Need help choosing provider & TiVo setup

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Alexis997, May 26, 2010.

  1. Alexis997

    Alexis997 New Member

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    Aug 2, 2002
    Berkeley, Ca

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    Hi,

    I'm looking for advice on a new setup and there are so many choices I can't figure out what to do! Our current and longtime provider is Dish - the receivers are OLD and failing & they won't replace them without a new 2yr contract, which I'd prefer not to get locked into in case I want to make a change down the road. So, NOW might just be the time to make a change!

    Currently, we have two S2 (I think - one is from '99 with lifetime, the other is definitely a S2 and on monthly). We have a big ol' HDtv currently not being used for HD. Except for when I remember to switch to OTA/TV mode - which is super-cool to look at, but then I really miss TiVo to FF or pause... I'm pretty basic when it comes to setup & tech ability. TiVos not hacked, not transferring to a PC, etc.

    I haven't looked into pricing from the providers yet, am just trying to figure out which road to take. All the plans probably work out to be similar cost, I think (though I could be wrong).

    The provider choices as I see them:

    Going with Comcast - ugh - buying an HD or Premiere TiVo and finally being able to see some HD on my TiVo!

    Signing up with DirecTV for their current promo & saving some money - maybe buying an old 2-tuner (new technology, to me!) DirecTivo off Craigslist.. Their promos are probably only on HD.

    Sticking with our current TiVos and signing a 2yr contract with Dish, everything stays as is. Dish won't offer any current promotions, I don't think - though maybe I should ask.

    OR switching to Dish or DTV with HD and using their DVRs...??

    The TiVo choices (this is where I get especially fuzzy on what the best choice is):

    The Premiere seems so buggy from reading the forum - though maybe this is only when running the HD UI?? And the HD is old technology, but would be much cheaper. Clearly we're not on the cutting edge, so maybe that's not a huge concern.. The Netflix option on the Premier is nice, but not imperative. I don't really plan to access a lot of the online stuff (from what I know so far). We primarily use TiVo for 'time shifting' our TV.

    It would be great to get HD OTA with TiVo and stick with Dish or DirecTV, but I'm pretty sure that's not an option. My gf is very anti-Comcast, though I don't know why. Seems like that's the best option for HD & TiVo right now. (?)

    Any thoughts or ideas would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks (and sorry it's so long!),

    Alexis
     
  2. Alexis997

    Alexis997 New Member

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    Aug 2, 2002
    Berkeley, Ca
    Would you choose:

    Comcast, and buy a new Premiere?

    OR

    DirecTV, and hope that they actually come out with a new DirecTiVo sometime soon?
     
  3. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    25,002
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    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    Your S2 with lifetime from '99 can have its lifetime transferred *once* for free, because it has a grandfathered exception to Tivo's intention that lifetime be lifetime of the box..
     
  4. Alexis997

    Alexis997 New Member

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    Aug 2, 2002
    Berkeley, Ca
    Thanks for your message. I checked and it was not in '99 like I thought (bummer) - at least I can still get the 50% off the lifetime service.

    I just can't figure which way to go.. I know folks here have lots of opinions, I was hoping for some advice! :)
     
  5. mchief

    mchief Morey

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    Sep 10, 2005
    Alexandria, VA

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    I have had Comcast forever it seems like. They annoy me sometimes, but generally the service has been excellent. They do seem to like to raise the prices annually without adding much, at least in my area. My signature gives you my setup. Cable card installs were not a big problem, in fact the last one was less than 15 minutes. They are learning. You don't mention what you budget is - kind of hard to recommend. I spend about $175 a month for the whole shooting match
     
  6. Alexis997

    Alexis997 New Member

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    Aug 2, 2002
    Berkeley, Ca
    You're right.. Currently we pay $85/month, which seems like a lot. But I know HD will cost more. I want the 2nd step basic (a few extra channels over basic Bravo, A&E, etc), with HBO & Showtime. I was hoping not to pay more than $100/month. I know I need to price the choices, I was just hoping to rule out a few TiVo/provider choices before calling around.

