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Thread: How many TIVO users are there?

  1. #1

    How many TIVO users are there?

    Something what crossed my mind, most of the posts on here seem to be from the same core group of people, so how many people how there in NZ actually have one, or plan on getting one soon?

    Anyone know what plans Sky have (if any, or TVNZ etc) have on releasing there own PVR boxes?

  2. #2
    well the original mailing list had but five main users..
    Ed,number6,daniel,jaidev, and myself. Supposedly there were a few more users signed up, maybe upwards of 10-12 but they certainly didn't participate in any discussions.


    Jaidev and I took over grabbing/slice creation from Daniel in late Feb, early march of this year, Daniel was the one who had gotten most of us started, I initially found him by posting a desperate msg to nz.comp usenet around July 2003 to try and find info on using tivo in NZ. I found Jaidev shortly after that. Jaidev had been using tivo without guide data (ie manual mode) for freakin ages (couple of years jaidev?). I had my tivo for a couple of months without, and during that time had been working with Jaidev to try and make slices before daniel finally said ok and made his public.

    Now I know each one of us have recruited at least a few new users each. I know quite a few of you have come directly or indirectly from the Listener article which linked to my site. My site was getting around 30 (unique) visitors a day for march,april, and may until my domain went walkabout...

    anyway, now.. no idea. Probably nearly 20 confirmed tivo owners at least, maybe around 50 in total. no idea???

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    224
    If I'm correctly understanding the tivo.log file format, there are 14 unique tivos on the emulator. This of course doesn't account for folks that are still doing the loadguide thing.

  4. #4
    yep i still know a few using loadguide so that'd bring it up to around 20 max i'd say. Unfortunately I don't have detailed access to my website logs except for the traffic that is passing thru the domain name so can't get an accurate measure on how many people are downloading the slice each week. doh!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    477
    Quote Originally Posted by timmy
    yep i still know a few using loadguide
    Some of us do like to keep our hands dirty... dbload is the only way!

    This brings up a question I was going to ask earlier... is there an easy way to get the current slice from the emulator? I have had a look at it in the past but the only files seem to have the date range in them. I for one would definitely like the ability to access the current file directly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    224
    Just get it direct from Tim... All I'm doing with the emulator is a hacked version of loadguide which grabs the slices from Tim, then gives them a name that the Tivo and emulator can deal with and puts them in the appropriate directory (in fact, I still error check with slicedump by hand, after getting an email from the script that the slice was updated; no big deal since it only happens 1-2x weekly). At the moment I believe the format is AK02113_(today's epoch date)-(today's epoch date +10).slice, so you could theoretically figure it out, but since it's precisely the same thing as Tims in everything but name you might as well just get it there... Also note that today's epoch date will be that of when it was downloaded, and will be California time since the webhost is in the SFBA, ergo it would be 1 day behind localtime here.

    The reason for the date ranges is that's how the emulator expires slices; something like 4 days after the last day represented in the slice name it dumps the file. The dates that are on the slices have precisely zero relation to the content, they're just there to make the emulator happy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    The Village
    Posts
    49
    Quote Originally Posted by timmy
    well the original mailing list had but five main users..
    Ed,number6,daniel,jaidev, and myself. Supposedly there were a few more users signed up, maybe upwards of 10-12 but they certainly didn't participate in any discussions.


    Jaidev and I took over grabbing/slice creation from Daniel in late Feb, early march of this year, Daniel was the one who had gotten most of us started, I initially found him by posting a desperate msg to nz.comp usenet around July 2003 to try and find info on using tivo in NZ. I found Jaidev shortly after that. Jaidev had been using tivo without guide data (ie manual mode) for freakin ages (couple of years jaidev?). I had my tivo for a couple of months without, and during that time had been working with Jaidev to try and make slices before daniel finally said ok and made his public.

