if they do this, that scuttles much of my system, and I need to find an alternative. Now that I know, I can deal with it, so thanks. But is seems that we may be conflating a bunch of separate issues here, many of which I am NOT wrong about, so I am calling for just a little clarity.

And what I was commenting about was indeed the law of the land for a long time, as part of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992. But after a bit of research I now know what applies currently, and it appears that this ruling is no longer in effect; according to this report:

http://hometheaterreview.com/fcc-rul...t-a-cable-box/

The FCC relaxed that law as far back as 2012. So, things have indeed changed, and Cox is free to encrypt any time they feel froggy enough to leap.

But the reasons they never have are still good, strong reasons. There is a large downside for them in that customers will be inconvenienced. For an industry where many customers are threatening to cut the cord from a universally-loathed service provider in lieu of new delivery systems and improved OTA systems, that could be the wrong move for them if done in haste. That becomes less of an issue every day as more people finally buy their first HDTV, does not change for bedroom TVs, and becomes more of an issue as streaming matures, but it is still an issue, and it will always be a deterrent, up to and including the day they decide to pull the trigger.

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post #11293 of 11308 Old 02-09-2015, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Not a problem, TomCat. However, even in that context, I was simply trying to point out that there is no current rule that says they have to use clear QAM and not encrypt the locals. As you found out, that rule was not renewed in 2012 and cableco's are pretty much able to cut their own throats if they want.


Since we're on the subject, I have no idea how many customers would be affected if they did go all-digital and provided one free receiver and charged for others. Here's an article from December 2014 confirming what I've been saying, the all-digital rollout is coming and sooner than some may think. At the end, it says up to 2 receivers free for 2 years.
http://www.lightreading.com/video/vi.../d/d-id/712695

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post #11294 of 11308 Old 02-10-2015, 10:39 AM
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You are absolutely right, Dave, and you know I consider you the premiere contributor to this forum (thread?).

Thanks so much for the link; I will forward that to my overlords in hopes of scaring them into a contigency plan I have been working on. I know it was scary to me, and is clear evidence that this train is actually starting to go into the tunnel (no Freudian stuff here). If it were not for you, I might not have seen this coming as early as I would have liked to.

One other thing I read is that the top 6 MSOs, including Cox, must provide at least one STB free of charge to analog-only subs for a couple of years, possibly two STBs for certain customers. I think you also might have mentioned something along those lines. This seems like a reasonable way to soften the blow, I guess.

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post #11295 of 11308 Old 02-10-2015, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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You are absolutely right, Dave, and you know I consider you the premiere contributor to this forum (thread?).

Thanks so much for the link; I will forward that to my overlords in hopes of scaring them into a contigency plan I have been working on. I know it was scary to me, and is clear evidence that this train is actually starting to go into the tunnel (no Freudian stuff here). If it were not for you, I might not have seen this coming as early as I would have liked to.

One other thing I read is that the top 6 MSOs, including Cox, must provide at least one STB free of charge to analog-only subs for a couple of years, possibly two STBs for certain customers. I think you also might have mentioned something along those lines. This seems like a reasonable way to soften the blow, I guess.
Thanks, Tom, but I can't take the credit, too many people have contributed to this forum over the years, including yourself.


I knew Comcast had gone all-digital and I found out in Sep that Charter was, so I figured it was a matter of time. I never checked into it though until the Clear QAM subject came up. And if I had understood your initial context, I still might not have checked, so I guess it's a good thing I misunderstood.


At any rate, that article mentioned the 2 STBs for 2 years and I'm not sure there's any FCC requirement to do so. I guess it's moot though as long as Cox does and I like that Cox is doing the right thing and offering 2. Of course, like I said though, "free of change" doesn't mean they can't raise rates beforehand, like they just did, and pad their coffers to account for those "free" STBs.


I guess you can rest a little easier knowing what's coming and take some time to plan.

Cheers, Dave
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post #11296 of 11308 Old 02-11-2015, 05:59 PM
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As long as cable companies use 1GHz bandwidth equipment and MPEG2, SDV will exist.
Changing to a higher bandwidth somewhat implies replacing the entire plant, with the exception of retaining bits and pieces of the hardline. But they seem to do that every ~15 years or so anyway, so maybe they will go higher. But it can not be a retrofit; even if their amps were already higher bandwidth, where the amps and taps are placed physically (or what dB value the taps are) is based on the bandwidth that the system is designed for, meaning most if not all amps would have to be physically moved, which means most taps would have to be changed out or moved. It is often easier to just rebuild the plant completely.

