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Old 07-05-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
DubVBenz
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Can someone help walk me through this stuff ? Potential new buyer questions

I'm doing my best to justify the initial hardware costs of a Tivo instead of paying money to the Comcast Mafia, with subscription costs, they'll likely cost about the same for two (12.99 x2 for tivo or (16.95+9.95 for comcast)), so the question comes down to is the hardware worth it for me, so maybe someone can help answer these questions:

1) I cannot find a huge difference between the Premiere and XL aside from HDD size and THX certification. I'm buying a really nice Panasonic 60" plasma, so I'm wondering if the THX thing is a deal breaker. Any other major differences to know?

2) Are hard drives still user replaceable and upgradable?

3) Are the lifetime subscriptions only good for the life of that box? Aka, if it dies a year into it, am I screwed? What about transferability with upgrades?

4)I'm assuming the only things that really breaks on these are the hard drives, is that the case?

5)What's the deal with the networking, how can this thing be sold without wifi built in in 2012. Any other possibilities on wifi adapters for better prices?

6) Trying to justify the pricing, I'm thinking of a refurb regular premier for my bedroom and a Premier XL for the living room, once I add in wifi adapters, that's still $350-375 up front, and then the subscription charges. I've never used a tivo, I've had great luck with the fios DVR service, but I'm being forced into comcast with an upcoming move.

Please, someone talk me into this. If this is the wrong landing spot for this post, please move or ask me to move. Thanks!
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:43 PM   #2
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1...THX cert is a throw away imo. Personal opinion is to get the largest HDD available....aka Elite.

2....Yes....good alternative to buying into Elite....2TB going at about $200 street from someone who knows what they're about. Best to swap out drive before activation.

3....Yes, yes (if the mother board goes), mixed and dependent on point in time.

4....Usually. Occasionally power supply or fan

5....Got nothing for this one other than agree "WiFi sold separately" is stupid in today's world.

6....For HDD recorders TiVo has been my/our life since December 2000. Consider upfront hardware/capital cost somewhat irrelevant, but YMMV. On Comcast in Colorado.....works fine

Last edited by ltxi : 07-05-2012 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubVBenz View Post
I'm doing my best to justify the initial hardware costs of a Tivo instead of paying money to the Comcast Mafia, with subscription costs, they'll likely cost about the same for two (12.99 x2 for tivo or (16.95+9.95 for comcast)), so the question comes down to is the hardware worth it for me, so maybe someone can help answer these questions:

1) I cannot find a huge difference between the Premiere and XL aside from HDD size and THX certification. I'm buying a really nice Panasonic 60" plasma, so I'm wondering if the THX thing is a deal breaker. Any other major differences to know?

2) Are hard drives still user replaceable and upgradable?

3) Are the lifetime subscriptions only good for the life of that box? Aka, if it dies a year into it, am I screwed? What about transferability with upgrades?

4)I'm assuming the only things that really breaks on these are the hard drives, is that the case?

5)What's the deal with the networking, how can this thing be sold without wifi built in in 2012. Any other possibilities on wifi adapters for better prices?

6) Trying to justify the pricing, I'm thinking of a refurb regular premier for my bedroom and a Premier XL for the living room, once I add in wifi adapters, that's still $350-375 up front, and then the subscription charges. I've never used a tivo, I've had great luck with the fios DVR service, but I'm being forced into comcast with an upcoming move.

Please, someone talk me into this. If this is the wrong landing spot for this post, please move or ask me to move. Thanks!
1. That's pretty much it except I think you get the fancy remote with the XL.

2. Yes they are, but you can't save an image, only copy from the original drive to the new one directly.

3. Yes. lifetime of the box. If you buy new from Tivo you can get up to a 3-year extended warranty. Tivo has generally let folks swap a broken lifetime box for another one, with the sub transferred, for $149. Has to be the same model box (can't upgrade for that price).

4. Depends on the box but mostly the drives. Older boxes are seeing bulging capacitors in the power supply but those can be replaced if you are handy with a soldering iron. Some other things do go out. S1 boxes often lose the modem and S3HD boxes seem to have a problem with the HDMI port going bad.

