Buy or Rent TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by GundamRX78, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Sep 6, 2011 #1 of 29
    GundamRX78

    GundamRX78 New Member

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    I currently have RCN a service provider. I have never own a DVR box before so I am not sure what is the best solution to go with so I have a few questions that I hope can be answered. BTW - My current setup is a Panasonic Plasma Viera, Motorola DCX700 and Arris's Touchstone Telephony Modem TM502G.

    1. Obvious one. Should I Rent or own a TiVo box?

    2. I was also looking at the Motorola DCT6208/6412 and Magnovox MDR513/515. I am not sure how they stack up against a TiVo box. I don't need a lot of bells and whistles.

    A. Recording a program and watching another at the same time is good.

    B. Being able to pause a current program and rewind back is another.

    C. Skipping commercials. Does it work?

    D. Would the TiVo box be used in place of for instance the Motorola DCX700?


    3. On TiVo's Web site, there is an options to buy the "Product Lifetime service" package. I couldn't not find answers to these questions.

    A. Is it worth it?

    B. Does it mean that I do not have to pay a monthly fee?

    C. What about repairs?

    D. Longevity of a typical TiVo box?
     
  2. Sep 6, 2011 #2 of 29
    classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    1. It depends, do you mean rent the RCN TiVo, or buy the $0 retail TiVo and commit to 2 (or is it 3)years service? The RCN TiVo is their's and you cannot modify it, and get their VOD apps instead of Netflix, Amazon, and all that. A retail TiVo does have Netflix et al, and you can expand the drive and use MRV and such, copy protection allowing. Personally, I would buy.

    2. The 62xx DVRs are last decade. The DCX32xx are the new ones you would want, if you want the provider's Motorola DVR. The Mangavox hardware is probably similar, and uses the same or similar operating software.

    A/B/C. Most DVRs, TiVo inclided, do that.

    D: You use a TiVo Premiere instead of a regular cable box, for it has built in digital tuners. You need a Cablecard, and perhaps a Tuning Adapter (for SDV).

    3:
    A. Product Lifetime is mostly worth it.

    B. For the TiVo service proper yes. You still need to pay for Cablecard and other cable related costs, broadband Internet, and for services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, if you want them.

    C. They don't "repair" your unit directly. They will swap it for a refurbished unit, with maybe a transfer fee. Most failures are the PSU or HDD, which can be user replaced (with usual cautions). The PSU can be repaired by a knowgeable tech. HDDs are easy to image.

    D: Older TiVos run for years. My Series 2 is about 8 years old.
    Cared for (on a UPS, surge, and input protectors), I would estimate aroud 5 years for current builds
     
  3. Sep 6, 2011 #3 of 29
    GundamRX78

    GundamRX78 New Member

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    1. I was wondering whether I should rent the unit from RCN versus buy one from TiVo. I know there are coupons online that I can apply to get at least $100 of if I order it from TiVo. You mentioned that the retail version does not have Netflix. How bare bones is the retail version? Can Netflix be added on and if so, what would that entail?

    2. Okay. I see the Motorola DCH3416. I notice it has only a 160GB internal drive. But there is a SATA port. I am wondering it is possible to upgrade the internal drive yourself or would that void the warranty?

    SDV? I assume that stands for "standard definition video"?

    I was looking a the specs for the Magnavox unit. It looks like it will only record in ST Def not Hi-Def.

    3. About the Product Lifetime. So it sounds like no monthly fee and the repairs are free for the life of the box.

    The Product Lifetime sounds like a good deal if you take good care of the box. I was just wondering about how quickly the technology will become outdated that would render that TiVo box useless and have to buy an updated one. But I guess it also depends on whether you want to pay a lot of cash upfront for the Product Lifetime instead of just getting paying the $19.00 monthly fee.
     
  4. Sep 6, 2011 #4 of 29
    jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    You are not quite following classicsat on a couple of items:

    1- Netflix is not available through a RCN tivo, but is available on a retail tivo. RCN is not a retail tivo, so no netflix.

    3- Product Lifetime Service (PLS) is not a warranty. It is the service for the lifetime of the TiVo, even if you sell it the TiVo retains the lifetime service. There are people out there using their units for 10 years now, the hardware overall has shown a decent longevity. Hard disks are replaceable, which is the most likely point of failure if it were to fail. I prefer PLS as it normally has a quick payback period and increases its value on the secondary market significantly.
     
  5. Sep 6, 2011 #5 of 29
    caddyroger

    caddyroger New Member

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    No 1 the RCN one that you rent does not have netflex. The one that you buy from bestbuy Tivo does have the tivo apps on it.

