Tivo Questions

Pooh BearAugust 30, 2006

We are thinking of dropping Dish Network.

The system just hasn't worked right since I hit the dish with the tractor.

I re-aimed the dish and checked everthing out.

But the DVR just no longer works right.

We are thinking of switching to cable.

We live in a small town. Cable/phone/internet is thru the phone co-op.

We already get phone and DSL. It's great that since we are in a small town if I have a problem I call Russ down at the phone co-op and get him to fix it. And if he don't fix it I can call his daddy and tell him he needs to have a talk with his son about doing a better job. Ah, the joys of small town life. But I digress....

The phone co-op currently is using plain old cable wire for their system. The are also currently upgrading the system to digital that runs over phone wires. So everything from them now will come in on the phone line. And it will then be digital cable. And if I sign up now I will be grandfathered in and not have to pay extra fees when they do the change over. The new system will come with a set top box that works like a DVR. We do not want to be without DVR capability. But for now they don't have that yet.

Tivo is running a special to get a free tivo box (reconditioned, 40 hours recording time) if you sign up for a 12 month contract at $13/month. Sounds like a good deal.

Now for my questions.

If I sign up now and get a Tivo box will it work ok with the current cable system.

Is a Tivo much different than my Dish Network DVR.

Will the Tivo be compatable with the new system when it is up and running.

If I let my Tivo contract lapse after 12 months, can I still use it as a digital recorder and just record from the cable set top box to the Tivo, since the Tivo will also connect to my computer and I like to save some TV shows (Cartoon Alley).

Any advice or caveats y'all can give me would be appreciated.


Pooh Bear

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Pooh Bear let me see if I can answer a couple of your questions. I have 2 tivo units, 1 in the bedroom and 1 in the living room. I have mine on a wireless network thru my computer. With tivo you either need a phone line hooked up or a wireless network ( or wired direct to the computer thru usb ) for the tivo to update. With the paid subscription you can record any program thru whatÂs called a season pass. With a season pass you just pick the show, and the channel and it will record every episode no matter what day or time its on. Without the paid subscription you can still record shows but you must tell it everyday what to record. The tivo will work with any input you give it, so yes it should work with your cable. During set up it will ask you questions like your area, your cable company and such, Again you will need a phone line or computer connection for it to set up and to keep updating during the year. With the paid subscription you can transfer any show recorded to your computer or between tivo boxes if you have more then 1. I travel and am gone for weeks sometimes and I can access my tivo web page and tell it what show or shows I want to record, as long as you have room they are there when you get back.
Hope this helps some.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 3:13PM
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Pooh Bear

That helps a lot.
Without a paid subscription can I still transfer programs to my computer?
I record Cartoon Alley every Saturday morning and transfer
it to the computer to keep.
Also I like to save some History Channel, Discovery Channel, and TLC programs.
It would be nice to transfer them directly rather than using the DVD recorder.


Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 8:07PM
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Without a paid subscription, a TIVO is nothing more than a VCR. With the paid subscription, it's a great product.
msehome is right on the money when he tells you what the TIVO is capable of.
I've had TIVO now for about 7 years and seldom, if ever, watch live TV anymore.
TIVO is losing money and the monthly paid subscriptions is the only thing keeping them going.
Their lawsuit against Dish TV over patent rights (which TIVO won) cost them a lot of money.

Here is a link that might be useful: TIVO

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 8:42AM
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Pooh Bear

That's what I need, is a digital VCR,
capable of interfacing with my computer to transfer recordings.

When my local co-op goes digital they will have their own DVR.
In the meantime I want to get one to work with the current cable system.
And then after the contract period is up let the subscription lapse,
and just use the unit as a VCR or DVD-RW.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 9:55AM
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Pooh Bear

Well, I took the plunge.
I cancelled Dish Network.
I called and ordered cable TV.
I called and ordered a Tivo unit.

Since the Dish Network DVR is mine to do what I want to with it,
can I remove the hard drive and use it in my computer.


Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 3:43PM
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Pooh Bear, good luck on your tivo. As far as you using the dish hard drive on your computer, I have no idea. Most tivo units are expandable, maybe you could add memory to it if its compatible.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 6:59PM
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Pooh Bear

I'm still waiting on Cable to be hooked up.
It has been a week since I called.
Called again today and they said sometime next week.
Got the Tivo Unit yesterday and set it all up.
I thought you could just connect it directly to my LAN.
But apparently I have to buy a network device for it.
I don't have a wireless LAN. And I couldn't find prices
for a wired LAN device on the Tivo site.

