Thinking about switching from TiVo to Cox Cable DVR, any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Phil_L, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. Phil_L

    Phil_L Second Unit

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    Thinking about switching from TiVo to Cox Cable DVR and wanted to know if anyone has made a similar switch? Concerned about ease of use, features, functionality, etc.
     
  2. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Why are you considering the switch?

    Yes, you'll almost certainly be disappointed in terms of usability features. Nothing beats or even matches TiVo there -- but depending on what specific features you're looking for the Cox DVR might still be worth considering.

    Not to discourage you here, but are you already aware of the TiVo-specific online forum? This kind of question comes up all the time there and a search will turn up lots of discussion.
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/
     
  3. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I reluctantly retired my 3 SD TiVos in favor of 2 dual-tuner Scientific Atlanta HD-DVRs provided by Adelphia cable and only because I was upgrading to hi-def service. The TiVos were costing me $24 a month on top of the cable bill. The HD-DVRs were only $5 a month more each than the HD cable boxes I would have needed anyway. And the TiVos could, of course, only record at SD. If I were making a lot more money, and if TiVo had a stand-alone HD box, I might still have stuck with TiVo, but given my actual financial situation, switching was a no brainer.

    I'm seriously disappointed with the lack of TiVo-2-go and home networking features. (SA makes equipment that can do home networking, but Adelphia doesn't support it.) The interface is primative, the "season pass" feature is a joke, the lack of wishlists is maddening - but the HD picture is great, and the dual-tuner feature is even better. I can record two shows while watching a third on the living room TV (which has an HD-cable-ready tuner) while recording yet another show or movie on the bedroom TV. (It isn't that I watch that much TV, but that so much of what I do watch - between broadcast and cable - falls in overlapping timeslots. Now I don't have to miss much.

    I still miss many of TiVo's features (my parents have two SD DirecTiVos so I still play around with TiVo sometimes.) But I don't miss SDTV or programming. I also see that on my parents' 27" direct view set, the aging 42", 4:3 CRT-RPTV or watch a game on my brother-in-law's 36" direct-view and I can't wait to run home to my 56" LCoS or 27" LCD panel. (Soon to be joined by a 32" LCD when my home office is reconfigured and I can take it out of the box. [​IMG]) If a half-assed DVR is the price I have to pay for that, I guess I can handle it. But short of HD I would never have made switch.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  4. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I have both a TIVO on the upstairs tv and a Motorola DVR through Charter cable that uses an interface called Moxi, which is not intuitive at all. My wife will not even try to understand the remote. Having the two tuners and HD is THE only reason I got one. Also, whenever the power blinks, even for a second, the Motorola DVR must be re-booted, TIVo has never failed me unless the power has been off for more than a couple hours. I would suggest that you get the cable DVR only if you need HD and wait for the upcoming TIVO Series 3 box, which will be a two tuner HD unit, however there has been no official word on its release date other than later this year.
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Fans of irony will enjoy the fact that I heard good things about the Moxi software and checked out their website - and decided that while it wasn't TiVo at least in functionality it was infinitely better than the software Adelphia is using with my Scientific Atlanta HD-DVRs.

    Yes, my units are subject to power outages. Unlike TiVos they won't always automatically resume recording after a power failure. That's a problem easily solved by plugging them into a UPS, which most of my stuff is anyway.

    The problem with HD-TiVo for cable subscribers is mostly cost.

    In order to match what I have now, I would need 2 HD cable boxes to receive and unscramble premium channels to feed each HD-TiVo, for a total of 4, in my case. Then I'd need to buy 2 HD-TiVos, probably for a couple of hundred bucks a pop, and either pay upfront for service or pay a substantial monthly service charge over and above my cable bill. (Which would already have gone up to the tune of 2 more HD receivers. My HD-DVRs cost me nothing upfront and only add about $5 each to my cable bill over HD service with two regular HD cable boxes.) Then there's the space, wiring and power issues, since I'd need to fit 3 boxes into the space currently occupied by one.

    I'm hoping that TiVo's recent victory in the patent case holds up and that at least on the cable side this encourages the equipment makers, service providers and TiVo to work together for a change. TiVo's been trying to license its (vastly superior) software and service to the cable companies, who have largely ignored it. Meanwhile it has been pushing money-losing hardware and trying to stay alive selling retail to consumers instead of selling wholesale to providers. (Since the DirecTV deal went south. By the way, my brother-in-law has one of the new non-TiVo DirecTV DVRs and it sucks as much as my SA Adelphia box and for many of the same reasons. And it is an SD unit that my sister had to pay for. And, of course, all DirecTV DVRs, even the TiVo ones, use software that doesn't support home networking or anything like TiVo-2-Go, so they still need phone lines to connect to the service and download at modem speed. I loved having my 3 TiVos connect using my DSL service and moving shows between them on a high-speed wireless network. Scientific Atlanta supports moving TV shows between their HD-DVRs, and even streaming them to non-DVR HD boxes, but Adelphia's software doesn't.)

