specifically, why do the 'other' DVRs come up short compared to TiVo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by bxd20, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. bxd20

    bxd20 New Member

    Jun 27, 2007


    I'm a Tivo series 1 owner (Sony SVR-2000) from waaaay back. It's been the best "entertainment" purchase I've ever made.

    Now I'm ready to take the HD plunge. I don't watch a ton of TV, so some of the cheaper non-cable packages out there sound really attractive. For example, DISH's or AT&T U-verse.

    Of course those don't work with TiVo.

    I've done my research on the costs. My question now is WHY specifically is TiVo superior to the other DVRs you can rent with your service? I read so many people on here saying Tivo is much better, but I never hear the specifics.

    Looking over the ads for the "other" DVRs, they seem to do the same things: season passes, fast forward, pause live TV, record 2-4 shows at once.

    I'm not doubting you guys, just trying to learn the nuances so I make an informed decision and not a MISTAKE like some of you did.

    Cable with cards and TivoHD will be much more money than the most basic of AT&T u-verse deals. So I gotta understand why.

  2. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    well for some here it is the features like being able to send our own videos to the Tivo (I now have a DVD film server and no DVDs to mess with) and TiVoToGo so I can watch shows in my home office that does not have a TV/TiVo for now.

    if you do just watch some shows and just need something to record the shows then reliability and specific interfaces come into play. For that you need to list out what provider you are most inclined to now so the nuances can be discussed.
  3. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Well, obviously the majority of people on a Tivo-focused discussion board are going to be pro-Tivo.

    Why is Tivo better? Presumably because other companies don't think it's worth it to develop the features, because most people would be satisfied with a more limited DVR. (Hmm.. sounds like the plethora of people who use that _other_ OS.)

    I say this as someone who has Tivos _and_ a non-Tivo hard-drive/DVD recorder. I got the latter because it has a few _more_ features that the Tivo hard drive/DVD recorders didn't have, but generally, it's way more VCR-like. I also had a _free_ cable DVR for a year but unplugged it after a few days of playing with it, and returned it after a few months, because it sucked. If it was the _only_ one I had, it would be better than nothing.
  4. TolloNodre

    TolloNodre En Fuego

    Nov 3, 2007
    I've used the Moto DVR from Comcast (the worst - constant lock ups and horrible remote response), the 722 DVR from Dish (excellent but recording setups are overly complicated, conflict management wasn't the best so you had to baby sit the "To Do" list and of course no suggestions), the HR20 from DirecTV (random blank recordings - enough said).

    What makes the TiVo the best IMO is the well thought out recording management system, it never misses a recording or gives me a blank one and after using it awhile the suggestions feature is AWESOME! I love old movies, but this thing has found some I didn't even know about. It literally makes me smile to use it and I wouldn't trade it back for any of the others.
  5. bxd20

    bxd20 New Member

    Jun 27, 2007


    Thank you.

    Both DISH and AT&T u-verse are my front runners. They would cost less than Cox Cable with TiVo HD, because they offer fairly small packages and that's all I need. If I can get the local channels plus the basic cable networks like A&E, for around $25-30 a month, that's perfect. I can't do that with my local cable provider, I'd have to get a large package for more like $65-70 a month.
  6. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

    Jan 6, 2003
    Good question. I have three different types of HD DVRs--TiVo (2 S3s), a Comcast HD8300HD and a DirecTV HD-21.

    If one just time-shifts a few shows here & there, to watch within a day or two, any DVR will do. Heck, they all do "the same thing". But if you ask for more from your TV watching experience, there is nothing like a TiVo. Everyone will have different reasons, but some of mine (and I'm sure there's a few I'm forgetting)...

    * If you watch a lot of shows, the conflict management of the Season Passes (SP) on a TiVo is unsurpassed. Watch one show a night? Who cares? Have several shows on the same night, maybe same time? Then the TiVo is superb at prioritizing your recordings, and even finding future showings of the same show to record (esp cable shows).

    * Want to know exactly what will & won't record, and if it's not, why not? Again, the TiVo is a master at this. And using this info can allow you to re-prioritize your SPs.

    * Want to record all shows with specific <whatever>? Where <whatever> can be a certain actor, or director, or even keyword (all shows with the word "bxd20" in the description, for example). TiVo Wishlists can do it. You can even tell it you only want it in HD, or to not record it if it also has "bxd21" in the description.

    * UnDelete recordings you've already deleted. 'nuff said!

    * And the main attraction for me--a beautifully simple User Interface (UI), that is easy to learn, yet extremely powerful. After all, isn't that what a killer UI aspires to--simplicity on the surface, power when you want it. The ability to skip around a recording quickly, jump front to back, move smoothly from FF to Play, and very critical--fast response. I find the TiVo S3 much, much faster than the DirecTV HD-21.

    Some DVRs do some of this, and some DVRs have a few features a TiVo doesn't. And some have almost nothing (cableco), making you wonder why *anyone* puts up with them. But none do as much as the TiVo, and as well.

  7. RonDawg

    RonDawg Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    I don't know about Dish Network, but the advertising I'm getting from AT&T is showing considerably higher prices than $25-30/month for even their cheapest service: $44/month for their "U-100" service which does NOT include a DVR. If you want their DVR, you have to step up to the $59/month "U-200" service.

