About to buy my 1st Tivo...

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by rondun, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. rondun

    rondun New Member

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    Jan 24, 2006

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    Hi,

    After much consideration I've decided to go ahead and get myself a Tivo.
    Its for my mother, really, to replace her ageing video player so ease of use is probably the main decider over a freeview pvr or dvd/hd recorder. And I don't want to fork out for sky+!

    So, came here with a couple of questions:

    I've seen on ebay some tivo's with lifetime subs included - what do i need to transfer the sub over- does the seller have to do anything beforehand? How long does it take? If the machine packs up after a couple of months, does that mean you have to fork out for a new sub if it can't be repaired?

    I see some people here with different models (601e, 6022,6023 etc.) - are there any significant differences between the models, which one should i be going for? If its to do with upgrades, the only thing I may do is add a bigger hard disk (although 40hours, seems quite a lot - is it really that easy to fill up once you start using it?)

    thanks in advance,

    Ron :)
     
  2. aerialplug

    aerialplug Serious TiVo User

    1,181
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    Oct 20, 2000
    Swansea
    If you buy one with life subs, you'll need to ask the sellter to tell TiVo that you're taking over the account otherwise you won't be able to contact customer services with any queries about your account.

    The sub is for the box and is linked to its serial number which is hard coded onto the mother board, so yes, unless you can have an agreement with TiVo to transfer to a different box, you're going to have to get it fixed. The good news is that most of the things that go wrong are easily fixable if you're reasonably compitent (usually hard drive, power supply or remote, all of which can be replaced). There people on this forum who repair TiVos with nastier mother board related problems should that be needed.

    As far as the unopened box, the model number makes no difference as you'll get the same amount of memory. Internally, some of the early TiVos came with 2 hard drives, later ones came with just 1 45GB drive. Seeing as you're already considering adding a larger drive, this isn't an issue either.
     
  3. Paul Stimpson

    Paul Stimpson New Member

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    Aug 19, 2002
    Farnborough,...
    Hi Ron,

    Welcome to the family.

    40 hours does seem like a lot but remember that is 40 hours at "Basic" quality (IMHO about the same quality as VHS) and you will probably end up getting 19 or 12 hours depending on whether you use "High" or "Best" quality.

    The only real difference between the different models is how many hard drives the unit has (Newer ones have 1, earlier ones [generally before 6020] had 2) and the earlier models may not have had the NICAM mod done. The NICAM mod is a small hardware fix that stopped a popping noise on the sound of NICAM channels; If you're using Freeview, Sky or cable then it doesn't matter if it's been done or not. Even if you haven't had it done and you're watching analogue TV it doesn't necessarily mean you will have a problem. The earlier the model the you get potentially the longer it's been used for but if you get an early twin drive one you will at least get the bracket for the second hard drive (a saving of a tenner) if you ever want to add one. The main thing here is the age of the drive but if you're planning on an upgrade soon that doesn't really matter.

    Do you plan to do an upgrade yourself and would you being doing it immediately? Are you confident whipping the top off PCs and doing stuff or would you prefer to buy a preconfigured drive? If you want to do it yourself there are always plenty of people here who will be more than happy to offer advice.

    There are 2 people here who run businesses: healeydave from www.TiVoland.com sells complete TiVos which have already been upgraded as well as big replacement drives and just about every spare item you could want. Steve (blindlemon)from www.tivoheaven.co.uk does upgrade hardware, drives and accessories. He also does quality upgrades if you have a big screen TV and want them. Both Dave and Steve are highly respected members of this community and I would expect either of them to provide you with good advice and spotless service. I have personally ordered a complete machine from Dave.

    Cheers,
    Paul.
     
  4. b166er

    b166er New Member

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    Oct 24, 2003
    Brit in...
    You might want to think over what level of technical ability your mother has. I'd love to buy a TiVo for mine, but she can't figure out how to (a) send a text on her mobile phone, (b) record a program on the VCR without videoplus and (c) add phone numbers to her speeddial list on her phone. So I know that the TiVo operation would be too much. Yeah I know for most of us techies here consider the TiVo menu friendly and easy, but for the generation that can't get to grips with computers and mobile phones and videos I think it's a bit complex.
     
  5. Paul_J

    Paul_J New Member

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    Jan 9, 2001
    Dunmow,...

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    I must disagree with the previous coment, my wife cannot do any of the above mentioned things, but using the TiVo is second nature. Even with Video Plus I would never have asked her to set a timer recording on our old VCR but she is happy seeting SP or one off recordings with the EPG. I would say TiVo is very friendly even to the average techno phobe.
     
  6. b166er

    b166er New Member

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    Oct 24, 2003
    Brit in...
    That's cool. Something he should consider though.
     
  7. Paul Stimpson

    Paul Stimpson New Member

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    Aug 19, 2002
    Farnborough,...
    I would agree with that. A few months after I got ours my partner confessed that she thought it would be so complicated that she would never be able to watch the TV again but she hadn't said anything because she knew I wanted it. She went on to say that she loved it and couldn't imagine TV without it any more. She loves having one remote for everything and being able to produce the kids' favourite shows instantly for bribary,

    Cheers,
    Paul.
     
