Dual tuner Tivo hd is less than you may think

98clru

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
I'm posting this here because Jay did a great job of adding the consideration of an OTA Dishnetwork DTVPal dvr instead of just an OTA converter box on to this forum Saturday.

I posted my considerations there that made me think twice about the DTVPal DVR and invest in a Tivo HD instead. I didn't want to hijack that thread so I started this one. Thanks for your being gracious about my post Jay!

That post is here if you care to read it:
http://www.dtvusaforum.com/all-other-converter-boxes/2479-dtvpal-dvr.html

Background (optional)

I DON'T work for any DTV manufacturer or know anyone who does.

I bought a ATSC equipped TV about 4 years ago. There were only 2 or three dtv stations on the air in my Orlando, FL market at the time.

When the DTV coupon fiasco came out I got my 2 coupons and started researching the various boxes out there. The one that caught my attention was the dishnetwork DTVPal converter box. As those of you who followed the story of converter boxes know, this box was going to have several features above and beyond the standard but was delayed numerous times and I was glad I waited. I got an Apex box, the DTVPal box, my mom got a venturer box and my research showed me that the expanded program guide the DTVpal offered, etc were well worth the wait. So between my DTV capable TV and the 3 different types of converter boxes I can see firsthand what big differences there are in capabilities.

One of the reasons for my being obsessive about the DTV change over is being in central FL 5 years ago we had 3 hurricanes hit within a month disrupt things including cable for quite a while.

Seeing as I was without cable for several days due to hurricanes in '04 and some of my coworkers and friends were without cable for a few weeks and the pricing was cost effective I went from my local cable system brighthouse (BH from now on) formerly part of timewarner to Dishnetwork. I had actually sold Dishnet for a short time a year or two after they came out (1993?) and liked the fact that it wasn't dependent on the fragile wired cable system.

I loved my Dishnet DVRs. When I left Brighthouse they didn't have a DVR available or at least I didn't spend the money either way the Dishnet dvr was my first. My kids had the 522, I think the main was a two set 622. Both models worked very well and were user friendly. Program guide went out over a week. A year later having another hurricane approach, I thought it would be a good idea to find out from dishnet at what wind speed a properly installed dish should be taken down before it acted as a sail and took off my roof. I tried 5 different customer service contact points (fill in the blanks on their website and it "emails" the appropriate department) 2 times. Got no answer. Went back to brighthouse who gave me a good deal for coming back and no more worries about the sail on my roof. When I sent the LNB back to dish I took the dishes off the roof and found the installer had installed into the plywood not the joist as he assured me he would.

I had gotten my HD DTV equipped TV in the meantime and got a decent signal with a jensen amplified set of rabbit ears so no longer would be with no TV should another hurricane hit.

The BH DVR was not as good as the dishnet but it was OK. Biggest problem was the program guide went about 4 days as compared to the dishnet dvr going a week.

Why Over the Air DVR now?
Brighthouse "upgraded" the firmware on my HD DVR last fall. It's much prettier but not as user friendly (many little things annoy such as to turn captions on/off went from 2 button pushes to 5 and I switched to / from captions 4 or 5 times a week). The info available on a program is limited to one and a half lines and will end in midsentence.

I had read about the Dishnet DVR coming out and couldn't wait to save some money compared to cable and have stations that BH doesn't carry. This available via free OTA DTV. I have a DTVPal and know it's info isn't complete, several stations often don't have any programming info posted at all. But it's free. For most markets the DTVPal DVR will have the TVG augmenting that, but from screen shots I've seen it's much better, if not perfect (is any programming perfect - no!) BUT IT'S FREE!

Finally I got done with a 5 week stay out of town and was set to buy a DTVpal DVR and they are "out of stock". Some say they were withheld from the market while the many complaints were fixed by new firmware. Whatever the reason it turned out to my advantage.

While waiting for them to come back in stock I read researching the DTVPal DVR somewhere that the Tivo HD had a major advantage in that it had a 30 day refund satisfaction guarantee. DTVPal DVR you buy it it's yours, no returns.

