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crow is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 02:04 AM
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crow
Techno Geek

Registered: Jun 2004
Location: TN, USA
Posts: 339

Advise the n00b

I've been researching the whole Tivo scene for a few weeks now and would like advice as to what I might want to look into or out for. I am looking at a 80 hour standalone Tivo and also a Pioneer 201 or 301 DVR in a few months as the Pioneer/Tivo combo unit still seems a bit pricey.

I currently have Comcast digital cable, a 56" WS HDTV, as well as cable internet. I do not have a land line (phone) in my house. So I am curious about a few things..

#1 - What else do I need to buy in order to hook the Tivo to my home LAN? How difficult is it to go wireless with that? (Router is nowhere near my TV)

#2 - Will the DVD Recorder allow me to place recorded Tivo content onto disc?

#3 - Will I be able to record on one channel whilst watching something else?

#4 - If I do get the Tivo I will probably get the lifetime subscription - Is there a downside to this?

#5 - Kind of a non-Tivo question. I've seen ads touting the use of a DVDRW in place of a Tivo (although its like 6 hours max time) and that the disc can be overwritten almost endlessly. Is there any truth to this?

I know these are n00by type questions I just hope to gain some veteran insight into non-pc digital recording before investing the $$. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated..

Thanks alot.

--CroW

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stevel is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 02:32 AM
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stevel
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Registered: Aug 2000
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 7476

1) You need a supported wireless USB adapter. See http://customersupport.tivo.com/tiv...blic/tv2006.htm

2) Yes.

3) It depends. You can watch one previously recorded show while recording another. To watch another live show will probably mean a second cable box.

4) Not really, but keep in mind that it's the lifetime of the box.

5) Sort of. Some DVD-RAM recorders can operate like this, though some also have an internal hard disk. It's not a TiVo though - you lose a lot of the nifty TiVo functionality.

You may want to check out the book "TiVo for Dummies". It's a great introduction to what you can do with TiVo, with a lot of advanced topics.

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Jonathan_S is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 02:35 AM
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Jonathan_S
TiVo Forum Special Member

Registered: Oct 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
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#1 - You need to buy an USB adapter supported by TiVo. A List is provided on This TiVo page.

#2 - Sure. Its just A/V out from the TiVo, should work fine.

#3 - Not normally. The TiVos you are looking at only have one tuner (only the DirecTV DVRs with TiVo have two tuners), and so can only handle one channel at a time. If the TiVo is recording you can watch either that show or a previously recorded show with your TiVo.

However you should be able to split the input coax before your cable box and use your TVs tuner to watch analog channels while the TiVo is recording. (Or buy a second cable box for live viewing and dedicate your current cable box for the TiVo)

edit: stevel beat me to it.

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crow is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 03:05 AM
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crow
Techno Geek

Registered: Jun 2004
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Posts: 339

Thanks for the info guys, I was able to get a few useful ideas. Looks like the only "tricky" part will be the wireless broadband connection, I suppose I can run some more CAT5 if need be, that will probably be the cheapest route..

Well hope to see you 'round since I'll most likely be doing this this weekend.

Thanks again,

--CroW

__________________
3 TiVo Brand Series 2 80 Hour Units.
1 Upgraded to 195 Hours.
1 Upgraded to 302 Hours.
1 Upgraded to 310 Hours.
All With JavaHMO.
All with TiVoWebPlus/Telnet/FTP/MRV/BackDoors Enabled and Encryption Disabled..

