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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings:


You will have to excuse my ignorance on this subject since I am not well acquainted with the latest in video technology. I am in the process of purchasing a home theater system and have heard guys in the office talking about "TiVo". Like me, they are not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to audio and video so I am reluctant to place much stock in what they have to say on the subject. So, I was hoping other forum members would volunteer some information. Just some brief explanations about how it works, the pros and cons, how much it costs, and what equipment is needed to experience it.


Thanks...........TK
 

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Without TiVo, my life would not be worth living.


One point: Dish and some cable companies will try and sell you a DVR and tell you it is "the same as TiVo." It ain't, not even close and, yes, I have both. My Dish 510 is not a bad unit and it is far superior to a conventional VCR - wanna buy a nice Panny AG - 1960? - but it ain't the same. Name-based recording is the difference and it is crucial.
 

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While I like Tivo, I am not pleased with the picture quality. Due to it's compression there is no way to get the Tivo picture as good as the picture when not using Tivo. With that said, my Live TV picture sucks through Tivo. I've been told there are ways to reduce this but it will never be as good as without Tivo connected. Lower quality TV's see less of a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback, but what is it and how does it work?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Tom Klemans
Thanks for the feedback, but what is it and how does it work?
Hi Tom,


Actually the folks here already pointed you in the right direction....they even posted links.


BOILED DOWN:


TiVo(or replayTV) is a digital VCR. It saves shows to a hard drive instead of a videotape. It gets the show listings using a modem or network card and saves it as a database. This allows you to do a manual search for any topic, actor, name, etc. It also allows you to setup 'themes' or Season Passes that record any instance of any show you want to watch. Like Friends? You can setup a schedule that automatically records every episode. You can watch a previously recorded show while simultaneously recording another show. You can press the pause button while watching TV and the Tivo buffers the show for you, so when you return from the bathroom, get off the phone, etc you can pick up the show where you left off.


Hope that gets you started...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Tom Klemans
Thanks for the feedback, but what is it and how does it work?
The short answer is it is a video recorder that saves programming to a hard drive rather than a tape cassette. Think of it as a VCR crossed with a computer. The only disadvantage is that it saves to medium that can't be moved. If your buddy wants you to tape 'Alias' when he's out of town, he can come to your house or you can dump it to a VCR or one of the new recording DVD's. That's the extent of the drawbacks. The pluses are too numerous to mention. We'll start with:


1. Much better recording quality. FAR superior to even the best CVRs.

2. TiVo is always on, always recording. A little difficult to grasp but here's an example: You leave your set on channel 2. You walk in the house, see that 'Casablanca' is on and started 15 minutes ago. You can 'rewind' and go back and watch the beginning....while it records the rest.

3. You can skip through commercials.

4. You can watch the start of a recording while it records the end and catch up. Set the TiVo to record 'Alias.' It starts recording at 8 while you are watching the end of 'Friends.' You start watching 15 minutes after it started and by fast-forwarding through the commercials, you can catch up to live by the end, watching a one-hour program in 45 minutes.

5. You can pause live TV. Your mom calls to see how you're doing. You punch pause, talk to mom for 15 minutes, hit play and never miss a thing Then, through the commercials and catch up

6. You can set a Season's Pass and catch every episode of, say, 'Friends' and, even better, you can tell TiVo to only get new episodes and skip all the reruns.

7. You can do keyword searches. Type in John Wayne and get every movie showing on every cable channel. Or, more to the point, type in Julia Roberts and get every movie as well as every appearance on a talk show or her occasional sitcom appearances.

8. Lots of room. For $300, you can buy a TiVo that has 80 hours of capacity although the quality is pretty poor and it really has 20 hours at the best setting. For a fairly small amount of money, though, you can add capacity. Mine has 62 hours of best quality, tough to fill that up.

9. You can watch something that is recorded while recording something else. You can't record CBS and watch live NBC, at least no yet.

10. Updates regularly so you don't miss anything. TiVo dials in to your cable company every few days and downloads the programming data.