About Tivo HD

I had never considered Tivo. First I wanted to get off cable. Tivo was only for cable right? I didn't know Tivo HD has dual ATSC and NTSC tuners. Tivo is too expensive. Didn't put into perspective what you get for your money. Tivo offers more just a great program guide for subscription fee.

My family got used to a good program guide, name based recording and user friendly features and huge programming choices.

This is what the choices boiled down to. dtvpal.com/ dvrcompare In order to separate them the Tivo entries are in bold, sorry for the formatting:

OTA only Tivo HD DTVPal DVR
cost $0 $300 $250
subscription $0 $400 $0
prog guide up to a week 13 days 8 day
other
programming
none netflix, blockbuster, amazon, youtube, musicchoice maybe someday
HD rec time None up to 20hrs up to 30 hrs
SD rec time None up to 180 hrs up to 150 hrs
recording sched type None name based Just like a vcr

The recording schedule type is a big one for my wife. Name based recording means the box constantly checks programming updates for the shows you request more than once. She doesn't want to miss the extra days they slip American Idol in twice in the same week or the extra hour for special shows like the last episode of ER. With Tivo you set up a season pass for ER you get ER whenever it's on with at least a day previously published schedule. The VCR programming means you set a recording every week on Tuesday at 9pm you get get that and only that recorded even if the show you wanted is on Monday that week.

Need to assume for the Tivo that you have Broadband internet available for the additional programming. If you have a standard phone jack you can still get the great programming guide, but can't download programming. So for $450 more I get a program guide you can work with while watching at the same time.

The big difference for the DVR's is the cost. I looked at the difference at first and said to myself, I'd love the features a tivo has but that's lots of money. Putting it in perspective, the $700 is about what I spend for my BH HD dvr in 9 months (78 x 9). The DTVPal DVR would save about $450 but assuming that both boxes should last quite a while, the only part prone to failure beyond the first few weeks in electronics is the hard drive which is easily replaced on both. If they both last 6 years the difference amounts to $6.25 a month. That's a small price to pay for all the extras. I'm adding netflix with 1 dvd at a time which is $9/month which gives me unlimited access to 12,000 movies some at HD quality to augment what I can get over the air. I won't miss the cable only channels with 12,000 movies with not to mention the amazon and upcoming blockbuster streaming options and others. DTVPal DVR has the jack you would need to download streaming but dishnetwork hasn't confirmed if it can do more than upgrade firmware no less programming is going to be available at this time.

I had thought about setting up my desktop computer to do a "home brew" dvr. I could do that for about $75. Between needing to keep my computer to run 24/7 and my wife not liking to do things that aren't user friendly the tivo was worth the difference to us hands down.
 
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acwriter

DTVUSA Member
#2
Incredible post. We had TiVo for years while Direct TV offered it. We loved TiVo. We found it was very user friendly. We have actually been considering buying another TiVo and found out that they are currently not supporting internet. If we decide to switch back to antenna or cable, they will be one of the first that I call.
 

98clru

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
Incredible post. We had TiVo for years while Direct TV offered it. We loved TiVo. We found it was very user friendly. We have actually been considering buying another TiVo and found out that they are currently not supporting internet. If we decide to switch back to antenna or cable, they will be one of the first that I call.
Thanks for the compliment.

Don't quite understand what about the internet Tivo is not supporting at this time. I don't have a phone line, my program guide is via broadband. Can't quite literally surf the web, but can get Yahoo traffic and weather and view picasa and photobucket. I can watch netflix, youtube and amazon via broadband. Rhapsody and several other internet entertainment subscription services are available too and music choice will download videos. I'm astonished at the offerings.

If you are lucky and have a sears nearby the HD's are on clearance right now in Orlando anyway for $149 (half retail). Didn't want to post that earlier without confirming some availability. After I got my $149 tivo I called a second store friday and asked if they had any and was told no. Called a third got the same answer and asked if there was anyway of checking other area stores (don't think the rep answering call was local, probably at a call center somewhere) and she said she checked 3 other stores as we were talking and none had any. Went to first store I had called on monday and they had 2 on hand.

