Cutting the cable
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I was reading that a cloud based DVR service is now in Beta, how is that going, and what kind of time frame do they expect it to go live?

I've heard mention of cloud based DVR services in the past, but never quite understood the concept.

Surely they don't dedicate storage to each user to record things "in the cloud" and then stream them. There would be a ton of duplicated data.

How does this differ from something like Hulu, where I can subscribe to a show and it appears in a list when there are new recordings?

Is it some sort of hybrid between live streaming and video on demand?

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Well I assume the Sling service is like the streaming guide service I currently have with Cox.  You can stream to a computer from the guide just as if your watching TV live from a cable box. This of coarse,  includes commercials, which is why I have a DVR. 

 

If they don't provide some type of box then they would have to be storing the content you record on their end. 

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I gave the Playstation Vue a try as recommended on this thread.  I have previously tried to cut the cable but found that I could not get some of the sports I wanted without cable (soccer and formula 1). However the Playstation Vue basic package for $39 seems to have the channels I need. So I tried the 7 day free trial. The problem I found is that it has a complicated online "DVR" and "on demand" way of viewing things in a confusing interface, that I found difficult to use. I currently have a Tivo Bolt which is pretty easy to use and my wife still gets confused.  She would not work it out on the PS4 Vue. Shame as I would switch to it if they improve the interface. Might still consider it just for the sport, and then record what I can from the over the air broadcasts, so my wife can use watch those on the Tivo along with Netflix and other streaming content. But there will be some shows that we will only be able to watch on Vue. 

      I like the solutions that people are coming up with in this thread, but unless it is something simple that is watchable on a TV (rather than a computer), my wife will not use it.  I have to admit the modern Tivos with the one stop shop one passes for recorded, on demand and streamed shows is really nice, so it's hard to let that go. Also as other people have mentioned when you go to cancel they usually point out that if you cancel, (when you are getting the internet from them as well), the internet price goes up. So you may as well stay on basic for very little $s.

 

I did eventually switch to the playstation Vue. Once I have got the hang of the interface it's not as bad I thought, but not as intuitive as my Tivo. I get a lot of channels for the $39 package including the sports that I was after. One thing I have noticed on sports is that the image quality is not as good as when I was watching on cable with my Tivo. It appears to be HD but the movement is not as smooth, so it looks a bit jerky or blurry when the camera is zoomed out on a soccer game. It's more like watching something HD on youtube, where it's not quite as smooth as TV.  Form looking at some Vue forums some people reckon that is to do the with the frame rate, not being as high on certain channels. Regular TV shows look close to the same as it had with cable

   The nice thing with the VUE pricing is that it is $39 including all fees and taxes. With Comcast they quote a price but they add tax and whole bunch of other fees that inflates the price.

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If they don't provide some type of box then they would have to be storing the content you record on their end. 

I don't think that has to be the case. I would bet they are recording/archiving ALL the content, regardless of which users have requested to "record it". I doubt there is any need for them to store another copy of each program requested by each user. I'm thinking they would have some sort of slick system that merges their VOD offering with their streaming service. I can totally see how all this could be fused together to look and act like your typical DVR, but share copies of deduplicated content between users.

For instance, Designated Survivor comes on tonight at 10PM. As the show is being broadcasted, they are simultaneously recording and streaming it... if you choose to rewind, you are basically being slung into a recording that was already being made on their end. If you select record, you don't actually initiate a recording, it was going to be recorded on the back end regardless... basically they would be buffering every program on the back end in its entirety, but the "recording" appears in your list as though you are recording it, with some sort of record icon to signify that you can only watch the portion of the program that has aired so far... at 11PM, once the program is over, that program in your list is then linked to an archived VOD version of that program, it is swapped seamlessly and you don't even know that the recording you were watching was dumped and you are now watching VOD.

One side benefit to this would be that I could turn on my TV, tune to a "channel" and then rewind a program that is already in progress, even though I was not previously recording it. I wouldn't have the limitation of only being able to buffer a few channels depending on the number of tuners which existed in my DVR.

Of course, I have never used any sort of "cloud based" DVR, so this is purely hypothetical and simply the way I imagine it would work.

