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PVR for Cable (Digital)

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by JohnWH, Jan 30, 2004.

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  1. JohnWH

    JohnWH
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    Anyone know if there's any cable compatible (digital) PVR's available in the UK ?

    I'm assuming there isn't as it involves the cable operators getting there act together.

    Cheers,
    John.
     
  2. ab014b3077

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    My Tivo is connected to Telewest cable service and works brilliantly
     
  3. MarkE19

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    Yep, TiVo is the only true PVR in the UK that will work with a cable box. Some cable boxes though use a different set of IR commands that are not compatable with TiVo so you might need to buy a 'Dongle' to convert them. I think the boxes affected are the Pace 1000, 2000 series and some 4000.
    For more info on this issue and all things TiVo have a look at the TiVo Community

    Mark.
     
  4. Jason S

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  5. MAW

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    In fact you can also use the ir blaster in port with the right kit, it works perfectly with my keene IR amp and pronto, no reason why an adaption wouldn't work with the tivo and a pickup, but redeye works, depends what's best for your kit and it's location.
     
  6. JohnWH

    JohnWH
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    My assumpion is that use of the Tivo requires me to by two decoders boxes so I can watch and record at the same time.

    I'm also assuming that the tivo doesn't record the digital bit stream, instead having convert and recompress the analogue signal, with all the inherent quality loss that implies.

    So although this works, I'm really after a more direct system, ala Sky+, but as I said I suppose I'm at the mercy of the cable companies on that one.

    Maybe its time to just move to sky.

    John.
     
  7. MarkE19

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    As with all digital TV you do need 2 tuners to watch & record 2 channels. With cable this does mean you would need 2 STB's as I do not know of any duel tuner cable boxes.

    Yes, TiVo is connected to a STB via the analogue connections. Many people get hung up on the D>A>D conversion via TiVo, but IMHO and many others the loss of PQ is very small when TiVo is set to record on 'High' or 'Best' quality. Many of the TV channels are transmitted in a fairly low quality and therefore you would have to be looking very closely to see much of a quality drop.

    Mark.
     
  8. MAW

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    I am the one who gets hung up on signal quality, but only as needed. With cable there is no option, so it had better be good enough. Only bothersome if your picture is plasma or projection.
     
  9. Jason S

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    My display is a plasma, and I'm with Mark on this one, switching between Tivo and direct feed is only noticeable when you get up close and personal, i.e within 3 ft, at which point you can see the individual plasma cells anyway.

    Resolution and Bitrates can be adjusted on the Tivo if desired, so there's a range of options, and the quality of the source is often dubious anyway.
     
  10. bobones

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    The tivo defaults to 480x576 @ 5.8Mb/s for cable (and freeview) sources. For sky it uses 544x576 at the same bitrate. Using tivoweb (needs a serial or ethernet connection to tivo) you can up the resolution to 720x576 which is dvd quality. A small increase in bitrate (can be variable bitrate too) helps to reduce mpeg artifacts in this higher resolution at the expense of reduced overall recording time.

    I have a 44" screen and was initially disappointed at the tivo pq. However, a few tweaks here and there and I find the quality through the tivo almost indistinguishable from the source. In fact I've started to extract recordings (at a rate of around 1.6MB/s) from the tivo, edit and burn them on my PC, and I find the image quality is better than recordings made on my Panny E50 dvd recorder. You can even stream direct from the tivo into a media player on your PC: does Sky+ or anything else give you such flexibility, never mind all the other cool things tivo does?
    :smoke:
     
  11. JohnWH

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    I use a 42in plasma for "normal" viewing and 92in projected image for films etc, on the later any further degradation of the already questionable bitrate that NTL supply isn't good, but as mentioned probably isn't always going to be as noticable as you'd think.

    Although using multiple decoders plus a seperate tivo is the currently the (only) option for use with cable, there is no technical reason why an STB with all this functionality included (and better resulting quality) couldn't be provided by the cable operators. Naturally this required demand, but while people make do it isn't going to happen...

    Anyone know what the takeup of Sky+ is?

    John.
     
