Model advice for buying used TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by emperor_wu, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Feb 9, 2012 #1 of 29
    emperor_wu

    emperor_wu New Member

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    I have an old Sony SVR-2000 with Lifetime that I've been using for years to control the external Comcast cable box. I can record and playback all my channels in standard def, which has been all I can support on my ancient glass tube 27" TV. Modern times finally arrived at the house in the form of a new LCD TV capable of showing me 1080p, so I'm now in the market for a TiVo that supports HD and has a lifetime subscription.

    It seems I can choose from a number of secondhand models, and I'm looking for advice with supporting arguments for specific TiVo models.

    Basic environment & use
    I have wired Ethernet close by and I will be using HDMI output to the TV. Sources are Comcast cable and OTA antenna (approx 6 local HD broadcasters in Portland, OR). I am not a user of Hulu/Netflix/other streams...and if I want to do that I have a Roku if needed. I do have a significant amount of content on my PC that I can stream to my Roku, so if one of these candidate machines can easily support that, it'd be a plus.

    I think the following options are where I should start:

    TiVo Series 3
    pros: OLED display on the front, actual controls for times when my kids lose the remote, and a menu structure I'm familiar with.
    cons: likely need to increase hard drive space (no worries, I know how to do that)
    questions: can I use 1 multi-tuning cable card, or will I need two cable cards to support dual recording?

    TiVo HD or TiVo HD XL
    pros: supports the HD content that I care about, I think it still has the menu structure I know and love, larger initial hard drives
    cons: I could care less about THX, no front panel controls
    questions: do I care that the cable cards go in the front?

    TiVo Premiere base & XL
    pros: large drives, 1080p rather than 1080i
    cons: price, menu structure is new and focuses on the Hulu/Netflix streaming that I just don't care about.
    questions: if my usual signal source is compressed Comcast, will I even notice the difference between 1080i and 1080p?

    I think I'm in the market for a used machine with a lifetime sub; it's just a question of which model I'm looking for. Please share advice on which model you think fits me best as well as the reasons supporting your thoughts.

    Separately, I note that TiVo Desktop software may allow streaming of (appropriately formatted) media to a TiVo. Which of these machines support TiVo Desktop, and is it even worth dealing with?
     
  2. Feb 9, 2012 #2 of 29
    MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    S3 would require TWO cablecards.

    S3 and THD are DEAD platforms and tivo is doing nothing to them. So you can probably get them pretty darn cheap. Yes- both have the same SD based menus you know and apparently love. :D

    Premiere is the current platform and tivo does update that software. You can turn off the HD menu structure and continue to use the same basic SD menu's you are used to. (many here do)

    I have had S1's, S2's and just recently updated from my S3's to a pair of premiers (one an elite one "plain"). To me the HD ui is way more than just 'hulu/netflix streaming'. We use neither and still enjoy the HDUI. It's just more modern and has more information on the screen because it's built forHD and not SD. Text looks better, nicer graphics. Lots of little things that are nice. The Biggest thing to me is the underlying sfotware architecture that allows to interact and control the boxes from a smartphone, tablet pc, or even the web. I thought it all hokey but now that i have it, it's a pleasure to see a commercial and pick up my smartphone or tablet and look up a show or schedule a recording or season pass while still watching tv. If I hear about a show at work or in the car I can use the same apps to do that too.

    Probably the biggest "Joy" may be something you have zero interest if only one tv and one tivo- but if you ever think you might want a second box- the premieres interact with each other really well- you can stream recordings from one box to another, you can delete or move shows. That's really nice to get past the limits that cable places on your recordings with their CCI flags.

    One down side to the HDUI is that there are currently no parental controls if you care about that sort of thing. So until 'the next software update' you have no choice but to use the old SDUI if you need that.
     
  3. Feb 9, 2012 #3 of 29
    WhiskeyTango

    WhiskeyTango New Member

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    All Tivos support Tivo Desktop to begin with. The S3 OLED and Tivo HD are essentially the same thing except for the exterior case. They are both part of the S3 platform. You need 2 cable cards for the OLED model, but only one for the Tivo HD. The cable card slot on the HD is hidden so it doesn't matter that it's in the front.

    The Premiere can be switched back to the old SD menus that are used on previous models.
     
  4. Feb 9, 2012 #4 of 29
    jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    You left price off of your feature description, that seems to be the driver to go with an older unit rather than the current generation. Otherwise, based upon features, the Premiere has them all beat and the only unique thing on the S3 is the screen/controls (which I could care less about, I let the tivo manage itself). The HDUI is easy and quick to pick up, and will not cause heartburn to a veteran.

    the location of the cablecard should be irrelevant, once you plug it in you should be done.

    Upgrade the disc yourself, it is easy and gives you a backup if anything ever goes bad.

    You can send video files to TiVo with ease, pyTivo has the best functionality to do that.
     
  5. Feb 9, 2012 #5 of 29
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    That Sony is a Series 1.

    TiVo Desktop only works with S2s and up.

    TiVo to TiVo transfers (really copies) only work on S2s and up.

    You should put the Sony, the cable box, and the old TV in another room for casual viewing and to keep the Sony active on your account because it qualifies you for the Multi-Set Discount on subscriptions on other TiVos you might purchase.
     
  6. Feb 9, 2012 #6 of 29
    MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    same platform but different "guts"- i think different motherboards and power supplies so more then just the physical case if I understand correctly. I seem to recall that the point of the TivoHD was that the THD I think was a lower cost version of the mother board- like the various versions of S2 hardware over the years were simpler and cheaper to produce. Not sure if that matters really.

