Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: TiVo and some tunes

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  • giovanni tiso,

    The Circle of Business Jerks?

    Sold! To the gentleperson from Japan.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    I am sure PA readers can come up with some appropriate suggestions

    Kerr & Brash's Lonely Hearts Club Band

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Is the Mickey Mouse Club taken?

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I too am fairly excited that Tivo is making it to NZ, however I don't think it's quite a rosy a picture as you paint in your post, Russell.

    Fair enough; it may not be. But, as I said, the TVNZ management and the Hybrid Television CEO Robbee Minicola, had a better story to tell than I expected.

    I'll take your word for it on the $A price -- I must have written that down wrong. Obviously, price is going to very important -- along with the way it's done at retail. TV-Tivo bundles would seem to be a good idea.

    But it holds more promise of being an actual business with new revenues than anything else TVNZ has done so far.

    The CDN was the thing that intrigued me. Jason Paris acknowledged that discussions with ISPs over that would provide an opportunity for TVNZ to get a similar arrangement for the web version of ondemand. Given that Sky is all over TVNZ in telco relationships, that's quite handy in itself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    The icing on the cake is that one can't just plug in any external hard drive to increase capacity - one will have to buy the Tivo-branded WD model, at some premium

    Depends how brave you are :)

    I reckon a grand on this (plugged into my Ethernet) will do nicely! But... is that an extra A$200 for software to let them chatter?

    All is not lost - Google "Hack Tivo"

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    It also means that if TVNZ tires of Tivo the
    box you paid $500 for wont continue to work
    with the freeview on-air feed.

    what do you mean by this paul?

    well standard DVB EPG is something used the world over, freeview use their own non-standard format, Tivos get their own EPG feeds over the internet (which is why in the US f you don't plug them into the net, or a phone, and pay your Tivo monthly fee it stops being useful)

    My point is that the box is only as good as long as someone at TVNZ is pulling together the EPG data for ALL the freeview channels and sending it to your box - if 10 years from now your box is one of the few still working in the country and TVNZ decides that having some guy make you a weekly EPG just for you they'll probably shut you off

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    The other nerdery related note, will be interesting to see if the tivo box is capable of recording just the H.264 stream. Currently, it seems with PCs recording freeview, its preserved in the transport stream (which includes some error correction), and makes for pretty big files (~5GB/hour). I'm buying a second terabyte hard drive, because the first one is full!

    transport streams are what almost everyone records - the on-air streams are wrapped in FEC (error correction) but that's taken off before the actual data is recorded - you don't store the whole multiplex, just the audio/video pids you need - the actual TS overhead is ~1-2% (3-4 bytes/188 byte packet)

    What you don't want to do is any sort of recoding, it requires enormous amounts of CPU and tends to produce crappy results. HD streams are BIG - (1920x1080)/(720x480) is 6X SD just from screen pixels alone, and hopefully they don't screw the compression down as much as you have for SD (to analog colour/quality)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My point is that the box is only as good as long as someone at TVNZ is pulling together the EPG data for ALL the freeview channels and sending it to your box - if 10 years from now your box is one of the few still working in the country and TVNZ decides that having some guy make you a weekly EPG just for you they'll probably shut you off.

    But it's not TVNZ that stocks the EPG, it's Hybrid Television, the TiVo licence-holder that TVNZ owns a third of. It's their job to have all Freeview stations on board, and providing data -- and they did launch with all FTA channels in Australia.

    So you'd be talking about TiVo failing so badly that the licence-holder, and its shareholders, give up. I think a more likely glitch is Mediaworks finding a way to avoid giving their EPG data to TiVo. That would mess things up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    fair enough - you're still dependent on a different way to get your EPG than the rest of Freeview - if you're going to do some form of extended EPG then we all benefit if it's broadcast to everyone, if you're not then there's no point (other than hardware lock in to make money for the EPG provider)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Crowley,

    when are they turning analog off? Prime will have to jump eventually

    Don't get me wrong, I love gadgets and technology as much as the next person. But to me it is starting to look like watching the old idiot box will soon be a thing of the past for people without a lazy grand kicking around in their pocket and a reasonable degree of computer savvy.
    My 3yo daughter will never get to see her Grandad because I will be afraid to take her round because it will take hours to reset the Tivo/Mysky/Internet after he has c$#&^d it up. So we can watch some continually repeated show or crap movie on sky.
    No kids will wan't to come round to play with her either to watch our 15 yo 21" tv which is probably as deep as it is wide. use our obsolete PS2. Play on our 5 yo computer ( with 1G broadband plan. Which took me 10 minutes to explain to my cousin in the USA )
    Sorry about the rant but as far as I am concerned it is just television. Sounds and pictures. And as such not worth getting into reasonable hock for.

