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Old 10-14-2011, 11:23 AM   #1
Hilltopper06
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How much money do you save with Tivo?

It's now been a year since I dropped cable and went OTA with Tivo and I love the savings! But, the new Tivo Premiere Elite has piqued my interest. Unfortunately it is only available to digital cable subscribers.

If I buy an Elite with a Lifetime subscription and subscribe to Time Warner Digital Cable how much can I save by not using their box?

I remember with DirecTV they used to charge me for HD service: $10/mos, DVR service $5/mos, and I paid to lease each DVR $5 each.

If I own my own box (Tivo Elite) would I not have to pay Time Warner's set top box charge and DVR & HD service?

I believe I'd have to pay $3/mos for a cable card. Would I need a tuning adapter and what is the monthly charge on that?
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:27 AM   #2
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These questions should be answered by your cable co. The need for a tuning adapter and the cost of cable cards, etc varies by region.
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:34 AM   #3
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How much money do you save with Tivo?
It's not even a matter of saving money for me. I can't stand my cable co's DVR's. I'd certainly give them another shot if things change in the future.
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:42 AM   #4
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If I own my own box (Tivo Elite) would I not have to pay Time Warner's set top box charge and DVR & HD service?
Correct. The TiVo with the CableCARD IS the set top box.

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I believe I'd have to pay $3/mos for a cable card. Would I need a tuning adapter and what is the monthly charge on that?
The first card on your account should be free. Whether you need a TA depends on your cable system. They should be no charge. Also, note that the cable company has to provide you a "bring your own box" credit to offset the cost of the set top box they are not providing you in the package.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:10 PM   #5
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I've yet to see a report of anyone saving money on a Timer Warner digital cable subscription by not using a STB or their DVR. I and others here have applied for the new "bring your own box" credit but the typical answer is "the bundle you're on doesn't normally include a STB" so you aren't eligible.

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Old 10-14-2011, 01:12 PM   #6
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Your first CableCARD should be free ??? Not on my Time Warner!
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:24 PM   #7
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Having a Tivo doesn't necessarily save you money. Consider that you have to buy the hardware and some sort of service plan from Tivo and then rent a cablecard to use it. Cablecard costs range from being free to $10/month or more, depending on your provider. Deduct the cost of the cablecard from the monthly cost of renting a HD set top box or DVR. Now take the difference and divide it into the amount you paid for the Tivo and whatever service plan you're using to see how long it will take you just to break even. If you're on a monthly service plan with Tivo you're probably losing money.
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:49 PM   #8
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To do the math, you have to know what it would cost to rent your cable company's DVR and what it would cost you to rent a cable card.

To hazard a guess, I'd say it would take you about 5 years to break even.
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:32 PM   #9
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To hazard a guess, I'd say it would take you about 5 years to break even.
This ignores the salvage value of a Tivo with product lifetime service (PLS).

You can sell a used series 3 or series 4 TiVo with PLS for $300-350. Use that salvage value to back out the break even point.

As an example, if the cable DVR costs $17 per month and the cable card costs $2 per month, then you save $15 per month. Assume a $300 salvage value on an HD TiVo and that would move your break even point up by 20 months.

