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Help me choose a new old TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by murgatroyd, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

    Jan 5, 2002
    Berkeley CA
    The Olympics are coming up, so it's time to think about buying another TiVo.

    I'm on Comcast with all-digital cable (Motorola head-end). We have slowish-DSL. I have one TiVoHD. Our TV is SD, so we wouldn't be using the HDUI.

    Budget (not counting service) is $150.00.

    What I need: basic TiVo functionality. I don't do Netflix or Hulu; I don't have a smartphone; I don't need a multi-room solution. I just want more tuners, and the basic record-watch- delete or archive TiVo stuff. I do archive, especially for the Olympics (using kmttg/VideoReDo TVSuite).

    So here's what I'm looking at:

    1. The Premiere ($49.99)
    2. The Premiere 4 ($124.99, or $99 for the refurb)
    3. The Premiere 4 XL refurb ($149.99)
    4. (the wildcard) Humax DRT400 from Weaknees ($149.00)
    5. used TiVoHD off eBay?
    6. Romio Basic?

    Obvious advantages are:
    • For the two-tuner Premiere: it's cheap.
    • For the P4 -- more tuners, and if we retired the HD, we'd only have one monthly service charge instead of 2.
    • For the P4XL -- the same, with more space on the drive.

    However, if the performance is flaky and I miss the recordings I want, none of the other specs really matter.

    Obvious disadvantages:
    • Any functions that are only available on the HDUI are off-limits
    • Premieres are older technology, thus not as future-proofed as buying a new Roamio
    • Refurbs are refurbed for a reason - do I want to buy someone else's problem?

    So: which one do I want? Or should I scrape the couch cushions for the extra $50 and buy a new Romio instead?

    Which TiVo is best at doing basic TiVo stuff, and is the least likely to flake out on me?

    Edited to add: I need 2 more tuners, to make about 100 hours of recordings. With the Romio deals bringing the base Romio into my budget, it's looking like the best candidate, but I'd still appreciate any tips or things to watch out for. Thanks!
  2. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    At $150 on Amazon, I'd buy the base Roamio over any Premiere every day of the week, even with just an SD TV. It's much more enjoyable to use. Less storage space than an XL4, but I will keep the hair on my head a little longer.

    If you prefer, Best Buy will price match the $150 and you might also get a $50 gift card with it to boot.
  3. sbourgeo

    sbourgeo Hepcat Daddio

    Nov 10, 2000
    New England
    I'm pretty sure the base Roamio is HDMI only, which could be a problem with an SDTV. Other than that potential pitfall, I'd agree that getting the Roamio would make the most sense.
  4. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    It has a port for a breakout cable for composite audio/video. (i.e. red/white/yellow) You can get a cable that works on ebay for $5...

  5. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Active Member

    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
  6. sbourgeo

    sbourgeo Hepcat Daddio

    Nov 10, 2000
    New England
    Ah, didn't know that. That would be enough to push me toward the $150 Roamio.
  7. waterchange

    waterchange Member

    Jun 29, 2010
    PM the Amazon $149 Roamio at BestBuy and get $50 Best Buy gift card. If there's nothing else you need at BestBuy, buy a $50 Kindle gift card and spend the funds anywhere on Amazon. Effectively a $100 base Roamio.
  8. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Active Member

    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    The Roamio is definitely the way to go.
  9. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
  10. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Active Member

    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    I have not actually tried it with the TiVo, no. But I did buy this adapter to use with a Samsung TV that uses the same type of combined input for composite audio and video. I think the 3.5mm jack is fairly standard for this type of application so it SHOULD work, but as I have not tried it with a TiVo myself I can't guarantee that it will.
  11. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

    Jun 5, 2000
    Southern Calif.
    I would get the 4-tuner base Roamio. If you are concerned that its 500 GB drive is too small, then get a 3 TB hard drive and swap it in before powering it up for the first time. Swapping in a new hard drive before you use it means you won't lose any shows. Putting a 3 TB drive in it means you have space to transfer your old shows from your series 3 HD, then retire the HD to save the monthly fee, plus get some money back by selling the HD.

