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Old 12-23-2005, 06:11 AM   #1
dac675
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TiVo Vs Cable DVRs

Hello all. Myself and my wife are TiVo followers who have loved the service for the last couple of years. Until now, we have had two of the DirectV tivos and they have been flawless since day one. No problems! We love the service, but I am thinking about switching to cable and am not sure what to do. As far as I know, the (Hughes) satellite tivos won't work with cable, will they? That brings us to the question - does anyone here have any experience with the cable DVRs? I would be getting the ones from Cablevision (of Woodbury I guess) in New York. I have heard everything from people saying that they are actually better than my older TiVos, to people saying that they don't have anywhere near as many features. I am hoping that someone with some experience with both systems can lend an opinion. From what I had heard, the cable DVRs do not use their empty space to record any "suggestions". I also don't know what the differences are between the two types of unit. Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

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Old 12-23-2005, 08:21 AM   #2
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It all depends on which one your cable company offers. I have a Moxi box from Charter and I'm very happy with it. It's very TiVo-like and has always functioned just as it should. Only downside is size of the harddrive. When I finally do switch to HD, it won't hold very many hours of programming. Hope that helps.
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Old 12-23-2005, 09:29 AM   #3
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Along the same lines the other problem with cable DVRs is that you don't own them. You can't upgrade the drive. The other semi-issue is that if you move you will loose all your recordedings. Not a huge deal but the same would hold true if the cable company wants to switch from one DVR model to another.
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Old 12-23-2005, 09:39 AM   #4
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Actually cablevision is a smaller cable co. and I think they will offer you an SA TiVo. I do not live in NY so check around on this but I think they are part of a group tha tdoes that. Hopefully someone from the area can come along and post. Cable Company DVRs range from Sci Atl. boxes that barely work up to Moxi that is neck and neck with TiVo.
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Old 12-23-2005, 09:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverdome
Along the same lines the other problem with cable DVRs is that you don't own them. You can't upgrade the drive.
Many of the cable DVRs support adding an external drive ...

My cable DVR came with a 160GB internal hard drive and I've added a 300GB external one.

To the OP ... as noted above, cable DVRs vary greatly. If possible ... you may want to find out the exact model / software your cable company is using. That may get more usefull responses.
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Old 12-23-2005, 10:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dt_dc
Many of the cable DVRs support adding an external drive ...

My cable DVR came with a 160GB internal hard drive and I've added a 300GB external one.

To the OP ... as noted above, cable DVRs vary greatly. If possible ... you may want to find out the exact model / software your cable company is using. That may get more usefull responses.
Moxi doesn't support this yet. They probably could, but I am guessing the cable companies aren't to happy with the idea. And since the cable companies control the software features that are included, it hasn't happened yet.
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Old 12-23-2005, 01:41 PM   #7
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Couldn't we just make a sticky "TiVo vs cable DVR" thread?
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Old 12-23-2005, 01:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dt_dc
Many of the cable DVRs support adding an external drive ...

My cable DVR came with a 160GB internal hard drive and I've added a 300GB external one.
If you don't mind my asking, who's your provider?
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Old 12-23-2005, 02:36 PM   #9
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Cablevision does use the Scientific Atlanta DVR boxes.
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Old 12-23-2005, 03:17 PM   #10
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My brother has one. I've seen it in action.

The pluses are that is can record and playback HD, it has 2 tuners, and it doesn't need the IR blaster.

The drawbacks are many. The software is just ugly. It has no keyword search, no WishLists. It has season passes....sorta. You have to search for the show in the guide data (the grid) and record the show, and then you have the option to record the season. It only has like a week of guide data (I'm not sure exactly how much but I remember being kinda surprised at how little it was). It does not have adjustable recording levels, and the hard drive space is small. I am pretty sure that the "season pass" just records by channel/day/time and will not follow the show if it moves. It has none of the other TiVo features, such as networking, Home Media features (music and photos, online games, TiVoToGo, ability to schedule shows online, etc.).

It's OK, but it falls far short of TiVo in the features.
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Old 12-23-2005, 06:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowfan
My brother has one. I've seen it in action.

The pluses are that is can record and playback HD, it has 2 tuners, and it doesn't need the IR blaster.

The drawbacks are many. The software is just ugly. It has no keyword search, no WishLists. It has season passes....sorta. You have to search for the show in the guide data (the grid) and record the show, and then you have the option to record the season. It only has like a week of guide data (I'm not sure exactly how much but I remember being kinda surprised at how little it was). It does not have adjustable recording levels, and the hard drive space is small. I am pretty sure that the "season pass" just records by channel/day/time and will not follow the show if it moves. It has none of the other TiVo features, such as networking, Home Media features (music and photos, online games, TiVoToGo, ability to schedule shows online, etc.).

