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Whats up with Tivo these days?

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Whats up with Tivo these days?

Old 10-01-05, 08:51 PM
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Whats up with Tivo these days?

My girlfriend wants a Tivo, or similar DVR.

Is Tivo still the best option, or would it be easier just to get one through her cable company (Comcast).

If I do go the Tivo route, whats the difference between generation 1 and 2 models? How big of a HD is good enough?


*I searched for "Tivo" but got no results??*
Old 10-01-05, 09:23 PM
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I'll put in a disclaimer that says that I have 4 Directivo's and had a Series 2 Tivo when I was with Comcast. That being said with the price (up front and monthly) of the stand alone Tivos I'm not sure it's that much of an improvement over the cable TV offerings. Plus you get to record 2 chanels at once with the cable models which is an absolute necessity with th eamount of shows I have now.
Old 10-01-05, 09:28 PM
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Here's what I'd suggest:

Get the Comcast DVR and see if you like it. It isn't a commitment in the way TiVo is because there isn't an upfront cost (if you pick the box up yourself and hook it up).

Comcast has (at least) two different software packages -- a yellow one that runs on Scientific Atlanta equipment that my parents have that would just about drive me mad and a blue one branded with TV Guide logos that really stank until they upgraded it recently. The blue one runs on Motorola equipment. That's the one I have, and it does most of what my ideal DVR would do. I don't like that it keeps recording certain repeats marked at "New" and that I cannot set up a manual recording that will recur.

If you don't like the Comcast DVR, learn as much as you can about Replay and TiVo and choose the one you think you'd like better.

Oh -- if you do go Comcast to start, be sure to specifically request a dual tuner model. They shafted me with a single tuner model at first until I called to complain.

Last edited by Jimmy James; 10-01-05 at 09:30 PM.
Old 10-02-05, 01:26 AM
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COMCAST vs. TIVO DVR

I can offer you a perspective since I recently made the same switch.

I had the Directivo until I got fed up with the high cost of being able to enjoy hi-def with Directv and the unknowns around their future offerings.

I decided to try out Comcast until Directv gets their ducks in a row and will mostly likely switch back if they ever offer a cheaper package with more affordable equipment.

Having said that, the TIVO software is undoubtedly the best, most easiest to understand and navigate user interface of any I have seen. Comcast's system, while functional can also be maddening.

The dual tuner unit I have saves about 35 hours of hi-def and 120 standard def. Of course, once you start watching hi-def you will likely never want to go back to watching anything in standard so your hard drive space gets burned up quickly.

In theory, it does everything the Tivo unit does. It offers a season pass feature allowing you to save only new shows or new with repeats, start and end earlier or later and allows you to put priority on when things are deleted.

It also lets you prioritize shows so that the dual tuner knows what is most important.

Sounds like paradise, at least if you only ever two shows competing with each other at a time, but....

The software menus have to be the most frustratingly inept way of inputting what you want that could ever be designed. I can't think of worse way of doing things. Often it takes five screens of menus to do what Tivo elegantly does in one.

Most times you get what you want out of the thing, I'd say 95% of the time I am happy but then there is the 5% of the time where your program gets deleted early or not even recorded or the machine mysteriously freezes up and records 8 hours straight of crap you didn't ask for causing havoc on whatever you had sitting on your hard drive with a low priority of deletion.

Tivo truly is worth the cost. I hope Directv knows what they are doing. On the plus side, Comcast is at some point dumping their software in favor of Tivo but not for quite a while. When that day comes I will be a happy man and may never even go back to Directv.

Right now, cable is offering better less inexpensive hi-def packages in the LA area but your situation may be different.

Good luck with your decision, hope I was able to help!
Old 10-02-05, 04:52 PM
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blusix must have missed out on the $200 HDTivo's we all got for the start of this season!!!
Old 10-02-05, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bluesix
Having said that, the TIVO software is undoubtedly the best, most easiest to understand and navigate user interface of any I have seen. Comcast's system, while functional can also be maddening.

