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TiVo or Sky+?

BlueOrange25

Well-known Member
I was thinking about buying a TiVo system from Ebay until a friend told me that I'd be better off with a Sky+ system. I'm not too knowledgable about the world pf PVRs and was wondering if someone could offer their opinions on tihs issue.

The things that are important to me are cost and ease of use, in that order. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
IMHO you should get a TiVo!

TiVo subscription can be payed upfront at £200 and lasts for the lifetime of the unit. Sky+ is either £10 per month (can also do this with TiVo) unless you have one of the top premium Sky packages.
My TiVo has never failed to record a prog, but Sky+ is frequently reported as 'just forgetting to record'. You set the recording but nothing happens.
TiVo software is very easy to use. You just bring up the EPG, highlight the prog you want to record and then decide if you just want that episode, the whole season or even just certain episodes. TiVo then controls the STB automatically.
TiVo will also learn the type of progs you like and then record what it thinks you will want to watch. Often I forget to record a prog that I normally do record and TiVo knows this and records it for me anyway. AFAIK this is not an option on Sky+.
Another advantage of TiVo is that if you don't want Sky anymore you can still use the TiVo with its own analogue tuner, Freeview or cable. Sky+ only works with Sky.

Mark.
 

pix

Standard Member
The software in Tivos is a lot better, and very reliable - mine has never failed to record what I've asked it to. The Sky+ software is a bit buggy.

However, I think you should ask yourself WHAT you are wanting to record...if you have Sky, or want it, Sky+ does allow you to record 2 channels at once, which is useful. If you don't have/want Sky, then go for the Tivo.
 

GadgetObsessed

Well-known Member
I have had both Sky+ and Tivo and my conclusions are as follows:
(1) Sky+ picture quality is noticeably better. (Even though I only ever used Tivo recording at Best quality.)
(2) Tivo software is better than Sky+ and generally more reliable. However the reliability and quality of Sky+ software has greatly improved. When I first got Sky+ two years ago Tivo was clearly miles ahead. Now with dual record and much more reliable season passes I personally put Sky+ ahead. Many of the other features of Tivo e.g. recording things it thought you would like, recoding by actor etc, are of little interest to me.
(3) Sky+ only requires one box and remote - useful for me in trying to reduce the number of boxes under the TV.
(4) If you already subscribe to 2 premium channels with Sky then Sky+ is cheaper than Tivo. i.e. box is £200 and no extra monthly sub. I'm not sure how much a Tivo with lifetime sub is but I sold mine for £300.
(5) Easier to upgrade the HDD in Sky+ - I have 120Gb now.
 
S

sanderton

Guest
Easy to upgrade the disk in a Sky+, not so easy to get it to work! Or have you been lucky and escaped the 17 minute bug?

The main difference IMHO is the "maintainance level" required. TiVo can be left to get on with it, with perhaps a weekly scan of a TV guide to spot brand new series or specials.

Sky+ requires you to much more conciously plan out the recordings you want. Series links help, but expire so won't pick up the following season, and there are no Wishlists to scan for shows matcghing keywords across multiple channels.
 

GadgetObsessed

Well-known Member
For me once I got Sky+ I stopped using Tivo. Sky+ is more glitchy (I had to reset it once and lost all my recordings) but the improved picture quality (very imprortant to me), twin tuners, extra recording time (only 12 hours at best on an unmodified Tivo) and getting rid of an extra box outweighed the Tivo software benefits.

I never found any use for tivos features such as wishlists and recording what it thought I would like. When I first got Sky+ the software was poor (e.g. freuently lost season passes) but the current version has everything I need.
 

LDJ

Active Member
If its ease of use you want then the Tivo is the way to go. The user interface and all round operation of the unit is much better than the rather limited Sky+ software.
You wont lose recordings, season passes etc with a Tivo as you probably will with Sky+, you can configure a Tivo exactly how you want, you can 'teach' it what you like so it will make relevant suggestions and a whole lot more that Sky+ just cant do.
However, if recording two channels simultaneously is what you want then Sky+ or a Pace Twin is your only option.