5. The older G model adaptors aren't that expensive if you can find one used. Are you planning on doing a lot of streaming? You might also consider using a wireless bridge (that's what I do). Wireless G is plenty good enough for my needs but I know that the Zyxel WAP3205 is a wireless N that can be configured as a bridge. I've used it successfully with a Tivo.

6. Personally, I think the only reason to buy Premieres is if you really want the roving capability. If that isn't big on your list take a look at used lifetime S3HD boxes. I've got a pair of those, with upgraded drives. Typical price on eBay for a stock unit with lifetime is around $300. The most recent one I got was less than that with free shipping.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:59 PM   #4
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For the subscription, it is not 12.99 x2 for 2 Premieres, it is 14.99 for the first, and 12.99 for subsequent Tivos. Lifetime is 499.99 for the first, 399.99 secondary, and it is for the lifetime of the Tivo box, not the owner, and it is not transferable, unless there is something wrong in the first few months and calling Tivo to replace them, then there may be a reduced cost for transfer.

If you get earlier models, such as the Tivo HD, subscriptions is 12.95/9.95 monthly, lifetime is the same.
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:07 AM   #5
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The Comcast cost equation is not correct - at least in many parts of the country - when you take into consideration the "additional digital outlet" fee that Comcast charges. The second TiVo box will cost you $7.45 for the Comcast ADO fee ($9.95 minus a $2.50 customer-owned equipment credit) PLUS the TiVo montly subscription fee.
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:20 AM   #6
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With tivo, you are buying a thing, and not just a service. With lifetime, there is residual value as noted above with the series 3, which is a great option but has not been produced for years. Selling a monthly tivo does not really retain much value.

I would buy a smaller unit and upgrade on my own. Put the original drive on the shelf, just in case.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lillevig View Post
1. That's pretty much it except I think you get the fancy remote with the XL.

2. Yes they are, but you can't save an image, only copy from the original drive to the new one directly.

3. Yes. lifetime of the box. If you buy new from Tivo you can get up to a 3-year extended warranty. Tivo has generally let folks swap a broken lifetime box for another one, with the sub transferred, for $149. Has to be the same model box (can't upgrade for that price).

4. Depends on the box but mostly the drives. Older boxes are seeing bulging capacitors in the power supply but those can be replaced if you are handy with a soldering iron. Some other things do go out. S1 boxes often lose the modem and S3HD boxes seem to have a problem with the HDMI port going bad.

5. The older G model adaptors aren't that expensive if you can find one used. Are you planning on doing a lot of streaming? You might also consider using a wireless bridge (that's what I do). Wireless G is plenty good enough for my needs but I know that the Zyxel WAP3205 is a wireless N that can be configured as a bridge. I've used it successfully with a Tivo.

6. Personally, I think the only reason to buy Premieres is if you really want the roving capability. If that isn't big on your list take a look at used lifetime S3HD boxes. I've got a pair of those, with upgraded drives. Typical price on eBay for a stock unit with lifetime is around $300. The most recent one I got was less than that with free shipping.
Can you explain the "roving capability" portion?
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:37 PM   #8
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The Comcast cost equation is not correct - at least in many parts of the country - when you take into consideration the "additional digital outlet" fee that Comcast charges. The second TiVo box will cost you $7.45 for the Comcast ADO fee ($9.95 minus a $2.50 customer-owned equipment credit) PLUS the TiVo montly subscription fee.
Hmm.. on chat they told me that the cable card would be free at no additional cost, are you saying that for each cable card, I have to pay a monthly fee? I really, really dislike comcast, and it's hard to get a straight answer out of their reps. As I said, at least with Fios, I felt I was getting a service worth that much a month.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:25 PM   #9
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Just chatted with Tivo, I guess the multi service discount is only good for the second tivo using the lifetime deal, and then they don't allow you to use any coupon codes. I don't think I can find a way to justify a $1200 initial expenditure even if I'll recoup my costs in 3 years.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:33 PM   #10
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Just chatted with Tivo, I guess the multi service discount is only good for the second tivo using the lifetime deal, and then they don't allow you to use any coupon codes. I don't think I can find a way to justify a $1200 initial expenditure even if I'll recoup my costs in 3 years.
In the long run it's cheaper than paying for the cable company DVRs. Since you own the TiVos and they have a high resale value with lifetime service, you spend much, much more for the cable company DVRs.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:45 PM   #11
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I agree with aaronwt.

