<sigh> Tivo, here I come?

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Re: <sigh> Tivo, here I come?

Post#121 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:38 pm

We have exactly the same issues with guide quality/accuracy as WMC (some missing/generic episode descriptions, missing/wrong season/episode numbers, missing original air dates, missing/wrong categories and genres, missing/wrong lineups). It appears Rovi has made very little progress on those.

That being said, it is mostly functional. I have recorded a few unwanted repeats, but haven't really missed any recordings. Sporting events seem to have the most trouble. But that doesn't affect me. My lineup was fine, just as it was after the Rovi switch in WMC. But I'm in a fairly large market. Smaller markets may still have issues.

I don't use plex, so I can't speak to that.

So bottom line, yes the guide is significantly worse, but not bad enough that I would drop Tivo altogether. If you're running WMC and Rovi today, then that's exactly the guide data you'll get on Tivo or Channel Master too. If you're on the fence, may as well go ahead and decide based on circumstances right now because it's highly doubtful they will ever change.

Although Gracenote has far superior guide data, with them losing customers left and right, I don't know how much longer they can survive either. Hate to be such a downer, but we'll all probably get stuck with Rovi eventually.
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Post#122 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:18 am

TiVo have a secret weapon to help fight poor quality data and that is wish lists. You can tune them to compensate for things such as live sports to ensure you get the recordings. It involves effort compared to what should be an easy task. Fighting fire with fire. Playing Rovi at their own game.
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Post#123 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:37 am

Bob, thanks for the detailed feedback. Nice to read.

Check your box I think it's melting! :wink:
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Post#124 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:58 am

I've been using the embedded Plex app (server running on our WMC box) to watch downloaded videos and previously recorded WMC programs - and it works pretty well, comparable to running Plex on other platforms.

A negative about the TiVo Android app is that it will only store downloaded programs in the device's memory - there doesn't appear to be any way to download programs to an SD card (could be due to DRM concerns), so that effectively eliminates downloading TiVo programs to our mobile devices for use on trips.

Next step in the eval is to get program transfer from our Bolt+ to a PC - and either use Plex to manage downloading to mobile devices or possibly just copy the files (especially to our Windows tablet and laptops, for use with offline viewing during trips).

Agree with the disappointment around the program guide data. The Rovi data has the same problems we are seeing on WMC. But, so far, I haven't missed any recordings, and the guide data does seem to be more accurate over the next few days - which triggers the recordings, and less accurate a week or so out. So as long as they can get the guide reasonably correct when it's time to record, it should be OK. And, at least we have someone officially supporting the TiVo program guide service, unlike the uncertainty with Microsoft's program guide service.

An interesting benefit of having a 3TB drive on the Bolt+ - while the TiVo software will delete programs, until the disk space is needed, those files are still on the hard drive and can be recovered, so if anyone ever accidentally deletes a program, there is a pretty good chance the file will still be there.

Yesterday, I finished installing the Minis - we now have 3 connected and installed the TiVo app on our Android devices. Plus, I programmed two universal remotes to control the TiVo boxes over IR (Harmony 900 and Pronto TSU9600).

Next up is to move the Plex server off our WMC box and figure out how I can transfer TiVo recordings to our new Plex server.
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Post#125 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:44 am

Yesterday, I set up both Plex and kmttg on a new system to use in support of our TiVo boxes.

kmttg is a Java GUI app that copies TiVo recordings to a computer and decrypts them so they can be viewed on other devices. This will allow us to copy the TiVo recordings to a Windows tablet or laptop for offline viewing while we are travelling (airplane, cruise ship, hotel, ...). The app was pretty easy to setup and can either run on demand, or be configured to run continuously, moving new recordings to the PC. Since we will likely only use this for travelling, at least for now, will plan to use this just prior to trips.

Plex will be used for providing access to our music, photos and downloaded/home videos on the TiVo boxes. It can also be used when we're away from the house to view those files - including any TiVo recordings we've transferred to the PC. Plex supports both streaming and downloading on many devices.

So far, haven't encountered any showstoppers - and the only very slight negative is having to hit a button on the remote to skip over marked commercials, which hasn't been a big deal.

