HDTV, Tivo, etc

Thinking about an HDTV within the next 6 months. Questions:

What are the prospects for Tivo support for HDTV, near or mid-term? (or at least something very like Tivo). Will the ‘broadcast’ flag prevent Tivo from ever doing high-def?

Right now I’ve got analog cable. To my feeble understanding, digital cable would involve a converter box for each TV (potentially expensive, inconvenient to use, and ugly), providing little gain - some obscure channels we’d likely never watch, and introducing compression artifacts (yes, I know Tivo also has artifacts, but at least the benefit of Tivo is clear and substantial and outweighs the downsides). So am I correct in understanding that to get HDTV without an antenna, you have to have digital cable? Am I correct in assessing the problems of digital cable? And how many channels, other than the prime-time lineups of the networks, are actually broadcast in HDTV?

Most cable operators are treating HDTV as a premium tier above digital service, so you’ll probably need digital service before you can get HDTV.

Tivo has been trying to get HD capability into place, early this year is what I’m hearing. http://www.pvrblog.com/pvr/2003/11/hdtvrecording_t.html

Also, Dish Network is on the verge of releasing it’s 921 PVR. Pretty cool – two tuners, can record both HD and standard TV, 250GB hard drive. It just went to RC status, and should ship within the next several weeks.

What problem is Tivo supposed to have with HDTV? My mother has an HDTV and a series 2 Tivo, and she can record stuff just fine. Not in high definition, but there’s nothing that prevents the unit from recording shows at the normal compression settings.

Obviously the problem is that it doesn’t record HDTV.

That’s not HDTV recording. It’s just recording in standard def.

About 80% of the TV I watch is off Tivo, and Tivo-like capabilities are more important to me than hi-def. So if I got a new high-def TV, but had to use my Tivo at normal-def, it’d be basically pointless.

wow, dish DVRs are expensive. you can still get a dual tuner, directivo for $99 with a one year agreement.

It depends. I got my 501 on a special for free. So deals can be had.

That’s not HDTV recording. It’s just recording in standard def.[/quote]

Yeah, I understand that, as I said. I thought Phil was saying that HDTV broadcasts somehow might prevent Tivo from recording at all, although I guess that was sort of a leap on my part.

Actually, that may come to pass.

There’s data embedded in HDTV streams that can prevent them from being copied. That’s not currently implemented, but could be turned on at any time. It’s flexible enough that the stream could be recorded, but only in standard def. Or it might not be recorded at all.

The real controversy revolves around a theoretical capability for the cable company to reach into your PVR and erase saved content if the broadcaster demands it.

Like I said, not implemented yet, but could be at any time.

That’s nice. Why don’t they just take all of our fair use rights away, and make it illegal to view copyrighted content in any way whatsoever? How does the industry justify this? A DVR stores only a single, non-transferrable copy of a program, so it would be difficult for them to paint it as a piracy issue. Of course you can make make copies to tape, but you can already do that without a DVR, and I’m betting the broadcast flag can’t prevent it. So essentially, they want to eliminate your ability to make a single copy of a broadcast for personal use.

Time to write my congressman.

I’m sure the TV industry thinks that eliminating Tivo-like devices with the shift to HDTV will make things go back the way they used to be, with people watching ads and watching shows as they’re aired.

On the contrary, after having Tivo for the past few years, eliminating my ability to store and time-shift programs will mean I’ll finally stop wasting time watching broadcast television.

Damn shame that nobody in Hollywood is willing to embrace and take advantage of new technology instead of working to cripple and kill it.

Better include an absolutely enormous check in there. :(

It depends. I got my 501 on a special for free. So deals can be had.[/quote]
That’s the deal here. Dish, 3 regular tuners or two tuners a 501 are free.