  12. blindlemon

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    That's true - but the thing is, with a TiVo, you can watch a pre-recorded program while recording another one! So, if like most TiVo owners, you end up watching mostly (or only!) recorded shows, then you'll never really need 2 tuners :smashin:

    I agree with MarkE19 and others - the quality loss is minimal. I have a Panasonic 36PD30 and the difference between the "live" feed and a "Best" quality recording is almost unnoticeable.

    In fact, I don't bother using "Best" for most recordings - as the quality of the original source doesn't often warrant the extra disk space used. Most channels on Sky are not transmitted at a high enough bitrate to start with - so all you "gain" by using Best quality, is the ability to see the edges on the original broadcast artefacts a bit clearer :devil:

    By all means, move to Sky - but don't be fooled by Murdoch into assuming that Sky+ is a decent alternative to a TiVo.

    True, you can record the original artefacts, exactly, and get DD5.1 (sometimes) - but Sky+ is NOT a proper PVR. It doesn't have half the features (even now) that all TiVos have had for years - like proper Season Passes (that persist beyond a reboot, and from one season to the next), Wishlists (record all programmes with you favourite actor), intelligent conflict resolution, bug-free self-upgrading of the HDD (to 2x300gb if you want!), supreme hackability - and a lively UK forum of people dedicated to getting the best out of their TiVos.
     
  13. JohnWH

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    True, if you don't mind just shifting everything by 24 hours. Trying to think if there's ever been any live sporting events that would clash, I don't think so, at least not where the other program wasn't repeated at another time anyway. Of course there's always those time when you want to record two different channels at once, but then again no idea if Sky+ will let you do that anyway...
    Hmm, definitley food for thought though.
    Beleive me, when you project a 90in+ image the quality loss can be quite obvious.

    Hey don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Sky+ is better than tivo. What I am saying is that Sky+ will probably do everything I want e.g. I'm likely to go out and buy DVD's of programs that I want to keep long term, simply becuase the quality will be better than "archived" material originally sourced from sky...

    Of course I'd rather not move to Sky+, if the cable operaters offered STB's with PVR capabilities, then I'd be even less likely to move.

    Later,
    John.
     
  14. MAW

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    John, if you are projecting and living it large, you will notice the D-A-D losses, sorry tivo guys. Not to say that sky+ is brilliant, in any way, but at least you start off with all the info sent. The convenience and features of tivo can't be beat, but it was never developed as a high end video device. Perfect for a 32" widescreen CRT, not necessarily for a 90" projected picture
     
  15. JohnWH

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    Anyone know if Sky have made any comment on when, if ever, they'll consider supporting HD? I suspect if its left to Murdoch it'll never happen...
     
  16. MAW

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    No comment so far nor likely in forseeable future. You'd need a b***dy big HDD in your sky+:D Euro1080 is the only source on the cards currently, which I'm told is very very good in terms of PQ, but is showing repeats of the eurovision song contest, or some such!!!
     
  17. Starburst

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    You only have to look at FOX to see what their opinion is of High Def but thankfully Rupert is not the only opinion that matters when it comes to BSKYB.
    I have no doubts what so ever that when the bean counters and marketing men say to the board that there is money to be made in supplying High Def hardware and programming to the UK then it will be done.
    In practical terms SKY has kept it's dominance by offering what other broadcasters can not or do not. DTT is quite capable of matching SKY in the hardware field now which has already I believe lead to the SKY+ deals and there are only so many households willing to pay for TV ontop of the license fee.
    A few years time when the £1 billion plus debt is cleared SKY will be free to turn the screw both in terms of subscription packages and offering new services.

    High Def will come to the UK but for the next few years it'll be via the more adventerous state and private broadcasters from Europe:(
     
  18. JohnWH

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    The sad thing about this is that video compression standards have moved on to the point where its now possible to push an HD channel in the same bandwidth as SD. The standard concerned (H.264/AVC) also uses the same transport as MPEG2, so the operators could supply premium HD channels without breaking the installed STB base.

    However I'm sure the reality will be the introduction of a "premium" service that simply uses the improved compression efficiency to push 4x as many crap filled channels at us...

    John.
     

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