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A couple of questions for TiVo owners...

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A couple of questions for TiVo owners...

Old 04-15-01, 11:36 AM
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OK, my birthday is coming up in less than 2 weeks and I think the wife is gonna get me a TiVo (I have been dying for one). Well, either she will get me one or I will get myself a birthday present

But I have a couple of questions:

1. I am looking for one that might be "upgradeable" down the road. 30 hours seems like A LOT of space (or even 14 hours or whatever it is on the next quality down) but I am sure that will change once I get into it. I have heard that the Sony's are capable of this. Pt 2 - can this be done after the fact - like after using it for a few months? And yes, I have been to AVSForum, but all of that stuff just makes my head spin round and round until I get a headache .

2. Can you only record from 1 source or can multiple sources be used. For example, my current configuration is:
cable comes into the house, gets split off by a 2ghz splitter going to 2 different devices (digital cable and TV - allows for PIP or recording to VCR while watching something on the regular channels). The digital cable is plugged into the receiver (as does the VCR, DVD, and analog cable box when wanting to tape a digital and watch analog that is not available without a box - HBO + comes to mind) and goes out to the TV from there. So, could I run the coax from the splitter to the TiVo then to the TV and on the digital cable, have it come out in RCA/composite format and then go to the receiver from there and have it record from both digital and regular?

3. Lifetime subscription - what do you think, will TiVo be around in 20 months? Yes, I will be getting it before the end of the month so I could take advantage of the lifetime subscription.

Well, I think that is it, I am mainly concerned about item #2 and somewhat #1. Mainly interested in hearing how everyone has theirs setup or any suggestions on how to accomplish what I am after.

Thanks in advance for the help - you guys have been great!!!
Old 04-15-01, 12:37 PM
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1. TiVo is no longer doing upgrades, so the only option is to do it yourself, or find someone to do it for you. Like you, I found the details to be over my head. Space is a concern. On the 30 hour model you get 9.3 on Best, 14 on Good, 18.3 on the next (don't remember the name) and 30 on Basic. Best is TV quality, and good is a little worse than live tv quality. The other two are too crappy to use IMO. I always used Good, as the extra space was worth the slight trade off.

2. I'm not sure about the multiple sources.

3. It's probably safe to get a life time subscription. If Tivo goes under, they will likely be bought by someone else. I'd say the service will be around for a while either way, at least 20 months IMO.

4. Be sure to read my thread here, "Advice to TiVo Owners and prospective owners" for info on how to protect your modem. There is a major issue with TiVo modems getting fried by surges, a surge protector isn't good enought to prevent this.
Old 04-15-01, 02:57 PM
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Thanks for the info...

1. Yeah, I have no problem with the hardware side of it - it is the Linux that is making my head SPIN. Just to kind of give me an idea of the picture quality I presume: Best looks really close to what I would normally watch - maybe a tad bit degraded; Good would equal non-digital cable; so for the other 2 modes, how would you compare them to something that I can relate to. Note: I have a Toshiba 6 head VCR and a Panasonic 4 head VCR. Would the worst quality be like putting in an old worn out tape into the old worn out Panasonic 4 head?

2. OK

3. The only thing that bothers me about this is that if I want to go to the next latest and greatest TiVo that they happen to come out with, this cannot be transferred to that one and I would need to purchase another subscription and/or monthly on this.

4. Damn that sucks!!! I will definetly look into one of the suggestions...probably plug and un-plug - maybe pick up extended warranty from wherever?

Thanks for your help...
Old 04-15-01, 03:56 PM
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1. Best quality will be exactly the same as it looks while your watching TV, satellite, digital or whatever you have hooked up to it. Good is slightly degraded. The next one is pretty grainy probably about the same as a VCR on the lowest quality, most time setting, Basic is awful, worse than any vcr recording I've ever seen.

3. Yeah that was one of my reasons for not getting the subscription. It should be forever, not the life of the machine. That's crappy business practice. If they want to make money, they should just offer the monthly and annual fee, instead of the rip off lifetime thing they have no IMO. I'm certainly glad I didn't get one since my modem is dead and it's out of warranty. I'll wait for better technology at a lower price before I get another personal video recorder.

4. Definitely do something. Just plugging it in every few days and forcing the annual call should be fine. II'd still get an extended warranty though. You can get an extended warranty from tivo, but it's a rip off. Just get one from sears, circuit city or any store that sells there own extended warranties. Then if it dies you can just take it back and exchange it there, no questions asked.
Old 04-16-01, 11:17 PM
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2. this might kinda answer your question
you can split you cable into the tivo and a vcr and record differnt shows at the same time
i havent tried doing it but i'm pretty sure you can
Old 04-16-01, 11:33 PM
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Yeah, I actually just came across this site a little bit ago - answered A LOT of wiring questions...looks like you can wire it to record different things on the TiVo and VCR.