P.s. check out the SKy+ section over at digitalspy before you commit!
 

CLH

Novice Member
What are your requirements?

Do you want to archive things in best quality to DVDR?
Do you already have Sky?
Do you have room for 2 boxes or 1?
Will you need to record two channels at once ever?
Are you ok with a machine with no warranty?

Too many people ask Sky+ or Tivo and the answer often missed is "it depends what you need?"

So what do you need it for?
 
B

blindlemon

Guest
For me, Sanderton's point is the real killer - with TiVo you just leave it to get on with recording what you like.

Once it's set-up you hardly ever need to scan programme listings or search for shows you might like - TiVo just finds and records them for you.. automatically :smashin:
 

Mark Ward

Novice Member
Another vote for TiVo here. I bought one last October and haven't looked back since.

As well as the arguments for the TiVo listed above, the configurability is a big plus.

The user interface is far, far superior to Sky+, and the TiVo can be modified in so many ways.

My TiVo has 2 x 120gb Drives, 512MB Ram Cache and a Network connection to the rest of my home network.

It runs an web server that allows me to modify system settings such as the resolution & bitrate for each recording Level. My Best is 720 x 576 @ 7836000 Mx Bitrate which is noticeable better than the default TivO BEST option, though I agree not as good as Sky+).

Things I can do on my TiVo

Run intuitive padding (written by Sanderton BTW:)) that will add a predefined number of minutes to the beginning & end of a program, so long as that doesn't affect the recording of another scheduled show.

Run Red Dot removeal software that removes the Red Dot whilst recording but leaves it enabled whilst you are not recording. Could remove always if I wanted.

View recordings using any web browser on my network which means my HT, Living Room & Office all have access, live streaming (into standard Windows MediaPlayer).

Edit entry names & descriptions so "Babefest 27" can become "The History of the Pencil";)

FTP the shows to keep to a PC where I can edit out the adverts and save to DVD.

Get TiVo to Email me every day with a report like this. The links in the email allow me to make the necessary changes from the web browser via the TivoWebPlus software.

I think that the TiVo is possibly the best thought out bit of kit ever. I am considering getting Sky+ too, as I would get that for free but would never give up my TiVo.

Mark.
 

BlueOrange25

Well-known Member
Thanks for all the replies everyone. Much appreciated.

At the moment it looks like I'm heading towards Sky+ but I won't make a commitment till August at the earliest. I'm just a little apprehensive about buying a TIVO machine from EBay.

Mark Ward - I was interested to read your comments. I have a few questions:

1. You mentioned TIVO giving an e-mail report and being able to access recordings on your PC. Is this simply just setting up the hardware or do I need some sfotware to do this as well?

2. If so, does the software come with TIVO?

3. Do I need to pay any extra for these features or are they included in the price of the subscription?

4. How easy is it to install and set up new HDD in TIVO?

Thanks again for all your replies.

Blue
 

Mark Ward

Novice Member
Mark Ward - I was interested to read your comments. I have a few questions:
OK....

1. You mentioned TIVO giving an e-mail report and being able to access recordings on your PC. Is this simply just setting up the hardware or do I need some sfotware to do this as well?
This is very far from simple, though perfectly possible so long as you're prepared to read instructions and research what's available and possible. I pointed Messiah in the direction of these features and within a couple of weeks he also got them installed.

2. If so, does the software come with TIVO?

3. Do I need to pay any extra for these features or are they included in the price of the subscription?
They are add on programs written by TiVo enthusiasts, they are for the most part free. Check out the
Tivo Community Forum and the Deal Database Forum for an idea of what's envolved.

One I use are:-

IRBlast - Red Dot Removal
EndPad - Recording Front & End Padding
Dailymail_Jazz - The Email report program
mfsstreamweb - Allows realtime streaming along with TyShow (TiVo file CoDec) on the PC
TyServer - Allows direct access to files on TiVo for DVD making.

