Thinking about getting a TiVo - seeking advice

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by blackpeter, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. blackpeter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2001
    So I'm thinking about getting TiVo service, but pretty new to the whole thing. I don't know anyone with TiVo, so I've never used the service before but everytime I happen to talk to someone that has it, they gush about how much they love TiVo.

    Anyone here got any advice for me about choice of receivers (DirecTV)? Should I buy the "lifetime" service agreement or pay-per-month? What about Ultimate TV? Is it better/worse/the same as TiVo?

    I appreciate any feedback.
  2. tliptak macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2002
    I have a Samsung not a Tivo version but the guy who came to install it said that Sony RCA and Hughs systems are the best... Good luck... I love DirectTV though its really nice... My friend has a Tivo and its easy to use and he really likes it
  3. bbarnhart macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2002
    TiVo is great. You will never understand how cool it is to pause live TV until you have it. Is your favorite show on at 7:00pm? Tell TiVo to record it and you can do something else for a while. At 7:15, start watching from the beginning while it is still recording. Try doing that will a VCR. Skip through the commercials quickly. Was that an Apple commercial, rewind it. Are you kids misbehaving during your show? Press pause and fix the problem. Then press play and not miss anything. You

    It is truly great. As far as the units go (stand-alone, with DirectTV, TiVo, Replay) I don't really know. We have a stand-alone TiVo with DishNetwork (we live where there is no cable). But, which ever one you chose you will like it.
  4. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Jan 17, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    We have tivo with cable and have had it for the last two years. Our unit is by Sony and we went with the lifetime after a few months when it became obvious that we'd save money that way.

    The season pass feature is great - you tell the machine that you want it to record the West Wing and it's always dialing in (in the middle of the night) to update its program information, so it knows if the show is moved or not on that week or if there are two episodes back to back. So when there is a 40 minute scrubs on, TIVO knows it's starting at 8:40 after the 40 min friends and records until 9:20. When I get home - or on the weekend, all my shows are there waiting for me.

    It's just fantastic.
  5. Foucault macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2002
    Pasadena, CA
    Replay TV

    I have a Replay TV, and it completely revolutionized my viewing habits, the same way that the iPod revolutionized my listening habits. I recommend the Replay Tv simply because of it easy interface, ease of use, and lack of advertising. I don't like the way Tivo uses their system to advertise infomercials for you and also record programs that it thinks you might like. Replay doesn't do that. I also like the commercial skip on the Replay, very useful. The quality is great, its been a staple of my entertainment system.
  6. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    I'll second the ReplayTV

    ReplayTV are cheaper

    they have the Awesome Commercial Skip and 30 second skip which Tivo doesn't offer and makes difficult respectively.

    ReplayTV have Ethernet standard. No need to spend any additional money. Tivo just has USB.

    Lifetime Service for Replay is $50 cheaper at $250 than Tivo.

    Tivo doesn't have the support of DVArchive 2 either

    So buy Tivo if you want to get LESS for your money.
  7. evoluzione macrumors 68020


    Jul 19, 2002
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    i have TiVo and the best way i can put it is, rather than running your life around your fave tv shows, you now get to control your tv and not impede into your life. it makes things so much better. i never bothered with the vcr as it was too much hassle to program and then to set the cable box etc etc, tivo changes the box for you. i can't comment on replaytv as i've not used it, i went with tivo primarily because i though that would win out if there was a beta/vhs type thing going on. i just got digital cable in another room and am contemplating buying another tivo unit. it's worth getting a network card for it too, hook it up to your dsl network, it's linux so in theory you can just pull shows off it and watch them on yr mac or whatever you want (someone correct me on this, i haven't done it, but intend to one of these days). apparently you can also set it remotely too, and by that i mean if you see something on whilst at work and know you're going for drinks after and not home in time, just dial in and set it to record from work, again something i haven't done, yet.

    but whatever you decide on, replaytv or tivo... make sure you get one, it'll make you wonder why you didn't sooner.

    as for the lifetime or monthly, i was going to go for the lifetime when i first got my tivo, but then they hiked it up and i never bothered, but if you get it from the outset, it's probably the better deal.

    oh, the only bad thing about get so used to it and take it for granted, i find myself in the cinema wishing i had the remote to hit the "jump back 8 seconds" button when i miss something.
  8. blackpeter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2001
    Why is ReplayTV so much cheaper than TiVo? Someone at Best Buy told me that ReplayTV wasn't as good with DirecTV service, and that TiVo was a better fit with DirecTV.

  9. jethroted macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    OK, let me get this straight. You have to pay for the service Monthly? You don't just buy the set top box and record what you want and such? Why would there be a service charge? It's just an advanced VCR that uses a harddrive instead of a tape. Could someone let me know what the deal is for payment.
  10. Nipsy macrumors 65816


    Jan 19, 2002
    You can get DirectTivo, which is what I would recommend for direct TV users. It combines your cable box and Tivo, with multiple tuners. I think it also only costs $4.95/mo.

    It is THE solution for DirectTV patrons.

    Replay is cheaper because they have a number of rebates/promos going on right now. Replay is also are far better system, but is plagued by a few bugs/glitches at any one time.