    We've been with Dish forever, they rarely raise their prices and we've never had any issues. I'd stay with them, but it seems like now might be the time to try out some HD/HDTiVo options..

    Thank you! :)
     
  7. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,959
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    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    The HD also gets Netflix, not just the Premiere, FYI.

    My suggestion: Get an HD with at least 1 TB of hard drive, either the HD XL or an internal upgrade. Do NOT get one with the external expander drive. Try it with Comcast cable but also get an OTA antenna and experiment to verify you get good OTA reception. (Both the HD and the Premiere can use both antenna and cable inputs together.) Then if you get fed up with Comcast, drop cable and just go OTA via Antenna plus Amazon plus Netflix -- or sell the TiVo and make another choice.

    This is the situation I'm in and I'm still deciding whether I'm fed up with Time Warner Cable -- mostly due to Tuning Adapter problems. But I have good OTA reception of 14 channels with a small antenna hidden behind the TV, so I'm ready to cut the cord if I need to. Netflix is a bargain although I highly recommend a hard-wired network connection (rather than wireless) for it.

    If you are going to use wireless internet connection for your TiVo get ONLY the TiVo-branded wireless adapter, and you MUST have internet connection for frequent guide updates from TiVo central, although it is technically possible to do it via phone connection -- highly NOT recommended.
     
  8. Alexis997

    Alexis997 New Member

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    Aug 2, 2002
    Berkeley, Ca
    Thanks dlfl,

    I thought about the HD, but can only buy the refurb from TiVo (don't wanna buy used - I don't trust Craigslisters for big $ electronics! :) ), and there's no lifetime deal like they have for the Premiere. So the cost is $600 for the HDXL vs $500 for the Premiere or $700 for the Premiere XL ($199 for HDXL, $399 for lifetime vs $299 P, $199 lifetime or $499 PXL, $199 lifetime).

    I was thinking of trying out the Premiere with Comcast. The Comcast guy I spoke to said there's no contracts and no termination fees.. I could give it a shot for 30 days and send the whole setup back if it doesn't work out.

    There's no way we'll be cutting the cord at our house, so I'm stuck with cable/satellite choices. Personally, I'm all for it! :) I know we get good OTA reception with the antenna we have, because I've watched live OTA HDTV, but miss my TiVo so usually just put up with the lower quality picture...

    Thanks again!

    Alexis
     
  9. CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    For me, the lifetime service is really key for the TiVo. I really dislike monthly service fees. If it weren't for lifetime, I would be more tempted to go with a provider DVR or a Moxi. Though, provider DVR's have some big drawbacks like no online content and limited storage capacity. Satellite is not an option for me so that's out. I'm limited for OTA, otherwise, I might consider an HTPC running Windows 7 Media Center. One caveat with a TiVo lifetime sub is that you have to use the box for several years for it to be cost effective.

    I'm currently using a Charter triple play bundle (cable phone, internet, TV). With the 12 month promotional discount, I'm paying 80 some dollars for the full digital package plus a premium channel package, a couple cable cards for the TiVo, and a HD converter box (TiVo does not do VoD). I get all my provider's HD channels plus a lot of VoD stuff in HD via the converter box. I've been able to renew my promotion several times, so it's almost like my regular rate. However, Charter in my area is a bit sparse in HD offerings compared to the satellite companies.

    I bought a Series 3 TiVo in early 2007 and put lifetime on it. It has worked flawlessly with the cable cards for 3 years now. I also put a bigger drive in it. I've been super happy with my setup, but there's a spanner in the works for me called SDV. Right now, my provider is not using it. They're supposed to do the migration in my area by the end of the year. After that, I'll need a tuning adapter and those have been known to have reliability problems. That's one thing about the TiVo, super reliability. Losing that would be a huge ding. I've been considering options, but there's isn't really anwhere for me to go with my limitations in satellite and OTA. At this point, I'm going to have to hang in there and see what pans out with the new spec the FCC is coming up with to replace cable cards. I hope it happens sooner that later. I may have to live with unreliable service using a tuning adapter until then.
     
