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Is there any Tivo that does not require a monthly fee?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by tvsoda, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Jan 7, 2006 #1 of 63
    tvsoda

    tvsoda New Member

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    Is there a stripped down Tivo that does the basic recording, but that does not require a monthly fee. I'm not asking for a Tivo that is full service, but a VCR digital recorder.

    I'm not looking for something to search for shows or that has a web interface. I am looking for something I can tell to record 3-3:30 M-F, for example. I am looking for the most basic digital recorder on the market.
     
  2. Jan 7, 2006 #2 of 63
    dmdeane

    dmdeane sedentary adventurer

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    North...
    What you are talking about is "TiVo Basic". It's a very basic level of service (limited guide data, no advanced TiVo features) that you get free with certain Series 2 third party TiVos: mostly the Pioneer and Toshiba DVD Recorders, IIRC. If you buy one of these units they come with TiVo Basic and you can upgrade later to the full TiVo service if you want to.

    Of course, if you experienced the full TiVo service and what it can do, you wouldn't put up with just TiVo Basic for very long.
     
  3. Jan 7, 2006 #3 of 63
    jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

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    also, if you really do want something that basic, look at other DVRs that aren't TiVo. No need to limit your self to TiVo in a case like this.
     
  4. Jan 7, 2006 #4 of 63
    tvsoda

    tvsoda New Member

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    Jan 7, 2006
    Thanks for the info.

    I am looking for the cheapest way to replace a VCR. I hate monthly fees. I was thinking about a DVD recorder, I saw some without tivo servie. I think I would preffer a hard drive, so I don't have to switch DVD's or look for what I recorded. I would like a list of recorded programs to select what I want to play.

    Why doesn't Tivo offer basic service for their boxes? There must be other people like me who only want a basic recorder.
     
  5. Jan 7, 2006 #5 of 63
    jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

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    Well, they do, as you found out. But TiVo finds that there is value in offering a higher level of service and they want to make some money, so they offer that service and charge for it.
     
  6. Jan 7, 2006 #6 of 63
    tvsoda

    tvsoda New Member

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    Jan 7, 2006
    I was searching other thread to see what people wrote, and in one TiVoEvan74 suggested a Toshiba SD-H400. Does anyone know anything about this unit? Does it require a phone line to work?
     
  7. Jan 7, 2006 #7 of 63
    tvsoda

    tvsoda New Member

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    Jan 7, 2006
    Dang, I was reading the reviews of the toshiba at epinions, and it is just what I am looking for. But none of the stores sell it. Anyone know where to pick one up? I'd preffer a real store to an internet store.
     
  8. Jan 7, 2006 #8 of 63
    Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

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    They actually used to. The original Series 1 TiVo's were able to manually record without TiVo service. TiVo took that functionality away.

    It wasn't that they felt that there was a high value in their service so they decided to charge for it. It was more like they discovered that there were too many people who did not find value in their service and were using their hardware as a digital VCR for manual recordings and bypassing the service.

    Their business model dictates that they subsidize the hardware and as customers were finding the hardware useful without the service, they wrote the code to disable that ability.
     
  9. Jan 7, 2006 #9 of 63
    dmdeane

    dmdeane sedentary adventurer

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    North...
    TiVo has to make money somehow. The boxes are sold at a loss or at cost. So TiVo can only make money by subscriptions. Or eventually by advertising.

    Note that you don't have to pay monthly subscription if you buy a lifetime subscription (lifetime of the box, that is). This costs more short term, but pays for itself long term.

    TiVo really is much more than just a digital VCR. It does so much more it really changes the way you watch TV. I would never have bought a TiVo if it were just a digital VCR; I hate VCRs and refuse to use them except when I absolutely have to. They are far too much of a chore. Replacing a VCR with its digital equivalent is not really much of an improvement.

    However if one of the TiVo Basic DVD recorders isn't to your liking or you can't find one, there are other hard disk DVD recorders out there that will function similarly.
     
  10. bidger

    bidger New Member

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    There's one point I would dispute. I've used a S1 SA TiVo unsubbed and given the fact that there were no tapes to cue up or rewind, I'd say it was a pretty significant improvement. However, I only used it for a couple of over-the-air stations. If someone were using it for a cable or satellite lineup, it would be more than a handful to coordinate. The fact that the recordings aren't labeled doesn't help.

    There's a huge difference between TiVo with a subscription and without, but to say a DVR unsubbed isn't much of an improvement isn't entirely accurate to someone who has used one.
     