    No 2 The SATAS port do not work. And no you can not upgrade the hard drive.

    No 3 It only for the the subscription. It does not cover repairs to the tivo.
     
  6. Sep 6, 2011 #6 of 29
    HomeUser

    HomeUser Active Member

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    That is one possible description. The Tuning Adapter is used for "Switched Digital Video" Think of it a saving bandwidth by sending only the digital channel(s) currently requested.

    TiVo product Life Time does not cover repair of the box. Life time is for the "Life Time" of the box only. If the box fails TiVo may offer the option of replacing it with a refurbished box and transfer the life time to that box for a fee.

    Note: your cable company will most likely charge you for the "Cable Card". The Cable Card plugs into the TiVo it is needed to receive the Digital channels. By FCC mandate the Cable company's DVR also use the Cable Card and the same fee which is usually buried somewhere in the DVR's rental fee.


    Personally I think Life Time is well worth it.. then I have 2 10 year old Series 2 with Lifetime. A TiVo should last for years with good power and good ventilation.

    Surge suppressors are not needed on the output of most UPS's and can damage the UPS. See Using surge strips with APC's Back-UPS and Smart-UPS products.
     
  7. Sep 6, 2011 #7 of 29
    GundamRX78

    GundamRX78 New Member

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    1. So let me see if I understand the "Product Lifetime" correctly. The Product Lifetime stays with the TiVo it was purchased with. It sounds like TiVo doesn't repair the boxes only replace it with a refurbished one. How much is the transfer fee typically? Also, what else does the Product Lifetime offer aside from product replacement and not having to pay a monthly fee?

    jrtroo mentioned that PLS has a quick payback period and increases its value on the secondary market significantly. How does it's value increases? Are we talking about re-sale value?

    2. I can't buy my own "Cable Card" and "Tuning Adapter". I have to use the ones provided by my service provider, correct? Ballpark, what should I expect to pay?

    3. I notice my Panasonic TV has Viera Connect. When I access it, it lists these services MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL (Fox), one game, Hulu plus, YouTube, Amazon Video, NetFlix and CinemaNow. I can't figure out if these are services provided by Panasonic or RCN.

    If I have access to these programs, how would it work or conflict with the TiVo box that has access to some of these services? With that in mind, do I really need a TiVo box versus getting something like a Motorola DCT or Magnovox MDR box if I have access services like NetFlix?
     
  8. Sep 7, 2011 #8 of 29
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Sometimes TiVo offers transfers to new Tivos for a fee less than a new PLS. Otherwise, yes. When I trasnferred my PLS from my 1999 vintage Series I TiVo to my Series III Tivo purchased in September 2006, TiVo transferred the PLS plus extended the service for one year on the S1, free of charge. Of course, such offers come and go.

    As others have tried to tell you, PLS does not cover any unit replacement. It is only a plan that covers the TiVo service for the life of the unit. TiVo service includes automated software upgrades, a continuous 2 week long set of guide date (all shows coming on for the next two weeks), and access to network applications such as Multi-Room Viewing (for multiple TiVos), TiVo-To-Go (for transferring shows to an external PC), TiVo-To-Go-Back (for transferring shows from an external PC to the TiVo), NetFlix, Amazon Video-On-Demand, podcasts, music and photos from the web or an external PC, etc.

    If you will browse e-bay, you will find that used TiVos with PLS sell for significantly more than barebones models of the same type.

    There have been some reports of some systems selling CableCards. There have been none of any selling TAs. It is a bad idea buying either, since they will only work with the CATV system that provides them. If you go to another system in another town or change providers in your own town, it is highly unlikely either will work.

    Well, both, sort of. The ability to download those services rests with the TV. The internet access which allows you to reach the servers is provided by your ISP, which is probably RCN, but could be someone else if you have DSL.

    There won't be any conflicts, shy of bandwidth conflicts that may arise if you are trying to download two high bit-rate services at the same time. The answer to your more general question is a much more difficult one. The TiVo is a completely different sort of box than the other DVR offerings. It's not just a matter of "bells and whistles", although the TiVo has plenty of those, too. The TiVo offers the user a fundamentally different way of approaching the recording of TV content. My Tivos search for and record far more wonderful content - by MY definition of wonderful, not someone else's - than any human being could ever possibly watch, without my having to ever touch them. Almost all I ever do is sit down and press <Play>. While the CATV channels are filled to the brim with tons and tons of totally worthless crap, my TiVos filter out the occasional nuggets of gold from the mounds and mounds of excrement, so that all that my TV presents me is stuff I like, and more of it than I can ever watch. For the most part, other DVRs can record what you tell them to, after wading through literally tens of thousands of programs in program listings to find the ones you like.