    Now I know each one of us have recruited at least a few new users each. I know quite a few of you have come directly or indirectly from the Listener article which linked to my site. My site was getting around 30 (unique) visitors a day for march,april, and may until my domain went walkabout...

    anyway, now.. no idea. Probably nearly 20 confirmed tivo owners at least, maybe around 50 in total. no idea???
    A little bit of (known) Tivo (user) history in NZ:

    Jaidev got his Tivo intro/wake-up-call from myself through our mutual membership of another (non-Tivo) BBS forum where the topic of Tivos appeared regularly enough to catch JaiDevs eye.

    I bought my original Tivo secondhand from someone in the US on the (then) avsforum Tivo underground BBS who was selling it because she didn't use it anymore. This Tivo has got the original "Edsel" front (tall vertical flattened-circle IR window area), not the HAL2000 looking IR window area you see now - I think it is the original (verison 1) "Series 1 Tivo" and it was made in 1999.

    I got introduced to Tivo in NZ courtesy of Alex [d18c7db to those who see his moniker around various Tivo related places] from Wellington, who had a friend, who had bought a Sony model Tivo back from the US as hand luggage in mid 2000 when he'd seen it in the shops - without even knowing if it could be hacked or not. Alex had it hacked in short order using Tridges info.

    I had looked at the Tivo when it first released but at $USD799 in 1998/1999, but with no (then) known ability to hack it for PAL TV I put it in the "maybe one day basket" until Alex turned up with his mates Tivo, then I knew they could be hacked for (NZ) PAL, then it was "better get one".

    That was all back in the days when just adding or upgrading the hard drive was considered a major feat in itself.

    I had my original Sky digital decoder being controlled by Tivo back in mid-2000 (initially I used a VCR as the tuner and I still do for Tivo#1). Alex used his Tivo to control his (Saturn) cable TV box as well.

    Alex's mate, myself & Alex (in that order) were probably the first 3 people in NZ that we know of to have a Tivo in NZ. (Alex's mate is now living in Aus).

    Alex did a lot of the early guide data work here and wrote some screen scrapers for Sky TVs website, and also for Saturn TVs websites and eventually TVNZs website (nzoom.com) when saturns TV listings for TVNZ channels weren't up to it.

    We both got the original "Tivo guide data kits" from Tivo god "Tridge" (after signing our names in blood) as he would not release the guide kit openly due to fears of Tivo clamping down on those who published ways to create non-Tivo guide data for their Tivos.

    Alex used the guide data kit to make slice files for his friends to use, but since they were mostly Wellington (cable TV) channels & some Sky TV channels they weren't that much used to me. So I never bothered with guide data, using the manual season pass mode - at least its 100% reliable (at least while the power is on...)

    Alex made habit of buying cheaply on Ebay busted Tivos (usually with fried modems or with no working hard disks) and then getting them sent here cheaply via parcel post (3 months door-to-door) then doing Tuner mods on them using Philips tuners sourced from TV cards - he did the original PALMOD tuner module for NZ TV channels, and left out the missing entry in it for VHF channel 4 (which is why Jaidevs Tivo currently doesn't get Channel 4 (TV2) on FTA).

    He would then onsell these Tivos to friends in Wellington - I don't know how many he sold but probably 3-6 in total. My second Tivo came this way via Alex in early 2001.

    We also had the first "networked" Tivos in NZ when we each bought (and Alex assembled) the "TivoNET" kits from 9th Tee based on Tridges original hardware hack for adding a NE200 (clone) network card to your Tivo.

    Alex also got us the first 3 of the first ever run of "Turbonet" boards from Jafa. The first run(s) of Turbonets were manufactured by a contract PCB maker/assembly company in East Tamaki in Auckland and I drove there and collected the first 3 Turbonet cards and sent Alex his ones via courier - he had his turbonet working the next day - long before anyone in the Tivoworld had theirs.

    Alex moved on from Tivo in 2002 after getting involved with the LinuxTV/MythTv driver development community and deciding that the future of DVRs is open sourced ones - he tells me that he still uses his original Tivo to record stuff from Saturn TV (with some guide data) buts that all.

