Alternatives to TIVO

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newkidontheblock
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Alternatives to TIVO

Post by newkidontheblock » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:29 am

Hi:

I am slowing working towards cutting the cord. Currently we have DirecTV with 1 HD DVR, 3 HD Tuners and are paying around $125 per month.
Current service allows us to watch recording shows from any of our 4 TV's in our home.
We watch local sports, HGTV, Scandal, General Hospital.
I am getting antenna installed in my Attic.
We already have Amazon Prime and Netflix.
We have 3 apple TV's and a mac mini. Currently mac mini is used for hosting music, movies, family videos and pictures. Mac mini runs all the time.
I do own PC as well but I don't keep them running all the time.
I am considering purchasing Synology NAS device.

I do need a DVR like service. TIVO looks great but monthly charges can easily add up. If I try to replace what I have currently I am looking at purchaing Tivo Romeo and 3 Tivo mini plus monthly fees.
Even if I can stomach the purchase price the monthly service charge for 4 devices will be $35. This seems expensive to me. Buying a life time subscription is an option but technology is changing so quickly that I don't want to do that.
My home is wired with Gigabit ethernet.
We don't watch any TV on our computers.
The solution has to be user friendly.

I may consider Hulu plus and if that gives us all the shows we like perhaps I will live without DVR. Amazon does have a few inexpensive DVRs but they will be stand along devices.
Aereo is not available in our area yet and it will not work with apple tv. It requires airplay from another device. Perhaps I can purchase Roku and see if that works with Aereo.
Simple.TV seems promising and claims to work with Apple TV. They haven't released their 2 tuner box yet.

I am resigned to spending $33 per month in TV fees as it is still a lot less than $120 I am paying but I want to make sure I have review every option before committing to TIVO.

Let me know if you have any suggestions.

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Jay69
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by Jay69 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:30 pm

Cut the cord 3 years ago and built a Window7 HPTC with the built in Media Center software (WMC). I have 4 tuners and use a 2TB green drive for media storage. I'm not a huge windows fan but will admit that WMC works like a champ.

I think an I3 intel processor works great for a media center. Can surf, stream, record and playback at the same time without issue. Take some time a look at the AVS forum.

Edit: Forgot to add, monthly fees!
"Out of clutter, find simplicity” Albert Einstein

22twain
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by 22twain » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:55 pm

TiVo's lifetime subscription looks expensive as a one-time charge, but for me the break-even point on my single TiVo Premiere (purchased a year ago) is only about 3.5 years. Also, the subscription "belongs" to the box, not to you, so boxes with lifetime subscription sell for good prices on eBay etc. if you decide to upgrade to a newer model or switch to something else.
My investing princiPLEs do not include absolutely preserving princiPAL.

BanditKing
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by BanditKing » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:10 pm

I've tried several different DVRs, and I always come back to TiVo because it has the cleanest and simplest interface. First Tivo was in 2000 with Direct TV, and now I have one with cable. I will admit I work for a cable company, so I get free service there, but to me it's worth the subscription for TiVo for that interface.

tyre123
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by tyre123 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:41 pm

When I discontinued my cable service about 2 years ago, I installed an antenna in the attic and purchased a Magnavox DVR/DVD player. The interface is not nearly as user friendly as the DVR included with the cable service, but being free of any monthly fee and being able to record what I wanted made the <$250 I think I paid for the DVR well worth it. It's not perfect, but I'm happy with my current setup. Try searching for Magnavox HDD on Amazon. There are several results. I really don't know which I have since it's been quite a while.

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Alskar
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by Alskar » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:34 pm

Here's a list of potential solutions (in no particular order):

1. Google Chromecast
2 Apple TV
3. SlingBox
4. TV with built-in streaming (many newer TV's are so equipped)
5. TiVo Roamio
6. Media PC
7. Cable Service DVR

Some of these will actually store shows for later replay; others will only stream on-demand.

I personally have a TiVo Premier with a lifetime subscription. I'm about a year from paying back the investment in the lifetime subscription. I think TiVo is overrated...not a big fan. I think Comcast's basic DVR does everything my TiVo Premier does just as well and cheaper.

