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not_ally

Sep 26, 2004, 8:00 AM

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DVR's

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Hello all,

Still struggling to get info about DVR's here in SMA. After doing some initial diligence on them I'd resolved to get DishTV with one DVR and one regular receiver. The two big disadvantages: substantial start up costs (b/w $500 and $700, even with discounts) and the fact that I'll have to deal with service issues (I'll probably be renting the house out part of the year and am not looking forward to calls from renters who have locked their remotes).

So I'm back to investigating DVR for cable. Is there such a thing in Mexico? I know that Cablevision is in the process of partnering with MSN to set up a DVR pilot program in DF but don't know how that went. Also, the cable DVRs available in the US seem to mostly be offered through the local cable co's, and I wasn't sure about compatibility/interfacing between DVR's made by non-Mexican companies and Mexican cable tv programming.

If I buy a standalone TIVO unit in the States, can I hook it up to cable here? Kirkswig had stated in an earlier post that this was possible although the quality of the recording would suffer. How bad would it be?

Any suggestions much appreciated by this unfortunate non-techie.
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"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage



Brian

Sep 26, 2004, 8:09 AM

Post #2 of 18 (2463 views)

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Re: [not_ally] DVR's

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I would give Daniel Guerra a call. He is very good at problem solving. His number is 154-6331 or 044-415-153-2583. He volunteers at the Biblioteca Computer Center on M-W-F between 2-3PM so you could chat with him there if you would rather do that.

saludos
Brian


not_ally

Sep 26, 2004, 11:38 AM

Post #3 of 18 (2447 views)

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Re: [Brian] DVR's

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Thanks, Brian. I'd actually emailed with Daniel when I was thinking about getting the satellite, but I don't think he handles cable. I'll touch base with him at the Biblioteca to see if it falls under his realm.
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"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage


kirkswig


Sep 26, 2004, 3:37 PM

Post #4 of 18 (2433 views)

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Re: [not_ally] DVR's

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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.


not_ally

Sep 26, 2004, 6:22 PM

Post #5 of 18 (2423 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] DVR's

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Kirkswig, thanks so much for your clarification, it helped immensely. You're so good at this stuff, are you a computer type in the real world?

I'm still leaning towards getting TIVO, especially since I won't be affected by either the PC/DVR/HDTV issue (would only be using a regular TV) or the broadcast flag (I would have no idea how to send a recording to anyone else even if I wanted to, which I never have). Interesting information, though. I used to represent DIRECTV in a previous life as an attorney, they must be pi**ed.

Your point is well taken, though, it does seem as if there's a lot of change out there in the sat/cable world and you could probably identify many other red flags. If I were more sensible I'd probably heed your advice and hang out sans PVR for a while (but then how would I be able to tape Law and Order?? I'm already going through withdrawal ....)
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"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage


kirkswig


Sep 26, 2004, 11:57 PM

Post #6 of 18 (2398 views)

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Re: [not_ally] DVR's

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The way I'm getting through withdrawal is by anticipating the arrival of the day when these shows are legally available to us over the Internet.

In other words, you're not going to miss anything. You'll just be watching it later than everybody else. Depending on your situation, that can either be acceptible, or unacceptible.

Yes, I'm technically oriented, but you should be aware that like most techies, I'm inclined towards I-know-it-all-itis. In terms of being correct, I think my batting average here in this forum is around .400. That said, I have spent a lot of time researching the DVR question because for a long time I was on the verge of getting one. NetFlix eventually cured me of that, but now that I'm in Mexico, NetFlix is no longer an option.

But as to your question, if you can make the TiVO work down in Mexico (remember it needs to call home), and image quality isn't a priority, then sure, why not get one. Do you know if your cable is analog or digital? If it's the former, then it's an easy decision really.

I just recommend waiting because I sense the other shoe hasn't dropped yet. It's a tough guess even in the U.S., here in Mexico it's a good deal more complicated. The ultimate right now is getting the HDTV DirecTV/TiVO DVR. It's not clear to me when, if ever (or under what kinds of risk), we'll get to have that here in MX.

Of course, there's also the question of how much money you're willing to spend (or, if you opt for a cheap solution under Linux, how much time you're willing to spend.