  10. Alexis997

    Alexis997 New Member

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    Aug 2, 2002
    Berkeley, Ca
    Thanks Craig,

    It's always something, isn't it?! With cable, I can use TiVo AND get HD, but miss out on the On Demand choices (not sure I understand what you're saying about a converter box..? Can you view On Demand on it, via another TV input, maybe?).

    Alexis
     
  11. CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    I use an A/V receiver. So, an HDMI input from the TiVo goes into the A/V receiver and another HDMI input goes in from the digital cable box. I can switch inputs via the receiver. When I want VoD, I switch over to the cable box and when I want TiVo I switch back to that input. VoD already has the pause, FF, RW, etc. functions so there's really no reason to TiVo that stuff anyway.

    You can also do the same thing using the multiple HDMI inputs on the TV if you don't have a receiver. My TV has 4 HDMI inputs so I don't *have* to use an A/V receiver for that.

    The receiver is great because I can actually decode and play the dolby 5.1 that comes through many of the broadcasts. All the HD has it, but even the SD premiums and regular DVD sources have it too. Makes a huge difference in the sound quality. I was using two channel sound feedback from the TV before. It's a fairly recent upgrade I did and had I known the vast improvement in sound quality, I would have done it a long time ago. Of course, it's only been fairly recent that you could do it without an optical feedback from the TV. My receiver intercepts the sound track right off the HDMI feed which is cool. I only need one cable to connect the TV and any other source. I'm also using all Sony components which allows Bravia Sync. That slaves the receiver to the TV using the HDMI interface so it acts as one component. Very cool stuff these modern electronics.
     
  12. Alexis997

    Alexis997 New Member

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    Aug 2, 2002
    Berkeley, Ca
    Interesting.. Is the cable box a DVR or just a reg. box? Guess I'll have to decide if the extra $15.95 for a box is worth getting the on demand stuff. Nice to know that's an option. Thanks!

    I'll have to check my TV's inputs. I'm pretty sure it only has 1 HDMI. The rest of them are composite (? - the red, white, yellow ones :)). I have an older receiver which for sure doesn't have any HDMI inputs. Other than getting a new receiver - which maybe I should - are there other ways to get that setup? HDMI is better quality than the composite, right?

    I'll have to think more about the sound stuff, too..
     
  13. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    5,436
    2
    May 24, 2002
    Baltimore
    HDMI is definitely the best there is.

    Last fall, I upgraded my older Onkyo A/V receiver to their TX-SR607 and have been VERY happy. GOt it for just $425 at Amazon.com. Five HDMI inputs and the switching and quality are excellent. It does run quite hot, hotter than my old Onkyo. But that's understandable.
     
  14. CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

    809
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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    For VoD, I'm just using a basic HD cable box. Charter charges me $5 a month for it. It's worth it to me. There's a lot of content offered by VoD.

    If your TV only has one HDMI input it won't be a problem. Just hook a cable box up to the component inputs and a TiVo up to the HDMI input. However, to fully take advantage of digital sound, you'll need an A/V receiver. With a receiver, you only need the one HDMI input on your TV.

    HDMI gives you 100% digital sound, but to decode the Dolby 5.1 (or DTS) it delivers, you need an A/V receiver. For me, it was my first venture into Dolby/DTS so I went with an entry level A/V receiver. It's a Sony model STR-DH510. It was only $230 at Best Buy. I think that was quite inexpensive for how nice it is.

    Before that, I was using plain ol' two channel stereo through a couple RCA jacks off the TV. That was a lot better than the crappy TV speakers, but it was the same leap going from stereo to Dolby 5.1. It really gives your entertainment system that theater sound. Very happy with it and very well worth the cost of a receiver and a few more speakers.

    If you already have good stereo speakers, you can get by with some decent not-too-expensive center and surround speakers. With the Dolby 5.1, the stereo speakers (front left and right) still handle the bulk of the high fidelity stuff like the music.
     

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