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Recording satalite without Sky+ ?

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by Techno Freak, Dec 24, 2003.

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  1. Techno Freak

    Techno Freak
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    I'm sure this must have been asked before but I cannot find any info.

    I really fancy Sky+ but do not want to shell even more cash to Sky.

    I like the idea of the non Sky PVR's, but what I want to know is this:-

    Does a non Sky PVR, e.g. Pace twinview, allow you to record from Sky?

    Does it's EPG have all sky channels?

    Can it control sky? i.e. if two programs are on sky during the night, on different channels, can the PVR switch the channels to record both shows?

    Althought the Pace twin has two tuners, I assume they are terrestrial tuners? So you can record 2 terestrial shows or 1 terestrial and 1 sky but not 2 sky shows?

    If an independant PVR can control a sky box, how does it so this? Is it via one of those stick on IR senders? If so, how reliable are they?

    I would be interested to hear from anyone that used a stan-alone PVR and records a lot of Sky stuff just to see how they work.

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. ivanwilson

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    I think your best (only?) option is a TiVo. The TiVo community forum UK will have plenty of info including where you might find one.
     
  3. LDJ

    LDJ
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    I'm sure this must have been asked before but I cannot find any info.

    I really fancy Sky+ but do not want to shell even more cash to Sky.


    Quite understandable really! ;) Tivo has much to offer and a lot more functionality (s/w wise that is) than Sky+ which remains buggy and some would say unreliable for many purposes. Tivo is a more mature software platform having been in production/development for longer

    I like the idea of the non Sky PVR's, but what I want to know is this:-

    Does a non Sky PVR, e.g. Pace twinview, allow you to record from Sky?


    a Tivo will allow you to record from Cable, Freeview and Sky

    Does it's EPG have all sky channels?
    The EPG has full program data for two weeks in advance (a week longer than Sky+ I believe) for all sources - Sky, cable & freeview

    Can it control sky? i.e. if two programs are on sky during the night, on different channels, can the PVR switch the channels to record both shows?

    Yep, it can switch back and forth as much as you like. If you have more than one device set up it can even switch between devices and back again - all works flawlessly.

    Althought the Pace twin has two tuners, I assume they are terrestrial tuners? So you can record 2 terestrial shows or 1 terestrial and 1 sky but not 2 sky shows?

    No, Sky+ is currently the only PVR that will allow you to record two sky channels simultaneously. All of them, however, will let you record and watch a separate recording at the same time.

    If an independant PVR can control a sky box, how does it so this? Is it via one of those stick on IR senders? If so, how reliable are they?

    The Tivo comes with two IR-senders, small IR transmitters that you place in front of the device you want controlling. This is all set up quickly and easily during the inital installation and works perfectly.

    I would be interested to hear from anyone that used a stan-alone PVR and records a lot of Sky stuff just to see how they work.

    Well I hope the above will suffice. Really if you buy a Tivo, you'll be amazed by its functionality and performance, and i'll promise you'll never go back to anything resembling VHS! :laugh: :smashin:
     
  4. Techno Freak

    Techno Freak
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    Thanks for all the info - much appreciated.

    One thing that worries me abut the TiVo though....

    If they are no longer supported, who is to say that I pay my tenner per month ( or a large one off payment at the start ) and then the EPG is pulled?

    With regard to the Pace Twin - do you know if that works the same as the TiVo - i.e. IR senders and an EPG that covers all Sky channels?

    I dont like the idea of shelling out monthly or a large one off for the advantage of HD recording.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. morphman

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    Sorry, have to interrupt and disagree with the TIVO argument.

    A SKY+ box will cost you £200 new, with no monthly subscription.

    You can record one channel and watch another with Sky+, TIVO cant do this.

    You can record 2 channels at once with Sky+

    The EPG is integrated into skys own epg, so its easier to operate

    I think you are cutting of your nose to spite your face on this one.

    I agree that TIVO *used* to be better than Sky+, but I have never had a single problem with Sky+, and I have one of the very earliest boxes which I have had for over 2 years.
     
  6. davepop

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    Try Here for the differences between Sky + and Tivo. I have a Tivo with 2 * 120GB drives in and over 80 hours recording at the top quality. The best thing is you can give programmes you like a rating and the Tivo will try to record similar programmes you may like. It has introduced me to some programmes that I now like, but would have never thought of watching.

