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Buying a PVR, which one??

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#1 of 47 OFFLINE   Brian Price

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Posted July 30 2002 - 02:37 PM

I'm going to be buying a PVR soon and wanted opinions and thoughts from those of you with experience using them. I have read several reviews on Amazon that speak poorly of the Sony TIVO units. I appears TIVO is cheapter the Replay but they both require about $250 for lifetime subscription so the only difference is in the units price. Do they require you to pay for the player $300 - $500 and then pony up the entire $250 shortly thereafter? That's quite a hefty little haul but potentially well worth it. I have also heard that you can't record one channel while watching another? Any truth to this? I'm just looking for honest opinions as I already have a VCR, (don't we all), and am trying to find out if these PVR's are all they are cracked up to be and worth the price. Thanks in advance. Brian

#2 of 47 OFFLINE   Reginald Trent

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Posted July 30 2002 - 04:22 PM

I'd go with Ultimate TV if you have DirecTV. Because you can buy one for 100.00 if you already have DirecTV. However, you than pay 9.95 a month indefinately. However, even with that cost it would be less than either Replay or Tivo for the first 4 years. By that time we may have a different recording device altogether.

#3 of 47 OFFLINE   RichN


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Posted July 30 2002 - 04:37 PM

Brian, It is true, you can't record one channel while watching another, THROUGH THE PVR. That doesn't mean you can't watch another channel on your TV or through a VCR (unless you have your cable/satellite connection going directly through the PVR to the TV/VCR etc). I have my cable split so it goes to my Showstopper (Panasonic) as well as to my TV/VCR and select the input I want through my TV (video1, video2 etc.). I went with the ReplayTV because THE COST OF THE SERVICE IS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF THE PVR (I have the oldest model, the 1000 which is the cheapest one now, if you can find one for sale). It records 20 hours of programs, but you can buy a larger disk on Ebay that will record 80 hours for about $80.00 (already formatted, just swap it into the unit). I have also heard more complaints about Tivo than ReplayTV, but I couldn't say because I've never had Tivo. RichN

#4 of 47 OFFLINE   Pamela


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Posted July 30 2002 - 04:44 PM

When I was in the market for a PVR, I chose TiVo because of all the great things I've heard about it. For a comparison of the two, go here:

You'll find lots of great info on that site. ReplayTV used to make you fork up the lifetime subscription money up front. They are changing that now. I believe they will start offering a monthly subscription. TiVo offers the lifetime subscription (read: the lifetime of the unit) or a monthly fee of $12.95. If you choose the monthly subscription, you can change over to the lifetime sub at anytime. But, you get no sort of rebate.

DirecTivo is the way to go if you have DirectTV. There are dual tuners, so you can record one thing and watch another. On a SA TiVo, you can do it, but there is a caveat. You must have two inputs into your TV. Split the signal to both inputs and it will work. The only problem is, on the second input, you can only get the analog channels (if you have digital cable). So you have around the first 100 channels at your disposal. And no premium channels. A second cable box, and you can get all the channels on the second input. I have the signal split, but without the second box. It works great for me.

Regardless of which you choose, I think you'll find PVRs to be an invaluable part of your TV viewing experience. You'll never want to watch "live TV" again! I don't know what I'd do without my TiVo!

A word of warning: The only B & M to sell TiVo is Best Buy. I've heard some horrible experiences about that. You might want to consider buying a TiVo direct from TiVo. You can get either the Philips brand or the ATT&T brand. Either will work with any cable set-up. They were running a promotion with free shipping. Check it out.

