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Old 04-22-2012, 12:58 PM   #1
Joe Siegler
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What can an unsubbed TiVo Premiere do these days?

I used to have a handle on this back in the era when "Series 2" was a new DVR, but these days, I have no idea.

I just picked up an unsubbed TiVo used from a friend. He hasn't used it in awhile, and is just letting me have it for shipping only. However, it doesn't have service. At this point, I can't immediately afford to add service to it, so I'm curious what an unsubbed Premiere in 2012 can do - if anything?

I have a Lifetime TiVo Premiere in the living room - can this be used as a dumb terminal of sorts in the bedroom, copy programs from the other TiVo?

If not (I assume not), what can be done with it? Tkx.
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:22 PM   #2
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Dumb tuner only. No transfers.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:50 AM   #3
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Come to think of it, I'm curious why Tivo didn't think about offering an 'extender only' sub for the cheap Tivos now that they have streaming? E.g., $100 lifetime fee or $5/mo. just so you can transfer or stream shows from other boxes + get live TV (no guide data) + net apps. No DVR functionality of course. Then have the 'extender' lifetime sub be a full credit towards the price of a real sub and send a message once a month or so to get folks to think about upgrading.

I'm guessing this might be a support issue and initially they would've lost money on the box + sub as a whole, but now that they've been out there 2 years I'm guessing they'd at least break even at a $200 price ($100 clearance Premiere + $100 extender sub). Plus get people to buy boxes that they would otherwise have to unload at a discount somewhere if they didn't sell.

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Old 04-23-2012, 09:52 AM   #4
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Come to think of it, I'm curious why Tivo didn't think about offering an 'extender only' sub for the cheap Tivos now that they have streaming? E.g., $100 lifetime fee or $5/mo. just so you can transfer or stream shows from other boxes + get live TV (no guide data) + net apps. No DVR functionality of course. Then have the 'extender' lifetime sub be a full credit towards the price of a real sub and send a message once a month or so to get folks to think about upgrading.

I'm guessing this might be a support issue and initially they would've lost money on the box + sub as a whole, but now that they've been out there 2 years I'm guessing they'd at least break even at a $200 price ($100 clearance Premiere + $100 extender sub). Plus get people to buy boxes that they would otherwise have to unload at a discount somewhere if they didn't sell.
The extender IP boxes are supposed to be coming out later this year. The Premiere hardware is too expensive to do this. They already take a loss on them. Having a lower monthly fee on them would have them lose even more money on them.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:51 PM   #5
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I was mainly talking about the boxes that go on clearance, but we don't know how much it costs them to make a Premiere now so saying they still lose money on a $150 box is unknown.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:26 PM   #6
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I was mainly talking about the boxes that go on clearance, but we don't know how much it costs them to make a Premiere now so saying they still lose money on a $150 box is unknown.
you bring up a good point that would be a good idea, they could still charge whatever for the premiere, and yes have a 5 dollar a month plan that basically makes the box act as a HD box in another room.

I would even say give it access to the full guide, MRV properties and network features.. Just take away the DVR properties

Almost exactly like a HD box operates on Direct TV's MRV network. It can do everything( only has 7 days of guide due to no HD) but it can stream movies recorded off the main box
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:38 PM   #7
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While we don't know the costs for TiVo, if this were a profitable business product, they would be doing this instead of putting in development costs for a new box(s).
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:27 PM   #8
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I suspect that the "new" streaming box is really the same thing that they have been supplying to cable companies for awhile. My cable company leases Premieres and advertises the "streaming only" boxes as well. Given that there are a lot of cheap Premieres already out there (I've got one sitting in the closet for spare parts) I would think that a "streaming only" sub for those boxes would still have some benefit for Tivo.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:29 PM   #9
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I suspect that the "new" streaming box is really the same thing that they have been supplying to cable companies for awhile
I think it'll be somewhat different than the "Preview" ... without a CableCARD tuner.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:34 AM   #10
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While we don't know the costs for TiVo, if this were a profitable business product, they would be doing this instead of putting in development costs for a new box(s).
Not really thinking about it as a mainstream alternative but more of a way to help get rid of older products (or surplus). Plus get revenue from folks that have boxes that went off of monthly because they didn't want to pay the full sub every month.