And just when I thought I had all of the wires tamed...

http://www.geocities.com/rp_data/tivo/

(might have to copy and paste it to get it to work - Geocities is kind of a pain)
Old 04-18-01, 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by jellis
I have a couple of questions:
1. I am looking for (a TiVo) that might be "upgradeable" down the road. 30 hours seems like A LOT of space (or even 14 hours or whatever it is on the next quality down) but I am sure that will change once I get into it. I have heard that the Sony's are capable of this. Pt 2 - can this be done after the fact - like after using it for a few months? And yes, I have been to AVSForum, but all of that stuff just makes my head spin round and round until I get a headache .
]
There are lots of ways to upgrade. Glenn Rubenstein wrote a nice step-by-step description about how to DIY. (Sorry, at this point I only have a printed copy, but I think I can e-mail it to anyone interested. I found the article at the end of a long web search, and my printed copy doesn't have a URL.) It gets pretty deep, if you're not familiar with computer work. There are outfits that will do the work for you. I can recommend a place in Southern Wisconsin, for instance. Try asking your favorite computer store. It's essentially just swapping a hard-drive and and using some software utilities.

jellis again
2. Can you only record from 1 source or can multiple sources be used?]
If I understand this question correctly, you want to record from the source of your regular TV fare. I simply split my cable to go to 1)TV, 2)TiVo, and 3)VCR (redundant). The output goes to both the TV and the VCR (and the receiver for audio). If you're saying that you have multiple signal sources, it should be like hooking up your receiver and TV for multiple sources

jellis again
3. Lifetime subscription - what do you think, will TiVo be around in 20 months? Yes, I will be getting it before the end of the month so I could take advantage of the lifetime subscription.]
This is a hot item at AVSForum. It all boils down to your personal preference. For me, the lifetime is limited to the initial box, and won't transfer to any newer, bigger, better boxes, so I stick with the monthly. It's hard to find information about the annual anymore.

There is also some debate over surge protection as opposed to UPS. Since I can live with long power outages (in the Midwest, we don't have rolling blackouts yet), I included my TiVo in my HT surge protection (which includes all inputs - power, cable, and telephone). BTW, don't forget that the TiVo requires access to a phone line.

jellis once more
Thanks in advance for the help - you guys have been great!!!
This forum is much better than the one at AVSForum. The answers are of a much higher quality. (Yeah, I lurk there a lot, and occasionally post. And I know that some of the regulars here post there too. Don't anyone take this personally.

[Edited by Scott on 04-18-01 at 02:25 PM]
Old 04-19-01, 03:57 PM
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1. Any TiVo box you get can be upgraded using the HackFAQ that can be found from the AVS TiVo Forum. If you're going to increase the capacity, TiVo upgraders recommend using 9thtee.com to get parts. Good service and good prices from that outfit.

2. The DirecTiVo boxes come with 2 tuners, so theoretically you can record a program on TiVo while watching a program on a different channel at the same time. I don't have DirecTiVo so I can't confirm that. I do have a regular 14hr unit and it only has one tuner.

3. If you're going to upgrade your box I'd recommend getting the lifetime subsription. I think TiVo will be around for quite some time so the support and service will always be there.

Good luck!
Old 04-19-01, 04:23 PM
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Originally posted by BT

1. Any TiVo box you get can be upgraded using the HackFAQ that can be found from the AVS TiVo Forum. If you're going to increase the capacity, TiVo upgraders recommend using 9thtee.com to get parts. Good service and good prices from that outfit.
Not true. Units that ship with 2 drives are not easy to upgrade. I'm not sure that they're still manufacturing 2 drive units, but there still might be some old stock floating around. Perhaps somebody can provide model numbers of 2 drive units (IIRC, 31201 is a 2 drive 30-hour). While 9th Tee is a good outfit and provides some of the very rare upgrade parts (drive mounting bracket, TivoNet card, etc.), you can probably upgrade much cheaper simply by purchasing your drive and Torx screwdriver wherever the best deal is. You can secure the drive without a drive bracket, assuming you won't be constantly moving the unit. I've got mine tied down with cable ties, not pretty, but it was cheap, stable, and has worked fine for me.

