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An alternative idea to a TiVO mini

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by buscuitboy, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Mar 13, 2013 #1 of 148
    buscuitboy

    buscuitboy New Member

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    Atlanta area
    OK, I was waiting for this TiVO Mini to come to the market before I moved on some other possible choices for having multiple live TVs in my home. Now that it has arrived, I might go another route.

    Instead of getting a mini; $99 lifetime a Series 3 TiVo (since I have a Premiere 2-tuner) that I recently obtained from Craigslist for $40. Then simply throw a cable card in it for $1.50/month. Will not only essentially have a live cable box (with its own dedicated tuner), but also additional storage for recording programs (that can be transferred as needed), Netflix access and ability to have pyTivo.

    I'm sure everybody's needs are different and you would probably go with a mini if you don't have a cable outlet nearby the needed TV. I personally am gonna try the above method for a guest bedroom that isn't used frequently, but what true benefit would a tivo mini have over just getting a cheap series 3 TiVo instead? Is it really just the fact that you would have a central access point (4-tuner Premier) to control all network activity? I also realize you can watch premium channels on a TiVo mini as opposed to them being blocked with my Comcast system.

    Maybe there are some other factors? Just curious.
     
  2. Mar 13, 2013 #2 of 148
    SugarBowl

    SugarBowl Member

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    As I understand it, you have to have a cable outlet (or Ethernet) for a mini to work.

    The premiere you have is capable of outputting on HDMI and component at the same time. I bought a 50ft component cable and routed to a 2nd TV, and use the iphone remote to control the TiVo.
     
  3. Mar 13, 2013 #3 of 148
    atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Active Member

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    Well multiple DVRs has always been a solution. My thoughts are:
    1. With multiple DVRs you have to manage 2 too do lists and deal with conflicts yourself
    2. If any of the DVRs are Series 3 then you can not stream between DVRs and some transfers (MRV) maybe restricted by your cable company
    3. With multiple DVRs you will have to pay for additional cable cards and perhaps other fees like an outlet fee
    4. On the plus side with multiple DVRs if one breaks you still have assess to cable via the other one.
    5. Also dual tuner Series 3 & Premiere DVRs will also do OTA which maybe import to some people.
    In the end what is the better solution is personal so just make the best decision for you.
     
  4. Mar 13, 2013 #4 of 148
    lessd

    lessd Active Member

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    1) Some people must pay $7 to $9 /month for the Cable card, a Mini does not need one
    2) The Mini does need a cable outlet, or a direct connection to your router to work, most people have more cable outlets than RJ45 outlets, you can't use any wireless setup with a Mini
    3) Both setups can watch premium channels if you are paying for them.
    4) Some cable systems need a tuner adapter, a Mini does not
    5) Your Series 3 uses more power, more noise, and because of the hard drive less long term reliability.
    6) Lifetime Series 3 (TiVo-HD) go for about $340 on E-Bay, so you could sell your Series 3 and sell your Series 4 for $540 for a total of about $800, Purchase a TP-4 + Mini for about $870. You would not need any Wireless adapter as both units can use the built in Moca.
     
  5. Mar 13, 2013 #5 of 148
    tatergator1

    tatergator1 Active Member

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    Another consideration of picking up the Mini versus a Series 3 box is the inability to use MRS between a Premiere and a Series 3. For anyone on Time Warner and a few other Cable companies, we're crippled by copy protection on all but the local broadcast channels. We'd be fine with another premiere, but even another Lifetimed 2-tuner is going to run you $400 (Tivo had such a deal several months ago on the 75hr Premiere). You'd save $150 with the Mini and still be able to have a multi-room experience not crippled by the copy protection.
     
  6. Mar 13, 2013 #6 of 148
    buscuitboy

    buscuitboy New Member

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    Atlanta area


    1. Yea, I thought about the additional cable card fees, but at only a $1.50/month for mine, it would take a LOT of months to break even versus the cost of a Mini with lifetime ($250). Hell, even if I didn't do lifetime on a mini, its still $6/month Mini vs $1.50/month S3 cable card. Also, about the same outlay for the equipment; $150 for S3 with lifetime (if able) vs $150 for mini.