    And yes, you (or rather, your TiVo) can be recording two programs simultaneously (assuming an S3 or newer TiVo) and downloading a third off the web or an external PC while you watch a fourth previously recorded program, all directly from your TiVo. That, or you can watch any of the three streams being recorded by the TiVo.
     
  9. Sep 7, 2011 #9 of 29
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    My S1 TiVo (unsubbed) just died a few weeks ago, after more than 11 years of service. <sniff>

    My first S3 is coming up on 5 years and going strong. My second S3 was 4 years old in July. My THD will be four years old in December. All of them have more than paid for their PLS in service plan savings. YMMV, of course.
     
  10. HomeUser

    HomeUser Active Member

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    1. Out of warranty replacement that is entirely at TiVo's discretion See
    - PLS does NOT include product replacement.

    - Consider the PLS one time charge of $500 versus the month to month service fee at $20/Month it would take 25 months to break even. If you keep the TiVo for just a little over 2 years you will saved money on the service.

    - Even broken TiVo's with PLS will sell for a higher price on sites like e-bay.


    2. You could buy your own Cable Card and Tuning adapter however you won't be able to use them. The devices will not work with your cable company the Cable Co. needs to program the cards with keys and software for use on there system and most will not.

    - What you are charged for the cards is up to the Cable Company if you look at the "FCC mandate" link in my previous post the Cable company is required to charge the same rate for the Cable Card in any supported device that they charge for the Cable Card in there box "CableCARDs typically cost between $2 and $4 per month".


    3. I think Viera Connect is provided by Panasonic just needs internet access to work the TiVo will not change that if you give it it's own internet connection.

    - The TiVo Premiere also provides Amazon, Blockbuster, Huluplus, Netflix, Pandora and more. I can access HuluPlus and Netflix from more then one TiVo, WII, PC or Laptop without any problem. In addition the TiVo search will include matches from some of the on-line content providers.


    Disclaimer: Like most users of the TiVo Community I am a "Home User" of TiVo and do not represent TiVo. This is just what I think I understanding at the time of writing this post. You should verify the facts at the TiVo.com web site.
     
  11. twhiting9275

    twhiting9275 TV Buff!

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    Buy or rent Tivo? My 0.02
    When I first started in '06, I bought my s2.
    When I picked up my HD TV, I bought my HD Tivo
    My last purchase (premiere) was a 'lease' (little down, $19.99 a month), because I wasn't ready to shell out $300 or so for a premiere. I haven't regretted that at all.
    My next purchase (Premiere elite) will be a purchased box, mainly to replace the HD and take advantage of the multi-unit discount.

    It really does depend on your financial situation. If you CAN buy the box outright, go for it. My 5 year old Tivo was still alive and kicking when I retired it last year, and my HD is going to be alive and kicking when I replace it (whenever the elite comes out). It is a very good investment.
     
  12. WhiskeyTango

    WhiskeyTango New Member

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    Unless there is some dramatic change in the way TV works, nothing will render the Tivo "useless". There are S1 Tivo's from over a decade ago that are still running today. New models only offer new features, you can still use older units just the same way you did when you bought it (aside from possibly adding a Tuning Adapter and/or DTA).
     
  13. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    "obsolete" might be a better term than useless. While my 1999 S1 can still be used, there's almost no case in which I'd want to given that all of my TVs are HD and all of my programming is digital.

    Even with the THD and S3 there is a degree of obsolescence as the Premiere is going to continue to get new features (well, maybe, given Tivo's track record on software updates...) and the older boxes are not.

    So, there is certainly some risk in buying a lifetime service on a device that will eventually become obsolete. In my opinion it does make financial sense though, and has some resale value if someone does decide to abandon their Tivo sooner than expected. The usual advice is to plan on owning it for 3 years, and be happy if you own it longer than that.

    An equally valid answer may be "neither". These services are provided by the content providers (netflix, amazon, etc). The TV or the Tivo are merely viewing devices. Many of these providers have their own subscription fees. One would wonder why it makes sense to pay netflix a subscription to download movies and then pay Tivo a subscription to watch the movies.
     
  14. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    True, unless of course the quality of the content available goes down much more, in which case I might be tempted to say "useless" applies. It's a little like having unlimited access to a garbage dump...

    Actually, I was using mine right up until it died about 4 weeks ago, and this despite the fact I have 3 Series III class machines. I certainly was not using it for mainstream recording, but I was using it from time to time to do screen captures from one of my S3 TiVos. It still had some value. When it died, I sold the CacheCard I had installed in it to one of the other forum members here. He seemed happy to get it.