A life? What's that? I have this TiVo, see ... and its all-consuming and all-powerful. And all I can do is stare at the glorious results of its workings.
-- ashutoshsm

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Stephen Tu is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 03:31 AM
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Stephen Tu
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quote:
I currently have Comcast digital cable, a 56" WS HDTV


Given this, I don't know if it's such a good idea to be investing a lot of money into a standalone Tivo & lifetime sub now. Don't you want to be able to record in high-definition? HD-DVRs are available in some areas already (check with Comcast); alternately you could consider switching to DirecTV and the HD-Tivo. In other Comcast areas a DVR should roll out by the end of the year or so. I love Tivo, have had one for 5 years, but after getting HDTV last year the picture quality is just a drag. I'm still using it but am itching for an HD model. I wouldn't buy a new SD standalone now.

quote:
#5 - Kind of a non-Tivo question. I've seen ads touting the use of a DVDRW in place of a Tivo (although its like 6 hours max time) and that the disc can be overwritten almost endlessly. Is there any truth to this?


It's an extremely poor substitute. 6 hrs, at lowest quality, is just woefully inadequate. These days, with most TV shows worth keeping coming out for purchase on DVD, for most people DVDRW is only really useful for transferring & distributing videos from their camcorder.

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crow is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 05:53 PM
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crow
Techno Geek

Registered: Jun 2004
Location: TN, USA
Posts: 339

At this point the quality is a matter of compromise with price, currently Comcast only offers about 6 HD channels in my area (all of which are simulcast on non-HD), so I have no real incentive to pay the extra $$ for a HD box to add to the stack of boxes I already have.

I find the digital cable picture to be very sharp and more than adequate for what I want to do assuming that the quality doesn't drop exponentially when the Tivo records.

I had thought about the DirectTV approach but I just got rid of Dishnetwork and don't really want to do the satellite thing again. So assuming that the playback quality of the Tivo is acceptably high (not HD but close) then I'll be happy. I mean just a few months ago all I had was a $30 Wal-Mart VCR to watch. Worst case scenario, I'll buy this one and in time when the HD stuff gets cheaper I'll upgrade and move this unit to a different TV and use it to record regular TV shows (who needs SouthPark in HD?!?!?)..

Again thanks for the help! Keep it coming

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Turtleboy is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 06:19 PM
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Turtleboy
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Registered: Mar 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 7659

quote:
Originally posted by stevel


You may want to check out the book "TiVo for Dummies". It's a great introduction to what you can do with TiVo, with a lot of advanced topics.



For some reason, something in the back of my head tells me that this is a shameless plug. However, it doesn't appear that you wrote this. Am I having a brain fart?

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stevel is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 07:49 PM
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stevel
Dumb Blond

Registered: Aug 2000
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 7476

quote:
Originally posted by Turtleboy
For some reason, something in the back of my head tells me that this is a shameless plug. However, it doesn't appear that you wrote this. Am I having a brain fart?
I served as the technical editor for the book, for which I received a flat fee. I get no additional benefit from sales of the book, and promote it because I think it is a valuable resource. The book is a very "accessible" introduction to TiVo and explores in an understandable manner a wide range of topics, including hookup and troubleshooting, best use of TiVo features, networking and HMO, and expanding storage capacity.

When I first heard about it, I was dubious that such a book added any real value. After having seen it (and helped edit it), I changed my mind. If you're already an experienced TiVo user, you can probably skip it, but for those new or relatively new to TiVo, I think it's valuable. Heck, even I learned something new from it!

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Steve

One thousand three hundred thirty-three, zero

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classicsat is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 08:32 PM
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classicsat
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Ontario Canada.
Posts: 2490

#1 - What else do I need to buy in order to hook the Tivo to my home LAN? How difficult is it to go wireless with that? (Router is nowhere near my TV)

I believe has to set up with a wired ethernet or a phone connection first..

#2 - Will the DVD Recorder allow me to place recorded Tivo content onto disc?
A external, yes. A combo-DVD can only recod content to disc it recorded on it (content transferred via HMO will not).

#3 - Will I be able to record on one channel whilst watching something else?
With two Tivos (as it appears you are looking at), yes.

#5 - Kind of a non-Tivo question. I've seen ads touting the use of a DVDRW in place of a Tivo (although its like 6 hours max time) and that the disc can be overwritten almost endlessly. Is there any truth to this?
I'd give it a few thousand cycles. And less the nifty guide related features.

