E* to D* - Another Convert

Discussion in 'DIRECTV SD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by van_gogh, May 17, 2004.

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  1. van_gogh

    van_gogh Mentor

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    Apr 8, 2004
    I made the switch Saturday & I'm never looking back!

    I had an E* 501 with AC120 for just over 2 years. I called E* to let them know I was moving and asked if they could do any better than their "DishMover" offer. You can gess how that went. "But that's for new customers only. You're not new - even at your new home." ...After contacting the Executive Office, at the suggestion of this website, I was offered a (leased) 522 for $99 and 6 months of the DVR fee waived - all-in-all I gather this is a pretty good offer as offers from E* go, but nothing compared to what I got with D* (free TiVo upgrade, $10 off/mo for 6 months, and for $3/mo more the TC+ offers all the channels my kids could want).

    My D* experience started out rocky as the installer never showed or called May 8th. But this week the installer assigned (and the dispatch center) called the day in advance as well as an hour ahead of arrival. Installation and set-up took about an hour and went without a hitch.

    I've noticed many of the same "concerns" that other converts have mentioned. I miss greatly the on-screen Caller-ID. The PIP and guide at the bottom of the screen were helpful, as was the customizable list for each member of the family. But I realized I never watched the PIP when the guide was up, I just listened to the audio while reading the programming info. And I can still do that now, but now there's 7, 8, or 9 channels listed at a time (I never bothered counting), not just 4. Besides, I'm learning to live on TiVo time - what's on now is not limited to what's being aired now. This is more than just a digital VCR+. And dual tuners rock!

    And now I have ALL my local channels with just 1 dish. (I even have a Providence, RI station and a few NH stations - I'm in the Boston, MA metro area. Will I get to keep those?) I called E* about a year ago to get a second dish installed to get all of my locals and that tech never showed up either - maybe it's me. :)

    Now I just have to help the wife and kids with get over the learning curve. I've already had a call at work this morning...
    She: "Why is it recording? Did you set a timer for this?"
    Me: "No. TiVo probably thinks we'll like that show."
    She: "Why is it recording things without being asked?"
    Me: "That's what TiVo is."
    She: "I don't like that."
    Me: "Can I keep it anyway?" :D

    Yet she'll be excited when TiVo records the next American Idol/Survivor/Apprentice/Batchelor knock-off without having been asked . ;)
     
  2. Chris Blount

    Chris Blount Creator of DBSTalk Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Jun 22, 2001
    Hey van gogh,

    Welcome to greener pastures. :)

    It sounds like you are going through the exact same thing my family went through back in November. There is a definite small learning curve going from the 501 to a Tivo.

    My family has very much come to like the Tivo Suggestions. At first my wife got frustrated having to delete all of the un-interesting Tivo Suggestions but then she discovered that it was recording some good stuff. Now she can't do without it.

    Also, be sure to tell her about the Wishlist. It's a great feature for finding programs that you would like to see. Just setup a wishlist and forget about it. Before you know it, your show or movie will be there.

    My only other advice to keep your wife happy is to follow the "Season Pass" rules which are posted here along with other shortcuts and codes:

    Season Pass Suggestions
    Even with two tuners, you will get occasional program conflicts. If there is a conflict, the program with the higher priority get recorded, and the program with the lower priority gets skipped. However, the DirecTiVo will record repeat airings. Here is a suggested way to organize your season passes:
    1. Programs that will air once only (i.e. The Amazing Race, American Idol, Survivor: Someplace in the middle of nowhere)
    2. Programs that will repeat at a later date (i.e. most network programming).
    3. Programs that have multiple airings during the week. (i.e. Star Trek: Enterprise, many cable shows).
    4. Programs that have an initial airing on one channel and repeats on another channel. (i.e. 24, but that was for the first two seasons). You will need to set up a wishlist.
    Important! By default, a newly created season pass or wishlist is placed at the end of the Season Pass list, and the default option is set to "Keep At Most: 5 Episodes". Be sure to change it to "All Episodes". Unfortunately, we can't change the default.

    Again, welcome to the Tivo and have fun!
     
