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Old 11-15-2005, 12:03 PM   #1 (Print)
kdawgitydawg
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Arrow $50 rebate TiVo is junk

My picture quality is unacceptable. I read another post stating the same problem. I am getting the impression that the latest Tivo boxes in which they offer a $50 rebate are not the same quality as older versions.

Anyone have luck with their $50 rebate 520 S2 versions?

I'll be returning mine.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:39 PM   #2 (Print)
pdhenry
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Are you comparing with another TiVo or with live (non-TiVo) TV?
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Old 11-15-2005, 01:20 PM   #3 (Print)
ZeoTiVo
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do you mean 540 model ? Becasue if you do I have a 540 adn the quality is fine on it for an analog SD recorder.
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Old 11-15-2005, 01:23 PM   #4 (Print)
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At what quality level are you recording? That decision makes a big difference in what you see on screen.
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Old 11-15-2005, 01:25 PM   #5 (Print)
filburt1
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I have a 540-series Series 2 (40 hour, so same model as previous rebate offers, except mine was free after rebate). The picture quality is slightly lower than broadcast after S-Video connections routed through my surround receiver.

The audio really needs to be digital though, even if it's just 2.0 instead of 5.1. When I connect my computer via digital coax for a 2.0 signal instead of a stereo analog connection, the comparison is night and day.

Component would be nice as well, even if it's 480i. But I'm dreaming.
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Old 11-15-2005, 01:35 PM   #6 (Print)
Dan203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt1
The audio really needs to be digital though, even if it's just 2.0 instead of 5.1. When I connect my computer via digital coax for a 2.0 signal instead of a stereo analog connection, the comparison is night and day.

Component would be nice as well, even if it's 480i. But I'm dreaming.


Both of these features are available on the DVD-RW TiVo units. However I can tell you from experience that there is little to no difference in audio quality, and the video quality is actually slightly lower due to the requirements of conforming to the DVD standard.

Dan

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Old 11-15-2005, 01:58 PM   #7 (Print)
kdawgitydawg
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Quality comparisons

I am comparing to 1) live tv and 2) friend's tivos
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Old 11-15-2005, 02:00 PM   #8 (Print)
gonzotek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdawgitydawg
I am comparing to 1) live tv and 2) friend's tivos

What are the model numbers of your TiVo & your friend's TiVo(140, 240, 540, etc.) and what recording qualities are you both using? If your friend happens to have a Directivo, the PQ is higher, as the encoding is done by Directv before transmission.
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Old 11-15-2005, 02:04 PM   #9 (Print)
kdawgitydawg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJRitz
At what quality level are you recording? That decision makes a big difference in what you see on screen.

I am not comparing recorded programs, but Tivo's Live TV (which is default to BEST). It's not slightly less quality. It's unacceptable.
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Old 11-15-2005, 02:14 PM   #10 (Print)
kdawgitydawg
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Here is the other post

Adding to my experience, this guy's post supports my displeasure

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-v...ghlight=bdormer
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Old 11-15-2005, 03:18 PM   #11 (Print)
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Series 1 units used expensive encoder chips made by Sony and decoder chips made by Philips. Series 2 units use a much cheaper all in one chip made by Broadcom. That's part of the reason why a 30 hour Series 1 unit use to cost $400 and a 40 hour Series 2 unit only costs $50. In fact when TiVo was selling Series 1 units for $400 they were taking a $100 per unit loss on the hardware in hopes of making it back on the service. With the Sieres 2 units they break even on the hardware which makes for a much more stable company in the long run. And the box is no good without the service, so that's a good thing for all of us.

That being said I don't think you really have many options. The Moxi DVR I got from my cable company actually looks worse then my TiVos on analog channels. (I only use it for HD) And your only other option is to go with a Replay TV. However they also took some cost cutting measures with their most recent hardware design, so I doubt the picture quality is much different then the TiVos and they are natorious for having lower audio quality on the higher compression settings. (TiVo uses a constant audio quality for all levels. Replay adjusts the audio compression along with the video) Other then that you're looking at specialty boxes made by companies like Sony and RCA which cost $500-$1,000 and don't have the same service integration, which means they're more like fancy VCRs then a real PVR.

Dan

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Old 11-15-2005, 03:46 PM   #12 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan203
< And your only other option is to go with a Replay TV. However they also took some cost cutting measures with their most recent hardware design, so I doubt the picture quality is much different then the TiVos and they are natorious for having lower audio quality on the higher compression settings. (TiVo uses a constant audio quality for all levels. Replay adjusts the audio compression along with the video)>

Dan


Just to clarify, the most recent model ReplayTV's have the best picture quality of all the models. It's MPEG encoder is better than Tivo's, but it's still an MPEG conversion. It will never look as good as live. Also, the current model Replay's use the same audio compression on all recording levels; the older models used lower quality audio on lower recording levels.

