Switching to Tivo?

Up until recently, I haven’t cared about owning a Tivo. I really like Windows Media Center Edition as a television platform. When I needed to record HD cable shows, DVR functionality on my Comcast box was acceptable. But that changed when Comcast dumped their Microsoft Enhanced guide for something they built internally. It’s not that I was in love with the old Comcast UI; the MS Enhanced guide was definitely slower scrolling than the new Comcast stuff. Fact is, the Microsoft stuff was more reliable, especially for DVR functionality.
A lousy guide experience isn’t the only reason I’m thinking of making a switch. I also like the integration between Amazon Unbox, which has become my favorite way to watch movies on the road, and Tivo. While still far from perfect, Amazon Unbox is closer to the perfect video on demand experience than anything else out there right now. When you download movies to your computer, you can play them back with or without an Internet connection either until they expire (if you rent) or forever (if you bought them). Authorization of new machines seems painless. And the fact that you can get a normal TV experience (i.e. no PC involved) using a Tivo when you want to watch in the living room, makes Amazon Unbox a shoe-in for normal people who don’t want to deal with the hassle of integrating a PC into their home entertainment experience.
Combine Amazon Unbox, a lousy cable guide, and the new Tivo HD DVR’s support for CableCard as a complete replacement for my cable box and I’m ready to make the leap. Tivo’s guide, while criticized for being a bit slower in the new HD boxes, is a thing of beauty. Tivo is easy to navigate. Tivo is easy to configure for recordings. And if I want to take my Tivo recorded shows with me, Roxio comes in handy for burning Tivo files or converting them for any device using MyTV ToGo.
What are you using as your DVR? Your portable video watching experience? Should I go Tivo? Or is there something better on the horizon?


  1. It’s a moot point to me. The antenna connector got kicked on my TV and I have never got around to replacing it. Since american TV is almost as much ad time as program time I completely lost interest in it

  2. ReplayTV is the only way to go, Im talking the old ones before the lawsuit. Autoskipping of the commercials. My 5080 model is great. We record everything and then watch commercial free TV. There are still some avail on Ebay last I looked.

  3. @Phillip: You should give something like Amazon Unbox a try (for free, no less). Not that everyone couldn’t live without TV, but there are a few good shows out there.

  4. I’ve been using MythTV for 4 years or so, and I’ve been very happy with the experience. I just upgraded to the latest version of KnoppMyth, and with a little help found in the KnoppMyth forums, I was able to get up and running. My last install went untouched for 2 years, but the recent change of listing providers necessitated an upgrade. I’m having to pay for the listings now, but at $20/year, it’s worth it so that I can record and watch shows on my schedule.
    Unfortunately it’s still not easy enough for the masses, but anyone willing to search in forums and isn’t afraid of the command line will likely be able to get it working with only a few hours work.

  5. I like my new Dish Network Vip722. Tons of hard drive space, tons of HD channels on Dish, an over the air tuner, but most of my local channels come in HD from the satelite anyway. Usb port can be enabled (for a fee) 🙁 to allow up to a 750 gb drive to archive shows. The only thing is that shows cant be transferred to a PC yet. Also, no QAM tuner, only ATSC. Way cheaper than a TiVo. UI is decent. I still like my TiVo series 2, upgraded to 500gb. But, the HD capability of the 722 is awesome.

  6. Tivo sucks!
    2 things they don’t tell you in any of the literature before your buy it.
    1- If you have Norton AV and the Tivo is hooked up to your wireless network, no matter what you do, the 2 products won’t work, I have tried all the fixes available and Norton wouldn’t let my Tivo access my wired network. It wasn’t till I dumped Norton for AVG that things worked again.
    2- If you have digital cable, then you can’t record 1 program and watch another.
    Nowhere in any literature does it say this before you buy. I’m in the last month of my 1st year of my 2 year contract with Tivo, and as soon as its over. I’m going to the cable companies DVR setup. I specifically bought the Tivo to be able to do this and now I’m stuck.

  7. @PGelsma: I personally dislike Norton AV and recommend many other solutions as an alternative. It’s highly likely Norton is to blame for your Tivo issue, not Tivo. The Tivo HD and supports two CableCards, which does allow me to watch one program and record another at the same time. The Series 2 Dual tuner info on Tivo.com does say “Record 2 basic cable channels, or one basic cable and one digital cable channel, at once.”

  8. You will like the Tivo HD box. You can watch tv while recording. You can watch a recorded show while recording two others. It can recieve both antenna and cable at the same time and it will show the program listings for both. Tivo-to-go and multi room viewing are on the way for the HD boxes

  9. You might want to wait a bit before buying the new Tivo HD system as Deigo has the Moxi systems coming out sometime before Christmas and it might bring down the cost of the Tivo or you might just want to look at and buy the Moxi system.
    Just my $.02 worth.

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