DVR / TiVo recommendations?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by wPod, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

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    #1
    I'm moving to a new apartment and changing cable companies. My old company gave me a good deal on a DVR and now I'm hooked! Now with the new company they want to charge me more money for a DVR. So I was looking around for some alternatives. I found TiVo and ReplayTV, they both cost the same. I was wondering what people used and what they liked? I have heard TiVo is NOT compatible with mac, so I can't save anything from the TiVo to my computer. I have heard that some people have been able to get data and convert it to .mov from the ReplayTV system. Google searches for DVR have turned up nothing more than I just mentioned. What do you use/recommend, and what works?

    <edit> oh yeah, I'd love to get an Elgato Eye TV and hook it to a Mac Mini and a HUGE external drive, but the end result would be much more expensive than getting a stand alone DVR box($100) even with a $300 lifetime subscription!
     
  2. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #2
    TiVo doesn't work with Macs too well. You can do certain things, but you cannot save shows to the computer. They are working on it. Who knows when it will be out.

    Even taking this into consideration, I love my TiVo. The program guide is amazing. Last I checked, no other service had Season Pass. At least not as good as TiVo's. You can program shows over the web if you are away from home. Plus there is a deal on the 80hr TiVo.
     
  3. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

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    #3
    Who's going to be your new cable company?
     
  4. wPod thread starter macrumors 68000

    wPod

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    #4
    Comcast is my new company (already set up at the apt so no extra 'instalation' fees) Charter is the company I was using.

    Both are $10 a month for DVR service. But I was wanting somehting seperate from my cable company so I dont have to change/reset every time I move (im in college so i move a bit, not to mention ill graduate in a year and be moving again, probably to somewhere permanant) not to mention it would be cool to have something compatible with mac :)
     
  5. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

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    #5
    Well, I use Comcast and only pay $9.95 / month for my DVR - and it's Hi-Def. For an HD TiVo you'd spend several hundred. Not sure if you're doing HDTV yet, but Comcast has an excellent offering of Hi-Def channels and their HD DVR definitely makes it worth the $9.95. I suppose if you're not doing Hi-Def and you could pick up an SD DVR for $100 that would be a better deal.
     
  6. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

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    #6
    Tivo will cost you 12.95/mo, plus at leat $99 for the unit. I'd actually stick with teh cable co's deal if I could.

    That said, I'm pretty happy with my Tivo. It does work with Macs, other than for the TivotoGo feature, which is what allows you to transfer shows to your laptop and (I think) burn to DVD. But it does give you the rest of the Home Media Option, which means you can play music and view photos (from itunes and iphoto) on your TV/AV system. Set up of that is a snap, once you've hooked the tivo into your network (get a $30 USB-ethernet adapter; wireless is somewhat trickier)
     
  7. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    #7
    I'm a big fan of TiVO, and in fact have two of them. With the discounted rate on the second, my monthly fees are about $19 per month for both.

    The one thing I've seen recently is a serious degradation in performance after the most recent upgrade (to make them TiVoToGo capable). I've heard about a new release coming to fix the problems, but the menus have been horrendously slow to react lately.

    Other than that relatively minor frustration, everything else has been great. I love being able to program over the web - I travel quite a bit, so being able to log in on the road and set something to record is a nice feature.

    And the music and picture sharing is handy from time to time as well, especially to show pictures of the kids/vacations to grandparents when they visit.
     
  8. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #8
    I've got Tivo and that's really all I have experience with... it works with the PC just fine with TivoToGo... you have to type in a password to play each episode and although you will be able to burn your shows to DVD they will *only* play in certain Windows players and you have to have a password again... so don't think you'll be getting the ability to watch them on any ol' DVD player...

    Also I remember reading an article a few days ago saying that Tivo will not have TivoToGo on the Mac for several years. I have no idea where that article is but... yeah. Sorta stinks. But I don't really use TivoToGo anyhow even on the PC.
     
  9. molcas&e'sdad macrumors member

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    Minnesota.
    #9
    Recently I recall reading an article about how Comcast and Tivo have struck a deal to work together - i.e., Tivo will provide Comcast with DVR service. The good news is that the new joint service is supposed to have 2-tuner capability. This is pretty cool because it allows you to record 2 shows at once (note: this service is presently offered to DirecTv DVR customers). The upshot of my comment is that Comcast and Tivo may soon be one and that Comcast DVR may be the best bet for the short run because of the future "upside". No word yet, as far as I know, about how the new Comcast-Tivo service with integrate with Mac.
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #10
    I have ReplayTV, and a lifetime subscription, and I just figured at the time, that if I thought of the system as costing $350 instead of $50, then it was still not out of line for a tech toy. :) And I love the thing to pieces. I might have bought a TiVo instead, looking back, but as long as Replay doesn't go out of business... :rolleyes: :eek:

    But anyway, my point was not to recommend Replay over TiVo, but to ask: ReplayTV has an OSS project called DVArchive, that allows streaming of video onto a computer, and/or download and play (and burn, w/o restrictions, AFAIK). Works very nicely. Doesn't the TiVo world have something like that on Macs, even if their own software isn't available?
     