Since I don't watch sports, my plan is to eliminate cable TV altogether and just stream from Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc for some shows and rent DVD's from the library for others. If you're into sports, it gets more complicated and I don't have a solution for that.
Lagom är bäst

Geist
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by Geist » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:45 pm

I've never liked having cable, because most of the channels & shows are trash... So I've either just never had cable at all, or only had the most bare-bones option available. My HD antenna works great for live/1st-run shows on all of the major networks. I still rarely turn on my TV, so I supplement that with Hulu+ for most of the shows that I want to watch. I also have Amazon Prime (though I really got it for the free 2-day shipping), with which I'm able to watch movies & older TV shows. I had a Netflix subscription for a little while, but was rather disappointed by its lack of recent (<2 yrs old) stuff, so I let it expire. I also had a Roku2 for a while, and it wasn't bad for collecting everything together, but didn't offer much additional. When it was stolen in a burglary, I replaced it (and my stolen TV) with a smart TV that could stream directly. So that's about it for me... Total cost: $30-$40 HD antenna + $15/mo ($8/mo Hulu + $7/mo Amazon) vs. $30-$50/mo cable subscription + $100-$300 DVR.... yeah -- it was an easy choice for me.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:27 am

If you want to recorder over-the-air (OTA) signals without paying a subscription, it sounds like the Magnavox DVRs would be right up your alley:

320GB model: http://www.magnavox.com/product/feature.php?id=115
500GB model: http://www.magnavox.com/product/feature.php?id=116
1TB model: http://www.magnavox.com/product/feature.php?id=117

This is pretty much the go-to recommendation for an OTA DVR without paying for a subscription service or building your own HTPC. You do have to program it with the date, time, and channel to record, just like you used to program VCRs. Without a subscription service to access TV listings, it can't "automagically" know when a show is on to record it, so you have to manually tell it to record.

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southerndoc
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by southerndoc » Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:49 am

Highly recommend the TiVo Roamio. Hands down the best DVR ever made. I have a Roamio Pro with 6 Minis connected, all of them with lifetime subscriptions. It's expensive, but Comcast wants $9.95/month for each additional outlet. Without the Minis, I would be paying $60/month extra in just additional outlet fees.

The base Roamio has an over-the-air tuner, but it doesn't include the built-in Stream. You can purchase that separately. I mention this because it's a nice feature. You can stream shows to your iPad. We used it the other day while traveling. Nothing like watching shows from my DVR while in a hotel 1,500 miles away. The quality was pretty good.

bradshaw1965
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by bradshaw1965 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:01 am

I use an HD Homerun with an OTA antenna.

Windows Media Center works nicely on Windows. For a Mac EyeTV is an option, but you'll need an $80 license and $20/year sub for TV listings after the first year. If you prefer Linux, take a look at MythTV, but I don't have personal experience with that setup.

If you were simply looking for a DVR replacement, an HD Homerun Prime uses a cable card to decrypt your cable subs and work in much the same manner as an HD Homerun, but with the additional content unlocked.

22twain
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by 22twain » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:51 am

Mudpuppy wrote:If you want to recorder over-the-air (OTA) signals without paying a subscription,
and if you're satisfied with standard definition instead of high definition,
it sounds like the Magnavox DVRs would be right up your alley: [...]
My investing princiPLEs do not include absolutely preserving princiPAL.

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wander
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by wander » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:38 pm

----This is an old thread ----

My solution is Tablo. You can spend a little more money for a 4 tuner device, a few tetraByte hard drive, pay a one time lifetime subscription and you are good to go.
Pros:
- Connect the tablo to OTA antenna and access it over WIFI (using Roku, Android phones & tablets, Apple Iphones & Ipads, smart TV apps, browsers ...
- Access over the internet for local news and recorded shows on the Tablo.
- You can have multiple Tablo devices for one subscription account.
- Picture quality is great (currently up to 1080)
- You can place your smart TV anywhere without antenna cable since you will watch the Live TV through the Tablo.
- You can watch and record 4 channels at a time. If you only watch recorded shows, then it is unlimited.
- With lifetime subscription, you will have access up to 14 days TV Guide.
- There is free cloud space for the recorded video or show (I never use this service, so I do not know much about it).
- The company is actively adding TV Guide information if it is missing in your local channels.
Cons:
- There are a few seconds of delay
- Small companies, so we don't know how long the company the subscription will last.
- Sometimes, the device reboots itself for no reason.
- You must have internet connection to watch which I think it is critical and does not make sense.

lazydavid
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by lazydavid » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:59 pm

newkidontheblock wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:29 am
I do need a DVR like service. TIVO looks great but monthly charges can easily add up. If I try to replace what I have currently I am looking at purchaing Tivo Romeo and 3 Tivo mini plus monthly fees.
Even if I can stomach the purchase price the monthly service charge for 4 devices will be $35. This seems expensive to me. Buying a life time
The monthly service fee for a Roamio and ten tivo minis is the same as the service fee for a Roamio and zero tivo minis. All minis include lifetime service as part of the purchase price.

