Why buy TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by George B Smith, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. George B Smith

    George B Smith New Member

    3
    0
    Dec 28, 2008

    Advertisements

    I have just purchased an HD television and must decide on the Comcast DVR or TiVo. I have read good and bad (hardware problems mainly) on this site and would appreciate some help in justifying, or not, going with Tivo. Thanks.

    George
     
  2. anom

    anom Enlightened

    7,696
    1
    Apr 18, 2005
    I think what it boils down to is that the Tivo interface is vastly superior to that of the Comcast DVR, but Tivo is a much bigger hassle to install, with the need for cable cards.
     
  3. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    25,527
    2
    Jan 2, 2004
    are you interested in outside content like netflix and Amazon?
    Want to stream photos and music from a PC to your TV?
    Want to stream Rhapsody music to your TV?
    Want to put in a larger drive than the one supplied?
    Have multiple TVs in the house and would like to be able to copy shows from one TV room to another and be able to start/finish watching it there?
    Like to copy shows to a PC and then on to a DVD or portable device to take with you?
    Record OTA at the same time as figital cable?
    Have a much better experience with playback of the shows?
    Look forward to still more features to come?

    these are features that set Tivo apart from cable company DVRs.

    on the flip side Cable Co. DVRs give you
    access to PPV/VOD from the cable company
    no cable card setup hassles
    just a monthly fee added to cable bill
    box is leased so any problems and you rely on cable company to take care of it.

    For me - I use a mix of Series 2 DT and TiVo HD without cable card but does have OTA hooked up for HD content. I have placed large hard drives in each one, I rarely worry about the DVR filling up (maybe Olympics and Christmas) and I can watch just about any show at any TV. I also rip DVDs to a PC hard drive and each Tivo has a MyVideos folder at the bottom on now playing in which the DVDs can be browsed and played. I also pull shows from the TiVo DVRs onto my AT&T tilt smartphone and always have a show on there to watch during downtime or waiting somewhere. For road trips I burn DVDs to play in the van or in the evening. I have used the Netflix streaming to good results as well.

    I find the versatility of the Tivo Standalone DVR to far outweigh any extra cost associated and like that TiVo has taken a stance of competing on extra features and is not standing still. Cable companies have improved their DVR boxes but not really in the same way of adding in more useful features - just more in the way of making the standard features work better and are getting to the point that for everyday DVR functions thay work almost as well as a TiVo now ;)

    PS - post what model DVR you might get and someone can give you specifics
     
  4. mazman

    mazman Member

    201
    14
    Nov 13, 2002
    Alamo, CA
    ZeoTiVo has summed it up nicely.

    For me, the ability to put in a larger drive was by far the #1 reason for my TiVo puchases.
     
  5. George B Smith

    George B Smith New Member

    3
    0
    Dec 28, 2008

    Advertisements

    Thanks for your comments. I have a lot to learn about TiVo. I have heard that it is the top DVR for HD or SD for that matter but just wanted some first hand info.

    The Tivo that I would buy is the 20 hour HD model. I have only compared two TiVo HD models - the 20 hour and the XL. The XL is a bit too expensive for my budget. So the comparison I am making is the Tivo 20 hour HD with the Comcast HD (which is also a 20 hour).

    Do you find that most of your recordings are HD or a mix of SD and HD?

    Thanks
     
  6. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,933
    10
    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    Excellent post, ZeoTiVo. One other advantage of the leased DVR is obsolescence is not as much of an issue. If the CATV company makes changes to their infrastructure they are pretty much compelled to provide any upgrades - up to and including a new box - to go with those changes. Note they may charge for the additional services or for upgrading the box if the upgrade does not affect basic cable service. For example, moving from an SD to an HD STB on a CATV system is pretty painless, but they may charge more for the HD box, charge you a fee to upgrade the box, or charge extra for an HD Tier service.

    The other really terrific thing about the TiVo is difficult to explain to someone who has not used a TiVo for long enough to understand the TiVo engineering philosophy. It's a completely different approach to recording than other DVRs. Other DVRs are more or less just supercharged VCRs with random access to the recordings and no tapes to buy. The TiVo allows the user to look at recording a completely different way, and can automate many tasks which are tedious and time consuming. It can boil down the experience to one of almost 100% watching recordings, rather than making recordings. Of course, the TiVo can be used in pretty much the same way as otehr DVRs, just as a thoroughbred can be hitched up to a plow, but as time goes on, I think most users find themselves enjoying racing, rather than plowing, as well as doing more of the former, rather than the latter.
     