#5 of 47 OFFLINE   LDfan


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Posted July 31 2002 - 02:32 AM

Brian, Tivo Tivo Tivo. I've had my Sony Tivo for over a year now and its probably been one of the best electronic devices I've ever spent money on. I've gotten so much more out of my cable since I can record anything and everything that I want to watch. Beware though these things can cause fights with the spouse. Once my wife learned how to use it we were constantly competing with each other for hard drive space. Jeff

#6 of 47 OFFLINE   mike_decock


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Posted July 31 2002 - 04:55 AM

I have a Sony TiVo, upgraded to 60 Gigs (not too difficult). I have probably gotten more entertainment value out of it than any other single piece of electronics I've owned in my life. I go with the month-to-month subscription because I don't know which company is going to be the first to manufacture an HD compatible PVR. I can tell you for certain that I will not give up time-shifting for HD. I can't bear watching broadcast TV anymore. As far as ReplayTV, etc. The core feature is the same: Time-shifting. You just need to determine if the extra features are worth the price difference and which one will work best with your source (cable, Satellite, etc.) -Mike...

#7 of 47 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted July 31 2002 - 05:33 AM

My only HT toy that my wife approves of is my PVR. I went with Dish Network and got the PVR 501. It stores the digital information and plays it back exactly like the original broadcast. Highly recommended. In theory, the PVR 701 units with dual-tuners (watch one channel while recording another) is due out soon.

#8 of 47 OFFLINE   Alan Wild

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Posted July 31 2002 - 06:00 AM

If you can handle installing a hard drive in a PC then one can do TiVo upgrades. The ease it which I can upgrade a TiVo is why I will always stick with them. I've had a 14 hour unit since August of 2000 and it's still going strong. In hindsight I probably should have bought the lifetime subscription, but I figured it would have died by now. Go figure.

I've upgraded my TiVo multiple times. It now has 200G of storage space which allows me to record at Best Quality and still get 60 hours of programming on my TiVo.

On top of that I have a TurboNet card that allows me to plug the TiVo into my local lan. I can then access it over the web. So if I go on a trip and forget to set something to record I can do it from anywhere.

The "hackability" of the TiVo makes it one of the best purchases ever, IMHO.

However, even if a user is a bit intimidated by the hacking process, it still provides an incredibly easy to use interface and works really well. I just consider the $12.95 fee to be a part of my cable expenses every month.

BTW, once you really use your PVR you'll find that you won't really need to watch a different live program while the TiVo is recording except in really rare circumstances. That's because you can always watch stuff the TiVo has already recorded.

About the only "live" TV I watch anymore is the Today Show and that's just because I use my bedroom TV as an alarm clock. Posted Image


#9 of 47 OFFLINE   mike_decock


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Posted July 31 2002 - 06:07 AM

BTW, The reason I like the Sony better is because it has a learning remote control. I use the second Power button to turn the TV on/off and programmed the volume up/down to control the preamp. -Mike...

#10 of 47 OFFLINE   Sujeet Patel

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Posted July 31 2002 - 08:23 AM

My ReplayTV does everything the Tivo does, and then some, with no monthly fees. The 30 hour model was fine for me, but it's upgradable to something ridiculous like 132 hours with a simple HD swap.

And my remote controls my PVR, VCR, TV, and Cable Box. Posted Image
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#11 of 47 OFFLINE   Larry Schneider

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Posted July 31 2002 - 12:25 PM

The DirecTivo models record the digital bitstream from the satellite onto the hard drive, then decode the signal and play it back. No loss of picture quality whatever. You can record two different channels simultaneously and play back a third, previously recorded program.

#12 of 47 OFFLINE   FrankC



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Posted July 31 2002 - 05:13 PM

I've had my Tivo Series 2 for a few months now and like it quite a bit. It's hard to imagine life with Tivo. Having said that, I'd definitely recommend the DirecTV integrated model. I have a 53" Sony projection TV, and the quality of the stand-alone Tivo leaves something to be desired. I'm waiting for the DirecTV Series 2 integrated models, which rumor has it will be available in time for Christmas this year. --f

#13 of 47 OFFLINE   Reginald Trent

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Posted July 31 2002 - 05:27 PM

Get a UTV, I have 4 units. Many people rail against UTV simple because it is made by Microsoft, flawed logic in this case.