In theory, it does everything the Tivo unit does. It offers a season pass feature allowing you to save only new shows or new with repeats, start and end earlier or later and allows you to put priority on when things are deleted.
AFAIK, the cable company "series" recording just records same time and channel weekly. i.e. if your show gets bumped to another night, you end up recording the substitute program and miss what you wanted altogether.

The best way to describe the freebie DVR's vs. Tivo is: affordable + functional. There are zero bells and whistles, but it works. Not a very intuitive menu system either.

If you are looking to record HD then there is no option better than the cable co. Tivo doesn't offer it and DirecTV has their heads in their asses on that pricing.
Old 10-02-05, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
AFAIK, the cable company "series" recording just records same time and channel weekly. i.e. if your show gets bumped to another night, you end up recording the substitute program and miss what you wanted altogether.
That's the way the "blue" screen Comcast DVRs worked until a recent software upgrade. It now follows your programs as long as the guide reflects the change. I know this because I'm using it to record among other things the very unpredictably scheduled conclusion to "The Law Firm".
Old 10-02-05, 05:13 PM
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FYI, I remember hearing that TiVo struck a deal to develop software for Comcast's boxes by 2006. It will be a separate DVR service and will not replace the current DVR software because Comcast still thinks their software is the best .
Old 10-02-05, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Brain Stew
FYI, I remember hearing that TiVo struck a deal to develop software for Comcast's boxes by 2006. It will be a separate DVR service and will not replace the current DVR software because Comcast still thinks their software is the best .
It isn't "by 2006" -- it's potentially to be released some time in 2006. The way people I know have been talking about it, it seems most expect that date will get pushed back.
Old 10-02-05, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
AFAIK, the cable company "series" recording just records same time and channel weekly. i.e. if your show gets bumped to another night, you end up recording the substitute program and miss what you wanted altogether.

The best way to describe the freebie DVR's vs. Tivo is: affordable + functional. There are zero bells and whistles, but it works. Not a very intuitive menu system either.

If you are looking to record HD then there is no option better than the cable co. Tivo doesn't offer it and DirecTV has their heads in their asses on that pricing.
I just recently got a DVR through my cable provider, Time Warner, and it has a few options. You can do a one-time recording, set it up to record the program each time on that channel in that time slot, or set it to record the program everytime it appears on that channel, regardless of time. Apparently, you can also set it to record only new episodes, but that option is available only in some areas. Unfortunately, my area doesn't offer that option.
Old 10-03-05, 01:23 AM
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^^^ I have a TWC DVR, the SA8300HD model in the Charlotte, NC area.

It can record a single instance of a show or an entire season. If the show switches air times, it records the program I want at the new time and does not do a "substitute recording" of some other show (although this does happen occasionally because of bad programming data, usually on the smaller cable networks). Other things can screw up recordings as well (like impromptu presidential addresses not being added\updated in the program listings) - but to be fair, these can screw up TiVos too.

When you select a show for a "season pass" ("entire series") run, an options box appears on the screen. You can select to record the show on the day it appears in this instance of the program guide *or* any day of the week. You can also have it record the show in that particular timeslot *or* any time it comes on. You can also have it record the show on that channel *or* any other channel. Lastly, you can have it record first-run shows only or first-run + reruns.

Most of the time, I accept all of the default options, except for the "first-run" option (the default is for all episodes). Why waste space on reruns?

Because cable networks typically do a crappy job of putting "New" or "Rerun" in their programming information, I use the day and time options to limit the number of times my DVR attempts to record shows like Airline or Family Plots. For exmaple, Sundays are really crowded on my schedule, so I force my DVR to record the midnight or 1am rebroadcast of Intervention instead of the first showing (and it also helps to keep down the number attempted recordings of Intervention, as the network runs it like 19 times a week.

I agree with Jimmy James: go with the cableco DVR for at least a month. It'll only cost $6-$12 and a little time to drive to the cable company office and hook it up at home. Sure beats all that money for a TiVo if your GF doesn't end up liking it.
Old 10-03-05, 12:14 PM
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I've had DirecTivo and now have a Comcast Motorola box. If you're watching HD stuff, suffer through the PVR from your cable company. If you're not watching HD, get a Tivo if at all possible.

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