Soon to be Ex-ReplayTV user looking for TiVo Info

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by DrJoe1, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. DrJoe1

    DrJoe1 New Member

    8
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    You may have heard that ReplayTV is shutting down their guide service (and also it seems the clock synchroniztion system that allows the units to be used as anything but bricks). I'm trying to figure out what to do with myself come July 31 when my two units no longer work. I may be able to jump through hoops to get them to continue to function, or I may make the jump to TiVo. But I know next to nothing about TiVo... I was hoping some of you would be kind enough to educate me...

    Some of my questions in no particular order....

    1) Looking at cost and expandability, is the Premier XL unit really worth $200 more than the standard unit? The hard drive is bigger, but you can expand those, right? Leading to my second question....

    2) Is it possible to cheaply expand disk capacity with a USB hard drive? Or do you need to crack them open to replace the internal hard drives?

    3) I see a lot of web related features... Hulu, Netflix, YouTube... How well do these work? Is there actually good content you can get?

    4) The TiVo sight says that only their (expensive) wireless adaptors are compatible with these units... Is this true? Are there cheaper alternatives?

    5) What is the current collective wisdom regarding lifetime activation versus monthly fees? It's a 5 year break even -- is this reasonable? My ReplayTV's "lasted" 10 and 8 years respectively -- they were reasonably bulletproof (had to replace one power supply and several hard drives, but still chugging) so it would have been a good deal for them. Any ideas of what "lifetime" means for modern TiVo units?

    6) I subscribe to broadcast basic cable from time Warner and get the local broadcast HD channels in clear-QAM. If I understand correctly, for TiVo I would need to get a cablecard for a few bucks a month from Time Warner, but would then be able to "tune" with guide info both the analog channels and the clear-QAM HD channels. Is this straightforward to set up?

    7) Any other tips or insights you can share with me?



    Thanks,

    Joe
     
  2. Riverdome

    Riverdome Member

    200
    3
    May 12, 2005
    1) Looking at cost and expandability, is the Premier XL unit really worth $200 more than the standard unit? The hard drive is bigger, but you can expand those, right? Leading to my second question....Yes the drives are expandable. If you have the confidence to do it yourself there is little reason to buy the XL.


    2) Is it possible to cheaply expand disk capacity with a USB hard drive? Or do you need to crack them open to replace the internal hard drives?You can use some external eSATA drives. They install easily but if EITHER the internal or external drive fails you will loose all recordings. IMO replace the internal drive if possible.


    3) I see a lot of web related features... Hulu, Netflix, YouTube... How well do these work? Is there actually good content you can get?I have used each once, maybe twice. They work but from my experience my time is worth more than the patience it requires to make these work. Cable TV works period. Anything requiring more patience than that isn't worth it to me. The qwerty remote would help with my lack of patience.


    4) The TiVo sight says that only their (expensive) wireless adaptors are compatible with these units... Is this true? Are there cheaper alternatives?Sorry I have no idea, I prefer a wired network.


    5) What is the current collective wisdom regarding lifetime activation versus monthly fees? It's a 5 year break even -- is this reasonable? My ReplayTV's "lasted" 10 and 8 years respectively -- they were reasonably bulletproof (had to replace one power supply and several hard drives, but still chugging) so it would have been a good deal for them. Any ideas of what "lifetime" means for modern TiVo units?The hard drive is what will fail and that can be replaced. IMO go with lifetime and have faith that the motherboard rarely fails within the 'not breaking even' time period. If the mobo dies your lifetime dies with it.


    6) I subscribe to broadcast basic cable from time Warner and get the local broadcast HD channels in clear-QAM. If I understand correctly, for TiVo I would need to get a cablecard for a few bucks a month from Time Warner, but would then be able to "tune" with guide info both the analog channels and the clear-QAM HD channels. Is this straightforward to set up?
    The basic cable card setup with your cable co is easy as pie. Even if you need a tuning adapter that process has been painless for most people. I don't do any over the air so can't help there.

    7) Any other tips or insights you can share with me?
    There is rumor abound that a new box is coming soon and possibly before the end of the year. Hate to ever wait on Tivo to do something but ...... If it were me I would probably get a cable company DVR for the summer and see if Tivo makes any promises about retail availability of the new quad-tuner box. Yes you might be on the cable company DVR longer than you want but you also might be buying one of the last dual-tuner Premiere left in the warehouse.
     
  3. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    5,090
    317
    Feb 4, 2008
    Chicagoland
    1) Not in my opinion- see 2) below.

