Tivo vs. Time Warner DVR

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Aaron Cooke, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. Aaron Cooke

    Aaron Cooke Second Unit

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    I recently got a DVR from Time Warner. I like it for it's ease of use and convenience. My girlfriend wants to get something similar for her parents who don't have time warner cable and even if their cable company offers it, it's not something she could "buy outright" and give to them.

    So I am wondering what differences, if any, a standalone Tivo would have from what I am currently using. From the limited amount I know there might be problems recording one program while watching another? Or recording 2 programs at the same time? Anything else I should know?

    Thanks for any info. BTW, there is no HD involved on any of these TV's so that's not an issue.

    Aaron
     
  2. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    cable DVR typical advantages:
    -better recording on digital channels, since it's just recording the data without any reencoding involved. Also preserves Dolby Digital audio when available.
    -dual recording on some models, allowing you to record two shows simultaneously while watching either or something previously recorded. (standalone Tivo is single record only. You can watch pre-recorded shows while the new one records. But if two shows are on at the same time you'd have to split the cable and watch the other one live using another device's tuner, or record with another device)
    -rental so if it breaks you can just exchange easily
    -HD capability (non-issue in this case I guess)
    -low upfront cost

    Tivo typical advantages:
    -better analog channel recording (with multiple quality levels, not typically available on cable boxes)
    -much more powerful search & record features ("Wishlists")
    -more sophisticated recording options
    -home media features, e.g. stream MP3, JPEG from PC, send video to PC. Movies, TV via internet are in development.
    -more stable, less buggy software
    -more complete guide data
    -cheaper in the long run ($400 total, vs. $10-$15/month forever), especially if you don't subscribe to digital cable

    The exact differences depend on which hardware/software platform you have, which vary by region & cable provider.
     
  3. Ronn.W

    Ronn.W Second Unit

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    I've got both Tivo (2, actually) and a cable DVR (It's Cox, a Scientific Atlanta 8300 Explorer, I think?)

    The main advantage to the cable DVR that I've seen is it has 2 tuners so you can record and watch something else. Also, if they have premium channels like HBO and what not, there's no special setup to record those channels.

    It lacks a lot of the features that Tivo has. In my mind, I could never see this DVR replacing my Tivo in any way, shape or form. It's slower, you can't do searches, only knows one week worth of programming, programs like a VCR, and for lack of a better term, has no personality.

    With Tivo you can setup Wishlists for genres, actors, directors, etc. and Tivo will show you when these types of things are on. It holds 2 weeks of program data. You can set up a 'Season Pass' to automatically record a TV series and it will automatically find out what time and channel it's on and take care of it.

    In other words, Tivo is feature rich, while my cable DVR is not even close. Also, since I have 2 Tivos, it basically works out as being the same as the cable DVR having 2 tuners.

    Watch the deals on the Tivo website, they often make you an offer you can't refuse. Recently they were giving away refurbed Tivos when you bought a service plan or life time service.

    I really don't like refurbs, but I'd have no problems buying a refurbed Tivo. I almost picked up a 3rd one during that deal! LOL As for build quality/reliability; one of mine is a year old Series 2 with no problems, the other one is an original series that has been going strong for about 4 years. To me, that's impresive considering you don't shut Tivos off, they're continually running, buffering and streaming even if you're not watching TV.
     
  4. Aaron Cooke

    Aaron Cooke Second Unit

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    Great info so far. Looks like the only negative about tivo is that it lacks ability to record 2 shows at once (probably not a big deal) or record one show while watching another live show (slightly bigger deal).

    What is the deal with Tivo and being able to record HBO? Is it a hassle?
     
  5. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    You'd just need to set up the IR blaster to control the cable box, which means channel changes are slower & slightly less reliable. But as you get used to a DVR, presumably you will start setting up 95% of recordings ahead of time so the increased channel changing time will be of little consequence.
     
  6. Ronn.W

    Ronn.W Second Unit

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    Yeah, it's just a setup thing for the most part. You tell the Tivo to change the channel, it tells the recorder. So it's a bit slower too. No big deal in the long run, just not as easy as plugging in the cable DVR and going.