DBS made the leap to MPEG4, which mostly meant changing out the entire infrastructure other than the receivers and uplink dishes (most receivers were replaced anyway for HD). They spent billions to do it, and it seems like it might have been a really good idea. Maybe it is a little less of a good idea for cable, but I am somewhat surprised they haven't done this in very many places.

But if they go all digital anyway, STBs will still be needed, so that may spur MPEG4 or HEVC or whatever is current at the time. The best way is to start putting out STBs now that are futured for MPEG4, so the changeout is not so drastic at the time they switch.

Moving everything to streaming instead and simulating that as if it were linear TV would cut their bandwidth needs by ~75%, which seems doable, so they may get to avoid needing more bandwidth, and they may be able to never have to resort to SDV as their main protocol were they to go that route. That also gets them into mobile devices and "TV Everywhere" much more easily.

Honestly, the future of cable is broadband anyway, and linear delivery is a dinosaur that is going away. All cable co.s are losing linear subs but gaining broadband subs. The cannabalization of the analogs sort of reflects that new direction.

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post #11297 of 11308 Old 02-11-2015, 06:17 PM
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What are our thoughts about the "PrimeTime Anytime" approach by DISH? I have not heard if that was successful or a flop, but this is something that cable could do with the right DVR, today. Not only that, but they would not have to limit it to the big 4 nets like DISH does; they could allow a user to include any group of channels in the PTA group, and could allow it to program any daypart. IOW, they could make it generic for subs who don't want to have to tinker, yet customizable for subs who are comfortable with that. With enough storage they could also extend it more than 8 days and expand it to more than 4 channels or more than to just a 3-hour block.

I always considered PTA a brilliant concept (especially the commercial killer aspect that DISH also has), and I expected every vendor to have some form of it, but that never happened. Maybe users just didn't care and it didn't drive the numbers up.

I still say that there is a lot of parity now between DBS and cable as far as channel lineup and quality and reliability; something that did not exist just a few years ago and does now. The factor that separates DISH, DTV, and cable is the DVR. DirecTV has a DVR probably better than anyone, including TIVO (although it was even better a couple of years ago). DISH has one nearly as good. Cable and fiber typically has a DVR that runs a very distant third.

And how good the DVR is is typically the deciding factor for me in choosing a service, because they all have about the same programming at about the same cost, so the only real difference to me is how friendly or unfriendly the access to that content is.

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post #11298 of 11308 Old 02-11-2015, 08:06 PM
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^^ I guess I always assumed Dish had the best dvrs followed by Tivo but I guess Direct TV has caught up...
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post #11299 of 11308 Old 02-11-2015, 10:20 PM
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DBS made the leap to MPEG4, which mostly meant changing out the entire infrastructure other than the receivers and uplink dishes (most receivers were replaced anyway for HD). They spent billions to do it, and it seems like it might have been a really good idea. Maybe it is a little less of a good idea for cable, but I am somewhat surprised they haven't done this in very many places.

But if they go all digital anyway, STBs will still be needed, so that may spur MPEG4 or HEVC or whatever is current at the time. The best way is to start putting out STBs now that are futured for MPEG4, so the changeout is not so drastic at the time they switch.

Most of cox's Cisco equipment (8642HDC, 8742HDC, 8752HDC, 9865HDC DVRs, 46xx STBs, etc.) are already MPEG4 ready. I'm not familiar with any consumer equipment that have 1.5GHz or 2GHz tuners. The combination of MPEG4 and no more analog should help immensely. Cox is already using H.264 on many of their HD channels.
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post #11300 of 11308 Old 02-11-2015, 10:52 PM
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^^ I guess I always assumed Dish had the best dvrs followed by Tivo but I guess Direct TV has caught up...
Well, it's just one man's opinion; a man who doesn't really have all the answers (or that many of them). I'm sure that there are many who would disagree with me. That's fine. It really doesn't matter who might agree. I am honestly not in a mood to raise anyone's hackles, and I am not laughing and pointing at anyone who has cable or fiber, I just have an opinion about the DVRs. So if I'm full of it, then I'm full of it, and if thinking that is what it takes for anyone upset by that to sleep more soundly, then vaya con Dios. I'm good, and I hope and want for us all to be good with that. There is certainly no offense meant here.

