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post #1 of 23 Old 05-18-2006, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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My VCR finally died and now it's time to upgrade. Your suggestions would be appreciated...

I'm basically considering two options: TiVo or Comcast's DVR. (I'm in Sacramento, FWIW.) I don't have an HDTV at present, but may be upgrading within the next year or so. I do want to be able to record two channels at once (or watch one, record one). And I have been longing for some time now to get my iTunes on the computer upstairs to play through the stereo downstairs. The house already has a wireless network.

--- TiVo ---

With the soon-to-expire rebate offer, I can get a (single tuner) "80 hour" TiVo for about $60, or a "40 hour" unit for free. If I'm understanding the rebate coupon correctly, I can get rebates on two units. So, I'm thinking I can have the ability to record two channels at once, and my monthly cable bill will be unchanged and the TiVo subscription will be about $21. (Basic subscription + multi-service discount.)

pros: Access to iTunes music on the computer upstairs. (A big plus in my book - the alternative would be to buy an Airport Express iTunes adapter for $130 and plug it into my home theater receiver.) No additional cable charges.

cons: No HDTV compatibility (is this correct?). Poorer picture quality than Comcast DVR (is this correct?) Units in different rooms. Higher hardware cost ($0 to $60 to $120, depending on whether I get two 40-hour units, a 40 and an 80, or two 80s, plus $100 for two wireless adapters), slightly higher monthly fee ($21 vs. $16). A little more setup hassle (as opposed to having Comcast install the DVR). But as for that, I'm pretty comfortable with computer and A/V stuff.

--- Comcast DVR ---

Comcast has dual-tuner units available in my area (Motorola DCT-6412?). The charge is $10/month, but I would have to upgrade my service, too. The total cost would come to about $16/month above what I am currently paying.

pros: Everything in one place. Can record two channels at once. HDTV compatibility. No up-front hardware cost (except the $14 install'n fee). Lower monthly cost. Low set-up hassle - a guy comes to house and sets it up.

cons: Dealing with Comcast. (grrrr!) Stranger comes in my house. No iTunes support.

--- conclusions, questions, etc. ---

I keep flipping back and forth. The Comcast solution is cheaper and easier, but doesn't have the Itunes support. I could do that separately, though, for a one-time hardware cost that would be roughly comparable to the TiVo cost.

What about picture quality and HDTV compatibility? I'm confused about which has the better picture quality and whether the TiVo is HDTV compatible.

Recording time - not sure what the capacity of the Comcast DVR is. (I think the Motorola is 60 hrs.) My impression is that these numbers are pretty inflated anyway. How does the Comcast DVR capacity compare to the TiVos on a real-world basis?

Reliability? Hackability (can I install larger hard drives if I decide to?). Anything else I should consider?

Or should I just go down to Best Buy and get a $50 VCR to replace the old one? :rolleyes:

Thanks for reading this far - any input would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-18-2006, 03:50 PM
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My 2-cents:

If you're upgrading to HDTV within a year or so, don't bother with a Tivo.

Ever since I upgraded to HDTV with a Cox 6412, I do not use my Tivo Series 2 or Replay 5040 anymore.

Obviously, the lack of HDTV/digital tuning is a BIG minus for the Tivo. The HD Tivo box will be available soon, but it is freaking expensive and you STILL need a CableCard (which you will have to rent from Comcast).

The analog dual tuner Tivo is out now but has some limitations on what you can tune in on each tuner (see the Tivo forums).

You have an unlimited warranty on the Comcast 6412 (you are renting after all); not so with the Tivo (1 year). You can only access the on-demand Comcast funcionality with the 6412 (not talking about PPV).

Yes, the polished interface of the Tivo is nice, but it's 95% fluff and about 5% better in performance (Actually, I like parts of the Cox software better).

I never use the Home Media options of Tivo; maybe you want to and that might be a deciding factor for you. It's a novelty that wore off quickly for me.
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post #3 of 23 Old 05-18-2006, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimdeath
My 2-cents:...
Grim-

Thank you very much for your input. I have been leaning towards the Comcast already - your arguments have just about clinched it for me. (Especially the one about the "warranty.")