    I know I've been whoring out Tivo in this thread, but I can't help it. I usually don't get fanatical about consumer electronics (or anything else!) but I don't know how many friends I've gottrn to buy Tivo over the years. My wife even sold Tivo to an electronics store salesman. [​IMG]

    Whatever DVR you get, you're going to be happy with it. I have no doubt about that!
     
  7. Tim Jin

    Tim Jin Supporting Actor

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    I've been using my Time Warner DVR for 9 months now and I use it pretty much every day. I rarely watch live shows other than sports. I have the HD DVR, which I like. DVR is nowhere perfect from Tivo, but time shifting is so much easier now than trying to program the VCR.
     
  8. Marc_Sulinski

    Marc_Sulinski Supporting Actor

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    Is it really cheaper to have a TiVo in the long run? The monthly service fee for TiVo is, what, $12? Or you can buy a lifetime (of the unit, that is) subscription for $200? If you go month-to-month, the cable DVR is cheaper (mine is $9 / month, which includes all service fees and the unit itself). If you go with the $200 subscription, you are looking at well over $400, right? especially if you want the HD model? Eventually you will (in several years) come out ahead, assuming you are still using the same unit.
     
  9. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    Yes, it's definitely cheaper in the long run for analog service. Lifetime subscription is $299 (No one in their right minds should go monthly on Tivo standalones). The units themselves are going for $50 after rebate. This will be cheaper after ~2-3 years depending on your provider's fee structure. It's best if you can drop digital cable (I did, since the additional channels don't interest me & I prefer getting movies via Netflix), which some cable companies require for DVR service, which can save $5-10 a month in addition to not paying the DVR fee.

    But if you want high-definition, you have to & should go with the cable company DVR right now. The only HD Tivo available is for DirecTV satellite. Tivo for HD cable won't come out until 2006. I would *not* buy a standalone Tivo now if you have or are getting HDTV within the next year or two, I'd just rent a cable DVR.
     
  10. Tim Jin

    Tim Jin Supporting Actor

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    I wouldn't pay for a lifetime service of Tivo, just because I doubt that I will be using the same box for a lifetime.

    What if you want to upgrade Tivo 2 to Tivo 3 or whatever and you have to get a new box? That lifetime subscription is no longer good to the new box. Yeah, in theory, it is much cheaper to get lifetime, but at some point, you will upgrade.

    Tivo have a great product, but they have failed over the past years to improve on their products. Why are they taking so long to release a standalone HD PVR? Cable already had their HD DVR's way into last year. Dish Network had their HD DVR's for at least two years now.

    How hard is to get a standalone HD PVR to the market for Tivo users?

    What will make Cable HD DVR users to switch over to Tivo HD?

    Remind you, there is always an up front cost to buy a Tivo PVR.

    Tivo has lost their share in the DVR market because of their business model. Instead of being a hardware provider, they need to be a service provider and be a software company.

    I just don't understand what is Tivo waiting for.

    At this point, I would not buy a Tivo, yet alone a lifetime subscription.

    This whole Tivo/PVR hype went to their heads because they were the first ones. Instead of involving their products for the future, Tivo just maintained of what they had then.

    Now, they are trying to catch up with the rest.
     
  11. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    That's what they've been trying to do. But they resisted it for a long time because it's hard to make money off of the small sliver of service fees cable companies/satellite companies were willing to give up. Despite DirecTivo making up something like 2/3 of the installed base, Tivo made much more money off of standalone service fees.
     
  12. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    I hear DirecTV is going to drop TiVo in favor of their own DRV this fall. I love my TiVo, it changes how you watch TV. Hope DirecTV doesnt change it to much!
     
  13. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    They aren't. They are going to stop promoting Tivo and start promoting their on DVR built by NDS. The Tivo will still be available for customers who want it until the contract expires in 2007. After 2007, you won't be able to buy a DirecTivo but they will still be supported in the same way DirecTV still supports the UltimateTV DVR from a few years ago.

    -Robert
     

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