Sep 26, 2004, 3:37 PM
Post #4 of 18
Just to be clear...
If you are hooking up the TiVO to standard (or analog) cable, you're sort of OK. The signal travels to your TiVO, unmolested, at which point it gets MPEG-encoded and written to the hard disk. You can control how aggressively the video gets encoded, so if picture fidelity is important, you can make that setting (but sacrifice the amount of programming you can store on the TiVO.) The thing is, as time goes on, more and more of the programming being carried even on standard cable gets MPEG-encoded at the broadcast facility, but then, you'd be suffering that in an event.
Where TiVO becomes less than satisfactory, IMHO, is when you are talking about digital cable. Here, the signal is already MPEG-encoded before it arrives at the cable box. The cable box then decodes the signal before it hands it over to the TiVo. Then, TiVO MPEG-encodes it once more before it gets written to disk. This is not good.
Now, DirecTV has a deal where you can get their service with an integrated TiVO. What's nice about this is that the satellite sends you an MPEG-encoded signal, and then the TiVO directly writes that to the hard drive. So there is no loss of quality entailed by repetitively encoding and decoding the signal.
Remember that MPEG-encoding is basically a "lossy" form of compression. You lose quality everytime you encode.
BTW, I believe DishTV has an analogous DVR solution that pretty much performs the same thing, but without the excellent TiVO interface.
And FYI, I believe that you're also going to have an issue with using a TiVO here in Mexico because the thing wants to "call home" every day or so. And that gets to be expensive. I think others have mentioned that you can have the TiVO do this "call home" over the Internet, but that means you need an always-on connection such as that afforded by DSL or cable.
Personally, if I were you, I'd hold off. Things are moving VERY fast in the world of DVR right now, esp. with regards to how they are being integrated into computers, as well as how they are being made to support the new HDTV formats. There is also a deadline coming up concerning something called the Broadcast Flag which you may want to concern yourself with. Essentially, if you plan on watching any content sourced from the U.S., this will be of some importance.
Now, if only we can find something worth watching on these wonderful new machines!
To boldly go where no wig has gone before.