  3. rrbhokies

    rrbhokies Legend

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    May 10, 2004
    Wife was less than excited about the hours and hours of TIVO suggestions that were recorded and made me disable it. I may experiment with it at a later date. Until you spend some time using the Thumbs up and down for a while to really set a tone for what you like and dislike, the TIVO suggestions probably aren't going to be as accurate. Indeed, most of the TIVO suggestions that were initially recorded were not of any interest to us.

    Another potential problem is when she saw that a program was recording, she wasn't sure if someone like myself or the kids had set it to record, or if it was a TIVO suggestion that was recording. I can see her issue. How can you tell during recording? With 5 people in our household, we never know who's set what. Having TIVO as a 6th member of our household just adds to the confusion!!
     
  4. van_gogh

    van_gogh Mentor

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    Apr 8, 2004
    Oh yeah, one more thing. I thought I'd hate the "peanut" remote - the other was just so shiny and was ergonomically designed for my hand - but it's not all that bad. I just have to adjust to the different location of all the buttons.
     
  5. Lee L

    Lee L Hall Of Fame

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    Aug 15, 2002
    My wife is not loving the suggestions either. I guess early on it has little to go on so if you watch or record one thing, it slams you with 20 similar shows. We watched the news one night and the next morning we had various newscasts from all the networks in the area in suggestions and with the TiVo having 2 tuners and with the big 3 stations here having at least 6-7 hours of news counting the GMA, Today, etc shows, it can get busy recording some news. ;) Plus, one of the TiVo's actually suggested some CSPAN and CSPAN 2 stuff, that sure did not go over well. I have noticed that the downstairs TiVo has suggested some things that we have set up as season passes on the upstairs machine and vice versa so TiVo is getting some points there. I read over at TC that it can take a few months to really start getting good, relavent data so we'll see.
     
  6. Chris Blount

    Chris Blount Creator of DBSTalk Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Jun 22, 2001
    My Tivo did the same thing when I first got it. Since I record a couple of newscasts every day, it started auto recording everything that was related to news. All you need to do is just thumbs down all of the Tivo Suggestions that are related to news and it will figure out eventually not to record them. It just takes time.

    Patience is a virtue. Just rate the shows as they are recorded. After a few months, you will find yourself not having to rate them as much. After I "trained" my Tivo, I rarely had to rate anything.
     
  7. Goldlexus

    Goldlexus AllStar

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    Jun 23, 2002
    I am not too found of the 'peanut' shaped remote. I usually grab it blindly, half the time I have it up side down. I can't tell by just feeling it if it is pointing the right direction. :nono:
    Still a small price to pay. Love my Tivo!
     
  8. DBSPaul

    DBSPaul Mentor/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Mar 26, 2002
    Suggestions are something that people either use or they don't. But the unit does take awhile to "train" properly.

    When I got my first standalone TiVo, I think auto-record suggestions lasted about a day before I disabled it. But every week or so I would go through the Suggestions list and thumbs up/down the various items (I rarely use more than one thumb). I'm having to do the same with the HDTiVo now. After awhile, the Suggestions list gets shorter and has a better hit rate.

    One thing to be aware of: when you schedule a recording for a show not previously recorded (that doesn't have a thumbs rating), you are giving it a defacto 1 thumbs up. So when I record something that is just a "I wonder what that is", I immediately go into the ToDo list and thumb it back to neutral.

    During the summer, I will scan the Suggestions list and pick things from there to record during slow weeks, but usually I have enough other stuff that it isn't an issue. Having lots of disk space helps in that regard, though.
     
  9. Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz New Texan

    11,076
    186
    Mar 23, 2002
    Richardson,...
    I may be wrong on this, but a selected recording appears to be a full thumb, but is actually half-a-thumb.

    I actually use the Thumbs-Down more than Thumbs-Up. It seems that if I had selected something with a Thumbs-Up, then whenever that movie appeared, it got recorded. Uh, no, just because I gave To Kill A Mockingbird three thumbs up doesn't mean that it should be recorded every time it airs. It's already in my DVD collection.

    As for the peanut remote... it's actually simpler than my mom's HBH-SA remote.
     
  10. tds4182

    tds4182 Legend

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    Jul 17, 2003
    You can turn off the auto-record feature on the Tivo suggestions so that the unit will only record what you program it to record.


