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Thread: Tivo- DVR

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    Default Tivo- DVR

    OK, I know I'm really late to this technology, but could someone please explain the difference and how these things operate? I think my cable company (WOW Cable) offers DVR, but then I've read that Tivo is much superior.

    Do you need digital TV to use it?

    If you have either one - what do you think of it?

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    Senior Member TenebrousReflection's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicia91 View Post
    OK, I know I'm really late to this technology, but could someone please explain the difference and how these things operate? I think my cable company (WOW Cable) offers DVR, but then I've read that Tivo is much superior.

    Do you need digital TV to use it?

    If you have either one - what do you think of it?
    DVR is a generic technology term which stands for Digital Video Recorder
    TiVo is a specific type of DVR

    A DVR takes the incoming television signal and encodes it to a hard drive in the unit. Think of it a bit like a VCR that can store anywhere between 20 to 100+ hours of recordings and you can pick anything its recorded at any time and watch it without searching through the tape to find where it was recorded and all that. Also, if you watch a program and get interrupted, most DVRs store where you last pressed stop, so you can easily resume where you left off even if you watch something else in between. One of my favorite features of a DVR is that even if you are watching a live broadcast, you can pause and rewind if you miss something or want to make your own instant replay (and if you leave it paused for like 5 or 10 minutes before a show starts, you can fast forward as it plays to skip the commercials).

    There are presently two types of TiVo units on the market, one that will work with any video source, but only records in standard definition (480 resolution), and one that is specifically for HDTV (upto 1080 resolution (but it can still do 480 and 720)). The catch with the HDTV TiVo units is that they need a cable tuner card that you get from your cable company (the TiVo then replaces your cable box). The major downside of that is that the HDTV units do not work with any satellite providers.

    Most Cable and Satellite companies offer their own DVRs now for a slight additional monthly fee (TiVo also has a monthly fee and both tend to be comparable cost per month).

    I used TiVo for about 6 years and think very highly of it, but when I upgraded to a HDTV, I did not want to shell out 400+ for a new TiVo, so I decided to try the cable company box first before making that financial plunge. I have Comcast as my provider, and their DVR is "good enough", but I'd still like to have all the extra features my TiVo had (I could use my old TiVo with the HDTV, but it would downsize programs in 1080 to 480 which kinda defeats the benefit of HD programming).

    One of the major differences between TiVo and most cable provider DVRs is how easy it is to setup recordings. With the cable box ones, you either tell it a time and channel to record (with option of being one time recording or repeat) or use their channel program guide to find stuff to record. With TiVo, you can setup wishlists and search by actors, directors, type of shows and all kinds of options, with a TiVo its easy to find stuff you might have otherwise never known was even on. TiVo also pays attention what kind of shows you watch (genre, actor lists etc) and if it has free space can be set to automatically record stuff it thinks you might like.

    I would recommend trying your cable providers DVR box for a couple months and see how you like it. If you have no plans to switch to satellite, then eventually switching to a TiVo would be something you would probably be very satisfied with in the long run.

    Hope that answers your questions, I think once most people try one, they will wonder what you ever did without it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Oso Mocoso's Avatar
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    I *love* Tivo.

    The local Time Warner DVR stuff sucks by comparison. The Tivo allows me to download video podcasts off the Internet, stream audio content, play podcasts on TV, aggregate audio or video off computers on my home network, etc. It's primary function is to let you pause live TV shows, set up a regular schedule of TV shows that it will record, and keep it accurate even if the TV networks change their broadcast schedule. For instance, if a show you like changes the night it's on from Tuesday to Thursday, you don't have to tell Tivo that. They will resync based on the fact you told them to record the show.

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    Thanks for all the advice.

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    unscannable Tigerlily's Avatar
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    We have time warner HD DRV and wouldn't want to live without it. My husband added an external box so that we can fit more shows on it since HD programs fill it up quickly.

    Get it and you will not be disappointed. I also think you'll be fine with the DVR your cable company can provide. Just think of all the It's Complicated episodes you'll never have to miss because of it!
    Time is a delicate mistress.

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