    I then got an email from Daniel in December 2002 asking about making Tivo guide data in NZ for his (UK) Tivos. When I asked further where he sourced the UK Tivos from pointed me at (the then) just recently setup OzTivo mail list. Using the info there I obtained 2 UK Tivos in December 2002 when they were being "run out" at about UKP120 each [at not quite half price but close to it].

    Jaidev and I have talked about getting serious guide data slices under way for Auckland users only, on and off since he got his Tivo.

    The current techniques of guide data "how to" (including sources/screen scraping techniques, slice creation etc) were all worked out by lots of people during early-mid-2000, it just took a long time to find time & resources put them into practice in one package.

    Of course we didn't have the availability of always on ADSL back then so the ability to screen scrape multiple websites fastly and cheaply or distribute large slice files around easily didn't really come along until ADSL for the masses (aka home user) took off.

    As well without high-bandwidth links to your Tivos (courtesy of Turbonet cards) the process of automating the uploading of slices each day was a real hassle. Now that the Tivo Canada group has created an emulator for the Tivo to use thats taken care of that problem.

    So, for now, in theory its almost Prime Time for Tivo in NZ.

    All we need is way to easily create headends and lineups for everyone as required and then the skys the limit.

    Of course we also need to source an alternative to the current (run out) Series 1 Tivo models we get so cheap as the source of these will dry up eventually.

    I know that Oztivo guys are trying to hack the S2 Tivo for PAL operation, but not sucess yet (or only partial success so far).

    In the meantime a true (easy to hack) non-NTSC-only competitor to Tivo has yet to arrive. Humax and others have DVRs but none have the Tivo features in them yet and Skys own system is not even around the corner.

    Another future thing to consider looking at is that Sky Digital Satellite system is very similar to the DirectTV system in the US. So similar in fact (they use the same encryption technology for a start) that a (second) hacking project would be to hack the DirectTivos (as they are called) to work here - its not impossible as the hardware is up to it, all thats needed is some effort to plug it into a Sat dish pointing at Optus B1 (e.g. existing Sky dish) and it may just work out of the box. Ed has bought a DirectTivo with him from the US all it needs is for someone to ask him if they can borrow it for a bit to play with and see how far they get.

    Once this DirectTivo working then you could record two Sky channels at once (with a dual LNB setup), and you might even get full EPG info as well (albeit 7 days worth at the most).

    In theory you could even hack the Conditional Access system (as they have done in the US) to give you free Sky, although thats not the actual intended point to such a project.

    DirectTivos are pretty cheap these days and with all major Free-to-air channels available on Sky and with the availability of two tuner recording, you would need only 1 Tivo to do most of your TV watching.

  8. #8

    DirectTivo

    Hey number6. I'll give the DirectTivo a go! Asumming Ed lives in Auckland. I am always willing to try these things out!

    And thanks for the history, quiet interesting. I first saw a Tivo in the UK in 99, almost got one but got a PS2 instead (cost 300 POUNDS then!). After that I got interested in the bigger/second hard drive hacks, which at the time where such a big thing, look how far things have come now!

  9. #9
    nice history leason number6. just noobs following noobs from my point on eh..

    seriously finding info on nz tivo users wasn't easy. none of you bastards left much of an online trail (heh kidding k). so had no idea how far back it went although I had some existance of the activies of Alex, and Jaffa.

    Have also been contacted by several individuals who (claim to have been) using tivos for a couple of years and scrapping their own guide data for their own little communities, thnx for sharing u bastards is about what i usually say to them.

    thankyou for shedding some light number6 now if we could only get Jaffa's turbonet plans...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    570
    I doubt Sky will look into launching their own PVR box. There would be too much of an uproar from their advertisers (with customers being able to skip ads).

    I'm a TiVo user in Welly, using a Phillips HDR212 series 1 with Saturn Cable
    box (GI 3300). I know of 2 of my workmates intending to get a TiVo and another friend.

    A workmate actually put me onto the Listener article, which took me to Tim's website which led me to ordering my TiVo from George at Eksys. Can't live without it now.

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