  7. lafos

    lafos Well-Known Member

    1,428
    33
    Nov 7, 2004
    Sioux Falls, SD
    I record in HD when possible. The number of HD channels on my cable system is going up gradually. All the local channels are available in HD using an unpowered set of rabbit ears.

    To me, a key advantage of the TiVo HD is the ability to record from both cable and antenna. The DVR's offered by TWC don't, as far as I know.
     
  8. fritolayguy

    fritolayguy Science, bitches

    175
    0
    Oct 31, 2002
    Liberty, MO.
    For our household, most of our recordings are HD. The nice thing about TIVO, as mentioned earlier, is the ability to expand the storage capability without too much effort, and with nominal expense.
    Since we record mostly HD content, both our Series 3 and HD units have external storage to enable more recording storage.

    As to your original question, it was simply word of mouth from other TIVO users that caused me to take the leap to TIVO. Going on 7 years of lifetime membership, with 4 TIVO's, and would never think of going to a cableco DVR at this point. Just my 2c.:)
     
  9. George B Smith

    George B Smith New Member

    3
    0
    Dec 28, 2008
    Once again, thanks to all for your useful info.

    As has been mentioned, it is easier to go with a cable box in terms of ease and the no hassle factor, Going with TiVo will would require a second internet line ( I have one internet line to my computer in another part of the house) and the cable cards.

    When I set up TiVo, I believe I could use the telephone line in that room until I get a cable internet line. Would I have to wait for the cable cards before I could watch anything with the TiVo box or could I watch a limited set of channels before getting the cards installed?

    Thanks
     
  10. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    10,722
    0
    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    You don't necessarily need a second internet line.
    If you get a router, your computer and Tivo can share the same connection.

    ETA: Unless you're just talking about having to install an ethernet jack where your DVR would be.
     
  11. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,933
    10
    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    The TiVo handles SD content quite well, and of course SD content takes up much less space. For recording news, weather, talk shows, cooking shows, even most prime time series, SD is probably fine, and HD offers little additional value given its serious hunger for resources. For movies and on-location events, however, there's no comparison. For things like IMAX films and very high def specials such as Planet Earth, HD just makes SD look pitiful.

    The nice thing about the TiVo is it is easily expandable. I'm completely with you when you say your budget won't support the XL. One thing the XL does include is the S3 backlit remote. It is significantly nicer than the THD remote, although if you use a universal remote the point is entirely moot. Otherwise at some point you might consider purchasing the Glo Remote separately and keeping the THD remote in case your dog eats the new one. ;)

    I suspect You may very soon wish to upgrade the TiVo, and the good news is the easiest upgrade method is to purchase a Western Digital My DVR Expander for about $130. Simply power down the TiVo, plug in the external drive, and power up the TiVo. This will give you 660G of drive space, or about 85 or so hours of HD programming.

    One gets pretty spoiled on HD. I record very little other than HD content, and my drives are far more than large enough to make worrying about the extra resources not worthwhile. With only a 160G drive, you might well take the drive's resources into consideration. At 660G, the problem will probably be moot. At 1T or more, it definitely is not worth worrying one's self.
     
  12. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    25,527
    2
    Jan 2, 2004
    Get the TiVo HD 20 hour model. Buy it locally so doing a 30 day return is easy for you. Costco usually has the lowest price. Use it stock for 30 days and get the cable cards installed. Maybe look into a cheap OTA antenna (30$ at Circuit City/Best Buy).

    Use the TiVo and get that feel for how it changes things that others talk about. At day 29 if not happy, then return it.
    At day 29, assuming cable cards went in alright, I predict you will be happy and at that point you can buy a larger drive if you feel the need and upgrade internally with no need to involve cable company at all, even for the cable cards already in place. Also you can buy an external 500 meg drive (my DVR expander) and just hook it up without any fuss at all. (larger internal drive is cheaper though - 1terrabyte SATA drives go for around 120$ currently)


    I do maybe 20% HD and the rest SD - on a stock TiVo HD I found the space tight and the downside to the stock hard drive is you have to keep up with all the shows or risk having them deleted or else no room for new shows. Put in a 1TB drive and there are times I do not wtach TV for a few days or else save a whole series to watch during the rerun times of years. Plus I always have a steady supply of movies on hand.
     
