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Tivo, anyone?


Curmudgeon
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Who is using Tivo (or other DVR)?

 

How is it working for you? Do you use it as much as you thought you would?

 

Tivo now has a box with 140hr. recording capacity and a DVD burner, and it's really tempting me.

 

 

The problem with making something foolproof is the universe keeps making better fools.

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From what I know TiVO is a bit pricey and sometimes not compatible with your cable provider. I have the DVR service my cable company provides. It is AWESOME. All of my shows are set to record and you can change options, for example, to record repeats or just the first runs. I zoom right pass the inane commercials and, for example, with the SFU last episode I can keep it indefinably. I know TiVO prices have gone up and since their demand has fallen I don't know what's going to happen to them. Hopefully some TiVO users will chime in here so you get a fair and balanced report. However, I can't live without my DVR. Intervention, Big Brother, Little Britain, ALL Star Treks ... I get it all.

VDN

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I have TIVO as my receiver through Directv. The receiver was only $99 and I don't have to pay a TIVO subscription fee as it's included asrt of my Directv package.

 

I love it! I use it on a daily basis far more than I ever used my old VCR.

 

I'm in the process of upgrading to an HDTV and will probably go with the HD TIVO for Directv, although at $599 this model is a bit pricey. However, the price has fallen from $999 last year at this time, so maybe the price will continue to drop. This model does not have the built-in DVD burner, which I think would be a great feature. I have never bother to connect my VCR to my current TIVO receiver in order to save programs I want to keep.

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I have TIVO as my receiver through Directv. The receiver was only $99 and I don't have to pay a TIVO subscription fee as it's included asrt of my Directv package.

 

I love it! I use it on a daily basis far more than I ever used my old VCR.

 

I'm in the process of upgrading to an HDTV and will probably go with the HD TIVO for Directv, although at $599 this model is a bit pricey. However, the price has fallen from $999 last year at this time, so maybe the price will continue to drop. This model does not have the built-in DVD burner, which I think would be a great feature. I have never bother to connect my VCR to my current TIVO receiver in order to save programs I want to keep.

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I'm stuck with Adelphia, and not overly happy with it.

 

They've got some weird pricing structures going on in my area. It's actually cheaper to have a boatload of premium channels than just basic cable but the price ratchets up for DVR.

 

It's worse than figuring out air fares.

 

I checked into DirecTV but all my neighbors that have it hate it. We're surrounded by mountains and that's not a good recipe for a satellite signal.

 

 

 

The problem with making something foolproof is the universe keeps making better fools.

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I'm stuck with Adelphia, and not overly happy with it.

 

They've got some weird pricing structures going on in my area. It's actually cheaper to have a boatload of premium channels than just basic cable but the price ratchets up for DVR.

 

It's worse than figuring out air fares.

 

I checked into DirecTV but all my neighbors that have it hate it. We're surrounded by mountains and that's not a good recipe for a satellite signal.

 

 

 

The problem with making something foolproof is the universe keeps making better fools.

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I have a standalone TiVo without a dvd burner. How much do I use it? A LOT more than I thought I would. It's great to let it record a bunch of stuff and then just have it there on your hard drive for later viewing (or not). Some of these shows are ones I've selected that air a few times per day and I just don't watch TV enough to catch up. Some are ones that TiVo has recorded for me based on my ratings of various shows. (The latter are called TiVo Suggestions; automatic recording of the suggested shows can be turned off by the user, if desired.) When I first got my TiVo about 8 months ago, the suggestions it recorded were downright weird (Home Shopping Network shows!?), but once I trained the device it pretty much sticks to things I like. I even discovered one show that I had not previously known about which I came to like a lot.

 

Another good TiVo feature that may not be on your cable company's DVR is Wish Lists. These allow you to enter the names of various actors, directors, or subject areas. TiVo then scans the guide data it has downloaded and makes a list of programs that fall within your Wish List parameters. You can either set up your TiVo to automatically record these shows or you can browse through the list periodically and tell it to record the shows you want. This is a great feature.

 

One of the best things about actually buying your own box (like a TiVo) versus renting a DVR from a cable company is that the box is yours so you can do what you want with it. There are websites devoted to modifying TiVo boxes. With a little time and effort (and perhaps a little money if you aren't modestly comfortable upgrading computers), you can simply swap the hard drive out of your TiVo and install a larger one. I went from a "40 Hour TiVo" (which really means 40 hours at the lowest possible video quality but only about 15 hours at the highest quality setting) to a 187 Hour TiVo by using a 160 GB hard drive I purchased for $30 and which I formatted using a $20 cd-r I purchased from one of the TiVo upgrade sites. (Instructions are available, for free, to properly format the drive yourself but given that I know nothing about Linux I didn't want to struggle through that.)

 

The other good thing about buying versus renting is that at some point you are ahead of the game financially. I paid $70 for my TiVo, $50 to upgrade it, and $299 for a lifetime subscription. (Lifetime subscriptions are a much better deal than paying the $12.95 monthly subscription fee.) My cable company charges an extra $10 per month for a DVR. So after 42 months I'm in effect getting "free" use of my DVR when compared with what my cable company offers. Given that the thing that's most likely to break down on a DVR is the hard drive (easily replaced with little money), I suspect that I will get a lot more than 3 1/2 years of use out of my TiVo. In the meantime I have a 160GB hard drive and not the 60GB hard drive that my cable company provides.

 

The cons of TiVo: A standalone TiVo has only one tuner, so you cannot record two shows at the same time. This isn't a big deal to me but it might be to you. Also, at present, TiVo does not have a standalone HD capable box, so when I record a program broadcast in high definition the picture is downgraded. Given that very little programming that I'm interested in is available in high def, that also isn't a big deal to me. (I understand that there will soon be a standalone HD box from TiVo available, but I don't know what "soon" means.)

 

If you can switch from cable to satellite, then getting DirecTV seems to offer the best of both worlds: dual tuners, HD support, TiVo software, ability to upgrade/hack it yourself. I read recently that DirectTV is ending its relationship with TiVo, though, so I don't know how this will impact current subscribers with DirectTiVo or whether this option is even available to new customers. I went the route I went because I cannot have a satellite dish installed where I live.

 

If you want to visit a site with more information on TiVo than you'll ever need, go to http://www.tivocommunity.com . There are lots of forums there including ones devoted to upgrading/hacking TiVos. Be aware that it's a very "pro TiVo" site, though, so you are likely to get a one-sided view of TiVo there (with the exception of the occasional griping about bugs in certain units caused by certain software upgrades).

 

The best part about having any type of DVR: skipping commercials. You can watch most 30 minute shows in about 20 minutes. Watch the same amount of TV you're currently watching in less time (or watch more TV in the same amount of time). After having mine for several months now, I have to wonder why I waited so long to get one.

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Thanks for that!

 

One feature that intrigues me is online scheduling for recording. I'm forever hearing around the water cooler about a show that sounds intriguing for that evening only to get home and forget about it, or get home late and miss it. With Tivo, you can log into their website and change your recording schedule from anywhere.

 

Does anyone know if the cable co. DVR options include this feature?

 

 

The problem with making something foolproof is the universe keeps making better fools.

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Tivo, DVR or Satellite

 

I have cable with DVR and love it, I have all the movie channels included. My ISP (SBC) has a package with a Satellite company - I've been thinking about changing over (they offer DVR as well) its a little cheaper. I'm concerned with reliability, any reviews? I live in the Northeast.

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