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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am, still going strong, love the PIP feature, which the HR20 doesn't have.


Upgraded HD and 2 new tuners almost 4 years ago.


I'm really going to miss the UTV when I will eventually have to switch over to HD.


Anyone else still using UTV?
 

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Dittos to both of you.


I upgraded my UTV in the living room 4 years ago and have never regretted my choice of UTV over those "other" PVR's. I did add a fan mod which served for 3 years before I replaced it yesterday as a matter of routine maintenance.


The wife's UTV in the bedroom has not required any attention since day one. No drive upgrade, no fan mods - it just works.


Although flawed with poor tuner chips by design, they have braved 3 teen-agers, recorded 1000's of hours of preferred programming, and only missed a couple of critical scheduled recordings.


When I look at upgrading to an HR20 all I need to do is go to DBSTalk to remember why I haven't.


I want to say "THANKS!" to all of you who helped me decide to buy UTV from my local B&M store, helped me upgrade my HDD, helped figure out how to record only Monday Night Football, shared all of your findings on simple ways to cool the overheating tuner chips, and posted with so much enthusiasm about tremendously interesting UTV topics.


I realize many of those people are no longer with as as they have moved on to forge paths for those of us that will "ultimately" switch to some HD-PVR that really works (or they simply have no reason to post here now). But I know some probably still have UTV's doing their daily duty (backing up the continually failing HR20's).



I hope my UTV lasts until D* decides to drop their programming for it.
 

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I still have 4 activated and going strong with a couple of "parts" machines on the shelf and I plan on keeping them as long as I can. Of course I haven't gone HD yet either.



kazak
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by twilburn /forum/post/0


I did add a fan mod which served for 3 years before I replaced it yesterday as a matter of routine maintenance.

I'm curious to know how you did this fan mod? Do you have pictures?



And I take it none of you had Tivo? I never did.


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by theratpatrol /forum/post/0


I'm curious to know how you did this fan mod? Do you have pictures?



And I take it none of you had Tivo? I never did.


Thanks

I gave my parents a standalone TiVo for their cable a couple of years back. It's okay, but I like UTV better. The keyboard is the most kick-a** part for me. With their model, they can have a 30 second skip forward like I do, but it has to be reset if the unit loses power (I do have both mine and theirs on UPS units). As a result, they just FF rather than dealing with the whole "backdoor code" thing.


My concern is the DVR companies seem to be working backward. Instead of capitalizing on the fact these things are mini-computers, they seem to be more concerned with limiting features to avoid lawsuits. The above mentioned skip forward is a huge example of a little feature that is greatly missed when you lose it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The biggest thing I will miss from the UTV is the PIP feature, its great for sports. Dish Network and some cable companys have PIP (DN has side by side PIP now), and why DirecTv and Tivo didn't add this feature still puzzles me.
 

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I am still running 4 upgraded UTV's and have no plans to change. I currently get HD OTA for free and am content with that.
 

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I got my original utv which I upgraded when 100gigs was a big drive. I got another as a spare but quickly hooked it up to get 4 recordable streams. One of it's tuners went so I got 2 spare utvs for around $50 each. I replaced the one and so I now have 2 working, 1 spare and 1 more with 1 bad tuner.


What really amazes me is the hard drive in my first unit (100g) has been on 99.9% for nearly 6 years and has never stopped seeking (i can hear it). I have some ppv movies on it that are over 3 years old.


The way I see it, is if it ain't broke don't fix it.


Then again, I'm still running 2 computers with win2000 and they work just fine too.


Hd doesn't do much for me since I don't have (or want) a large screen tv. 27 in is enough for me.
 

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Still running 4 UTVs and a DTivo. No plans to give up the UTVs. Been looking into a LCD HDTV... Don't see the need to get an HD DVR until it can provide similar features to my UTV.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by theratpatrol /forum/post/0


I'm curious to know how you did this fan mod? Do you have pictures?



And I take it none of you had Tivo? I never did.


Thanks

I do not have pictures. There used to be some in the forum here, but I was unable to locate them in the archives. Perhaps someone else may know where to find them.


Here is the fan I used http://shop1.outpost.com/product/297...H:MAIN_RSLT_PG (probably the same one mentioned by lgodave in this thread http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=790899 ). Don't bother with it unless it has Ball Bearings (I see there are 3 versions). I chose it because it was the simplest "case mod" without cutting any holes. Very simple to install and it has a molex connector that plugs into the HDD. I flattened out the tab used to hold it in a PC slot so it would mount flush to the vent behind the tuner chips. A couple of short sheetmetal screws through the UTV vent into the exhaust grill of the fan suspends it above the tuner chips. Just be sure to place the screws toward the ends of the grill and the fan side is face-down. I used to have tuner problems prior to installing it. I have not had problems since.


