Advice for a longtime Tivo user or alternatives?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by kincade, Mar 17, 2020.

  1. kincade

    kincade New Member

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    Good evening everyone! I'm hoping to solicit a bit of advice from you all on a decision I have to make on our current Tivo service.

    Here is my situation: we have used Tivo for around 20 years, and as of now have (2) Tivo Minis with a 2tb Roamio pro. It's been flawless for the most part if you don't count the apps until recently, in which one of our Mini's died. The Roamio pro still works great. All are used with a cablecard and Xfinity/Comcast service who are my only available internet provider.

    Recently we added 2 more TV's to our home, and finally added a 4k projector. I would like to get service to these 2 new TV's if possible, and neither has coax or ethernet ran to them. Would also like to add 4k although I'm not sure if there is much content yet on Xfinity.

    I've spoken with Tivo CS and if I opt to stay within the Tivo ecosystem I can get (2) tivo Minis for $149 (ea) with the wifi adapter, but this apparently requires updating the software to the Tivo Experience 4 which I've read many do not like and also has mandatory ads. They will also upgrade my Roamio to a Bolt 1TB for $199 with a $249 lifetime service, which would also give me 4k compatible content. I would keep the other 2 minis for the other 2 existing TVS, putting me at $750 for all of it which is quite an investment for software that many do not seem to be happy with.

    That said I don't see many other options out there. I read about using Plex with an HD Homerun Prime, but this doesn't appear to be released yet. Aside from that my google-fu hasn't come up with any other viable options for a DVR with cable.

    Are there other options out there that you could recommend? I do have a Synology server that could be utilized for this if needed, and I can always use an apple tv for streaming HBO, Netflix and Disney +. But there are still programs we like to watch with our kids, stuff on broadcast, concerts, FX, AMC and other networks that don't appear to be compatible with one single solution that would work with all of the displays in our home.

    Thank you in advance for any advice you can give!
     
  2. pfiagra

    pfiagra Well-Known Member

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    The Bolt (provided it is not a Bolt OTA only model) can be downgraded to TE3.

    The new Mini (Mini Vox) can also run TE3 (will match the dvr host) but it will require an Ethernet or Moca connection to your network since the new WiFi adapter only works with TE4.

    The Vox functionality on the Bolt and Minis also wouldn’t work as this feature only works on TE4.
     
  3. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    Yttv. $50/mo. And various other cable over internet services. Yttv the best one. But others might have something to offer someone depending on their needs.

    Hulu is going to have FX shows now. Networks can be gained via ota. Or even via streaming starting with cbs all access. Soon Peacock too. And Hulu has other network shows but not local stuff. AMC is trickier. But at least older stuff seems to make its way to streaming. I am sure soon enough they will have a streaming solution. You could buy an AMC show or two directly if needed.


    you got options.

    I wouldn’t get a bolt for a roamio. Cable is mostly not 4K. I would test out yttv to start.
     
  4. cwoody222

    cwoody222 Well-Known Member

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    Just use the new software.

    it’s been out for over 3 years. All the major bugs have been killed and it’s much smoother than at launch. Even on Minis and Roamios.

    People just don’t like it because either 1) they don’t like change 2) they can’t deal with a grid guide like every other mainstream electronic guide or 3) they are niche users who store files on their PCs to watch on TiVo.

    Normal everyday users have little to complain about.

    If the “new” software is scaring you away, it shouldn’t.
     
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  5. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    As an alternative for providing service to those additional TV's, you can consider getting a Roku 4K streaming stick for each of them (most models cost under $40). The Roku supports Comcast's Xfinity Stream app, which will grant the user access to all of the programming (live and on demand) that you subscribe to on your Comcast account. The Roku is also a far superior support system than TiVo devices for any of the OTT streaming services (HBO, SHO, Amazon Video, etc.).

