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Help me understand Tivo features & price


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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted October 24 2006 - 12:55 PM

I'm considering a Tivo purchase, since we're now juggling two VCRs in two rooms and there's little hope of going to digital cable with their DVR in the forseeable future.

I've had a DVR before but I've got some Tivo-specific questions; I found the tivo.com website of little help.

- With a Tivo Series2 DT (Dual Tuner) unit, can I simultaneously record two shows and playback a third? Or is it two shows, period: record 2, record one & watch one, or record one and play one?

- Does the Tivo schedule system account for the +/- 2 minutes on broadcast times that the networks have been doing the past few years? That is, shows sometimes start two minutes before the hour, or run a couple minutes after the hour?

- What is the best way to purchase the system? Pricing varies significantly between retailers and Tivo.com. Tivo has cheap hardware, but outrageous monthly fees. Buying from e.g. BestBuy has much cheaper monthly service fees, though higher hardware costs.

- Are there any DVRs with no service fees? Or with service fees less than $10/mo?

Thanks for any help!

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Michael_K_Sr

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Posted October 24 2006 - 04:42 PM

Dave the biggest beneficiary for the TiVo Series2 DT is analog cable users. Hopefully this helps...

1.) If you have digital cable, you can record digital on the first tuner, but the second can only record the analog stations your cable company provides. Generally you cannot watch a third live program while recording two other programs. You can record two shows and watch a third previously recorded program. (If you have a television with dual tuners as I do, you could watch a third show live while recording two others by using a splitter.)

2.) The TiVo usually has the right schedule times for the odd starting nd ending times for network shows. It downloads the program information daily (if connected) and has two weeks of programming information stored on the device. When scheduling a program, if you notice that a show that normally starts early or runs late and is not scheduled to do so, you have the option to "pad" the program by starting the recording up to ten minutes early or ending it between 1 minute and 3 hours late (useful for sporting events.)

3.) A little confused by this question, as I'm pretty sure retailers like Best Buy don't offer any break on TiVo's service fees, unless it's in the form of some retailer rebate. Generally TiVo is going to offer the best price on the hardware. You'll have to order the service at the same time you order the box.

4.) There are programs that run on home computers that allow your PC to function as a DVR while avoiding service fees. I use a Mac and Elgato Systems' EyeTV software works great. I'm sure there are a lot of options for Windows. One other potential solution is to buy a TiVo unit off eBay or elsewhere that has lifetime service enabled on the box. The lifetime service was a money loser for TiVo and is no longer offered. However, the lifetime service is attached to the unit and while the service itself cannot be transferred to another TiVo device, the unit can be transferred to another individual. The potential downside is that if the TiVo stops working due to a hard drive failure or something else, you'll need to get the unit repaired to maintain the lifetime service. If you choose to dump it and get a new TiVo box, you'll be on the hook for the monthly service fees.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   GordonL

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Posted October 24 2006 - 07:31 PM

The first generation ReplayTV's also have no service fees. Another option is to build a HTPC. Depending on the PVR software, you could have 4+ tuners.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted October 25 2006 - 02:55 AM

Michael - thanks for the great answers.
Quote:
You can record two shows and watch a third previously recorded program.
I have analog cable, and being able to record two shows and watching a different, recorded show, is exactly what I need (and what I miss from my digital cable DVR days).

As for pricing:
Tivo.com sells the Series2 DT 80 hr for $30, with $20/mo service. http://www.tivo.com/....ries280hrDTDVR

BestBuy sells the box for $150 (after rebates) wtih $13/mo service. (corrected, from $14/mo)
http://www.bestbuy.c....=1140394006193

Or I can pay Tivo for 3 years up front for $11/mo net cost.


I've considered the HTPC route, but I'd be starting from scratch and it would cost too much time and money.

Gordon - as for older ReplayTVs, do they have dual-tuners? That's the key feature I'm looking for.

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Jeff Bamberger

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Posted October 25 2006 - 03:25 AM

Hi,

A little further information for you regarding the monthly service fee....IIRC, Best Buy is not offering a service fee of $14.......That's a weird number.

Generally, there are two options for monthly service. If you buy a box from TiVo, you get a bundled price. Essentially the bundle price is a slightly higher monthly fee off of the normal $12.95 monthly fee, but then you get the box at little, or no, upfront cost. Depending on how much time you commit to, you will have a different fee during you committment period.

Then there is the "service only" pricing, which is the $12.95. To get this price, you acquire a box from someone other than TiVo, i.e., Best Buy, a friend, etc. You then activate for this fee.

Now, if you buy from TiVo, after your committment period is up, you have to remember to call TiVo to switch back to the "service only" pricing plan. Otherwise, they may continue to charge you the higher fee.

Personally, I hate having to remember to call, cancel, whatever. I would first look to find what your best deal is buying from someone other than TiVo. Also to factor in, is the time it takes to wait for a rebate.

I also should note that any subsequent boxes you may buy (if not a bundle from TiVo) and activate on your account, qualify for MSD (Multi Service Discount). The monthly for those boxes drops to $6.95. Boxes purchased from TiVo do not qualify for MSD in their committment period, but they would serve as your "primary" box and allow other non-TiVo purchased or TiVo-puchased-but beyond the commitment period boxes to qualify for MSD.



Have I confused you? I am sorry if I have. Feel free to e-mail or PM if you wish. You should also head over to www.tivocommunity.com for everything TiVo related.

If you don't know already, another cool thing about the series 2 boxes is that you can connect them to your wireless network and use TiVo-2-Go to transfer the programs to your computer and burn DVDs for later viewing/travel purposes.

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted October 25 2006 - 05:59 AM

Jeff - thanks for the clarification on pricing. The multiple Tivo option sounds interesting, but I'm still working on whether to get 1 Posted Image