Simple.TV: The Whole Planet DVR

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Simple.TV: The Whole Planet DVR
Price: $99.99
Shipping Options:: $5 Standard OR $10 Two-Day OR $20 One-Day
Shipping Estimates: Ships in 1-2 days (Tuesday, Dec 30 to Wednesday, Dec 31) + transit
Condition: New

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Amazon reviews

anyone own this? every single time it’s on woot, all the negative amazon reviews keep me from pulling the trigger.

most people complain about the tuner being sub par and picking up a quarter of the channels their actual tv is capable of.

Since it can’t use an m-card it will be worthless for most cable providers in America.

This is what you probably want: http://www.amazon.com/SiliconDust-HDHomeRun-Compatible-Streaming-HDHR3-CC/dp/B004HKIB6E/

thanks for the advice - but i don’t pay for cable/satellite. strictly ota and netflix/prime.

i don’t think i worded my question well.

on the amazon reviews the complaints are with the tuner and ota programming. for whatever reason the majority seem to say with the exact same setup as their tv (same location/antenna) this product only tunes 1/4 of the ota programming

wasnt sure if anyone else who owns this w/ an ota setup had success

Okay, so i’ll start off with saying that my usage is a little different than most: I have it hooked up at a college campus with its clear QAM cable. That out of the way…

I own both version 1 (white) and version 2, this one. Version 1 picks up a very small number of the potential channels abailable, but I am pretty sure this is simply because it is not looking in the higher channels, again due to my unusual usage. I have not experienced this with version 2.

In general, I would say my biggest complaints are the apps. The android app seems really slow to browse, while the Roku app is next to useless for live TV (it skips a random assortment of channels). However, iOS, Android and Roku are all excellent for playback of recorded material. For example, I am visiting relatives on the west coast. On the way to the ski slopes, I pulled out my phone and set the Simple.TV to record the big game back home. After I got back from skiing, I was able to enjoy the recording in decent quality.

Other minor annoyances: if there is a way to skip forward 30 seconds in a recording in the roku app, I haven’t found it. Would be helpful for skipping commercials. And there is no preview in fast forward, so… You basically either watch the commercials or guess.

Occasionally my hard drive will go offline. I bought the cheapest one I could find, so this is probably on me.

You can download the recordings you make IF you are on the same network as the Simple.TV. so it won’t let me download the aforementioned game from across the country, I have to stream it.

And there’s the subscription. I didn’t check if this comes with one, but keep in mind, to use it to its fullest, you need a subscription. They have yearly and lifetime options. I got a lifetime, as it came with the V.1 sold by woot a while back, and it applies to all your devices. Just something to keep in mind.

Overall, the product is not without its faults, and I can not speak to its use over the air. If you are trying to stream a cable box, you probably want an HDHomeRun for local streaming, or a slingbox for long distance. But in general, I have been relatively happy with the $135 I paid for it from NewEgg. Granted, I already had $150 or so sunk into the first version (which worked poorly for me) and subscription, so I figured why not. You may chose differently

Tons of “1” stars reviews at mother ship (Amazon).

Running themes:

  • very bad tuner
  • returned unit but new one had same problem
  • very bad email-driven tech support

Looks like apps have good features but the tuner problems make it a non-starter.

Comments from a previous offer

Well I’m more upset that I bought the damn thing for $10 cheaper from here the last time it was offered and didn’t get the lifetime premier membership; that sucks more than anything.

I have the original version 1 (white) and initially I was pleased with the simplicity and features. I planned to use it like a sling box and a TiVo. The first recording went pretty well but after that, subsequent attempts resulted in partial recordings and most of the time I was told that it couldn’t receive a signal from the station I was trying to record from. So now it just sits in the corner collecting dusts. This is the new version so hopefully they’ve worked out some of the kinks.

I had one of these before I moved (can’t do OTA at the new place). It was really awful early on (almost returned it but didn’t because I’m lazy). But, after a couple of updates they fixed the bugs and it started working really well. Clearly just something that was launched without enough testing being done (same with half of the other tech crap I own, so whatever). One thing I did find is that it really doesn’t work well with too much amplification. If you have an amplified antenna and live close to the broadcast towers, you might need to unplug the amplifier or add an attenuator to get the signal down and then it will work a lot better. The antenna I was using would have no signal at all if the amp was unplugged, so I bought a 10dB coax attenuator online for a couple bucks and it went from like 8 channels that were mostly junk to 40 or 50 including all the networks. Once the signal was fixed the reception was the same as my TV.

awesome, thanks for the tip!

if i pull the trigger i’ll at least have a use for the attenuators i bulk ordered when i was battling charters extremely strong signal into my cable modem.