    ;)
     
  7. davepop

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    Also loads of help Here

    :cool:
     
  8. MarkE19

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    If they pull out then just cancel the sub!
    IMHO TiVo are in the UK to stay. They are seeking new companies to make UK TiVo's, but have had no luck so far. Pioneer in the USA have released a DVD-R with TiVo so fingers crossed and if the wind blows in the right direction it may just end up this side of the pond :rolleyes:

    Never used the Twin, but from what I know it can only record from its internal DTT tuners, not from Sky etc.

    Mark.
     
  9. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Only if you subscribe to premium channels, otherwise its £10 per month with no option of a lifetime sub.

    As already stated by LDJ - No, Sky+ is currently the only PVR that will allow you to record two sky channels simultaneously. All of them, however, will let you record and watch a separate recording at the same time.

    In your opinion! I have spoken to many people that have both Sky+ & TiVo and say that the TiVo EPG is far better than Sky's as it is full of errors.

    Mark.
     
  10. blindlemon

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    Darn right there!

    The TiVo EPG extends for 20 days for most Sky channels (14 days for terrestrial and Freeview) and is much more detailed than the Sky(+) EPG.

    It includes, for instance, lists of actors, director, full description etc. etc. - all of which can be searched and used as the basis on which recordings are (automatically) made.

    For instance, you can set up an "Actor" Wishlist which will cause TiVo to automatically record everything (or just certain types of programmes if you prefer) with that actor in. You can also set up wishlists for Directors, Titles, or even keywords - eg. "volcano" or "shark" - and TiVo will find and record all programmes that contain these words in their title or description.

    All the Wishlists you set up can be arranged in whatever priority order you choose - so you can ensure, for instance, that programmes featuring Sharon Stone are recorded in preference (if they clash) to programmes about the Rolling Stones :D :D

    Oh yes, and TiVo's "Season Pass" facility, which lets you record all episode of a series, is much more sophisticated than Sky+'s pathetic "series link". It can be applied to any series, on any channel, for instance - not just the ones where it has been setup by the broadcaster (as with "series link"). And a TiVo Season Pass doesn't expire when the series finishes either - it just sits there (if you want) waiting to pick up and record the next series :smashin:
     
  11. blindlemon

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    The question of whether TiVo Inc. are likely to pull out of the UK has been debated long and hard on the UK TiVo Forums. The general concensus now seems to be that

    a) TiVo have around 40,000 subscribers in the UK, around half of them paying £10 per month, for an EPG service that cannot, conceivably cost anything like £200k per month to run - so why would they stop that?

    b) If they did pull out they would p*ss off 40,000 UK customers and ruin their international reputation - why would they do that?

    c) TiVo have over 1m subscribers in the USA and a bunch of internationally known hardware manufactures (Philips, Panasonic, Toshiba, Pioneer, Sony, Humax) making TiVo-enabled boxes (either standalone PVRs or TiVo enabled DVD recorders/players etc.). So the likelihood that one of these companies will eventuallty bring a new TvVo device to the UK is, in the long run, good. Obviously, when this happens, TiVo will supply the EPG - so why cut it in the interim?

    Personally, If I needed one, I'd buy another TiVo tomorrow - and I'd get a lifetime sub as well :smashin:
     
  12. LDJ

    LDJ
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    apparently the Tivo in the USA is doing better now than it ever has, hence the company has (globally) never been stronger.
    If only they could sory out their marketing of the product they'd be made. Imagine if they had Sky's marketing nous to market the infinitely superior Tivo? :eek!
     
  13. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Well IMHO something like TiVo only really gets sold to 'Techno Heads' like us to start with and then gets sold to 'Joe Public' by word of mouth from us.
    Imagine if TiVo UK gave us their origional advertising budget. They would have been sold by the million. There can be no better advert than from a satisfied customer who can actually explain to people what it does, trather than just a 'it can pause live TV'. Obviously a bit easier now that there is also Sky+ that is getting good marketing.

    Mark.
     
  14. Techno Freak

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    Well, I have plumped for Sky+ at the moment. It's getting installed 26th Jan.

    The deciding factors were the ease at which you can record from Sky and recording 2 channels from Sky.