So you have to figure out what the right compromise is for you. When I have trouble figuring out what the right compromise is, I just wait. But then, I miss out on stuff by doing that too.

To boldly go where no wig has gone before.


Brian

Sep 27, 2004, 6:18 AM

Post #7 of 18 (2394 views)

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Re: [kirkswig] DVR's

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Kirkswig wrote: "NetFlix eventually cured me of that, but now that I'm in Mexico, NetFlix is no longer an option".

Depending upon where you live in Mexico, a mail forwarding service can be a solution to the Netflix problem. In SMA there are several businesses which offer a Texas mail address and relatively prompt service. I am aware of several businesses and individuals who get their DVDs this way and are very satisfied.



satman


Sep 27, 2004, 6:33 PM

Post #8 of 18 (2370 views)

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Re: [Brian] DVR's

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As an authorized retailer for Dish and Direct in the US, I always reccommend Dish's DVR over TIVO due to a personal preference for its simplicity in everyday use. TIVO does tend to offer a few more intricate details and technical options that Dish's "DVR'S" do not; however, a Dish Network 501, 508 or 510 model PVR/DVR does not need to "call home" ever, unless you're ordering PPV's, which could only be ordered via a Vonage-type connection, with a US based phone number that would be tied directly to your Dish account. Another question to be considered: can you even receive a signal, in your part of Mexico, from Echostar's 119 satellite, which carries the majority of Dish's programming?
SATMAN

"Some will bitch about a dollar, while there are those without a dime."



not_ally

Sep 27, 2004, 6:53 PM

Post #9 of 18 (2367 views)

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Re: [satman] DVR's

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Actually, Satman, from what I've heard in San Miguel Echostar is the only legal satellite option; any DirecTV feed is pirated. But as I mentioned, I'm going with cable so that future irate tenants will have to call Cablevision rather than me if the TV signal fails.
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"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage


johanson / Moderator


Sep 27, 2004, 8:56 PM

Post #10 of 18 (2352 views)

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Re: [satman] DVR's

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Yes you can get EchoStar 7 (119 W) here in Ajijic. They say that it takes a 1.8 meter dish. Dealers recommend that you point a 1.4 meter dish at 110 W and then use (what is it?) a SW 21 to connect the two feeds together.

Question? Many folks down here have pirated systems that point only at 110 W and say that they they get up to 200 CONUS channels. Yet pointing at 119 West, I guess you only receive up to 149 channels. (WHY 110 W and not 119 W? I'm told because it takes a smaller dish and therefore costs less money)

Why do you say that 119 West is the main bird? Is that because of the programming thereon? (I don't happen to have dish so I really don't know) All I have are tools like www.lyngsat.com look at.


satman


Sep 28, 2004, 6:18 PM

Post #11 of 18 (2327 views)

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Re: [johanson] DVR's

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The 119 is the main bird for Dish because it carries the main programming offered by Dish. The 110 is mainly used for locals and some movie channels, i.e. HBO, Starz, etc. It also carries some other regular programming, but not much. Dish started out with an 18 inch (300 model) dish pointed at Echostar 7 (119), and many customers still have just a 300 dish because they get there locals off-air. I have been unsuccessful at hitting the 119 with a two meter mexican-made fiberglass dish, maybe I need a US-made dish, who knows. The 110 is definitely easier to hit because it sits higher in the sky;therefore, its footprint extends further south than the 119.
SATMAN

"Some will bitch about a dollar, while there are those without a dime."



satman


Sep 28, 2004, 6:24 PM

Post #12 of 18 (2327 views)

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Re: [not_ally] DVR's

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You said that any Directv feed in Mexico is a pirated feed, but Directv offers its services in Mexico. Obviously its not the same programming as it is in the States, but Echostar has no operations SoB. Anyone who has an active receiver for Dish or Directv(US based), and are receiving a signal, is breaking the law. The FCC says that the dbs signals put out by both companies are only allowed to be used in the 50 US states and its territories, i.e. Puerto Rico.
SATMAN

"Some will bitch about a dollar, while there are those without a dime."



not_ally

Sep 28, 2004, 6:43 PM

Post #13 of 18 (2323 views)

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Re: [satman] DVR's

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Satman, I have no knowledge of the extent/legality of DirecTV's ops. in Mexico as a whole, I was just repeating what I've been told by others, ie; that you can only get a pirated DirecTV feed in San Miguel.

