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markm5

join:2013-10-06
Clearwater, FL

Networked DVRs?

I am not sold on the UltraTV concept. One concern is that that we do not want those using one TV to be able to see what is being watched/recorded on other TVs in all cases. Another concern is having a single point of failure.

Perhaps networked DVRs could be an alternative? The DVRs already have ethernet ports, why not? I tend to like the idea of having networked DVRs that allow the contents of the DVR to be made available to other DVRs/STBs over ethernet.

This could be done like this:

1) allow content recorded on the DVR to be accessed by other DVRs and STBs in the house, over a customers LAN network

2) Allow the DVRs to be accessed by a web based interface, allowing recorded content on the DVR to be downloaded to a PC, or streamed to a PC, as well as for recordings to be scheduled on the DVR and the DVR program guide and configuration to be accessed from a PC, over the customers LAN network. This should include SSL encrypted, password protected, web interface which will allow customer to access their DVR remotely over the internet, as well as locally on the customers in-house ethernet LAN network. This should be a standards based web based interface therefore will work with many operating systems such as Linux, Windows and with web browsers like Firefox and Chrome. For the remote internet DVR access, the customer should be able to configure the DVR to use UPNP to open a port forward to the DVR on the customers network router to allow the DVR to be remotely accessed, or the customer should be allowed to configure port forward on their router manually. The customer should be able to choose to not enable the remote internet access.

3) Include a VNC server in the DVR allowing a VNC client to be used on a PC to watch the DVR display output from a PC on the LAN network. The VNC software is open source and could be ported to the DVR. The VNC client can run on both Windows, Linux and Mac. Access to the VNC server can be password protected.

4) Include a VNC client in the DVR, allowing the customer to configure the DVR to connect to a VNC server on a PC on their LAN, allowing the display on their PC to be displayed to the DVR.
These features would put the now unused ethernet port to full use.

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
1) Tivo
2) MythTV

markm5

join:2013-10-06
Clearwater, FL

1 edit
reply to markm5
I think I would be asking for trouble trying to use MythTV. Only god knows if it would work with the dual tuner cable card PC interface that would be required. Even if they say it does it probably would not. Considering a cable card could be $5 per month, this leaves $9 left of what would be spent on a WOW DVR. The cost of the MythTV setup would likely be over $450, it would take about 4 years for this to pay for itself, considering there are no equipment failures, given likely equipment failures, it could cost more than a WOW DVR.

Other cable companies such as Bright House, have started to use this thing that only sends through channels when consumers tune into that channel, and it does not work at all with your cable card. If WOW decided to use that, it would render the existing tuner obsolete.

Tivo is similar, $200-$300 for a TIVO, $120 for the stream thing, on top of $15 per month, you are looking at more per month than WOW DVR. I also see no mention that I could use it remotely from my PC using Linux, or even Windows. My experience with TIVO is it is hostile to users and there is only one way to use TIVO, the way TIVO wants to use it. Want to use it in a way TIVO thinks you shouildnt be allowed to? Too bad. TIVO is a big waste of money and which shows contempt for its users.

mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI
said by markm5:

I think I would be asking for trouble trying to use MythTV. Only god knows if it would work with the dual tuner cable card PC interface that would be required. Even if they say it does it probably would not. Considering a cable card could be $5 per month, this leaves $9 left of what would be spent on a WOW DVR. The cost of the MythTV setup would likely be over $450, it would take about 4 years for this to pay for itself, considering there are no equipment failures, given likely equipment failures, it could cost more than a WOW DVR.

Other cable companies such as Bright House, have started to use this thing that only sends through channels when consumers tune into that channel, and it does not work at all with your cable card. If WOW decided to use that, it would render the existing tuner obsolete.

Tivo is similar, $200-$300 for a TIVO, $120 for the stream thing, on top of $15 per month, you are looking at more per month than WOW DVR. I also see no mention that I could use it remotely from my PC using Linux, or even Windows. My experience with TIVO is it is hostile to users and there is only one way to use TIVO, the way TIVO wants to use it. Want to use it in a way TIVO thinks you shouildnt be allowed to? Too bad. TIVO is a big waste of money and which shows contempt for its users.

Thanks for the useless suggestions.

