A (perhaps) Odd TiVo Question

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by DeborahK, Oct 6, 2003.

  1. DeborahK

    DeborahK Supporting Actor

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    Do you have to have cable or satellite to use a TiVo? A friend of mine was wondering if a stand alone TiVo could be used with just a hookup to an atenna. I didn't think so, because there would be no service (i.e. cable or satellite) from which to get a programming guide, but maybe I am wrong. Does TiVo have some way to handle this?

    Thanks if you can help,

    Deborah
     
  2. adamKI

    adamKI Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, Tivo or ReplayTV will work with antenna signals. Tivo doesn't get its program guide from your cable provider, the guide gets downloaded via telphone line or boradband internet connection from a Tivo/ReplayTV server.

    Good luck!
     
  3. DeborahK

    DeborahK Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Adam -- that is good to know.

    But where do Tivo & Replay get the programming information? I always assumed that for customers with DirecTV they got it from DirecTV, and for cable customers they got it from Time/Warner or from Comcast or whoever. After all, these companies put together their own guides as a service to their customers and I assume that the PVR people just download these guides and pop them out to their subscribers. But off the air programming is not collected centrally anywhere and would be very different depending on where someone lives. So, where do these services get the information for each locale?

    Sorry if this sounds dumb, but I really don't get it.

    Deborah
     
  4. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    I think Tivo (and probably Replay) get their guide information from Tribune or some similar service.
     
  5. DeborahK

    DeborahK Supporting Actor

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    Hi, Gordon,

    I have never heard of Tribune. What is this exactly?

    Thanks,

    Deborah
     
  6. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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  7. adamKI

    adamKI Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not exactly sure where either Tivo or Replay get their info, but I do know that I can enter my ZIP code on my PVR and it will show me the over-the-air stations available in my area and download the data.

    I assume there is some database service that collects guide information and any organization who pays for a subscription can use that data. For example TVGuide, TitanTV.com, or Tivo all get local OTA program guides somehow. Also, the cable/satellite companies have to get the data from local stations somehow (I'd be suprised if each individual station had to send their schedule to all of those different guide providers seperately, it must be centralized).
     
  8. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    Tribune media services provides TV program data for newspapers & others like Tivo. They might well have other services but I've never really looked. Just search the internet for their corporate web site which will surely tell you.

    As for guide data - DirecTV guide data for the DirecTivo combo units (not the standalone Tivos) is indeed provided by DirecTV. The phone line is only for PPV, & some of the data for Tivo showcases, star ads, and the like.

    Cable guide data, on Tivo since circa 3.0 software I believe, is mostly obtained from a special broadcast late night on the Discovery channel once a week, in one of their "Paid programming" slots. If you are a night owl you will see a message early Monday morning saying that Tivo wants to change channels to acquire guide data (you can override it if you want to continue watching something live). If you let it, and switch to live TV, you'll see some message saying it's acquiring data. If you watch the same channel via a regular tuner like the one in your TV you'll see a message saying the program is for Tivo subscribers (maybe "Teleworld") & a bunch of changing black&white lines that carry the data. If you don't get Discovery, or cancel the download, Tivo will still get the data via phone (or broadband), it just will take longer.

    They don't use the guide data from the cable company itself for many reasons, I think the main ones would be compatibility across different systems, hardware needed, plus ease of contracting for data from the single source Tribune.

    For antenna only, which standalone Tivos support you'd have to get the data all by phone, but the many fewer channels probably cancels out the extra phone call length.
     
  9. DeborahK

    DeborahK Supporting Actor

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    Thanks, all, for the very interesting information.

    Deborah
     

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