View Full Version : To Tivo or not to Tivo
02-16-2006, 07:02 AM
I'm looking at purchasing a Tivo system.
Originally, I was intent on getting the model with the DVD Burner. The Tivo site only has the 40 GB model with the DVD Burner, as well as most retail stores. From what I've been reading about the Tivo, the 40 GB doesn't hold that much (< 40 hrs for decent quality). I'm looking for a model to record a few favorite shows, but my goal is also to record some kid's shows and make DVD's for them for travelling.
I'm convinced that I need a model with a larger hard drive than the 40 GB, but I question whether it's worth getting the Tivo with the built-in DVD burner or a separate DVD unit. IT is also my understanding that the Tivo unit will only allow you to write to the built-in DVD unit at a max. of 2 hours - does this mean only 2 hours per single DVD? Is high speed dubbing available?
With a separate DVD unit, is there any loss of quality writing to the DVD's? Is high speed dubbing still an option?
Is the Tivo service worth it (for ease of use) vs. a standalone DVD writing unit with hard drive?
Is the $ 300 lifetime subscription fee worth it or will I be looking to upgrade my unit every two years, thus making it a wash?
02-16-2006, 09:26 PM
TiVo has 4 recording qualities, which translate to DVD capacities of 1, 2, 4, or 6 hours. Personally I use the High, or 2 hour, mode most of the time. As for the 40GB drive - upgrading the drive in a TiVo is simple if you have basic PC skills, and cheaper than buying a larger unit. But the larger boxes are available around the web.
The DVDs are burned at 4x speeds, so it burns the disc in about 15 minutes, or 20 minutes for the complete process of prepping, burning, and finalizing. It doesn't matter what quality level you use, that's always the same.
Using an external burner you'd have to transfer the show in real time - 1 hour for 1 hour - and you lose quality as it has to be converted from digital to analog, output from the TiVo, input to the burner, and converted from analog back to digital. *Then* you can burn the DVD. So there is a loss of quality, and it takes a lot longer.
I personally feel the TiVo service is worth it - and I own two TiVo DVD-RW units. I also feel that lifetime is worth it, and I always buy lifetime on my TiVos. Even if you do upgrade, you can resell the unit and it is worth a lot more with lifetime. Or give it away - you'll pay the same and have more in the end.
02-17-2006, 05:53 PM
I just got my first TiVo. I got an 80-hour DVD-RW refurb Humax from TiVo's store (they've since disappeared - guess I got it just in time!)
It's pretty darned spiffy! What really sold me on it was the fact that I can tell it to record stuff for me over the Internet.
I didn't go for the lifetime. My logic at the time was, if I didn't like the thing it would be cheaper to ditch it, and if I loved it I'd probably get a newer model in a year or two.
So I guess it depends. The lifetime would be worth it if you tend to hold onto technology for an extended period of time. Likewise, its worth it if you might want to upgrade but in the way of getting a second TiVo and keeping the first for another room.
I recorded a show on High quality, and burned it to DVD. Was just a 1 hour program. When I played it back on the TV, it looked like a regular TV broadcast - no significant quality loss. The process of burning took maybe 10-15 minutes I guess, and you can use the other TiVo functions normally while it does so (hooray for multitasking!)
Now, I've never used another brand DVR aside from some computer-based things, so I really can't compare it to anything else. But, from what I've experienced so far, I'd recommend it to anyone.
02-18-2006, 04:05 PM
Many (most?) people prefer recording at higher quality, so that means a 40 hour machine is really limited as to time.
We're veterans of years of over the air reception so we don't care that much and record everything at basic. It means that the Toshiba DVD unit we have RS-TX60's (160 gig) gives us over 200 hours at basic quality! And we get 6 hours of recording on a DVD. Here are the other specs
Best = 45 hours
High quality = 66 hours
Medium = 134
The service is well worth it... season passes alone are worth it. Most everyone who tries it really likes it.
We also went for lifetime service on our first unit... no monthly charge, helps resale. Find a good deal somewhere... there have been $150 rebates.
03-13-2006, 10:54 AM
What software do you use to burn to a DVD
03-13-2006, 03:49 PM
None, the Toshiba or Humax DVD recorders do it for you. Works great!
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