WBOY, Comcast and Nexstar

So a lot has been in the “news” lately about how Monongalia and Preston Counties in WV will be losing WBOY-TV on March 14th, 2017. Now both Comcast and WBOY have pointed fingers at each other as to why the retransmission will cease on that date. WBOY states that it’s parent owner, NexStar Media Group, is not the reason it is being dropped. Also Comcast has been a little light on the information it has provided as why it is dropping it as well.

The interesting part about it is most people (or I should say all Comcast subscribers in Mon and Preston County) should have received a letter from Comcast stating that the station will be dropped on 3/14. I received a letter, however it was not for WBOY. But for another Nexstar Station WTEM-TV in Elmira NY. The premise was the same, the station is not in the receivers DMA (Designated Market Area) and Comcast states “our business agreement with the station’s owner to cary this out-of-market broadcast station has ended.”

What this reminds me of, and everyone has experienced it with cable and satellite services, is that the owner of a station, and it doesn’t have to be broadcast stations but could also be a “cable type station”, believes that the price that the cable/satellite provider is paying them for their station isn’t what they believe it is valued at. This happens all the time, and most recently Dish Network was going to drop WBOY from DISH the Friday before the Super Bowl. So my personal opinion is now that Nexstar owns WBOY / WTEM they asked Comcast for a increase in the retransmission fees, and Comcast said no because it (the station) was not a primary DMA station. So they dropped the contract and the viewers are left “hurt”.

What makes it more difficult with Mon/Preston County they are in the Pittsburgh DMA. (Which I actually like because I actually prefer the Pittsburgh Broadcast stations, they seem more professional and have less mishaps like running a commercial in the middle of program when there shouldn’t be one.) But I also see the viewers point of view too. WBOY has a small studio in Morgantown and do local news for the area. Whereas the Pittsburgh channels may only do a story about the area if it is something major.

Another issue to add to it is, while WBOY is a broadcast channel, it is a weaker signal. In addition it is on VHF, which with a digital signal, propagation is severely limited especially since their power output (effective radiated) is only 12.25kW vs. say WPXI in Pittsburgh (the NBC affiliate for the Pittsburgh DMA) which broadcasts on UHF 48 at a effective radiated power of 1,000kW. Given that north central West Virginia is a dissected plateau it means you need a antenna really high and very directional to pick up channel 12 or cable/satellite provider to provide you the signal. (I also live in a valley, which means the only station I can even begin to pick up is WNPB the PBS affiliate that is in Morgantown.) So viewers who want to keep WBOY only have a couple of solutions. The first would be to see if they can receive the signal, but according to this graphic, that seems a little hard for the Morgantown area for OTA reception:

graphic from tvfool.com

As you can see by the time it hits Morgantown it is very fringe reception. Also you may not have the ability to put an antenna outside to pick it up. So the second option would be Satellite, however those people would fall back in to the Comcast scenario, since Mon and Preston are part of the Pittsburgh DMA, the satellite provider will only give you those channels and none of the off-market channels. So you are left with not seeing the channel at all.

Now some people in the counties have been trying to get Mon and Preson reclassified in to the Clarksbug DMA. (I for one don’t want to see that as I like the Pittsburgh channels better…) I however don’t see this happening as the Pittsburgh stations would then fight they are losing a major source of viewership.

So the interesting part about this area, is there are 3 “major” TV markets that are in very close proximity. The largest is the Pittsburgh DMA which includes stations (major broadcast) KDKA (CBS), WTAE(ABC), WPXI(NBC), WQED(PBS),WNPB(PBS)[technically in Pittsburgh, but also listed in Clarksburg/Weston], WPGH(FOX), WPNT(MyNetwork). The other two are smaller markets. Clarksburg/Weston has 3 broadcast stations, WDTV (CBS), WVFX(FOX/CW) and WBOY (NBC/ABC). The third is the Wheeling WV/Steubenville OH which has 2 broadcast channels, WTRF (CBS/ABC/MyNetwork) and WTOV (NBC/FOX/MeTV)

Now when I lived at home with my parents we are pretty much in the middle of all three of these markets. I actually had several antenna’s in the attic that could pick up a lot of these stations, so we had several of each broadcast network. This is where I also became a video junkie and loved doing late night DXing of stations. Now my parents can only get the Pittsburgh stations on cable, even though the area could technically receive stations from all 3 markets.