 

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I don't think that has to be the case.

 

The method you describe does make sense but it doesn't negate what I said.  If you are not storing the show locally on a device at your end then they have to be.  Methods of minimizing storage not withstanding.

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The method you describe does make sense but it doesn't negate what I said.  If you are not storing the show locally on a device at your end then they have to be.  Methods of minimizing storage not withstanding.

True, I think I was focused too much on the fact that you used the words "content YOU RECORD", and I was simply trying to express the fact that YOU really aren't recording anything... they are doing the recording already anyways, and you are simply subscribing to that recording when you press the record button. Of course all this is hidden from the end users and presented in a way that appears familiar to them (you record shows, they are available to watch as they are recording or to watch later), even though this is not technically what is happening.

But yes, I believe we were basically trying to say the same thing.

Whatever the case, I would think this is eventually where DVR technology is going... unless the entire DVR concept is killed by content providers delivering new content by dumping it on VOD services at scheduled times instead of traditional broadcasting.

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Been a while since there was any discussion here.  Where is everyone in their quest to cut the cord?

I'm still looking at options.

Dropping Comcast cable and picking up SingTV doesn't save me any money, in fact I would end up
with fewer channels even with the Orange+Blue package and it would cost as much maybe slightly more.

I wish I could upgrade my TiVo box and transfer my subscription over, even if I had to send them the old
box it would be worth it to keep the lifetime subscription. It's is costing them an equipment sale because
I don't want to pay for another 'lifetime' subscription. We only need one TiVo, there is just the wife and I
so no need for 3 TVs running at once.

So right now I have:

Comcast cable and internet - $154/m
Netflix - $10/m
Amazon TV  - included with Prime membership

I just noticed in my previous posts I stated we currently had a Series 3 TiVo, that is not true,
it's a Premiere, the Series 3 was the previous model we owned. Doesn't make much difference
in the grand scheme of things I know, just wanted to get it straight.

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On 2/5/2017 at 5:02 PM, sparc said:

Been a while since there was any discussion here.  Where is everyone in their quest to cut the cord?

I'm still pretty happy with my Tivo Roamio with an antenna.
We have the "all in" plan on the Tivo, so it was a one-time fee for the life of the box and there is no monthly fee associated with it.
Mine is not the OTA version... so I have the option of going back to a cable card if we ever decide we want to. However, the Tivo Roamio OTA with lifetime service included is actually a pretty good deal for someone who is trying to get away from cable.

I use a Mohu Air 60 antenna on my roof with the Tivo, so we get free local stations for news, weather, sports, and recording the bulk of the shows we watch.
Then I pay $10/month for netflix and $12/mo for Hulu (Commercial-free option), and we access those over the tivo. I also have access to amazon prime, but we do that just for the shipping and very rarely utilize their streaming service. So $22/month with a moderate initial investment and I can access almost anything we care about. The only issue is ESPN. We have ONE NFL team we follow (Carolina)... other than that we don't watch much sports. Sometimes we just get together with a friend and watch when a game airs on ESPN.

One thing I thought would be a game-changer was Tivo's "one-pass" which aggregates local recordings and streaming options so you don't have to search through multiple services. Unfortunately, in its current form it is basically worthless. Sometimes newly available episodes on Hulu take days or weeks before they appear in the tivo's data... we usually just end up going to the hulu or netflix app to find things because the most recent episodes do not appear in our one-passes in a timely manner. It looks like there is a UI update coming sometime this year, and it appears they might be making some changes to the way this works, so I'm hoping it works better in the future.
 

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OK, thanks for the reply. I think I can probably do what you are with the equipment I have now.
My TiVo can use cable or OTA from an antenna, and I have an antenna now that I use on the other TV
in the sunroom which I could easily split and feed to the TiVo. Already subscribe to Netflix and have Amazon
Prime but I don't think I can stream that with the TiVo, might need a Roku or some other dongle device for
that but I doubt we would use it much since we don't now except occasionally to something view on a PC.

