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Old 07-09-2014, 07:57 PM   #1
dcline414
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Will there ever be a better OTA Roamio?

Just read that nearly one in five US households no longer subscribes to satellite or cable TV, which as of April totals 7.6 million.

We cut the cord in 2011, and thanks to Tivo we have had very few regrets with the few dozen OTA channels we now receive. However we tend to be early adopters of most technology, the only glaring exception being our three year old Premiere.

The Roamio is faster, has twice the tuners, and seems to be every bit worth the price—EXCEPT for the lack of streaming capability. I cannot imagine paying a penny for a DVR that doesn't have streaming capabilities, and I don't see the advantage to getting a stripped down Roamio over adding a stream to our antique premiere.

Is there any chance that the better Roamios will one day be offered with an adapter for OTA reception? Surely some current Roamio owners will eventually want to cut the cord, but would be forced to downgrade to the basic model.

I can't be the only one who is just waiting to give Tivo money whenever they get their act together and add OTA capabilities to the premium models. So am I crazy to hold my breath waiting for a Roamio refresh?
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:31 PM   #2
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So am I crazy to hold my breath waiting for a Roamio refresh?
Yes, you are crazy. The hardware lineup TiVo currently offers isn't going to change anytime soon. They aren't going to add streaming capabilities to the base Roamio, because that would increase the costs. And they aren't going to add OTA to the Plus/Pro because that would increase the costs. The solution, if you want OTA and streaming is to just buy the stream separately. If you want to wait until the next generation of TiVo hardware to see if they change things around, that will probably be AT LEAST 3 to 4 years away, if ever. I suggest you just buy a base Roamio and a stream.
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:56 PM   #3
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They aren't going to add streaming capabilities to the base Roamio, because that would increase the costs. And they aren't going to add OTA to the Plus/Pro because that would increase the costs.
Increase costs is a relative term. If they make the OTA tuner, and they make the Roamio Plus, the unit cost of producing an OTA version of the plus would actually likely be lower (assuming the 4-tuner module is cheaper than the 6-tuner module).

There might be some cost of producing a fourth variation, but clearly there is a market for this too. Why remove OTA capability from a higher end model anyway? If I upgrade to a leather interior in my car, I don't have to give up my automatic transmission.

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I suggest you just buy a base Roamio and a stream.
I don't see that as a very good value. I want three things (in order of importance):
  1. Streaming capabilities
  2. More recording space
  3. Two additional tuners
I can get streaming on my premiere for $120. It isn't really worth $200 MORE for extra tuners, which are nice to have 1-2 times per year, especially since it would only be a nominal increase in recording space. For $200 I could upgrade my 320GB Premiere HDD to something far larger than the 500GB that I'd get with the Roamio.

I see nothing but regret if I drop $320 for a basic Roamio and stream, so I'm not even considering that as an option.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:20 PM   #4
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There might be some cost of producing a fourth variation, but clearly there is a market for this too. Why remove OTA capability from a higher end model anyway?
Because nobody makes the basic chips to handle a 6 tuner OTA setup. TiVo uses standard off-the-shelf chips, and the selection for OTA is much more limited than cable input.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:22 PM   #5
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Do you want to buy a used Tivo Stream? I no longer need mine since I have a Roamio Plus.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:26 PM   #6
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Because nobody makes the basic chips to handle a 6 tuner OTA setup. TiVo uses standard off-the-shelf chips, and the selection for OTA is much more limited than cable input.
I'm not asking for 6 tuners, just the basic 4 tuner with all the bells and whistles.

And anyone who bought a more expensive model and then at some point decides to cancel cable is going to be sad to find their Tivo is worthless. If nothing else, couldn't they at least offer an external OTA adapter?
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:33 PM   #7
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I'm not asking for 6 tuners, just the basic 4 tuner with all the bells and whistles.