I have never owned TiVo, and do not plan to.
 

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I have been using the same UTV receiver for four years and have had to get a tuner replaced once. I just bought another for a spare and to use in the motor home. I'll keep using them until they pry the 30 second jump button from my hand. We don't watch anything live anymore.

I found a variable speed USB fan to use for extra cooling. Power it from the UTV USB connectors. I lay it over the vents on top of the case on the left front. I just tape over the vents on the side just below to make it draw air in from the back.

USB Coolong Fan
 

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RE: twilburn's fan mod...


You don't have to use machine screws in the Fan. I've done that and I've also used Twist Ties (not the "weak" bread twist ties but stronger plastic ones used on extension cords (and other electronics) that hold up to some weight and won't deteriorate over time. ).


The Twist ties actually can provide a more flexible/quick install and leaves more vent holes open for ventilation. Use what you think is best.
 

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I still have 4 UTV's going, two are down to one tuner only. I have 2 HR20's and as others have said the user interface really sucks. I will keep the UTV's until I upgrade each TV to HD!!!
 

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I wish I could answer the original question... how many UTV customers are left.


When DTV dismantled the UTV group in 2004 there were only about 5,000 UTV accounts left. I don't know how many UTV units were built, but we could still probably get a good idea if we compared serial numbers. It was never a popular unit so I'd say maybe 10,000 were built, but I could be way off.


The UTV customer was more of a cutting edge group than the average DTV customer. If this demographic held true most of those same customers would have migrated to HDTV over the years and abandoned UTV.


If I had to bet on a number it would be that there are less than 2,500 UTV customers remaining.


I've been told by a reliable source that there's nobody left to develop any necessary changes to the unit. Most of the people that worked on the project have moved on to other things. One of the people involved said that they don't even know where the project code is... probably locked in a vault somewhere and the person that knew about it is long gone.


The last update a few years ago was due to some security issues. Chances are that there will not be any future updates since the learning curve to get new people involved in a dead project would cost more than to just kill the units.


UTV will remain active until there is a security issue. There was talk that DTV wants to get rid of all the older boxes that don't use the newer access cards... if that happens the UTV will be in that group.


I find it extremely unfortunate that in the history of DVR's the UTV is relatively unknown, but had one of the best user interfaces and feature group of any ever made. TiVo never matched UTV. The new DTV HDTV PVR's are terrible. They can't even get them to reliably do basic functions.


I don't remember what year the UTV was introduced, but in PVR terms it's ancient. Despite that fact there's still nothing better on the market.


-Joe
 

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I am still using UTV in Florida. I absolutely love the skip ahead and go back buttons. My wife rarely watches TV in real time due to the availability of this feature.


I regret that Microsoft did not upgrade the computer aspects to accomodate a broadband connection. WebTV would be great for a backup internet connection with broadband. It would have kept UTV as a viable option.


We have just purchased a HDTV LCD (Vizio VX37L). The SD picture with the UTV is surprisingly good. If UTV had continued to evolve, HD capability would have no doubt been added. I will likely upgrade to a HR-20 when the SVM (single wire) solution is released; we would have to fish many wires down from the attic.


After a couple of problems early on, the UTV has been remarkably stable.
 

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See inline corrections below:


===> When DTV dismantled the UTV group in 2004 there were only about 5,000 UTV accounts left. I don't know how many UTV units were built, but we could still probably get a good idea if we compared serial numbers. It was never a popular unit so I'd say maybe 10,000 were built, but I could be way off.

 

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I did get some more info:


UltimateTV was originally develped by WebTV before Microsoft purchased WebTV. The unit was developed in 1996 and 1997, but not announced until June of 2000 and officially introduced in March of 2001.


The UltimateTV group was never part of Microsoft other than ownership. It was always part of the WebTV group located in Mountain View, CA.


The UltimateTV "project" only lasted about 9 months. The UltimateTV group was disbanded in January, 2002. 168 employees were cut... most of them laid off, not merged into Microsoft. The director of the UltimateTV group still works for Microsoft, but few if any others remain.


What was left of the WebTV group took over support for UltimateTV. When the WebTV group was disbanded in June, 2002 the remaining 161 employees were laid off (all got notice one day with no warning). Keep in mind that UltimateTV and WebTV were never true Microsoft products. They were purchased and never enjoyed much support at Microsoft.


The XBox group took over the remnants of the WebTV group. This has shifted around a couple of times since... even the MSNBC group had it for a while, but UlitmateTV was never part of this. Microsoft dumped the entire project on DirecTV.