  11. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

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    #11
    The current DVR from Comcast has two tuners. At least mine does. It's a Scientific Atlanta SA8000HD.
     
  12. wPod thread starter macrumors 68000

    wPod

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    #12
    I have a Scientific Atlanta from Charter right now, though I dont know what moddle number. If comcast uses the same one, I like it, I just wish i could hook it up to the mac! It looks like going with comcast might be the right idea.
     
  13. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

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    #13
    If Firewire is enabled on your DVR, you can 'hook it up' to your Mac using VirtualDHVS and VLC (my Hi-Def example). There's a huge thread about recording to your Mac here, although its focus is on HDTV the same applies for SD. I've recorded and played back both on my Mac.
     
  14. cwerdna macrumors 6502

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    #14
    I've had a Tivo since Feb 01. I LOVE them! (I have 2 standalones and 1 DirecTivo).

    There's a great deal going on right now that ends tonight. People who've had >=1 Tivo referral can buy a 140 hour Tivo for free w/the purchase of a lifetime subscription ($300) or 12-mo sub ($155.40). There's no tax nor shipping and handling. It's an awesome deal since a 40 hour box is normally $100 after rebate + subscription.

    I'd offer to help but already hit my limit of 5 boxes I can buy at this price. Someone at http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=237651 might be willing to help. But you have to act VERY fast.

    Replay's scheduling and conflict management is far inferior to Tivos, but Replays do have some nice features too. http://www.pvrcompare.com/ has some very detailed and fairly neutral comparisons.

    FWIW, I have lifetime on both my standalones and can't do that on my DirecTivo (it's $5/mo) since they got rid of lifetime on DTivo long ago.
     
  15. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Northern Virginia
    #15
    I have Cox Cable with DVR service. I decided that the extra costs was worth it since I can record two programs at once, and view a previously recorded program. not sure if Comcast offers the same thing.
     
  16. Blurb macrumors member

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    May 7, 2004
    #16
    I've had ReplayTV since they first came out, and have bought upgraded models since. I disagree with the above post stating that ReplayTV's guide and conflict mgmt is far inferior to Tivo's. First, that is just a matter of opinion, so there is NO right or wrong answer to who's best. Second, most impartial reviews I've read comparing them lean toward Tivo for newbies or non-tech oriented people, because it "thinks for you". Personally I would at minimum call it even, even tho I'm obviously skewed towards ReplayTV.

    I don't like Tivo's ability to collect and sell your viewing info to others. I've never wanted a device to tell me what it thinks I want to watch. And I've never once had a problem with programing ReplayTV after 8 years of use of 3 different models. And you can program/schedule thru the internet if you're not home with ReplayTV also.

    The DVArchive sw for the ReplayTV and mac is awesome. Works seemlessly, and is a great way to save taped programs. AVSforums.com has a wealth of info and support forums available.

    Good luck with your choice! :rolleyes:
     
  17. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #17
    This is a feature. You can ask TiVo for recomendations when ever you want them, or you can ask TiVo to record anything it thinks you may like. Or you can turn it off completely.

    TiVo does this as well.
     
  18. cwerdna macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Not true. I wouldn't call it a matter of opinion.

    Does Replay have a to do list? Is there one location where you can definitively see thing that will record? Is there a place you can look to see what won't record or didn't record any why (conflict, power failure, show no longer in guide)? Have you seen Tivo's season pass manager where you can set the priority of all your season passes and auto-record wish lists (and then see the effect in the to do list and view recording history)? You can't do that on Replay.

    Here's an excerpt from the review I pointed out [regarding Replay's 5K series units]:
    "Show channels (repeating recordings) and single record channels, both of which have equal recording priorities, and themes (keyword recordings). ReplayTV only checks for conflicts between show and single record channels, and only at the time you set up the conflicting show. Themes are not conflict checked, and are assigned lower priority than other recordings...

    ReplayTV has no accessible priority list, so you can't see or adjust show priorities directly."