If I drop cable I still have to get internet through Comcast, it's the only game in town. No FiOS or anything else
unless I wanted to go completely wireless. I dumped the landline phone 15 years ago and ported the house
number over to a cell phone for $9.99/m which saved $22 a month over the Verizon LL charges.

Verizon has all but abandoned POTS here, the cabling on the roadways is falling apart. There is one stretch
on a county road where you can drive for about a mile and between almost every pole see a tree laying on
the telephone truck line or TV cable. It's sad. If they don't have a need for those lines any longer why not take
it all down and recycle all that copper? Probably costs more than its worth.

So if I drop TV from Comcast my internet service cost will go up a bit and eat some of the savings.  So it seems
like I might as well stay where I'm at for now. I could improve my antenna and maybe pick up a few more channels,
but they would just be repeats of the 4 networks and PBS. We used to have 3 PBS stations, each running slightly
different programming at times, along with some overlap of popular programs. But over the past 10 years they have
all been gobbled up by WHYY and offer pretty much the same programming all day long so no variety there.

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24 minutes ago, sparc said:

 but I don't think I can stream that with the TiVo, might need a Roku or some other dongle device for
that

How old is the Tivo? I thought anything that could accept a cable card (Series 3 / Tivo HD or newer) supported the streaming apps...

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Also, I use Hulu and Netflix a lot more after dropping cable. Especially Hulu... I had no reason for hulu until we dropped cable.
For a while I didn't even have an antenna. We watched everything over Hulu but missed having access to local news and sports.

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1 hour ago, Smitho said:

How old is the Tivo? I thought anything that could accept a cable card (Series 3 / Tivo HD or newer) supported the streaming apps...

It does, but Amazon came along after my Premiere XL, so the app is not on my TiVo.

It does have the Netflix app but I don't use it I use the Netflix app on the TV. The last update that my TiVo
got a few years ago changed the menus and we don't like the new menu system. So we use the old menu
system and TiVo took access to YouTube, Netflix, and all the other apps off the old menu system to try to
force everyone to use the new menu system. Neither of us like it and its harder to read so we use the old
menu system. If I didn't have the not in you lifetime subscription I would throw it in the trash. Since we
weren't given a choice when the upgrade got pushed down and had no chance to stay with what we had
I feel screwed because what I paid for is no longer there. So I'll never buy another TiVo POC and I'll run
this one until the wheels fall off and in the mean time look for something else that fits our needs.

I've upgraded two times so I have two older TiVos sitting in the basement that are useless to me.
I wish someone offered a hack to remove the TiVo software and turn it into a generic DVR with access
to a channel guide, even it was only for OTA recording at least I could get some use out of one of them.

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Buy a small computer (and your storage, dvd, usb, bluetooth problems are solved). Then add an OTA, a usb tv tuner and install media center software. I recommend jriver (www.jriver.com) and you've pretty much built your own tv/dvr box with no recurring fees. Then add firetv (or appletv, roku w.e.) and you can stream netflix, hulu, etc. assuming you have an internet connection. I dropped dish quite a while back and am very happy. While Game of Thrones is airing I subscribe to HBO Now for $10 a month (no commitment, month to month) and then unsubscribe once GOT is over for the season. I subscribe to NBC Sports Gold for $30 a year to get alternate sports, and do the same thing with SlingTV for a month or two for ESPN when I'm interested in the playoffs, etc.  I think the "cable companies" have finally gotten the message that the days of year-long contracts are over, and that's not necessarily a bad thing for them financially. Would HBO rather have 100% of my $15 a month for 3 months, or 0% of my $0 dollars for a year?

