Archived Q&A and Reviews

Nov 2002

Can anyone recommend a particular Tivo system and/or the best/cheapest place to buy a Tivo? Thanks. SMB

We bought the 30 hour Sony Tivo system almost two years ago. We paid something like $300 for the recorder and started with a $12.95 monthly fee. Since then, I have seen the same recorder as an open box special at Good Guys for under $200. We've never had a problem with our recorder. Tivo also offered a lifetime subscription for $250 which we subsequently bought. This subscription is only good for this recorder. If we ever switched to another unit, the agreement dies. It will pay for itself in a couple of years. All that said, Tivo is fabulous. We watch less TV and enjoy the time we do spend on it since there's always something we want to see. I love it. There are other systems out there now that allow internet transfer of video files and complete deletion of commercials, but we are happy with what we have. Margaret

TiVo is the greatest thing ever! OK, now that I've got that out of the way, let me try to answer your questions. There are basically two kinds of TiVo's:

1) a stand-alone box which will work with any TV and any kind of TV source (antenna, cable, satelite or a combination). These have been made by Philips, SONY, and there is now a TiVo branded one. They all work exactly the same, the only difference being the style of the SONY remote and the styling of the boxes. Inside they're essentially identical. They can be found at Best Buy, Circuit City, etc, but are sometimes a bit hard to find as they sell out quickly. There is a $50 rebate deal going on now; information and also ordering directly on-line is at: http://www.tivo.com/2.0.asp

2) a DirecTV-TiVo combo box. This will ONLY work with the DirecTV service (and any TV), but it has some cool additional features, especially being able to record two shows simultaneously. There are some pretty cheap deals for new DirecTV customers including free satelite dish & wiring installation. Also, apparently very soon (mid-November is the rumour) a new version of the combo box will be released which is a little faster and has potential future expansion possibilities. These combo boxes are made by Hughes, Philips & SONY, and can be found as the same stores and URL as above.

All TiVo's require a subscription for $12.95/mo or $249 for the life of the unit. The DirecTV combo boxes are going have a repriced service that is billed directly through DirecTV for only $5 a month (currently they are $10/month but that apparently will drop to $5 when the new units are out).

As you can see, I'm a TiVo enthusiast! I really can't imagine watching TV the regular way again ... especially with kids. We now watch the shows we want without caring about the TV schedule, and we always have a couple eppisodes of Sesame Street, etc, ready for our kids.

If you have any further questions I'd be happy to answer them via e-mail. Mike

I could do commercials for my TIVO. It is one of those items that you think is a luxury until you buy one and then it becomes a necessity. We bought a SONY TIVO to go with out directv box this past spring and it's incredible. I can now sit down and watch TV when I want to watch TV instead of vegging in front of the TV watching nothing, record 2 shows at once, watch 1 show and record another, watch a show I've recorded while recording another and so on. It also lets you pause live TV - so if you have to get up in the middle of a show to go to the bathroom, just hit the pause button, and press play when you return. You can catch up to the live program by skipping through the commercials (it also helps if you want your husband to do something right away and he's watching a game - he can't use the excuse anymore!). It stores several hours of television shows, so I've never had a problem with running out of storage space. You can tell it to automatically delete a program if you haven't watched in within x amount of days, or not delete a program until you say so. You can also save programs to tape and set up ''wish lists'' where you ask it to record any show featuring your favorite actor (such as Robert Redford, it'll search the TV guide for all movies listing him and the tape it). Lastly, it ''knows'' if a showtime has changed from one week to next (say your favorite show is showing on Wednesday this week instead of Thursday) and can make the adjustment accordingly, you can also tell it to only record new episodes, not repeats. I'm 7 months pregnant and I know this will be a valuable tool for me when the baby comes!!!! c_v