It's OK, but it falls far short of TiVo in the features.
Your post is accurate. I have the SA HD DVR. IMO, it has the three very important features that TiVo currently doesn't offer on stand alone boxes - two tuners, HD and direct control....minus the awesome TiVo UI.
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Old 12-27-2005, 06:57 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the feedback. After some further research, it appears that my cable provider (Cablevision of Woodbury) would be giving me SA boxes. It looks like it lacks a lot of the features of the Tivo - most notably the wishlists and Tivo suggests, etc. I plan on stopping at one of their "stores" this afternoon to play with it for a while and see how it stacks up.

Another question I have is this - does anyone know if the Directv units work with cable? I think my units are "HDVR2"s by Huges, but I was not sure if they could take a regular cable signal since they were hybrid tivos. My ideal would be if I could just keep my dual tuner Hughes boxes and use them with the cable feed, but I was unsure if they were compatible (I have a sneaking suspicion they are not...). I guess I could always buy stand alone units to use with my cable - I just hate to have to spend more than I have to since I already bought these...

Thanks again for all the feedback!
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Old 12-27-2005, 07:42 AM   #13
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Unfortunately, the DirecTiVos only work with DirecTV.

Good luck!
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Old 12-27-2005, 12:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bidger
If you don't mind my asking, who's your provider?
Cox Fairfax. They are using Scientific Atlanta equipment running SARA software. The Scientific Atlanta 8300HD and 8300 both have external SATA ports that an external drive can be hooked up to (if you have recent enough firmware).
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Old 12-27-2005, 02:48 PM   #15
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Thanks, dt_dc.

External storage...that's very forward thinking and, given as much room as HD shows take up, it's something that needs to be offered.
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Old 01-01-2006, 10:25 AM   #16
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I just switched from DirecTV to Cablevision because I went with the internet/cableTV/phone package.

OMG, does their DVR software suck big time. As mentioned above, you have to find your show on the guide to set up a "season pass", no folders, no episode titles. It is so bad we're thinking of going back to DirecTv.
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Old 01-01-2006, 02:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistrella
I just switched from DirecTV to Cablevision because I went with the internet/cableTV/phone package.

OMG, does their DVR software suck big time. As mentioned above, you have to find your show on the guide to set up a "season pass", no folders, no episode titles. It is so bad we're thinking of going back to DirecTv.
Before going back to DirecTV I'd wait and see what their non-TiVo DVR looks like. I haven't been blown away with the few reviews of the non-HD DVR DirecTV now offers, and I'm waiting for CES and MacWorld to finish before deciding what to do next.

I have an HD-TiVo and will either keep that and wait for the new DirecTV DVR that does HD, move to digital cable and get a CableCard HDTiVo (assuming a ship date is announced at CES), get the rumored Apple DVR (if it's announced at MacWorld), or build a MythTV box.
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Old 01-03-2006, 08:50 AM   #18
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Thank you for your suggestions. You prompted me to call my cablevision people and ask about alternatives. I can stop their DVR service, which costs $9.95/month plus about $5 for the box rental. I can then purchase a TiVo box, and pay $12.95/month, and hook it up to my cablevision. Does that sound like a good alternative? We really can't stand this DVR service.
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Old 01-03-2006, 09:01 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by mistrella
Thank you for your suggestions. You prompted me to call my cablevision people and ask about alternatives. I can stop their DVR service, which costs $9.95/month plus about $5 for the box rental. I can then purchase a TiVo box, and pay $12.95/month, and hook it up to my cablevision. Does that sound like a good alternative? We really can't stand this DVR service.
I think you will be very happy. That's the steup I have and I wouldn't change it.
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Old 01-03-2006, 09:10 AM   #20
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Thanks! I will do that ASAP.

Isn't the Internet wonderful?
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Old 01-03-2006, 09:29 AM   #21
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Thanks! I will do that ASAP.

Isn't the Internet wonderful?

Question Cablevision on getting a free SA TiVo through them. They have some sort of deal going but you have to press them as they seem inclined to push their own piece of junk still.
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Old 01-03-2006, 11:17 AM   #22
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Thanks, Zeotivo.

I just called my local Cablevision office, and they said they do not offer a TiVo box. I get the feeling it's in some kind of beta mode and not available everywhere.

