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I am interested in signing up for the Fios triple play services in the coming weeks and am coming from Optimum Triple play with a Tivo HD. I am a bit confused at this harddrive situation I've read about. I keep seeing complaints about the harddrive capacity of the Fios DVR or Home Media DVR with it's 160 GB harddrive recording 20 hours of HD video and about 80 hours of SD video. I am pretty sure the Tivo HD that I have also has a 160 GB harddrive and states that it records 20 hours of HD and 180 hours of SD.
How is it possible that both have 160 GB harddrives, but claim to record different amounts of video?
Fios - 160 GB, 20 HD hours, 80 SD hours
Tivo HD - 160 GB, 20 HD hours, 180 SD hours
What do I have wrong here?
Well, one of them must be lying, right?
Personally, I'm not sure either is right.
I suspect on the TiVo you can select the quality of the SD recording (or they choose to record SD in only fair quality) . SD is an analog service, so the question becomes how accurately do you want to digitize it, that in turn determines how good the 'play back' is. Kind of like the difference between running your VCR at the 2 hour per tape versus the 6 hour per tape recording speed.
I know on at least some other brands, there is a choice in what 'quality' SD recording you want.
Verizon doesn't give you any choice. In any case there is a direct correlation between the quality of the recording, and the number of hours capacity.
The typical bit rates available for SD are 2million, 4 million and 6 million bits per second.
On a 160gb drive that corresponds to about 160 hours at 2million, 80 hours at 4 million and ~50 hours at 6 million bits per second.
2million corresponds roughly to the quality of a standard VHS recording,
4 million is roughly S-VHS, and I know of few sources of SD that are worth 6 million bits per second.
By contrast HD is nominally about 19 million bits per second, and that rate the 160gb goes by in about 20 hours.
.... SD is an analog service, so the question becomes how accurately do you want to digitize it, that in turn determines how good the 'play back' is.
Not on most of today's systems. FiOS has NO ANALOG - evrything is digital, but they still carry SD channels. Comcast has gone to that as well in many areas. Satellite has been all digital forever and they also carry SD channels.
All SD means is that the picture is 480i and 4:3 aspect ratio, no more or less - it can be analog or digital.
So, let me see if I understand this correctly.
The Verizon Fios DVR (regular or the multiroom) does not have the ability to choose the quality of the recording you are making for a SD or HD recording. With Tivo HD I know I have that option to record "best, better..." which would make sense that it would mean smaller file sizes and thefore chance at 180 hours of SD. If I don't have that option of choose SD recording quality and the Fios DVR just recorded at it's standard quality, the file size is bigger therefore taking up more harddrive space?
The actual calculation is more like :
160GB Drive (as marketed from the manual).
156.25GB Drive (actual available space, 1024kb vs 1000)
134.64GB (actual size of the content volume)
3.3mbps for SD, or 3,419,796.41 bits per sec = 1.433GB/hr = 94.19 hours into 134.64GB - the one hour LOD buffer = 85.8 hours of SD storage.
Same data for HD @ 13.7mbps, or 14,338,900.55bps comes out to 20.5 hours of HD storage.
Obviously, re-running the numbers with different bitrates yields different amount of capacity in hours
Some content is higher quality (even though it's still considered SD or HD) and may be a higher bit rate show.
For example I think it's AMC HD which broadcasts in HD at 9mbs right now and is upgrading all the providers to 14mbs in a few weeks or so.
you can see where that number change would skew hours of recordings especially of other shows are doing similiar. basically not all SD and HD is created equal even though it's the same amount of minutes/hours
The big difference is that the Verizon DVR records in an uncompress fashion. The Tivo has the ability to compress the recording to save space. This compression lowers the quality of the pic.
But the Tivo has the ability to expand the recording capibility. So you can get the Tivo DVR Expander, and get more recording space.
The only drawback to the Tivo is that you loose the Verizon widgets and VOD. Plus you have to also pay for Tivo service. Small prices to pay for some.
Believe me, these are all things I've considered. The Fios widgets seem cool, the VOD does nothing for me, but the channel guide and menus seem very nice. I have also not been in love with how slow the Tivo menus and search works. It takes forever for the search to load, pressing buttons isn't as instantaneous as I'd like... and I know this is not just an issue with me.
The Fios' multi room DVR for me is a huge plus. I have also read the rumors that coming in a future update, like 1.9 they are going to allow for eSATA harddrive support. That would probably be a clincher for me. We are not having an issue with Tivo HD space now, but because there is no space meter in the Tivo HD, I don't know how close I've come.
How is the speed of the Fios DVR menus?
Bwangster - actually, I think a lot of us here would say the TiVo menu and guide - especially with the new Premiere box - are far superior to FiOS'. However, one of the things that seems to be in the works for 1.9 (or probably 2.0) is a new HD 16:9 guide for FiOS. Currently they are in a distant third place in that category behind Moxi and TiVo.
I actually was able to get my Tivo HD for a drastically discounted price (scored it at Sears off a clearance rack for $50 brand new). I don't think I'd be willing to lay out $200+ for a Moxi or a new Tivo Premiere and then start paying fees each month. I have not be overwhelmed with the Tivo menus, despite it being my only DVR I have nothing to compare it to, but the menus seem very slow and like I said, searching is impossible. Watching in other rooms is also not a possibility with Tivo as you'd havta get other boxes to do that. The main reason I got a Tivo was because I wanted a DVR and wanted to do Netflix streaming. Well now that is an option on the Wii and the Fios multi room DVR seems "to work." Plus it sounds like the release updates to the software more often than Tivo. There hasn't been any major updates in the year I've had it and unless I move to Tivo Premiere, doesn't sound like I'll get any more updates.
What about the Tivo is superior to the Fios DVR? Or for that matter, what about the Fios DVR is significantly less good as the Tivo... other than personal taste such as look of the menus?