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Legend
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, after seeing the specs on the 721, I'm not as impressed as I'd hoped to be. At the moment there doesn't seem to be anything that makes it a real must-buy receiver to me. Therefore, I'm getting curious about the folks here who use Tivo with their Dish receivers. How do you set this thing up? Does it lose quality in the recording stage? What's the approximate cost for a Tivo with a good sized hard drive and the minimal Dish receiver?

And based on your own opinions, what are the pros/cons of using a Dish/Tivo vs. a Dish PVR? Incompatibilities? Timing issues? Quality? Price?

Are these good deals? http://www.weaknees.com/index.html
 

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I'm using a TiVo with Dish Network. (I also have a 501 and two Direct TV TiVo receivers, so I'll take a crack at your questions.)

Setup is easy, but long. TiVo sits between your receiver and your television, buffering the broadcast. What takes time is, after the initial phone call to get your listings, TiVo has to sort and process the listings data. Because of the large number of channels available in the Dish Network lineup, it takes a few hours. You might want to set it up before bedtime (figure on half an hour or so), and let it do its thing overnight. The subsequent daily calls are transparent and don't interfere with your viewing and recording.

TiVo does lose a little quality because it recompresses the signal again and decompresses it for viewing. As you probably know, TiVo has 4 quality settings: Best, High, Medium, and Basic. I usually use Medium and I'm satisfied. For some sporting events with fast action, High works better. I'll caution you that I'm using a 27" TV. Folks with larger televisions see more quality deterioration.

I usually prefer the TiVo to the 501. The reason is the way TiVo schedules its recordings. With the 501, when you set a recurring recording, it simply records the same channel and time period that you tell it to. If the network changes its programming, the 501 merrily records whatever is broadcast.

With TiVo, when you set a Season Pass, it finds the program on the channel you specify and records it, whenever it's on. I like "Ed" on NBC, and in its first season, it moved from Sunday night to Wednesday night in midseason. I didn't even know it had moved. If I had set the recording on the 501, it would have continued to record the Sunday timeslot and I would have had to search for where it had moved.

With a TiVo Season Pass, you also have the option of recording only first-run episodes and ignoring reruns. TiVo will also not record the same episode within 28 days, unless you ask it to. TiVo is also smart enough to reschedule an episode if it can if it misses the first one. Just yesterday, I had lost the signal during a storm when I had asked TiVo to record a program. There was a later showing that TiVo went and got for me.

TiVo's conflict management is also better. You can rank your season passes so that, when programs move around and two of your requested recordings are aired at the same time, it will choose the one with the higher priority. The 501 will tell you have a conflict and ask you what to record. If two recurring recordings conflict, you have to cancel one of them (and set it up again later if its a one-time conflict).

TiVo will also use its unused space for Suggestions. When you are not using the receiver to record or are watching recorded programming, TiVo will fill its empty space with other programs it thinks you may like based on what you record. Some people find it intrusive; I appreciate it. And you can turn off the feature if you wish. (With the feature turned off, TiVo still generates a suggestions list you can review and select from.) With as many channels as Dish Network offers, I find TiVo's suggestions are helpful in finding things I like to watch. It has found some programs I have really enjoyed that I didn't even know existed. Of course, it's found some dogs, too, but they are easily ignored or deleted.

The price of a 60-hour (at basic quality, around 35 at medium) is $399, plus $12.95 a month or $249 lifetime of the receiver for the service). I'm not sure of the Dish Network deals for new subscribers, so I'll leave that for someone more knowledgeable.

My order of preference for my receivers is 1) the DirecTV TiVos (for the satellite quality and TiVo features); 2) TiVo with Dish Network (for Tivo features); and 3) the 501 (for satellite quality).

Of course, your mileage may vary, but that's my opinion, and I'm stickiin' to it. :)
 

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I have the Dish/SA Tivo setup. It has worked very well for me. The only problem I ran into was having the kids change the channel on the receiver while TIVO was recording. TIVO is in my bedroom and I run a cable to the Living Room and use Remote Extenders to control TIVO from the LR. While changing the channels on the living room receiver, the cones sent that signal to the bedroom receiver as well. I finally moved the receiver behind the TV so that no RC signal can find it. Haven't had a problem since.
 