So I guess I'll have to eat the cost of the TiVo box. At least they're giving a $150 rebate right now if you prepay a year.
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Old 01-03-2006, 12:52 PM   #23
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I'm kind of late to this but my $.02 is don't switch.
I added cable service, I was a DirecTivo user, to get more HDTV. After two weeks of using the piece of junk Motorola 6412 box I had had enough and returned the equipment and cancelled the cable service. Until Comcrap is running Tivo software on their boxes or until Tivo has a CableCard 2.0 set top box available I can't make the switch.
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Old 01-03-2006, 01:03 PM   #24
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or until Tivo has a CableCard 2.0 set top box available I can't make the switch.
just as another point to consider - we may well hear more about when the next generation TiVo will be out at CES on Thursday
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Old 01-04-2006, 12:52 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by mistrella
Thanks, Zeotivo.

I just called my local Cablevision office, and they said they do not offer a TiVo box. I get the feeling it's in some kind of beta mode and not available everywhere.

So I guess I'll have to eat the cost of the TiVo box. At least they're giving a $150 rebate right now if you prepay a year.
Not sure of where you live, but I use Cablevision and they absolutely do (or did) have a TiVo deal... you just have to push them for it. And be aware, it's not an HD Cablecard Tivo.

I confirmed this with TiVo today as well because cablevision is coming here to install and switch me away from Dish Network... I'll be going to their HD DVR for my HD setup and moving my TiVo to one of our non-HD televisions for now. I don't expect the SA8300 to perform as well, but it's time to make the jump to HD. My fingers are crossed that TiVo's CC HD box will be available very soon and I may, just MAY be able to still use my coupon towards it (from this promo).

The promo ended December 31st... so I'm not sure you could still push the issue... but to let you know I had to REALLY push it with Cablevision for nearly 25 minutes before they agreed to give me the free TiVo coupon.

Good luck!
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Old 01-04-2006, 01:22 AM   #26
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Not sure of where you live, but I use Cablevision and they absolutely do (or did) have a TiVo deal... you just have to push them for it. And be aware, it's not an HD Cablecard Tivo.

I confirmed this with TiVo today as well because cablevision is coming here to install and switch me away from Dish Network... I'll be going to their HD DVR for my HD setup and moving my TiVo to one of our non-HD televisions for now. I don't expect the SA8300 to perform as well, but it's time to make the jump to HD. My fingers are crossed that TiVo's CC HD box will be available very soon and I may, just MAY be able to still use my coupon towards it (from this promo).

The promo ended December 31st... so I'm not sure you could still push the issue... but to let you know I had to REALLY push it with Cablevision for nearly 25 minutes before they agreed to give me the free TiVo coupon.

Good luck!
I am also using the Cablevision (Scientific Atlanta) HD DVR. Dual tuners and the the ability to record two HD shows almost neutralizes the advantage TiVo has in software. Always make sure that you double check your scheduled recordings because the software on the HD box is not as reliable or intuitive as TiVo's.
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Old 01-04-2006, 01:31 AM   #27
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Thanks DCI... I'm kinda thinking that is going to be the case as well (that the HD advantage almost neutralizes the software advantage)... we'll see soon enough. From what I hear the SA8300 is constantly upgrading it's software, and since Cisco has now bought them I expect there will be improvements over time. If not, here's my fingers crossed for the HD CC TiVo to hit the streets and be functional and compatible with Cablevision!
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Old 01-04-2006, 09:08 PM   #28
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Actually cablevision is a smaller cable co. and I think they will offer you an SA TiVo. I do not live in NY so check around on this but I think they are part of a group tha tdoes that. Hopefully someone from the area can come along and post. Cable Company DVRs range from Sci Atl. boxes that barely work up to Moxi that is neck and neck with TiVo.

I just looked at my cable co offerings today. So this moxi does appear to be like tivo. The FF compensation is #1 priority with me. We use that constantly and for me to ever be able to consider switching to cable.

now off to find out more about this box
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:52 PM   #29
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I am also using the Cablevision (Scientific Atlanta) HD DVR. Dual tuners and the the ability to record two HD shows almost neutralizes the advantage TiVo has in software. Always make sure that you double check your scheduled recordings because the software on the HD box is not as reliable or intuitive as TiVo's.
My sister has the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000. Is that the same box you have?
The SA 8000 is the hugest piece of crap I have ever had the misfortune of using. It's even worse than the Moto 6412 that Comcrap uses.
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:09 PM   #30
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My sister has the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000. Is that the same box you have?
The SA 8000 is the hugest piece of crap I have ever had the misfortune of using. It's even worse than the Moto 6412 that Comcrap uses.
I've read about both boxes... the 8300HD is supposed to be a big improvement from the 8000 but I couldn't tell you from personal experience. I get the 8300 on Friday, so I won't know how crappy it is until then
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