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-18-2006, 04:29 PM
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Comcast will have a TiVo box by next month. You should also check out the Moto 6412 section.

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post #5 of 23 Old 05-18-2006, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuJac
Comcast will have a TiVo box by next month. You should also check out the Moto 6412 section.
Next month? Last I heard, it wasn't going to be until Christmas!?

I'll look into it. (Sure would like to get something now, though.)
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-19-2006, 01:36 PM
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FWIW, I went with the cable compny (Cablevision) DVR. Simpler, only $10/month more, dual channel recording, can add external disk for expansion, etc.
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-19-2006, 08:08 PM
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Christ I hate my Comcast/Moto 6412. Thoroughly buggy and not particularly intuitive. Tivo did it right the first time.
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post #8 of 23 Old 05-19-2006, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuJac
Comcast will have a TiVo box by next month. You should also check out the Moto 6412 section.

I'd like to know where you heard "next month"?
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post #9 of 23 Old 05-19-2006, 10:07 PM
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I assume that you are currently a Comcast analog subscriber so you will be upgrading to digital cable with a DVR ($10 + $4.95 + taxes in my area). This also includes HD, On Demand, and about 100 extra digital channels so should be the better deal. See http://titantv.com for the programs in your area provided with basic cable (digital).
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post #10 of 23 Old 05-20-2006, 07:38 PM
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For those of you mentioning your experiences, you should indicate what software is running on the box. See http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=662673 for help. The OP should also find out what software is on the boxes providing in his area.
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post #11 of 23 Old 05-21-2006, 08:13 PM
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I have been trying to find out some info on Tivo and a HD Plasma TV. I currently have a Series 2 Tivo DVR. I am sort of addicted to it, and will likely RUN to the store when the Series 3 (HD Tivo) comes out.

My questions is this, can I hook up the Series 2 Tivo to my HD plasma, and record, pause live TV as usual, on the regular stations?? The HD channels will come in ok, too, just can't record them, or pause them? Will those HD stations "work" coming thru the TIVO unit this way?? Right now I have Tivo set up with the cable box, and watch TV without the box when I wish to record one show, and watch another. (I do not have the dual series 2)

When I get my plasma, will I set it up the same way? One set of jacks with cable/Tivo, another set of jacks have DVD/VCR combo unit. OR, set up cable straight to TV, and Tivo to a set of jacks, the only drawback being I waont be able to Tivo a few stations, like HBO, etc.

THANKS TO ALL!
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post #12 of 23 Old 05-22-2006, 05:49 AM
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In a pure comparsion of HDTivo vs. Moto 6412 there is little comparison. Even with the slowness that plagues the HR10-250 it easily beats the Moto. But when you take into account pricing from Comcast ($10 month rental for 6412) vs. up front $$ from Directv etc. and then the PQ from Comcast these day (less compression) the decision gets tougher.

The series 3 Tivo looks great but will come with a hefty price tag. Comcast will be offering some sort of OEM Tivo box soon but I'm not sure what from that will take.

-kraig
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post #13 of 23 Old 05-22-2006, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMcNJ
I have been trying to find out some info on Tivo and a HD Plasma TV. I currently have a Series 2 Tivo DVR. I am sort of addicted to it, and will likely RUN to the store when the Series 3 (HD Tivo) comes out.

My questions is this, can I hook up the Series 2 Tivo to my HD plasma, and record, pause live TV as usual, on the regular stations?? The HD channels will come in ok, too, just can't record them, or pause them? Will those HD stations "work" coming thru the TIVO unit this way?? Right now I have Tivo set up with the cable box, and watch TV without the box when I wish to record one show, and watch another. (I do not have the dual series 2)

When I get my plasma, will I set it up the same way? One set of jacks with cable/Tivo, another set of jacks have DVD/VCR combo unit. OR, set up cable straight to TV, and Tivo to a set of jacks, the only drawback being I waont be able to Tivo a few stations, like HBO, etc.