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One benefit of SA TiVo is that even if you want to get rid of it when some combo DBS/PVR unit comes out that you like is that you can sell it to a friend (with or without DBS) and they can use it just about anywhere. If no merger you can switch from one DBS to another or back to Dare I say it "Cable" and you lose none of your investment.
 

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gcutler's response reminds me of another TiVo advantage. Standalone TiVos can take two different inputs, one RF and one coax. If you get stations over the air or by cable, you can also use the TiVo for those channels alongside a satellite source. Even better, TiVo integrates the two listings as one.
 

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The problem I've seen with this is...I get Distant Nets w/East & MTN time zones. Tivo does not recognize the coax channels when setting up season passes. In fact, if I use the filter, search for baseball, it returns all baseball games on the dish, but none from coax even though the games on coax do not exist on the dish.
 

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Mike, are the coax channels set up as "Channels You Receive"? If so, they should be treated the same as the satellite channels by TiVo.
 

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They are...and they don't. I talked to TIVO about the problem, after about 20 minutes, they gave me the standard solution...perform a guided setup. 8 hours after starting, it finished with the same results. I've just given up on it and work around it with manual timers. I could understand the issue of not seeing network programming when creating season passes, but I can't even setup a season pass for local news. For example, I manually went to the 11:00 news on Channel 8, selected the options for a season pass etc.. When I go to the To Do lists, it tells me there are no upcoming events...I know the news is coming on the next night, but TIVO SP simply won't.
 

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Originally posted by MikeW
They are...and they don't. I talked to TIVO about the problem, after about 20 minutes, they gave me the standard solution...perform a guided setup. 8 hours after starting, it finished with the same results. I've just given up on it and work around it with manual timers. I could understand the issue of not seeing network programming when creating season passes, but I can't even setup a season pass for local news. For example, I manually went to the 11:00 news on Channel 8, selected the options for a season pass etc.. When I go to the To Do lists, it tells me there are no upcoming events...I know the news is coming on the next night, but TIVO SP simply won't.
Which brings up another cool feature .. Recording History .. if you go there it'll tell you why something wasn't or won't be recorded.

Although, you're situation is strange. What is the channel called on channel 8, is there a duplicate name on the sat channels, if so TiVo will defer to the satellite channels because it assumes the better quality will be there. It uses the channel names to determine duplicate channels. If your channel names are different, I'll have to think some more.
 

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Ed-For Dish Net, my configuration, you plug your receiver into the SA Tivo (Stand-Alone), using either SVideo or RCA Jacks. You then point an IR-Blaster from the Tivo to the front of the Dish receiver. Once this is done, you use the remote from Tivo to control your dish receiver and, as pointed out above, if you have either an OTA antenna or cable, Tivo will blend the two together to one interactive guide which goes out 10-14 days.

Andy, no...I'm 130 miles from Las Vegas. I get LV locals on cable and Dallas/Denver on dish. Channel 8 refers to KLAS-the CBS affiliate in Vegas. What really bugs me is when, for time shifting reasons, I want to record a Pacific Time zone program, I'm not able to. I can record once, manually, but cannot set up a season pass. There is no info in recording history because, as I said above, Tivo does not see any upcoming programming on the channels from cable. Example: I want to record Law & Order on Sunday night at 10:00. If I go to Pick programs to record and search by name, Law and Order does not appear in the list of shows on cable 8, but does show for the Dallas/Denver chans on the dish. Furthermore, as above, It's not even duplicate shows. The local news does not appear in programs to record nor does any Dodger baseball games which I get on cable via FSW2 but not on satellite as Dish does not carry FSW2. I'm confused. I'm not new to these gadgets so I know where to play. It just seems that Tivo is either a) running out of memory because it has data from the entire US (thanks to must carry) or b) the software thinks it's doing me a favor (which it is not). BTW, I think these problems actually started around must carry time.
 

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I have both 501s and a TiVo.

The TiVo has the advantages mentioned of Season Passes and WishLists (I use mine mainly for the WishList, which lets me know about any upcoming program or movie matching a whole list of keywords and names).

However, this is a two-edged sword. Using TiVo, if the name of your program is not there in the correct spot in the listings, it won't be recorded.

A number of TiVo users were livid when - despite having a day or so of lead time - the TiVo listings did not ever get changed to reflect the changed channels and times for the World Cup. Since those matches were in the middle of the night, there was no other recourse.