    Yes, but that is true of almost anything one purchases. It's not unique to the TiVo.

    It's a judgerment call, and there really isn't a right or wrong answer.

    Well, the best answer is, "The TiVo subscription serrvice is a bit different than other subscriptions." TiVo's cost to produce their DVR is quite high - much higher than a lot of consumers are willing to pay up front. By offering their month-month plan, the consumer has the option to pay for their TiVo over time, rather than paying up-front. The down side is there is no termination to the service payments, so a Tivo that the user keeps a long time can wind up costing much more in the long run. Rather than beiong annoyed at these two options, however, the intelligent consumer should first of all be impressed that Tivo offers an option. Most companies do not. Secondly, the intelligent consumer will weigh the pros and cons in light of his own preferences, and then make a decision based upon what he feels will probably be the best for him.
     
  15. tiassa

    tiassa Me --Avatar

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    Just a couple of RCN Specific points for the OP:
    RCN does NOT use Switched Digital Video, so Tuning adapters are not necessary (thankfully!)
    The charge for a Cable Card is $1.50/month. As noted above the cable card charge replaces the charges for a cable box ($9/mo for the HD, non DVR box last time I checked)
    RCN's policy is "If you get the SD channel you get the HD one as well" so if you won't have to pay a separate fee for the HD channels.
     
  16. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    That specific offer, not really. Your TiVo was earlier than the date which TiVo considers the confusion over "lifetime" service to have been resolved... So for "lifetime" TiVos before that date, they allow one free lifetime service transfer.

    There have been *other* transfers (like I used from my 2 S1s to a S3 and a TiVo HD), which cost money, but either less than the going rate of lifetime, or at a time when there wasn't lifetime available. (I think at least one of my transfers was when lifetime service was not normally available -- remember the big scramble for lifetime service gift cards at Best Buy et al?)
     
  17. GundamRX78

    GundamRX78 New Member

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    So if I decide to buy a TiVo Premiere am I losing out on any significant features or services versus renting (aside from not paying a lot of money upfront by going the monthly fee route)?

    I was looking at TiVo's comparison chart (RCN TiVo Premiere versus regular TiVo Premiere). It is saying that "Instantly watch Netflix streaming movies & TV shows" and "Access to Amazon Instant Video" are not offered on the RCN TiVo Premiere. And regular TiVo Premiere does not offer "Instant access to RCN Video On Demand" and "Professional installation." Otherwise they have the same features.

    tivo.com/products/source/cable/tivo-rcn/index.html

    What about getting a NIB unit on eBay? Are there any "catches" by getting a TiVo Premiere there?
     
  18. tiassa

    tiassa Me --Avatar

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    You have found the basic difference between the RCN Tivo and the Retail version. RCN Took out Amazon and Netflix and replaced them with their own on Demand offerings. Which is better, is for you to decide. I rarely used RCN's On Demand stuff when I had it, but I don't use Amazon or Netflix at all.

    Buying a NIB Premiere from eBay will still mean that you have to get some sort of Tivo service plan (monthly or lifetime) at what ever the current rates are.
     
  19. GundamRX78

    GundamRX78 New Member

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    I primarily want it to record kids shows for my daughter. I might watch something from Netflix. Presently, I have found very little I would want to watch from RCN's On Demand. Sorry to say, it is mostly "junk". Don't know why RCN offers it in the first place.

    So if I am able to buy a "NIB" TiVo from eBay or Amazon, what is the story about warranty for a monthly service plan?

    Also, I have Viera Connect with my Panasonic. How would that work or not work since both provide access to more or less the same services? I am wondering if I can record stuff to my TiVo from Viera Connect.
     
  20. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    For me, the problem with this approach is that long after the hardware has been paid for, long after the hardware has been declared obsolete and development has ceased for it, the user is still paying for the service for the privilege of being able to use the hardware that he owns.

    There should come a point when you've paid enough, that you can terminate service (losing guide data, value added services like netflix integration, etc) and still use the box in a standalone capacity for dumb VCR recording, MRV viewing, etc. This remains my sticking point with the Tivo pricing model. ... and yes, I do realize they're not going to change it.

    The closest thing I can think of to Tivo's model is the cellphone model. I'm not aware of how the new smart phones work -- when service is terminated, do they brick themselves, losing their non-phone abilities (music player, wifi browsing, camera, picture viewing, etc) ?

    I'm not so sure of this, with the new Premiere Elite pricing at $499. For that price, you ought to own the dang thing.
     

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