    2) You can buy an add on drive, but it is super easy to expand an internal drive. Lots of benefits- cheap, good for having a backup, less points of failure (I wont argue with HDD MTBF, just that there is only 1 drive vs. 2)

    3) For most, these work great, see 4) below. I love netflix, no love for Hulu+.

    4) TiVo wireless adaptors only work, unless you go with an ethernet to wireless bridge. Wired is best, especially if you plan to do a lot of streaming.

    5) Lifetime. Not sure where you got a 5 year payback, most calculations come in around 30 months.

    6) Cablecard- yes. May be included in your package. Others can comment upon Tuning Adaptors, which I believe are common for TW.

    7) Read through the site, but recongnize that negative posts are influenced by those feelign the pain. Those feelign the love don't post as often.
     
  4. innocentfreak

    innocentfreak Well-Known Member

    9,196
    46
    Aug 25, 2001
    Florida
    1) As a XL owner, no it isn't worth it. I only bought them at launch because we didn't know if you would be able to upgrade the Premiere at the time.

    2) Replacing the internal drive is the better solution imho. There are the expanders but I don't know how reliable they are. Also depending on how much content your local cable company flags or doesn't flag, you might just be able to use the stock drive and use TiVo Desktop/KMTTG/PyTiVo to copy recordings to your PC. This way you could just copy them back when you wanted to watch them since it is cheap to just add more drives to the PC.

    3) It depends on what you want. The apps themselves aren't the greatest, but if you use the HDUI the integrated search works well for Netflix content since the search results will both be shows on Netflix or shows you can record.

    4) Wired here and used MoCa adapters at my parents house for theirs so no idea.

    5) Lifetime is better. 20x24 = $480. Buying the TiVo Premeire for around $80 from Amazon you can get lifetime for $499 or possibly $399 with coupon code PLSR. With the coupon code you are paying the same price for a lifetime TiVo as you would for 2 years of monthly.

    6) Pretty much though installs results vary. Also if your local Time Warner uses SDV you will need a tuning adapter which are free but can be troublesome.

    7) Look into programs like PyTiVo, KMTTG, and Streambaby. It greatly expands what the TiVos can do.
     
  5. jadziedzic

    jadziedzic Member

    102
    6
    Apr 20, 2009
    Joe, I used to have a pair of ReplayTV units, and bought a TiVo, so a couple of things that immediately come to mind:

    1) At present TiVo does not stream recorded content from one box to another; if you wan to watch a show from unit A on unit B it must be copied it in its entirety. It appears that streaming MAY surface on the TiVo Premiere in the near future based on some experiences others have reported here. (The biggest obstacle folks encounter with copying is that some cable operators mark (some|all|none) shows as "can't copy", so you're basically out of luck at that point.)

    2) TiVo does not have any form of co-operative scheduling across multiple units.

    3) TiVo does not have any automated commercial skipping, but it does have a 30-second skip ahead which is a reasonable alternative.

    Tony
     
  6. DrJoe1

    DrJoe1 New Member

    8
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    Thanks for the input/info everyone.

    I'm going to be stuck with "wireless" unless I cut holes in the floor and wire the TV room for ethernet.

    What "risk" is there for opening up the unit and putting in a new hard drive? I'm assuming warranty's will be voided... any idea of how often they are "needed".

    Tony,

    My Replay's were older units that didn't have any streaming function, so I can live without that. What they did have that I used a lot was "quick skip" which I had set for 30 sec or 3 min jumps forward, and "instant replay" which I had set for 7 sec or 1 min jumps back. Can the 30 sec skip forward for TiVo be customized like that?

    Thanks again for your info, everyone!

    Joe
     
  7. innocentfreak

    innocentfreak Well-Known Member

    9,196
    46
    Aug 25, 2001
    Florida
    Depending on how many TiVos you are looking at getting you might also want to look at the MoCa adapters. I used this at my mom's and it works great. You put one at the TiVo connecting the coax and ethernet to the TiVo and then one a router/switch that has access to the coax. It basically makes the coax a long ethernet cable.

    There is little risk in opening the box. Most say wait 30-90 days past the initial warranty before opening just in case another issue pops up with the box.

    The 30 sec skip on the Premiere can be queued up so as many times as you hit it so it will continue to keep going. I usually do it for about 3 mins for the commercial breaks so I just hit the button 6 times real quick. You can always hit play or pause and then play to interrupt it if you hit it too many times.
     
  8. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

    4,089
    0
    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
    I second the MoCA adapter option. I live in an apartment with lots of wireless networks surrounding me. I opted for MoCA over wireless or powerline adapters, and have had a very good experience with them.
     
