Tivo: Subscription required?

Ryan Wright

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Hi there,
Can a person use a Tivo just like a VCR without the subscription? Specifically, can I:
1. Just hit record, let it go for as many hours as I feel like it, and then hit stop? (in other words, use it manually?)
2. Can I set a time/date to record like a VCR rather than selecting by show?
3. Any other info/comments about using a Tivo without the subscription would be most helpful.
I'll be up front: I don't watch a lot of TV. I have, however, recently become interested in Enterprise and want to start archiving shows to VCD format for later viewing on my DVD player. I can adapt a network card onto a Tivo, transfer them to my PC and burn them to CDR for later viewing in all their glory (no questions about whether this is possible, it is, and it's quite easy - and before anyone jumps down my throat, it's also perfectly legal, so don't even go down that road).
Originally I was going to buy the Terapin CD video recorder. Street price new is about $250, half the cost on their web page, but with this standalone unit you don't get a lot of control over the final product. Since I've always wanted a Tivo (good reason to ditch the VCR), I figured I'd get one of those instead. That way I can edit the commercials out on my PC before burning to VCD. And, I'd save money, considering I can get a cheap Tivo new on eBay for about $150, plus another $60 for the networking hardware. Tivo recording time is unimportant as I will archive the episodes right off onto my file server to be later burned to CDR.
If I watched more TV I'd subscribe, but I can't see paying $12 a month just to save me from having to manually hit record once a week.
So, what's the verdict? Do these things work without the service?
Thank you!
 

David WS

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I have a DirecTivo and was told by the sales rep that the Tivo functionality WILL NOT work as a regular old VCR if you don't pay for the service. As far as I know you must purchase the Tivo service to have any of the features available. Don't take that as gospel, but it's what I've been told and I have not done more digging on the subject. BTW, if you do get a Tivo, you may be surprised at how much you like having it.
 

Robert_J

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I have heard that the stand alone Tivos will still record if they aren't subscribed. You just have to manually set up each recording. For more info try Tivo Community.
-Robert
 

Matt Stryker

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Can a person use a Tivo just like a VCR without the subscription?
Yes (standalone Tivos only), but...

I pretty much had the same expectations as you when I bought my Tivo; just use it like a hard drive equipped VCR. The thing is, the meshing of the guide and recorder is so straightforward and simple (the one component I've never had anyone have trouble mastering) that it is addictive.

Its truly a paradigm shift in watching TV. If you do get one just to time record, at least try the 5 day free subscription.
 

GordonL

Supporting Actor
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Feb 14, 2000
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On an unsubscribed Tivo, #1 is not possible, #2 is. As far as transferring the digital video from Tivo to a hard drive via the network hack, that is currently disapproved by Tivo due to copyright issues. Transferring the video via the composite/S-Video outputs is OK though.
 

Ray Spencer

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Apr 5, 2002
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sa tivo's shipped with software version 1.3 or less will let you record manually. those shipped with 2 or greater won't. if you get one that originally had 1.3 and has been updated to 2.5.1 then it'll still allow you to record manually, the important thing is what it shipped with. if enterprise is your only reason for getting one then look for a hdr112. if your lucky you can find on clearance at walmart or kmart. i got my sa from walmart for $75. i used the free trial subscription, then went without for a week when that ranout. decided that service really was worth it. it's amazing how viewing style changes once you get a tivo. i no longer care when a show is on...just so long as it's on sometime. then i can let tivo get it and watch it whenever.

if all you want is to make vcd's, why not get a decent tv tuner? you could get the ati8500 for what you'll end up spending on tivo and the network card...and then you'll still have to go through all the trouble of extracting after that. from what i've seen, extraction from tivo still isn't perfect. the audio slowly works it's way away from the video. i'm not saying tivo isn't great...but if you're not going to use the tivo service then it's not the best option.
 

Matt Stryker

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Didn't realize that the 1.3 versions were the only ones to be able to manually record; mine came as a 1.3 and then upgraded to 2.5, so that would explain why it still does manual recordings.

it's amazing how viewing style changes once you get a tivo. i no longer care when a show is on...just so long as it's on sometime. then i can let tivo get it and watch it whenever.
Thats exactly what I was trying to get across. Its like a bad TV infomercial, "You don't know you need it, but once you try it, you can't live without it!"

And welcome to the forum Ray!
 

Ryan Wright

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Great, thanks for the info!

If you do get one just to time record, at least try the 5 day free subscription.
I might, but, I wonder how that would work with my setup. I've got DirecTV, but I don't want a DirecTivo because it does not have a built in MPEG decoder. Since I also want to use the Tivo to record some old family videotapes and archive onto VCD, I've got to have a standalone box. My guess is the subscription for a standalone box is geared towards the cable TV market and since I do not subscribe to cable, it likely won't help me.
 

Ryan Wright

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if all you want is to make vcd's, why not get a decent tv tuner? you could get the ati8500 for what you'll end up spending on tivo and the network card
Ray, I am closer and closer to just going that route... I had considered this but wanted the Tivo so I could also use it for pausing live TV/etc, but it's looking like I need a Tivo subscription to do much of anything with the unit.

Thanks again to everyone for your advice.
 

Jeff Bamberger

Second Unit
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Sep 15, 1999
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Put it this way regarding TiVO....

I pay 10.89 a month for super basic cable (esentially a good antenna for my locals).

I pay 12.95 per month for TiVO (considering lifetime).

I have no problem that I pay more for TiVO than for the cable itself. TiVO is my own personalized TV system. I love it and can't live without it.

That said, you cannot truly understand what TiVO can do for you until you 1) see it in action, and 2) actually use it in your own home.....
 

David WS

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Ryan, The other thing to consider is getting a Video Card with a built in TV tuner and MPEG2 encoder. I have a ATI All In Wonder 128 Pro that can act as a PVR. (Provided you have enough harddrive space.) It even has some limited "guide" functionality, although I've never tried that feature. With that card you can schedule a recording and have it digitally recorded to your HD in one step. Then you can make your VCDs. I got my card At BB for about $130 7 or 8 months ago.
 

Brian Kleinke

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I use my un-service account activated Tivo to pause tv and record shows that I have to set up manually.

One point I don't think was brough up. You can (on my version) hit the record button on the remote and it will start recording. The only problem is it will only record for 30mins and then stop. Presetting things up in the record menu are the way to go.

If you're Tivo is not hooked up to anything the time may slip, and you will have to adjust your recording timess accordingly. Also manual recording can only be set in 5 min intervals.. so 4:55 for a start time is ok 4:57 is not. (Just one of my pet peeves on my model)

Brian

PS I've got no clue what version it is.. I purcheased it the end of 2000 I think, and had it online for a month.
 

Matt Stryker

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I might, but, I wonder how that would work with my setup. I've got DirecTV, but I don't want a DirecTivo because it does not have a built in MPEG decoder. Since I also want to use the Tivo to record some old family videotapes and archive onto VCD, I've got to have a standalone box. My guess is the subscription for a standalone box is geared towards the cable TV market and since I do not subscribe to cable, it likely won't help me.
Not true at all. The standalone Tivo has a serial control port that connects to the Directv receiver and can change its channel, etc. The Tivo gets the video from the Directv box via S-Video and 2 RCA cables for audio. The Directivo is preferable if you have DirecTV, but I used my standalone Tivo with a standard Directv box for a year and had no complaints. In the Tivo setup, you just tell it you have Directv and which package, and it does the rest.
 

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