Having a hard time finding specs - does it record in full HD (1920x1080)? How does it look when playing back on a regular HDTV?

Thanks!

Total junk.

Locks up every 12 hours, fan runs at top speed 24/7/365, support is nonexistent.

Don’t waste your money. I did, and I sincerely regret it.

I owned this and had to get it returned under the lemon law. I went through 4 of them in just a short time. They overheat and quit working in a short time. There was promise of being able to download items that were recorded and I could not get my stuff downloaded and the tech support never had an answer and I lost my son’s wedding.

I would not recommend buying this, unless you wish headaches, no answers from tech support and when you do get answers, they are usually very generic. Reboot, reboot, reboot.

I’ve got 2 of the version 1 boxes (the white ones). The first one came with the lifetime subscription, which applies to your account with SimpleTV, not just the box. That meant when I bought the second one from ebay for $50 bucks I could just add it to my lifetime account.

I haven’t had any problems pulling in all of the channels. My setup is an outdoor antenna feeding by SimpleTV, one which uses a 2TB hard drive and the other which is running off of a 64gb flash drive that I had lying around (a Microcenter branded one). I access the hard drives via a roku on each TV. This works very well, with very little buffering most of the time, unless I am taxing my home network with something else large going on. All 40-something channels in my are come in, though I had it ignore the ones in languages that I don’t understand.

Since I have a tuner in each box, and the boxes don’t see each other, I have to manually manage around any conflicts. It’s not a big deal, but does require a few extra steps

My wife, who is a self-admitted techtard, is the primary use of this and is generally able to use this with no issues. Occasionally it hangs up, causing a large blue light to stay lit all of the time (not just the blue power light). This happens perhaps every couple of months on one box, never on the other one. I’ve learned to just power-cycle the box when this happens, and it clears easily.

We don’t take advantage of the remote viewing (slingbox-like) capabilities very often. We use the box like an OTA Tivo. For this, it does a reasonably good job.

If I didn’t already have 2 of the one-tuner boxes, I would jump at this deal. I was buying just at the time that the 2 tuner box was being announced, and couldn’t justify paying 3 times as much for a second tuner. If I didn’t have one at all, the 2 tuners AND a lifetime subscription would be too much to pass up.

BUYER BEWARE - Last time offered for $89 I bought one. It arrived as a refurbed item. I wanted to return it for a new one as the listing stated it was new.

No luck, woot said none were available. So I asked for a 30% discount, since that is my usual starting price point when considering a refurb.

Again they said no, the best they could do is a $10 refund which I accepted.

Since it’s still unused in the box (was intended as a christmas present), I should now return it after buying today’s “new” dvr listing.

After all, today’s item is new, right Woot???

I own seven Simple TV DVRs – two of these and five of the single tuner models. Patrick Nugent (of Simple TV) says I own more than any person who is not an employee of the company. I was very reluctant to bite on this model due to its reliance on fans for cooling, but, having owned one since last July, and two since October, I have found the hardware to be very reliable.

Note the perforated cover on the offered DVR. That distinguishes it as the second generation of the two tuner model. The first release of this model had no vents on top which caused it to retain heat which caused the fan to spin continuously which consumed the lubricant which made the fans noisy and led to premature failure of the fan then the DVR. That is a big reason for negative reviews. The fans are audible in a quiet room, but not if there is a television running at a reasonable volume. I keep mine in the basement.

Let’s talk about DVRs for a minute. There are two distinct categories of DVRs. There is an interactive DVR – one you use to pause, rewind, fast forward, slow mo, and otherwise manipulate a program which is currently playing. I have one of these on every television and recommend the Channel Master DVR+ for OTA’ers. They are great for ad hoc recording, but are generally useful only at the television they are plugged into. These set top DVRs are also kind of expensive. Neither Simple nor Tablo are particularly good for this purpose. Their tuners are slower to change channels and they require a set top device (roku, etc.) to get the information to the television. Their user interface relies on that device. If you use a Roku, you get to navigate a sea of tiles rather than a nice grid guide.

The Simple and Tablo DVRs are whole house DVRs. You stick them in the basement, program their recordings with a nice guide, and watch the recordings on up to six devices concurrently. That’s what they do best.

Besides streaming to a Roku, these devices can stream to a phone, tablet, or PC. These devices can be on your WLAN or at a remote location. For instance, I have watched live television on a laptop using free airport wifi and I have watched my live and recorded shows via a Roku at my mother’s house. This works very well and I think it’s worth having a Simple.TV DVR even if you only use it for this purpose.

If your situation is such that you have television channels in two directions, these are an alternative to an AB switch or a rotor. You might put one on one antenna and call it Boston and another on a second antenna and call it Portland then choose the DVR via the application.