You can sell a used TiVo, you can't (legally) sell the cable company DVR that you rent every month.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:50 PM   #10
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Again this varies from cableco to cableco, but here with RCN New England the HD Cable box (not the DVR, just the plain old HD cable box) costs $9/mo and the cablecard is $1.50. Since RCN's policy is "if you get it in SD you get it in HD as well" then that's $7.50/mo that I'm saving without having a DVR. Yes, you have to cover the cost of the Tivo and PLS but that's what I like to call a "Service improvement".
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Old 10-15-2011, 02:37 AM   #11
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CableCards and TA's should be sold by CableCo's for a one-time reasonable price. Heck even selling CableCards at $10 a piece still works out much better than the current system of monthly charges that add up big time over months.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:27 AM   #12
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CableCards and TA's should be sold by CableCo's for a one-time reasonable price. Heck even selling CableCards at $10 a piece still works out much better than the current system of monthly charges that add up big time over months.
Don't the cable cards cost several hundred dollars? Or is the cost much lower now for them?
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:50 AM   #13
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On Comcast the payback for a Tivo w/MSD lifetime is less than 3 years, so it's well worth it. And that's not even counting the resale value.
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:12 AM   #14
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Don't the cable cards cost several hundred dollars? Or is the cost much lower now for them?
Verizon's data sheet says it is $100 if you lose the CableCARD so I can't imagine it costing much more than that. Also I remember someone posting that their cable company sold them for $100 or $150.
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Old 10-15-2011, 04:12 PM   #15
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Verizon's data sheet says it is $100 if you lose the CableCARD so I can't imagine it costing much more than that. Also I remember someone posting that their cable company sold them for $100 or $150.
That's probably the list price for the card. You can bet Verizon only pays a fraction of that by purchasing bulk quantities.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:35 PM   #16
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TiVo sure hasn't saved me any money, it is an expense but I consider the cost money well spent. It is always less expensive to do without a DVR and usually less expensive to use a different DVR than TiVo but after 11 years, I can't live without a DVR whether I have cable, satellite or now OTA. I have used DirecTV and Comcast non-TiVo DVRs and like them well enough but I just like TiVo better and now living with OTA/Google TV, I am getting along great without any pay TV service.
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:43 PM   #17
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I don't ever think I've thought of my Tivo addiction as something that "saves me money" I've thought of it as "how much more bang for my buck" I get, I get to offload programs, manage and schedule online, transfer between Tivos, have an awesome GUI, upgrade and replace hard drives as "I" see fit.

Saves me money? no, gives me a 1000% better DVR experience, heck yes!
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:21 PM   #18
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The first card on your account should be free.
Negative. He says he is with Time Warner. They charge $2 for each and every CableCard.

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Whether you need a TA depends on your cable system.
He will.

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They should be no charge.
While not generally true, at this time TWC indeed does not charge for a TA.

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Also, note that the cable company has to provide you a "bring your own box" credit to offset the cost of the set top box they are not providing you in the package.
This is only true if a regular subscriber to the package is offered a free STB. If an STB is extra for all subs of the package, then no credit is issued.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:20 PM   #19
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TW must charge the same for all customers who use a CableCARD, whether they rent or own equipment. If the STB is not included in the service package, then obviously there would be no BYOB credit for a Tivo owner.

I don't know anyone who pays for a TA and I'm sure the FCC would like to hear from anyone who does.
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:28 PM   #20
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Honestly i do not think i save a nickle over a FiOS DVR. Especially given i have had a DVR expander die and had to replace a hard drive. Eating repair costs puts a dent in any savings one might have over a cable company DVR. Also with FiOS the cable card rental fee is normally $3.99 a month, also adding to overhead of using a TiVo over a cable company DVR and i use 2 TiVo's. I also use a FiOS DVR i do not/would not pay for. I also do not pay for the cable cards. FiOS DVR's and guide data SUCK compared to a TiVo.

Guessing a FiOS DVR might cost 15.99 a month, my 2 TiVo's cost me 19.00 a month for service on the 2. I prepay yearly, 129 for the first and 99 for the second which breaks down to 10.75 a month for the first and 8.25 for the second. Add to that 7.98 i would have to pay for the 2 cable cards. Thats brings me to 26.98 a month. Thats is a base savings of $5 a month or $60 a year. Calculating the cost of 2 FiOS DVR's in that per month, so i guess i do save a little. That of course does not take into account if one or both of my TiVo's break down i eat the repair cost and if my free FiOS DVR breaks down i call and they come right over with another free replacement..they break down a lot. FiOS DVR's are pretty much junk. However the newest models are better than earlier models. IMO

And NO, i would not be saving by using a Premiere Elite. The FiOS DVR (i do not pay for) is in my living room, so is my Premiere. My TiVo HD is in my bedroom so either way i need 2 TiVo's.
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:04 AM   #21
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Hmm let's see 14 tuners would be 7 DVRs from FiOS at a minimum of $15.99 a month per box.

This would cost me about $1350 per year on top of my current cable bill not including the 7 external drives I woul have to buy to get the same amount of space.

I have been with FiOS about 3 years for a total of $4050. I have definitely spent less than that on my setup by at least half
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:56 AM   #22
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I balance out. The cost of Tivo monthly balances out how much i paid for MRV with the cable company. i couldnt stand the software from them though so it is wayy worth it
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:26 AM   #23
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Hmm let's see 14 tuners would be 7 DVRs from FiOS at a minimum of $15.99 a month per box.