But really, you should be looking at a Bolt OTA, not a Roamio. Way newer technology. And the service fee is.....$7/mo, $70/year, or $250 lifetime. The box itself is $250.

Edit: Whoa, just noticed the necropost.

brennok
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by brennok » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:14 pm

I use TiVo with lifetime.

These days you now have Plex with their DVR as another alternative.

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lthenderson
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by lthenderson » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:04 am

newkidontheblock wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:29 am
I do need a DVR like service. TIVO looks great but monthly charges can easily add up. If I try to replace what I have currently I am looking at purchaing Tivo Romeo and 3 Tivo mini plus monthly fees.
I have a Tivo Romeo through my cable service and just three days ago, they replaced it for the second time. The first one was replaced about two years prior. Since I essentially rent my TIVO, it doesn't cost me anything for them to replace it but I would have concerns about how long they last if I were to own one. I don't remember what went wrong with the first TIVO but the most recent one had the cable card go kaput which caused it to randomly reboot about 20 times daily and was really sluggish to use. Perhaps that part is specific to the cable company only but I thought I would throw this out there for consideration.

Northster
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by Northster » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:24 am

Two things I like about my Tivo Bolt is the ergonomic remote and the ability to program it from my tablet. Don't know how those compare to other services.

HoosierJim
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by HoosierJim » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:41 am

Jay69 wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:30 pm
.... Media Center software (WMC). ....admit that WMC works like a champ.
Wonderful system - can't believe Microsoft doesn't make it a current product and market it to the cord cutters. Haven't had a tv bill (just internet) in over 5 years.

Just signed up for Hulu for $1/month on Black Friday too. I expect they will offer it again.

xb7
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by xb7 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:24 pm

I have a Tivo Roamio (OTA only unit) on one TV, and was using a Tivo, I think it's called mini to use the same DVR on a second TV.

But the second unit was always flaking out, a replacement was expensive and I wasn't confident that it would work reliably either, so over Black Friday I got a couple of Amazon Fire TV Cubes and their 'Recast' DVR.

I'm mixed about recommending this system, but it's interesting. For now I'm running the Tivo system in parallel but hope and intend to just end up with the Amazon system. But at the least, now I have a DVR on my second TV for which I don't have to wait for a reboot every time I want to watch TV.

The Fire TV approach has no monthly fees, and has some great advantages. For one thing, it's an excellent universal remote, which Tivo is not, or at least my unit is not. While Tivo is overall excellent as a DVR --- definitely superior overall for now at least --- my Roamio is really poor as a gateway to other services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime. It works for that, but is so slow that with the Tivo approach I would always switch to a Roku box to do anything else. With Fire TV, life is simpler, and I particularly like this for my wife who doesn't want to have a complicated approach to watching different things in different places. Now we really, finally do have just one single remote that works exactly the same way for both TVs.

The Fire TV cube plus Recast DVR combination doesn't feel "finished" to me. A lot of things are just excellent, and the basics are covered. But I occasionally run into a bug, and there's already been a software update in the couple of weeks that I've had these. I run into minor bugs that thus far I can work around, and there are Tivo features or just overall approaches to things that I miss. Fast forwarding works differently, and for some things I prefer the Tivo approach. But with Fire TV I can just verbally command it to jump ahead or back by exactly the amount of time that I want it to --- very nice, as I learn what the typical gaps are for various programming.

I'm hopeful that Amazon will continue to improve their system. If I end up getting their security cameras, those also integrate with the Fire TV approach. Ditto having photos and music uploaded to their cloud.