I hesitated to say that guide data was included in my idea because there is a cost to Tivo of doing that (last I heard it was somewhere around $2.50 a month per box), but they could limit it to a day or two which would be fine for live TV and might be cheaper to source.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:49 AM   #11
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Not really thinking about it as a mainstream alternative but more of a way to help get rid of older products (or surplus). Plus get revenue from folks that have boxes that went off of monthly because they didn't want to pay the full sub every month.

I hesitated to say that guide data was included in my idea because there is a cost to Tivo of doing that (last I heard it was somewhere around $2.50 a month per box), but they could limit it to a day or two which would be fine for live TV and might be cheaper to source.
if they really want to get into it give it a 7 day guide with the ability to record shows on a regular DVR
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:56 AM   #12
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Back to the original question, I have an inbound Premiere that's unsubbed - I don't have the dough to pay for the subscription now (in any form), so I'll have to use it unsubbed. At minimum, I can pause the live TV, I suppose.

Friend of mine wanted to unload it, I just had to pay for shipping.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:59 AM   #13
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Back to the original question, I have an inbound Premiere that's unsubbed - I don't have the dough to pay for the subscription now (in any form), so I'll have to use it unsubbed. At minimum, I can pause the live TV, I suppose.

Friend of mine wanted to unload it, I just had to pay for shipping.
Can you pause live TV? On the Premiere I got for spare parts, once it updated to the current software, I couldn't do anything with it except change channels.
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:03 AM   #14
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I guess I'll find out when I get it. Should be here any day now.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:38 AM   #15
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It depends on what software version it has. IIRC it was v14.9 that removed the Live TV buffers.

If you power it up and it has Live TV buffers, don't let it have access to the internet.

BTW, in addition to losing the Live TV buffers, you also lose trick play functions on any recordings in the My Shows List.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:40 AM   #16
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Can you pause live TV? On the Premiere I got for spare parts, once it updated to the current software, I couldn't do anything with it except change channels.
I can confirm that, for the first week you can use the TP with most functions enabled (no network functions except the download of guide data). After that week you can only tune, as trick TV is gone, pause TV is gone, but you can watch what ever you have recorded. I call it brick-2.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:30 AM   #17
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It seems TiVo made an effort to make the Premiere as unusable as possible compared to previous platforms.
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:49 PM   #18
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I guess I'll find out when I get it. Should be here any day now.
Did it work? What software version does it have? Your signature line says OTA -- that also adds to the complication. I have been using an unsubscribed Premiere for about six months.
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:28 PM   #19
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I don't know - when I got the box, I found out the guy had prepaid on the annual plan, and it has service through September. So I was never without service on the box.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:51 PM   #20
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Just out of curiousity, since the Premiere has OTA capability, could you use the box to record OTA without the cable card?
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:04 AM   #21
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A subscription is required to record anything.

To use a Premiere as an unsubscribed tuner:

Cable card is not needed if you are OTA only (duh).

If you have cable, you only need the cable card if some channels you receive need to be decrypted (e.g. premium channels like HBO, etc.).
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:25 AM   #22
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If you have cable, you only need the cable card if some channels you receive need to be decrypted (e.g. premium channels like HBO, etc.).
If your cable system has no analog channels, then you need the CableCARD.
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:50 AM   #23
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If your cable system has no analog channels, then you need the CableCARD.
I admit that I'm not familiar with cable, but I thought the Tivo was capable of tuning a digital QAM channel as long as it wasn't encrypted.
In that situation, the only reason to get the cable card is to be able to get the guide data that is associated with a particular channel.
With an unsubscribed Tivo, guide data is irrelevant.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:35 AM   #24
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Almost universally all channels except for local broadcasts are encrypted. So the cablecard would be necessary if they wanted access to more than a handful of channels.
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