    This option would not provide access to recordings on the TiVo DVR, but at least you would have service to those TV's where there is no coaxial cable or ethernet connection available, and at very little cost (the Xfinity Stream (Beta) app is currently free, but Comcast has implied that they might start charging a monthly fee for it at some point in the future; if so, it would probably not be more than $5.00).

    As for 4K programming, there is almost none currently being broadcast on the Comcast channels; your 4K content will have to come from the OTT services. If you go the Roku route, just make sure that you get one of the 4K/HDR-capable models, such as this one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
  6. keithg1964

    keithg1964 Ragonk

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    TE4 is fine, ignore the TE4 haters.
     
  7. mattyro7878

    mattyro7878 Well-Known Member

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    I have concerns about YTTV on a huge screen and a projector as source. Of course Xfinity is no prize winner in the hi-rez pic dept.
     
  8. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    I don't have any concerns. I like it more than Tivo+CAble.
     
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  9. PSU_Sudzi

    PSU_Sudzi Well-Known Member

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    TE4 is not fine in the opinion of many reasonable folks here, especially now with forced ads before shows and ad insertions into the guide. Do your research on pros and cons first before installing.
     
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  10. BillyClyde

    BillyClyde Active Member

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    You’re an amazing candidate to switch to Channels Plus DVR.

    Channels — Live TV, everywhere

    You mentioned you have a Synology NAS and AppleTV which can serve as the server (TiVo replacement) and client (same as a mini basically). All you’d need to add is an HDHomerun tuner, which you can get one for OTA antenna (Quatro) and/or cable (Prime with a Cablecard). You can mix and match these as well to have antenna and cable all in one merged guide.

    You don’t even have to have an HDHomerun actually, because Channels DVR supports TV Everywhere (TVE) which can be watched live and also recorded. It is authenticated by an MSO login from various sources like cable, satellite, OTT/SlingTV, YouTubeTV, etc. There are some channels you won’t get this way like A&E, History, etc. since they don’t support TVE, which is why I highly recommend an HDHR Prime tuner for cablecard.
     
  11. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Whatever you do, don’t subscribe to a cable tv service that requires a Tuning Adapter to get channels you care about, especially if it’s Spectrum. Unless you enjoy beating your head against a wall, that is.

    YTTV recently improved their resolution:

    YouTube TV Subscribers Notice Picture Quality Upgrade - Cord Cutters News

    They have the money and technical horsepower of Google behind them. They are growing rapidly and improving all the time. And you pay by the month via simple web portal rather than trying to get a cable tv phone rep to deal straight with you.

    Unfortunately for TiVo lovers, there is no way to use a TiVo with YTTV. You need a streaming device (e.g. Roku Ultra or Fire TV 4K stick) at each TV, And preferably a hardwired ethernet internet connection although many users do fine with WiFi.
     
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  12. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    I know they have a lot of fans, but I just don't see the appeal of switching to a more complex, less capable system that's just as expensive as Tivo. So many moving parts with Channels Plus, and you still can't record certain networks or premiums. As soon as the studios get wind of what Channels is doing, they'll be history. Any investment you have in that ecosystem will go down the drain.

    Youtube TV, on the other hand, is so cheap and simple. Granted it's missing a couple of mainstream channels, but who cares. I love just having a Fire stick, no NAS, no computers, no servers, no external tuners, no cable cards, no tuning adapters, no DVR fees.
     
  13. kincade

    kincade New Member

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    Oct 3, 2004
    First, thank you all for the advice! Really appreciate all of the feedback.

    On upgrading/keeping TE4, I'm not worried about the change as much as I am about ads. Is there a way to disable the ads? If not I think this would ruin the OS for me and be a constant source of irritation. If I"m reading this correctly, I can only use the Mini Vox with wireless on TE4, not TE3?

    I should mention that with Xfinity, it's NEARLY as expensive for Internet/TV as it is just for internet. Probably would save $20-30 month max by cutting out the TV service. That and they have a data cap, which I've never hit so far but might if I were streaming constantly.