  8. rondun

    rondun New Member

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    Jan 24, 2006
    Thanks for all your quick replies folks.

    As far as my mum is concerned her ability to use the video is limited to sticking in the tape, selecting the channel, choosing LP and pressing record!
    My only experience with tivo was in the US last year (where it seems everybody gets given one at birth - they've all got them) and I must say I thought it was incredibly easy to use. In fact easier than adding numbers to speeddial - even I forget how to do that sometimes.
    I know UK tivo's are different, but they must be as intuitive, surely. Anyway, I can see opinions are divided, and to avoid a prolonged discussion here I'm going to get one anyway and see how she gets on. I can always keep it for myself, or even sell it on, they seem to hold their value pretty well.

    Since she mainly records on LP I think the quality issue won't be a problem. Basic quality on the tivo might even be a slight improvement on video LP? Anyway, there is no big screen or plasma to worry about.
    I might use higher quality to record a movie - does best or high give a marked improvement in sound if you intend to listen through a surround amp, for example?
    I just want to avoid the clutter of unlabeled and (often unwatched) video tapes. Although, I imagine her viewing habits will soon fill up the tivo hd - but at least the ability to see at a glance the recorded and unwatched programmes will be invaluable.

    As far as upgrading is concerned I think i'll leave it for a while. I would be happy to do a HD upgrade myself, even install the os, but all the guides i've seen involve making a backup of your tivo drive - what happens if the drive goes altogether - would it be a good idea to make a backup as soon as i get it?

    Once thing which does concern me is what Paul mentioned about the Nicam problem. The ability to record from analogue while watching sky would be essential - how do you know if a tivo has had the mod, and is it easy to do if required?

    Also, I have a question about stacking - space under the telly is limited, might have to remove a shelf- is it safe to stack something like sky box or vcr on top of the tivo if you use, say 3/4" spacers for airflow - do they overheat readily?

    phew!
     
  9. cwaring

    cwaring VM Tivo User

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    Feb 11, 2002
    Knaresboroug...
    A new Govt. scheme; get a Tivo or £250 in the bank for your first child. :D

    The US Series 1s are the same as ours, although I'm pretty sure that the basic functionality/screens of the later models won't have changed that much, surely?

    I would use MEDIUM quality over BASIC, even on a standard unit; though, to answer your question, yes, I think BASIC quality compares quite favourably with that of a VCR on LP.

    The QUALITY setting makes absolutely no difference to the audio; which is encoded at the same rate regarless.
     
  10. Paul Stimpson

    Paul Stimpson New Member

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    Aug 19, 2002
    Farnborough,...
    Probably a good idea. I'd be more inclined to slap a cheap 120GB drive straight in there and be done with it. That way you know the drive will last and there's not the difficulty of preserving settings and recordings.

    I don't know what the mod is exactly but from what I've heard I understand it it's not terribly involved if you can wield a soldering iron competently. Maybe somebody knows if there is a version or serial number after which the mod was done in the factory or if engineers that did them stuck some sticker or mark on the machine afterwards so you'd know.


    They're generally not too bad and have a temperature display in the System Information menu. I'd much rather put the TiVo below an STB than on top of it as those tend to kick out quite a bit of heat.

    Cheers,
    Paul.
     
  11. simon1

    simon1 New Member

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    Jan 27, 2002
    The Nicam mod was applied to 6022, 6023 and 6024 versions (6024 being the newest).
     
  12. terryeden

    terryeden TiVo, Tivum, Tiva,

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    Nov 2, 2002
    Surrey
    Basic quality is far superior to LP. It's even superior to SP.

    The only time the quality drops noticably is if
    a) You've got a TV larger than 21inches
    b) There's a lot of fast moving random patterns (water, fire, explosions)

    I'd buy a £30 FreeView box to be dedicated to the TiVo. The picture quality will be higher than analogue and you'll get the extra TV channels.

    As for sound - there is no difference between quality settings. The audio is converted to a slightly lower quality than that of FreeView - but it's not something you'd notice. Any amp with ProLogic I or II or Neo6 will produce a fine surround image.

    T
     
  13. bradleyem

    bradleyem Member

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    May 23, 2002
    London, England
    I'd just like to add my comments to the Basic quality/VHS question - it's not as straightforward as better than or equal to VHS - it's just different... As the image is compressed, the more bandwidth you throw at it, the better it is (compare 56k video steaming to 300k).
    Quick moving images look awful at times, and there sometimes can be a noticeable lag when a screen completely changes image (such as a camera cut).
    With VHS, the poor image just tends to look soft or grainy (or at least it did on my old video).
    It is watchable though, and if you are going to watch the majority of the TV through TiVo (which is the idea) I'm not sure if I would be happy with the quality.
    Your results may vary of course!!! I'd go with cwaring - medium quality is much better than basic, and will look good on all but the bigger TVs.
     