     
  11. LarryS

    LarryS Legend

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    Apr 22, 2002
    Initally my wife didn't like suggestions recording. After a while the suggestions all appear in the list following the stuff you requested. So I suggested she look at the Now Playing list and if there is a red dot recording at the top then don't disrupt it otherwise go ahead. If a suggestion is recording it's red dot is further down on the display list and not at the top. Having the suggestions recorded were worth it at this time last year when all the first run shows played out and the season passes didn't have anything to record.

    If you don't like the peanut remote ( I don't ) take a look at the One-for-all URC-6131 remote. Best $18 I've spent. Easy to tell one end from the other and it has much better control over my A/V system.

    Enjoy your DirecTivos. Welcome to the better side.
     
  12. Tusk

    Tusk Back in the Game DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Nov 14, 2002
    Can the URC-6131 control multiple Tivo's? I have two and have thought about getting the standalone remote version with the DVR 1 and DVR 2 buttons, but it doesn't have a TV power button.
     
  13. rrbhokies

    rrbhokies Legend

    217
    1
    May 10, 2004
    I wasn't aware of that. So, there is a way to tell if it's a suggestion that's taping rather than a regularly scheduled program.

    What happens when you alpha-sort the Now Playing list? Where do currently recording shows appear? Are they still at the top, or are they also sorted?

    I just bought this remote myself and tried it last night. On the plus side:

    1. The remote is closer in layout to the E* PVR remotes, so for new users, it could be a good transition remote.

    2. Wife liked the fact that it has four separate arrow buttons instead of the toggle pad on the TIVOs. She has problems with the toggle pad and doesn't always hit it right, so she ends up pressing right when she meant to press down, etc.

    On the negative side:

    1. I found that the remote is very light and doesn't feel nearly as solid as the TIVO remote. Seems kind of cheaply built. Plus, the buttons have a lot of give and have to be pushed down hard to send the signal. They are very squishy. I just didn't care for the feel of the buttons and had to be careful to press each one carefully.

    2. Response time of the signal sent appears to be a tad slower than the TIVO remote. Not only do you have to press hard and carefully on the button, but it seems to take an extra split second for the signal to pass to the receiver.

    3. Finally, the IR LED on the remote is just a small bulb embedded inside the face of the remote instead of the larger IR face on the TIVO remote that spreads the signal out more. Therefore, I found that you have to aim dead-on at the unit to send the signal.

    Therefore, while the 6131 remote looked promising from the packaging, the feel of the remote's buttons and the issues with having to aim squarely at the unit are enough to make me pack it up and return it. Others may be able to get over it, in which case, it makes a decent backup or 2nd remote for the unit.

    Also, there is no direct code for Samsung DVRs, but I found that the Philips code worked fine.

    I've looked for replacement remotes but haven't found any others. I'm a bit surprised that RCA hasn't made on for this. The universal learning remotes would be fine but you'd have to do a lot of reprogramming, and the button placement would be inconvenient. The 6131 is a step in the right direction, but not quite there yet.
     
  14. geneb11

    geneb11 Legend

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    Mar 24, 2002
    I like Tivo suggestions.They are not priority and migrate to the bottom of the now playing list. Everthing else that you recorded is on top and if it needs room it will delete a Tivo suggestion. I put 2 thumbs on the shows that I like and none on the rest. I have one HDVR2 for me and one for my girlfeind and they stay pretty well trained this way.
     
  15. LarryS

    LarryS Legend

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    Apr 22, 2002
    The URC-6131 out of the box won't control differently addressed DTivos but you can get one modified to support JP1 which will let you do what you want. As it is many of the keys on the URC-6131 can be changed to be more DTivo friendly. I know I did several key remaps. I used http://www.hifi-remote.com/ofa/ and http://www.remotecentral.com for a lot of my information.
     
  16. LarryS

    LarryS Legend

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    Apr 22, 2002
    On the above issue apparently this has happened to several of these remotes. On mine the IR bulb extends out of the little hole for it. On other bulletin boards people have had your complaint. The suggestion was to take it apart and push the emitter forward in the case.
     
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