I wrote a blog post about my cord cutting experience if anyone is interested here: http://sinebotchen.blogspot.com/2015/12/dumping-dish-how-i-cut-cord.html

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As TiVo keeps coming up in this thread, I figured I should add my latest addition to the conversation.
Last night I added a TiVo mini to our system for our master bedroom. I have only played around with it for one night but I was really happy at how well it worked. It's basically just like adding a "media center extender" for someone who was on WMC, but has more features.
I just activated it and plugged it in via ethernet... I had one hangup where it didn't want to recognize my tivo at first, but after I rebooted the tivo and tried again now everything works flawlessly.
It gives me the exact same interface and access to our recorded programs in an additional room. Its very snappy and has the same streaming apps and features as our roamio.
I was also surprised that tivo bakes in MoCA with their devices. As my home is wired with gigabit ethernet, this wasn't something I needed, but it would be a nice feature for those who only have coax throughout their home. I'm already considering adding mini's to our kids rooms, but that's an entirely different topic of discussion.
Both my Roamio AND mini came with lifetime subscriptions, so I have NO RECURRING fees to use the tivo. I feel like I can't stress this enough, because when people talk about the tivo, the monthly fee is always something that comes up. If you buy the current OTA model, there is NO MONTHLY FEE! I get the majority of my content OTA for free also. The only thing is you need internet to download the program guide and updates... but that seems like it goes without saying these days.
I DO choose to pay for Hulu and Netflix, but my bill for access to our regular OTA programming and TiVo service is $0.00. We could absolutely get by with that and be happy, but I have no problem paying the $22/month for an almost endless supply of commercial-free, on-demand content from Hulu and Netflix.
If you are looking into cutting the cord, this is a really good option. $399 one time equipment purchase to get started (Tivo Roamio OTA) + the price of an antenna (cost will depend on where you live and how strong the OTA broadcasts are). Then you can add the same functionality to additional rooms by adding tivo minis for $150. At that point you are done and will never need to pay out another dime unless you opt to add streaming services.
Honestly, I don't see how anyone could complain about the TiVo interface. In my opinion it is one of the easiest and most simple interfaces ever created.
I've used a DirectTV DVR, a couple of cable company DVRs, a windows media center DVR, and the TiVo, (actually, this is my 5th TiVo) and I can say the only thing that was "as good" as the TiVo was the Windows Media Center setup. However, Windows Media Center is a dying animal at this point. I've been really happy with my decision to switch back to TiVo.

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I'll add a little bit to Smitho's comments. I have Tivo as well and I also have 2 of the the Tivo mini's.  Smitho is right, the performance of the mini's is surprisingly good.  No noticeable lag, same interface, same functionality as the TIVO OTA unit.  Also, the Tivo OTA unit has 4 tuners, so you can watch up to 4 separate programs simultaneously, or watch one program and record others simultaneously.  The interface on the OTA is very good, very intuitive and if you have ever used a cable DVR you won't have any trouble using the Tivo OTA.  I use a Mohu Sky 60 outdoor antenna, and the reception through it is fantastic.

The only difference in my setup is that I am running my mini's wirelessly, which Tivo says not to do.  I use a dual band Wifi router (TP Link N750) and put all of the video on the 5 Ghz band.  I have NetGear dual band range extenders (N300) (they have a single Ethernet port) that I run to the Tivo mini's.  I wasn't sure how it would work over the wireless connection, but I've been using it this way for over a year with no issues.  I can't tell that they are not wired.

I run all of my other devices, phones, laptops, iPad's, etc., on the 2.4Ghz band.

So, I have the Tivo OTA & 2 mini's. We also use Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu & Amazon.  Sling TV is very nice if you are looking for other channels and live broadcasts.  Through it I have ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, SEC Network, TMC(Walking Dead), HGTV, EPIX & others for $25/month.  In all, I spend about $50/Month for my TV services, but best of all, no contracts and no price increases (at least so far).   Sling is available via ROKU, Apple TV, Chromecast, etc.  Previously I was spending about $135/Mo. when I had Time Warner.

I'm in complete agreement with Smitho, if you are looking to cut the cable, Tivo and/or Tivo mini's is a great way to do it.  Sling, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon can fill in any gaps that OTA doesn't have.

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So you paid 135 for TV services only, or was that TV and internet access, or is your internet access from someone other than Time Warner?

I'm paying about $152.37 for internet and cable TV plus $10 for Netflix. If I drop TV, my internet access will be about $80, so if I add in Netflix and Hulu and Sling (assuming the prices would be the same as yours), I would add ~$50 to that and be at $130, and only save about $30/month, and possibly lose some coverage compared to what I have now. It's this small savings that has kept me from dropping cable TV. OTA I get about a dozen channels that are of any value, the other 20 some are junk like shopping channels, some stuff broadcast in languages other than English so of no use to me, or I'm on the fringe and reception is poor.