The VIP series is a fine DVR line. The DVR+ series for DTV was a originally a shock to the system for two very elephantine reasons; first, it was replacing the universally loved HD Tivo which had an obvious corner on the technology at the time, and second, it was not at all ready and took a good year or more to become a stable system. There was a lot of moaning and whining from those DTV subs who were unable to replace a Tivo with another Tivo, and were forced to have this abomination in its place. In 2007 I was ready to pitch mine off my balcony. Many of us searched high and low for rare HD Tivos, spent more than we wanted for them, and hunkered down hoping they would last until the DVR+ matured into something acceptable. The DVR+ had a very bad rep for a very long time, and deservedly so. It was a dog. At first. DTV created a lot of DISH subscribers by releasing that product way too soon.

But DTV worked hard to mold the DVR+ into a really good DVR which began to have features that were very clever and eventually made the Tivo look like old technology after a while. Tivo then started hemoraghing money at an alarming rate without the huge DTV contract, seemed to not be able to muster the technical team to raise Tivo to the level of competing DVRs, and although they do still provide a pretty good DVR, it comes at a very high expense, while DTV and DISH DVRs are basically subsidized; buy the service and the DVR is essentially free; the DVR breaks and they send you another for the cost of shipping.

My experience with the VIPs is a bit limited (relatives; friends) but I was pretty underwhelmed. It does have some avid fans, though, and maybe it is better than what I was experiencing. Also, the DVR+ sort of peaked about 2011, and they have since goobered it up with unnecessary apps and features that don't really add to the experience very much and only seem to slow it down and make it less stable and more quirky, so it is possible that the VIPs are at parity by now, possibly even better. But my experience with tech support from DISH makes cable and DTV look like angels by comparison, although that may not be typical nor representative, to be fair. One thing that I think can be said about the VIP series that is pretty definitive is that it is pretty zippy compared to the DVR+; I gotta give them that.

So there are pros and cons for each DVR, and each has its champions and its detractors. But what seems to be a consensus, and is the point of what I was saying, is that cable and fiber have never had DVRs anywhere near this class level, which in my mind disqualifies those services from consideration, because the DVR is what separates good service from not-so-good service, with everything else being essentially at parity.

But there is a lot of Stockholm Syndrome among those held hostage by cable and fiber who think that is the right place to be, and a lot of folks will refuse to accept that as reality. So this sort of thinking tends to piss off folks who currently have cable or fiber. Sorry, not my intent.

And cable is right for a lot of folks; its a good service and it has its advantages. I am not dissing cable or fiber; I am dissing their inability to provide a quality DVR, which is a lot more important than they seem to think it is.

Look at it this way; the only thing that is keeping streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu from completely over-running linear TV, cable, DBS, and fiber and completely napstering them into an early grave quickly, is that the interface for streaming services, the thing that sits between the content and the customer, sucks balls. At least cable/fiber/DBS has an infrastructure that works well and is easy for everyone to wrap their brains around. So the only way they can maintain market share is by capitalizing on that advantage by providing a better DVR, which for cable and fiber, would differentiate them even more from the cluster that is streaming services, which by comparison, are not quite ready for prime time. Yet.

So if cable and fiber and DBS go down early, they only have themselves to blame for not concentrating on their strength, which is the superior interface. They have a definite shelf life and the ticking clock gets louder every minute, because the internet will eventually gobble up everything they do. Everything. Whether it happens sooner or later is up to them, based on how well they continue to compete. I would think strongly about selling all shares in DBS before too many more years pass, and cable a couple of years after that. If they don't adapt, they die. If they do adapt, they die later, because eventually somebody like Apple is going to get streaming right, and then it's Katy bar the door.

Sorry; too much caffeine. Maybe I never should have opened that door a crack, but OK, time for the knives to come out.