    I do know that at least the S3's power supplies are of the vintage that they might have the bad capacitors- not sure if they tivoHD models have the same issue. it's an easy fix:
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=473394
    but if the THD's dont have the same issue then maybe that's a plus in their column.

    Beyond that I dont know that there is any difference in the real world.
     
  7. Feb 9, 2012 #7 of 29
    MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    and that means means the sony has to call in periodically (I think at least every 6 months)- if it stops calling in then eventually Tivo deems it not in existance and cancels your multi service discounts.
     
  8. Feb 9, 2012 #8 of 29
    emperor_wu

    emperor_wu New Member

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    Jan 28, 2003
    Well spotted -- I did fail to mention price as a factor. That's why we all want Lifetime, isn't it? I'm fundamentally a cheap bastard, which is why until very recently I was watching shows on a 16 year old tube tv from a 10 year old TiVo. I could go up-market to the Premiere, but I do prefer the price of the Series 3.
     
  9. Feb 9, 2012 #9 of 29
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    The original S3 is the Cadillac to the HD's Chevy, with the HD XL being, I guess, the Super Sport version, still a Chevy, not a Caddy.

    From what I've either read or personally experienced/unsoldered-resoldered, all 3 S3 models and the single tuner S2s are at risk for capacitor disease.

    The S2 DT models have CapXon (widely known as CrapXon and replaced on GP) caps on the +5 and +12 rails, but so far neither of mine have given any trouble, and I haven't seen any posts from anyone else about problems with them either.

    So it's a crapshoot.

    The good news is less than $10 in parts and a little soldering and the problem's fixed if bad caps in the power supply is the problem.
     
  10. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Where are you located geographically/Craigslist-wise?
     
  11. emperor_wu

    emperor_wu New Member

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    Jan 28, 2003

    So what I *really* want is a dirt-cheap, lifetime subbed S3 with blown caps so that I can buy it for a song and fix it with my trusty soldering iron. Now why can't I find that on eBay ;-)
     
  12. emperor_wu

    emperor_wu New Member

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    Jan 28, 2003
    I'm in hotbed of Craigslist activity: Portland, Oregon.

    Strangely (to me, anyway), prices for used computers and TiVo type items appear to be higher on local Craigslist than on eBay. I would have thought the opposite.
     
  13. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    If it's lifetimed either the seller knows it and it'll be expensive even with a bad power supply, or the seller doesn't know it's the power supply that's an easily fixed problem and thinks it's no longer worth trying to sell.

    In my nightmares there are mountains of lifetimed units being bulldozed into landfills.
     
  14. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    semi-coastal NC
    Craigslist is a funny place when you compare one locality to another.

    Computer stuff is cheaper in Raleigh than Charlotte.

    Washington, DC TiVos seem to sell cheaper than a lot of other places.

    Sometimes I've found S2s with lifetime being sold cheap because they didn't know what they had. You develop a sort of radar for deciphering the wording of the posts.

    You can plug

    site:craigslist.org tivo

    into Google and get a look at what's available nationwide, although California results seem to get picked up sooner when you sort chronologically.

    I see this guy

    http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/ele/2833614092.html

    has an S3 HD with what's probably the TiVo wireless G USB adapter for $50.

    You might see if any of them in your area are eligible for the $99 lifetime offer while they're still the owner, and see if you can work something out.
     
  15. emperor_wu

    emperor_wu New Member

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    Jan 28, 2003
    CL is just full of weird folks. I've found you get a better response when you charge $5 for a trinket instead of posting it for free on CL.

    This is an excellent approach! It fits nicely with my "cheap bastard" persona, and is very consistent with the fact that I have no urgency to buy something today; I have time to find the right deal. I basically want to have this sorted out in time for the summer Olympics.
     
  16. replaytv

    replaytv gun talk ignore list

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    Denver ish...
    People post Tivos for sale every day on craigslist for prices much higher than ebay sales. I think that they just look what others are posting them for on craigslist and put the same price.
    There are a lot of other items that are priced so much higher than past sales on ebay. I guess some people are just dreamers, or stupid as snot on wheat bread!
     
  17. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    In the ATL
    Yep, I see people trying to pawn off unsubbed HDs and Premieres for $100 all the time. They have no idea what they're really worth.
     
  18. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    If you just want a Tivo to use it's basic functions, get a Tivo HD and upgrade the hard drive to 2TB.
    Only get the S3 if you just have to have the OLED and control buttons, but note it will cost you an extra cable card.

    If you want to future proof yourself (just in case you might get more Tivos in the future) get the Premiere.

    My $0.02.
     
  19. buhockey21

    buhockey21 New Member

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    Feb 8, 2012
    Does the original owner of the Tivo S3 need to call in and have the plan changed from monthly to lifetime, or can I as the new owner be eligible for the $99 lifetime deal? I'm considering buying an older Tivo on the $7/mo plan but the seller is leaving any sub. changes up to the new owner.
     
  20. DocNo

    DocNo Member

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    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    To put lifetime on anything but a Premiere at this point would be crazy.

    Call Tivo. They will give you a good upgrade deal on your old one. I just got my first Premiere, and after the recent update I don't mind the HD menus so much now - they are making progress. I may get a second one to kill my Tivo HD and also allow me to stream protected HD programs between the two (yup, only the Premiere supports streaming of protected content).

    Expect the gap between the Premiere and all previous Tivo's to grow wider quickly - Tivo's developers seem to have finally come out of their coma and for the first time in a LONG time there is significant movement in adding of features - but they are going to be premiere only.

    I wouldn't even bother paying monthly on a non-premeire unit either - just not a good investment.
     

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