And anyone who bought a more expensive model and then at some point decides to cancel cable is going to be sad to find their Tivo is worthless. If nothing else, couldn't they at least offer an external OTA adapter?
It's not their primary market, they don't really care about OTA as much as digital cable where they can show the MSOs what their hardware can do should they offer it in house.
You're fighting a losing battle, the right answer is base Roamio and an external stream if you're OTA only since the Premiere is only 2 tuners for OTA.

What you want and the direction that Tivo is heading are on different paths, the base Roamio is a substantial improvement over your Premiere including the ability to drop in a 3TB drive. When you factor in that the Stream you buy can be used with BOTH the Roamio and Premiere, that's even more added value.

There are only 3 things missing from the base vs the Pro/Plus, the 2 extra tuners that you won't get, the built-in Stream which you can buy, and the RF remote that while nice is really NBD in my book, I don't consider them "all the bells and whistles"
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:37 PM   #8
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Do you want to buy a used Tivo Stream? I no longer need mine since I have a Roamio Plus.
I'm still trying to decide if I really want to double-down on the Premiere... the new update definitely helps, but I still feel like I'm duct taping a model T to drag it into the 21st century.

I am seriously considering signing up for cable again, but if I do I see no reason to keep the Tivo over the fancier DVRs they're including for free now.

IMHO Tivo's best value proposition is to a cable cutter (it's the only reason we ever became a customer), and that segment tend to be younger and more high tech consumers who don't want a crippled entry-level Roamio. So rather than compete for this large and rapidly growing segment, Tivo is fighting a losing battle against cable companies who are offering comparable hardware for much less.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:37 PM   #9
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And anyone who bought a more expensive model and then at some point decides to cancel cable is going to be sad to find their Tivo is worthless.
Far from worthless, a Roamio Plus/Pro w/lifetime can be sold and the money used to buy the OTA Roamio model if needed.

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If nothing else, couldn't they at least offer an external OTA adapter?
That would certainly be a nice optional accessory to have. I don't know how technically difficult it would be for TiVo to make it happen.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:39 PM   #10
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Given the fact that the Premiere (2 tuner) does both cable and OTA, I fail to understand why the Roamio Plus/Pro can't handle both. I'm more than understanding technical limitations but it seems to me TiVo made that choice due to software limitations rather for technical reasons. Granted I can't see how having 6 tuners for ota being useful but having that option seems better from a marketing approach rather than not offering it at all.

Again, I see this more another indication that TiVo is headed out of the retail market rather that entering further into it. Their growing market is MSO cable companies, not their average consumer directly, why provide something that a minority consumer would want?

Not saying I like this new TiVo company, but they fought the cable companies and found it was easier to join them rather than to offer consumers a real choice. What we see now is just the transition and TiVo being a consumer orientated company will soon be a thing of the past, their support for cord cutters is poor at the very least.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:39 AM   #11
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I'm still trying to decide if I really want to double-down on the Premiere... the new update definitely helps, but I still feel like I'm duct taping a model T to drag it into the 21st century.

I am seriously considering signing up for cable again, but if I do I see no reason to keep the Tivo over the fancier DVRs they're including for free now.

IMHO Tivo's best value proposition is to a cable cutter (it's the only reason we ever became a customer), and that segment tend to be younger and more high tech consumers who don't want a crippled entry-level Roamio. So rather than compete for this large and rapidly growing segment, Tivo is fighting a losing battle against cable companies who are offering comparable hardware for much less.
Don't be misled in thinking that cord cutters automatically go the OTA route. Quite a few of the younger ones want to go total streaming. While cord cutting is going up, OTA percentage is actually dropping. There are thousands of people who can not get OTA reception.
At this point there is not a lot of money to be made on OTA. Get your basic Romaio's while you can, this is as good as OTA gets.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:42 AM   #12
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There are only 3 things missing from the base vs the Pro/Plus, the 2 extra tuners that you won't get, the built-in Stream which you can buy, and the RF remote that while nice is really NBD in my book, I don't consider them "all the bells and whistles"
The base Roamio does have an RF remote, but only the Pro and Plus have the "remote finder" feature.