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Why do you keep rewinding that? Because with TiVo, I can.

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ralphpe is offline Old Post 06-24-2004 09:23 PM
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ralphpe
New Member

Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 14

TiVo to DVD - TiVo-to-go

An alternative to the dedicated DVD-recorder is supposed to come up - TiVo-to-go. IF I understand correctly, then TiVo is going to release a software solution that will let you transfer TiVo content to you computer where you can then burn it to DVD. It's probably cheaper then buying a stand alone DVD recorder, plus I would hope that you could also edit the recorded programs on your Windows PC or Mac. Something to keep in mind...

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crow is offline Old Post 06-25-2004 06:08 PM
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crow
Techno Geek

Registered: Jun 2004
Location: TN, USA
Posts: 339

Purchased a Series 2, 80 hour unit from Best Buy lastnight.
Ran my cat5 cable and used a Linksys USB200M NIC.
Had a bit of trouble in the guided setup when it first tried to "dial" out for setup info as I don't have a phone line in my home. After about 15 minutes on hold, the tech rep was kind enough to tell me to change the dial prefix to ",#401" w/o the quotes and that allowed the TiVo to use the nic for the connection. TiVo doesn't seem to have any documentation on this "hack".

However, I got everything downloaded and after waiting the requesite 8 hours for TiVo to get all its info gathered, I was able to schedule 2 movies for recording before leaving for work. With any luck, I'll have my movies waiting when I get home..

Here's to fruitful TiVoing...

--CroW

__________________
3 TiVo Brand Series 2 80 Hour Units.
1 Upgraded to 195 Hours.
1 Upgraded to 302 Hours.
1 Upgraded to 310 Hours.
All With JavaHMO.
All with TiVoWebPlus/Telnet/FTP/MRV/BackDoors Enabled and Encryption Disabled..

A life? What's that? I have this TiVo, see ... and its all-consuming and all-powerful. And all I can do is stare at the glorious results of its workings.
-- ashutoshsm

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grapeshot is offline Old Post 06-26-2004 04:56 AM
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grapeshot
New Member

Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 1

crow, thanks for asking this question. I am in just about the same boat as you. Same television setup and cable internet, but my cable provider is Time-Warner. My question is this: since I have both a phone line and a cable router in my "multi-media" room, is there an advantage to using the phone line or to using the internet as a "hookup" to the TiVo unit?


To the person who said this:

quote:
Given this, I don't know if it's such a good idea to be investing a lot of money into a standalone Tivo & lifetime sub now. Don't you want to be able to record in high-definition? HD-DVRs are available in some areas already (check with Comcast); alternately you could consider switching to DirecTV and the HD-Tivo. In other Comcast areas a DVR should roll out by the end of the year or so. I love Tivo, have had one for 5 years, but after getting HDTV last year the picture quality is just a drag. I'm still using it but am itching for an HD model. I wouldn't buy a new SD standalone now.



1. The plain ol' HD recorders that I looked at could only record HD broadcast signals. (Maybe things have changed, but that's what I saw last year.) My cable HD box has no output allowing any HD recording with a stand-alone HD recorder. (I suspect this is deliberate -- you know how the megalo-media conglomerates HATE the recording consumers.) Since I only have an HD Ready TV, I'd have to invest in a tuner. And, if I DID get an HD Tuner, I'd still only be able to record about 3 channels -- and this assumes I want to futz with an external antenna.

2. The HD signal is boffo! It's the CAT'S MEOW and SLICED BREAD all rolled into one. I also agree that it IS hard to watch regular analog and digital cable channels on the HD TV. Until I had HD, I never had a CLUE how poor regular TV pictures are. Digital signals are recognizably better than the analog ones, but the HD clarity can't be beat. However, even with my HD cable box, I still only get about 6 HD channels. My cable provider offers something called HDNet, which would give me three more HD channels, but HDNet's programming is unbelievably bad (Charlie's Angels, anyone??) It looks to me like it'll be quite a while before my cable company's HD lineup will show any improvement, so that's another reason why I wouldn't want to wait until some sort of HD Recorder is available. If the picture is truly bad on my HD TV, I just switch back to the old 27". (I should add that the only time I resort to this is when I'm watching an old recorded show on VHS --- which is one of the reasons I'm leaning towards getting a TiVo. That, and all the raves people give it.)