At the moment, both TiVo and Dish have the wrong channels for tonight's World Cup matches. So, you have to use a manual timer on either device.

Also, the "tape handling" on the 501 is significantly better than the TiVO, meaning FF/REW/etc. both in response to button presses, and in selection of useful speeds.

I think that a 501 plus a 301 w/TiVo, had numerous advantages over the 721.

PS Weaknees are very good people - but I don't how good their prices are in relation to other stores.
 

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Originally posted by MikeW
Ed-For Dish Net, my configuration, you plug your receiver into the SA Tivo (Stand-Alone), using either SVideo or RCA Jacks. You then point an IR-Blaster from the Tivo to the front of the Dish receiver. Once this is done, you use the remote from Tivo to control your dish receiver and, as pointed out above, if you have either an OTA antenna or cable, Tivo will blend the two together to one interactive guide which goes out 10-14 days.

Andy, no...I'm 130 miles from Las Vegas. I get LV locals on cable and Dallas/Denver on dish. Channel 8 refers to KLAS-the CBS affiliate in Vegas. What really bugs me is when, for time shifting reasons, I want to record a Pacific Time zone program, I'm not able to. I can record once, manually, but cannot set up a season pass. There is no info in recording history because, as I said above, Tivo does not see any upcoming programming on the channels from cable. Example: I want to record Law & Order on Sunday night at 10:00. If I go to Pick programs to record and search by name, Law and Order does not appear in the list of shows on cable 8, but does show for the Dallas/Denver chans on the dish. Furthermore, as above, It's not even duplicate shows. The local news does not appear in programs to record nor does any Dodger baseball games which I get on cable via FSW2 but not on satellite as Dish does not carry FSW2. I'm confused. I'm not new to these gadgets so I know where to play. It just seems that Tivo is either a) running out of memory because it has data from the entire US (thanks to must carry) or b) the software thinks it's doing me a favor (which it is not). BTW, I think these problems actually started around must carry time.
First, do your cable channels show in the Channels I Receive area? If not then it sounds like TiVo doesn't even know you've got cable with your Dish. You'll need to run Guided Setup again and watch the screens carefully. Make sure you tell TiVo you have Satellite AND Cable, then follow the rest. It shouldn't take as long as the first time you did this 'cos it's already got Dish data, but still, do it overnight when you can.

If the cable channels you receive are listed then they should show in the Live guide and if you've got no data for them it should show no data available for those channels. If this is the case then you've selected the wrong cable lineup and need to re-select the correct cable lineup for your area.

Either way - It SHOULD work correctly, rbird will testify to that (other than a couple of gripes :)), so something's wrong. Post back.
 

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Andy-Yes I have the correct cable lineup configured. When I browse the guide, I see all of the information from both cable and satellite. I'll use the Dodger games as an example. When I look at the program guide, I will see that a Dodger game is coming up at 7:00. In the program guide and on the Dodger game, I press the record button. I am given record options including create a season pass. I request the season pass, but the only game it records is the first one. When I go to the To Do list, it says there are none upcoming (yet there are four as I browse the guide over the next week and a half). It is not a conflict, TIVO is just ignoring the info from the cable. If I go to pick programs by name, there are no Dodger games listed, yet I know they are there. Like I said, this all worked for me before. It seems that once the 8000 channel range lit up, it all went buggy. I've done a guided setup and even a complete restart (the one that deletes all data from TIVO). I've learned to live with it...still love TIVO, but would be a happy camper if it would do what it should. This is why I am anxious for TIVO to create the Dish option w/ Distant Nets and w/o the rest of the country! As I said above, I think that it is too much data for TIVO to handle. I know that when I am going through guided setup, as I remove the channels I don't recieve, if I remove more than say 150, when I go back, the channels I've removed are still there! I have to delete about 100 at a time, save it, then return and delete more. This process alone takes about 20 minutes and is more finger exercise than I am getting typing this long response!!!
 

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KStuart-Did you get the E-Mail from TIVO last night warning that the game had been moved and that it was too late for TIVO to make the changes to the guide? They suggested manually recording the time and chan to get the game. Got mine around 8 PM Pac Time.
 