They are less expensive to obtain and maintain than Directivo. You can get a UTV for 100.00 if you are an existing DirecTV customer or 50.00 if you are new. DirecTV cost what 400.00 for the unit alone then you can add 250 for lifetime service or pay 9.95 a month just like UTV. So let's cruch the numbers. If you buy a DirecTivo it will cost you 650 for the unit and lifetime service.

However, if you bnought a UTV for 50.00 you could have it for 5 years before it and service adds up to 650. And who knows by that time there might be a a totally different system/unit to record programming. Keep in mind none of the current PVRs will record HDTV.

Bottom line UTV puts you in the game at much less money than DirecTivo.

BTW is also has 2 tuners that allows you to record two programs at the same time or record one while you watch a different channel. They also record the digital bitsream which gives you the exact duplicate for the broadcast.

you should check this UTV forum out.http://www.avsforum.....?s=&forumid=41

#14 of 47 OFFLINE   GordonL


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Posted July 31 2002 - 09:33 PM

[quote] DirecTV cost what 400.00 for the unit alone [quote] Not true. You can find deals for $100 or less also. Currently, OrbitSat has a $79 deal for Sony DirecTIvo. And if I were to make a bet, I'd bet on Tivo to be around longer because they have a much larger user base. If they were to ever get into financial difficulties, I'm sure someone would step in and buy them up.


This whole Tivo/DirecTivo vs ReplayTV vs UltimateTV argument is somewhat pointless until we know what service (satellite, cable, over-the-air) you plan to use and what you want out of a PVR. Besides the basic VCR functions, what else are you looking for?

#15 of 47 OFFLINE   LesterLiu



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Posted August 01 2002 - 01:29 AM

what is a "turbonet" card that Alan Wild mentioned? is this something you can add to the tivo? i've been looking for one of these... Is this a "hack" or a pnp product?

#16 of 47 OFFLINE   RandyRush


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Posted August 01 2002 - 02:25 AM

First, I have a Dtivo and I also got my son an Ultimate for his BD (because it was difficult to find a Dtivo at a reasonable price last month); However, I talked with my satellite installer/repairman two days ago and he was telling me about all the problems he was seeing with the Ultimate; according to him, they had had over 18 repairs/replacements over the past 3 weeks; none for Tivo; don't know what this means--just wanted to pass it along; I'm very happy with my Dtivo; tried the Ultimate for 4 days in June and was not impressed by it. Just my $0.02

#17 of 47 OFFLINE   jim_arrows



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Posted August 01 2002 - 03:37 AM

I concur with those above who stated that the DirecTivo was the single best home electronics purchase I've ever made. Definitely check out the link above to the tivocommunity forums (you can get to them from avsforum.com as well), it's the best resource for information. If you're going the DirecTivo route, you may want to wait because I think the Series II DirecTivo's are due out in the fall (not to mention the Series I's are very difficult to find, but maybe not for a new customer). Regards, Jim

#18 of 47 OFFLINE   John Knowles

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Posted August 01 2002 - 04:28 AM

I've had a Tivo for around two years--started out with the Philips 20 hour model, which died last month, so Best Buy replaced it under their 4 yr plan with a 60 hour series 2, which is pretty cool. I really love having the Tivo and my wife does as well--it would be hard to give it up. Having said that, I paid significantly less than retail ( I worked for BB when I got it and they had a really cheap employee deal), so it's been more than worth it to me, but I think overall, they're still too expensive, at least the stand-alone units. I guess I really like the way the software on the Tivos work--great usability and they've improved the software since I got mine.
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#19 of 47 OFFLINE   Michael St. Clair

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Posted August 01 2002 - 04:37 AM

Dtivos also has two tuners (and a better interface in my subjective opinion). I've got two Tivos. Love em.

#20 of 47 OFFLINE   Brian Ruth

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Posted August 01 2002 - 08:50 AM

I have an AllInWonder card, and that does all the TiVoing I need without the monthly fees. You can pick up a PC Tuner card for about 40 bucks, thus dodging the monthly fees, and also making it easier to archive your recordings. I think a PC based solution is better if your computer has access to a TV signal.
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