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October 18, 2004

Undocumented Limitation of Tivo DVD-R

The blog, "The Future of Television" stumbled upon a significant limitation to the Tivo DVD-Rs in conjunction with the Home Media Option which allows Tivos to be connected via a network. While the new Tivo DVD-Rs can create DVDs from the content stored on the unit itself, they cannot record content from other Tivos that may be networked together.

TFOT had an interesting solution for a university professor who wanted to record all the major nightly news stations at once and analyze the content of their newcasts. The idea was to buy several Series 2 Tivos and a single Tivo DVD-R unit, and burn a DVD every night combining all of the streams. Unfortunately, that's when the limitation brought the project to an abrupt halt.

Tivo representatives explained that the encoding on Series 2 units are different than on the DVD-R's and that that Tivo doesn't have the horsepower to do the transcoding to burn the DVD. From what I read, the same limitation applies to two DVD-R units which makes that reasoning a bit of a head scratcher, but that's a far less likely case and I doubt it would be common enough to work in that feature.

Networked Tivos would have been the first solution to come to my mind too, but in retrospect, given the focus on a single show per tuner card, a preferable solution probably would have been one of the software based PVRs like BeyondTV, GBPVR, SageTV, or MythTV that all support multiple tuner cards. In fact, BeyondTV's technology demo, the Medusa, would have worked perfectly, with no monthly fees to boot.

(Hat Tip: PVRBlog)

Posted on October 18, 2004

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