The Rovi guide date is still a concern - but that's also true with WMC (if not using EPG123), so it's not any worse than what we had with WMC.
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Post#126 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:15 pm

bob_p wrote:kmttg is a Java GUI app that copies TiVo recordings to a computer and decrypts them so they can be viewed on other devices.

I assume this only works on recordings marked copy-freely, not copy-once?
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Post#127 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:52 pm

That's correct - only for copy freely, the same programs that could be copied to other computers when using WMC.

I have found a small, but annoying "feature" of TiVo. For several ABC programs recorded this week, there is a thin black bar across the top of the videos, with white dashes/dots/lines at the top of the video. This is in the video file - and was present when I copied the files to my PC.

In order to hide this "noise", had to set all displays and the PC video player I'm using (Pot Player) to "overscan" mode, to hide the first few lines of the display.

Don't recall ever seeing this issue with WMC.

While annoying, and this means I might lose a few lines at the top or bottom of the videos, at least there's a workaround.
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Post#128 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:47 pm

Approaching two weeks in with our TiVo evaluation and haven't found any reasons to go back to WMC.

Did our first road trip, copying the non-DRM protected programs to my laptop (using kmttg) and watching them offline while travelling.

One small disappointment is that while the Android TiVo app can watch recordings and live TV out-of-home (OOH), TiVo's web "TiVo Online" does not currently provide the same level of support - so if we want to try to watch live TV OOH, we'll likely have to do that with an Android app. Will be trying to see if I can get an Android emulator working with the TiVo app on Windows 10 - and see if I can bring that functionality to my Windows laptop or tablet (which have larger displays and easier to connect to hotel TVs).

We purchased our 4th Mini last week to connect to an old DLP TV, and then realized the TV was so old it only had DVI and component video inputs. Ordered a component cable set online through Amazon and now have the old DLP working.

Within the next week, we'll likely make a Go/No-Go decision on keeping the TiVo - and, as of now, I'm expecting the decision will be to stay with TiVo and uninstall our Ceton/SD tuners, the WMC PC, and pull the Xbox 360s from all of the rooms (probably not much of a market for 6 Xbox 360s or the Ceton tuner...).
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Post#129 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:58 pm

bob_p wrote:One small disappointment is that while the Android TiVo app can watch recordings and live TV out-of-home (OOH), TiVo's web "TiVo Online" does not currently provide the same level of support - so if we want to try to watch live TV OOH, we'll likely have to do that with an Android app.
Does the Android TV App support Chromecast? You may be able to travel with a cheap chromecast stick and plug it into the hotel TV.

(Note, I don't know for sure how Chromecast works... I recently ordered a cheap one and it's on it's way from China)

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Post#130 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:49 am

I think you also have to bring a router when you travel with Chromecast. Fire Stick is much better for that kind of thing.
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Post#131 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:22 pm

I have a Chromecast for travelling and mdavej is right, you have to bring your own network with you in order to easily get the Chromecast to work.

Initially I was using the Chromecast with the Android Remote Potato app to play WMC videos on hotel TVs - and that worked well. But because of the additional hassle of having to get my own network up and running, it was easier to connect my Windows laptop or tablet to the TV - plus I have an IR remote.

Supporting live TV OOH on a hotel TV is a low priority, and not a showstopper. We have a week-long trip coming up in December and by then, I'll figure out how to watch live TV OOH so we can watch our NBA and NFL teams.

Last night, the decision was made to keep the TiVo, so I'll be disassembling our WMC environment, scavenging the WMC PC for any usable parts (graphics card, drives) and returning the cablecards to Comcast.

I plan to keep an extra cablecard for one of the SD tuners, and continue monitoring their SD DVR project, at least for now - though I would be surprised if they get anywhere close to what TiVo is already offering with their Bolt & Mini products.

We had a long run with WMC - and it's still a great DVR system - but without Microsoft's full support and no product development, it's only a matter of time before everyone else also bails on it...
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Post#132 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:44 pm

So true.

But let me tell you what I saw with ReplayTV. When my cableco went all digital, that was the end of ReplayTV for me. I had friends who still had analog, so they kept it.

Then several months later ReplayTV said, we're ditching the guide service, so long, it's been a great run, but you all knew we were pretty much out of business, and this is the last item to take care of. Lots of hand wringing, then someone came up with the equivalent of EPG123 for Replay. Many people stayed.