Apparently Live.com has some deal where you might save on the lifetime sub. Check Fatwallet out, hopefully you can find details.

I did some recording on some of the weaker stations today and was pleasantly surprised to find that when signal got weak the framerate slowed down and the audio got a little "choppy" but my DTVpal converter would have totally frozen at a much higher signal rate. I did buy a decent antenna and plan on mounting outside and get higher than the top of my entertainment center (6') where my rabbit ears are but I can live with the over the air reception as it is, but I have that 30 day window to return if I can't improve on what Brighthouse had to offer.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#5
DirecTV, and Dish Network, for that matter, refused to open their network up to third-party devices, such as the TiVo S3 and TiVo HD. Note, though, that DirecTV has changed its mind, and they are now working with TiVo to build a new TiVo offering that will work with DirecTV service. There is not yet a release date for the new DVR.
 

CptlA

DTVUSA Member
#6
DirecTV, and Dish Network, for that matter, refused to open their network up to third-party devices, such as the TiVo S3 and TiVo HD. Note, though, that DirecTV has changed its mind, and they are now working with TiVo to build a new TiVo offering that will work with DirecTV service. There is not yet a release date for the new DVR.
Is this just an idea right now or is it going to be a definite release?
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#9
I want to thank 98clru for this thread. I'm including unfavorable information based on my experience with TiVo and I think it should be considered. There is one problem with TiVo. They don't support broadcasters in any way. The $13.00 monthly fee does nothing for the expansion or quality of programming and the TiVo business is built strictly on customer service. This is where the problem begins for many. They do NOT correlate service in all broadcast areas. Without the correlation of programming to broadcaster the program guide is of no use. For over 3 weeks I tried to get them to update my area broadcast stations to the correct channels. When TiVo failed at this challenge, they informed me I could use a TiVo to rent Netflix or Amazon movies and order Dominos Pizza. They said if that wasn't useful to me, I could list my new TiVo on eBay. Thanks, but with this kind of customer service I'll save my $13.00 a month. I did promise them I would share my story with every one I could.
1st- I don't need to pay TiVo $13.00 a month to rent Netflix
2nd- I only have a 3mbps DSL connection and a 7mbps is required for Amazon HD
3rd- We don't have a Dominos in my area
Save your money and for $249.00 you can purchase a Dish Network DTVPal DVR to record HD OTA broadcasts and you don't pay a monthly fee.
Dish Network DTVPAL DVR Digital to Analog Converter Box Digital Video Recorder DVR (DTVPalDVR) | DTVPalDVR [DISH Network]
 
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bicker

DTVUSA Member
#10
TiVo is among the most responsive companies with regard to program guide corrections. Not that I doubt your report, but it is diametrically oppositional the every other of the dozens of instances of program guide corrections that I've read about.
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#11
I know it's hard to believe. I read yours and many others posts on the TiVo forum. You can read mine over there under my same user name. That's why I am posting the information. To give others a heads up. I talked to a broadcast tower engineer. He said there are many many people the service won't work for. I'm just one of the unlucky ones, but it's not a big deal. There is a better option for us.
TiVo is among the most responsive companies with regard to program guide corrections. Not that I doubt your report, but it is diametrically oppositional the every other of the dozens of instances of program guide corrections that I've read about.
 
#12
which dtv pal do you have the first which is the tr40 had a weak tuner the dtv-pal plus has a much improved tuner and is the tuners used in the dtv-pal DVR. the old ones had tr40 had a weak tuner, so don't judge the plus and the DVR by the tr40. I have installed PLus in deep fringe in NC and had great results.
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#13
Hehehe!! This forum thread is for the TiVo HD. I do own a PalPlus and a DTVPal DVR though. Love them both.;)
which dtv pal do you have the first which is the tr40 had a weak tuner the dtv-pal plus has a much improved tuner and is the tuners used in the dtv-pal DVR. the old ones had tr40 had a weak tuner, so don't judge the plus and the DVR by the tr40. I have installed PLus in deep fringe in NC and had great results.
 
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