Monday, January 16, 2017

Moving info here

Thinking there is getting to be enough info that it needs to be structured and searchable so I'll start moving posts here. Below it the original doc that accompanied the show tracking spreadsheet.

I'll keep adding to this page but to start I've been building a spreadsheet to replace the watch list features of my TiVos that some of you might be interested in making a copy of. Below kind of explains why and what I was trying to achieve.

Some history
Basically I've had TiVos since they first came out and loved them. I still have 2 Premieres and a series 2 setting on the shelf with old shows on them plus my 2 connected up Roamios.  But around 2 years ago now Time Warner started jacking with the cable boxes to knock them off line randomly around once a month. I setup a second TiVo so it could act as a backup in case one got knocked offline but found they almost always got knocked out within an hour or two of each other. Often I’d have to call Time Warner to reauth one or both boxes after it happened. Pretty obvious some sort of received signal was the cause but Time Warner was still claiming it was not them so I switched the TiVo that could still receive broadcast TV to do that instead. (Note most TiVos now only work with cable and will not receive Over The Air aka OTA broadcasts. As of the Roamio series, TiVos only receive cable or OTA not both at the same time like previous models did.) Next Rovi bought TiVo and decided to swap out TiVo's accurate and detailed guide (the MAIN selling point of TiVo) with their own. That change / glitch caused about 2 weeks loss of recordings for most of their customers and ever since my cable connected TiVo would just stop receiving signals randomly requiring a reboot to fix. So I started looking at what would be involved in just going with streaming and OTA. To keep it all straight in my head and to help come up with a plan I started the sheet above.

Summary of things learned
For the most part going without a DVR seems doable if you still pay for cable as most of the network streaming sites still only work if you have a cable subscription.

With Time Warner it appears it can actually cost you more to get just internet than internet + cable + phone. Plus a Time Warner DVR used to be in the bundle or $5 to $10 per month. Now is $25 per month. That is more a month than getting a TiVo on contract plus the monthly cable card fee!

Keeping track of what you already watched and if something new is available is almost impossible even with a TiVo when streaming is in the mix unless you have something like the above sheet.

If you want to watch something within a day or two of broadcast but not live you still need a DVR. (For instance if you watch the news or a late night talk show on your schedule you will want at least an OTA DVR.)

You will probably need to get used to commercials again. Almost everything streaming outside of Hulu and Netflix has commercials you can not skip. CBS is the exception with a commercial free option for $9.99/month but you mainly only get the last 7 episodes of current shows so it is pretty pricey for what you get.

A TiVo OTA might still be cost effective compared to other OTA DVRs but the last TiVo update has REALLY slowed it down so jury is still out.

Most networks still don't get it. A LOT of shows you will only find the last 3 to 7 episodes available for streaming even with commercials. Outside of Netflix of course. But even on Netflix more and more shows are DVD only.

Why do you need a spreadsheet?
The TiVo OnePass system would not only automatically deal with recording at changing show times but would also show you what shows were available to watch, both recorded locally and streaming. The streaming bit has some issues but it still helps. If you watch more than a few shows you quickly see how much of a time saver this is, when it works. But the Tivo only tracks stuff it can stream or record so your OTA Tivo will not know anything about what is on AMC, for example, while a Roku would even though the Roku AMC app does not work with a Time Warner ID to watch their shows right now.  So in order to have something that works I came up with this some what manual option.

So first thing you will want is a list of what is new this week. The sheet grabs an RSS feed for that.

Next you will want to compare the last available episode (shows:C) from that feed against the last you watched (shows:B) to know if there is something new to see. Colors change to let you know if you are ahead (watched live) or behind what the feed sees as the last episode.

Lastly you will want to know where the best place is to go see it and a backup if that fails.There is a place for you fav (shows:E) and all the other places you can get it (shows:J-X).

Plus if you watch the same shows I do I've done a lot of the work for you. The sheet is by no means done but there is already a ton of info on the 91 shows I'm currently tracking. I'll be adding stuff as I go.

There are also links to some helpful info and compares of devices and streaming sources.

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