Sky+ In The USA

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by cmexec, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. cmexec

    cmexec
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    NY resident here: I currently have DirecTV [DTV] (which was acquired by NewsCorp) and use a couple of the DirecTV DVR with integrated Tivo (standard definition). However, DTV has announced that they will soon be introducing a new DVR that from the published specifications, sounds like the Sky+ and will be phasing out the Tivo-integrated ones. Granted, there are differences between standard Tivo and the DirecTV DVR, like:
    • DTV DVR records direct-digital satallite stream and can record/playback channels with DD 5.1 where available, whereas stand-alone Tivo can only record an analog signal
    • The DTV DVR does not offer any networking/multi-room or HMO facility, which of course can be found in the SA Tivo
    • The DTV DVR services and software updates are transmitted over the satellite (no need for permanent phone connection)
    • The subscription cost of a single DTV DVR unit is considerably less than that of a SA Tivo and is the same for however many units on the same account
    So in anticipation of switching over to the non-Tivo powered DVR, I want to get a taste of what to expect. Therefore, for anyone who is familiar with both Sky+ and Tivo in the UK, can you give me a summary of the significant differences between the Sky+ and Tivo systems?
     
  2. Cyril

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    I would strongly urge you to keep the DTiVo as it has all the advantages of the new DirecTV Sky+ PVR and almost none of the disadvantages!!

    You can hack the DTiVo to bring up some of the missing functionality.

    Alternatively get the HighDef TiVo as it is down to $299 or $99 with rebates!!!
    Check www.tivocommunity.com.

    I expect most DTiVo users wouldn't touch the new NDS Sky+ DVR with a bargepole.

    It will be branded as a lower cost solution to TiVo. Less features, but lower price, so those on a budget will go for it.

    Here in the UK, the Sky+ box only has a fraction of TiVo's functionality.

    The metadata is nowhere near as good, so your season passes won't be as effective.
    No real wishlists
    No suggestions
    Prioritisation of season passes and wishlists are not as good.
    Only a 2 to 7 day EPG as opposed to 1 month
    TiVo has thousands of hacks and quite a few hardware mods to extend its functionality massively.
    Sky+ just has the SDI mod and limited hard drive upgrades available AFAIK.

    More info on TiVo and Sky+ differences at www.tivoportal.co.uk and http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=29745
     
  3. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    Not really a fair question, because Tivo hasn't been supported in the UK for some years, and you can only buy them second-hand from Ebay. Tivo is administered by a rival (Sky) in the UK, so I don't expect to see any change in the marketing situation. TiVo seems to be ahead in the predictive nature of its EPG programming, but Sky+ does record the digital bitsream, so you get DD 5.1 recordings.
     
  4. cmexec

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    Thanks guys. this is really what I was looking for. I should have said "I will reluctantly transition to the new NDS system sometime in the future as necessary, but will continue to use my DirecTivo boxes until they are no longer usable". I am in no way in a hurry to replace my DirecTivos - both of which I DIY-upgraded for more disk space.

    I too am not impressed with the feature-set of the proposed new DTV DVR that people have been speculating about over at www.tivocommunity.com. However, I wanted to get an idea from current Sky+ users (who may be familiar with the DirecTivo features) on how that system compares. From what you guys have said, It's not that great.

    Cyril: Thanks for the tip about the HDTivo but I have made a concious decision to hold off on HD until; 1) DTV has more HD content that I want to consume and 2) see what happens when DTV replace the current HDTivo with something else (as they have indicated) and introduce the new signal format (MPEG4).
     
  5. Starburst

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    I feel on solid ground in saying that the platfrom DirecTV will introduce will be far ahead of the variant the UK has access to, expect yours to embrace the full range of NDS networking capabilities and of course be mpeg4 High Def capable from the word go.

    There is far more competition in the US market than the UK, DirecTV has to ease the new DVR into it's subscriber base by offering it free of charge or for a nominal fee, nothing else will prevent the TIVO user base from leaving them for cable and other sources since I can not see the TIVO interface and software functionality ever being matched on a DVR.
     
  6. cmexec

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    Starburst: What are "the full range of NDS networking capabilities" that you speak of? I know it is speculated that DTV will introduce some kind of home media server and applicable home media receivers in the future. However, these are suspected to use some form of proprietary communication protocol that operates over RG6 cabling.

    When they introduce their new HD DVR and new programming, DTV has a potential of losing a substantial subscriber base (depending on how bad the new system turns out to be) to cable as one large US cable operator has teamed up with Tivo for a new Tivo-driven HD DVR. However, it is not yet clear how much the cable company will cripple the Tivo functionality as we now know it.
     
  7. Starburst

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    NDS have had a roadmap for home networking for a while but nothing the UK has access to would make use of it, it seems logical that DirecTV using NDS XTV based hardware in the more competitive US market will be open to introducing more features..

    NDS XTV

    As you say a proprietry system.


    The deal Comcast did with TIVO certainly will make up for the losses incurred with losing DirecTV customers but from what I have read the first DVR's are not as user friendly as TIVO units so no doubt the emergence of HD TIVOs on that platform will tempt former DirecTV subscribers.
     
  8. cmexec

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    Yes, this XTV home network sounds like what has been discussed in US forums I have read but not usually by the XTV name. Sadly, whatever DTV produces in this space I expect will:
    1. be tightly DRM controlled (the bread+butter of NDS)
    2. be heavily controlled/restricted by the so called content "owners" (MPAA/RIAA)
    3. be done for profit rather than quality and user convienience (e.g. everytime you watch an already purchased PPV that sits on your DVR you have to pay)
    4. require some proprietry hardware and complete dependency on DTV services for feature enrichment
    5. be inferior to other competing/similar services that will not work with the DTV signal
     
  9. Cyril

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    It is STILL supported in the UK, but only by one man and a dog and a couple of Sky customer services staff.
    99% of required support can be found by the 30,000 strong community of UK TiVo users, some of whom hang out here or www.tivocommunity.com or www.dealdatabase.com.

    It was Thomson that pulled out of the UK 3 years ago, not TiVo.
    TiVo have put out minor updates and fixes since then and continue to supply and even improve the guide data and metadata.

    However as we only have series 1 here in the UK we are definitely not going to get any major software updates from TiVo the company.
    However a heck of a lot of software updates get churned out regularly by the TiVo hacking community.

    Luckily it is only the UK motherboard that cannot be bought new. All other parts can be had from your local PC store or by importing from the States.
    However the amount of new Series 1 specific spares (case and PSU) in the States will also dry up in a few years. Everything else -disks, brackets, leads and remotes will be in plentiful supply.

    I guess Murdoch likes NDS and Sky+ as they are proprietary and not very hackable.
    TiVo is very-hack friendly so I think he is a bit paranoid that this might lead to a loss of a few cents of revenue per box. So Murdoch has only signed up with TiVo till 2008 in the USA.
     
  10. Nick_UK

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    To be honest, if I was in the UK and had paid Tivo £199 for a lifetime subscription, I'd be pretty hacked off ! Even if you get 10 years support for that price, that's still twice as much as Sky charge for Sky+ support (if you don't subscribe to premium channels).
     
  11. Cyril

    Cyril
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    I thought 10 years of Sky+ at £10 per month if no premium channels works out at £1200?

    So I am pretty happy with my TiVo lifetime sub.

    If only Sky gave a £199 lifetime sub I would sign up straight away!
     

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