By comparison, my Moto 6412 phase III box does an excellent job with analog MPEG conversion, even better than the Replay. That wasn't the case with earlier Moto boxes, the analog looked like crap.
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Old 11-15-2005, 09:43 PM   #13 (Print)
lajohn27
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What recording quality setting is the original poster using to record? Basic will indeed 'look like crap' generally speaking.

J

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Old 11-15-2005, 10:07 PM   #14 (Print)
ZeoTiVo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lajohn27
What recording quality setting is the original poster using to record? Basic will indeed 'look like crap' generally speaking.

J


he is comparing the LIve TV buffer of a TiVo which is always best quality. Seems he will be happy with nothing less than an HD DVR
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:23 PM   #15 (Print)
MickeS
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As noted, there is definitely a difference in quality between Series1 and Series2 boxes. If he wants the better quality TiVo, he will have to get a Series1.

Personally, I'd rather have the Series2 functionality and lower price. But it does suck that an old unit has better picture than a new one.
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:28 PM   #16 (Print)
SystemJinx
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A couple of questions for the original poster...

1) Are you using the same TV for this comparison, or are you viewing the image on your TV versus the image on his TV? TV image quality can vary greatly on different sets.

2) Are you using the same cable hookup? Maybe he is running S-video and yours connected by composite or even coax.
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Old 11-16-2005, 12:13 AM   #17 (Print)
kdawgitydawg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SystemJinx
A couple of questions for the original poster...

1) Are you using the same TV for this comparison, or are you viewing the image on your TV versus the image on his TV? TV image quality can vary greatly on different sets.

2) Are you using the same cable hookup? Maybe he is running S-video and yours connected by composite or even coax.

TVs are different, but both analog, not HD. Everyone I have talked to said I should not see a quality difference.

We both have S Video connections

Seems like S2 boxes are subpar. This is a big disappointment.
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Old 11-16-2005, 12:39 AM   #18 (Print)
Justin Thyme
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Does your friend get satellite? Is it DirecTv?

In case no, it really would be helpful to know the first three digits of the model number for both.
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:53 AM   #19 (Print)
cwerdna
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdawgitydawg
TVs are different, but both analog, not HD. Everyone I have talked to said I should not see a quality difference.

We both have S Video connections

Seems like S2 boxes are subpar. This is a big disappointment.

So, does your your friend have a Series 1? Yes, most people say that Series 2s have worse PQ that Series 1s.

Since you're using s-video, what's your TV's sharpness control set to? What if you turn it down to 0 or nearly 0? You shouldn't use the TV's "sharpening" on s-video, you end up oversharpening and getting what can best be described as artifacts.

We still don't know if you two have identical cable feeds w/identical signal quality.

What if one of you brings their Tivo over to the other's house and compares them on the same TV set w/the same settings on the same TV input using the same cable feed and the same channels? It seems like you have too many variables here.

It's very possible that your "junk Tivo" might look pretty reasonable at your friend's place.

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Old 11-16-2005, 08:51 AM   #20 (Print)
kdawgitydawg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwerdna
So, does your your friend have a Series 1? Yes, most people say that Series 2s have worse PQ that Series 1s.

Since you're using s-video, what's your TV's sharpness control set to? What if you turn it down to 0 or nearly 0? You shouldn't use the TV's "sharpening" on s-video, you end up oversharpening and getting what can best be described as artifacts.

We still don't know if you two have identical cable feeds w/identical signal quality.

What if one of you brings their Tivo over to the other's house and compares them on the same TV set w/the same settings on the same TV input using the same cable feed and the same channels? It seems like you have too many variables here.

It's very possible that your "junk Tivo" might look pretty reasonable at your friend's place.


Let's forget my friend's set and Tivo and concentrate on the fact that it doesn't match my CATV quality and I mean, not close. It's bad enough to be unacceptable. What isn't this mentioned anywhere on the box? All other friends with Tivo have said I should not see any drop in quality? Or maybe people are more willing to accept PQ loss in return for additional functionality. Guess I am not that person.
I will try this sharpness tuning you mentioned.
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Old 11-16-2005, 09:03 AM   #21 (Print)
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My Series2 with analog cable is more than acceptible picture quality. And the software is much better than ReplayTV's.