This would cost me about $1350 per year on top of my current cable bill not including the 7 external drives I woul have to buy to get the same amount of space.

I have been with FiOS about 3 years for a total of $4050. I have definitely spent less than that on my setup by at least half
My HTPC has twelve tuners (eight for digital cable and four for OTA ATSC) and it costs me $0 per month for service and $8 for two cablecards. I also have a single HD STB that costs me $10 a month and a lifetime S3 Tivo with two S-cards @ $3 apiece (they're grandfathered in under the original FIOS rate). Total cost for my HTPC and tuners is probably about $1600 ($900 for the tuners and about $700 or less for the PC components and case). My HTPC case was actually the most expensive single item (besides the original Ceton tuner @ $399) as I wanted something that looks like an A/V component instead of a PC. The same setup with a more modest case and the current Ceton tuners would cost you considerably less.

I'll wager that my Ceton InfiniTV4 tuners will get me a higher return on investment (percentage-wise) than an unsubscribed Tivo ever will, even with a hard drive upgrade. Used Ceton tuners are going for almost as much as a new one on ebay. If you're lucky, a used Tivo with lifetime might net you about 40-60% of your original investment.

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Old 10-16-2011, 09:29 AM   #24
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I've definitely saved money over the last 4+ years using TiVos than it would have cost me using FiOS DVRs. Plus the TiVos have many more features than even the current FiOS DVrs have. The only thing missing on the TiVos is VOD.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:18 AM   #25
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My HTPC has twelve tuners (eight for digital cable and four for OTA ATSC) and it costs me $0 per month for service and $8 for two cablecards. I also have a single HD STB that costs me $10 a month and a lifetime S3 Tivo with two S-cards @ $3 apiece (they're grandfathered in under the original FIOS rate). Total cost for my HTPC and tuners is probably about $1600 ($900 for the tuners and about $700 or less for the PC components and case). My HTPC case was actually the most expensive single item (besides the original Ceton tuner @ $399) as I wanted something that looks like an A/V component instead of a PC. The same setup with a more modest case and the current Ceton tuners would cost you considerably less.

I'll wager that my Ceton InfiniTV4 tuners will get me a higher return on investment (percentage-wise) than an unsubscribed Tivo ever will, even with a hard drive upgrade. Used Ceton tuners are going for almost as much as a new one on ebay. If you're lucky, a used Tivo with lifetime might net you about 40-60% of your original investment.
My TiVos don't cost me anything per month except in electricity and CableCARDs. Also I don't have to deal with the headaches of my HTPC which is why I picked up the Elite and let my roommate use the HTPC. It is nice on the Elite not having to go in and delete multiple recordings of the same show which happens daily on my HTPC. For some reason Media Center thinks new only means to record the new episode every time it airs on many of my series recordings. I also don't have to deal with the pop-up that there is no signal because Media Center took longer to tune a channel than it thought it should. This happens every time it goes to record so in one night I will clear it over 20 times. This is also not counting the times when my recordings fail because the card goes missing and I have to reboot.

You also have crappy remote tools like remote potato though most of that falls on Microsoft since he is merely working with what limited tools he can. Still it comes nowhere near what I do daily with KMTTG and the iPad app on my TiVo which is another reason I abandoned Media Center.

As far as your 40-60% number you pulled out of your ass like always, it just isn't true as much as you want it to be.

Paid $698 for my Premiere XLs with lifetime at launch, someone recently sold some for $565, $630 and $640 on ebay in the last week. Definitely not 40-60%

Paid $350 for TiVo HD with lifetime and upgraded to 1TB. They have sold recently for $400 on ebay. Definitely not 40-60%.

Hmm Ceton InfiniTV 4 originally priced for $399. Not a single one sold above $250 recently with most below $230. Definitely 40-60% since you bought before the price drop.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:50 AM   #26
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That's probably the list price for the card. You can bet Verizon only pays a fraction of that by purchasing bulk quantities.
Since they don't "sell" the cards, there is no list price as such.

It is likely their cost to replace it, which includes administrative costs in attempted recovery of the lost hardware, not just the bulk purchase price of the hardware.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:53 AM   #27
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My TiVos don't cost me anything per month except in electricity and CableCARDs.
Yes, but you still had to pay for lifetime service. Your Tivos cost you to use the service regardless of whether you pay by the month or a huge lump sum. You're only deluding yourself if you believe otherwise.

