I took back our Comcast HD DVR this weekend and got an HD TiVo. We hadn’t had the Comcast DVR very long but we quickly figured out the DVR was crap. It failed to record new episodes of a show we setup to record all new episodes in the series. I tried to set it up to record all the new episodes of the Simpsons. The DVR recorded every Simpsons episode that aired on all channels.
I looked into using Media Center on my Vista desktop but the only TV tuner that will decrypt all the Comcast channels is $300 for one tuner. The tuner looks cool and will accept a CableCard but to record two shows at once it would have been $600.
We ended up with the TiVo because it is really hard to find a good generic DVR. The TiVo took a while to setup. I had to call Comcast tech support twice. The first time Comcast didn’t pair my CableCard correctly. The second tech support lady was very nice and helpful. I haven’t played with the TiVo much. The guide and the interface seem to be good. Some of the menu items look to be buried 5 or 6 menus deep. So far the only thing I don’t like about the TiVo is the restart time. The TiVo takes 2 minutes to restart. I don’t see this as a huge deal because the TiVo stays on all the time. I just don’t understand why it takes so long. Every time it restarts it plays a stupid TiVo promo movie. I already bought the thing I don’t need to be sold.
I can’t get the desktop software to connect to the TiVo box. I get an access denied error every time I try. I need to look into the error. I like that you can transfer shows to your desktop and put them on your portable devices.
I don’t know how much I will use the extra services that TiVo offers. I guess they justify the $12.95 a month by allowing you to play cheesy games and watch YouTube on your TiVo. Despite the $12.95 a month the TiVo is cheaper than the Comcast HD DVR. Comcast charges $15.95 for the rental of their HD DVR. Being $3 a month cheaper and getting the first three months of TiVo service free should be cheaper in four years even with buying the TiVo box. If after this first year we move to the annual plan that saves $24 a year in service charges.
Overall I’m happy with the TiVo box and I’m glad not to be paying Comcast more than I absolutely need too.