However, that said, I must admit my ReplayTV (5xxx model) does have better picture quality (same source) as my TiVo. But not by much. And I still record 80% of my shows on TiVo due to the better software.
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Old 11-16-2005, 09:47 AM   #22 (Print)
jmoak
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I've got 2 series1's and a series2 (540 hardware).

I have one series1 and the series2 on std directv receivers with no difference in pq. The only way I can tell which one I'm looking at is to note what input I'm switched to.

The series1 connected to analog cable is a different story entirely. I have to record in at least high quality to even make it watchable.

I guess it's just another case of "garbage in, garbage out".
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:17 AM   #23 (Print)
ZeoTiVo
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this thread is useless without pictures
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:27 AM   #24 (Print)
Justin Thyme
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdawgitydawg
Let's forget my friend's set and Tivo and concentrate on the fact that it doesn't match my CATV quality and I mean, not close. It's bad enough to be unacceptable. What isn't this mentioned anywhere on the box?
I hear you being reluctant to provide facts requested of you. That makes it real hard to help you out.

How can we possibly get to the bottom of your problem in your alleged percieved difference between one Tivo model and another if you refuse to provide the model numbers? Is it too hard to look on the back of your box, or are we just talking about hypothetical tivos here? None of us see any difference in PQ between the models of the current version 2 series.

You don't want to focus on facts and instead prefer to focus on PQ which is largely a subjective assessment. The Apple video iPod gets video downloaded from iTunes which is well less than half the resolution of a Tivo picture. People love it- downloaded 1 million videos in 20 days. Is 320x240 yucky? I think so. I don't like pink either. But many people do. If you don't like pink, well by golly stop looking at it. There are many other DVRs to choose from, and Tivo offers by far the best in class interface. But as others have pointed out, you can go with an HD Tivo if you prefer very high resolution. To understand the differences in price and PQ performance, it might be helpful to understand what is going on with compression.

DVD recorders also do a real time compression of analog signals. This degrades the signal somewhat, but despite that, they are extremely popular with consumers. Tivos don't do much better or worse than similar sorts of CE products in this class of low cost device that must compress an analog signal My Microsoft Media Center doesn't encode any better than my 240 or 540 series Tivos. Can you get better encoders? Of course, if you have th $$$ you can go all the way up to professional equipment. Somewhere in between, there are higher end recorders that you might be interested in, but they cost in the vicinity of $600 and their user interface is somewhat remenicent the Marquis de Sade school of design. But maybe you are into that sort of thing. Whatever floats your boat.

If you want excellent picture quality, get an HD DirecTv Tivo. That will give you stunning PQ. Or wait for the Cablecard HD Tivo or Comcast HD Tivo. Personally, I like analog because it is trivial to bypass copy controls . So by going all digital you give up some things too.

I have 4 active Tivos on my account, and two of them feed HD sets. Everyone is pretty happy with the PQ, but maybe we are just cretins.

If you want to get to something more substantive than subjective assessments, please provide model numbers of your tivo and your friend's tivo.
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Old 11-16-2005, 01:31 PM   #25 (Print)
Dan203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdawgitydawg
Let's forget my friend's set and Tivo and concentrate on the fact that it doesn't match my CATV quality and I mean, not close. It's bad enough to be unacceptable.


The difference between CATV connected directly to your TV and TiVo Live should be minor. If you're seeing an obvious difference in quality then there are a few things that may be wrong...

1) The cable you're using to connect your TiVo to your TV is bad or poorly connected. If you're using an RF cable try getting a higher quality RG6 cable. If you're using composite or S-Video then it could just be a bad cable.

2) Your cable signal is weak. The tuner in a TiVo does not handle a weak signal well, and conversion to MPEG-2 format tends to amplify any noise that might have been in the signal to begin with. The first thing you should try is turning on RF Video Smoothing in the Video menu. If that doesn't help you may want to try an RF amplifier from RadioShack.

3) Some TVs allow separate calibration for different inputs. So it's possible that you've got your cable input set to the proper brightness/contrast but the input for the TiVo is not.

Dan

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Old 11-16-2005, 01:51 PM   #26 (Print)
kdawgitydawg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Thyme
I hear you being reluctant to provide facts requested of you. That makes it real hard to help you out.

How can we possibly get to the bottom of your problem in your alleged percieved difference between one Tivo model and another if you refuse to provide the model numbers? Is it too hard to look on the back of your box, or are we just talking about hypothetical tivos here? None of us see any difference in PQ between the models of the current version 2 series.

