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Considering my first TiVo - questions

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by fjc, May 2, 2013.

  1. May 2, 2013 #1 of 31
    fjc

    fjc New Member

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    Apr 30, 2013
    For 10 years now, I've used SageTV on my own hardware for my DVR, recording both OTA for HD, and analog cable for the few cable shows I'd record.

    I've used a cable set-top box for general cable TV watching. Over the years I've started wanting to record more and more HD cable shows (and the analog cable disappeared), so I got a DVR from my cable provider (Scientific Atlanta HD8300 from WOW - Wide Open West).

    So, we've been stuck switching inputs on the TV and managing recordings in two places. I'm considering ditching SageTV (which Google bought years ago, and is now unsupported), ditching the HD8300, and getting a Premiere XL4 box. Some questions:

    1) Since this will replace my cable box, how is the TiVo for general channel-surfing of live tv? Is it very slow when hitting the up/down channel buttons, compared to the HD8300?

    2) Is it possible/easy to just type in a channel number to jump to it, as we often do now? For example, the wife just knows that 217 is the channel for Food Network, she can grab the Harmony One remote and type in 217 and boom she's at Food Network. Does this work similarly on the TiVo if you're watching live tv?

    Thanks,
    FJC
     
  2. May 2, 2013 #2 of 31
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only

    5,825
    54
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Channel surfing is about the same as most newer digital TVs. I seldon use it since I have 300+ channels and the TiVo guide allows me to keep my Favorites at 20.

    Yes, with the cable card you can select any channel, Favorite or not.

    First: how does your cable company feel about a cable card ($). You will want one. The TiVo has a 30 day return policy. Is there a "service tier" for the food channel? Is it an HD channel? Is ......?

    Too many variables. All cable is local. Add your location to your User CP. Zipcode works.
     
  3. May 2, 2013 #3 of 31
    fjc

    fjc New Member

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    Apr 30, 2013
    Thanks! Shouldn't be any problem getting a cable card from my provider (Wide Open West) - they charge $3.50/month for them.

    I'm assuming that any channels I can see with my current service (which is pretty much every digital HD channel they offer, plus HBO, but not Cinimax/Showtime) would just instantly be available on any cable card I rent, and thus visible to the TiVo.
     
  4. May 2, 2013 #4 of 31
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only

    5,825
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    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Ask them. All cable is local. Also, if you have a "package" and go "A la carte", will your monthly charge go up? Ask them.
     
  5. May 2, 2013 #5 of 31
    fjc

    fjc New Member

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    Apr 30, 2013
    I'm not sure where al a carte comes in - I have one of their big package, plus HBO - don't plan to change that at all, just plan to get a cable card for a TiVo and give them back their DVR box. :)

    I'm pretty sold on replacing my fragmented setup with TiVo products, though that darned service charge for the Mini is giving me pause. To recreate/surpass what I've had in the past with the SageTV setup (and its extenders), I really think I need two TiVo's (an XL4 and maybe a 4), plus a mini or two. The Stream might be nice as well, as we do have a few iOS devices.

    Pricey for all of that! I might just get an XL4 and a Stream to start out with, then add on if it works well for me.
     
  6. May 2, 2013 #6 of 31
    mr_smits

    mr_smits New Member

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    Dec 17, 2009
    Rumor has it Tivo is releasing a new box late this year or sometime in 2014. It is likely a 4 tuner cable/ota box and could be a 6 tuner cable only box. Not sure if you need 8 tuners or 6 could suffice.
     
  7. May 2, 2013 #7 of 31
    waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

    12,063
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    Nov 9, 2002
    Seven...
    Personally I am much happier with TiVo than Scientific Atlanta DVR. I switched out probably 4 or 5 years ago so maybe they have improved.

    The DVR functionality of TiVo is so much better. Plus I like the search functions and Wish list options.

    The only drawback I see with TiVo is you can't get Video On Demand content from your cable provider. That's not a big deal for me. (You can get Netflix and Amazon on TiVo)

    And yes, you just enter the number of the channel you want to tune to to view that channel. Very easy. You can hit the enter button and it will switch right away or wait one second for it to realize you are done entering and it switches automatically. This is what I do and I think it is still pretty fast.
     
  8. May 2, 2013 #8 of 31
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only

    5,825
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    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    You should ask if your package will be affected if you give back their DVR box. It might be part of a bundle and, since you haven't added your location or provider, it's hard to see what might happen. It could be cheaper to just add the cable card. My bill increased by $5 a month when I gave back my STB because I was no longer in a bundle of services. Or you could just wait until your bill arrives.
     
  9. May 2, 2013 #9 of 31
    fjc

    fjc New Member

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    Apr 30, 2013
    Most of the time, 3 tuners is enough - but there are times that I've needed 4. Throw a Mini into the mix and one 4-tuner Premiere won't quite suit my needs.