But the whole reason for this post is my speculation of what actually happened vs what is being told to the customers. In short I believe Nexstar asked Comcast to provide them more money to be able to retransmit WBOY on the Mon and Preston Counties Comcast system. Comcast said, no you are a secondary so we will just drop you. And that was it, no more negotiation, no more looking out for the best interest of the viewers of the station, just drop it. While I seldom watched WBOY, there were times that I did when major events were going on in the state and the Pittsburgh channels were not covering it. It also begs to ask that if it really was a issue with the station being out of the primary DMA, then why is Comcast keeping WDTV and WVFX since they are out of the Clarksburg/Weston Market as well. Sure people will have to switch to one of those for local news, but I guess it is better than losing all 3 stations.

I doubt that Comcast will change their mind, even though they make billions of dollars a year. But in the reality I am surprised that the stations have been carried for as long as I have been here (over 23 years).

Comcast/XFinity TV lineup for Morgantown, WV

XFINITY TV Line up for Morgantown, WV

Since I keep seeing searches for what channel X is on in Morgantown here is a copy of the current lineup from Comcast for Morgantown, WV

Channel Name Limited Digital Economy Digital Starter Digital Preferred Digital Premier
2 KDKA-2 (CBS Pittsburgh) X X X X X
3 Local Programming X X X X X
4 WTAE-4 (ABC Pittsburgh) X X X X X
5 WDTV-5 (CBS Clarksburg) X X X X X
6 WPGH-53 (FOX Pittsburgh) X X X X X
7 WINP-16 (ION Pittsburgh) X X X X X
8 WNPB-24 (PBS Morgantown) X X X X X
9 WPMY My Network TV (Morgantown) X X X X X
10 QVC X X X X X
11 WPXI-11 (NBC Pittsburgh) X X X X X
12 WBOY-12 (NBC Clarksburg) X X X X X
13 WQED-13 (PBS Pittsburgh) X X X X X
14 WVFX-10 (FOX Clarksburg) X X X X X
15 Government Access X X X X X
16 WPCB-40 (Cornerstone TV) X X X X X
17 Headline News X X X X X
19 NBC Sports Network X X X
21 Inspiration X X X X X
22 WPCW-19 (CW Pittsburgh) X X X X X
23 HSN X X X X X
25 C-SPAN X X X X X
27 WGN X X X X X
28 The Weather Channel X X X X
29 Lifetime X X X X
30 FOX Sports 1 X X X
31 History X X X X
32 CNN X X X X
33 Fox News Channel X X X X
34 TBS X X X
35 ESPN X X X
36 ESPN2 X X X
37 Root Sports X X X
38 Golf Channel X X X
39 Food Network X X X X
40 Animal Planet X X X X
41 Disney Channel X X X X
42 Nickelodeon X X X
43 A&E X X X X
44 PCNC X X X
45 CNBC X X X
46 Travel Channel X X X
47 FX X X X
48 VH1 X X X
49 MTV X X X
50 ABC Family X X X
51 Comedy Central X X X X
52 TLC X X X
53 Discovery Channel X X X X
54 Syfy X X X
55 USA X X X X
56 TNT X X X
57 Bravo X X X
58 HGTV X X X
59 Spike X X X
60 TV Land X X X X
61 BET X X X X
63 AMC X X X X
70 style. X X X
82 CMT X X X
83 Cartoon Network X X X X
89 ShopNBC X X X X X
98 E! X X X X
100 Weatherscan Local X X
101 The HUB X X
102 Science Channel X X
103 Destination America X X
104 Investigation Discovery X X X
105 OWN X X X
106 Military Channel X X
107 Current X X
108 GSN X X
109 BBC America X X
111 BBC World News America X X
112 TBN X X X X X
113 Halogen X X
115 bio. X X X
