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I don't have a Tivo or Tivo-clone (or even cable!). But now that you can stream "TV" through the internet, I've been wondering about using a recorder to time shift programs. Nine years ago Cool Tools ran a review of the cheapest Tivo box, but things have revolutionized since then.

What's the current best practice and gear for time-shifting TV, and commercial deleting? What is the best and what is the cheapest?

asked Aug 07 '13 at 12:24

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly
196


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I've used DVRs from DirecTV, Dish, U-Verse and Tivo (previous and current generations)--and also tried to live with a Roku box, and only U-verse comes close in terms of functionality and interface/process functionality. It's a kick in the teeth to pay the monthly subscription to TiVo, but ultimately judged worth it to me and my family. Netflix streaming has been great for us--no issues at all. All the other DVRs have been clunky, not logical/streamlined in their UI, and more difficult to program. If you have the money, TiVo is the way to go, hands down.

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answered Aug 13 '13 at 07:37

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jaydub
1

When my folks went into assisted living, they lost HD cable and thus, their DVR. They used the DVR to catch the news which came on always during mealtimes. We bought a TIVO only to learn that it must have internet access, so we ponied up 90 more bucks for a gizmo to enable a wifi connection to their PC, only to learn that we had to upgrade our modem before the gizmo would work, only to learn when logging on that we had to pay TIVO to open an account for the service they provide, and that would take 24 to 48 hours(I guess to ensure that credit card number was legit). Once on line, the programming was tortuous to set up for 90 year olds compared to Comcast's DVR. We finally got it working after 45 days of fuss. You decide - TIVO or DVR.

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answered Aug 12 '13 at 01:44

Tomonthebeach's gravatar image

Tomonthebeach
1

When my folks went into assisted living, they lost HD cable and thus, their DVR. They used the DVR tp catch the news which came on always during mealtimes. We bought a TIVO only to learn that it must have internet access, so we ponied up 90 more bucks for a gizmo to enable a wifi connection to their PC, only to learn that we had to upgrade our modem before the gizmo would work, only to learn when logging on that we had to pay TIVO to open an account for the service they provide, and that would take 24 to 48 hourse (I guess to ensure that credit card number was legit). Once on line, the programming was tortuous to set up for 90 year olds compared to Comcast's DVR.

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answered Aug 12 '13 at 01:42

Tomonthebeach's gravatar image

Tomonthebeach
1

Elgato Eye TV is the Mac solution.

http://www.elgato.com/eyetv/eyetv-hd

Haven't used it myself as I'm a TiVO user. I've been a TiVO user since the first version. I've always gotten the lifetime subscription and it's always paid for itself.

Currently I have an TiVO Series 3 HD which I got in 2007. After 6 years of continually being on the built in hard drive finally went bad a few months ago. I replaced it with a 2 TB drive from Weaknees and am more than happy with it.

I had cable for many of those years, first needing a cable card, then a digital tuner (which is a separate box that plugs into TiVO USB and you run the cable TV through it). It was pretty annoying but worked. I eventually cut my cable service when I realized I got better quality video for local stations on the tivo doing over the air recording, and the cost of the cable TV shows I watch was less on iTunes + Netflix. When I did all this I ended up with a system that was TiVO for over the air, and an Apple TV for Netflix + iTunes. I've used my Dad's Roku for Netflix and both it and Apple TV are better for Netflix than the TiVO.

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answered Aug 11 '13 at 18:44

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Kevin
16

At the risk of summarizing the above good answers, it sounds like TiVo technology works and may be superior to other DVRs, but that it may not be worth the monthly subscription model they run on. Mike Farris mentioned using a Windows PC with storage drive. Are there other Mac-based or open sourced software version of a DVR that are easy to set up?

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answered Aug 11 '13 at 14:30

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly
196

Most DVR offers from cable & satellite are as good or better than the TIVO alternative.

For example the DirecTV genie offers simultaneous recording of 5 shows, multiroom service watch any recording in any room, control with an ipad, watch shows on an ipad, etc. TIVO really cannot compete in a world where competitive DVR offers are one of the primary selling points for the various content providers. No provider has an incentive to work with TIVO and therefore TIVO is always one step behind in integration...

It was a wonderful box when they were the only game in town, but I'm afraid they have worked themselves into a corner with an unprofitable business model.

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answered Aug 11 '13 at 13:37

NoDef's gravatar image

NoDef
1

I think Tivo is great. I've had 3 different generations. I actually have two in the house. One for my use and one for my wife's use. It is easy to move shows around. I haven't watched a commercial in 5 years. When watching sports I will wait until an hour or so has recorded then start watching and can skip all commercials and end about the time the game really ends. You can rewind any scene or play. If you wonder what that person said just back up 6 seconds and replay. Need to answer the phone just pause and start when you return. You can schedule a season pass and it will record the shows even if the station moves the program or makes a show 1 hour and 6 minutes instead of an hour. And you can program it to only record first runs of the show. You save 20 minutes per hour of TV you watch. I've noticed some of the smaller cable channels must not provide accurate time info since one in 50 shows might have some problems. To get around that I just program it to record a fixed time and channel. My wife just decided to watch Downton Abbey and the Tivo has Hulu Plus built in so it is easy to watch on the big screen. Comcast just set up something called Xfinity on Demand that gives us access to all Comcast scheduling to see past shows. I've tried the cable company dvr and the interface is primitive compared to Tivo.

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answered Aug 11 '13 at 10:12

avery1317's gravatar image

avery1317
1

When you get past the price and trouble of setting up cable card, etc. NOTHING beats Tivo for recording broadcast/cable TV... and the iPad app makes it even better!

That said, its a non-starter for Nextflix streaming, You Tube, On Demand, etc. Those are all there but just not pleasant to use.

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answered Aug 10 '13 at 23:28

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joshua
1

Tivo is the best machine and the best user interface but I quit it in favor of a dvr from the cable co. and it's fine. The main reason for getting rid of tivo was to reduce the ever increasing number of monthly subscription payments. You will be amazed at the number of them that are sort of hidden away in automatic payments between software and entertainment it adds up and I don't spend much time in front of the tube anyway. One thing I do know is I won't go back to Tivo again after the smarmy termination process they put you through.

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answered Aug 10 '13 at 20:25

menglert's gravatar image

menglert
1

Not good. When it comes to turning off an account, Tivo is possibly the worst company I have ever dealt with - worse than cable companies. Unlike Netflix or most other online subscriptions, in order to cancel your Tivo subscription you have to call a special 1-800 number during business hours, then go through a gauntlet of questions from a phone "support" person who's been trained to keep you on the phone until you give up trying to turn off your account. Really slimy. I don't intend to ever do business with Tivo again.

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answered Aug 10 '13 at 15:37

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mrfoo
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Asked: Aug 07 '13 at 12:24

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Last updated: Aug 13 '13 at 07:37

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