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Old 03-09-2014, 06:54 PM   #1
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Mini or Premiere for a second main TV

I have a Roamio basic for a main unit, as I need to work with an antenna input. I want similar features and access on my bedroom television. What's the pros and cons of a mini versus a premiere (Series 4)? I'm guessing the areas of concern would be stream versus share, network traffic, cost (to a minor degree), quality of viewing, and speed of viewing. I'm sort of a TiVo newbie, but an electronics engineer, so I'll share my first thoughts.

Stream versus Sharing
I'm guessing that I can stream shows with a mini, but with a premiere I have to share/transfer the show to watch it.

Network Traffic
Based on my stream versus sharing, network traffic will only occur during transfers with a premiere, but streaming will eat some bandwidth while viewing. I see topics about "constant network chatter", but I've not seen a real network analyzer used to gage severity. I have this ability given borrowing equipment. I have WIRED gigabit setup, so maybe I shouldn't be concerned? I haven't even verified that the Roamio has gigabit wired port. Premiere most likely doesn't, but haven't verified that either. I live in an area of all 5 acre plots, so not concerned about wireless network traffic. Atop, I also have high-power, Wireless-N, industrial wireless access points (Ubiquiti).

Mini is $88 (Amazon), plus $150 lifetime service = $238
Premiere is ~$350 used with lifetime service, so ~$112 more than a mini

Quality of Viewing
Expect no difference in viewing quality given fully wired connections.

Speed of Viewing
Given that I expect to transfer a show with a premiere, I would guess a mini could be watching instantly, but I'd have to wait for a period of time (~ 5 minutes with wired gigabit?) before starting to watch a show with a premiere. I don't think I have to wait for the whole show to transfer, right?

Sorry for the length, but wanted to help clarify my thoughts. As an engineer, I'm always weighing pros / cons.

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Old 03-09-2014, 07:41 PM   #2
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When sharing programs between Tivo's from the Premiere family and newer, you have two options* MRS (streaming) or MRV (transfer and then watch... though you can start watching basically right away, it transfers faster than real-time)

Trick play (ff, rewind, 30-second skip, etc) works 100% slickly with either option, outside of if you are doing MRV and fast-forward too much and run into the point where it is still xfering of course

The mini simply does MRS streaming. You hit play, it takes like 2-5 seconds to sync up and begin playing... and then its like you are watching it "locally", pause, skip, ff etc is slick, smooth.

Network traffic is going to be the same with either option. An HD program needs 20mbs peak when streaming. SD programs are like a sixth of that or so.

I have a 100mb network here... am streaming/xfering stuff all over the place regularly and you never can even tell. Peeps with problems have network issues. I bought gigabit switches and have only put one in so far... its SO not a problem.

Roamio basic and the Mini have 100mb ports. Some models of Premieres have 100mb, some Gigabit. Shows are saved and xfered as a digital copy, so quality is identical no matter what device or xfer method you are using.

With two premieres, you'll have two separate "Now playing" lists. The other tivo shows up at the bottom of the Now Playing list... click it and you can then either just hit play on shows, or select transfer.

With mini, you have one unified "Now Playing" list, that looks identical from either box. You can schedule recordings, edit wishlists or season passes etc on either box.

The Mini is extremely power-efficient and fanless and has Moca or ethernet as options.

With a Premiere you'd gain whatever additional drive space it offered.

Finally, the mini is snappy, quick to go through menus, launch apps, etc. It's as fast as the Roamio. The Premiere is much slower... to the point where people have upgraded for this reason alone.

*If a channel has the no-copy bit set by cable provider on specific channels then you only can MRS. E.g. comcast only sets it on premium channels like HBO. Some are more or less aggressive with it. I know you are OTA, but if you ever switched to cable...

-Roamio Pro/Slide Pro
-Premiere Xl4
-Stream (Gotta go unplug the sucker one of these days!)

Last edited by lgnad; 03-09-2014 at 07:52 PM. Reason: typos!
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Old 03-09-2014, 08:00 PM   #3
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I just installed a Roamio and 2 Minis a few weeks ago. Since I was hooked to cable, the extra costs were just too much to not choose the Minis. But I wanted to add a few more points to what's already been posted.

I disagree about the amount of traffic because it doesn't take into account any live TV you might watch. With a Premiere you'd be watching directly on that box. But on a Mini, you're still streaming from the Roamio.

I'm also leery about the single point of failure. If my Roamio dies, I'm totally dead on all 3 TVs. Since you're OTA it won't be that bad, you can just watch directly. But of course, you won't have any recording abilities if you go the Mini route.

Adding a Premiere will also add additional tuners to your mix. With OTA only the 4 in the Roamio might be enough. But it's real easy to need more if you go cable, especially if you're sharing with someone else in the house.

OTOH, I expect the Mini to be a pretty robust product since it has no hard drive. It should last a relatively long time. I wouldn't feel the same about a used Premiere.

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Old 03-09-2014, 10:55 PM   #4
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Lots of good info! Thanks so far for such in-depth coverage in such quick order. It seems, so far, like I should go mini with a future added Roamio when I "feel the need" (for more tuners) that is, or I go cable. I did buy the 3 year warranty to help in case of failure within the pay-back period, but I do understand how easy it is to repair the HD and similar.

With you guys (TiVocommunity), I learn more every read!!!

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