There's no place like 127.0.0.1

Last edited by TomCat; 02-11-2015 at 10:58 PM.
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post #11301 of 11308 Old 02-12-2015, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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TomCat, from my experience, most technology leapfrogs, so at any given time one service/device is arguably "ahead" of others. All I can really talk to is what my DVR can do. It has 3Tb of storage, 6 tuners, 2 weeks guide data and integrated content from streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.). If I search for a program, it will list upcoming episodes and also those available from streaming services, both free and to rent/buy. I can connect a number of mini units to it (not sure how many, 8?) and watch/manage TV/recordings anywhere in my home. It has wifi and I can stream TV/recordings to my tablets, phones, etc., including away from home over the internet. Streaming works with wifi as well as cell service. I can also stream/upload a video from my devices to the DVR and view it anywhere. I can start watching in one room and continue on any other TV or mobile device. I can download non-copy-protected recordings, strip commercials, etc. I can create scheduled recordings for programs that don't yet have guide data but whose title is in the database, such as Odyssey that doesn't premiere until Apr 5. It doesn't automatically skip commercials, but I can either FF through them or skip through them in 15 second intervals, either of which I prefer because I often find things of interest, like new shows, new restaurants, etc. It will record based on actors, writers, directors, as well as keywords in the title or description. I'm not sure what else I need, but at one time I didn't know if "needed' all these features.


To be sure, the delivery landscape is changing and I thought Smart TVs with apps were going to be the answer until I saw how cumbersome searching each individual app can be. I'm not sure what the future holds, but I doubt it's going to be a physical DVR. In 2 years when my purchase is amortized, I won't care and will be ready to move forward to whatever new stuff comes along. I still think the future is on demand via internet. It's just a matter of how well pay for it.

Cheers, Dave
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post #11302 of 11308 Old 02-18-2015, 08:10 PM
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DOH!

Diamondbacks' new TV deal believed to be worth more than $1 billion

http://www.azcentral.com/story/sport...ef64c68e%27%5D
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DOH!

Diamondbacks' new TV deal believed to be worth more than $1 billion

http://www.azcentral.com/story/sport...ef64c68e%27%5D
For a semi-pro team?
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post #11304 of 11308 Old Yesterday, 02:12 PM
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...at one time I didn't know if "needed' all these features. ...
Features are just the sizzle. The real meat, the porterhouse steak, is the interface, the thing that sits between you and your content. And that is why streaming isn't quite there yet, because no one has a good interface. The interface is what is important.

Every DVR has lots of features. Most DVRs share 80% of the same features. But none of them are so useful as to be a dealbreaker, IMHO. I wish my DTV DVR had certain of the auxillary DISH features, but the only real feature a DVR needs is to reliably record and play back content. And some don't even do that well. From what I have seen, DVRs not from DTV or DISH are all pretty terrible at this, and even the once-mighty Tivo has lost its status as the shining example of how things should be done.

Not that the ones from DTV or DISH are all that elegant; each seems to have been designed with its own set of boneheaded ergonomic decisions. Even the DTV DVR has been goobered up with a lot of features that really have no nutritional value, which is why I consider it not as good as it was 4 years ago. These are features that no one needs, and they only tend to complicate things and slow the microprocessor response time.

So yeah, where things are comparatively does slide around somewhat, but I generally disagree that technology leapfrogs all that much. I have never seen DISH be anything other than an also-ran to DTV. Not trying to be a fan boy here, but they have never had the wherewithal to reach parity in many ways, and have never been "ahead" in any way that I have ever seen, other than pre-MPEG4 DTV had a bandwidth crunch for a year or so. From 2004 to about 2011 DTV far outpaced DISH in HD channels; everyone eventually got everything, but it took a long while for DISH to get there, contrary to their ads claiming the exact opposite. If they ever did leapfrog ahead in any significant way, buh-bye, DTV, because my only loyalty is to who can do the best job for me today and tomorrow; for what I pay them, they are the ones that should be loyal to me.

No company has ever put out a better MP3 player than Apple. And I would like to strangle certain people making other decisions for that $700 billion company (Aperture, anyone? and iCloud is an annoying joke). I have lots of complaints about iTunes, but really, no other interface has been able to be significantly better. Tablets may finally have near parity to the iPad, but it still is considered the best by almost everyone. Asus and Lenovo are just never going to surpass or even catch Apple in any product category. I do not see an industry where Sony has the best TVs for 5 years and then Samsung leapfrogs ahead, and then Sharp or Vizio overtakes them; their ranks usually stay pretty much in the same order. I don't expect the next Camry to leapfrog ahead of the BMW 328i any time soon.

So, leapfrogging happens, but it is rare and I am not buying that premise as being anything close to ubiquitous based on what I have seen.