2. The DirecTiVo boxes come with 2 tuners, so theoretically you can record a program on TiVo while watching a program on a different channel at the same time. I don't have DirecTiVo so I can't confirm that. I do have a regular 14hr unit and it only has one tuner.
While this is technically true, the 2nd tuner currently isn't working and won't work until a software upgrade is released to enable it, sometime this summer is a possibility.

3. If you're going to upgrade your box I'd recommend getting the lifetime subsription. I think TiVo will be around for quite some time so the support and service will always be there.

Good luck! [/B]
Keep in mind that once you crack open the case of the Tivo, your warranty is voided. You can't even pay to have the unit repaired by Sony or Philips. If you were to pay for a lifetime subscription (lifetime of the box, not your lifetime or the length of time you want Tivo service), and end up damaging the Tivo through a faulty upgrade (a very remote possibility, but possible nonetheless), you're out not only the cost of the box but also the $199 (soon to be $249) for the lifetime service. I personally paid for a lifetime sub upfront before upgrading simply to avoid monthly charges, but this might not be the safest move.
Old 04-19-01, 08:00 PM
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Thanks for the helpful replies.

Couple of things:

1. I was a technician for the computer company that I am now the purchasing manager for, so I have no problems as far as the computer hardware side of it is concerned - it is the Linux that throws my brain for a whirl. However we do have a couple of techs that are very Linux knowledgeable so I am have them assist me if I need some help.

2. Splitting the sources - well, it was just a question and after much thought and consideration realized that I probably will not need this except on very rare occasions (which I cannot think of any right now, but when I originally posted, there was one "for instance"). I can probably use the VCR to record whatever my wife or daughter want to watch while I am using the TiVo so it is no big deal.

3. Sony model - I think I have my mind set on this one because everyone seems to agree that it will be "upgradeable" without having to worry about model numbers or anything, and I have always had good luck with Sony components - knock on wood.

4. Lifetime subscription - well, I think I am going to go with this, just so I don't have to worry about the monthly bill. My wife told me that she did not care if I got a TiVo, but no more monthly bills - one time purchase is fine so I think this is the route that I am going to go.

5. Upgrade - I am not intending to do an immediate upgrade, I was just curious as to what my options are down the road if I need more space. Right now I use a single VCR tape to record anything that I might want to tape and keep recording over it, so I think that 14 hours or 9 hours or whatever will probably hold me for A WHILE (but I always have this itch to upgrade everything - speakers, receiver, computer, home automation, components, etc so I am sure that down the road I will be hit with the TiVo upgrade bug as well. I will probably use 9th for the bracket should I decide to do it - I get computer hardware at cost so a hard drive will not be a problem to come by (and for quite a bit less than 9th wants for one). I am also pretty sure we have the Torx screwdriver things at work, but I will verify this - it is still cheaper even with the purchase of a set of these.

6. Surge - jeez, some people say to leave it un-plugged, other say surge, others say wireless...maybe I will just leave it plugged in (as it will be a pain in the tail to get to the phone jack where it will be going) and make sure I purchase the extended warranty.

7. Upgrade manual - Scott, if it is something different than the TiVo Hack FAQ, then I am definetly interested - can you please e-mail me a copy and I will put it in the "down the road upgrade" folder. E-mail is [email protected]

Once again, thanks to everyone for their insite!!! I am going this Saturday to get me one - I Can't wait!!!
Old 04-19-01, 08:46 PM
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I use medium quality and quality seems to be decent enough for my purposes. It's just TV. But even good quality is A LOT of tv programs to watch before you run out of space. If you have a full time job, the 30 hour unit is fine. I've seen 30 gig HD's (what you get with the unit) for under $100 now so you can double your space cheaply if need be.

I also thought that either AOL Time Warner has either outright bought Tivo or just gave a ton of funding. While I don't think they'll go under do to this, I am worried about the consequences...advertisement banners come to my mind. I use Tivo just so I don't have to watch commercials.

Having had Tivo now for 3 months, I really can't believe how I ever lived without it. I got mine during the giveaway contest, and then used the rebate to get the service for $99. I also got sent the 30 hour model instead of the regular 14hour model they were giving away. I didn't even intend to keep the service, but you quickly get hooked on it.
Old 04-19-01, 09:31 PM
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Originally posted by jellis

6. Surge - jeez, some people say to leave it un-plugged, other say surge, others say wireless...maybe I will just leave it plugged in (as it will be a pain in the tail to get to the phone jack where it will be going) and make sure I purchase the extended warranty.
All I can say is I had mine hooked through a surge, and my modem got fried. It is a major problem. If you can't get to the phone jack, maybe you can get to the back of the Tivo and unplug it from there, and just plug it in to make the call a couple times a week? Just take the precautions, as the labor warranty is only 90 days and they charge $99.95 to fix it after that. Another option is to buy a 3 year extended warranty from sears, circuit city, or where ever you buy it, then they will just replace the whole unit if it gets fried, no quesitons asked.
Old 04-20-01, 04:06 AM
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Originally posted by jellis
Thanks for the helpful replies.