There's more, lots more but it is well worth the $12.95 month for the mandatory service. It is a neat deal which is why those of us that own them are so outspoken. Darn few people ever try one without buying one and once you have it, you won't go back.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Resist
While I like Tivo, I am not pleased with the picture quality. Due to it's compression there is no way to get the Tivo picture as good as the picture when not using Tivo. With that said, my Live TV picture sucks through Tivo. I've been told there are ways to reduce this but it will never be as good as without Tivo connected. Lower quality TV's see less of a problem.
There is some truth to this but the picture degradation is pretty slight and I am pretty fussy about PQ. I have a 61" Sony RPTV and the difference is very slight, almost imperceptable. There are a couple of ways around this issue, either by using splitters or by putting the unit in 'Suspend' but most folks decide they'd rather have the features of TiVo all the time.


BTW, FWIW, the PQ of my TiVo/digital cable fed TV is better than the PQ I get from Dish. YMMV.
 

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Jim,


What type of Sony RPTV do you have? My DLP is very sensitive to the input and any quality change is easily observed. I can't put my Tivo in the standby mode as I am connected via S-video. I can view through the TV only but, that negates what Tivo can do for me.....No Live TV replays (unless my cable box is on the station I'm viewing).
 

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I have a 5-6 year old Sony XBR200 61". I have the TiVo routed to the set with S-VHS on one input and the composites on another....or at least I did. I figured I'd jump back and forth out of suspend mode but I found the slight improvement in PQ wasn't worth the trouble.


I have no idea how TiVo will work with DLP, whether or not that makes a difference. I am buying a new 73" Mits a week from Monday, we'll see how that does.
 

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Resist - are you using a standalone (SA) TiVo or a DirecTV receiver with integrated TiVo (DTiVo)? With a SA TiVo, there is no way to avoid the degradation in video quality and I agree that it does suck. With the DTiVo, I have found the video quality to be very near that of a regular DirecTV receiver (both using S-Video outputs into a 55" LCoS).
 

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The descriptions above are for "stand-alone" or SA TiVo's.


I think a better alternative, with better picture quality and lower monthly fee is the DirecTV DVR with TiVo, a.k.a., "DirecTiVo." These units work ONLY with DirecTV satellite service.


A DirecTV DVR with TiVo records the native digital signal incoming from the satellite (i.e., no digital to analog to digital conversion), resulting in higher picture quality than a SA TiVo.


A DirecTiVo receives and records Dolby Digital 5.1 channel audio, which is available on selected pay-per-view and premium movie channels (e.g., HBO, Showtime, etc.).


A DirecTiVo has TWO satellite tuners, enabling the recording of two shows at the same time, while still watching a pre-recorded program.


There are many online and B&M stores offering new DirecTV service and DirecTiVo and 2 more STBs for $99 purchase price for all three boxes, the dish, wiring and installation included. Monthly service before premium channels is $40 (including local channels) plus $5 for TiVo features and $5 each for the second and third STBs (the DirecTiVo counts only as one STB for billing purposes, even though it has two tuners).


We would not even consider giving up our two DirecTiVo units, except when the HD DirecTV with TiVo unit arrives. It will operate the same as the SD DirecTiVo units, but with the added capabilities for recording HD programs (in HD) from satellite and ALL digital OTA programs--both SDTV and HDTV. With two each satellite and OTA digital tuners, it can record two programs from either source simultaneously and playback a third previously recorded program.


There are similar products available now or soon, but most (all?) lack the refinements and ease of use of the TiVo-based products, IMHO.


Good luck!
 

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As noted above, a High Definition DirecTV with TiVo box is scheduled for release later this quarter: 250 hrs SD and 35 hrs HD nominal storage.


Also as stated above, these D-TiVo boxes record the direct satellite downlink; thus what you get on playback is exactly what was sent on broadcast -- a significant boost in PQ over a SA TiVo, especially if you are talking about a good HD set as your display device.


My advice at this point (given your display device and other needs) would be to wait out the HD-TiVo. A stand-alone version of the same should also be out later this year, but I don't know the date on that.


It truly will change your viewing habits. For example, last night I watched another episode off of the Monk marathon USA Network ran on New Years Day. There's always something interesting to watch whenever you have the time to watch it!
 

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