Tivo's aren't a big waste of money. You want to know what is a big waste of money? Paying fees for stb/dvrs for years without having any ownership. I use Tivo's and also Windows Media Center. While I haven't used Ultra TV, those products are far superior to every cableco dvr/stb I have ever used. I can put Tivo and WMC recordings onto my laptop or an external hard drive (or with the right software, phones and tablets) to watch anywhere. And with those devices, those recordings are yours to keep forever, even if you change providers or "cut the cord".

And honestly showing such rudeness to someone trying to help shows me that you really aren't worth trying to help.

SScorpio

join:2002-12-31
Canton, MI
reply to markm5
If you did any prior research you'd realize just how limited your options are.

Tivos are expensive, but are the only consumer targeted device that would do what you want. Arris had a DVR product that would have met your goal, but they decided to partner with cable companies instead, and it's transitioned into Ultra TV. Ceton was also working on a DVR, but killed off the project as it was based off Windows Media Center which Microsoft left it to die with Windows 8 WMC not having any improvements in it over Windows 7.

MythTV is is there as a roll it your own solution, but it's not for a novice user who has only a basic understanding of technology.

Windows Media Center is still around, but it's dying. The new Xbox One doesn't work as an extender, and I see Microsoft pushing that as their media gateway.

There are other software packages like SageTV that can do DVR, but they also require quite a bit of setup.

It sounds like you are concerned about cost, so the only cheap and easy solution would be UltraTV. But if you are really against getting that you could be a HomerunHD and try spinning up your own solution. Just be aware you'll need to work on your people skills as you'll be posting to some community forums for help, and most people just ignore or flame idiots who insult people who are trying to help them.

lesmikesell

join:2013-06-10
Mount Prospect, IL
reply to markm5
You can get a slingbox to use with one of the ultra tv media players to view from a PC or tablet. Doesn't help hide what you record from other household members, though...

markm5

join:2013-10-06
Clearwater, FL
reply to SScorpio
I do have a advanced understanding of technology, being a computer programmer, but it might not be worth the time and effort to get MythTV working. Having an understanding of technology, I also know how much time it could take to get something like that to work.

I wouldnt trust anything from Microsoft.

brad152

join:2006-07-27
Phoenix, AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
Windows Media Center with a Centon Card and SDV Adapter worked just fine on my old PC i had in the living room, but i ended up just canceling cable altogether since CenturyLink will give me up to 80/40Mbps over VDSL2 here and it never rains in AZ so i went with Dish.. Best decision of my life, i'm paying less than $85/mo for 40/20 internet, top 250 with HBO/Showtime, and whole home DVR with Sling so i can use it when away.

If you look around there are ways to get the whole cable/internet thing done for a decent price while maintaining usable service as long as you have a decent telco (sorry, at&t folks!)

TiVo also works well, but generally costs more than CableCo equipment, but if WOW is still on those old Scientific Atlanta STB's then it may be worth it, as i remember having them in Ohio and laughed at their setup when i had to use it, but i did like how instead of using SDV like Time Warner Cable, they went all digital to keep from using those damn adapters that can be troublesome at times.

lesmikesell

join:2013-06-10
Mount Prospect, IL
reply to markm5
So have you actually tried the ultra tv service or are you just making things up to not like about it?

markm5

join:2013-10-06
Clearwater, FL
reply to brad152
Verizon FIOS used the Motorola DVRs, which are solid and have a good user interface and is easy to use, every bit as good as a Tivo for recording. Bright House used Cisco which was similar, good interface, as good as Tivo. So the cable co DVRs can be a good value, and there are cable co's that have gotten things right. Ive heard of people getting Tivo becasue they thought since its not the cable co it must be a better value. Looking at what they are paying, actually, they are paying more and its not better at all.

markm5

join:2013-10-06
Clearwater, FL
reply to lesmikesell
UltraTV sounds like it is good. I think that as long as it can be configured so each tuners recording schedule can be password protected and/or linked to a specific room, that would provide for the features needed.

lesmikesell

join:2013-06-10
Mount Prospect, IL
It does have parental controls settings per media player but I've never used them. I would expect that to just prevent viewing the content, though, not the recording schedule or list of recordings. The manual and a video tutorial is on line but I don't think it mentions how much it hides.

alan92rttt

join:2012-02-27
reply to markm5
said by markm5:

One concern is that that we do not want those using one TV to be able to see what is being watched/recorded on other TVs in all cases.