    Otautahi • Since Nov 2008 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    On a side note, we have to pull the plug on Wellington Triangle TV from 31 March due to insufficient demand from Wellingtonians for programme airtime.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Crowley,

    And as such not worth getting into reasonable hock for.

    Sorry, what I am trying to say is that some form of truly free plug and play television broadcast needs to remain a while yet, because some people don't get caught up with sreen size/resolution.

    Otautahi • Since Nov 2008 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    How about.
    "The Business Round Trough" Look at all the little piggies in their clean white shirts........

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    transport streams are what almost everyone records - the on-air streams are wrapped in FEC (error correction) but that's taken off before the actual data is recorded - you don't store the whole multiplex, just the audio/video pids you need - the actual TS overhead is ~1-2% (3-4 bytes/188 byte packet)

    What you don't want to do is any sort of recoding, it requires enormous amounts of CPU and tends to produce crappy results.

    Thanks for the clarification Paul. I'd already decided that the call between buying more storage and re-coding was pretty easy, with storage now around 20c a TB

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    For people who are angsting over the fact the Tivo will cost up to a grand, how much did TVs cost per percentage of average income in the 70s? Appreciably more, methinks. I still remember our family renting them for whatever-it-was a week - we couldn't afford to buy one till the mid-80s.

    Although it is stupid when you consider how much the actual technology costs these days (ie. bugger all). If I felt a need to record my own rather than buy DVDs or torrent someone else's recording, I'd go the MythTV route.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sorry, what I am trying to say is that some form of truly free plug and play television broadcast needs to remain a while yet, because some people don't get caught up with sreen size/resolution.

    Freeview channels are free to receive.

    The Freeview HD decoders have been as low as $249 (you can buy a satellite one for much less), and they offer considerably better pictures and more channels than the old analog TV. That's not too bad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Something that has just occurred to me (on account of being very slow witted): would this TiVo thing work with the Sky channels, correct? I imagine that if the freeview channels land on the sky platform then the MySky would work with those too.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Something that has just occurred to me (on account of being very slow witted): would this TiVo thing work with the Sky channels, correct? I imagine that if the freeview channels land on the sky platform then the MySky would work with those too.

    Sorry: it's a digital terrestrial decoder. No worky with Sky.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Don't apologise, it's I who can't get my head around these things. But that surely would mean that for half the populace - by which I mean Sky subscribers - the choice of MySky over TiVo would make itself, no? Why would you choose a device that can only record half your channels?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    An excellent Media 7 last night--especially the discussion on the future of advertising.

    Watched the Freeview repeat last night by candlelight. Loved the comment re Obama's misspeak about Special Olympics (that has led to spirited web discussions in the US and Obama forever karmically indebted to improving the lives of those with intellectual impairment - which he had started to do anyway).

    But a little gender analysis of Media7. Is it just me or are there a disproportionate number of successful yet cool middle aged pakeha males on it? Or is this just the target demographic?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    If I felt a need to record my own rather than buy DVDs or torrent someone else's recording, I'd go the MythTV route.

    I think it's working now if you have serious geek cred, but the New Zealand Freeview HD wouldn't work with for the longest time. It was to do with the complexity of the H.264 video feed (which is excellent quality, but requires more oomph to decode), and getting the hardware acceleration going on your video card (which is a lot to do with drivers &c.). In the end that meant windows & GB-PVR. It's not just Myth though, Windows Media Centre in Vista can't do it either. It does work in in Windows 7, but with no EPG beyond now/next.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    The basic issue there is that they chose MPEG-4 rather than MPEG-2 (which every other broadcast service on the planet used at the time) for DVB-T broadcasts here - technically it's a good choice - except that no one makes hardware for it (including cheap silicon) - so from a business point of view it's probably been an uphill battle. It also means that things like Windows (and Linux too) haven't been able to test against these different streams and stuff that has never been tested is by definition broken

    In the US everyone's wanted to switch to MP4 for a while - bandwidth is much more precious over there - but can't because of the enormous installed base of old slow settops that would have to be replaced - literally something like 100 million of them, mostly owned by the cable/satellite companies who would have to replace them all at once - so choosing to start freeview with Mp4 is forward thinking (they can't do it for the NZ freeview satellite service because the share streams with Sky and would have to change out all the Sky settops)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I have finally got Freeview working nicely with VLC on Linux with a cheap little USB stick.

    It is quite noticeable that some channels (TV1, TV2., TV3) require enough grunt to decode that my poor old laptop can't quite keep up, and there are artifacts and tearing in the picture. TV7 and TV6 play absolutely fine though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    depends on how much bandwidth they are throwing at it HD sized streams are going to strain your software decoder while SD sized ones wont

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I have finally got Freeview working nicely with VLC on Linux with a cheap little USB stick.

    Is it made by Hauppauge or AverMedia?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

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