For what it's worth, I'm a cord-cutter with a Roamio Base and two Roamio Minis. I use OTA for the majority of my programming, along with with Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming (which I have to use via my smart TV because Roamio still doesn't support it. Argh!) I'm very happy with the system, except for the lack of support for Amazon Prime. I have no real desire or need for outbound streaming from my DVR, so I have not purchased an external TiVo stream, and appreciate the fact that the Base was less expensive due it not being built-in. But if the Stream was built-in, and the cost was a bit higher, I still would have bought it and would play around with it. Perhaps someday I'll pick one up...perhaps used/cheap.

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Old 07-10-2014, 06:31 AM   #13
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Given the capabilities of the stream or the built in streaming of the plus, you are better off adding a slingbox to your basic Roamio anyway. Heck that way it even supports Android which Tivo may never do at this point.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:55 AM   #14
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Given the capabilities of the stream or the built in streaming of the plus, you are better off adding a slingbox to your basic Roamio anyway. Heck that way it even supports Android which Tivo may never do at this point.
Boom, that train is never late! The ever persistent "Android" chime-in on all threads.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:33 AM   #15
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There may never be a better OTA Roamio, I sure can't see any reason for TiVo to offer one. I also don't think there will ever be a better DVR than TiVo for OTA, period, nothing I have looked at comes close in my opinion and I have been OTA and internet streaming only since 2009. I have looked at the options a few times since then.

I know complaining about what TiVo doesn't do is very common here and who knows, maybe if more complain, TiVo will respond and offer the requested product but I believe the market is so tiny that would make no sense at all. I am not sure the market is large enough to justify a sophisticated OTA DVR at all. If it was a profitable product, I believe we would see some competition.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:48 AM   #16
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For what it's worth, I'm a cord-cutter with a Roamio Base and two Roamio Minis. I use OTA for the majority of my programming, along with with Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming (which I have to use via my smart TV because Roamio still doesn't support it. Argh!) I'm very happy with the system, except for the lack of support for Amazon Prime.
Could you comment further on Amazon Prime? I've purchased TV shows (current 24) via Amazon Prime and they've automatically appeared in My Shows list.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:55 AM   #17
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Given the fact that the Premiere (2 tuner) does both cable and OTA, I fail to understand why the Roamio Plus/Pro can't handle both.
Essentially a two tuner premiere has four tuners, two for each function. The cable only premiers just made them all for cable cos.

So, for the roamio to have both concurrently, it would need to manage 12 tuners.

It is all about cost.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:57 AM   #18
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I know complaining about what TiVo doesn't do is very common here and who knows, maybe if more complain, TiVo will respond and offer the requested product but I believe the market is so tiny that would make no sense at all.
This wasn't meant to be a complaint thread—sorry if my question comes across as such.

You make a good point about there being little competition in the OTA space, but it seems like there is a void in the market (namely that streaming players don't unify live OTA sports, news, etc) and Tivo could clench the whole segment with an OTA DVR stream.

Honestly I don't see the point of paying for Tivo on top of paid TV service. It is not a lack of content, but rather poor hardware that is tempting me to go back to paying for TV. And if I go back to DirecTV, I can get a Genie 5-tuner 1TB DVR and up to 4 genie minis FOR FREE. The minis cost $6 per month each.

Why would anyone paying for TV ever buy a Tivo and pay additional fees rather than get a comparable DVR for free? That's why I would expect OTA to be a stronger market opportunity for Tivo, not an afterthought banished to the cheapest of hardware offerings.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:03 AM   #19
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Essentially a two tuner premiere has four tuners, two for each function. The cable only premiers just made them all for cable cos.

