Tivo or DVR, some questions.

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Matt_Vaudrin, May 17, 2005.

  1. Matt_Vaudrin

    Matt_Vaudrin Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been thinking of getting a tivo or a dvr type thing, but don't know much about them, and I need some help.

    1. a friend of mine has a DVR thing that came with a dish satelite package. can those be bought seperately, without getting a dish?

    2. what kind of price range do they run?

    3. Will they work with a rooftop antenna, or do I need cable tv to make it work?

    4. Aside from tivo or a DVR, is there any thing else that can record multiple shows at the same time?

    I know these questions are kind of vague, but I don't know much about this stuff.
     
  2. Dean_S

    Dean_S Second Unit

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    If you have a rooftop antenna then a regular standalone Tivo or Replay is probably what you want. You could also look at DVD recorders with DVRs built in. Tivo has some Tivo-only features (maybe they patented them) that other brands don't have. I've never used a Replay DVR so I can't tell you if it functions like a Tivo or like a generic DVR. The main difference between generic DVR and Tivo (if I can somehow say this in a way that makes sense) is the way they know when to record a show. A Dish Network DVR works more like a VCR and records by time which means if you like ER and you tell it to record ER then it will always record at 9PM (CST) on Thursday but if the show is on another time slot it will not record the show (rephased: it marks the time slot you want to record, not the program you want to record). The Tivo knows what program you want and can record ER on every channel or time slot once you tell Tivo to record ALL ER episodes. Tivo also has the ability to record only first runs of a show and skips reruns, I don't think any of the generics do this but Replay might.

    So in summary: All three types do the same thing (record TV) but they each do it slightly differently. I don't know if this is still true, but Replay at one time was regarded as the better DVR then Tivo but didn't market themselves well or license the technology to the right people or at all (think Betamax, it was the better technology but still lost out to VHS).
     
  3. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    1. Since you used "dish" and not "Dish", I'm taking that you mean this in a generic sense. Yes, DVR's are available that work with a satellite system, cable and antenna (or a combination). There are also satellite only versions as well as cable on versions.
    2. Cable models are rented for around $5-$10/month. DirecTV DVR's range from $49 to $699. Dish has models that are rentable or for purchase up to $599. Stand alone DVR's start around $99 and go up. Some require monthly fees or a single lifetime payment for a subscription.
    3. See #1.
    4. Stand alone Tivos only record a single show. DirectTV DVRs powered by Tivo (aka DirecTivos) have dual tuners and record two shows. Some Dish DVRs have dual tuners as well as some cable DVRs.

    Like Dean said, not all DVR's are created equal. Put the price of the DVR second and look at the features (both tuners and software).

    -Robert
     
  4. Rocky F

    Rocky F Second Unit

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    Actually, Dish Network DVR's do record by show title, not time. I have the 522, which is a dual tuner, dual drive, dual output system. For the first few months it worked by time, but then they changed the way it was set up so you can tell it to record a show once, new episodes or all episodes, although it sometimes has trouble telling if an episode is new or not. I like this system because of the dual outputs. You can record two things at once, while watching something that is on the hard drive, and you can access anything recorded on it from two tv's. It's very versatile. My only problem is that I didn't wait and get the new HD version, which is exactly the same, except that one of the outputs is high-def. My wife prefers all the DVR functions to the better picture of my OTA HD reciever, so we watch a lot of potention HD shows in SD.

    Anyway, didn't mean to ramble, but my point is, the 522 is a nice system if you have SD, and the 942 should work as well for HD. There are occasional glitches, but overall I enjoy the system.
     
  5. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    The 522 was the first in line to be upgraded to name based recording. Dish promised NBR to ALL of their DVR's last summer. Right before rolling out this feature, they announced that older models would not get it. So people who purchased the 921 ($1,000 at the time) or the 721 ($500) with the expectation of NBR were left out in the cold. Typical broken promises with Dish. I sold my Dish equipment for a fraction of the cost after another failed promise on my HD receiver and the horrible experience with the Dishplayer. The only DVR bad enough to get its own class action lawsuit.

    -Robert (very happy DirecTivo owner)
     
  6. NeilO

    NeilO Producer

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    I thought I had heard that there was a glitch with this for shows such as LOST, Alias and Desperate Housewives that were off the hour timeslot by a minute here or there. Did TiVo fix this glitch automatically or is there something you would manually need to remember?

    Neil
     
  7. Rocky F

    Rocky F Second Unit

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    I don't know about tivo, but yeah, those long shows do get messed up on the 522. There is an option to record extra minutes before or after the show. This past season, with Lost and Alias back to back, often times the last minute of Lost would be on the Alias recording. We would make sure to set 5 minutes or so extra after Alias.
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    It's not a glitch with the hardware, it's the networks purposely messing with us DVR users. The Tivo records the show EXACTLY as the guide has it. The network doesn't follow the guide times when switching shows so we pad things. With single tuner PVR's, that keeps us from scheduling back-to-back shows on different networks. It's easier for us dual tuner DVR users but there are still more and more conflicts to work around. Personally, I'd rather see them put more effort into making better programming instead of resorting to tricks to keep views tuned to their network.

    -Robert
     

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