With ultra you can not see what is being watched on other TV's.
You can see recordings but that is the point of a whole home solution.

As far as I know any solution that will let you watch your recordings from any room will let everyone see the recordings. I know ultra has parental controls that may be enough to keep younger members of the family from watching recordings that are not are appropriate.


ClockerXP

join:2001-05-24
Sterling Heights, MI
kudos:1
I use the parental controls to prevent my 6 year old from turning on my recorded walking dead episodes on accident. Easy and effective.

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
reply to markm5
said by markm5:

Tivo is similar, $200-$300 for a TIVO, $120 for the stream thing, on top of $15 per month

You're a sucker. You really think the Tivo costs only $300? And then you complain that you'd also pay $15/month?

Why not simply buy the Tivo for the real price of the gear and get no ongoing monthly charge??

You are the sucker Tivo aims their marketing crap at. You can't do basic math.

markm5

join:2013-10-06
Clearwater, FL
Are you saying that you thought i was not aware that the monthly charge is required to use Tivo? Of course i know that. I know that the monthly charge is a part of the total cost of ownership, and it adds up, $180 every year, this thing is going to cost you a lot more than $200-$300 over the life of ownership. $900 over 5 years, a helluvah a lot of money.

lesmikesell

join:2013-06-10
Mount Prospect, IL
No, I think he was saying that if you get a tivo you should get the lifetime service with it for an up-front fee and consider it part of the price. I did that with the original model and used it for more than 10 years before the lack of HD bothered me enough to toss it. I do like the features on the current models but don't think the price for 3 rooms makes as much sense as the ultra tv package.

markm5

join:2013-10-06
Clearwater, FL
I agree. I have changed my mind and decided that UltraTV would be sufficient for my needs most likely

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
reply to markm5
said by markm5:

Are you saying that you thought i was not aware that the monthly charge is required to use Tivo? Of course i know that. I know that the monthly charge is a part of the total cost of ownership, and it adds up, $180 every year, this thing is going to cost you a lot more than $200-$300 over the life of ownership. $900 over 5 years, a helluvah a lot of money.

That's not at all what I'm saying.

I'm saying that you're not aware that you DON'T have to have a monthly charge to use Tivo and/or its Minis. You can happily pay the full freight for the boxes up front and never pay another dime.

There's no need to complain about a monthly fee, no need to worry about it.

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
reply to lesmikesell
Let's see, for three rooms the four tuner Tivo setup is something like $1300 plus, for me, an additional storage drive and remotes--let's call it, at retail, an even $1500. (I could also choose the middle level Roamio and get 6 tuners, but I would give up the option of dumping cable and going OTA.) That gets me Netflix, too.

Around here, Ultra hardware for three rooms is $35. That includes the gateway plus two media streamers. So, the breakeven point is 1500/35 or 43 months. It's actually a little less, because I'd have to put Roku or similar at my TVs to get Netflix if I had UltraTV--an expense not needed if I'm using Tivo.

So, the breakeven of rolling your own using the Tivo method is under 4 years.

It's even less if you roll your own using Windows Media Center.

baess

join:2011-01-28
said by adam1991:

So, the breakeven of rolling your own using the Tivo method is under 4 years.

It's even less if you roll your own using Windows Media Center.

I must be old. In my day "roll your own" didn't refer to media players.

markm5

join:2013-10-06
Clearwater, FL
reply to adam1991
Without paying their fee, you cannot get program guide information. This is a big downside.

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
markm, you do *not* have to pay a monthly fee to Tivo. Please go back and read what I wrote. Then go to Tivo's web site and poke around.

It's true. You have the choice of *not* paying a monthly fee. Period.

lesmikesell

join:2013-06-10
Mount Prospect, IL
Well, you do pay the fee - you can just pay for a lifetime subscription up front. And eventually it pays off.

adam1991

join:2012-06-16
Columbus, OH
What you're really saying is that Tivo has hidden the true cost of their product and created a system whereby they can advertise a low number to get your attention and get the product into your hands, while playing mind games with you on the true cost of the product.

It's like cell phones--no, they're not "free" or "only $199 for an iPhone!". Not at all. And if you're silly enough not to pay attention, and if you let them manipulate you, then you'll overpay every time.

With Tivo, there's zero upside to doing the monthly fee thing and there's zero downside to paying the full price for the product up front.