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TiVo HD vs. cable DVD HD -- should we make the switch to TiVo? - Page 3

post #61 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by NASA guy View Post

SD channels appear to be okay, as are the non-local HD (like ESPN and DISC). Sounds like a signal problem to me, but Cox has been out twice to test it and claims the signal is fine. They also replaced the cable cards. The Moto DVR never had a problem, and there's no problem watching live TV with Tivo bypassed. Anything else we should look at?

It's most likely a signal issue or a defective/failed hard drive.

To check for a signal issue, tune to a channel where you see the problem. Then open Messages & Settings -> System Information -> DVR Diagnostics. Under the channel with the issue, do you see RS Uncorrected errors? RS Uncorrected errors is what the TiVo uses to identify signal errors that cause pixelization and audio dropouts. If you see RS Uncorrected errors, what does your signal level say? The signal will be too strong or or too weak.

(Note changing the channel will reset the RS Uncorrected error counts.)

If I were to guess, I would say your signal is too strong. The TiVo's tuner is more sensitive than the Motorola DVR and it can be "overpowered" by signals that do not cause any problems for the Motorola. A -6dB attenuator (Cox installers should have these, or you can order one online) would likely eliminate this problem.

If you do not see any RS Uncorrected errors on a channel with pixelization, then that strongly suggests the hard drive is bad. You can download a restore CD from DVRUpgrade that will restore the TiVo software to a new drive of your choice (up to 1.1TB). Restoring the software to a new drive will probably require Cox to reactivate the CableCards, since the CableCard pairing information is stored on the original drive.
post #62 of 93
Thanks for the tip, but the menus on both my Series 2 and the Series 3 in question do not follow the progression you stated. Therefore I am unable to check for the errors you named.

Your other comment about signal strength was interesting. Earlier in the day I had spoken to a Tivo CSR who suggested I might need a line amplifier - not an attenuator as you suggested. I was unable to get any signal strength data on the Cox cable unit, but I will try again tomorrow.
post #63 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by NASA guy View Post

Thanks for the tip, but the menus on both my Series 2 and the Series 3 in question do not follow the progression you stated. Therefore I am unable to check for the errors you named.

Are you sure? I would double-check the Series3 again.

TiVo button -> Messages & Settings -> Account and System Information -> DVR Diagnostics.

The TiVo Series2 doesn't have this menu, because it only records only analog channels, or the output from a cable box. The TiVo Series2 records whatever picture is output by the cable box. If the output from the cable box has pixelization, then that is what the TiVo Series2 will record.

Keep in mind that most cable companies now supply a digital version of the analog channels to their own cable boxes (and CableCard devices) -- they refer to this as digital simulcast -- so when you tune channels 2-99 with your TV, you probably aren't tuning the same channels as the TiVo or cable box.
post #64 of 93
It's not easy doing diagnostics with an 85 yr old man from 700 miles away, but we finally got the info. With the tuner set to the worst channel, the signal strength was bouncing all over -- ranging from 54 to 85. The Tivo CSR told me yesterday I should expect 100% but need 80 minimum. So it looks like that is where the problem lies. I cannot understand why the Cox techs have repeatedly said the signal is perfect...

Thank you, bfdtv, for your assistance!!
post #65 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by NASA guy View Post

It's not easy doing diagnostics with an 85 yr old man from 700 miles away, but we finally got the info. With the tuner set to the worst channel, the signal strength was bouncing all over -- ranging from 54 to 85. The Tivo CSR told me yesterday I should expect 100% but need 80 minimum. So it looks like that is where the problem lies. I cannot understand why the Cox techs have repeatedly said the signal is perfect...

I suspect the signal may be too strong for the TiVo.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the a wide variation in reported signal is usually indicative of this. When the TiVo has a strong signal, it will display in the 95-100 range with typically no more than +/- 1 variation in signal strength. When the signal is too strong for TiVo, you'll see wide variations such as 50-90 or 40-85 or 60-100, accompanied by pixelization.

If the Cox signal was too weak for the TiVo, it would remain in the 55-60 range with very little variation.

This also makes more sense based on what was said by the Cox installer. The TiVo DVRs are more sensitive than the Cox DVRs, so they can be more easily overpowered. A signal in the upper signal range for the Motorola DVRs might be deemed just fine by the Cox installer [for the Motorola DVR], but still be "too hot" (strong) for the TiVo. I also think it unlikely that a Cox installer would report a weak signal as "good."