So, for the roamio to have both concurrently, it would need to manage 12 tuners.
So the Roamio basic actually has 8 tuners (4 OTA and 4 cable)? Even if so, I can't imagine that having more than 4 would often be needed for most consumers. I've never wanted to record/watch more than 3 programs simultaneously.

I think the basic Roamio's tuner set, but with a larger drive and streaming could be a viable product offering. Maybe even replacing the current plus model. That would push those who "need" 6 tuners to the top model.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:23 AM   #20
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No, the basic is either/or. Not both concurrently.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:27 AM   #21
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It's not their primary market, they don't really care about OTA as much as digital cable where they can show the MSOs what their hardware can do should they offer it in house.
You're fighting a losing battle, the right answer is base Roamio and an external stream if you're OTA only since the Premiere is only 2 tuners for OTA.

What you want and the direction that Tivo is heading are on different paths, the base Roamio is a substantial improvement over your Premiere including the ability to drop in a 3TB drive. When you factor in that the Stream you buy can be used with BOTH the Roamio and Premiere, that's even more added value.

There are only 3 things missing from the base vs the Pro/Plus, the 2 extra tuners that you won't get, the built-in Stream which you can buy, and the RF remote that while nice is really NBD in my book, I don't consider them "all the bells and whistles"
And the GigE port as well as MoCA capability.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:27 AM   #22
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Could you comment further on Amazon Prime? I've purchased TV shows (current 24) via Amazon Prime and they've automatically appeared in My Shows list.
No, you've purchased Amazon Download shows. Amazon Prime is a pure streaming feature like Netflix - the shows are never stored on your TiVo. Amazon Prime offers a different selection of shows than Amazon Download, and most(?) are streamed for free if you have Amazon Prime.
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:00 PM   #23
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No, the basic is either/or. Not both concurrently.
So why is it not possible to take the basic platform and add two dedicated cable tuners, allowing a choice between 4 OTA tuners or 6 cable tuners? I just don't understand the removal of OTA tuners from the more expensive models. It almost seems like Tivo is in bed with the cable companies, limiting larger drives, streaming, etc to cable subscribers.

Perhaps they get a kickback from cable companies that subsidizes the additional cost—but if so it seems like they could follow the cellular hardware model and sell unsubsidized models direct to the public.

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Old 07-10-2014, 01:06 PM   #24
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I wish there was a Roamio Basic that was in a normal sized metal box not some crazy shaped piece of plastic. Not that there's a "normal size" for such things these days, of course.

A shame we never really got some sort of modular standard for such equipment -- like rack mounting but with a horizontal component width multiple, too, not just the vertical units.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:05 PM   #25
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If nothing else, couldn't they at least offer an external OTA adapter?

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That would certainly be a nice optional accessory to have. I don't know how technically difficult it would be for TiVo to make it happen.
It would be pretty awesome if the Roamios could support network ATSC tuners like the Silicon Dust HDHomerun.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:05 PM   #26
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It would be pretty awesome if the Roamios could support network ATSC tuners like the Silicon Dust HDHomerun.
I'm sure it's on the list, right after DLNA support

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Old 07-10-2014, 04:08 PM   #27
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So why is it not possible to take the basic platform and add two dedicated cable tuners, allowing a choice between 4 OTA tuners or 6 cable tuners? I just don't understand the removal of OTA tuners from the more expensive models. It almost seems like Tivo is in bed with the cable companies, limiting larger drives, streaming, etc to cable subscribers
They're not "in bed with the MSOs" they have smartly realized that the MSOs are the key to their future and they're tailoring their offerings to show off to the MSOs and show them all the good things they can do for them. We're not their primary market anymore, we're their test market, and the future of that market is Cable/Fiber not OTA.