 

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I was paying $135 for Internet, TV & Phone, but I wasn't using the phone service.  When I cancelled TV and Phone, they wanted to charge me $69/Month for Internet.  I ended up keeping Internet and Basic TV for $49/Month, but I don't use their basic TV channels.

I have a hard time accounting for the Internet, because I would keep it regardless.  As part of the "bundle", Internet was about $29/Month.  There were some extra charges for DVR, extra TV's, etc., so my bill for all three services was $135.  

Now, including Internet at @$49, I am paying in total about $100/Month for Internet and TV(Sling, Netflix & Hulu). So, I guess I am saving about $35/month all in.  

But we have adapted to OTA/Sling/Netflix & Hulu and I wouldn't go back to cable unless it became significantly cheaper and I felt like it was going to stay that way.  It seems to me that the cable model is changing.  People aren't as willing to pay $75-$100/Month for cable for a bunch of channels they don't want.  They want more a la cart options, (i.e., cheaper) and cable companies basically bundle a bunch of channels together so that the better channels support the weaker channels and they can generate more revenue than with a la carte options.

I can stop Sling, Hulu or Netflix anytime I want with no penalties, so I do feel like I have more control over what I spend each month.  The Tivo unit with DVR and mini's really makes it seem like we have cable...the interface is very similar and we can record a lot of the shows we like to watch.  In short, I'm very happy where we are today.

 

 

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If basic cable was $1/day and you could add additional channels for a dollar or two each per month they would have more subscribers than they knew what to do with and competition would have never got a foothold. But they were greedy (as I see it anyway) and milked the cow for all they could as fast as they could.

Instead of running up the hill they should have walked up the hill as the older bull said. You know how the rest of that story goes.

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19 minutes ago, sparc said:

If basic cable was $1/day and you could add additional channels for a dollar or two each per month they would have more subscribers than they knew what to do with and competition would have never got a foothold. But they were greedy (as I see it anyway) and milked the cow for all they could as fast as they could.

Instead of running up the hill they should have walked up the hill as the older bull said. You know how the rest of that story goes.

Couldn't agree more.

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The savings really come in for those of us who don't really need all those CATV channels and can supplement with Hulu and netflix.
If you have to add sling tv, or vue, you start approaching the point of diminishing returns as you are trying to duplicate a lot of that CATV content a many of us real cable cutters just don't care about.

To me, sling TV and vue are not much different than a basic cable TV package. It has a lot of content I don't care about and it cost a little more than I care to spend. It sort of negates the entire premise of ditching the cable TV.

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Speaking of TiVo:
They have a new interface being released "soon".
 

It is unknown what devices the new interface will be pushed to.
I will refrain from making any judgement until I have had a chance to use it myself.

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I was paying the monthly fee after buying my TiVo for $50 at bestbuy but called up and told the rep I want a lifetime service... he then said oh you want to cancel if you don't get a discount on lifetime service? I said yes and got it for only $200. Love my TiVo. You can sign up on their site to get the new update first.

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On 3/2/2017 at 9:42 PM, dusterp said:

You can sign up on their site to get the new update first.

Assuming you are talking about http://www.tivo.com/priority
That page is currently for version 20.7.1, which is NOT the new interface.
Release notes for 20.7.1 are posted here: http://www.tivocommunity.com/community/index.php?threads/20-7-1-release-notes.548765/#post-11161957
No new features, just squashes some bugs.

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On 12/4/2016 at 4:47 PM, Terminal said:

I was reading that a cloud based DVR service is now in Beta, how is that going, and what kind of time frame do they expect it to go live?

LOL, sadly I just now saw this.  I heard the other day they were going to start offering it to employees to test before releasing it to the public.  I would say it should be soon, but I am kinda in the dark on that stuff.  I work in IT as a Network Administrator at a service center so I don't see much of the TV side of sales.  I will try and ask around to people that might know around here.  If it isn't a NDA, then I will let you know.

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