    NOTE: Roamios require a network connection. They have no phone line connection. Also, the default Roamio remote control setup is to work via RF, but can be switched to IR mode to work like older TiVos do.
  12. mattack

    mattack Active Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I think you can still turn off the HDUI on the Premiere 4, so I'd vote for that. (I only skimmed, others seemed to ignore the part about not using HD UI.. Yes, it gets VERY cranky if the internet connection is slow/flaky.)

    I actually have a lifetime Premiere 4 that I intend to eventually sell now that I have a Roamio.. Make me an offer..

    Even if you don't buy mine, *for your unique situation*, I'd recommend the P4. Otherwise, I'd recommend a 6 tuner Roamio.
  13. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Apparently Apple innovated the idea of not putting ground where everybody else had been putting it for the past half century or longer, so now you can't just look at a tip-ring1-ring2-sleeve plug and be sure of the pinout anymore.
  14. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

    Jan 5, 2002
    Berkeley CA
    So -- all the weird reboot issues and other things that plagued the four-tuner Premieres when they first came out have been resolved? The cablecard weirdness is only with the Cisco headends? How likely will it be that the Olympic recordings will be copy-protected?

    I suppose one cheap but ugly option might be to get something from Comcast, and switch all my watch-and-dump recordings to it, freeing up the TiVoHD for the Olympics. Then take the Comcast box back after the Olympics are over. :p

    Edited to add: And now I've visited TiVo.com enough in the past week that I'm seeing a banner ad for a special Romio upgrade offer.

    P.S. to Dan203: I own a WD TV Live, so I probably have that cable already.

    Thanks to everybody for reminding me to check the connections, though.
  15. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

    May 30, 2008
    Comcast usually only copy protects the Premium channels like HBO.
  16. lgnad

    lgnad Pantless Mofo

    Feb 14, 2013
    I know I'm mostly repeating others here, but if you go with the Roamio:

    -Greatly improved speed/responsiveness of the interface, launching apps, etc
    -future-proofing yourself, as eventually the Premiers are going to stop getting features that are on the newer units.
    -Roamio has drop-in drive upgrades. Premiers require work to prep drives.
    -RF-based remote, built-in wifi -gravy
    -Retain the option to cable-cut (not that you mentioned this as a parameter)
    -Ability to host a Mini down the road (4-tuner Premiers can also support em of course)

    If you get the deal at Bestbuy, (Price-match to Amazon for $150+ $50 gift card) you can use the $50 gift card towards a bigger drive. (Swap the bestbuy gift card for a Kindle card and use it towards a drive from Amazon up to 3gb)
  17. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    If 2 tuners is enough and given your basic requirements, I'd vote for a used TiVo HD from eBay with lifetime for $200-$250.

  18. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    Feb 4, 2008
    Does your old box have lifetime? You may want to look through the $99 lifetime threads to see if you can get a Roamio and a deal that would let you sell the older box at a premium to off-set the costs of a new tivo.

    Your paranoia over performance is just that. Read through any forum for a product and you see the stories of things go wrong, not the silent majority without issues who never visit the site and just enjoy the product.
  19. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

    Jan 5, 2002
    Berkeley CA
    There's also the promo code which went out to TiVo Advisory Panel members; that showed up in my email today.

    And I didn't mention it before, but yes, retaining the option to cable-cut is a plus.

    No, the HD is on month-to-month. I have lifetime on one of my older boxes.

    And I'm well aware that the people who have a problem make the most noise, so the problems seem worse than they actually are. That's why I started the thread, to get feedback from everyone else whose stuff works.
  20. terpfan1980

    terpfan1980 It's Just TV TCF Club

    Jan 28, 2002
    Xbox Live:...
    Just to toss in some options, have you considered getting a SiliconDust HD HomeRun device and just using it? No fees with same other than the cablecard fees. It would involve using your computers to do your additional TV watching on, but it would let you work with tablets, laptops, desktops and other devices to do your TV watching with on additional screens. :)

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