Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: TiVo and some tunes

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  • Paul Campbell,

    well I already did my rant here on MySky a day or so ago - and Tivo's been a major competitor of mine for a decade or so (but no longer!), so I'm slightly biased there ....

    But I'd like to make a more general comment - when you watch TV you should be in control, not the TV station - that's the whole point about PVRs: you get to take control over when you watch TV, if you own the box you should be in control of 'how' and 'where' too

    Fortunately there are open source/free alternatives - buy a dvb-t card for that old PC you were going to throw away, load up mythTV and away you go - much prettier than MySky too - it's not yet an easy hack for non-geeks but I bet someone will do a NZ specific standalone CD installer

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    sorry that http://www.mythtv.org link seems broken

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    Im a *total* techno noob, but I got a lot of info on a PVRs from very helpful posters last time I asked, so Im hoping people can help me out here again.

    We dont yet have freeview, but were going to get it when a PVR + freeview combo came down in price enough. Last time we asked we were recommended one of the Zinwell range as it recorded in HD, and that is something we were hoping to get. Unfortunately it was ~1000 at the time (but a bit cheaper now) so we have so far put it off.
    Perhaps Tivo is a good alternative? So as far as questions go:

    -what are the disadvantages of Tivo vs a Zinwell (or similiar) PVR?

    -does tivo record HD programs in HD so when I watch them they will be in HD still?

    -does 2 channel mean I can watch 1 and record 1 other at the same time (or alternatively record 2 at the same time), or is it some other techno term?

    -Can I start watching half way through recording with the tivo box still recording the remainder (im sure there is a term for this...)

    -How do I get stuff from my Tivo to my computer, and vice versa, assuming I have a wireless adsl2 modem. Can i do it wirelessly, or do I need to use a usb thumb drive (or similar) each time. Especially worried about the EPG if it does not go via the air. Our TV is not really in a place I can connect my computer to it via wires easily.

    -"There are no buttons to jump either forward or back, just fast-forward and reverse." What does this mean? Is this for the ondemand stuff, or permanently? As i dont currently have a pvr I am not quite sure what this is


    All help appreciated

    Cheers
    Andy C

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 169 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But I'd like to make a more general comment - when you watch TV you should be in control, not the TV station - that's the whole point about PVRs: you get to take control over when you watch TV, if you own the box you should be in control of 'how' and 'where' too

    Of course, and the TiVo is certainly friendlier than the MySky on that score -- but an additional non-broadcast on-demand service is a different matter, no?

    So I can't quite grasp why Danielle's got the fear over the ads in on-demand programming that she never has to look at if she doesn't wanna.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    So I can't quite grasp why Danielle's got the fear over the ads in on-demand programming that she never has to look at if she doesn't wanna.

    If it has that function, at some point someone's going to introduce a 'can't fast forward through ads on programmes you have recorded your own self' function, is what I'm thinking.

    Maybe all that pot I smoked made me 'noid. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    -what are the disadvantages of Tivo vs a Zinwell (or similiar) PVR?

    The TiVo is about twice the size (like an old-school VHS). Apart from that, nothing I can think of.

    -does tivo record HD programs in HD so when I watch them they will be in HD still?

    Yes.

    -does 2 channel mean I can watch 1 and record 1 other at the same time (or alternatively record 2 at the same time), or is it some other techno term?

    Yes, you record one and watch one, or record two at a time -- while you play back another, if you desire.

    -Can I start watching half way through recording with the tivo box still recording the remainder (im sure there is a term for this...)

    Yes.

    -How do I get stuff from my Tivo to my computer, and vice versa, assuming I have a wireless adsl2 modem. Can i do it wirelessly, or do I need to use a usb thumb drive (or similar) each time. Especially worried about the EPG if it does not go via the air. Our TV is not really in a place I can connect my computer to it via wires easily.

    You'll need to pay about $70 for the USB wi-fi adaptor if you can't wire it.

    -"There are no buttons to jump either forward or back, just fast-forward and reverse." What does this mean? Is this for the ondemand stuff, or permanently? As i dont currently have a pvr I am not quite sure what this is

    Some PVRs have a button that jumps you forward a specified time, without having to ffwd, and also a "what did he just say?" button to go back. MySky and TiVo don't. You have to use ffwd or rewind, at up 30x speed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Maybe all that pot I smoked made me 'noid. :)

    I dunno. You know what the word on the street is - guess who REALLY owns TVNZ?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    THE GOVERNMENT! ZOMG!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If it has that function, at some point someone's going to introduce a 'can't fast forward through ads on programmes you have recorded your own self' function, is what I'm thinking.

    They can't really control that, and if they did, it would make their product extremely unattractive.

    Maybe all that pot I smoked made me 'noid. :)

    I couldn't possibly comment ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    By the way, I do wonder at the size and nature of this round table that Kerr sits at...Roger, for the love of God, can you change your organisation's name? I am sure PA readers can come up with some appropriate suggestions.

    If it refers to what they sit around and gaze upon: " A pit of despair and despondency"? Or, if they wish to reflect the size of their membership: A fold-down card-table? An occasional table? A tabula rasa?