    I'm tempted to try a single XL4 for now, see how I like things, then hold out for the new box later in the year to add to the mix.
     
  10. fjc

    fjc New Member

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    Apr 30, 2013
    Excellent, thanks for the info on channel-switching. Lack of on demand is a concern, but not a huge one. I may have to keep a cable box around (non-DVR version) for those rare times that we want to watch on-demand.
     
  11. fjc

    fjc New Member

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    Apr 30, 2013
    Thanks, I'll definitely check on that. I have mentioned my provider (WOW - Wide Open West), but not my location - I'm in Southeast Michigan. I'll likely call them later today to find out if it will mess up my package deal, and how I go about getting a card if/when I order a TiVo.
     
  12. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay

    6,739
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    Apr 6, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    You had mentioned OTA, the Premiere 4 tuner models (4 and 4XL) does not tune to any OTA channels, only digital cable. If you want OTA with cable, you would need the 2 tuner models. Also, you would not even need to switch inputs each time you go OTA < - > cable.
     
  13. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

    5,427
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    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    You could keep Sage for OTA and use the XL4 for cable. Where in SE Michigan? Everywhere that I know of is Comcast out there, except for one town that has BrightHouse for reasons unknown.

    The Minis are a one-time fee of $250 ($100 for hardware and $150 for lifetime service). Well worth it to make a whole-home system.
     
  14. mattack

    mattack Active Member

    20,750
    4
    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    Well, "instantly" *after* the cablecard is properly set up/linked/activated to your account.

    That *SHOULD* be simple, but some people have had problems. (I didn't have a problem in the past, but apparently am at my new house, though as I noted in another thread, it actually seems to be the same issue I'm seeing currently, but hadn't dealt with since I knew I was moving.)
     
  15. fjc

    fjc New Member

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    Apr 30, 2013
    Thanks everyone, I've decided to give it a go. Called up my cable provider and ordered a cablecard. They are shipping it to me, 5-7 days delivery, then I call to activate it once I have it in the device. They verified that it won't mess up my package pricing, it just adds $3.50/month to my bill. When I get this all running, I can then drop off my old DVR and they'll take that off my bill.

    After ordering the cablecard, I ordered one of the Premiere XL4 bundles with the TiVo Stream. Once I get that all working and see how I like it, I'll decide if I need a second TiVo, and/or how many Mini's to go with it.
     
  16. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only

    5,825
    54
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Very good. From personal experience: you don't need the cable card to use the TiVo, but you may want it if you get tired of error messages. I had my Premiere for a month, with service activation, before I rented the card. If your cable feed passes the PSIP you may not get errors.

    As with others, I was lucky enough to plug it in and make the call. I did have to rescan to get the additional channels provided by the card but that was a one time action. I can't scan anymore which is normal with a cable card. Have fun.
     
  17. pmiranda

    pmiranda New Member

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    Feb 12, 2003
    Austin, TX
    I don't know if TW uses them in your area but you might need to get a tuning adaptor, too. It's usually free.
    Without a cablecard, you're generally stuck with OTA channels and maybe a few basic cable channels.
    They're always happy to rent you the extra cablecard, but dropping the DVR (and especially if you drop their boxes entirely) that coul run afoul of any pricelock or package discount you might have.
     
  18. fjc

    fjc New Member

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    Apr 30, 2013
    My provider dropped analog over a year ago, and sends everything digitally, with only the lower-end SD channels (which I never watch) unencrypted - so I pretty much need the cablecard if the TiVo is going to see any of the digital HD channels I watch.
     
  19. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only

    5,825
    54
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    So did mine but the first 23 are analog, not SD. I still get SD clear basic digital cable (like the food channel) but only the "locals" are HD. Did I mention that all cable is local? Just over the hill my mother has the same cable company but a different headend. For $20 a month she gets the 23 analog channels and just the "local" HD networks. At 85 she wouldn't know HD if it fell on her. My sister has dish. I think my cable has better PQ but it's not portable like the dish. In my small burg you either have a dish or cable. OTA is impossible. Your cable company seems nice. At least they don't ignore clear QAM.
     
  20. PGHammer

    PGHammer New Member

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    Dec 11, 2011
    Accokeek,...
    My cable provider (Comcast) kicked analog too throughout my region (Beltway Region - yes, exactly what it sounds like) - locals and limited basic (both SD and HD) are sent in the clear. CableCARDs cost nothing, and can be picked up from local offices. Pairing a CableCARD and a Premiere (unless the card itself is bad) is as easy as it gets - to be safe, if at all possible get a NEW (still in the package) CableCARD. I put it in and followed the Quick Setup Guide packaged with the Premiere (modified only because I had to physically move it to download the Guide info for the first time) which basically walked me through everything - including giving me the correct number for Comcast to activate it. I use mine as an HD STB - no DVRing here.
     

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