      Yea, these are two additional advantages I didn't think of. Good points. Of course, I guess I would also ultimately lose some storage capacity, but you can't win them all :)

      This is another good option to possibly consider as well (since my Premiere is lifetimed).

      And I forgot that some sort of connection (coaxial or Ethernet) is still needed with the mini.

      As stated, I guess in the end what is the better solution is personal so just make the best decision for you (especially if you have to pay $7-9/month extra for each cable card).
     
  7. Mar 13, 2013 #7 of 148
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    The Mini is designed to be part of a whole home solution where you have one central TiVo that does all the recording and then spread these Mini thin clients around the house everywhere you want to watch that content. It's main advantages are that it's cheaper then buying a second TiVo and that it can borrow a tuner from the host TiVo for live TV so there is no need for an additional CableCARD or outlet fee.

    If you don't see any advantage to those features, and can get a second TiVo cheap enough, then that is a viable option. However I would recommend sticking to Premiere units. The ability to stream recordings between TiVos is only supported by Premiere units. And the old MRV method of copying shows between units is slow and crippled by copy protection.
     
  8. Mar 13, 2013 #8 of 148
    geekmedic

    geekmedic TiVo Fanatic TCF Club

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    Atlanta, GA USA
    Are you sure about that cost of the additional CableCard? We're in the same market, and I was charged $9.95/month two years ago when I had a CableCard for another device. Of course you may not be a Comcast customer, but they have the majority of the market in Atlanta.

    The Mini is a great device. Love the ability to pause TV in our living room and then go to the master bedroom and resume TV.

    My coax outlet is on the other side of the room. I ran the cable underneath the baseboard so it's unnoticeable. I have a MoCA bridge in my office, but once I have ethernet wired to the living room, I plan to use the XL4 as a MoCA bridge. The MoCA is pretty fast. No lag times whatsoever in streaming live or recorded content to the Mini.

    I'm planning on purchasing an additional Mini to go in my office, and if TiVo allows dynamic tuner support, I probably will buy another 4 (one for the home theater room to be built soon and 3 for the guest bedrooms).
     
  9. Mar 13, 2013 #9 of 148
    swerver

    swerver Member

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    Here's my proposed workaround - I know people are doing this already but now that no 2 tuner support in the future is confirmed, and I already own a roku, I'm going to try kmttg auto-transfers using KUID flag. kmttg will copy to server when I flag a show as KUID, then roku can view these recordings via plex channel. This gets me pretty close to what the mini offers, with the exception of live tv, and it's free in my case since I already own roku and server. Any issues with my plan, please advise.

    I like the cheap tivo plan but my goal is to not give comcast any extra money and here they charge a lot for a 2nd cable card so that's out for me.
     
  10. Mar 13, 2013 #10 of 148
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    The biggest issues with your plan...

    1) Copyright. Only shows that are not protected can be transferred to a PC. There is no obvious way to tell from the TiVo itself whether a show is protected or not. The Mini, or a second TiVo, can stream and show from another TiVo regardless of it's copyright setting.

    2) Convenience. You can't transfer a show to a PC until it has finished recording. Streaming works even with in-process recordings.

    3) Speed. TiVo to PC transfers are slow, then even after it's done you have to wait for kmttg to decrypt the show before you can play via Plex.

    With two Premiere units, or a Premiere/Mini combo, you simply pull up the other TiVo's My Shows list, highlight the show you want to watch and press play. It instantly starts playing the show with full FF/RW capabilities. It's virtually identical to the experience of sitting in front of that TiVo and using it directly.
     
  11. Mar 13, 2013 #11 of 148
    swerver

    swerver Member

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    May 18, 2012
    Thanks for the feedback. While I am unlucky enough to have to pay a lot for additional cable cards, I am also lucky enough to have everything except premium channels unprotected. As for 2 and 3, I'd like to have those features but in exchange for no additional money from me to anyone? I can live with it.