There's no place like 127.0.0.1
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post #11305 of 11308 Old Yesterday, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, but I completely disagree. Just because someone doesn't want or need some features doesn't mean others don't. And I could be wrong, but I believe DISH had 6 tuners first, then others followed. Then there was Whole House stuff by whomever and others followed. And Hopper, etc. Now there is streaming and everyone is following whoever was first. And I'm far from a fanboy, but TiVo is far from an also-ran. They may no longer be leaps ahead, but I seriously doubt you can set a Season Pass on DTV or DISH and have it include direct links to streaming episodes from various services. TiVo doesn't just have the app interfaces, it consolidates episodes from the HDD and streaming services in a single list/folder. I no longer have to open the Netflix app, select my list, find the program and then find the episode. That may not be a useful feature for everyone, but it is for me. I no longer have to keep checking for the release of the next season of House of Cards, it shows up automatically in the My Shows list as soon as it's available.


I also don't know if I could stream a recording from a DTV DVR in Phoenix to the condo I'm renting in Cocoa Beach FL. All I know is that with TiVo, I can. My wife can also watch recordings while we're driving along I-10 as long as we have a 4G signal, but that chews up our data allotment, so she doesn't do it. And like I said, I don't know what the Cox Contour DVR can do other than record 6 programs at once, but that's a far cry from the lousy 2-tuner SA8300HD I use to have from Cox. I skipped Contour, because I don't think it has all the capabilities TiVo has. Maybe leapfrog isn't the best term, but no matter what you buy, you can be sure someone else will come out with a new feature, then everyone will add it and the cycle will repeat.


I will agree that it's all about the interface these days. I haven't used a new DTV DVR, so I can't comment on how good it is. But then I don't think anyone can comment about any DVR unless their intimately familiar with it. I can tell you that my experience with my sister's DTV DVR has been less than pleasant. However, I know she doesn't have the latest and greatest DTV offers, so I can only comment about the one she does have.


I wish I could discuss MP3 players, but I can't. I have an old iPod and it's fine for my use. Whether or not it's the best though is debatable. I'll grant that if you get sucked into the Apple iSystem, everything will interface well and Apple products work well. However, they are not cheap and there is very little room to do anything Apple doesn't want you to do. If it were Micro$oft with such a closed system though, people would be raising Holy Hades (IMHO) ).

Cheers, Dave
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post #11306 of 11308 Old Yesterday, 06:15 PM
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Sorry, but I completely disagree. Just because someone doesn't want or need some features doesn't mean others don't...
I wish I could discuss MP3 players, but I can't. I have an old iPod and it's fine for my use. Whether or not it's the best though is debatable...
You can completely disagree all day, but you are not disagreeing with me, because that is not what I said. So don't be sorry that you disagree; be sorry that you are misinterpreting what I said (not really, DD always has a free season pass in my book). Whether an individual wants or needs a particular feature is completely a different thought. What I said is that a DVR needs to have one primary function, which is the ability to record and playback, and one primary attribute, which is reliability. And if it meets that bar, what separates it from the others is how good the interface is, period, regardless of whatever auxillary "features" it might also have. So a laundry list of features is kind of pointless.

Tivo always had the best interface, but it has gone downhill because the company can't muster a technical staff, which is because they no longer have any money to hire and keep one and are hemorraghing money daily. There are things about the DTV DVR that are not as elegant as the Tivo interface used to be, but it has some really clever and useful touches directly inside the interface that Tivo never even dreamed of even at its peak.

But I consider "features" to be a separate category from what makes an interface ergonomically sound. And features all have a negative side. Adding features that don't do much doesn't mean much to those who don't want them, and you could say fine, don't use them. But every feature complicates the system reducing reliability, taking the focus off of the engineers improving what actually is important, sucking up CPU cycles that could be better used responding in a timely fashion to a remote command, etc. They are not just something benign that is there that you don't have to use if you don't want to; there is always a price, even for those that don't want or use them. And every DVR company seems to be just as guilty as the next in this, reminiscent of the bloatware days of software "features" in the 90's.

