TiVo/PVR - no phone line

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sathyan, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    TiVo seems like a really cool device to have (VCR replacement) especially with "season pass" type features. Is there a TiVo that works with Ethernet?
    I don't have land-line telephone service (using Cable modem for internet and cell phone for voice calls) so need to download the program guide some other way.

    Failing that:
    Do you know if any PVR are available integrated with cable boxes (I have Time Warner Cable)

    failing that:
    how do PC-based solutions compare?


    thanks,
    sathyan
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Official TiVo support for ethernet will be available shortly with the release of the 4.0 software. A Tivo2 unit is required. If you know what you're doing, the current software has "unofficial" support for ethernet connectivity (again, with a TiVo2), but it's not something with which I have personal experience. You can visit the TiVo users forum for more information.

    M.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    The other alternative is to check out Sonic Blue's ReplayTV (the 4xxx and the latest 5xxx series). They do offer ethernet capabilities right out of the box.

    There is a write-up on SB's ReplayTV 5000 in this month's Sound and Vision magazine (has Signs as a screen shot on the cover).
     
  4. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    Sathyan, if you want to pickup a Series 1 TiVo, you can add an ethernet card for it. It's a "hack", so thus, you'll have to open the case and install it yourself, which voids your warranty, but it's about as easy as installing a card or HD to a PC.

    The card is called a TurboNet card, and you can buy one for $69 from 9th Tee . You install the hardware (the mini ethernet card), and then boot up and install CD, and take the TiVo's HD out to install the necessary software.

    I've done it, and it was a piece of cake, but then again, I like opening up stuff and playing around with it.

    You can probably even find some pre-configured Ethernet ready Series 1 TiVo's on eBay. Try searching for "tivo" and "turbonet" or something.

    If you don't find any, you can always wait until the end of the year when the new HDTV TiVo's come out. I'm sure many early adopters will be pawing their original TiVo's off on eBay, and that should really increase the supply vs. demand.

    If you need any help, please let me know.
     
  5. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    If you know you want to connect via Ethernet, and don't have a Tivo yet, I think it's the height of silliness to hack a series 1 to do it when the series 2 is not much more expensive and so much easier to work with. Series 2 will also has faster processor and comes stock with bigger drives. Plus the series 2 will have the option of adding the MP3 / JPEG / video sharing / web control home media option later; the series 1 will not. All you need with series 2 is one of the supported USB->ethernet dongles, and some sort of router to assign it an IP via DHCP. Punch in the special dial prefix in the appropriate menu, reboot with your adapter plugged in, then you are ready to go, plug & play. Detailed instructions, compatible dongle list in the "underground" area of the forum Michael Reuben mentioned.

    ReplayTV is another possibility, supports Ethernet out of the box, but I prefer Tivo's software for scheduling, space management, etc. YMMV.

    PVRs integrated with cable box - yes, they exist, ask your cable company if they will be rolling out the Scientific Atlanta PVR box (model 8000 if I recall) in your area. Software not as powerful, buggier according to user reports. However much cheaper (just $5-10/month, typically), plus major advantage of dual recording. Definitely worth a trial if they offer it.

    PC based solutions - don't bother IMO. The newer ones are getting better but they aren't nearly as slick as a Tivo yet. Video quality tends to be worse, software harder to use, many of them don't control external cable boxes.
     
  6. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    Ahhh...but you can extract the audio/video clips directly from the HD and burn them to DVD, like you can with a Series 1. Thus, it's hardly silly to want a Series 1.

    Also, the Series 1's are cheaper as a unit, more upgradable, and cheaper to add things like an additional HD, etc.

    I swear by my Series 1 DTivo, but your milage may vary...
     
  7. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    If one wishes to do a lot of hacking of the unit, the series 1 has fewer barriers and might be desirable for that reason. But the original poster only mentioned wanting to use one with Ethernet rather than a phone line. If you just want to use the thing, and don't envision much hacking other than drive upgrades, the series 2 is much faster/easier to set up and get running on a network.

    Series 1 isn't much cheaper. Drive upgrades cost isn't much different, just a bit extra for mounting bracket. And with series 2 bigger drive to begin with, you may not need to upgrade, which is definitely cheaper. The 60 hr unit is fine with me; I have never felt the need for more storage.

    Video extraction -- well, people's habits vary; I've archived maybe 3 hrs of shows from my Tivos in 4 years so it's no value to me. Anything I really like to keep is likely to come out or already be available on DVD anyway, much better quality than anything I can record myself. Note also the poster is using cable, not DirecTV; there is quality loss in encoding that further lowers any value in this.
     
  8. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    Stephen, no worries. The poster asked for ideas, and the Series 1 with a TurboNet is my best choice I would suggest.

    Since the poster isn't using DirecTV, even a 60hr unit is way way way too little recording time for me. At 'best quality', what does a 60hr unit hold, like 19 hours or something like that?

    As for archiving, I use my DTiVo to archive stuff all the time that will never, ever be on DVD. Mostly interesting appearances on talk shows, full Super Bowls, etc. But again that's just me.


    If you want to tweak, hack, etc, the Series 1 is your best choice.
    If you want something right out of the box to play with, and dont feel the need for tweaking/hacking, the Series 2 is your best choice.
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  10. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    Michael, I respectfully disagree. I had a stand alone TiVo before I switched to DirecTV. On my 57" widescreen TV, I needed it on "Best Quality" for anything to be watchable. If not, the motion artifacts got really annoying.
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    We all have our quality threshhold. I treat TV shows like soap operas (when I time-shift), so the low quality record setting is fine for folks like me. And I watch the shows on a 56" 4:3 HDTV.
     
  12. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  13. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    Maybe my cable signal is better than yours was. I can't usually distinguish between "high" and "best", so I get some 28+ hrs with "high". In practice there are lots of shows (news/talk shows) where I don't care too much about the quality so I use basic/medium (I do notice resolution drop down between high/medium) and get a lot more hours that way. Motion artifacts I only see on sports at the lower 2 qualities; I don't see them at "high".

    At some point the value of additional storage diminishes, depends on the household. You'd end up piling up so many shows that you never have time to watch them anyway. When the unit stores the max you'd ever let your backlog grow to, more doesn't really help, unless you like to use the drive as permanent archival w/o moving to VHS/DVD. I lived fine with much less storage for years, you just make a bit more effort to watch shows a bit sooner. Also, as I said I barely archive at all.
     

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