You don't want to focus on facts and instead prefer to focus on PQ which is largely a subjective assessment. The Apple video iPod gets video downloaded from iTunes which is well less than half the resolution of a Tivo picture. People love it- downloaded 1 million videos in 20 days. Is 320x240 yucky? I think so. I don't like pink either. But many people do. If you don't like pink, well by golly stop looking at it. There are many other DVRs to choose from, and Tivo offers by far the best in class interface. But as others have pointed out, you can go with an HD Tivo if you prefer very high resolution. To understand the differences in price and PQ performance, it might be helpful to understand what is going on with compression.

DVD recorders also do a real time compression of analog signals. This degrades the signal somewhat, but despite that, they are extremely popular with consumers. Tivos don't do much better or worse than similar sorts of CE products in this class of low cost device that must compress an analog signal My Microsoft Media Center doesn't encode any better than my 240 or 540 series Tivos. Can you get better encoders? Of course, if you have th $$$ you can go all the way up to professional equipment. Somewhere in between, there are higher end recorders that you might be interested in, but they cost in the vicinity of $600 and their user interface is somewhat remenicent the Marquis de Sade school of design. But maybe you are into that sort of thing. Whatever floats your boat.

If you want excellent picture quality, get an HD DirecTv Tivo. That will give you stunning PQ. Or wait for the Cablecard HD Tivo or Comcast HD Tivo. Personally, I like analog because it is trivial to bypass copy controls . So by going all digital you give up some things too.

I have 4 active Tivos on my account, and two of them feed HD sets. Everyone is pretty happy with the PQ, but maybe we are just cretins.

If you want to get to something more substantive than subjective assessments, please provide model numbers of your tivo and your friend's tivo.

I have a S2 540 just purchases last week. My friend has numerous models, all Directv, which I understand will produce different quality. HOWEVER, all my friends that have Tivo say I should not see a difference. My DirectV Tivo friend noticed it right away on mine. This weekend I will see his arrangement as I go visit him.

PQ is subjective to a degree. There are all things we can agree on, as in: A is sharper than B. The colors of B looks brighter than A. A in my case is CATV. B is Tivo.
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Old 11-16-2005, 01:55 PM   #27 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan203
The difference between CATV connected directly to your TV and TiVo Live should be minor. If you're seeing an obvious difference in quality then there are a few things that may be wrong...

1) The cable you're using to connect your TiVo to your TV is bad or poorly connected. If you're using an RF cable try getting a higher quality RG6 cable. If you're using composite or S-Video then it could just be a bad cable.

2) Your cable signal is weak. The tuner in a TiVo does not handle a weak signal well, and conversion to MPEG-2 format tends to amplify any noise that might have been in the signal to begin with. The first thing you should try is turning on RF Video Smoothing in the Video menu. If that doesn't help you may want to try an RF amplifier from RadioShack.

3) Some TVs allow separate calibration for different inputs. So it's possible that you've got your cable input set to the proper brightness/contrast but the input for the TiVo is not.

Dan



Thanks Dan. The difference is not minor and that is my objection.

1) The S-Video or Composite connection used is about the same.
2) The RF straight to my TV is fine, so it's not the RF. I've done it both direct to Tivo or through my TV's internal splitter and the result is the same.
3) I'll check on the calibration and maybe even try another S-video cable.
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:41 PM   #28 (Print)
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If kdawgitydawg is using a rear projection TV I can confirm that the picture quality is bad. I had brought my first rptv and then brought a dvd/tivo combo and was so mad at how bad the picture had looked. I kept saying to myself I just paid all this money for this New TV and can't get a good picture because of the Tivo. On my tube tv the picture looks fine.

I also have to agree with Chain777 Replay looks normal on the rptv.
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:46 PM   #29 (Print)
ZeoTiVo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdawgitydawg
Thanks Dan. The difference is not minor and that is my objection.

1) The S-Video or Composite connection used is about the same.
2) The RF straight to my TV is fine, so it's not the RF. I've done it both direct to Tivo or through my TV's internal splitter and the result is the same.
3) I'll check on the calibration and maybe even try another S-video cable.


part of what Dan was saying is that a marginal signal from the cable (RF) may look alright on the TV as its tuner is not doing MPEG conversion but just displaying the picture.

now the TiVo is doing the MPEG conversion of course and will indeed amplify anything bad in the signal that may not be noticeable on the Live TV.

this is not a very common occurrence, but you are not having a common TiVo experience so I would not rule out needing an amplifier or a signal check by your cable provider.
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:57 PM   #30 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeoTiVo
this thread is useless without pictures




Sorry, couldn't resist......

My other question would also be what size TV are we talking about. Don't forget how bad anything non-HD can look when blown way up, even a good DVD player will show some noticable degradation when blown way up.

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