3. I'm one of those rare people in this country that actually likes my cable, and I have no intention of messing up how my house looks with any sort of a dish, or messing around with any wiring inside the house. Although I'm delighted that DirectTV exists -- promotes competition, provides an alternative to the consumer -- it's just not for me.

4. My cable company has usually been pretty cutting edge with it's offerings, but they don't yet offer an HD recorder, and seem to have no plans to do so. Even if they had plans, I'm not sure I'd want to wait. (I'm not a patient sort of gal -- I want total, immediate, and instant gratification!) AND the Digital Recording service that they do offer doesn't have all the features that TiVo does, so if they ever got around to offering a HD digital recording service, I don't know that would be something I'd want.

I bet some people are by now wondering why even get an HDTV? If you can't really get a good selection of HD channels, what's the point? Furthermore, if you ask me, apart from sports broadcasts, most television shows that DO broadcast in HD, don't really take advantage of it's best feature. Art direction, sets, costumes, CGI and special F/X generally still suck, and everything looks pretty drab. There are two things, however, that I really LOVE about my HD TV: Aspect Ratio, and watching DVDs. Despite my disappointment about the actual lack of HD signals, I wouldn't give up my HDTV for anything.

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alyssa is offline Old Post 06-26-2004 07:44 AM
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alyssa
Member

Registered: Dec 2003
Location: The Mountains of New Hampshire
Posts: 149

quote:
Originally posted by grapeshot
crow, thanks for asking this question. I am in just about the same boat as you. Same television setup and cable Internet, but my cable provider is Time-Warner. My question is this: since I have both a phone line and a cable router in my "multi-media" room, is there an advantage to using the phone line or to using the Internet as a "hookup" to the TiVo unit?



I set up my second unit last night. I had both a phone & wired network lines available. For simplicity sake I hooked up the phone line for the first call but since I was adding the Multi-room-viewing capability I forced a second call within an hr of the first call. The first time I forced the call the tivo hung & spun it's wheels for a while. I hung up, connected the Cat5 & was suddenly in high gear. Fortunately the second call was the major download of system update's etc & was done over the wired network. The tivo took longer to figure out the information then it took to get it.

So to short answer your question, yes, there is an advantage to using a wired network vs. the phone line, especially if your phone line is less then great as are many lines in rural areas.

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crow is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 12:03 AM
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crow
Techno Geek

Registered: Jun 2004
Location: TN, USA
Posts: 339

I love this little box lol...

Grapeshot, the main advantage of the cable/ethernet over the phoneline is the same reason you use the cable internet instead of dial-up, it's faster by far. It seems when TiVo conects most of the transfers are rather small with the exception of software updates. So, you can just put it on the phoneline and use that, but to me it makes more sense to just run the Cat5 and never think about it again.

My n00b experiences thus far:

This is the handiest little gadget in my digital video arsenal, I find myself trying to convince other that they need one.
The menus are easy to navigate and once you learn the shortcuts getting where you want to be is a breeze. I bought the TiVo Hacks book by that Raffi guy b/c I couldn't locate the Tivo for dummies, yet. Lots of good info in there.

Video quality was something i was a bit concerned about when struck out. But I find that feature length movies recorded at the "best" settings are every bit as good as the digital cable signale they came in on. In fact I find little or no quality degredation until I get to the "medium" setting which I use for sitcoms etc.

This has been the best little toy I've bought in a long while and now I'm just waiting for the 90 day warranty to expire before I begin to expand the size etc.

--CroW

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