I would order one of these and one of these for your parents. It just screws onto the end of the cable. I would have your parents try the -6dB attenuator first.
post #66 of 93
I agree, 3db is really very little attenuation. For testing I like to use a 12db or even 15db attenuator.
If they have a splitter handy they would also work for testing. A 2 way splitter will roughly attenuate 3db while a 4 way will be ~-12db to each port. Just leave the unused taps empty when doing your testing. Using a splitter for a attenuator will require a coupler or short length of MM coax.
post #67 of 93
I'm reading the service plans on Tivo's website.

I notice if you signup for a 3 year service plan they will extend the original 1 year parts warranty to three years, but see nothing about extending the warranty if you purchase a lifetime service plan.

Also a question about the lifetime service plan. Has anyone ever been able to transfer it to a new unit if the original DVR is out of warranty and breaks?
post #68 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwall23 View Post

I notice if you signup for a 3 year service plan they will extend the original 1 year parts warranty to three years, but see nothing about extending the warranty if you purchase a lifetime service plan.

I'm fairly certain you don't get an extended warranty with lifetime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwall23 View Post

Also a question about the lifetime service plan. Has anyone ever been able to transfer it to a new unit if the original DVR is out of warranty and breaks?

TiVo allows you to transfer lifetime from a failed DVR to a replacement of the same model, purchased direct. They offer refurbished TivoHDs at a discount ($149) for those that are out-of-warranty. There's no extra charge to transfer lifetime.

Since almost all TiVo failures are the result of failing hard drives, it is cheaper to buy a new drive rather than paying for a replacement DVR. As noted elsewhere, lifetime is tied to a ROM chip on the TiVo, so it is not affected by drive replacements.
post #69 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwall23 View Post

I'm reading the service plans on Tivo's website.

I notice if you signup for a 3 year service plan they will extend the original 1 year parts warranty to three years, but see nothing about extending the warranty if you purchase a lifetime service plan.

I was not told about any extended warranty when I signed up for my lifetime but I noticed you said "parts" but maybe not labor was extended to 3 years? While parts are better than nothing if it's just the drive that fails I would guess you could buy a bigger drive and install it yourself for about what Tivo would charge you for labor to replace the same 160GB in your Tivo.
That is kind of a nice + though with the 3 year sub.
post #70 of 93
bfdtv,
I know from reading the Moxi cable DVR forum that it was impossible to transfer any recorded video on the Moxi to another hard drive. But of course with TiVo, one can always transfer a recording to a computer hard drive, or another TiVo on your network; I assume that it is the "Media Access Key" that limits playing a recorded program to the computer it was transferred to. If that were all that were possible, then one could have limited backup...limited by the size capacity of the 2nd TiVo, or computer hard drive. However, I'd assume that by having only one TiVo at the time of a TiVo failure, any recording on a computer could not be transferred back to the TiVo that replaced the failed one.... is that true?

But it seems to me that I now have full TiVo hard drive backup capability with two TiVos: I can now copy a recorded program to my computer, transfer it to a external hard drive attached to my computer, then transfer it to my 2nd TiVo, and play it there. Therefore, by keeping a copy of all my recorded programs on a large external hard drive attached to my computer, should either TiVo hard drive fail, I would still be able to transfer the recordings to the other TiVo until I have replaced the failed TiVo. I have tried all the steps with a small flash drive, and they seem to work. Have I missed something? If not, this gives TiVo an even bigger advantage over cable DVRs.
Don
post #71 of 93
I had not seen your most recent post before I called Weaknees again today. They agreed to send a replacement, so we'll soon find out whether it's a defective Tivo...

I do appreciate your suggestions, but there's no way my elderly father could attempt the testing you recommended, but he can switch units. I will post again after we complete the swap.
post #72 of 93
S e a r s B&M stores have the Tivo HD for a penny under 2 Benjamins. That's the same as a refurbed unit from Tivo. Call around though as they sell out quickly.
post #73 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwall23 View Post

S e a r s B&M stores have the Tivo HD for a penny under 2 Benjamins. That's the same as a refurbed unit from Tivo. Call around though as they sell out quickly.

If he has an active TiVo subscription, out-of-warrantee replacements from TiVo are $149.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NASA guy View Post

I do appreciate your suggestions, but there's no way my elderly father could attempt the testing you recommended, but he can switch units. I will post again after we complete the swap.