The contract between Microsoft and DirecTV required Microsoft to support UltimateTV. The UltimateTV support group was created at DirecTV. The Spring 2003 upgrade was the last (and final) UltimateTV update. This was done entirely by DirecTV with no involvement from Microsoft. Word has it that DirecTV did track down some former WebTV consultants for the minor upgrade.


Microsoft still holds the copyright to the UltimateTV name, but the service was tranferred to DirecTV in 2002.


There was apparently one person left at the DirecTV UltimateTV "group" until sometime in 2004. The date the group was disbanded is unknown to me. Today you're lucky if you can find anyone at DirecTV that even knows what a UTV unit is or does.


The hardware production run of RCA (Thomson) and Sony only lasted a few months. RCA had a very short run of units with a larger hard drive. The total production run numbers is unknown to me, but I still think 10,000 is a reasonable number. I've got about 5 of them and if I get some energy I'll see what the serial numbers tell me.


None of the above is to infer that UltimateTV wasn't a great product. I still use it and enjoy the units. I wish it had been further developed, but those days are long gone. The hopes for new developments or that there is a large userbase remaining is just foolish.


UltimateTV was never a popular product to start with. Those of us still using them are far and few between.


-Joe
 

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I'm not trying to start a war so this last time I will point out the numerous errors in the below misinformation:


===> UltimateTV was originally develped by WebTV before Microsoft purchased WebTV. The unit was developed in 1996 and 1997, but not announced until June of 2000 and officially introduced in March of 2001.


The UltimateTV group was never part of Microsoft other than ownership. It was always part of the WebTV group located in Mountain View, CA.


What was left of the WebTV group took over support for UltimateTV. When the WebTV group was disbanded in June, 2002 the remaining 161 employees were laid off (all got notice one day with no warning). Keep in mind that UltimateTV and WebTV were never true Microsoft products. They were purchased and never enjoyed much support at Microsoft.

 

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Rambo, I really hate to address you directly, but I'm forced to... facts are facts.


The UltimateTV service was announced on January 6, 2001 (cite www.ultimatetv.com/pr3.asp ) and the actual receivers hit the market in March 2001. The UltimateTV project was officially shut down in January 2002.


From the June 27, 2003 issue of the Seattle Times written by Brier Dudley:

"It's the company's largest staff reduction since it folded its Ultimate TV division in California in January 2002, cutting 168 jobs."


From the January 23, 2002 issue of WindowsITPro written by Paul Thurrott:

"The division's 500 employees (based in Microsoft's Mountain View, California, campus) are being reassigned; 168 employees face layoffs unless they can find work in other parts of the company. However, the Ultimate TV hardware group is joining the Xbox team, the Ultimate TV services group is moving to the MSN TV Services Division, and the Ultimate TV software group is moving to the Microsoft TV Division.


Ultimate TV reportedly attracted fewer than 50,000 subscribers, probably because it focused solely on DirecTV satellite service rather than the wider cable TV market. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this month, Microsoft representatives told me that satellite TV is more aggressive about rolling out new technology and thus made a better candidate for the company's initial release. In the year since Microsoft released Ultimate TV, however, the company was unable to secure any cable contracts, which could have dramatically increased its installed base."


My comments about the length of the project refer to from introduction to shut down. I did not include development since it was not developed by Microsoft (same with WebTV).


My source, who I consider to be of the highest authority... maybe THE highest authority on this subject, is the one that hinted at the production numbers. The "fewer than 50,000 subcribers" info that was published is true, but it was not near 50,000 either. I wouldn't drag him into this foolishness since the entire project is ancient history.


Your comments about WebTV, MSN TV and MSN TV2 refer to a hardware product. My comments refer to the PEOPLE that invented, developed and programmed the product. The hardware product evolved, but the people (and group) were dumped. This was all done at Mountian View which was abandoned.


I'm not even going to bring WINK into this... it would just confuse things, but if you want to know the real technology behind UTV you need to look at WINK.


So your claims of my statements being totally false (your words not mine) seem to be totally false in themselves. I think you must be some kid wishing UTV would come back to life, but it's not going to happen. Sorry.


So let's see some FACTS! You can type on some forum all you want about things being "totally false" but I deal with facts. When things are my opinon I state so... the facts are not my opinion and they remain fact even if you don't like it.


Did you know there was a HDTV UltimateTV box developed in 2001? Do you know where that box is? What happened to the .NET software version developed? Hint, hint, all three are real and are not at Microsoft. The story is very interesting, but too long to get into here.


-Joe
 
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