THANKS TO ALL!

Pat - your S2 Tivos will work fine with your Plasma but they won't do HD. There is no way to get it to do HD either.

Yes you can run things just the way they are now. I assume you are outputting from the S-Video off of the Series 2. In addition to that you will want to have either an HDMI or Component cable from your HD set top box. This will allow you to switch from Tivo (SD) and HD Cable box for your high-def stuff.

-kraig
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post #14 of 23 Old 05-24-2006, 10:05 AM
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Is there any real, concrete information *anywhere* regarding when Comcast will roll out a Tivo interface for its dvr units? Or even some additional details?
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-04-2006, 07:45 AM
 
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I've read hundreds of threads in the last few days, so I cannot point you directly to it, but I saw a thread with a press release reproduced indicating that Comcast will begin testing TiVo software running on the 6412III box in July, in California.
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post #16 of 23 Old 06-04-2006, 08:03 AM
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... but I saw a thread with a press release reproduced indicating that Comcast will begin testing TiVo software running on the 6412III box in July, in California.
That's the problem with this discussion. Comcast apparently uses different boxes in different service areas. When the equipment is the same, one area to the next, the software may differ. In some cases, they used to refuse to give a customer a HD box if the customer did not have a HD compatible set. Added to this, often calling the local help desk and/or talking to the techs, gives the same customer different answers. I used to have a 6204 that went south a few months ago. It was replaced with a 6408 that no longer offers a coax out so I can't pipe content to my SA TIVO or to the DVDR. Even if you get the "current" box, you might find that locally the cableco has deactivated certain connections such as Firewire. Sadly, it is that variable.

YMMV

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post #17 of 23 Old 06-04-2006, 09:01 AM
 
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In some cases, they used to refuse to give a customer a HD box if the customer did not have a HD compatible set.
Just out of curiosity, why would you want an HD box if you didn't have an HD compatible set?
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post #18 of 23 Old 06-04-2006, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker1
Just out of curiosity, why would you want an HD box if you didn't have an HD compatible set?
Do you know of any cable non-HD boxes that are DVR's?

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post #19 of 23 Old 06-08-2006, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker1
Just out of curiosity, why would you want an HD box if you didn't have an HD compatible set?
I'm with Comcast, and I got the HD-compatible DVR (6412) for my NTSC TV because it has a larger harddrive than the non-HD DVR, so I get more recording time for the same monthly fee.

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post #20 of 23 Old 06-08-2006, 04:38 AM
 
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Makes sense, Rino. Thanks.
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post #21 of 23 Old 06-14-2006, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMike6by9
Do you know of any cable non-HD boxes that are DVR's?
You mean a cable DVR that doesn't do HDTV? Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000 is one. The 8000HD is the HDTV capable unit, but the 8000 is SD.

I know there are others, that is just the first that came to mind.

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post #22 of 23 Old 06-15-2006, 11:41 AM
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If all you've got now is analog, how about a standalone DVD/DVR? As long as your set has a tuner, you can split the signal to watch one thing while recording another. The TV Guide on Screen feature usually works fine just for analog OTA or cable. The new Panasonics (E55, E75) are supposed to be more compatible with digital cable and satellite tuners than in the past. The forthcoming Samsung DVR, too.

If you want something that'll let you eventually upgrade to HD, there's the Sony DHG-HDD500/250. It only has one tuner too, but if the new set has a digital tuner, you can split the signal with that setup also. You will probably have to pay for a cable card or two if you want to upgrade your service, but the capability will be there.

But the cheapest and most futureproof solution would be to just cave in and rent their DVR. You won't have to worry about contracts or repairs either.
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post #23 of 23 Old 06-15-2006, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
You mean a cable DVR that doesn't do HDTV? Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000 is one. The 8000HD is the HDTV capable unit, but the 8000 is SD.

I know there are others, that is just the first that came to mind.
I live in a Comcast/Moto franchise area and had not seen any.

Thanks

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