Couple of things:

1. I was a technician for the computer company that I am now the purchasing manager for, so I have no problems as far as the computer hardware side of it is concerned - it is the Linux that throws my brain for a whirl. However we do have a couple of techs that are very Linux knowledgeable so I am have them assist me if I need some help.

Linux knowledge is not needed. In order to get the additional drive to work with the Tivo, you simply hook it up to a PC, insert a boot disk, and issue a single command to "bless" the drive. Pop it in the Tivo and you're good to go.

6. Surge - jeez, some people say to leave it un-plugged, other say surge, others say wireless...maybe I will just leave it plugged in (as it will be a pain in the tail to get to the phone jack where it will be going) and make sure I purchase the extended warranty.


You can get surge protectors for a low cost that will protect the modem line. They have these in most office supply or electronics stores. Many Tivo users recommend devices such as the Triplite Isobar 6 DBS, which offer not only the usual electrical surge protection but also have plugs for the coax, satellite, and phone connections so that those are protected as well. 9th Tee carries these for $45 and is a very good investment for the peace of mind it offers.

[Edited by Rant on 04-20-01 at 01:11 AM]
Old 04-20-01, 10:09 AM
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OK, I guess all the reading over at AVS had me all confused as to what needed to be done to get another drive working. Jeez, if it is that simple...

Also, I already own a Isobar something or another (and yes, it has the phone protection on it) - it is the one that said it would work for A/V equipment...

Will be picking it up tomorrow - can't wait!!!

Old 04-20-01, 12:52 PM
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Rant, surge protectors don't always solve the problem, I and others on the AVS forum, had the phone line going through a surge and the modems still got fried. The modems are apparently very susceptible to even the smallest surge. Further proof of this is that I had the phone line coming out of my surge protector split, one going to the TiVo, one to my Dreamcast. The Dreamcast modem is fine, and it would of had to have gotten the same surge. The TiVo modems are just cheap and fry easily I guess. I'm not bashing TiVo by any means, I loved mine. I'm just encouraging people that have one, or are going to buy one, to take every procaution to protect their's so they don't end up TiVo-less like me.
Old 04-20-01, 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by jellis
6. Surge - jeez, some people say to leave it un-plugged, other say surge, others say wireless...maybe I will just leave it plugged in (as it will be a pain in the tail to get to the phone jack where it will be going) and make sure I purchase the extended warranty.
I'd protect everything with surge - power, telephone, cable, the works. Don't forget your powered sub, too. Easy to do, and as everyone says, worth it.

jellis again
7. Upgrade manual - Scott, if it is something different than the TiVo Hack FAQ, then I am definetly interested - can you please e-mail me a copy and I will put it in the "down the road upgrade" folder.
The check is already in the mail. As I read further posts, I think I got the information from some links from 9th Tee.
[/B][/QUOTE]
Old 04-21-01, 08:27 AM
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OK, DONE!!!

Picked up an open box at Circuit City (went for the Sony for $299). I did get the extended warranty for 3 years just in case.

Well, from what little I have messed with it, this is truly something that I cannot believe I waited this long for. Pausing live TV is great, and I have set up a crap load of season passes. It only has v1.3 on the software, but it says something about waiting to update software at 2am or something like that.

Just wanted to thank everyone for their help!!!

Old 04-21-01, 02:34 PM
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You might want to check to see if the seal on your open box unit is still intact. I also bought an open box unit from Best Buy with the assurance that it was fully warranteed. When I got home I noticed that the unit had been opened - voiding the warranty. It wasn't a big deal since I intended to hack it anyway but since you bought an extended warranty you might want to check...

Apparently someone bought it before me just to get a clean (small) backup of the original drive.
Old 04-21-01, 08:37 PM
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Woody,

Yes, the seal is intact. When I purchased the extended warranty, the guy said it was good for 3 years as long as I didn't break THIS SEAL and pointed to it.

They looked up the history of the thing and some guy purchased it about a month ago, returned it the same day. Maybe it was a little too advanced for him.

Anyway, the sales person was more than helpful to tell me about various web sites out there that would show me how to add additional storage to the unit - pretty funny.

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