  9. brshoemak

    brshoemak Member

    36
    0
    Nov 27, 2010
    No risk. You'll need two different sized Torx screwdrivers (one for the case, the other to remove the hard drive). There is no "warranty void if removed" sticker preventing you from opening the chassis. Keep the old drive around in case you need to send it in for warranty work.

    I pulled a 320GB Western Digital Green drive from the unit and replaced it with a 2TB Western Digital Green drive that was on sale at the time. Total cost: $60 for the drive + 2 torx drivers = $64. Best investment I have made entertainment/technology wise. Ridiculous amount of recording time - I currently have about 250 Deleted Items (all HD) with lots of other recorded content and movies.

    Drive extenders are not worth it and only serve as another point of failure.
     
  10. Greysquirrel

    Greysquirrel New Member

    1
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    Like the OP I to am a RTV user and for a number or reasons I don't want to deal with using WIRNS, not a PC user and don't know anything about windows machines.
    That said, most of my questions have been answered already but I haven't been on the TIVO site yet so can you tell me how many tuners are in the TIVO.
    I need at least two but more would be a plus.
    Can anyone recommend what model to choose from the lineup, HD would be great but not a deal killer for me.
    Thanks for any information you can provide me.
    Not trying to hijack the thread but both the OP and I are in the same boat.
     
  11. innocentfreak

    innocentfreak Well-Known Member

    9,196
    46
    Aug 25, 2001
    Florida
    Pretty much everything since the series 2, so series 3, TiVo HD, and Premiere, is 2 tuners.

    They really only currently offer 2 new boxes, the Premiere and the Premiere XL. The XL is THX certified and comes with a 1TB drive a remote that lights up.
     
  12. DrJoe1

    DrJoe1 New Member

    8
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    re: number of tuners, a previous poster suggested a 4-tuner model is in the works...

    about MoCA,

    Is this something that won't interfere with the current cable modem or cable video feeds? How much does it cost?

    thanks,

    Joe
     
  13. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

    14,096
    730
    Feb 22, 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Wow, I was unaware that Replay was shutting down their guide service, but I'm not surprised. The units haven't been sold in years.

    5) All my TiVos (other than my DirecTiVo, where I couldn't get lifetime) had lifetime. I would personally go for lifetime unless you think the company will go under before the breakeven point.

    I passed the breakeven point on my Series 1s (sold them last year) LONG ago, esp. when lifetime on them was less ($200 and either $250 or $299, respectively). My Series 1s were activated on 2/28/01 and 4/13/02. I last actively used them in late 09 and they still seemed to work fine when I sold them in late 2010.

    My Series 2 was activated on 3/11/06 and was mostly loaned out to friends. It still worked fine, as of a few months ago.

    Agreed w/the others saying that if anything fails, it's usually the hard drive which can be replaced easily. You won't lose lifetime or your subscription status by switching drives. At least on all units prior to Premiere (never had one), the serial number (TSN) was stored on a crypto chip on the motherboard.

    I agree that using an external eSATA DVR Expander just adds another point of failure. It's almost like running RAID 0. (At least on Series 3 TiVos) If one drive dies and you have to unpair/divorce the drives, you lose all the recordings made after the pairing. That is... if you can even unpair them successfully.

    (I ran into a problem where I couldn't unpair and was stuck in a loop, essentially. I lost all my recordings since I couldn't boot successfully despite the many attempts to unpair. I ended up disconnecting the presumably bad internal drive, swapping some cables, and restoring an image onto my Expander. My external Expander is now my A drive. )

    FWIW, the ONLY TiVo internal drive that has ever given me trouble was that one in my TiVo HD. The ones that came in my 2 Series 1s, Series 2 and DirecTiVo never gave me trouble. I've had trouble w/some drives I've added.

    Yes, it's voided. The warranty's not very long anyway (http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/32). In the past, when I only had older units (w/o any officially supported expansion options), I waited until the 90 days was up before opening up the unit.

    Welcome to the TiVolution! :)
     
  14. gilbreen

    gilbreen Member

    70
    0
    Sep 5, 2007
    No, they are designed to coexist with your cable modem and video over the same coax. I currently use the Netgear MCAB1001 MoCA Coax-Ethernet Adapter Kit and they work great.

    It originally sold for over $250 but you can find them for around $100 on Amazon.com.

    http://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-MCAB1...5NMI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308348666&sr=8-1

    Good luck!

