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Mom has Comcast. Should she buy TIVO or their DVR?  

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Long time forum member. Need a little help for my mother.

I usually spend all my time in the HTPC forum... I've never ventured over here.

My Mom has Comcast cable, and likes the idea of a DVR. She says that Comcast told her that in order to get their DVR, she would have to subscribe to premium channels - like Showtime, HBO, etc.

She has no interest whatsoever in these channels.

Why would she have to subscribe to these channels?

Should she get the Comcast DVR - or is there a better way - like should she get TIVO from a independent retailer?

Are there different charges between the Comcast DVR and Tivo - and any advantages or disadvantages?


post #2 of 7
From what I've read, Tivo functionality is superior to the Comcast DVR. I myself just signed up for the Comcast DVR for the following reasons.

1) Only $5 more a month - I'm paying $5/mo now for their HDTV box so to upgrade to DVR is only $4.95/mo more
2) Dual tuner - ability to record 2 programs at the same time
3) HD - ability to record high definition content
post #3 of 7
I just upgraded from the original Comcast HD DVR to the dual tuner model. Everything about it has been significantly upgraded. It now provides 95% of the functionality of Tivo at lower cost, and with the ability to upgrade to better equipment for free later on.
post #4 of 7
Had my Comcast box for about two weeks now. Had TiVo for two years previously. TiVo had the edge in ease-of-use, but the more I play with the Comcast, the happier I become. After minor glitch of Comcast going into MUTE and the fix provided by this forum, it performs perfectly. The fact that it records in hi-def is/was the clincher.

The price is right, if it breaks THEY fix it or give you a new one, it has dual tuners, it's hi-def.

No brainer for Mom.

post #5 of 7
unfortunately, you mom may have to play "customer service roullette".
It's absolutely untrue that she must subscribe to premiums to get a dvr. the sales rep may, however, mpromotional campaign for a free install of the dvr.

have her call again and talk to someone else.

Even if she did actually have to subscribe to advanced services, after considering the hardware and subscription to tivo, she'll spend more for the tivo anyways.
post #6 of 7
She definitely doesn't have to subscribe to the premium channels like HBO. She may, however, have to subscribe to at least the lowest digital tier, in some areas (but not all, I don't have to).

Should she get the Comcast DVR - or is there a better way - like should she get TIVO from a independent retailer?
A Tivo runs $99 after rebate for their base 40-hr model, +$299 for their lifetime sub fee, after which there wouldn't be any monthly fees. I strongly recommend against going monthly on the first Tivo, which would be $12.95/month, much less economical in the long term. So vs. paying monthly for Comcast DVR, it would break even then start to move ahead in about 3.5 years, less if Comcast hikes the rates as they often do. I've had one of my Tivos for 5.5 years already.

Comcast around here is something like $16 or so for the install then $9.95/month forever.

Comcast DVR advantages:
High definition - I would definitely go this route if she has or is planning on upgrading soon to HDTV.
dual tuner - records two shows at once, a good thing if she often has two shows she likes that air at the same time
rental - if it breaks or there is an upgraded model available you can just call for a new one. Or if Tivo comes out with something better, you could just return it & buy the Tivo.

Tivo advantages:
-better user interface, particularly in searching for & automatically recording shows by title & keyword
- no monthly fees if you get lifetime.
- can upgrade drive for more recording space
- plays back MP3 / JPEG pictures from PCs via network, will soon be able to transmit shows to PC via network.

I would lean toward Tivo if she does not have nor plans to get HDTV in the next 3 years, and if Comcast forces her to subscribe to digital if she doesn't have it already. Forcing a subscription to digital if she doesn't really use the additional channels would effectively make the Comcast DVR $20/month extra rather than $10/month, making the break-even on Tivo much shorter. Otherwise I'd go with Comcast.
post #7 of 7
Update - my bill from Comcast looks like it's going to be $14.95 a month for the DVR, not just 9.95 per month. Some $5/month box fee according to a couple CSRs. This is in doubt since it contradicts previous information posted in this forum by Comcast employees. But if it holds up, it makes the case for Tivo stronger if you don't have HDTV or if Tivo eventually comes out with an HD version.

Update 2 - it's $14.95 a month if you don't have digital cable. If you have digital cable it's $9.95 per month since the digital cable fee covers 1 box.
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