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Originally posted by MikeW
Andy-Yes I have the correct cable lineup configured. When I browse the guide, I see all of the information from both cable and satellite. I'll use the Dodger games as an example. When I look at the program guide, I will see that a Dodger game is coming up at 7:00. In the program guide and on the Dodger game, I press the record button. I am given record options including create a season pass. I request the season pass, but the only game it records is the first one. When I go to the To Do list, it says there are none upcoming (yet there are four as I browse the guide over the next week and a half). It is not a conflict, TIVO is just ignoring the info from the cable. If I go to pick programs by name, there are no Dodger games listed, yet I know they are there. Like I said, this all worked for me before. It seems that once the 8000 channel range lit up, it all went buggy. I've done a guided setup and even a complete restart (the one that deletes all data from TIVO). I've learned to live with it...still love TIVO, but would be a happy camper if it would do what it should. This is why I am anxious for TIVO to create the Dish option w/ Distant Nets and w/o the rest of the country! As I said above, I think that it is too much data for TIVO to handle. I know that when I am going through guided setup, as I remove the channels I don't recieve, if I remove more than say 150, when I go back, the channels I've removed are still there! I have to delete about 100 at a time, save it, then return and delete more. This process alone takes about 20 minutes and is more finger exercise than I am getting typing this long response!!!
Dish does have local lineups only now. I assume there's no locals for LV that's why you have Dallas/Denver. However, with your Las Vegas zip code TiVo should offer you some local lineup. The Denver and Dallas big four networks would still be in whatever local lineup you select plus the Superstations but you wouldn't be able to get (on your TiVo) WB, UPN or PBS from Dallas or Denver.

This is very hard to explain. When did you last try Guided Setup. The local lineups are about a month old so if you get some spare time you may want to try again and see what lineups TiVo offers you and what channels they contain.

I thought about what would happen if you changed your zip code to Denver or Dallas but then that would mess with your cable lineups which are zip code based.

But please, I'm trying to offer information here, not get you to waste your time. I've tried to help some people with really weird channel packages that TiVo couldn't accomodate and I felt they got mad at me.

One thing else, does the same problem occur with a drama type show such as 'Ed' let's say and not sports. TiVo will not record the same show twice within 28 days of the occurrances. A sports game may have very non-descript data such that TiVo can't tell the difference between two games. With a SP you've also got to watch out for that "First Run"/"First Run and Repeats" and now with 3.0 s/w "All (with duplicates)" (which overrides the 28 day rule).
 

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Andy-Yes...same situation with Law & Order. There is simply no cable data on future programming. When I look at the live guide, I can see everything on cable up to two weeks out. I did try the guided setup about three weeks ago and had the same result. I'll probably retry in a few weeks. I do appreciate your help.
 

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Setting up a Season Pass for sporting events by using the Guide is the wrong way to go about it.

The reason is that Sports consists of individual events.

For example, if the event is "San Francisco Giants versus Los Angeles Dodgers", then TiVo has no way of knowing which team you are a fan of :) . In fact, it will probably do something like create a Season Pass for all Giants vs. Dodgers games.

Alternately, it might have the title just as "Baseball", in which case a Season Pass will record any baseball game, but only on that channel.

Season Pass is designed for Weekly TV Series, like X-Files, for example. Those are all designated with individual episodes, so TiVo can tell what is the same episode or not, etc.

For anything else, better is an "Auto-Record Wishlist". Setup a WishList and engage the Auto-Record option. As long as you don't mind a couple of 1951 or 1963 Dodger games recorded on ESPN Classic, it should work fine - but be sure to check it using the view upcoming episodes option on the WishList. Use the "Sports" category, "Baseball" sub-category with the "Dodgers" keyword to avoid recording movies about the "Artful Dodger", etc. :)
 

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Just returned from a 3 day business trip and found the issues I had w/Tivo have been resolved. Don't know if someone from Tivo got the word from here that there was a bug...but I'm happy with the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Would anyone recommend purchasing a Series II TIVO to replace an aging Dishplayer? Do these units work with Dish as well, and if so, what is the setup for the cords? Are there any disadvantages to using the standalone vs DirecTivo? How many recordable hours are there on the new Series II units? Are the TIVO units still a good deal compared with the new 721 PVRs? The upcoming 522s?
 
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