    EDIT - I am also a ReplayTV refugee. Been using the Tivo Premiere for a couple of years. Miss some features of the ReplayTV but been very happy with Tivo. I also recommend getting the standard Premiere and then when you are ready, upgrade to a larger HD. I installed 2TB HDs in both of my Tivos and have not had any issues.
     
  15. innocentfreak

    innocentfreak Well-Known Member

    9,196
    46
    Aug 25, 2001
    Florida
  16. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    24,833
    566
    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    I think the other questions have been answered.. but no, you won't get the analog channels anymore, once you put cablecards in. (At least this is true for most people -- where there are "digital simulcasts" of the analog channels.)

    *Most likely* you won't notice, because you'll still tune the same channel # as before, and it will "just" be digital, and usually a better picture (as long as you have a good signal)... and also increased disk space usage. In my experience, as someone who for a very long time used only analog, and Tivo Basic quality [lowest, some consider unwatchable but I don't], the lowest quality digital-but-not-HD signals are about 2x the size. Digital artifacts 'bug' me a lot more than analog artifacts, and I would nowadays probably choose the digital channel for a decent proportion of the recordings, but I still wish I had the choice.
     
  17. Elgato54

    Elgato54 Member

    46
    1
    Sep 21, 2010
    I also have a lifetime replay. I had no idea they are shutting down. Do you have a link to the story?

    They sold a lifetime contract. There should be some form of contract buyout for whoever holds the liability.

    At least they could issue a final free patch that allows the units to be used as manual recorders.

    Thanks
     
  18. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,933
    10
    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    I cannot at this point in time recommend the TiVo Premier series of DVRs. This especially if you are served by a CATV system that sets the CCI byte of all non-broadcast channels to 0x01. Certainly, if I were in the market for a DVR today, I would not get a Premier. I can recommend the TiVo HD as a reasonable alternative, although its networking is somewhat slow. Depending upon my application, I think I would probably opt to get an original S3 from ebay, if I were shopping for a DVR today. I see you are on Time Warner Cable. Be warned: this definitely applies to you. If you ever might want to transfer your recorded videos to an external device or to a second TiVo, stay away from the Premier, at least at this point in time.

    There have been some responses to this already. The answer is, "Neither one". The expansion port is eSATA, not USB. The only officially supported external drives are the WD DVR Expander drives. These are the only ones that will "plug n play" as expansion devices. Other external drives can be used (I'm using a Hitachi 1T drive in an Antex MX-1 case on one of my TiVos), but it means cracking open the TiVo, removing the drive, and attaching both to an external PC in order to marry the drives. Most people do not recommend this alternative, as opposed to simply upgrading the internal drive. I tend to agree. Regardless of which path you choose, I recommend upgrading the internal drive, and putting the original on the shelf. That way, when the upgrade drive fails, you can simply pop the original back in and be up and running in a matter of minutes.

    "Not so much", if you ask me. Some people think it's terrific. YMMV.

    Well, it's not 100% true, especially not with TiVos other than the Premier, but it's certainly the path of least effort. I do not recommend wireless solutions for any purpose, especially not video, unless it is absolutely necessary. Expect problems, if you choose this path (for TiVo or any other purpose).

    Given that you kept your RTV that long, I would expect you might keep the TiVo a similar length of time. Failures happen, of course, as well as fire, flood, and theft. It's a roll of the dice. Note the lifetime service increases the resale value of the unit if you ever decide to sell it on ebay. Given that you are on TWC, an ebay unit (S3 or THD) with lifetime service might be a good choice for you.

    Well, having dealt extensively with TWC customer service, let me say *NOTHING* is guaranteed to be straightforward, not even getting them to disconnect service. That said, there is no reason the process should be painful or difficult. Unfortunately, that does not mean it won't be. With a little luck, you will get an installer who more than very recently started walking upright, and it won't be difficult.

    Note TWC has policies regarding digital service, and I don't really know what they are. You may be required to upgrade to a digital tier. If you don't have any premium channels, then you won't need a Tuning Adapter, but if you do, a Tuning Adapter is required. Most of the HD versions of the basic channels are premium. Here in San Antonio, for example, HD Theater, Discovery HD, TNT HD, AMCHD, TCMHD, etc, are all SDV channels, requiring the Tuning Adapter.

    TWC broadcasts all its analog channels in digital, as well. As someone else mentioned, you will be able to tune these same channels. It is possible some of them may look better on the TiVo, although probably not.
     
  19. DrJoe1

    DrJoe1 New Member

    8
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    one quick post so I can point to an HTML, one to go
     
  20. DrJoe1

    DrJoe1 New Member

    8
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    Two quick posts so I can point to an HTML...
     

Share This Page