I would still order a -6dB attenuator, just in case. It's going to take a week to arrive from the day you order it. It's worth having as "insurance" in case the replacement drive doesn't fix the problem. I'm guessing you only want to deal with this problem once.
post #74 of 93
I've been a user of TVGOS with a couple firewire recorders attached to my HDTV set until I got fed up with the lack of guide info lately.

I just started using a Tivo HD and have a question that I can't find an answer to in you FAQ's.

BTW - Very nice job on your thread. It's definitely a go to.

I have no series recordings or season pass setup yet and want to know if there's a way to change the default record "Keep until" to "Until I Delete".

Like I said, I'm no Tivo PowerUser yet and this would help me get used to it until I have more time to play with the series and season pass options.

I plan to upgrade the internal hard drive sometime this year, but for now, it's one step at a time, as time allows...
post #75 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwall23 View Post

I have no series recordings or season pass setup yet and want to know if there's a way to change the default record "Keep until" to "Until I Delete".

There's no way to change the default to "keep until I delete." Note the use of "keep until I delete" on a series recording is generally inadvisable with a stock TivoHD without expansion, because it causes other programs to be deleted much faster. [See FAQ for reasons.]

As a new TiVo user, the only things I would concern yourself with are: (a) create each season pass on the right channel -- season passes only record from the channels they are created on, and (b) when you create a season pass, select options and set it to first-run (new episodes) only. You can double-check the settings for each season pass under Find Programs -> Season Pass Manager -- as a shortcut, press '1' from the TiVo menu.
post #76 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

There's no way to change the default to "keep until I delete."

Thanks, that was the answer I was looking for.

I already researched all the rest of your reply and knew that. Like I said, I'm in Tivo-101 and am not setting up any series or season pass yet.

B.T.W. Don't take this personally, but I always RTFM and learn best by hands-on, taking time to explore, referring to the manual, your FAQ's and TIPS and will get there in my own time. I appreciate your thorough response, but I'm just not looking for a crash course
post #77 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

You can double-check the settings for each season pass under Find Programs -> Season Pass Manager -- as a shortcut, press '1' from the TiVo menu.

I find this FAQ invaluable, as I already have a shortcut programmed for "2 = To Do List"

Quote:


87. What are some other remote or menu shortcuts?

From Recorded List (press the "TiVo" button twice):

CLEAR = single-click delete of a selected program on recorded list
SKIP = jumps to end / beginning of recorded list and other menus
1 = toggles between alphabetical sort and recorded date sort
2 = toggles folders/groups on and off

From TiVo Central (press the "TiVo" button once):

0 = Show the TiVo startup video
1 = Season Pass Manager
2 = To Do List
3 = Search Using Wishlists
4 = Search by Title
5 = Browse by Channel
6 = Browse by Time
7 = Set Up Manual Recording
8 = TiVo's Suggestions
9 = Showcases
post #78 of 93
Since this is a Tivo HD, has it been suggested (to Tivo) to take advantage of widescreen 16:9 HDTV screen real estate by expanding the GUIDE? If so, where do I go to add my vote? BUMP, ++1, etc. So far, that is one of two things I liked better in Gemstar's TVGOS.

Edit: Found link on TiVo for feedback and provided it.
post #79 of 93
The Tivo UI is old and tired and does not take advantage of HD, so you found the right approach - complain.

BTW you can change the guide to a grid format, which some people like (myself included). It takes better advantage of the screen size IMO. Press ENTER when you're in the guide to switch.
post #80 of 93
I'm thinking of getting an HD Tivo and has a question about the cablecards. Is there a benefit to getting a single Mcard vs 2 Scards? I called Comcast in my SF area and they said the Scards are free, but they charge $1.70/mo for the Mcard. So if I can get 2 free Scards and there is no downside in functionality that would clearly be the cheaper option.

jcg

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

It's very simple. The only way both tuners on your TiVo will be authorized with only one card is if that card is an M card. If the cable company tech brings S cards instead of an M card, two of them will be required, one for each of the TiVo's two tuners.
post #81 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcg View Post

I'm thinking of getting an HD Tivo and has a question about the cablecards. Is there a benefit to getting a single Mcard vs 2 Scards? I called Comcast in my SF area and they said the Scards are few, but they charge $1.70/mo for the Mcard. So if I can get 2 free Scards and there is no downside in functionality that would clearly be the cheaper option.