    Regarding YTTV and Sling - I apologize for the dumb questions but I'm a bit of a luddite when it comes to cutting the cord. With these services, are all the shows just available 'on demand' like I currently see in HBO Go? Once an episode hits it is available to stream? Is YTTV comparable to Sling?

    The Xfinity stream app sounds very interesting as well. Functionally, is this the same functionality as the YTTV and Sling? I can either stream live shows or watch them once they record?

    Channels Plus and HD Homerun - I'll have to do some more reading on this. It sounds complex, while I don't mind fiddling with a setup, I'd hate to doom myself to constantly having to tinker to get the TV working, stations working, and explain to my kids and wife how a complex system works.

    Thank you so far for the input!
     
  14. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    The TiVo brand WiFi 5 USB adapter is TE4 only. However any Mini can use Ethernet, MoCA, Powerline and one of several Ethernet to wireless adapters. They vary in price and quality. It's always about the money. MoCA is the most popular. Having a good router is important.
     
  15. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    It's like HBO GO and Tivo combined. YTTV has an unlimited cloud DVR plus all on demand content the network makes available. In other words, it records live tv just like a Tivo except it's stored on a server elsewhere (for 9 months). Like Tivo recordings, you can ffwd/rew and skip commercials manually with multiple skip commands. For things that have already aired in the distant past that you did not record, you can watch on demand versions with unskippable commercials if the network has made them available. Unlike Tivo, you can have up to 6 individual user profiles like Netflix, each with his/her own custom list of channels and library of recordings, and watch live or recorded TV anywhere in the US on any streaming device.

    I've never tried Sling, but my understanding is that it works similarly but is inferior in nearly every respect (picture quality, channel selection, features, DVR capacity, etc.).

    IMO, compared to paying the cable company $150/month plus Tivo $15/month and spending an additional $150 for hardware in every other room, $50 for YTTV that runs on any streaming device you already have is a heck of a deal.
     
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  16. BillyClyde

    BillyClyde Active Member

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    More complex......less capable......just as expensive? Have you ever even used Channels DVR before? He already has a Synology NAS to use as the server and storage and also an AppleTV as a client. So all he needs to get is an HDHR tuner (~$125 - $300 depending on tuner) and maybe a couple $35 FTV sticks as clients to use elsewhere. He said TiVo would be $750!

    Also, you can record practically any channel that you can on TiVo. I think you’re mistakenly thinking that Channels is ONLY TVE, when in fact it’s not. As I said you can use an HDHomerun tuner, which allows you to receive and record all the networks, both cable and OTA. You’re not limited to only those who offer TVE as I believe you’re assuming.

    There is NOTHING illegal or wrong with what they’re doing. They’re a DVR and TV source company, just like TiVo. There should be no more risk than that of any linear MSO video service out there, especially those using cablecards.....just like TiVo!

    It’s starting to sound like the Corona style paranoia is spreading to the forums now, sheesh.


    Believe me when I say there’s nothing too complex about it and you certainly won’t have to be tinkering all the time to get it working.

    All you do is load the Channels DVR app on your Synology, sign up for a subscription at $8/month or you can save by paying annually or lifetime I think if I recall. Then you connect an HDHR tuner to your network and antenna/cable coax and do the simple channel scan for that. Then just download and login to the client app on your nVidia Shield/AndroidTV, FireTV or AppleTV and off you go!

    It is SO MUCH more capable when it comes to any out of home watching too. The images are the same quality as in home if you have the bandwidth, which isn’t much.

    To me, using Channels DVR on a client like FTV, AppleTV, Shield, etc. provides WAY MORE apps and capability than what a limited app TiVo can provide. Speaking of, when the $50 TiVo Stream 4K is released it should actually be able to run the Channels client app too, since it’s based on AndroidTV!
     