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Also I don't have to deal with the headaches of my HTPC which is why I picked up the Elite and let my roommate use the HTPC. It is nice on the Elite not having to go in and delete multiple recordings of the same show which happens daily on my HTPC. For some reason Media Center thinks new only means to record the new episode every time it airs on many of my series recordings. I also don't have to deal with the pop-up that there is no signal because Media Center took longer to tune a channel than it thought it should. This happens every time it goes to record so in one night I will clear it over 20 times. This is also not counting the times when my recordings fail because the card goes missing and I have to reboot.
What headaches? My HTPC is rock solid and is as stable as any Tivo I've ever owned. If you're having problems like the ones you indicated then you should consider going back to the drawing board and set it up again from scratch (i.e., a clean install). There are also a few simple guidelines that need to be followed that can cause you some serious headaches if you don't do them right, such as setting up the proper audio configuration in Windows. It's something that's easily overlooked and often not considered, but it can be a pain to deal with the problems that result from improper setup.

I don't get multiple recordings of the same show if I've specified new recordings only. Multiple recordings are usually a problem associated with incorrect guide data. Tivos have been known to have the same issue on occasion. I used to have issues with missing USB tuners until I realized it was due to a faulty external USB hub. I've never had an internal tuner go missing from media center. If you're having tuner problems, uninstall the tuners in Windows and reinstall the drivers from scratch. Rerun TV setup in Media Center and I'll bet your problem goes away. Any type of instability like the ones you described can generally be attributed to bad drivers or improper installation.

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As far as your 40-60% number you pulled out of your ass like always, it just isn't true as much as you want it to be.
The numbers are based on actual sales figures I pulled off of ebay for S3 Tivos. I haven't checked the numbers for the Premiere. The bottom line is that you're basically selling the lifetime service and giving the Tivo away for free.

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Paid $350 for TiVo HD with lifetime and upgraded to 1TB. They have sold recently for $400 on ebay. Definitely not 40-60%.
I sincerely doubt that you paid that much for a new TivoHD with lifetime. I can see that for a used one. If you bought a used Tivo and then sold it as used then you should get close to a 100% return on your investment. Buying a used Tivo with lifetime can actually be a better deal than buying a new one, especially if you can replace the hard drive yourself. If you end up with a mainboard issue then you still haven't lost as much had you invested in a new unit with lifetime that's out of warranty.

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Hmm Ceton InfiniTV 4 originally priced for $399. Not a single one sold above $250 recently with most below $230. Definitely 40-60% since you bought before the price drop.
The current InfiniTV4 retails for $299. New ones are going for about $250 on ebay. Used ones sold in the past 30 days have sold for over $200. I bought one of the original InfiniTV4's at the $399 price (they were selling for much more than that on ebay at the time due to lack of availability) but I bought a 2nd one new for about $280 when they initially lowered the price.

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Old 10-16-2011, 12:24 PM   #28
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I save lots of $$$ with my Tivos

I have lifetime (or 'evaluation') on all my Tivos and only get programing over the air or via the internet or library borrowing, so my 'overhead' is very low. I have to have broadband internet for business needs, so that doesn't cost me any more. I really like looking at the web using my Tivo.

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Old 10-16-2011, 12:53 PM   #29
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Yes, but you still had to pay for lifetime service. Your Tivos cost you to use the service regardless of whether you pay by the month or a huge lump sum. You're only deluding yourself if you believe otherwise.
All of my quoted prices included lifetime. Just like you can't use Media Center without paying for Windows 7.

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What headaches? My HTPC is rock solid and is as stable as any Tivo I've ever owned. If you're having problems like the ones you indicated then you should consider going back to the drawing board and set it up again from scratch (i.e., a clean install). There are also a few simple guidelines that need to be followed that can cause you some serious headaches if you don't do them right, such as setting up the proper audio configuration in Windows. It's something that's easily overlooked and often not considered, but it can be a pain to deal with the problems that result from improper setup.
All of the problems mentioned are common threads over on theGreenbutton.