    Well, it is Friday and I have just finished a huge pile of essay marking..!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    the problem with selling a " 'can't fast forward through ads on programmes you have recorded your own self'" box for freeview is that you have to tell the box which part of the video is ads .... and if you do that someone else can sell a box that will automatically FF through the ads for you ..... you can only pull that off if you own the entire platform in the way Sky does (or the way DVD players are encumbered by their licensing) usually there's some sort of DRM involved (and why we all like the 'free' part of freeview)

    There's no reason a PVR shouldn't have that most useful "what did he say" button (15 secs or so back) - it doesn't affect ad revenue - but it does make the customer ask where the complementary 30 sec forward button is (ad skip) - a question that the media-vendor would rather not come up (for the record the boxes I've been building for the past few years have both buttons, but when the box is actually owned by a cable company they can choose to disable one or the other)

    You can of course sort of add both buttons yourself by using a universal remote.

    I am a bit worried that there will be yet another private-format EPG feed from TVNZ - I'm sure there will be some pressure to make the Tivo one provide useful info that's not available to other freeview customers - 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.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    I mean, who on earth still has a landline? I've got wireless radio broadband and a cellphone, haven't had a phone for years...

    Nah, I'll stick with the landline, and use the exit point to the street to convert to fibre in the next 2-5 years as well.

    Biggest thing with this TiVo setup IMO is that if it goes off it will be another key factor in driving proper fibre broadband in this country. I'll be sticking with MySky because I want SPORT damnit, but NZ TiVo will hopefully force Sky to start delivering actual content via teh Interwebs as well. That's a very good call on TiVo's part, even with a few ads bundled in :-)

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    It will be great if Prime does end up on Freeview. Watching the analogue signal seems like such poor quality, and if I'm recording two different digital channels, then there's no tuner available for analogue. Also, it will be great if the broadband program guide is more widely available than just those with Tivos.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

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

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I am a bit worried that there will be yet another private-format EPG feed

    Yeah. It's frustrating enough the M$ already doesn't play nicely with the existing EPG freeview feed.

    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!

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Yes, you record one and watch one, or record two at a time -- while you play back another, if you desire.

    The Zinwell allows you to record two, and watch another live, if two of the channels are on the same feed. E.g. you can record TV3 and C4, and watch TVOne, or you can record TV2, and Maori TV, and watch TVNZ7.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Can I just say I didn't have a problem with the police's decision to bring charges against liquor store owner Virender Singh?

    What, so you don't think difficult cases should be determined by the Herald's Your Views?

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Good to see TVNZ & Sky starting to throw down their weapons.

    AverMedia do some decent internal desktop tuners, although they have a few hoops to jump thru when used in Linux or MythTV etc:

    AverMedia Satellite PCI
    AverMedia Terrestrial HD PCI
    AverMedia DVB-S/DVB-T HD\Analogue PCI-E

    And regarding the Virender Singh case, we know what can happen when shopkeepers who kill in "self-defence" are let off the hook.

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

  • Andrew C,

    @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?

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 169 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

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

    2012 is target I believe. Wouldn't shock me if that got pushed though...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    The Zinwell allows you to record two, and watch another live, if two of the channels are on the same feed. E.g. you can record TV3 and C4, and watch TVOne, or you can record TV2, and Maori TV, and watch TVNZ7.

    In a PC with the right software, you can record multipled channels from the same mux on each tuner. So, for example, you can record TV1 and TV2 at the same time on one tuner, and watch C4 and record TV3 on another tuner. Māori TV is on the Kordia mux, so you'd need another tuner for that. I think I've managed to record 3 channels on the same tuner, but at some point there must be a bottleneck in the amount of data you're trying to pin down.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan Ibell,

    Re Tivo:
    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.

    For a start, it's AU$699 not $599 as you say. By the time the NZ version retails here, it'll be $1k or thereabouts - a similar price to the (less featured) Zinwell PVR.

    A few other issues - the 160GB hard drive on the Aus model is beyond miserly. This is a now entry level for a SD PVR. Their own website admits this only allows "up to" 30 hours of HD content to be recorded, which really is not adequate, especially for a product that can automatically record other programmes it "thinks" a user may be interested.

    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 I assume (not that this is yet available in Aus either).

    See http://www.cnet.com.au/dvdpvr/pvr/0,239035858,339290237,00.htm for a review of the Aus product.

    Also this link for accusations of some dodgyness with the pricing of "extras":
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/biztech/tivo-cops-price-gouge-flak/2009/03/23/1237656823070.html

    So it will be interesting to see how things go in NZ...

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Sime,

    I think this is a very clever move on TVNZ's part. With TV3 to introduce TV3 plus1 - a one hour timeshift channel on Freeview on the 30th, this announcement steals their thunder and when the boxes come out it'll make the channel redundant. Which is good, because I think plus1 is a cop-out and TV3 really should provide some new content to meet their Freeview obligations.

    Since Mar 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    [Renaming the Business Round Table]: I am sure PA readers can come up with some appropriate suggestions.

    The Circle of Business Jerks?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

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

    Trickle down table?

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 169 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

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

    CADET

    (Council for the Advancement of Discredited Economic Theories)

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

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