TivoWebPlus (TWP) - Web server on your TiVo, allows access to just about every aspect of your TiVo and has loads of addon modules.

Addon modules I use (from memory):-

Folders - Sorts shows into configuarable topic headings on TWP

MovieSort - Scan entire Movie Database to find mivies I want to record more easily (I had to slightly modify the program file of this one to work with TWP.)

ReOrder Season Passes - Nice Simple way to do it.

Backup - Backup & Restore Season Passes and some other settings.

MFStream - Rename programs & description etc. and simply click a show to download it to your PC.

There are others I'm sure..

4. How easy is it to install and set up new HDD in TIVO?
There's an online guide called the Hinsdale Guide , I found that following theis guide it wasn't too traumatic. I also found the UKHA TiVo HowTo Guide a big help in setting up my TiVo for future modification.

Long and short of it is that it's not easy, you'll have to spend a fair bit of time researching and will no doubt have to post on a TiVo forum when you get stuck, but it's worth it in the end.

Mark.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
If you don't want to buy a TiVo from Ebay then you can get one from TiVoLand
You can buy preconfigured upgrade HDD for TiVo with all the software from TiVoLand or Pacelink that you just plug into the TiVo. They are just bog standard PC IDE HDD's, so easy enough to plug in. But it is cheaper to DIY and easy enough as long as you have a PC with a FAT32 partition.

Mark.
 

cuewoz1

Standard Member
Originally posted by Mark Ward

My Best is 720 x 576 @ 7836000 Mx Bitrate which is noticeable better than the default TivO BEST option, though I agree not as good as Sky+).

[
Mark.
How can you increase the resolution and bitrate of your tivo?
I'd love extra PQ and was thinking sky+ was tthe answer even though I love my tivo.

Warren
 

Mark Ward

Novice Member
You need to install TivoWeb 1.9.4 or TivoWebPlus (I use).

You then have control over the resolution used to record at each of the modes and the bitrate for that mode.

More info on modes here

also:-

TivoWebPlus (TWP)

Mark.
 

cuewoz1

Standard Member
Thanks mark
This looks like something i'd like to do,
Does this tivoweb need a lot of programming knowledge?
I'd hate to get stuck and have to trash the tivo half way through.
 
B

blindlemon

Guest
Using TiVoWeb requires no programming knowledge at all - it's just a browser application that you use with IE etc. :)

Writing new modules for it, of course, does require some programming experience - but you won't need to do that unless you want to!!

BTW, TiVoWeb is accessed via a network card you can add to your TiVo, or even over the internet - yet another feature that Sky- doesn't have :devil: :D :D
 

Mark Ward

Novice Member
Answered for me:)

Fititng the Network card is relatively straight forward. Once you have a telnet connection there is an element of trial and error to getting things how you want them.

If you're reasonable PC literate and can follow step-by-step instructions you'll get there in the end. For me it was a frustrating experience getting all the modules listed earlier in this thread working properly, but totally worth it.

Mark.
 

cuewoz1

Standard Member
Thanks Mark.

I will let you know what i decide
 
C

chilpillphil3

Guest
Tivo sounds great, and maybe i would cancel sky plus, but the upfront fee is far to much for me, and so im stuck with sky plus, dont get me wrong, i love sky plus, just £40 a month is a fair bit of money,
 

MarkE19

Moderator
chilpillphil3,
with TiVo the only upfront payment that you need to pay is the buying of the box. You then have the option of either paying a further £200 one off payment for the subscription or just pay £10 per month.

Mark.
 

CLH

Novice Member
Originally posted by chilpillphil3
Tivo sounds great, and maybe i would cancel sky plus, but the upfront fee is far to much for me, and so im stuck with sky plus, dont get me wrong, i love sky plus, just £40 a month is a fair bit of money,
But to retain all those channels you'll still need to pay £40 per month.

Tivo is attractive if you wan't to ditch Sky altogether but even if you downgrade you're still looking at a fee per month.

However, you are allowed to sell your Sky+ box to fund any Tivo purchase.
 

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