Nell4620 wrote:Can someone please take pity on me and tell me in simple words if/how I can use TiVo - I've always wanted one. I have digital cable box/DVR I rent monthly from cable company. If I get this do I return the cable box and get a non-DVR box from them? TiVo works through that? I have two TVs on digital cable boxes - only one with the DVR. Pretend I'm your favorite Granny and help me out here.
OK, TiVo 101
* You need:
TiVo > The DVR itself.
TiVo Service > The ~$14/month you pay TiVo in order to get the menus, updates, online searches, etc. You can also pay once for lifetime service (life of the machine, not yours). Price is discounted if you have more than 1 TiVo.
Cable Card > Rented from your cable company. It's what gives your TiVo cable access to whatever you subscribe to. Price varies from about $3 to as much as $8/month, depending on location & cable company.
Tuner > Probably won't need it, but budget for one just in case. Also rented from the cable company, prices in the same range as the cable card.
Internet > Perhaps not 100% required, but your TV lineup may need different settings if you don't have it. Of course you'll need it to stream services like Pandora and Amazon, & to do searches that include online hits. I've never used TiVo without it, so I can't give you the full details.
* What you get:
Access to whatever channels you subscribe through your cable company.
Access to online services (you have to sign up or pay for) like Pandora, Netflix, Amazon videos/music, YouTube, Hulu + (newer models & + only) etc.
The best DVR & remote features in the market today. Cable company provided DVRs are improving, but still far behind.
2 weeks of menus (program lineup) to play with. Filter out channels you get &/or favorites.
Ability to set up shows to record always (either all or new episodes only). You can organize them by priority.
Ability to save searches like favorite actors, show types, special filters, etc.
Even the older models can record 2 shows at the same time & still let you watch anything already recorded. Newer models can record 4.
Recordings in HD as long as you receive channels on HD & the TiVo is not too old.
Ability to export some programs to a computer or burner (depends on the show's copyright).
Recommendations based on what you tag as favorite or record & lists like editors' picks.
If you have more than one TiVo & connect them through wi-fi (you need to buy the right adapters), you can share their contents with one another (ie: watch in the living room what was recorded in the bedroom).
Most TiVos allow you to plug in an external hard drive for extra space. Check out the specs for HDD type.
There's extra services in the latest models (like the one on sale here), so read up on the specs.
* What you don't get:
On Demand channels. Not the free ones, not the Pay-per-View ones, that's where Amazon comes in. Although I hear some of the newer models allow you access if you pay extra for a special cable card.
You need to buy the machine AND pay for the service. Although cable company DVR's are the same or similar expense, you never own them & can get them replaced anytime if they break. The TiVo is your responsibility, but you can also hack it to your heart's content (replacing the hard drive is pretty easy).
Booting time is ridiculously long. It may not worry most people, but in FL we get little blackouts when there's a big storm (from 2-5 seconds) & you have to wait about 10-15 minutes until a recording continues. My old Time-Warner DVR only took about 4-5 minutes to restart. I solved it with a small battery backup, because in the spring/summer it would happen several times a week.