    Also, I stumbled on an offer code on the digitalspy forums so I am getting it for £99 for the box and £1 installation. The subs are free if you subscribe to 2 premium channels so its £34 per month for all movies and other channels ( basically all channels except sports ).

    The way I see it is I have saved over £150 on the offer - thats 15 months subscriptions, long enough to get me through the honeymoon period and about right for wanting an upgrade - by which time there is bound to be something new out.

    Thanks for all the info.

    If anyone is interested in getting Sky+ the offer details are here:-

    http://forum.digitalspy.co.uk/board/t/102925/ds.html
     
  15. blindlemon

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    Ah well.... it's your choice :rolleyes:

    To reply to your points:-

    Actually, recording from Sky with a TiVo is easier than using Sky+ as you don't have to navigate the bogus Sky+ EPG to manually find every programme you want to record - just set up a few Wishlists and TiVo finds and records programess automatically for you :)

    With the amount of repeats on Sky, I'd be surprised if you ever actually need to use this feature - although as you can't search for repeats with the Sky EPG (guess what... unlike TiVo;)) then you'll probably have to resort to using it out of sheer ignorance (the Sky EPG's, not yours, I hasten to add!)

    So were you subscribing to this £34pm package before then? I seem to recall that your first post mentioned you didn't want to pay any more money to Sky... :confused:

    Anyway, I'd suggest putting the £150 you've "saved" in a safe place for when you decide to upgrade to a TiVo. :devil:

    Unfortunately, when you do, I doubt if you'll be able to sell the Sky+ box on eBay for what you paid (even £99) for it in a few months time - let alone 2 years later..... (yeah, you guessed it - unlike a TiVo ;))
     
  16. LDJ

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    I'm sure you'll be more than happy with your choice. There's no doubting that if you've not owned a PVR of any kind before you'll be impressed with Sky+ (that is until it starts missing recordings, crashing on BBC channels, deleting season passes and stopping you from skipping the adverts! ;) ). It will change the way you watch TV, no doubt about that. Something I picked up on though:

    Not sure what you mean by this. The EPG on the Tivo is every bit as easy to use, has greater detail, a longer period of listing (more than double of Sky+) and offers the same 1-click recording function. In fact, I would say the EPG on the Tivo is superior to Sky+ in almost any way - you can customise everything really and is much more versatile in general - how do you mean "ease with which you can record from Sky"?

    Anyway, happy viewing :smashin:

    (as with regards to the price of future Sky+ boxes, IMO its only a matter of time before they start offering them for free, like they did with the original digiboxes)
     
  17. blindlemon

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    LDJ, horses.... water... Oh well :rolleyes:

    And I bet, eventually, Sky+ will force users to watch all the "Sky" commercials too - so they can see how much money they can "save" by upgrading their packages :suicide: ;)
     
  18. MarkE19

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    Well I guess that puts at least 3 of us in the TiVo fan club and it seems to be growing fast :smashin:

    And the Sky+ fan club seems to be bleeding membership.

    Having never owned Sky+ (or even basic Sky for that matter) I can only pass on what owners have said, but very few TiVo owners sell up to move to Sky+. They either have both or drop Sky+. Those that I have heard about selling TiVo when they got Sky+ have always said they regretted it - and normally very soon after.

    Oh well as previously noted - Horses to water and all that :rolleyes:

    Mark.
     
  19. Techno Freak

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    I meant ease of recording due to the fact that I have had Sky digital almost since launch so I am already familier with the Sky EPG. ( and more importantly the ball and chain is familier with it ).

    I am not too bothered about having to manually tag programs to record, that was sort of the idea behind getting Sky+ in the first place. Normal TV viewing for me is - come home, turn on TV, flick through dozens of channels for an hour, switch TV off. I dont follow many 'serials' so I thought a better way to go is to sit down on a Sunday afternoon with a cuppa, browse through the EPG for the week ahead looking for anything interesting, then flagging it for record.

    As I already had Sky, I liked the idea of the PVR bieng integrated within the system. I have had video senders in the past which had those little IR senders for transmitting remote control signals, can't say I was impressed.

    If I did not have Sky I may have been tempted to go the TiVo route, but I have to say I would still be put off having to pay £200 + for a second hand box ( which from reading some posts may be 3rd 4th or 5th hand ) and with no warranty.