[quote=mr.unnatural;8757038I don't get multiple recordings of the same show if I've specified new recordings only. Multiple recordings are usually a problem associated with incorrect guide data. Tivos have been known to have the same issue on occasion. I used to have issues with missing USB tuners until I realized it was due to a faulty external USB hub. I've never had an internal tuner go missing from media center. If you're having tuner problems, uninstall the tuners in Windows and reinstall the drivers from scratch. Rerun TV setup in Media Center and I'll bet your problem goes away. Any type of instability like the ones you described can generally be attributed to bad drivers or improper installation.[/QUOTE]

Great for you, you don't record any of the shows we do. The guide data is correct on these shows which is why it makes it easy to delete since I can glance and see three episodes all with the same episode name.

Already done a clean install on multiple machines and happens about once a week regardless of the PC. It is also another thread that I check up on over at theGreenbutton.


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The numbers are based on actual sales figures I pulled off of ebay for S3 Tivos. I haven't checked the numbers for the Premiere. The bottom line is that you're basically selling the lifetime service and giving the Tivo away for free.
Not in any of my cases as I already showed you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
I sincerely doubt that you paid that much for a new TivoHD with lifetime. I can see that for a used one. If you bought a used Tivo and then sold it as used then you should get close to a 100% return on your investment. Buying a used Tivo with lifetime can actually be a better deal than buying a new one, especially if you can replace the hard drive yourself. If you end up with a mainboard issue then you still haven't lost as much had you invested in a new unit with lifetime that's out of warranty.
Doubt away, but there have been multiple threads on here. Blockbuster sold the units new for $99. Sears also sold them new as cheap as $25 at one point. I snagged 5 at $50 each at my local Sears. I turned around and sold 2 of the TiVo HDs with lifetime for $500 when I upgraded to the Premiere XLs for a profit of $300.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
The current InfiniTV4 retails for $299. New ones are going for about $250 on ebay. Used ones sold in the past 30 days have sold for over $200. I bought one of the original InfiniTV4's at the $399 price (they were selling for much more than that on ebay at the time due to lack of availability) but I bought a 2nd one new for about $280 when they initially lowered the price.
As I said you bought at $399 and could sell it for around $230 which is at a 60% value. Just like the S3 as you should be aware by now you get penalized for being an early adopter.

I paid $220 for my Ceton new from Newegg.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:59 PM   #30
mr.unnatural
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Quote:
Originally Posted by innocentfreak View Post
All of my quoted prices included lifetime. Just like you can't use Media Center without paying for Windows 7.
Windows 7 comes pre-installed on most PCs these days, just like the Tivo OS comes with your Tivos. Media Center is part of every version of Win 7 except Home Basic.

Quote:
All of the problems mentioned are common threads over on theGreenbutton.
And of course we all know that threads posted in public forums rarely discuss problems people are having. The Green Button is pretty much a huge collection of complaints by beginners that get in over their heads. It's like watching the evening news and expecting to see something uplifting instead of worldwide tragedies.

Quote:
Great for you, you don't record any of the shows we do. The guide data is correct on these shows which is why it makes it easy to delete since I can glance and see three episodes all with the same episode name.
And how would you know what I record? Are you psychic or something?

Quote:
Already done a clean install on multiple machines and happens about once a week regardless of the PC. It is also another thread that I check up on over at theGreenbutton.
And I'll bet you installed it the exact same way on all machines each time. Can anyone see a pattern here? If you're having the same problems with each PC then it's clearly obvious you're doing something wrong. Win 7 Media Center is a fantastic app, but there is some setup required. If it's done incorrectly then it's pretty obvious you're going to have issues. Chances are there's a very simple solution to your problem.

Now, getting back on topic, I don't expect to get top dollar for any consumer electronic device when I'm an early adopter. It just happened that the S3 Tivo was the only option available to me when I signed up for FIOS other than their crappy Motorola DVR. I paid $600 for my first S3 (new) and about $350 for my 2nd one (used on ebay). I sold the 2nd S3 when my commitment ran out and I acquired my first Ceton tuner. With no lifetime and only two hard drive upgrades (500GB internal and 1TB external) I think I only got about $110 for the unit. No doubt the 1st S3 with lifetime will fetch much more, but far less than I invested in it, which is expected. Tivos will only sell for about 50% or less of what the current model is going for new (except the Elite). Lifetime does provide a much better return on investment, but like I said, you'll basically be selling the lifetime service and giving the Tivo away for free.

Last edited by mr.unnatural : 10-16-2011 at 03:16 PM.
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