  11. tvsoda

    tvsoda New Member

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    Jan 7, 2006
    Basic Tivo won't label the recordings?
     
  12. dgh

    dgh New Member

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    "TiVo Basic" and an unsubbed S1 are two different things.
     
  13. dmdeane

    dmdeane sedentary adventurer

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    North...
    Actually you sound like you agree with me. You've just listed many of the reasons why a digital VCR isn't much of an improvement over a VCR, apart from not having to deal with tapes. It was never the tapes that was the heart of what was wrong with the VCR, IMO. It was the chore of having to manually find each upcoming show you wanted to record, and manually setting up the VCR to record. Eliminating the tapes doesn't do anything significant to eliminate this hassle.

    I do not want to be bothered once or twice a week or more to have to remember to set up new recordings. Invariably I would forget, or the show's schedule would change, and I would miss things I wanted to record. These boxes are basically a PC that records TV; there's no reason why they can't be intelligent enough to "set it and forget it" and that's what TiVo does which a simple "digital VCR" cannot do. I suppose it depends on whether you have money to spend, or time to spend: subscription-free digital recorders are only "free" if your time is of no value to you.
     
  14. Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

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    No, actually he stated that he disagrees with you. You both have the same gripe about it, but you obviously give that gripe more weight
     
  15. davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

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    One of my TiVo's is the SD-H400... It's pretty cool because it acts as your TiVo and DVD player. The DVD menus/control aren't as nice as some other TiVo's but it is progressive scan and gets the job done. Oh yeah, TiVo basic. I think these are going for about $150ish on ebay these days.

    You'll need a phone line to set it up if it doesn't come with the most recent software. Once configured, you can use a network connection.
     
  16. bidger

    bidger New Member

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    dmdeane, the majority of the recording I did with the unsubbed TiVo were repeat manual recordings, ones that I set once, then forget about. Like I said, pretty much 2 channels, not a lot of primetime, so it was manageable.
     
  17. DocNo

    DocNo Member

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    I do too. Luckily, Tivo offers a one-time lifetime sub. Has already more than paid for itself for me.

    Tivo without a sub is kinda pointless....
     
  18. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    it will not come with the most recent software unless someone is ebaying it that way. The SD H400 is dicsontinued so you will not find it in a brick and mortar store but will have to look online.

    I have one in my bonus room for the kids now and pay the monthly sub on it as I find the added benefit of TiVo service a great benefit for my kids especially. They hear of a show by name, ask me if it is an alright show for them to watch and then go plug it into the TiVo find by name and set the recording to that one or a season pass.


    and yes TiVo Basic will label the recording with the show name as it gets 3 days of guide data that it uses for info.
     
  19. dmdeane

    dmdeane sedentary adventurer

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    North...
    So yours is not a typical example, then. Most people watch more than 2 channels, and their favorite shows aren't always on the most stable of schedules.

    This is why, btw, people hated the VCR and used it to play back rented VHS tapes but not to record their TV shows: it wasn't worth the hassle. And no, it wasn't really the tapes that was the problem. Back in the early days of this forum we had some refugees from the old Video Guide system (bought and killed by Gemstar, IIRC). This was sort of like a pre-TiVo, non-digital PVR that got its guide data wirelessly and automatically recorded your TV shows for you to VHS tape. You still had to change tapes, but the horrendous chore of having to keep track of multiple TV shows on multiple channels at multiple times (which kept changing) was eliminated. Result: the best thing to happen to TV watching prior to TiVo.

    Anyway, since the number of people who only watch only a couple of TV shows on only two channels is too small a market to bother going after (especially since any profit would only be from razor-thin margins from selling commoditized hardware), it's not surprising that we haven't seen the emergence of a subscription-free, pure DVR (as opposed to combo devices like hard-disk/DVD recorders). There's really no way to make money in such a market. The cable and satellite companies can afford to subsidize the cost to draw in subscribers, but TiVo has to look, long term, to possible content-personalized advertising based revenues to survive (a la the Google advertising model) and to eventually replace subscription revenues. Until then, don't expect a lot of options when looking for subscription-free DVRs. The piper has to be paid, one way or another.
     
  20. Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

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    Your arguments are good dmdeane, but if there were really so few people that wanted to use their TiVo that way then why did TiVo disable that functionality when they had already coded it in? They, as a course of business, apparently came to the same conclusion as you have initially but then made the investment of time and programming to change their minds.
     

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