Then Replay said, I guess we're going to keep the guide service after all. So many people continued to stay.

Here it is 5.5 years later, and there are still hardcore ReplayTV users that are doing everything they can to keep those boxes running. Head on over to AVS Forum and take a look. I really didn't appreciate how hardcore some loyal users can be, and how large a group that can be.

I see the same thing happening with WMC, frankly. So when I hear someone say "it's only a matter of time before everyone else also bails on it," I flash back to ReplayTV and I realize that it'll be ten years at least before the last WMC users gives up.
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Post#133 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:07 pm

Still hard to beat slingbox for OOH streaming. It's the only thing I can reliably get to work when I'm in a foreign country. So not only can I watch all my recordings, but also all the streaming services which would otherwise be blocked (Netflix, HBO, etc.). VPNs don't even work with Netflix anymore.

Tivo app works great on a phone or tablet for OOH, but that's all you get. You can't even stream OOH to a web browser on a laptop. Yes, Tivo app on Fire Stick does technically work for OOH too. But the picture quality and connection reliability is generally pretty awful. Sling, on the other hand, has a far better picture given the same bandwidth and has apps for Fire TV, Roku, phones/tablets, laptops, etc. Granted, control is slow and awkward, but at least you get something watchable.

I think I paid something like $40 for my older, refurb slingbox which isn't bad at all. I have it connected to a rarely used Mini in one of my guest rooms.
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Post#134 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:58 pm

I was a Tivo fan for a while. I have a TivoHD, two Roamios (pro and basic) and two Mini's. I'm very close to dumping them all. Tivo support wouldn't provide a software update to get MPG4 channels on my TivoHD so had to get it through illegitimate means; this is on a device with a lifetime subscription. Tivo support has been of no help with the Rovi guide transition. Tivo users are experiencing the same pain that WMC users did a year ago. Tickets just get closed saying that things are resolved when no changes have been made to correct the issue. I've missed multiple recordings and have one channel that has nothing but generic program descriptions. There's been recurring problems with the guide data where To Be Announced or <channel> programming will show up for hours at a time. Tivo's main appeal was that it was a recorder that just worked and had some of the best guide data - that's no longer the case.

At this point, I can do most of what I need with SageTV using HDHomerun Prime (2), Nvidia Shield clients and a Windows/Linux server. I don't subscribe to any DRM channels so this is as close to a WMC replacement as I can get. I have more faith in AndroidTV providing me with streaming options than Tivo. Just today, PSVue was announced as an option for AndroidTV. As far as I know Xfinity on Demand stuff isn't available yet for the Shield but was demo'd earlier in the year so might still come out.
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Post#135 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:16 am

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Post#136 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:34 am

And they don't have the epg123 option.
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Post#137 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:06 pm

Now that I see that Comcast's MPEG4 rollout is downrezzing HD channels to 720, I'm starting to wonder if my plans to buy a TiVo shouldn't be reconsidered against a DTV or Dish subscription...
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Post#138 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:57 pm

Dish has no full 1080. DTV is your only option for full rez.
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Post#139 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:21 pm

Just got done with a truck roll out here to see if there was anything the tech could find, post change, to fix stuff (HBO/Showtime tiling, some line glitches on other MPEG4 channels). As figured, he found nothing he could do ("signal perfect"). I'd tried a Prime channel rescan this morning, which didn't help (may even have hurt a little, unsure). Video driver changes haven't helped either.

Guess I'm pulling a Prime out this weekend for the Cablecard and getting a TiVo running. Is a very sad day, I'm going to miss this.
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Post#140 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:06 pm

Heads up for anyone on the fence with Tivo. They're having a huge sale right now. A refurb OTA with lifetime is only $199. Bolt refurb with lifetime is $450. Those prices are on par with PC-based hardware and tuner costs. Yes, the guide is Rovi and worse than before. But it's still mostly functional. I haven't missed any recordings because of Rovi.

https://www.tivo.com/thanksgiving2016#/thanksgiving2016

An OTA Tivo can easily be modified to work with cable card if you can get a donor Roamio Basic for parts. In the US, if you want cable TV channels without subscribing to cable, PS Vue is a good, cheap option with cloud DVR capability. AT&T is rolling out their own service in a few weeks which is supposedly similar to PS Vue.
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