Anyway, I gave in today and bought a Toshiba SD-400 PVR/DVD player. Although MSRP is $350, I got it for $220 on ebay, and Toshiba is offering a $100 rebate through the end of Sept. I figured that $120 is a good deal for the combo (even if I have to change the region codes on the DVD player, forgot about that part when I bought it, aaargh ...)
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"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage


Brian

Sep 29, 2004, 4:20 AM

Post #14 of 18 (2301 views)

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Re: [not_ally] DVR's

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You can subscribe to DirecTV in the US but install the dish down here. Many of us in SMA either paid for the service directly or used pirated cards. The problem with DirecTV this far down in Mexico is that several channels were recently changed on the satellite transponders and popular shows could no longer be watched. In our case, when HGTV was lost, it was time to switch to Dish. We are using the dvr feature and are happy with it. I don't think that John should worry so much about renters flubbing up the remote control. There are a lot of folks down here who can help out with simple little technology details like that.

saludos
Brian


N2Futur

Sep 29, 2004, 10:35 AM

Post #15 of 18 (2282 views)

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Re: [not_ally]TIVO & NETFLIX PARTNERSHIP

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http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5915470/site/newsweek/

This might be the solution to the problem of receiving Netflix in Mexico (as Bubba had problems NOT receiving his Netflix through the MBE Forwarding Service). We've had Tivo since 1999 and can't imagine living without it and it will be moving to Mexico with us in 2 years. We bought the lifetime subscription, which in 1999 was $199 (now increased to $299). We have a broadband connection and have the TIVO set up so it does its once-a-day dial up via wireless (always-on) connection (no phone charges). We currently have DirecTV(HD), but will switch to Dish if neccessary or VOOM, if anyone can figure out that VOOM can be received that far south. Our ultimate goal is to have a HD-DVR/TIVO - but technology is still so new and expensive that we'll probably wait another couple of years before upgrading.

Elke
___________________________
"When choosing between two evils, I always like to pick the one I never tried before." - Mae West


not_ally

Sep 29, 2004, 1:22 PM

Post #16 of 18 (2268 views)

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Re: [N2Futur] TIVO & NETFLIX PARTNERSHIP

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Forgot to say in my post that the Toshiba PVR is actually a TIVO - significant for the Netflix junkies in view of the quote below from the article from Elke's link.
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"Subscribers who belong to both [TIVO and Netflix] services will be able to download their Netflix DVDs over the Internet directly into the TiVo boxes in their homes, instead of receiving them in the mail"
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"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage


viejogatomalo

Oct 1, 2004, 9:02 AM

Post #17 of 18 (2222 views)

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Re: [johanson] DVR's

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Sir;
I must admit I am a total novice and completely illiterate concerning things electronic,however, willing to learn. I'm afraid that if someone tossed me a 'DVR' or whatever, rather than being brave enough to humble myself and ask what that is, I would simply go have another cervesa. That in itself is not a bad thing, but not helpfull for a learing experience.
Is there somewhere in this wealth of information a source which uncodes all the abbreviations and their meaning?
Thank you, Richard


N2Futur

Oct 1, 2004, 9:25 AM

Post #18 of 18 (2214 views)

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Re: [oldbadcat] DVR's

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Richard,

a DVR is a Digital Video Recorder - sort of replaces the VHS recorder. Instead of recording to tapes, the DVR records to a hard drive.

TIVO Service - allows you to record your favorite TV shows, programming the DVR just once - with a Season Pass - it will automatically record every episode. You can also pause LIVE TV-, Fast forward through Commercials, etc....

For more information on the TIVO service, Check here: www.tivo.com/1.2.asp

Elke
___________________________
"When choosing between two evils, I always like to pick the one I never tried before." - Mae West

(This post was edited by N2Futur on Oct 1, 2004, 10:44 AM)
 
 
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