    Unless Cox has moved the traditional "extended basic" channels such as Discovery, History, A&E, etc. to digital, there should be a package of just their analog channels for about the same price as U-verse's cheaper packages.

    Keep in mind that the BIGGEST disadvantage with U-verse (and is a deal-breaker for many including me) is the fact that in most U-verse areas, you are limited to ONE HD feed for the entire house. A few lucky U-verse customers get a whopping two HD feeds. So if your 4-channel DVR (the only advantage U-verse has over TiVo) is already recording two HD channels, the other two channels, or anybody else watching TV in other parts of the house, are forced to watch standard definition channels. This limitation doesn't occur with cable, satellite, or Verizon FiOS.
  8. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004

    so why do you need a TiVo HD for local channels and A&E. Do you watch in HD? Do you wnat to record OTA?

    if not you can get a more basic analog cable package, skip the cbale cards adn get a Series 2 DT for cheap.
    or you can still get a TiVo HD but skip the cable cards for now and just hook the cable up directly to record the analog channels. With a TiVo HD you can also still hook up a Digital OTA antenna and get the locals in digital quality for free.
  9. bmgoodman

    bmgoodman Member

    Dec 20, 2000
    Do other DVRs mark your place in EVERY recording so that you can come back to any program and pick up where you left off? In my limited experience with other DVRs, my place as saved on only the last one or two recordings. VERY inconvenient when you have several people sharing one device!
  10. jehma

    jehma Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    My Fios DVRs forget to record things every so often, with no indication why. Very irritating.
  11. Joe3

    Joe3 Active Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Boston MA

    Control of what you paid for an own.

    All of the above.:up:
  12. jmoak

    jmoak Beware of Conky!

    Jun 20, 2000

    If you don't mind missing shows, then it might not be a great concern.

    NOTE: I have not used all of the dvr's out there, but compared to the htpc stuff I've used and the SA 8300hd from Brighthouse CFL, a tivo is rock solid dependable.

    as always, YMMV.
  13. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I'm basically positive my XS32 (hard drive/DVD recorder) remembers the last played spot on all recordings, on the hard drive and on DVD-RAM. (Not on DVD-R nor DVD-RW.)
  14. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    That may be true for you, but I have had lost recordings with Tivo.. (and I say that as a huge fan.)

    For example, just this week, Monday night's (technically tuesday morning's) Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson didn't record, and it didn't show up in the recording history. I have no idea why it didn't record. I went into the SP, showed the recording details, didn't change anything, and chose the 'ok' option.. then the future recordings were back in the To Do list.
  15. etz

    etz New Member

    Sep 8, 2006
    I don't know why, but a good friend of mine had just the other day lost programs for an unknown reason. We also noticed that some upcoming episodes were not recording.

    We went into each and every season pass and made some change, usually the number of episodes to keep, and then all the missing episodes were added to the ToDo list. I've never seen anything like that before, but needless to say, I was not happy about it. It was especially bad to have her have the problems because getting the TiVo was on my recomendation.
  16. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    Numerous advantages compared to cable company DVR - in this case compared to Moto DCT series DVR with Passport Echo software (which is one of the best cable company DVR software solutions, others such as Sara are much worse):
    * Can record from both OTA & cable natively
    * 30-second skip support
    * Easy to upgrade internal hard drive
    * External Esata drive support
    * Tivo To Go and Multi-Room Viewing capabilities
    * Video streaming capabilty (mpeg2 & h.264)
    * Web scheduling capabilities (and other HMO/HME features such as pictures, music, Amazon Unbox, etc)
    * Functioning first-run only season passes and Advanced wishlists
    * Native passthrough output format i.e. Output 480i, 720p, 1080i according to whatever the source resolution is
    * 14 days of guide data (only 7 for Passport)
    * Can customize the guide channels to be only those you care about
    * Guide data much more complete
    * S3: Front panel displays show titles of current scheduled recordings for each tuner
    * Overall picture quality is better over component and/or HDMI compared to DCT3416
  17. TolloNodre

    TolloNodre En Fuego

    Nov 3, 2007
    That's a problem I had with the Dish 722 DVR. Things would occasionally drop off the to-do and would have to be manually re-added.

    I have never had that problem with the TiVo. Obviously it happens though.
  18. TolloNodre

    TolloNodre En Fuego

    Nov 3, 2007
    Actually 'most areas' are now 2HD. They started rolling that out last May and were scheduled to be done by the end of the year. (if they aren't done already)

    Not to mention they've rolled out the Total Home DVR software in most locations too. I think only TiVo is the only other hardware vendor that offers a similar multi-room viewing solution.
  19. kmccbf

    kmccbf New Member

    Mar 9, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I have a series 1 and comcast HD PVR. Since I record HD it was the best fit for me. But... If I had had the money I would have gone with Tivo. My big problems are, no actor look-up or looking up by word in title, unless it is the first word in the title. My major problem is that if I watch a program, then delete it, it will record the same episode the next time it is one, even though I have first run only marked. And don't even ask about the things like the Monk Marathons, where the episodes have generic discription. I've had to resort to canceling the season pass and hope that I remember to redo a few days before the series starts up again.
  20. jayhawk069

    jayhawk069 New Member

    Jan 6, 2008
    I admire others' comprehensive lists, but one more little thing: When fast forwarding, the TiVo doesn't just stop when you press stop, it backs up a few seconds, to the point where you actually WANTED to stop, but reflexes being what they are, you overshot. Love that.

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