  14. Major dude

    Major dude Member

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    Oct 28, 2002
    I`d be interested how your Mum gets on with TiVo as opposed to say a DVD recorder. My Mum cannot get the hang of using recordable DVDs at all mainly because you have to erase a full disc before you can reuse it as opposed to a video which does not stop you recording over stuff.

    When Sky HD becomes available I was wondering whether my mum would benefit from using one of my TiVos instead of her Panny DVD recorder so let me know how your Mum gets on with it.
     
  15. Ian_m

    Ian_m Active Member

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    Jan 9, 2001
    Southampton,...
    Its a cheap +RW make or -RW make then, my very old Philips DVDR890 treats a +RW just like a tape. Try to record a 3/4hour programme in a 1/2 slot, it overwrites the next recording by 1/4 hour, just like a tape would.

    A mate bought a cheap (at the time) £149 DVD recorder from Sainsburys, ended up taking it back due to the issue that you could only record "at the end" of a +RW disk as well as only having S-vid input from external source. Unfortunately for him, recorders that "do it properly" were out of his price bracket (£280 in those days).
     
  16. doubledrat

    doubledrat should know better

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    Aug 24, 2001
    Attleborough...
    my 2p

    a freeview box *would* give a better quality picture, but at the expense of increased complexity of setup and potential for missed channel changes... if she's not a videophile I would opt for simplicity (and you can always add a freeview box later)

    you MUST get the fantastic "endpad" (see "soft padding" link in my sig) so that there are not so many (if any) missed program ends (due to programs overrunning their scheduled time slot). I'm sure many people have ditched tivos without it because of this major irritation.
     
  17. aerialplug

    aerialplug Serious TiVo User

    1,181
    1
    Oct 20, 2000
    Swansea

    To add to this, the "quality" of the picture is in the eye of the beholder. Basic quality has about the same horizontal resolution as VHS but can look much better at times. But there are other times when it can be much more distracting. If the image is busy the picture can become quite blocky, which I find more annoying than VHS in long play. Also, the picture often becomes quite blocky for about half a second after shock changes where the scene changes completely from one frame to the next.

    Personally, I can live with VHS's constant grainyness, but when the picture quaity is variable, I personally find it far more distracting.

    I never used basic quality even when the TiVo was unmodified. I've since modified the parameters of Basic so that it uses as little bitrate as possible. The picture quality is lousy now as it frequently can't even code a full frame of video if there's a lot going on, but it's perfect for radio, which I record quite a lot of.
     
  18. rondun

    rondun New Member

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    Jan 24, 2006
    Well, I am pleased to announce we are now a 1 Tivo family!

    Picked up an unmodified lifetime sub machine yesterday, and had a wee play. I'll keep a note of my thoughts/impressions here if anybody else is in the same position I was - considering getting their 1st machine.

    In response to some of your comments - I'm going to stick with the original HD for the time being to see how we get on. Also gonna stick with SKY and terrestrial as sources - freeview not an option due to poor signal. Hopefully the Nicam thing wont be a problem since its a 6023 model.

    First impressions - very happy, actually quieter than i thought it would be. Interface as easy to use as i remember. Changing channels quite slow though - could be a problem as my mother tends to use the up/down on the sky control to skim through the channels.

    First Questions!:
    OK, got the machine as is - it needed to make a daily call so no program guide. I made a call to see what would happen without doing the guided setup. It managed ok, but by the time I went to bed last night it had been organising itself for 6 hours with still over an hour to go - is this normal?
    There are a bunch of old recordings on "Now Playing" (which probably answers the q. above) but I could only play a couple of them - the rest just showed the bar at the bottom for a few seconds and then asked me if i wanted to delete it. Do the titles remain when Tivo deletes an old program, or does is suggest a problem with the HD?
    If you press record when watching live TV, it always records in "best" mode no matter whay the default quality is. Is there another way round this other than going into "season pass and other options"?

    So now I'm going to re-run guided setup - is it a good idea to "delete all" first?
    Also, after reading through the forum I'm going to use the Grundig remote codes for the digibox - is there anything else I should do too?

    Thanks,
    Ron

    PS - My Mother's first impressions:

    Deeply upset that Tivo had to phone home and hadn't spoken to anybody in over a month!

    Ah well, baby steps!
     
  19. doubledrat

    doubledrat should know better

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    Aug 24, 2001
    Attleborough...
    educate her that skimming the channels is no longer needed ;)

    record everything you want to watch, and never watch live tv again - that's the realy beauty of tivo IMHO

    it does take a VERY long time, can't remember exactly how long though

    that can happen when e.g. tivo tries to record but the satellite is not giving a signal

    that's the way it works by default. you can change it by hacking the tivo, not sure if there's a backdoor or anything that can change it too
     
  20. cwaring

    cwaring VM Tivo User

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    Feb 11, 2002
    Knaresboroug...
    It's because you have Sky. Even if it's just the FTA channels, Tivo still has to download and process all available data and as there's so many channels it can take a while :)

    Not that I know of.

    LOL :D You're not Jewish are you?

    (No offence. Was thinking of the old BT ads with Ms. Lipman ;))
     

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