OP, what I'm saying is that you actually recoup is much sooner than 3 years. It is not worth zero in 36 months, a tivo is still worth hundreds of dollars. Many people do this math incorrectly, forgetting about resale value. If you go with a series 3/HD unit, you could be up and running for half of your estimate and STILL have resale value.

You may also want to consider the other elements, such as a larger hard disk, netflix, pytivo, MRS/MRV. If you buy an older series 3, these are all still available (except MRS).

Also, with Comcast your first card will be free (it is in lieu of a box) and the second will have an outlet fee (that includes the card).
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:47 PM   #12
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Hmm.. on chat they told me that the cable card would be free at no additional cost, are you saying that for each cable card, I have to pay a monthly fee? I really, really dislike comcast, and it's hard to get a straight answer out of their reps. As I said, at least with Fios, I felt I was getting a service worth that much a month.
In Comcast land the first CableCARD in a device (set-top box or CableCARD capable TV) is indeed free. However, Comcast will charge you an "additional digital outlet" fee for the second, third, and so on device you use. If you're using a Comcast box the fee is $9.95 as you noted (they include an SD or HD box for free). If you're using a CableCARD-capable device - like your TiVo - the fee is also $9.95, but Comcast will give you a $2.50 per month customer-equipment credit. If you're using an older TiVo that only supports single-stream CableCARDs you would need TWO CableCARDs for that TiVo; the second one will cost you about $1.50 per month.

There is a LONG "discussion" about these additional outlet fees, and they have in the past been applied somewhat arbitratily, but it appears Comcast is trying very hard to adopt a uniform policy where you get charged by the "outlet" and NOT the CableCARD.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:38 PM   #13
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6) Trying to justify the pricing, I'm thinking of a refurb regular premier for my bedroom and a Premier XL for the living room, once I add in wifi adapters, that's still $350-375 up front, and then the subscription charges. I've never used a tivo, I've had great luck with the fios DVR service, but I'm being forced into comcast with an upcoming move.
A refurb premiere is $50 right now. $500 for LT service. So more than the $350-375 but no monthly for first box from either Comcast or TiVo.

The second box would cost you $450 with LT plus $7.45/mo from Comcast.

You mentioned 3 if I'm reading this right, the Elite will cost more up front but get you 4 tuners and just the single outlet fee.

If it's just the 2 boxes, under $1000. With a breakeven of 31 months, the lifetime service is a no-brainer.

As others have mentioned, Comcast not too easy to deal with on these.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:58 PM   #14
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Just chatted with Tivo, I guess the multi service discount is only good for the second tivo using the lifetime deal, and then they don't allow you to use any coupon codes. I don't think I can find a way to justify a $1200 initial expenditure even if I'll recoup my costs in 3 years.
Consider used TiVos with Lifetime.

I just sold a TiVo HD with Lifetime for $314 on eBay. It had only the original 160GB hard drive. I currently have a Series 3 w/lifetime listed on eBay which has a 1TB upgraded drive. I'm hoping that it'll go for more than the HD. It's currently at about $159 with a bit over four-days remaining.

Get a used TiVo w/Lifetime on your account then you can add new Premieres and take advantage of the multi-service discount. You can always resell the older TiVo later for about what you paid for it. As long as the lifetime service is intact they aren't going to lose too much more of their value.

I haven't looked at what Premiere's w/lifetime are going for on eBay.
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:15 PM   #15
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I did the math earlier this year, and don't regret switching from DirecTV (with two old SD DirecTiVo boxes) to Comcast with a Premier and a Premier Elite, both with lifetime. Amortized over two years I calculated I break even when compared to upgrading my DirecTV boxes with their HD boxes. That excludes any residual value in the hardware (due to the lifetime subscription) as I usually use electronics gear until it dies.

