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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

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I've had several generations of TiVO, going back to the original version, and they've gotten progressively worse with each iteration. The original interface was brilliant. The current one is very junked up, and not very intuitive. As a Netflix box, TiVO is not great. Our TiVO's drop connection constantly, and we can't watch anything uninterrupted, no matter how good or poor the connection is. For streaming, Roku is where it's at. Cheap, fast (if you have a Roku 3, anyway), and they never drop connection.

The biggest problem I have with TiVO is the pricing structure. You have to either pay a monthly bill, or pay a large sum for a lifetime subscription. There's no way to run one without paying extra money. The fee supposedly covers programming updates, but there are other services out that provide this service for free. To that point... the next DVR I get will be a PC, running Win 7 or 8, with their 10 foot interface enabled, and a SiliconDust box on our network with a couple CableCards installed. Exact same functionality, with a monthly cost savings, and it will let me broadcast TV to practically any screen with an internet connection.


answered Aug 10 '13 at 09:59

Mike%20Farris's gravatar image

Mike Farris

I LOVE my TiVo Series 3 HD. I installed an aftermarket 1TB internal hard drive so I can record lots of movies and save entire seasons of shows for summer programming dry periods--all in HD. The 30-second skip (forward) button, combined with the 8-second backup button makes it a breeze to bypass commercials. Another favorite feature is the 30-minute buffer for live TV. I can tune in to a show 15-20 minutes after it starts and skip through the commercials, and be about caught up by the time it ends. So efficient! The Season Pass function makes it easy to never miss an episode. Another really cool feature is that you can tell TiVo to record anything with a certain actor or director. It will find things you didn't even know were out there. Basically, my TiVo is like a personal TV assistant, always thinking about me. UPDATE: I should have mentioned that I bought lifetime TiVo service so monthly fees are not part of my experience.


answered Aug 10 '13 at 07:44

Cluttery's gravatar image


edited Aug 11 '13 at 18:46

We've got TiVos. We love them.

We've found that, these days, there is enough programming over cable that we deem worth our time that we can even not record shows that sound promising. And the commentary/advertising of new shows is focused enough that we're aware of what's likely to be interesting.

As a roadie, I can use the TiVo web to schedule new shows to be picked up on any of the boxes we have. TiVo's got a doodad that will encode shows for transfer to your iStuff, but nothing yet for Android. So that's still a gaping hole...

Another advantage, if you select the right box, is the THX certification. With that (and the calibration videos), you can assure yourself of the best possible image & sound in your system. Of the two TiVos we've got, there's a subtle but also distinct quality improvement for the one with the THX system.

So far, I've found that streaming has two issues: 1) Discovery of new shows. I'm not a kid anymore and we're not plugged into the twitterverse or Mugbook, etc., so there's no good slipstream for us to pick up on stuff that may interest us; 2) Streaming is supposed to work "everywhere", but crappy, slow connections dominate. And choke points abound, making things worse when you really want to get it to work right. Does the broadband industry have conflicting interests here?

The TiVo world's not a perfect one. Lots of features should have been added years ago. But they work, as intended, almost without flaw. But anyone who depends on their Kabletown DVR should really really dump it and get a TiVo. Or even just a TiVo and an HDTV antenna, for pete's sake. I'm stumped as to why anyone keeps those truly abhorrent Motorola boxes that their provider "rents out".

Not all TV is crap. Some of it's even good enough to justify spending your dough so that you can have it waiting for you when you want it.


answered Aug 08 '13 at 00:58

Wayne%20Ruffner's gravatar image

Wayne Ruffner

edited Aug 10 '13 at 12:00

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Asked: Aug 07 '13 at 12:24

Seen: 11,645 times

Last updated: Aug 13 '13 at 07:37

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