I guess another potential downside for some is feeling locked into Amazon's 'ecosystem'. I'm doing so consciously, but this could also approach someone a bit like the boiling a frog analogy.

dlrkw9mu
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by dlrkw9mu » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:49 pm

I bought a Tivo Roamio second hand (ebay) with lifetime service, and love it. I believe I paid somewhere between $200-$250. It's easy to use, nice remote, and the interface is intuitive. I chose this over other options (such as Tablo) to accommodate quick/easy channel surfing.

Channel Master provides a similar product that has no subscription fees. You might look into them for a more reasonably priced alternative.

bloom2708
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:53 pm

Amazon Fire TV (stick or box) + Fire TV Recast (OTA DVR) is an option to look at.

I have not yet bought the Recast, but it is designed to be at OTA DVR. Reviews are good, but it sounds like a few tweaks need to be made. I am thinking "Santa" may buy it for me for Christmas. :wink:

If you are Amazon Prime members, going with the Fire TV ecosystem gets you access to the TV and Movies from Prime. Fire TV has a very good UI.

We use Playstation Vue (Built in DVR) as our cable streaming system on Fire TV. Netflix as an add-on.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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brokenrecord
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by brokenrecord » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:00 pm

Many of the streaming services today have a "built in" DVR. I'm pretty sure they're just pulling it from the cloud, but you can customize exactly what you want to show up on a daily/weekly basis.

We do not have cable, but pay ~$40 for Hulu live. It includes the traditional Hulu version (Hulu originals, TV shows they've contracted with, etc.), as well as live TV. The DVR component works fine enough for what I'm looking for.

22twain
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by 22twain » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:54 pm

22twain wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:55 pm
TiVo's lifetime subscription looks expensive as a one-time charge, but for me the break-even point on my single TiVo Premiere (purchased a year ago) is only about 3.5 years. Also, the subscription "belongs" to the box, not to you, so boxes with lifetime subscription sell for good prices on eBay etc. if you decide to upgrade to a newer model or switch to something else.
Now that this thread has been resurrected from the graveyard, I might as well update my previous post. My TiVo Premiere is now six years old, still going strong, and long past the breakeven point on its lifetime subscription. I use only OTA broadcasts with an antenna, by the way.
My investing princiPLEs do not include absolutely preserving princiPAL.

lazydavid
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by lazydavid » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:39 pm

22twain wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:54 pm
Now that this thread has been resurrected from the graveyard, I might as well update my previous post. My TiVo Premiere is now six years old, still going strong, and long past the breakeven point on its lifetime subscription. I use only OTA broadcasts with an antenna, by the way.
You don't happen to want another one, do you? I have a lifetimed Premiere XL that hasn't been used in 5 years. Still worked fine 6 mos ago when I hooked it up for an update.

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changingtimes
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by changingtimes » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:30 pm

22twain wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:54 pm
22twain wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:55 pm
TiVo's lifetime subscription looks expensive as a one-time charge, but for me the break-even point on my single TiVo Premiere (purchased a year ago) is only about 3.5 years. Also, the subscription "belongs" to the box, not to you, so boxes with lifetime subscription sell for good prices on eBay etc. if you decide to upgrade to a newer model or switch to something else.
Now that this thread has been resurrected from the graveyard, I might as well update my previous post. My TiVo Premiere is now six years old, still going strong, and long past the breakeven point on its lifetime subscription. I use only OTA broadcasts with an antenna, by the way.
Ditto. I fear what I will do when mine croaks (I use it heavily, with cable)--TiVo seems a bit wobbly as a company, even more than usual.

I had the first Philips Tivo in 1999, so the thought of making the move to something else is painful!

testing321
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by testing321 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:09 pm

Tivo currently has a friends and family sale going through Dec 18th with the Roamio OTA 1tb going for $250 with a lifetime subscription. I got the 500gb version of this two years ago for $200 and we use it everyday. The DVR is much better than the ones you get with cable TV. It has four tuners, each one buffered for 30 minutes, so you can skip from one tuner to the next, pause it or unpause it and skip ahead through commercials. Tivo sent out an email to those on its email list with a code to use for this promotion. http://pages.email.tivo.com/friendsandf ... ource=subs
Last edited by testing321 on Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Soon2BXProgrammer
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Re: Alternatives to TIVO

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:18 pm

I have a channelmaster stream+, i really like it. works good, i believe it has 2 tuners, and works as a DVR, runs android tv, can install apps, etc.

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