116 H2 X X X X
117 Disney XD X X
118 Disney Jr X X
120 National Geographic X X
121 Smithsonian Channel X X
122 FOX Sports 1 X
124 MLB Network X X
125 Fox Soccer Channel X X
126 ShopNBC X X X X X
127 Outdoor Channel X X
128 Bloomberg Television X X X
129 G4 X X X
130 Discovery Fit & Health X X
131 ESPN Classic X
132 ESPNews X X
134 DIY X X
135 Cooking Channel X X
137 MTV2 X X
138 Fuse X X
139 MTV Jams X X
140 WE tv X X
141 TCM X X
143 CMT Pure Country X X
144 VH1 Classic X X
146 Fox Movie Channel X X
147 IFC X X
148 Nick Jr. X X
150 TV One X X
152 TeenNick X X
153 Nick2 X X
154 Nicktoons X X
155 VH1 Soul X X
156 GMC X X X
157 Centric X X X
158 The Word Network X X X
159 A SPiRE X X
160 MTV Hits X X
161 Logo X X
162 RLTV X X
163 LMN X X X
164 Sundance Channel X X
165 National Geographic Wild X X
166 FOX Sports 2 X X
167 GAC X X
170 ESPN Goal Line X
171 FCS Atlantic X
172 FCS Central X
173 FCS Pacific X
174 ESPNU X X
176 NuvoTV X X
177 NFL Network X X
184 C-SPAN 2 X X X X
185 C-SPAN 3 X X X
186 Sportsman Channel X X
188 WTAE This TV X X X X X
189 WPGH-The Country Network X X X X X
190 WPXI ME TV X X X X X
192 WDTV-Weather X X X X X
193 WQED X X X X X
194 WQED Create X X X X X
195 WQED The Neighborhood X X X X X
198 TKMI X X X X
201 HBO X X
202 HBO2 X X
203 HBO Signature X X
204 HBO Family X X
205 HBO Comedy X X
206 HBO Zone X X
207 HBO Latino X X
208 HBO West X X
209 Fox Business X X
221 Showtime X
222 Showtime 2 X
223 Showtime Showcase X
224 Showtime Extreme X
225 ION Life X X
227 WINP DT3 X
229 qubo X X
231 TMC (The Movie Channel)
232 TMCX (The Movie Channel Extra)
233 PBS Kids Sprout X X X
235 Flix X X
236 Hallmark Movie Channel X X X
241 Starz X X
242 Oxygen X X X
243 Starz Edge X X
244 Starz Kids & Family X X
245 Starz Cinema X X
247 Starz InBlack X X
248 Encore X X
250 Encore Love X X
251 Ovation X X
252 Encore Westerns X X
253 MoviePlex X X X
254 Encore Suspense X X
255 Hallmark Channel X X X X X
256 Encore Drama X X
258 Encore Action X X
259 truTV X X X X
260 Encore Family X X
262 Indieplex X X
263 Retroplex X X
264 TV Guide Network X X X X X
265 EWTN X X X X X
266 MSNBC X X X
267 Big Ten Network X X
270 Cinemax X
271 MoreMAX X
272 ActionMAX X
273 ThrillerMAX X
274 MAX West X
276 NHL Network X X
277 NFL Network X X
286 beIN Sports X
287 NBA TV X X
288 CBS Sports X X
289 Tennis Channel X
290 TVG Network X
300-307 PPV Movies X X X
341 Playboy TV X X X
342 TEN X X X
343 Julcy X X X
344 REAL X X X
345 Penthouse TV X X X
351 TMC-HD X X
401-446 Music Channels X X X
501-506 Sports PPV X X X
531-544 NHL/MLB Games X X X
560 Local Originiation
561 WFDC (Univision) {Spanish}
563 WMDOLD (UniMas Low Power) {Spanish}
565 WZDCLP {Spanish}
567 GALA {Spanish}
570 CNN Espanol {Spanish}
571 SUR {Spanish}
575 TDCES {Spanish}
577 HISTE {Spanish}
579 HITN {Spanish}
581 BEIN2 {Spanish}
584 FXDEP {Spanish}
585 ESPND {Spanish}
592 BABY1AS {Spanish}
593 DFAME {Spanish}
597 EWTNES {Spanish}
598 LFC {Spanish}
599 ENLUSA {Spanish}
601 MEXCAN {Spanish}
602 52MXI {Spanish}
604 TFORM {Spanish}
605 MULTV2 {Spanish}
606 CBTV {Spanish}
607 XEIPNUS {Spanish}
611 WAPAUS {Spanish}
612 DOMIN {Spanish}
615 CARAI {Spanish}
616 TVCOL {Spanish}
617 TVVEN {Spanish}