And again, while I don't want to keep using a company that is often the exception to the rule as an example, its the iCloud Syndrome all over again. For instance, I discovered that CDs that I had bought in a record store and imported into iTunes long ago were no longer on my Macbook Air. Instead, for some unknown reason, they were in the cloud! And only in the cloud! How does that even happen? They made an arbitrary decision about my personal property without consulting me. Apple took my imported content and moved it to their stupid cloud. For what earthly purpose? Leave my content alone, ferchrissakes. Not all of us are continually within wifi distance of One Infinity Loop; what if I am out camping in the boonies and I want to hear Elton John's "Burn Down The Mission", which I bought at Tower Records a generation ago but which now is only available to me through my iCloud account? Sons of b.....s!

And when a DVR adds tons of useless features I don't want and then suddenly can't respond to the remote in a timely fashion because of it, or locks up because the LAN is funky (although I don't need to be on a LAN to record or playback on a DVR), what am I supposed to think about the decisionmaking of those who designed and maintain this system for their customers, other than they are idiots and should all be fired? Or shot?

Just because you have the technology and the power to make changes doesn't mean you should make those changes and tinker with that technology willy-nilly. That seems to be something that has been lost in product services. There is something to be said for consistency. Everyone who has the power to screw with technology that we have already bought and paid for should listen to Walter White, and learn to "tread lightly", before someone gets fed up and goes all "Heisenberg" on them.

We can all have our own different opinions, but here is one you can't have; it is not debateable whether the iPod is "the best" MP3 player. That verdict has been in for some time. There really are no other MP3 players, and the few outliers like SanDisk never really even tried to compete.

One of the reasons is because the iPod is not just an MP3 player, it is part of a system and an ecosystem that works elegantly. I and others can find plenty of problems with that ecosystem, but the reason you can't find problems with the other ecosystems is because there aren't any other ecosystems because the iTunes ecosystem basically destroyed all of them. When one system dominates with 99.9% of the market, that is a pretty clear indicator that it is the only real game in town, and often the reason for that is because that game is so much better than anything that ever tried to compete with it. People can hate Apple (I do often) and whine about how closed and demagogic the system is, but you got to tip your hat to them; they changed everything. I have 5 items in different product categories of theirs that I use every single day of my life, and there are hundreds of millions of users all over the globe that do as well. And the watch and the TV are probably going to be next.

You can find some greybeard sitting in his rocking chair on the front porch with a shotgun railing about how good his Zune is, sure, except that they stopped making it years ago for the obvious reasons (it sucked, which is why they couldn't sell it). And the iPod isn't even an MP3 player anyway. Oh, it'll play them for backwards compatibility, but the entire system and everything on the iTunes store has nearly always been AAC, which runs rings around MP3 and has for a decade or more.

Again, there can be a lot of opinions about much of this, and all are welcome to them, but where the iPod ranks among portable music players is not open to opinion, because that is has no peer or even a close second, is an ironclad fact. And since the MP3 player era is essentially history, now that it has been replaced by mobile internet-connected devices, it is pretty unlikely that those facts could ever change; I don't imagine any contenders to the throne will ever be on the horizon.

I don't often use this forum just to rant. Feels kinda good, even if you don't read it. Cheaper than therapy.

There's no place like 127.0.0.1

Last edited by TomCat; Yesterday at 06:23 PM.
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post #11307 of 11308 Old Today, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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I responded, but the wifi here is crappy and I lost it all. I'm too lazy to type it back in because I don't see us agreeing. Suffice it to say I still don't know what your specific beef is with the DTV DVR and why you cast stones at DISH, TiVo, etc. I don't like the Apple ecosystem and never will. It's great that you do and I know they're happy you're spending money on their products. I'm not a greybeard with a shotgun, but I don't get all excited about features I don't need/like, etc. I simply go with the flow and learn to use what I have to my advantage, even if I think the programmers are nuts. I've done my share of programming, so I'm sensitive to CPU cycles, etc., but I don't see any problem with what I'm using, so I'm relatively happy for now. If it were up to me, cable and satellite would be out of business and I'd have a DVR with an interface that manages my recordings and ALL streaming content, including from individual network sites. Content would be delivered over the internet and I'd subscribe to only what I want.

Cheers, Dave
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TiVo doesn't just have the app interfaces, it consolidates episodes from the HDD and streaming services in a single list/folder. I no longer have to open the Netflix app, select my list, find the program and then find the episode. That may not be a useful feature for everyone, but it is for me. I no longer have to keep checking for the release of the next season of House of Cards, it shows up automatically in the My Shows list as soon as it's available.

Love this new feature as well. Makes everything more streamlined and much easier overall
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