    I have an RTV 160, which is more hackable, and less Fisher-Price than Tivo, but does the occasional quirky thing. Still love it to death...
  11. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Jan 17, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    It's a data service - your machine dials-in to the Tivo server nightly. That's how it knows that special coverage of what-not will interrupt your favorite show or delay it by 10 minutes. You don't have to go monthly. I advise lifetime.
  12. MaxArturo macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    A Friend

    Always, lifetime subscription and make sure it's of the product, not you or the company.
  13. Flowbee macrumors 68030


    Dec 27, 2002
    Alameda, CA
    The Tivo service downloads program guide info to your box. Usually about 2 weeks or so worth of info (which is updated every couple of days). You can scan the program guide on-screen and choose which programs you want to record by clicking the remote.

    The service also lets you choose to record a "Season Pass." This option records every episode of a selected program (even if it moves to another day or time).

    You can also set up "Wish Lists" by actor, title, genre, etc. which will automatically record programs that match your keyword. For example, set up a "David Cross" wish list, and every movie, tv show, or talk show that David Cross appears on is recorded. I use this feature to catch my favorite bands on the Tonight Show, Late Night, SNL, etc.

    In a nutshell, the "service" is what makes Tivo so amazing. Otherwise it's just a high-tech vcr.
  14. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus


    Nov 28, 2001
    down in Fraggle Rock
    I recently bought a ReplayTV. I did extensive research first.

    Started out looking at FormacTV/DV and eyeTV. Arn told me to consider a settop box. So I looked at Tivo (a friend had one so that helped), replayTV, and MythTV.

    There are some great websites that have head to head comparisons between replaytv and tivo.

    Cnet also has some reviews of tivo and replaytv.

    MythTV is an opensource project that can be found at No service fee, just build a pc, install linux, and install mythtv. I almost went this route and have still been thinking about doing it just because it sounds like a fun project. MythTV blows Tivo and Replaytv out of the water with features and usability, but (big but) you have to deal with building a pc and installing and linux.

    Basically ReplayTV has better quality video (though I doubt you would notice unless you have a large tv), ethernet (makes networking with your mac easy), ability to exchange files with other replaytvs in your home or over the net (basically p2p services), advanced commercial skip features, and a bundle of other recording features tivo doesn't have.

    Tivo seems to have a nicer interface, better recording conflict resolution, and a larger user base.

    Both will cost about $300 for the hardware (thou there are rebates for both that can bring the cost down to less than half that). Tivo's monthly cost and life time cost are a bit higher.

    Both you can hack to add more hard drives/ bigger hard drives.

    Frankly I do not think any of the solutions out there are perfect, but all are way better than having nothing at all. I am a mac user, I have high standards, so I can see quite clearly how each could be improved.

    my advice?
    MythTV if you are not afraid of Linux.
    ReplayTV if features, video quality, and access to the video files are important to you.
    TiVO if features and quality are less important than a good interface. (good not great).
  15. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I would like to add... be sure to do your research on this, and get testimonials... because at the end of the day, you still have to be ok with it if you never get it to work right.

    Replay and Tivo "just work" in comparison.

  16. blackpeter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2001
    First of all, THANKS! It seems like TiVo/ReplayTV both have loyal customers and (as a Mac user) that makes me confident in both services.

    So, let me get this straight...

    My apartment is ethernet wired. So I could plug ReplayTV into the network and pull files off of the box and store them in my G4 tower (thus clearing more room for more recording).

    That sounds pretty cool*

    Do I network with the ReplayTV box just like another Mac? Does it show up on the desktop as a networked hard drive?
  17. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    South Dakota, USA
    Re: Thinking about getting a TiVo - seeking advice

    I cannot comment on TiVo, since I am cheap and still use VHS for recording of programs, but for a DirecTv receiver I would recommend the RCA's. They offer a lot of great features for a low price. My parents have been using a basic RCA receiver for about 3 years and it has always worked excellent. They have a pretty good universal remote as well.
  18. Foxer macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2003
    Washington, DC
    tivo and directv

    I bought a stand alone Tivo recorder a couple years back and returned it within the week, I just couldn't get used to it. But when we moved into a new house and opted for directv, there was a combo directv/tivo tuner for the same price as the the stand-alone tuner, so I tried it again. Molded together, this is the greatest thing. I can watch my "boring guy shows" after my wife hits the sack and can save all the new simpsons for one massive dump on VHS every couple months. Couldn't live without it. FYI, Hughes (the owners of Directv) recently bought Tivo, so look for more integration to come. I can't speak to replay TV - no experience with it.
  19. BWhaler macrumors 68030


    Jan 8, 2003
    I would strongly recommend you stay away from Replay. I am not sure they are going to make it as a company, so you could be left holding the bag.

    I have had Tivo for a couple of years now, and I love it. It's like getting your first Mac. It changes everything about watching TV.

    I would recommend a Series 2 so you are ready for the future, with as much storage as you can afford. The recording times posted are for the lowest quality viewing, and high quality is about half the advertised maximum amount.

    Also, I would go for the lifetime service. I suspect a Tivo will be good for at least 5 years, so you'll save a ton of money over the life of the player.
  20. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus


    Nov 28, 2001
    down in Fraggle Rock
    i tend to think of talk like this as the same sort of thing as people who continue to say that apple is going under any minute now.

    if replaytv goes under tivo will probably go as well. i say this because the only thing i see as a threat is the chance that someone will offer a dvr that doesn't require a membership fee. if that happens both go under unless they adapt to the change.

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