You can also download recordings as MP4 files for playback on just about anything.

This DVR requires some kind of subscription service. Supposedly, the basic/free service gives you access to the tuner, but all the fun (Whole-planet Remote Access, Automatic Series Recordings, Pause & Resume) begins with their premier service. That service, which costs $150 purchased separately, is included with this purchase.

You have to provide your own storage in the form of a usb disk. This seems to be less of a problem with the current DVRs than the single tuner model. People have used 5t disks. I mostly use 2-4t Western Digital MyBook type powered disks. I have some information on disks that are known to work [uel=https://freetvforme.wordpress.com/simple-dvr-tips]here.

Most people’s major complaint with this DVR is customer support. I have been very disappointed with Simple support. The documentation is sparse, the support site is inaccurate, and email support is sporadic. Worse, they don’t seem to know any more about the product than I do. The best help has come from the user community. I hope this changes. It’s easy to see how nontechnical users could become frustrated.

If you get one of these, join us on their user forums. All the experts are there…

http://community.simple.tv

Installation is a breeze, but when there are problems, troubleshooting is a challenge due to sparse documentation and lack of support. Most problems are security or network related as the use of this device is a collaboration between your local hardware and their remote servers. If your router or PC is configured for unusual security, you may be blocking communication between your stuff and theirs. Everything works best with Chrome. If you have problems, visit that community for help.

You Will Love the Simple DVR If…

  • Your home is situated such that television signals come from multiple directions. Instead of using a rotor or combiner, you can install one or more DVRs for each market and access the antennas via a Roku.
  • Your home is not pre-wired with coax. Run coax from the antenna to your router and install the Simple DVR(s) next to the router.
  • You have to have a television where no one thought to install coax. A Roku brings live tv to your remote television.
  • You want to watch tv by the pool or on the deck. Simple can stream to a laptop, a tablet, or a wireless Roku by the pool.
  • Your remote vacation home does not have television but does have internet access.
  • You travel a lot and hate infomercials.
  • All your favorite shows air when you are at work.
  • You want to share antennas with a friend in a different market

You May Not Love the Simple DVR If…

  • You have poor broadcast reception
  • You need visual cues when fast forwarding or rewinding a program
  • You have a poor network in your home

My biggest concern with recommending this woot is that the blowout prices and lack of support leave me a little concerned about the future of a product that relies on servers supported by a company which may be on the verge of liquidation. I feel like that risk is worth taking considering how much you get for $90. A two tuner tablo with lifetime will set you back $350.

I own 2 of the gen 1 white models with lifetime subscription.

I use for OTA purposes, one for my use to watch and stream live tv and one to feed tv to my 82 year old mother in a different state who cannot afford cable or satellite (neither can I). She uses Roku to watch which isnt the best interface but she also watches simple.tv on her chromebook which is now supported by using the Beta player

With recent firmware update the white gen1 products reliability and performance has improved.

I still get occasional buffering messages or signal message problems on fringe channels with live tv though I feel its best to record a show THEN watch it later.

I am 40 miles away from broadcast towers in central FL and I have an antenna mounted outside and I get 45 channels. I use RG6 cabling and my antenna is an old Philips Mant 940 mounted on a old satellite dish bracket on my facia. I extended the height with 6 feet of PVC pipe… its about 18’ in the air.

The one being sold today is the gen 2 vers 2 with improved cooling. Since this gen and version most complaints mentioned here are no longer occurring. The users on the simple.tv community forum (URL posted above in expert wizwor post) say the gen 2 tuners are much better tuner sensitivity than the white gen 1 models I have. I suspect its the same type of ATSC tuner built by hdhomerun used in their other products.

My 82 year old mom who is in no means technically savvy uses the roku but prefers the chromebook interface which is same interface found in chrome browser on your pc. Other than the occasional signal lapse or buffer messages when watching live tv she has found best experience to be to record and watch later

I prefer the chrome interface over the other, then android then lastly Roku

I think this gen2.2 version being sold here is much better device than than the first gen 2 device that the tons of negative reviews you see posted are for

Wizwor above is the premium user experience and has tons of knowledge with cord cutting and using the simple.tv products, he has postings to his blog you should read if cutting the cord, his blog has everything you need to know about cord cutting you should check it out

My thoughts on succesful usage of this product:

  1. Make sure you have a good antenna and cabling infrastructure. This is very important, I feel alot of people with negative reviews did not.

  2. Use chrome browser for the best user interface with great guide and maintainability (setup must be done with chrome browser on pc)

  3. Probably best to record and the watch the program later but

As long as this is the gen 2.2 model and you follow the advice above I think you will have a better experience than previous gen 2.1 users have reported