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Old 07-10-2012, 04:26 PM   #1
Alexis997
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Help choosing a new provider/TiVo - please?

Hi,

I've tried this once before, but got too muddled & confused with my options so I gave up. Hopefully someone can help me!

We have two S2 lifetime units & Dish Network for the past 10 years or so. Everything is fine - though Dish dropped AMC which makes my wife very unhappy & we don't get HD.

We are in the Bay Area so our options are Dish, DirecTV and Comcast/XFinity (no FIOS here).

If we want to get HD, we need new TiVos - either an HD/Series 3 or Premiere. Streaming would be nice (and with Comcast the On Demand stuff looks fun), but not mandatory. We can't afford to buy two new Premieres and put lifetime service on them (appx $1000). I have been looking at buying used Premieres w/lifetime and they run about $400 (still a lot, but doable). Used HDs w/lifetime are about $300. Either would work with Comcast -- but the monthly cost is about $20 more than we pay now.

To go with DirecTv, you have to buy the box for $199 but you can't share with other TiVos in the house (right?), so I'd have to buy two of them. Their monthly cost for TV is about the same as what we're paying now.

As a side note, I am drawn to Comcast because of their TV/Internet bundle (we just got an Ooma and I could ditch our phone service). I have heard good & bad things about them. I also see they have some sort of "power boost" or something on their internet package that allows video downloads & streaming (or makes it faster?).. Can someone explain that part of it to me?

Thank you so much for any help or advice you can give me!!

Alexis
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:46 PM   #2
mattack
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Power boost is completely unrelated, and I believe all it does is make the INITIAL PART of a download faster.. They give you a bit more bandwidth. It won't make downloads or streaming within your house faster... nor will it affect things like Netflix streaming. Just something like downloads from a web browser.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:07 AM   #3
takeshi
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Originally Posted by Alexis997 View Post
I have heard good & bad things about them.
You'll probably hear good and bad things about any company if you dig enough. Try looking into resources for researching Comcast specifically in your area if you want to evaluate the good versus the bad.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:06 PM   #4
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Download speeds can vary from market to market, but here in Pittsburgh Comcast had advertised download speeds of 10 mbps as standard and 20 mbps with Power boost. I had signed up for the power boost. Recently they changed there numbers to 16 mbps standard and 25 mbps with boost. I canceled the Boost today (saving $10 per month).

Also, you may find better Comcast pricing at the Comcast Kiosk in Best Buy stores. I went in and repackaged mine, without losing any service other than Boost and saved $39 per month. Just did it today, so I'll believe it when I get my first bill.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:04 PM   #5
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With DirecTV you're leasing their box. The $199 is an up-front payment required just like leasing a car so you don't actually own the equipment. It must be returned to them when you discontinue service. The upside is that if the box dies they will give you a replacement for free. I believe the monthly DVR fee is also minimal compared to Tivo. The downside is that they don't bundle high-speed internet service with their TV package. They also may not provide all of your local TV stations.

Comcast provides internet service and you can use a Tivo, but your Tivo fees and initial costs will be higher. The thing is, if you go with Comcast for internet and DirecTV for TV, Comcast is going to gouge you for the internet service without TV so any cost advantage goes out the window.

A third option would be to sign with Comcast and get a cablecard tuner for a PC with Windows 7 Media Center and use it as a DVR. There are no monthly fees other than the cablecard rental and the TV package you subscribe to. You can use media extenders, such as the XBox 360, for sharing recorded programs and live TV with any room in the house. Initial hardware and software costs will be about the same or even less than a new Tivo Premiere and lifetime service. You'll pick up the same channels as you would with a Tivo and the user interface is very easy to use.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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Alexis, if you go with Comcast and get a Tivo Premiere, you're in one of only two areas in the nation right now that has On Demand working with your tivo box.

I just upgraded from a Series 3 to a Premiere XL4 for the On Demand option and it's a fantastic setup. The XL4 has 4 tuners and a large recording capacity so I never run into conflicts.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:29 AM   #7
Alexis997
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Thanks!

Thanks for all the help.

inaka - that is one big temptation to go with Comcast, for sure. I talked with them at length yesterday, and it turns out the service will cost quite a bit more per month than we are paying now. Plus there is the initial Premiere box expense.

mr unnatural - great info. I don't understand the pc cablecard tuner setup at all .. I will try to look into it (but honestly it seems complicated for my pea-brain!). Why wouldn't DirecTV provide my local channels? I hadn't read anything about that.

jrm01 - interesting about the Best Buy kiosk... there are lots of these secret tricks out there. Thank you!

Comcast internet is WAY more than we are paying now - $20+, I don't think I can justify it, even with the bundle.

I am leaning towards DirecTV - with their promotion, our monthly cost is cut in half ($100-> $50) for the first 6 months and then $75 for 6 months, then the 2nd year is the same as we pay now. For $99 upfront, we can get two TiVo boxes. I am still trying to figure out what I am losing with their TiVo boxes (no multi-room viewing, I know). Can you use TiVo To Go with their box? Not a deal killer, but a bummer to lose that function. Also, the iPad functionality is limited, I believe. There is also a deal to order via Costco & get a $100+ cash card to boot.

Still more research to do..