  13. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    10,722
    0
    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    If you're a little more adventurous, companies like weeknees and DVR Upgrade provide pre-formatted internal HDs that you just swap out.
    This is the route I took. The WD expander is only 500G - I needed more than that! :eek:
     
  14. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,933
    10
    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    By "line" I take it you mean a Category 5e drop running from the TiVo to your cable router? I recommend it. Alternatively, you can go with a wireless connection. TiVo specific wireless adapters are about $60. If your cable router is not wireless, then you'll also need a wirelewss router or access point. These run from about $40 - $100.

    You certainly could for managing the TiVo. You would not be able to take advantage of the TiVo's great internet utilities or Home Networking features.

    You'll get analog stations and clear channel digital stations, but won't have a guide for the digital stations. You can also get OTA channels - analog, digital, and HD - OTA by hooking up an antenna.
     
  15. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,933
    10
    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    Good point.

    Note upgrading to 1T or 2T will require opening the case of your TiVo. If you are uncomfortable with this, Weaknees or DVRUpgrade will happily do the work for a fee. If you are not uncomfortable taking the cases off computers, then the upgrades are quite easy, whichever path you take. If you decide to take that route, I suggest you take a look at the official S3 Drive Upgrade thread. All else being equal, I consider the optimum upgrade path to be:

    1. Buy the unit with the stock drive.
    2. Get everything working.
    3. Buy an internal upgrade drive.
    4. Copy the system over to the upgrade drive using WinMFS if the drive was not purchased with the system installed.
    5. Sit the old hard drive on a shelf for safekeeping in case something ever happens to the new drive.
    6. Install the new drive and boot the TiVo.
    7. Park your butt in the recliner and enjoy.

    There are a number of possible variations, but I definitely suggest they should all end with step 7. :D
     
  16. jayfest

    jayfest Not-so-New Member

    337
    0
    Mar 25, 2003
    New Jersey
    There are a few other advantages to the TiVo:

    1. In my area, the Comcast DVR has only 1 week's worth of future schedule. The TiVo has usually close to two weeks. TiVo's search feature is much better than Comcast's and can show you all the upcoming showings on all channels at once.

    2. Season passes on a TiVo are ordered by a priority which you set, which means that when there is a conflict, you always know which show will record and which won't. And the TiVo is often smart enough to find another time to catch the one that didn't get recorded. The Comcast DVR is very stupid in this area.

    3. TiVo Wishlists are a great way to catch things that are not scheduled with the next two weeks, or to get the rerun of a single episode you missed the first time without having to record all the show's reruns.
     
  17. Adam1115

    Adam1115 Well-Known Member TCF Club

    36,706
    3,516
    Dec 15, 2003
    Denver ish
    This, plus YouTube, games, extremely flexible search option, recording of suggestions based on how you rate shows, ability to play home movies, KidZone (By FAR the most comprehensive parental control system on any DVR), etc.
     
  18. DrewS3

    DrewS3 Member

    64
    1
    Sep 19, 2008
    My TivoHD is great for recording shows but the home media features are a mixed bag. Some of the applications (music, photos, Rhapsody) definately feel like they were included so they could be put in a marketing brochure, then abandoned in a half-useful state. Youtube and Netflix have worked well for me.
     
  19. fallingwater

    fallingwater New Member

    869
    0
    Dec 28, 2007
    Bellingham WA
    True!

    No. Other DVR's are DVRs.

    A VCR is a completely different type of recording machine in every respect. The breakthrough paradigm shift which DVR technology enables is the ability to record and play back at (virtually) the same time so that recordings can be paused and replayed in realtime at the same time as being recorded. A DVR whether it employs sophisticated additional features or just an EPG is far more convenient than any VCR. TiVo is an example of a sophisticated DVR, or as TiVo itself states, 'more than a DVR'.

    TiVo is useful if watching TV efficiently is important to a viewer. TiVo, in conjunction with a DVD recorder makes a good source for a user who values archiving memorable material more than watching timeshifted recordings of everything.

    TiVo has its quirks, some good, some annoying. As a byproduct of selling itself as the most sophisticated DVR it's reliable as hell even when annoying to someone who doesn't need or want to watch most TV timeshifted. Some people enjoy the ride and would rather not be either racing or plowing. Of course YMMV!
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements