Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Guest
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.




13 posts

Geek
+1 received by user: 4


Topic # 214589 19-May-2017 01:06
Send private message

With the death of Tivo in October drawing ever nearer, I'm interested in finding a replacement both for myself and family who are also currently using a Tivo.  Can anyone offer any suggestions?

 

Key Tivo features I'm looking for in a replacement:

 

  • Terrestrial aerial input (DVB-T)
  • At least twin tuner (record two separate channels plus simultaneous playback of a third recording)
  • Season pass / series link
  • PVR
  • Archival (transfer recordings over ethernet to a PC, such that they can be deleted from the PVR and still watched on the PC)
  • Reasonably long life expectancy
  • Simple menus that a non-geek 80-yr-old can drive

Ethernet is the preferred form of archival.  Copying to USB hard disk would be ok, as long as it's not in a weird format and can still be read by a PC.  Burning a disc is not ok, unless it supports rewritable discs.

 

Ability to play videos from a DLNA/Plex media server would be nice but not essential.  Bonus points if it can do DVB-S as well as DVB-T, especially both simultaneously, but that's also only wishful thinking.  Ability to schedule recordings from the Internet would be nice but not essential.

 

I'm not really looking to build a media PC solution (I would be ok with that but the family just wants a plug & go).

 

From the official brands, is myFreeviewPlus worth a look?  What's the best one available?  Do they support archival?  (I know that was rare in the certified boxes in the past.)

 

Or is there a non-certified but still good box that would be a better fit?


Create new topic


13 posts

Geek
+1 received by user: 4


  Reply # 1784520 19-May-2017 01:25
Send private message

Oh, also auto-delete.  My Tivo tends to be full all the time and it auto-deletes the oldest thing I haven't watched yet to make way for new recordings.  Occasionally I miss something that way but mostly it's the things I wasn't really watching anyway, so it's more helpful than harmful and I'd like to keep it that way.


3279 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 950


  Reply # 1784538 19-May-2017 07:43
Send private message

You are unlikely to find anything that meets your requirements . At least when I last checked.  Season pass / series link need a decent data feed to enable these features.

 

Probably better to split your list into mandatory and optional requirements. 

 

The box that most people seem to recommend is the panasonic, but the user interface is tragic. 


 
 
 
 


208 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 39

Trusted
Emergency Management

  Reply # 1784579 19-May-2017 08:32
Send private message
2283 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 932


  Reply # 1784924 19-May-2017 19:54
2 people support this post
Send private message

I think one of the Panasonic units will be your best bet. I recently upgraded a DVD recorder that dies with the BWT840 for $399 on sale, which has a 1TB hard drive (3x the TIVO).

 

  • Terrestrial aerial input (DVB-T) - yep they will do that
  • At least twin tuner (record two separate channels plus simultaneous playback of a third recording) - A qualified yes. They are twin tuner. But I think the only way to record two channels AND watch a third is to have the Panny recording two, and use the tuner on the TV to watch the third. Is there, realistically, enough on Freeview where three things you want to watch are likely to be on at once. I struggle to find one thing a week.
  • Season pass / series link - Yes they will do series link.
  • PVR - Yes.
  • Archival (transfer recordings over ethernet to a PC, such that they can be deleted from the PVR and still watched on the PC) - My windows 10 PC is on the same network as my Panny. It can see the hard drive and all the files on it, and a straight copy/paste will transfer them. The transfer speed off the Panny is, however, slow (about 4.3 MB/sec, 34mpbs). The files come over as standard MPG, which VLC will play and Vidcoder will transcode.
  • Reasonably long life expectancy - No idea. I had one die on me after about 6 years. Another I got in 2004 still works, but is analog only so gets very little use now.
  • Simple menus that a non-geek 80-yr-old can drive - Probably marginal. The UI is, how shall I put it, somewhat non-intuitive and kludgy. The hardware performance of the unit is, however, fine. You do get used to the clunky menus after a while.

 


1311 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 652


  Reply # 1784930 19-May-2017 20:23
Send private message

Another vote for a Panasonic DVR from me.  We bought one when we escaped from Sky about 3 years ago and it's been faultless since.  I can't understand the angst about the UI - if I was using it (the UI) for a couple of hours a day, it would be a PITA but for recording and viewing programmes, it does the job.  Recordings are grouped by series, which is an improvement on the MySky it replaced.