    I have no doubt Sky has its bugs as I am sure Tivo must have, ( although from reading these posts Tivo is portayed as the best peice of electronics ever invented ).

    At the end of the day, PVR's are still a very infant technology. I am happy at getting mine for £100, warranted, and I will wait and see where the technologies go over the next year or so.

    Ideally, Sky should license it's encryption and let third party manufacturers make PVR's with multiple satalite tuners in. From what I have read, what we need is a Sky+ box with Tivo software, but lets face it, thats never going to happen.

    Does anyone know what the UK customer base is for both Sky+ and Tivo, and also of any Tivo bugs?

    It would be interesting to see some proper 'bugs by numbers' figures. i.e. there have been a lot of complaints about Sky+ on the forum, but out of how many customers?

    Anyone out there got Sky+ and not had any problems?
     
  20. LDJ

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    i'd imagine there are plenty of happy Sky+ customers who have no problems whatsoever. As I said before, i'm sure you'll be delighted with what is undoubtedly a great piece of kit (dont think i'm slagging off Sky+, I just happen to think the Tivo is a better standalone unit, that's all).
    Its a case of getting what suits your needs best. A tivo jointly controlling Freeview & Sky is the best option for me, and I have plenty of complex recordings set up that simply wouldn't be possible with Sky+. other people on the other hand like a lot of Sky programs and thus frequently have clashes (something I have never had that hasn't been resolvable by the Tivo incidentally) so the dual record is the killer feature for them, and understandably so - its somehting that reallistically speaking should have been present in the original sky digibox IMO.

    regarding bugs, i cant say i've had any with Tivo - most people expect anything as new as Sky+ to be hindered by software bugs, but I think the thing that gets most peoples backs up is that every time sky do a software upgrade and fix one bug, they seem to introduce new ones, so with every upgrade and feature the problems rise exponentially!
     
  21. MarkE19

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    TiVo has been around in the USA for a good few years now. It has only been in the UK since October 2000, but the latest software 2.5.5 is very similar to the USA software. This means that most bugs have been ironed out before the TiVo was even launched in the UK.
    Also TiVo do take a great deal of notice of what its users say about their software and make minor changes all the time to cater for requests as long as they can be handled by the current hardware.
    Most complaints on the TiVo community tend to point at the lack of new boxes in the UK and features that individuals believe should be included. As they say you can't please all the people all the time!

    Not exactly likely, but not impossible. In the USA there are DirectTiVo units - DirectTV is a satallitte provider in the USA that have got boxes like Sky+ but with TiVo software. And even more DirectTV has just been bought by Murdock!
    So will DirectTiVo be replaced by a USA version of Sky+ or could the DirectTiVo find its way over here? I know which way I think it is going to go, but that differs from what I and many other would wish for.

    Mark.
     
  22. blindlemon

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    My "other half" got used to the TiVo interface in about half a day. After a week she was a total convert and would now never part with it. This is quite normal, and is just part of the TiVo experience. After a few weeks of use, you start to worry what would happen if your TiVo broke.... Then you start to sweat, and shake - and then you think about the Sky(+) EPG and start to sob uncontrollably... :D

    Seriously, navigation of the Sky(+) EPG is clunky and frustrating compared to a) the TiVo EPG, and b) (more importantly) the "Now Playing List"

    When you get your TiVo trained, all your other half will have to deal with will be the NPL - a nice list of all the programmes your TiVo has automatically recorded for you :)

    It is :smashin:

    Don't know about Sky+ ... but TiVo has about 40,000 UK users.

    TiVo users have nothing to hide! Have a look at tivobugs.co.uk. None of these are showstoppers - and many have been addressed by "hacks" available to users who like to get down-n-dirty with linux. No system that involves software is perfect - and TiVo is no exception - but it certainly is the best piece of AV kit (or computer program) I've ever bought! :smashin:

    Resounding silence there... :devil:
     
  23. Techno Freak

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    Yep, the silence is deafening.

    Thanks for all the comments folks, it's all very interesting reading.

    I will keep this thread updated with my experiences of Sky+ when it has been installed and maybe you guys can have a sweep on when you think I will swap it for a TiVo .

    All the best.

    Tony.
     

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