If two S-CARDs are cheaper, then by all means, go that route. There's no downside once they are activated. Just make sure you can tune two digital cable channels at the same time before the installer leaves.

Some people with 2x S-CARD installations make the mistake of allowing the installer to leave before they check both tuners, and then they find that the installer failed to correctly activate the second card (tuner). The use of a M-CARD obviously avoids the scenario where one card is activated and the other is not.
post #82 of 93
For those experienced with this unit..I am strictly OTA. I want to make sure I can retrieve my recordings and copy them if I can (unlike the hdd-250). Is it worth the hassel if I am OTA? Thanks for your input!

Rick
post #83 of 93
Yes, you can download OTA recordings to your computer from the TiVo. For OTA, the TiVo is superior to the Sony in almost every way.

Downloading recordings from TiVo to computer (screenshots)
post #84 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiorick View Post

For those experienced with this unit..I am strictly OTA. I want to make sure I can retrieve my recordings and copy them if I can (unlike the hdd-250). Is it worth the hassel if I am OTA? Thanks for your input!

Rick

There is no hassel if you are strictly OTA. No cable cards are required. Just plug in your antenna and run guided setup.
post #85 of 93
Thanks bfdtv, moxie1617, and fellow posters out there. I saw a couple of these at Sears...is the $199 price a lower price or perhaps clearance?

Being OTA, I heard somewhere that I would not get the full functionality that the TIVO offers...don't exactly recall what functionality but the one I remember was timed recordings...any insight? thanks again,

Rick
post #86 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiorick View Post

I saw a couple of these at Sears...is the $199 price a lower price or perhaps clearance?

Being OTA, I heard somewhere that I would not get the full functionality that the TIVO offers...don't exactly recall what functionality but the one I remember was timed recordings...any insight?

The $200 price tag is a good price, wish I had gotten it. I am strictly OTA with a TiVo HD. You get all the DVR features with OTA that you would get with cable, there is no difference. Everyone likes to stress the comprehensive DVR features, ease of use and reliability -- I guess because that is what most people are looking for, at least initiallly when they are deciding to make the purchase. Just keep in mind, the DVR function is about half of what this box can do. Get it networked, get it linked with your PC and get a basic NetFlix subscription and your new TiVo quickly becomes a media center. I've had it for 2 months since 2/1 and I don't think I could ever be satisfied with anything less anymore.
post #87 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiorick View Post

Being OTA, I heard somewhere that I would not get the full functionality that the TIVO offers...don't exactly recall what functionality but the one I remember was timed recordings...any insight? thanks again,

What you're thinking of only applies to basic cable. The TiVo doesn't have guide information for "Clear QAM" channels (such as HD locals) on basic cable, and thus you're forced to either (a) create timers on those channels, or (b) get a CableCard. Sony offers the ability to remap QAM cable channels so they have guide information, without the need for a CableCard, and that is its main advantage over the TivoHD.

The TivoHD provides full functionality and 14 days of program information on every OTA channel.
post #88 of 93
Is there any way to make the TiVo-HD not buffer Live TV (uses the hard drive) and instead just use it as a tuner when one doesn't want/need the buffering?

I would prefer to be able to toggle this behavior off when not needed.
post #89 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwall23 View Post

Is there any way to make the TiVo-HD not buffer Live TV (uses the hard drive) and instead just use it as a tuner when one doesn't want/need the buffering?

I would prefer to be able to toggle this behavior off when not needed.

No. This is fairly standard among modern DVRs.

One thing that does distinguish the TiVo from some other DVRs is the dual buffer. The TiVo buffers both tuners (as opposed to just the current one) and remembers your place when you pause. Lots of people use this during the football season to watch two events at the "same time."

You can press record on a liveTV program to save the buffer to that recording...but of course you know that, having read the FAQ.
post #90 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

You can press record on a liveTV program to save the buffer to that recording...but of course you know that, having read the FAQ.

Yeah, tried that today about 11 mins into a show just to see what would happen. Even though I did a rewind to the beginning of the show (at 8pm) before I pressed the record button, it still recorded the whole buffer plus the show (7:41pm - 9pm). This is probably a good thing for many people. I just like to have a bit more control over my electronics and will usually smack myself upside the head when I do something stupid.
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