Thanks again!
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Alexis997 View Post
I am leaning towards DirecTV - with their promotion, our monthly cost is cut in half ($100-> $50) for the first 6 months and then $75 for 6 months, then the 2nd year is the same as we pay now. For $99 upfront, we can get two TiVo boxes. I am still trying to figure out what I am losing with their TiVo boxes (no multi-room viewing, I know). Can you use TiVo To Go with their box? Not a deal killer, but a bummer to lose that function. Also, the iPad functionality is limited, I believe. There is also a deal to order via Costco & get a $100+ cash card to boot.
This may help:

With the DirecTV TiVo you don't have the following like the Premiere does:

HD menus, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, TiVo App for iPad and the TiVo App for iPhone, Transfer recordings to your laptop, iPod, iPhone, PSP, or other mobile device, Transfer recordings to your computer and burn them onto a DVD disc, YouTube, Audio podcasts on your TV or home entertainment system with Podcaster, View photos from Picasa or Photobucket, Stream music from Pandora, Rhapsody, Music Choice, or Live 365

Lastly, in general DirecTV's on demand service pales in comparions to Comcast too.

But again, as you noted, Comcast is usually more expensive all around and that does NOT mean its a bad choice. It's still a nice option, especially if those features above aren't important to yo.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:37 PM   #9
Alexis997
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Thanks inaka. After 2 full days reading this forum & the dbstalk forum, I now know what you just wrote in one paragraph!

Everyone has different features important to them, for now I think $$ will rule the route we take.. DirecTiVo gets us HD with a TiVo interface - which was the main goal - for the same (even a bit less) than we pay now.

I will miss the multi-room viewing - but we mainly used it because the S2s only had 1 tuner, and the 2 tuner DirecTiVos will fix that problem. 2 or 3 times a year I used TiVo To Go to put shows onto my Droid (now iPad too) to travel. And, I was really looking forward to using the Netflix & on demand stuff on the Premiere.. It would be fun to have - and the iPad app too - but we might have to save that for a later update.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:42 PM   #10
Alexis997
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Originally Posted by frankjohnson8 View Post
Download speeds can vary from market to market, but here in Pittsburgh Comcast had advertised download speeds of 10 mbps as standard and 20 mbps with Power boost.
I was quoted 4 levels of service:

"Pro" which is 3Mbs for $38/month
"Elite" - 6 Mbs for $43/month
"Max" - 12 Mbs for $48/month
"Max Plus" - 18 Mbs for $53/month

Seemed like a heck of a lot of $ to me..
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexis997 View Post
mr unnatural - great info. I don't understand the pc cablecard tuner setup at all .. I will try to look into it (but honestly it seems complicated for my pea-brain!). Why wouldn't DirecTV provide my local channels? I hadn't read anything about that.
Back when I had DirecTV they didn't offer all locals to all markets. I live between Baltimore and DC and they only provided the major networks from Baltimore, but I believe they only provided ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS. I didn't get The CW (at the time WB was also available, but not on DirecTV) or any of the DC stations which are available via any local cable provider or an OTA antenna. Since everything's gone digital I doubt that they provide any of the subchannels either. I get something like 43 local channels via an antenna vs. 5 from DirecTV.

A PC cablecard tuner is no more difficult to set up than a Tivo. You install the tuner and the driver software and then run Windows Media Center setup. All versions of Windows 7 except Home Basic include Media Center. You can also install an ATSC tuner for OTA reception. My PC currently has access to 7 cablecard tuners and 6 ATSC tuners.

Here's a link to the Ceton InfiniTV 4 cablecard tuner setup guide:

http://cetoncorp.com/infinitv_support/

Here's a link to the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime cablecard tuner website:

http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/

The InfiniTV4 has four digital cable tuners and the HDHomeRun Prime comes in either 3 or 6-tuner versions. The HDHomeRun Prime connects to your home network and can be shared between multiple PCs. The InfiniTV 4 comes in either PCI-e or USB versions and installs in a single PC, although you can assign tuners to separate PCs connected to your home network.

Last edited by mr.unnatural : 07-14-2012 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:32 PM   #12
WhiskeyTango
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Originally Posted by Alexis997 View Post
I was quoted 4 levels of service:

"Pro" which is 3Mbs for $38/month
"Elite" - 6 Mbs for $43/month
"Max" - 12 Mbs for $48/month
"Max Plus" - 18 Mbs for $53/month

Seemed like a heck of a lot of $ to me..
Those would be AT&T internet offerings, not Comcast.

Right now I have a bundle with Comcast for the Digital Preferred cable tier and Performance internet (15mbs down/3mbs up)for $79.99/month. I'm not sure what your costs are now, but there are deals to be had with Comcast if you can find them.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:36 PM   #13
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Make sure you're comparing your total cost of internet and cable. With DTV you'll be paying an unbundled cost for Internet from some provider where Comcast will most likely substantially discount a Internet as part of a cable bundle.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:22 AM   #14
mr.unnatural
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Comcast and just about any other cable provider that also offers wideband internet service will give you a bundled discount when you get them together. OTOH, if you subscribe to internet from Comcast without TV service you'll pay a premium for internet. It's actually cheaper to get internet bundled with basic TV service than getting internet by itself.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:24 PM   #15
Alexis997
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Those would be AT&T internet offerings, not Comcast.
Doh! Yes, you are right. I also called AT&T that day.. I was reading from the wrong notes. Sorry.

We pay $100/month for Dish (America's 120 or 200? with SHO & HBO). I will try again with Comcast. More than one CSR experience in one day is clearly too much for me.. :P
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