    Given my setup, (2 tvs, generally only one being used, one tivo) running a 2nd video line from my tivo to my other tv and using wifi remotes sounds pretty appealing. But that's gonna involve some holes in walls so will try the server/roku option first.
     
  12. Mar 13, 2013 #12 of 148
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Can you always get the $99 Lifetime deal?
     
  13. Mar 14, 2013 #13 of 148
    Finalrinse

    Finalrinse New Member

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    S.E. Michigan
    I ordered a TiVo Mini yesterday for the master bedroom. I currently have a Comcast DVR in there that I'm paying $9.95 per month for, plus I hate the user interface. The Comcast DVR is going back to save the $9.95 towards the Mini. I currently have two TiVo's with cable cards and the cards are free. This will be perfect for me
     
  14. Mar 14, 2013 #14 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I was interested in the mini but after talking to TiVo yesterday, it's a non starter. If you already have multiple tivos in the home, the mini unfortunately can only see content on the one host it is using for the tuner. If it weren't for that I'd be interested. However based on that, it's a non starter and i would never consider it. I'm not sure why TiVo chose to implement it that way but I can't imagine somebody with multiple tivos really being interested for any reason than just to jump on the bandwagon. I don't know why TiVo could not at least match the capabilities of the cable companies in this case.
     
  15. Mar 14, 2013 #15 of 148
    jjd_87

    jjd_87 Member

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    Not true. You can stream content from any Premier/S4 box on your network. You just need a P4/4XL to set up the Mini
     
  16. Mar 14, 2013 #16 of 148
    news4me2

    news4me2 Member

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    I think it would be great if TiVo sold subscriptions for the Mini software so it could just be run from the Roku box...
     
  17. Mar 14, 2013 #17 of 148
    JoeTaxpayer

    JoeTaxpayer Member

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    $99? Congrats. Comcast charges me $7.45 for the 'outlet fee' and the card is free (wahoo). The $1.50 only applies if one appliance needs two cards. So for me, the first TiVo is part of the cable package, but each additional one is $7.45 (except for a series 2 that runs off a DTA, that's $1.99)

    An uncarded 3 would let me move shows, but nothing 'live.' I'm considering this option for the basement, where I have a treadmill, and never channel surf. But, I digress.
     
  18. Mar 15, 2013 #18 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I was very very explicit in my discussions with TiVo. They insisted, two days ago, with two different reps on two different calls, that your statement is incorrect. Specifically, they insisted that the mini could only see content on the xl4 that it was using as the tuner host. When asked independently, they said that if you had another premier on your network, you would need to stream from that premier to the host xl4 for you to view it through the mini.

    I can provide date/time of each call. So, either TiVo sales is broken or their product is subject to this disadvantage. I'd like to know which. Obviously neither is good. Frankly, both reps said that they had worked with the technology in their demo lab but both seemed to have a flawed description of streaming to begin with.
     
  19. Mar 15, 2013 #19 of 148
    jjd_87

    jjd_87 Member

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    Read the boards. Its here, you can stream from any Premiere on your network. If it streams from Premiere to XL4/4 to Mini or Premiere directly to Mini, I dunno. But it works. There is so much false info about this product and so many pissy people about the price and what it does/doesn't do.
     
  20. Mar 15, 2013 #20 of 148
    wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I would prefer to get confirmation from TiVo rather than an unofficial board. Where is the clear TiVo documentation that shows this.

    Let me be clear.

    If you have an xl4 and 2 premiers, and then you add a mini, I assume the mini will consume one of 4 tuners on the xl4. Will the mini be able to natively see and play all recorded content on ALL of the tivos?

    2 different TiVo sales people at TiVo said explicitly NO. They said that the TiVo mini will only see content that is on the "host" xl4.

    This is not being pissy. It is called being thorough and pragmatic. I think asking a basic question like this of the people who design and sell the device is quite reasonable.
     

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