  17. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    Essentially, the XS app replicates the programming sources from your Comcast service subscription. Whether you access the website or the app, it will be provisioned with the same content as if you were watching through a STB. Although, as I previously noted, you will not be able to navigate your TiVo via XS, if you have Xfinity's X1 system you can watching recordings on that system through the app.

    ETA: I should note that I arranged a similar setup for my sister for a bedroom location. She was using an old 26" 720p TV with a STB. I bought her a new 43" 4K TCL TV, which obviated the STB since the TV's built-in Roku OS supports the XS app. She now has full access to all of her programming as well as the content and settings on her X1 DVR on one integrated device without the need for additional inputs or wires (whether coaxial or HDMI).
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
  18. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    You just made my point:
    Channels: Synology NAS ($$$), Apple TV ($$), HDHR tuner (if you can even find one) ($$) plus $8/month + streaming plan and/or cable subscription. If you happen to already have some of the hardware and infrastructure, great. I could just as well argue I already have a house full of lifetime Tivos, which make my cost zero.

    Tivo: Used 4 tuner Roamio w/ lifetime ($300) or $12.50/month without lifetime + cable subscription

    Streaming: Firestick ($) + streaming plan

    I agree Channels is doing nothing wrong by scraping streams. But they're not paying for cable labs certification and aren't making protected copies. If they were on the studio's radar, they would get shut down (sued out of existence). It's only a matter of time.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm the king of complexity. I've got a closet full of HDHRs, Cetons, WMC servers, NASs, Xbox WMC clients, Ceton Echo clients. Waaaaay too much complexity and hassle, just like Channels. I'm old and lazy, so YTTV is a godsend, even compared to Tivo, which is already dirt simple. I agree Channels is cool. But no thanks.
     
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  19. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I am a committed YTTV user BUT I’m puzzled by the many posters who say they made such huge savings as yours vs. cable TV. That was not my experience when I cut the cable in November 2019. Spectrum had just increased my rate to $156/mo (including taxes, fees, etc.) which INCLUDED internet, for which I’m now paying $70/mo, i.e., net cost of cable TV was $86/month. And that Spectrum package included the A&E channels missing on YTTV plus several premium channels including HBO and EPIX. Taking the extra channels into account, YTTV at $53/month (including sales tax) seems roughly cost comparable — not some tremendous savings.

    No, I cut cable and went to YTTV to get away from Tuning Adapters (and Spectrum’s lack of support of same) and having to deal with agents who at best were not helpful (if not deliberately dishonest) to negotiate reasonable rates every few months when they tried to force a 20% to 30% rate increase on me. I don’t need a big cost savings to make YTTV a better way to go.
     
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  20. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    @dlfl, You're lucky. I can't get anywhere near that in my market. I don't have an old bill handy since I cut the cord several years ago. But as I recall, a comparable package was $80 plus $12 broadcast fee, $8 RSN fee, $2.50 cable card and another $5 at least in other misc fees plus $6 for taxes, pushing it over $100 for just TV, twice what I pay for YTTV. Add $20 if you use the cable company DVR instead of Tivo. Even the bare bones 10 channel a la carte package I had right before I cut the cord went from $29 to nearly $50 because of all the bogus fees. The broadcast fee in particular was the last straw for me.

    In my case I was also paying for cable in two households which now share a single streaming subscription, doubling my savings.

    When I first cut the cord, I got PS Vue for $35. Then it went up and lost many channels, so I got an AT&T streaming package for $35,. That lasted a couple of years, then doubled in price, sending me to Youtube. Since I personally don't care about cable TV at all, I can often put my service on hold when certain family members are away. In the future, when it's just me and my wife, I'll be strictly OTA plus maybe one additional service like Netflix or HBO, and even then only occasionally.

    Having said that, I've never been head over heels in love with streaming. I have to make a lot of concessions. If the price were the same as cable, I'd go back to cable/Tivo in a heartbeat. I'm doing it 100% for the savings.
     
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