618 TVE! {Spanish}
620 TEFEI {Spanish}
621 TVNI {Spanish}
622 ECUAVI {Spanish}
623 SURPERU {Spanish}
626 CENTROA {Spanish}
627 UTLSMUS {Spanish}
630 TR3S {Spanish}
631 mun2 X X
633 THITUS {Spanish}
634 TELEP {Spanish}
635 RITUS {Spanish}
636 BANDAUS {Spanish}
637 VROLA {Spanish}
638 HIPTV {Spanish}
641 DEPELUS {Spanish}
642 PASNUS {Spanish}
643 DEPELC {Spanish}
644 VMEKIDS {Spanish}
645 CMEX {Spanish}
646 LATAMSP {Spanish}
647 CINLUS {Spanish}
648 UNIMWST {Spanish}
649 VMOV {Spanish}
650 UNIP {Spanish}
651 GRNCINE {Spanish}
667 CRIC {Spanish}
699 WNPB-Two (PBS Morgantown) X X X X X
701-710 NBA/MLS PPV X X X
750 HBO-HD X X
751 Showtime-HD X
752 Starz-HD X X
753 Cinemax-HD X
785 iNDemand PPV – HD X X
787 NBA/MLS PPV HD (iNDemand Team) X X
789 iNDemand Game-HD (NHL/MLB) X X
790 iNDemand Game 2-HD (NHL/MLB) X X
799 EWTN-HD X X
802 KDKA-2 HD (CBS Pittsburgh) X X
803 WPGH-HD (FOX Pittsburgh) X X
804 804WTAE-4 HD (ABC Pittsburgh) X X
805 WPCB-40 HD (Cornerstone TV) X X X X X
806 QVC-HD X X
807 WINP-16 HD (ION Pittsburgh) X X X X X
808 WPCW-19 HD (CW Pittsburgh) X X
809 HSN-HD X X
810 WNPB-24 HD (PBS Morgantown) X X
811 WPXI-11 HD (NBC Pittsburgh) X X
812 WPMY-22 HD (My Network TV Pittsburgh) X X
813 WQED-13 HD (PBS Pittsburgh) X X
814 Bloomberg HD X X X
815 Weather Channel-HD X X
816 Headline News HD X X
817 CNN-HD X X
818 MSNBC HD X X
819 CNBC-HD X X
820 Fox News Channel-HD X X
821 Fox Business Channel HD X X
822 Universal-HD X X
823 USA-HD X X
824 FX-HD X X
825 TNT-HD X X
826 TBS-HD X X
827 Spike-HD X X
828 Comedy Central-HD X X
829 Syfy-HD X X
830 Hallmark-HD X X
831 A&E-HD X X
832 Bravo-HD X X
833 E!-HD X X
834 style. HD X X
835 Lifetime-HD X X
836 We tv HD X X
837 TLC-HD X X
838 HGTV-HD X X
839 Food-HD X X
840 Travel Channel-HD X X
841 truTV HD X X
843 Root Sports-HD X X
848 NBC Sports Network-HD X X
849 Golf Channel-HD X X
859 ESPN-HD X X
851 ESPN2-HD X X
852 ESPNews HD X X
853 ESPNU-HD X X
854 CBS Sports- Network HD X X
855 Big Ten Network-HD X X
857 Speed Channel-HD X X
859 MLB Network-HD X X
860 NFL Network-HD X X
861 NFL RedZone-HD X X
862 Tennis Channel-HD X X
864 Outdoor Channel-HD X X
865 TV One HD X X
866 BET-HD X X
867 G4 HD X X
868 Animal Planet-HD X X
869 Discovery-HD X X
870 VelocityHD X X
871 National Geographic-HD X X
872 Science Channel-HD X X
873 Destination America HD X X
874 bio.-HD X X
875 History-HD X X
876 History International-HD X X
877 Disney XD HD X X
878 Cartoon Network-HD X X
879 Nickelodeon-HD X X
880 Disney Channel-HD X X
881 ABC Family-HD X X
882 Palladia HD X X
883 CMT-HD X X
884 MTV-HD X X
885 Fuse HD X X
886 VH1-HD X X
887 GMC HD X X X
889 AMC-HD X X
890 TCM HD X X
891 Encore HD X X
892 MGM HD X X
893 IFC HD X X
894 Hallmark Movie Channel HD X X
895 LMN-HD X X
899 Investigation Discovery-HD X X
905 WDTV – HD X X X X X
910 WVFX – HD X X X X X
912 WBOY-12 HD (NBC Clarksburg) X X
915 Smithsonian Channel HD X X
917 Sportsman Channel-HD X X
946 Ovation HD X X
980 ESPN 3D X X
981 Xfinity 3D HD X X
1116 Bloomberg HD X X X
1225 BBC America HD X X X
1262 NAT GEO WILD HD X X
1325 GSN HD X X
1334 Oxygen HD X X X
1505 Sprout HD X X X
1511 Hub HD X X
1711 NHL HD X X
1712 NBA TV HD X X
1770 NBA TV HD X X