As near as I can tell, Comcast in the Seattle suburbs (South or East King County, I forget which) charges me for both cable cards, but at $1.10 rather than $7.xx or $9.xx. They might be crediting me the $1.10 for the first card, it's really hard to figure out what's what on their bill ;-)

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Old 07-06-2012, 11:43 PM   #16
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Thanks for the input everyone. I need to determine exactly what Comcast intends to charge me. I'm moving into an expensive new condo, buying all new furniture, a new TV and everything, so even though it's only 1-1200 dollars, it's just an additional expense on top of a whole lot of others right now. I typically purchase my smart phones unsubsidized and I appreciate that model, I'm just trying to scrimp and scrape every last cent over the next couple of months..

As for the additional services, I have so many other damn devices to handle streaming (google tv x2, smart TV, ps3, xbox 360) that that is not really a selling point. I actually don't even mind the interfaces of cable company provided DVRs, I just would rather not give them my money because I hate them.

If the fee from comcast is minuscule , I may just bite the bullet and pay the 1200 up front... we'll see, I'll try and keep everyone updated though!
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:29 AM   #17
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If you are going with one Elite and one Premiere then I would consider going with a MOCA adapter pair. One necessary at your router and one necessary for the Premiere. The Elite has a built-in MOCA adapter. That way no WIFI dropouts, no cat5 or 6 wiring and you might only need some high-frequency co-ax spliters plus the adapters.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:17 AM   #18
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Can you explain the "roving capability" portion?
That's the ability, with multiple Premeires, to be able to start watching a recording in one room and then continue watching it in another room. Sometimes called "streaming". The older Tivos require that you actually transfer the recording to another box in order to watch it on that box.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:04 AM   #19
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That's the ability, with multiple Premeires, to be able to start watching a recording in one room and then continue watching it in another room. Sometimes called "streaming". The older Tivos require that you actually transfer the recording to another box in order to watch it on that box.
Just to expand a little, if Comcast is like most cable companies, you can't xfer shows from sources other than the 4 main networks. If you have to record a USA show in the bedroom because of tuner availability and you want to watch it in the LR, you can't with an HD. With a Premiere, you can stream it, no problem.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:03 PM   #20
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Just to expand a little, if Comcast is like most cable companies, you can't xfer shows from sources other than the 4 main networks. If you have to record a USA show in the bedroom because of tuner availability and you want to watch it in the LR, you can't with an HD. With a Premiere, you can stream it, no problem.
That's interesting, I can stream anything from my HD DVR to my standard HD box with Fios, but I can only do that with content from the 4 major networks with Comcast?
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:42 PM   #21
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Just to expand a little, if Comcast is like most cable companies, you can't xfer shows from sources other than the 4 main networks.
Replace "most" with "some" and your post is valid. Comcast seems better in this regard than most.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:17 PM   #22
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Just to expand a little, if Comcast is like most cable companies, you can't xfer shows from sources other than the 4 main networks. If you have to record a USA show in the bedroom because of tuner availability and you want to watch it in the LR, you can't with an HD. With a Premiere, you can stream it, no problem.
Wow, gives me at least a little more appreciation for my cable company (Suddenlink). Got all of the analog equivalents so I can still use an S2 box, no copyright restrictions on non-premium cable channels, and anything tranfers (except, of course, HD to the S2).
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Old 07-07-2012, 02:07 PM   #23
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Just to expand a little, if Comcast is like most cable companies, you can't xfer shows from sources other than the 4 main networks. If you have to record a USA show in the bedroom because of tuner availability and you want to watch it in the LR, you can't with an HD. With a Premiere, you can stream it, no problem.
That's an overstatement and inaccurate in many cases. MOST Comcast regions will allow transfers for the majority of their channels with the exception of the paid movies channels i.e. HBO, SHO, etc and a small handful of other digital stations, however MOST will transfer.

TWC is the most aggressive in locking down everything but locals, as is Frontier FiOS, but Comcast in general is pretty decent in their ratio.
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:47 PM   #24
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So I talked to comcast, they're not going to charge me for the cable cards, and I also found this deal: http://www3.tivo.com/promo/fastforwa...marquee_ff_img

it'll end up being $1 more a month than the cable company's dvr, but i'll get two of them and get to try it out for a year. If I like it, I may end up doing the the lifetime at some point depending on the experience and price.

I'm also going to buy the cable modem separately, so the only thing I'll be paying comcast for is the service, which is ideal.
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