 

We can watch recordings on mobile devices via the app, and on a WDTV box on the LAN.  Sound and visoe quality is (to me) as good as the original


1870 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 113


Reply # 1784954 19-May-2017 21:43
Send private message

  • Terrestrial aerial input (DVB-T)      Yes
  • At least twin tuner (record two separate channels plus simultaneous playback of a third recording)    Yes. Record two and watch a recording at same time.
  • Season pass / series link   Yes
  • PVR   Yes
  • Archival (transfer recordings over ethernet to a PC, such that they can be deleted from the PVR and still watched on the PC)   Yes. Dead easy but slow.
  • Reasonably long life expectancy    4+ yrs and counting.
  • Simple menus that a non-geek 80-yr-old can drive  Yes. Just read and follow the Manual.

Yep. My Panasonic BWT720 ticks all those boxes.




13 posts

Geek
+1 received by user: 4


  Reply # 1785022 20-May-2017 09:33
Send private message

How does the archival work on them?  I was looking through the manual but it only seems to mention DLNA, which I thought only supported streaming, not copying.  There's no mention of FTP or CIFS that I can see.

 

And the section on connecting USB HDDs (for copying TV recordings) suggests that it uses a weird format (must be formatted before use and can't be used on another device after that).

 

Also, the manual suggests that timer recordings (including series links) are limited to 32 entries.  That seems really small... with the Tivo I have probably about a hundred series link entries (including shows that have finished, so it will record the next season of a show whenever it starts again, ignoring repeats).

 

There's a review of another Panasonic device here; it claims it's pretty slow to use, among other things.  Is that still the case in the newer models?


1870 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 113


  Reply # 1785038 20-May-2017 11:34
Send private message

uecasm:

 

How does the archival work on them?  I was looking through the manual but it only seems to mention DLNA, which I thought only supported streaming, not copying.  There's no mention of FTP or CIFS that I can see.

 

 

 

 

There's nothing in the manual about it.

 

Once you connect the Panasonic Recorder to your Network then a Windows 8.1 or 10 PC will see it as just another HDD on the LAN and files can be copied from the Recorder to the PC. Doesn't work with Windows 7 though which requires some kind of Server to be able to copy files. I used Twonky Server which did the same job before I upgraded to Win 8.1

 

Connecting a HDD via USB is a waste of time as it must be registered to the machine it plugs into and will only work on that machine.


3 posts

Wannabe Geek
+1 received by user: 1

Subscriber

  Reply # 1791875 30-May-2017 17:27
Send private message

Have you thought about importing a box?

 

 

 

I had a look at a couple from Australia. But I was not convinced that the tuners would be configured correctly for NZ. Aust have a frequency spacing of 7MHz whereas NZ has 8 MHZ.

 

 

 

You could look for a Linux system with an Enigma2 kernel out of Europe. There are several different brands available. 

 

I settled for the Vu+ brand and purchased a Duo2 box from the UK.  Vuplus-shop.co.uk .  

 

The Ultimo version has a fixed satellite  (DVB-S) tuner and two other slots that can have DVB-S/S2 or DVB-C/T/T2 installed.

 

This import method does add cost. My box finished up with a total cost of $1200 after I added a HDD.

 

 

 

For more details on the various Vu+ options  : 

 

     Wikipedia - Feature comparisons

 

     You Tube  -  See setups, EPG & other screens

 

     Vu+           vuplus.com/sub/sub0104.php   (features comparison chart)

 

     UK shop    Vuplus-shop.co.uk 

 

 

 

The Enigma range has various images and skins to provide different looks.

 

The system is very configurable and has a novice & expert mode.

 

Mine is a full size box, very similar in size to the Tivo. But there are other smaller boxes with single tuners.

 

The Duo2 has two slots and I got 2 x Dual DVB-T tuners installed.  So this gives me 4 Tuners. These are also open tuners that decode a Mux stream that has several channels within ( unlike Tivo that has one channel per tuner) . With shows starting and stopping  (I start 1 min early & run 5 min after) there has been one day per week where, for 6 min, I am recording 6 shows at the same time and the box has not complained. 

 

I bought a HDD after it arrived. It can take a 2.5" or 3.5" size. The size and type are up to your own preference & cost. I settled on a WD Red (NAS) 3TB.  It also has an eSATA connector so I can reuse my external 1TB drive off the Tivo.  I have not found any auto delete function for the programs. I haven't really had a hard look for this function yet. There may be a plugin that someone has developed to do it.

 

It has has LAN & Wi-Fi built in. 

 

You can add Plug-ins to enable other services (like HbbTV).  I have tried out the Plex client. But prefer the one installed in my TV.

 

The system has an Auto-Timer function that is similar to Season Pass.