Comcast vs TiVO Roamio

As most of the world knows TiVO released their new DVR called the Roamio. Which in all shapes and forms appears to be the most awesome DVR yet. With the ability to do 6 tuners and stream live TV to the TiVO Mini, it alone will save me hundreds of thousands of dollars in stupid hardware rental fees from Comcast. So before I put down nearly $1000 for the new Roamio and a lifetime subscription I decided to ask Comcast if their Morgantown, WV system would support it. (I had seen some people on the interwebs saying there were issues with some cable systems not supporting all 6 tuners yet.)

So the first place I went was to twitter to ask them (@comcastcares) if they supported it and if there were any hoops I had to jump through to switch it from my Premiere to the Roamio. Well they wrote back and said to contact comcastcares_support@comcast.com. So I sent them an email asking about the support for the Roamio and whether it was required for a tech to come out to do the install.

So I got the typical boiler plate email back saying they would review my concerns.. Pretty typical.

Today I got a call from their Executive relations group while I was at work. So I called them when I got home and here is roughly how the conversation went:

ER: Hello, I was calling to address the email you sent us.

ME: Ok, well I am looking at getting a Roamio and was wanting to make sure it was supported before buying it.

ER: Well does it support 3 cable cards? We only have cable cards that support 2 tuners, so if it doesn’t have 3 cable card slots then it probably won’t work.

ME: No it only has one slot for a M-CARD. (Thinking to my self, yeah if I had to get 3 cards that is extra money to you.)

ER: Oh, ok. well we didn’t even know that TiVO had a DVR that did 6 tuners. (Thinking well, they have had a 4 tuner one for a couple of years now.) I have some calls in to our warehouses to verify if we have a cable card that supports that many tuners, but right now the only thing we support is 2 tuners.

ME: Ok, well from what I was reading it is just a firmware issue.

ER: Hmm, hmm, hmm, ok, ok, ok (don’t have a clue what he was doing) {he then repeats about checking with the warehouse people}

 

He then addressed my issue with doing a self install and said yes you can do it, but you have to call them to activate it. (Which I knew but was confirming it again.)

I then brought up the issue where the website says that for each customer owned piece of equipment you should get a $2.50 credit to your bill. I told him I had 2 TiVO’s and therefore I should see a $5.00 credit on it. To which he explained that I do get the credit but it isn’t reflected on the bill. He then told me that the cable card fee is actually the same as the other box fees ($9.95), but they subtract the $2.50 from it (which is the “cost of the box”) to make it $7.45 (which is the cost of the “service”). I told him that the Comcast website doesn’t say that and even the paper that comes with the bill doesn’t show that the Cable cards are $9.95..

The funny thing was that I told him that my friend sees the $2.50 credit on his bill. He immediately said “well different parts of the country does billing a different way.” I sort of laughed and said “well, he lives 2 miles away from me. So your hypothesis doesn’t work.” He couldn’t figure out why mine didn’t show it but others did.