    Like I said, my ideal solution at this point, even if it cost a few dollars more, would be TiVo's software running on my SA hardware. But going back to TiVo is not an option giving the cost and what an inelegant, Rube Goldberg "solution" it would be for me at this point.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  6. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    The Series 3 Tivo is not fed by separate HD cable boxes (completely impractical). It has its own built-in tuners; it completely replaces your current cable boxes/DVRs. It accepts Cablecards to unscramble the premium channels, either 2 cablecards or one multi-stream cablecard when they come out. Your cable company may or may not charge a fee for the Cablecard, or the additional one necessary for dual recording.

    So the setup is still going to be quite elegant, just one box. Only cost is the concern. I'm guessing $500-700 for each box, not the couple of hundred you posit. Your monthly cable bill would drop the DVR fee & box rental fees, possibly offset by Cablecard fees. Then you add Tivo's subscription fee.

    There is no doubt Tivo is going to be more expensive. Will it be worth it? I don't know. I'm using Motorola 6412/iGuide software, and think it's reasonable in most regards. It has a few annoying bugs that I've learned to avoid. The only thing I miss terribly from Tivo are Wishlists, faster maneuvering within a program (tick marks), and the much better onscreen keyboard for program searches. The only big gain for me from the Tivo series 3 is hard drive space (woefully undersized 120GB on the 6412), & the wishlists. I'd pay a few hundred dollars premium for more space & Tivo software. But if it looks closer to a 1k premium I'd probably balk.

    As for the original poster, I say switch if you have or are getting HDTV, otherwise stick with Tivo. I still use Tivo as my primary analog channel recorder.
     
  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The problem on my system is that a cable box is required for interactivity. You can't order pay-per-view through the remote or use certain other features if you're using a cable card as your interface. I had no idea on the possible pricing for the HD TiVos and just threw out a guess based on the fact that they're now basically giving away the SD boxes.

    In addition to the WishLists and other cool stuff, I really miss the home networking stuff. One of my series 2s was in my home office, with an el cheapo 13" color TV that I used only for programming the TV and sometimes watching the news when I was in that room. But I could record shows on that box and then transfer them to the living room to watch on the big screen, or to the bedroom to watch in bed, or onto my PCs hard drive for editing and buring. I also liked being able to play music from any of my computers through the receiver in my living room.

    Like I said, Scientific Atlanta's equipment supports at least some of this, and their website makes it all sound interesting, but my cable company has opted not to offer any of this advance equipment or the software that supports it. (I especially liked the idea of being able to stream video to the buffer of a non DVR HD-receiver through the home network.)

    One big problem in my area is that fact that Adelphia is basically in a holding pattern pending court rulings on its sale to Time Warner. So nobody's spending an extra dime, adding any services or features or doing any more than the minimum necessary to hang on to their current subscriber base. I have no options other than cable, since I live in an area with bad OTA reception and in a north-facing condo with no ability to put a dish anywhere it could get a signal.

    My only hope is that the TW deal goes through and that some added competition from the telecoms forces some innovation from the cable companies. And that at least some of them are smart enough to stop fighting TiVo and reinventing the wheel and just license their software.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    That's why the Series 3 Tivo has a pair of slots for the current single stream, 1-way cable cards and a single slot for the newer multi-stream, 2-way cable cards when they come out.

    -Robert
     
  9. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    People who are following series 3 dev closely on www.tivocommunity.com are saying that it will support multi-stream, but not the 2-way communication of Cablecard 2.0. See this discussion.

    So you would still need a cable box to use VOD, PPV (might be able to phone/web order PPV w/ just cablecard). For me, this is not a big deal, because:
    -HD offerings are meager to non-existent. I have zero interest in watching Pan&scan 4:3 content, would rather watch a standard DVD.
    -my area happens to be bandwidth deficient & hasn't even deployed VOD yet.

    YMMV. I am hoping Netflix via HD-DVD/Blu-ray will satisfy my HD movie desires. Standard DVD is fine for me for now.
     

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