    Here's another long excerpt:
    "ReplayTV resolves schedule conflicts between series as they appear in the guide just as Tivo does, according to the choices you made when you originally scheduled the conflicting series. I can't say what it does if a schedule change creates a conflict between two shows that didn't previously conflict because I haven't yet nabbed one, but ReplayTV seems to behave as though it has an internal priority list created by the conflict choices you make. If there is such a list and it uses it to resolve conflicts there is probably a good chance conflicts will be resolved the way you want. However it's not as graceful when they aren't. Finding conflicts requires scanning the channel guide for grey dots, which is much more time consuming and error prone than Tivos to-do list or recording history. ReplayTV is also less flexible about letting you change the outcome of conflicts in advance. Unlike Tivo there's no way to simply force a losing episode of a series to record or suppress recording of a winning episode without altering settings for the whole series. Selecting "record this show only" on a losing episode of a series can either bump up the priority of all episodes, or it may turn off recording of the whole series leaving only the episode you selected marked, and that still with a grey "will not record" dot (I've seen it do both; I haven't figured out why it does one or the other). Using "turn off record" on an episode of a series disables recording of the whole series. The simplist trick is to disable recording of one of the shows for the specific day of the week, then remember to set it back after the show is recorded.
    ReplayTV also suffers from the lack of a tool to examine and alter the priority list, if there is one. The only way to affect series recording priorities seems to be to disable and re-enable series recordings. Finally, ReplayTV offers no control over or information about what theme channels will record what shows. Making themes consistently lower priority than other recordings eliminates some of the uncertaintly that their prior software created, but it would be nice if themes were at least as controllable as other recordings types, as they are on Tivo."

    That's inferior in my book.
     
  19. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 18, 2003
    #19
    If you don't mind either not using TiVo To Go or using it with a 2000 or XP PC (if you even have one), TiVo is good. I'd suggest one with a built-in DVD player...I think all the DVD ones have burners now, too.
     
  20. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #20
    I don't really care what unit any of you buy, but I fail to understand how assigning each show a priority value between 1 and 99 meets the criterion of the "lack of a tool to examine and alter the priority list." It's right there in the options for the show, next to all the other options. It is true that it doesn't do a very good job of warning you of when conflicts arise or how they will play out, but there is a fairly intuitive prioritization system.
     
  21. cwerdna macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Oops, the comparo might be out of date. It looks like that was a new feature on the 5500 series. Maybe it's for 5K series units only. One of my friends has a 4K series unit and I have debates w/him frequently on the scheduling and prioritization on his Replay. He's never pointed that out to me
     
  22. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #22
    Hmmm...yeah, that maybe it. I have....*checks*...a 5504?

    Anyway, though, I bought Replay because TiVo didn't have built-in ethernet at the time, and it seemed like Replay had better ethernet support (I wasn't sure if you could sign up for TiVo without a landline, which I don't have?) but in hindsight, I probably would've gone with TiVo for some of the reasons you state and because they seem slightly more stable.

    They both work, and I can definitely attest that Replay is life-changing in comparison to normal TV in much the same way as TiVo, but it seems to me that the biggest concern is to buy from someone who won't go out of business before you milk your lifetime subscription for what its worth! :D
     
  23. wPod thread starter macrumors 68000

    wPod

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    #23

    I agree about life changing. The DVR I have with my cable service right now has totally changed the way I watch TV. (I hate when I am somewhere else and cant hit the pause button!!!) But what is this talk of going out of business? Is Replay on the brink of going out of business? I will probably get a lifetime subscription because after two years you would have paid for a lifetime subscription anyway. I like the sounds of replay a little more b/c of the somewhat greater campatiblity with mac. (I do have an old windows box but its old and slow. its a PII, my PIII died on me a month or so ago so im back to the PII (longest lasting PC ive seen!!!! that can still run modern software like XP))
     
  24. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #24
    No, no, I don't think so. It's more that a lot of people don't see a long term viable business model for private PVR companies. So basically, as TiVo is getting folded into cable services (where the lifetime subs doesn't apply), Replay might too, someday (or go out of business trying :eek:). And so the big question is just, given how many months of monthly subscription $300 buys you, did I throw money away, or will the model continue to be supported for several years? I guess only time will tell!
     
  25. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    #25
    You can't, which is a pain in the butt, since it does allow connection through your broadband service once it's set up. It's really a PITA, and a buddy of mine was bitten since he doesn't have a land line. Had to bring it to somebody else's house to set it up.

    That and, at least as of a few months ago, TiVo didn't support Wireless G, so sharing between my devices (I didn't want to run Cat5 to my family room) is slower than it could be.
     

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