He ended the call with saying he would call me back once he hears back from the warehouse and whether they would or ever support a TiVO with 6 tuners. I said “well I sure hope you do as it is going to save me hundreds of dollars a year in rental fees.” He didn’t really say anything after I said that.

 

So long story short, TiVO has released something that is far superior to anything Comcast could ever offer their own customers. So now they are going to probably give out false information to make sure that customers don’t purchase the new Roamio. Just another reason why Comcast is evil, and making billions a year from people from hardware rental fees. Shit I have had 2 Scientific Atlanta 3100 standard def boxes since 2001. The interface is slow, they put ads on the guide screen, and I have paid probably close to $1,500 in rental fees on them since then.

ReplayTV, TiVo and the general state of DVR’s

I currently have 5 (yes 5) DVR’s for recording shows. This goes back some years, but I have 3 ReplayTV DVR’s (2 with 80 gb Drives, and one with a 200 gb drive that I hacked to get it to work after the original 40 gb drive died in it.). They were / still are great DVR’s. They were pioneers in many ways compared to TiVo. They have built in network connections long before TiVo did. They allowed streaming of shows between units, years before TiVo could. All around they are great little Standard Definition DVR units. Granted they could only record what was on the analog tuner, however they supported multiple inputs so you could hook a cable box to them or other device and record it.

Up until late last year, 2 of them were connected to a Comcast cable box so I could record any channel that I received on the cable box. The third unit was connected just to the cable, so it could only record the analog channels. Well as with the “rest of the world” Comcast decided to drop all analog channels from their cable line up, in favor of the “better” digital signals. (Which they compressed to hell and back….) Anyways, this would have made the one DVR a door stop. However, Comcast decided to give away 2 free “Digital Tuning Adapters”. So I thought this would be cool, I could just hook it up and put it in front of the DVR and be able to record the channels. Well, the DTA required me to “hack” the ReplayTV unit as it (the ReplayTV) did not have the IR codes to control the DTA. This took me a better part of a day one weekend to get working. So at least it is able to record the basic/extended cable line up.

So fast forward half a year, and I turned on the ReplayTV one night to watch a recorded episode of Top Gear [because Comcast doesn’t have BBC in HD 🙁 ] and I see a message stating that:

Important Announcement!

The ReplayTV Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) Service will be permanently discontinued on July 31, 2011. After this date, owners of ReplayTV DVR units will still be able to manually record analog TV programs, but will not have the benefit of access to the interactive program guide. Effective immediately, monthly billing for the ReplayTV service to remaining customers has been suspended.

The industry conversion to HDTV is complete and ReplayTV DVRs are unable to take advantage of the wealth of HDTV programming. Please contact your service provider for current offerings.

What pissed me off the most was the last line: “The industry conversion to HDTV is complete….” Wait just a minute, there are hundreds of SD channels on Comcast’s lineup, that aren’t available in HD. So now all of the sudden I go from having 5 DVR’s to 2. Granted ComCRAP just raised my bill by another $16 a month, so the saving in the lost of paying the ReplayTV monthly fee makes my cable cost go down a little, but this still makes me mad as the ReplayTV DVR’s are still useful and very much liked by their user’s.

Well it appears that some people are trying to get a fix to allow them to continue to work after the July 31, 2011 cut off. One of the workarounds is by using WiRNS and Schedules Direct. Since I had previously set up a WiRNS system to hack the one DVR to get the IR codes in it, I decided that it wouldn’t be too hard to set it up on the new VMware server I have at the house since it didn’t require much processor and disk space. Also the Schedules Direct method only charged $20 a year for guide data vs the $23+ a month I was paying now for the ReplayTV units. (So almost a $260 a year possible savings.)

This is all cool, however there is one thing that hasn’t been figured out yet. That is how to handle the encrypted clock connection on the ReplayTV unit. If this can’t be figured out, then the 3 ReplayTV’s, basically become the VCR’s of the 90’s.