 

The remote is programmed with three skip ahead & three skip back buttons. The button 3, 6, & 9 skip 15, 60 & 300 sec respectively. (This is a function that is not allowed in a certified Freeview box.)

 

I had to install a couple of setup files that were specific for NZ so that I could get the EPG downloading. But I can give you copies of these & simple instructions to install.

 

 

256 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 47


  Reply # 1792038 30-May-2017 21:53
Send private message

These are also open tuners that decode a Mux stream that has several channels within ( unlike Tivo that has one channel per tuner) . With shows starting and stopping  (I start 1 min early & run 5 min after) there has been one day per week where, for 6 min, I am recording 6 shows at the same time and the box has not complained.  I bought a HDD after it arrived. It can take a 2.5" or 3.5" size. The size and type are up to your own preference & cost. I settled on a WD Red (NAS) 3TB.  It also has an eSATA connector so I can reuse my external 1TB drive off the Tivo.

 

The limitation in the Tivo of only one recording per tuner was simply a software problem.  Any digital tuner is capable of providing all the channels on one mux at once to the CPU, but the software then has to sort out which streams belong to which channel and write the appropriate ones to one file per channel.  Good software does that, and bad software only records one channel per tuner.  There are some tuners that do have a builtin filtering function, where you can tell them which streams are to be passed to the CPU.  That reduces the work the CPU needs to do somewhat, but it is not necessary as the work to sort out the channels is not that CPU intensive.  The Tivo only recording one channel per tuner is why I never considered buying one - I would have needed at least three of them.

 

Recording six channels at once to the same hard disk is rather pushing the limits of a single hard disk.  A WD Red is a reasonable drive for that job, but I would not want to try recording six things at once to one of mine.  Have you actually watched all six of those recordings?  Chances are they will have bits missing where the hard drive was not fast enough to keep up.  It is quite possible that the sofware writing the files would not know that there had been buffer overflows and will not have told you about it, or the you need to turn on a logging option and then dig through the log files to find out.

 

I generally try to keep it to a maximum of three simultaneous recordings per drive on my MythTV box, and I aim for only two at once.  The write speed of modern drives can keep up with the write speed of lots more recordings, but when you are recording to separate files in different places on the disk, the heads have to move back and forth between the locations of all the files, and also occasionally to the system areas on the disk to update things such as the file lengths and areas allocated to the files.  The speed that the heads can move at has not been able to be increased nearly as much as the sequential write speeds have, so head movement really, really slows down the average write speed available.  As your hard drive is also likely to be the system drive and being used for other things as well by the system, it will have even more head movement.  I would recommend getting a second drive on that eSATA connector working immediately.


Create new topic



Twitter »

Follow us to receive Twitter updates when new discussions are posted in our forums:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when news items and blogs are posted in our frontpage:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when tech item prices are listed in our price comparison site:





News »

Air New Zealand experiments with blockchain technology
Posted 23-Nov-2017 15:39


Symantec selects Amazon Web Services to deliver cloud security
Posted 23-Nov-2017 10:40


New Zealand Ministry of Education chooses Unisys for cloud-based education resourcing management system
Posted 22-Nov-2017 22:00


Business analytics software powers profits for NZ wine producers
Posted 22-Nov-2017 21:52


Pyrios strikes up alliance with Microsoft integrator UC Logiq
Posted 22-Nov-2017 21:51


The New Zealand IT services ecosystem - it's all digital down here
Posted 22-Nov-2017 21:49


Volvo to supply tens of thousands of autonomous drive compatible cars to Uber
Posted 22-Nov-2017 21:46


From small to medium and beyond: Navigating the ERP battlefield
Posted 21-Nov-2017 21:12


Business owners: ERP software selection starts (and finishes) with you
Posted 21-Nov-2017 21:11


Why I'm not an early adopter
Posted 21-Nov-2017 10:39


Netatmo launches smart home products in New Zealand
Posted 20-Nov-2017 20:06


Huawei Mate 10: Punchy, long battery life, artificial intelligence
Posted 20-Nov-2017 16:30


Propel launch Disney Star Wars Laser Battle Drones
Posted 19-Nov-2017 21:26


UFB killer app: Speed
Posted 17-Nov-2017 17:01


The case for RSS — MacSparky
Posted 13-Nov-2017 14:35



Geekzone Live »

Try automatic live updates from Geekzone directly in your browser, without refreshing the page, with Geekzone Live now.



Are you subscribed to our RSS feed? You can download the latest headlines and summaries from our stories directly to your computer or smartphone by using a feed reader.

Alternatively, you can receive a daily email with Geekzone updates.