Also what's the "limiting larger drives" comment? you can drop a 3TB drive in any Roamio, what CableCO DVR lets you do that?
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:06 PM   #28
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Also what's the "limiting larger drives" comment? you can drop a 3TB drive in any Roamio, what CableCO DVR lets you do that?
Okay, charging you for the included 500GB drive that you have to pay an additional $100 to replace. So if I decide I want the latest and greatest equipment I have two choices:

OTA w/ Tivo (35 channels, 15 HD)
Pay $630 for a Roamio basic with an upgraded 1TB drive, a stream, and two minis, plus $27 per month. No programming fees.
TOTAL COST: $1,280 (2 years)
$53.25/mo

DirecTV (130 channels, 45 HD)
Get a 5-tuner 1TB Genie and two minis for free, and only pay $100 for a GenieGo, plus $27 per month in equipment fees. Programming costs $25 per month for the first year and $50 per month for the second year, but I would also get a $200 one-time rebate.
TOTAL COST = $1,450 (2 years)
$60.40/mo

So a difference of $7.15 per month for 3x the channels and better equipment, plus lower up-front equipment cost with DirecTV. I just don't see what incentive there is for paying another dime to Tivo.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:21 PM   #29
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Okay, charging you for the included 500GB drive that you have to pay an additional $100 to replace. So if I decide I want the latest and greatest equipment I have two choices:

OTA w/ Tivo (35 channels, 15 HD)
Pay $630 for a Roamio basic with an upgraded 1TB drive, a stream, and two minis, plus $27 per month. No programming fees.
TOTAL COST: $1,280 (2 years)
$53.25/mo

DirecTV (130 channels, 45 HD)
Get a 5-tuner 1TB Genie and two minis for free, and only pay $100 for a GenieGo, plus $27 per month in equipment fees. Programming costs $25 per month for the first year and $50 per month for the second year, but I would also get a $200 one-time rebate.
TOTAL COST = $1,450 (2 years)
$60.40/mo

So a difference of $7.15 per month for 3x the channels and better equipment, plus lower up-front equipment cost with DirecTV. I just don't see what incentive there is for paying another dime to Tivo.
You are missing tons in your analysis. A few items include residual value on the Tivo, use of lifetime, and not being beholden to satellite, to name a few.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:44 PM   #30
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One example...


OTA w/ Tivo (35 channels, 15 HD)
Pay $630 for a Roamio basic with an upgraded 1TB drive, a stream, and two minis, plus $499.99 + 2x$149.99 for lifetime. No programming fees.
TOTAL COST: $1,429.27
$59.59/mo (amortized over 2 years)
$0.00/mo (3rd and later years)
Residual resale value after 2 years: $500++ (likely/possibly higher as well, especially earlier than 2 years)
+ usable if you ever add cable service, with no additional purchased hardware


DirecTV (130 channels, 45 HD)
Get a 5-tuner 1TB Genie and two minis for free, and only pay $100 for a GenieGo, plus $27 per month in equipment fees. Programming costs $25 per month for the first year and $50 per month for the second year, but I would also get a $200 one-time rebate.
TOTAL COST = $1,450 (2 years)
$60.40/mo
$50.00/mo (3rd and later years, plus price increases)
Residual resale value from day 1: $0.00 (leased)


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Okay, charging you for the included 500GB drive that you have to pay an additional $100 to replace. So if I decide I want the latest and greatest equipment I have two choices:

OTA w/ Tivo (35 channels, 15 HD)
Pay $630 for a Roamio basic with an upgraded 1TB drive, a stream, and two minis, plus $27 per month. No programming fees.
TOTAL COST: $1,280 (2 years)
$53.25/mo

DirecTV (130 channels, 45 HD)
Get a 5-tuner 1TB Genie and two minis for free, and only pay $100 for a GenieGo, plus $27 per month in equipment fees. Programming costs $25 per month for the first year and $50 per month for the second year, but I would also get a $200 one-time rebate.
TOTAL COST = $1,450 (2 years)
$60.40/mo

So a difference of $7.15 per month for 3x the channels and better equipment, plus lower up-front equipment cost with DirecTV. I just don't see what incentive there is for paying another dime to Tivo.

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