So on now to TiVo. I have had one of my TiVo’s for a year now, the other for about 6 months. Over all it is pretty good, but there were items that the ReplayTV made so much easier that I can’t do yet with the TiVo. For example, there is a Java application called DVArchive that I run on one of my servers that “talks” to all the ReplayTV units and shows me a list of what all shows are recorded on them, what upcoming shows will be recorded, lets me transfer shows from the ReplayTV to the local server and lets me schedule recordings from one web interface to go to the ReplayTV’s instantly. This isn’t available on the TiVo. Yeah I can go to TiVo’s site, but it is some what of a kludge to see the entire ToDo list across both TiVo’s. Also the scheduling is based on the TiVo polling the Internet vs the push of the recording to the ReplayTV.

One of the big things that was missing on the TiVo side was the ability to “stream” between the two TiVo units. This was one of the reasons why I went the ReplayTV route instead of the “mainstream” TiVo route. Yeah you could “transfer” recordings between the TiVo’s, but this could only be done IF the cable company did not set the Copy Protection flag, which nearly every HD and SD digital channel has this set except for the local OTA channels. In the long run, this meant that if I recorded a program on one TiVo I had to watch it on that TiVo, instead of “where I wanted to” like with the ReplayTV’s. Well as of yesterday, this seems to have changed. It appears that TiVo with their latest software update has enabled “Streaming” between the TiVo’s (like the ReplayTV’s had probably a good 7+ years ago). Now you don’t have to “copy” the entire program to the other TiVo to watch it, in addition the Copy Protection flag does not apply to the “streaming” of the video between the 2 TiVo units.

This is excellent news as now I can record a movie on one and then watch it on the other and vice verse with my weekly shows that get recorded.

So you are probably thinking if you are even reading this far, what the hell does this have to do with the “General state of DVR’s”? Well it just shows how some DVR’s are pioneers, some are the “popular” ones and then some are ones that people are just “stuck with”. What I mean by “just stuck with” is those people who are unlucky enough not to realize how good ReplayTV was, or how much functionality the TiVo Premiere’s have VS a “Cable company” DVR. Seeing how I have had all three now for a while, (although I did get rid of the ComCRAP DVR) I would still rate the ReplayTV as the best DVR that I have had. Granted it doesn’t do HD picture, but then again not everything on Comcast’s lineup is in HD. I still use them to record all my SD content and use the TiVo’s only for HD content.

Comcast’s DVR is just plain the worse thing I have ever seen. They only have a 160 gig HD in their HD-DVR which means that after a week of shows, it is usually out of space. Not to mention, there was NO way to schedule anything on it except scrolling through the on screen guide. There was no “searching” for items to tape. No way to save programs. No way to stream it to other units.. Think of it as the VCR of the 90’s with the VCR+ module added in.

Overall I think that DNNA made a bad move by discontinuing the ReplayTV EPG, but I guess in this day and age every one has to way the good vs the bad at some point.

WiRNS (the Windows Replay Network Server) URL: http://wirns.com/
DVarchive URL: http://dvarchive.org/
Schedules Direct URL: http://www.schedulesdirect.org/
ReplayTV announcement: http://www.digitalnetworksna.com/replaytv/

Yet another comcast visit

Well hopefully this will be the last post for a while about the problems with comcast… (Will see after next week when they post my new bill)… As I mentioned last time, getting a cable card installed seems to require an act of god when it involves comcast. The new contractor came out 2 saturday’s ago with a 3 more cable cards. (side bar/ I don’t know what it is about cable people, by why the hell do they always smell like they smoked a carton of cigs before coming in to the house? I have used an entire can of febreze in my living room after this tech and the two previous ones left.)

Anyways back to the story, the tech showed up, and and proceeded to put the cable card in the TiVO. It starts to do the firmware upgrade like the ones the other guys brought.. After it was done, he talked to the Comcast phone guy and then we found out that once again this card “was not in the system.” Is comcast / tri-wire’s inventory system so f&()’d up that they are not doing proper inventory of their equipment, but yet they can charge me out the ass for it?

So we pulled that card out and went through the others he had. The next one the phone guy said “should work”. Well put it in and then let it update the firmware. The guy on the other side pushed the right signals and my second TiVO is finally activated. So the tech got up and left, (and I had to completely soak the couch with febreze as it smelled so bad).

So now what can I bitch about with Comcast? The fact that they have had the ESPN’s screwed up for weeks now. The audio is so out of sync that you can’t watch anything that has close ups of people talking.