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Question about TiVO/DVRs

Old 09-27-05, 03:51 PM
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Question about TiVO/DVRs

Hi all - I'm starting to look into the DVR craze. TiVo is very expensive and, unless you have DISH network - you can only record one show at a time.
However - if I opt to go with the DVR service from my cable provider - I don't get to keep the box when I'm done. Therefore - I'm wondering if it is possible to buy a DVR box that's not a TiVo brand so I can keep it when I'm done instead of renting one.
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Old 09-27-05, 04:05 PM
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Actually, I disagree that Tivo is expensive. A 40-hour TIVO unit is $50 after rebate (which you can then hack to put in a monster hard drive). If you plan on having the service for a very long time (and every Tivo owner I've talked to is in love with it), a lifetime of service is only $300. After a few years, that's much cheaper than paying monthly. With a satellite or cable box DVR, you're going to be paying rental charges anyway, and the software is buggy.
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Old 09-27-05, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mulderxcoltrane
Hi all - I'm starting to look into the DVR craze. TiVo is very expensive and, unless you have DISH network - you can only record one show at a time.
However - if I opt to go with the DVR service from my cable provider - I don't get to keep the box when I'm done. Therefore - I'm wondering if it is possible to buy a DVR box that's not a TiVo brand so I can keep it when I'm done instead of renting one.
Perhaps you need to research your question a bit more.

I have TIVO for use with my Direct TV. With my package I pay $4.99 a month and I can record two shows at one time.
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Old 09-27-05, 04:11 PM
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It is better to get the one that comes from the cable or sat company. Better pic. Why would you care about keeping it?

Otherwise, search for Replay TV. I don't know if they are still selling or not. But they are around the same price as Tivo.
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Old 09-27-05, 04:20 PM
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clarification

I was incorrect - any of the cable companies/dish companies allow you to tape 2 shows at once.
Also - problem with the lifetime service is that it's only the lifetime of the box - what if it breaks in 2 years?
I would want to keep the box because it would have 40 or more hours of tv stored on it.

Any more help?
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Old 09-27-05, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mulderxcoltrane
Also - problem with the lifetime service is that it's only the lifetime of the box - what if it breaks in 2 years?
I would want to keep the box because it would have 40 or more hours of tv stored on it.
The general point of DVRs is not long-term storage and archiving. It's for short-term recording of programs so we can watch them at our convenience. Anything you want to be saved should be output to another machine (VCR/DVD recorder/HD-recorder, whenever those come on the market).
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Old 09-27-05, 04:26 PM
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DirecTV has only 2-tuner boxes. Most/all of the other cable/sats have both 1-tuner and 2-tuner, you would want to make sure to get the 2-tuner. Standalones have only 1.

Um, this isn't like tape, you don't just record for 2 months, then keep the 40 hours forever with the box sitting there. It is made to watch it when you want, then delete for next week's episode. If you want to archive, maybe a DVDR in addition. Or, even the DVDR/Tivo unit.

With the Tivos, there is a huge community that knows how to upgrade the HDD capacity. A regular DTivo can be upgraded to around 230 hours, IIRC. Standalone Tivos can be upgraded higher. This is not possible with the rented cable DVRs.

Last edited by Spiky; 09-27-05 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 09-27-05, 04:30 PM
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I thought I heard once that you could e-mail a file from your box to your computer so you could burn it onto a DVD - is this true? In other words - How would I get my shows I want to save onto my computer to put them on DVD?
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Old 09-27-05, 04:32 PM
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Ooh, I haven't gotten into this. I know some of them can link pretty easily to a PC. SA Tivos and the Motorola 6412, IIRC, can do this. (Comcast, maybe others use the Mot) A capture card is always an option.

I get great recordings from my DTivos to my Panny DVDR. No PC required.
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Old 09-27-05, 04:32 PM
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There are entire books and entire websites devoted to Tivo hacks, I would suggest searching around. There are many things you can change.
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Old 09-27-05, 04:34 PM
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I just dump it to my standalone dvd recorder but frankly there few shows that I have even bothered to do this with.
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Old 09-27-05, 04:34 PM
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Sony has been talking about an SA DVR with HD recording capability. I think it is out very soon if not shipping. Very expensive, though. It would be the first SA one with HD capability.
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Old 09-28-05, 08:44 AM
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I own 2 ReplayTVs. Bought each as a 40 hour unit. Upgraded the harddrives (by myself) and now each is a 250 hour unit. They both are on my wireless network, and they can stream shows over my network to each other. So if I recorded something on my Replay downstairs and watch half of it, I can go up to my bedroom and watch the rest up there, no problem.

You can also link your ReplayTVs to your PC via a nifty program called DVArchive. DVArchive allows you to download shows from your Replay to your PC. From there, you can burn them to DVD, watch them on your PC, or use your PC like another Replay and stream the show to any Replay in the house.

Also, right now, you can get a refurb unit for FREE after rebate. They come with a warranty. A couple of friends have got refurb units and have never had one problem.
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Old 09-28-05, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
It is better to get the one that comes from the cable or sat company. Better pic.
They can have a better pic, but Tivo works so much better and easier than a cable DVR it's ridiculous. Even though my cable DVR has 2 tuners, it continually does things to piss me off. it doesn't actually time shift like a Tivo does.

I've never gotten mad and said, "Arg.... I hate this thing!" to Tivo, yet I do it about 3 times a week to my cable DVR.
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Old 09-28-05, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mulderxcoltrane
I thought I heard once that you could e-mail a file from your box to your computer so you could burn it onto a DVD - is this true? In other words - How would I get my shows I want to save onto my computer to put them on DVD?
You don't actually email it, no, but you can do what you're talking about. You should go read the FAQ's on the Tivo website for this kind of info.
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Old 09-28-05, 10:21 AM
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You can get 40-hour Replays free after rebate now.

Assuming you have cable, if better functionality is what you are looking for, go Replay or TiVo. If better PQ, the cable DVR is sufficient.
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Old 09-28-05, 12:04 PM
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I have been very pleased with my cable DVR. It only has 1 tuner but it functions flawlessly with a great picture. I do wish it had a larger capacity and they are promising the dual tuners soon.

I would not mind having a replay or tivo that I could "play with" and increase the capacity a little more.

My biggest complaint is that I can't really store alot of shows. I would like to store several episodes of a show and watch them back to back.

From what I have been reading, you can output to your dvd recorder or pc and archive it for later viewing but I heard that is illegal (technically).
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Old 09-28-05, 12:51 PM
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It is not illegal, not even technically. It is illegal to copy DVDs (even for backup), not broadcast TV.
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