I figured for storage I would just transfer recordings to my computer.
Most stuff gets deleted, but some stuff I like to keep.

I have a lot of questions but I'm gonna try reading the manual first.


Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 11:33PM
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Pooh Bear i'm pretty sure you can hard wire your LAN to the TIVO. I'm out of town, so can't check mine now. I know there is a USB but not sure if there is a place for CAT 5 but i'm pretty sure there is. All the boxes might not be the same. Mine aren't Tivo brand. Ones Panasonic and ones Toshiba.

Good Luck,

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 9:33PM
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Pooh Bear

It has USB ports. I need a network adapter.

Also, I was under the impression that if I had a home movie
on my computer, I could transfer it to the Tivo to watch on TV.
All I can find in the manual is about transferring music and pictures.
So I'm wondering if it can be done.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 4:15PM
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Poohbear You can access "my pictures" and "my music", and you can transfer from tivo to the computer but don't think you can go the other way. I can transfer between both my tivo boxes, if I recorded something downstairs and want to wath it upstairs, it'll transfer that way, just need to let it start uploading a little before you want to watch it or it won't keep up. You can also access several yahoo games, yahoo weather, and some other stuff...not really into it so can't remember everything.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 9:05PM
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I want to record show to a hard drive...seems like less wear and tear than recording to a dvd rw...maybe I am wrong. Can I use thetivo like a vhs? I do not want to be hooked into yet another product with a monthly fee---I have had enough! If I buy a tivo will I be able to tell it record every Friday from 8pm to 9pm on channel 11....or what ever I want? Do these things have a tv tuner. Any help is appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 11:45PM
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You better double-check on using a Tivo without active service. As I remember, without it, its a doorstop -- no recording at all.

A great place to get started with Tivo is ebay. I bought 2 for $40 each. When I activated service, one of them had a lifetime subscription! A extra nice bonus was since I now own an activated Tivo, the second Tivo only costs me $7/month.

Tivo's do not have built in Ethernet. They have 2 USB ports. You need to get either a wireless USB network adapter or a wired Ethernet network adapter. Tivo's web site will tell you which ones are supported. Others may work, but Tivo will help you if you have trouble getting a supported adapter to work.

A Tivo without a netowrk adapter is just not as much fun. I now have 3 Tivo's (2 wireless, 1 wired) on my home network. This means I can record 3 shows at the same time, transfer shows between them and my computers, schedule recordings on all Tivo's from work or the road, play games with other Tivo users over the Internet, subscribe to Internet only shows (like Rocketboom), and yes, more :)

(Curiously, Tivo 3 sits in a closet -- connected to basic cable but with no TV attached. All scheduling is done over the Internet and shows are transfered to Tivo 1 or Tivo 2 for viewing.)

You CAN transfer video from your computer to your Tivo. You need to download the free Tivo Desktop software. (I think you also need to enable TivoToGo, but this is also a freebie.) This software announces your computer to your Tivo's and you can "pull" video to a Tivo using your Tivo remote. If the video is not in the correct formnat, you can download a free converter from videora.com. I used this recently when I missed the second half of ABC's "The Path to 9/11." I downloaded it off the Internet using utorrent.com's free BitTorrent client, converted it using Videora's Videora Tivo Converter and copied it to a Tivo for viewing. The recording was from England, which broadcasts PAL instead of NTSC which means different resolution and frame rate, but Videora handled it with minimal audio "slip." Be aware that just because it's available on the Internet doesn't mean you aren't violating copyright. I figure that since it was broadcast and I would have recorded it, no harm, no foul.

And finally, yes you can take the disk drive out of a Tivo or other DVR and put it into a computer. They are just plain old IDE drives. The only difference is that they are supposed to be quieter and do seamless spiral reading better, but I've replaced all of the drives in my Tivo's with 300gb drives from Costco or Fry's. 300gb means about 280 hours of TV so it's rare that something "disappears" before I get around to watching it. Since you can get a 300gb drive for $70, I wouldn't bother taking the time to put a used 40 or 80 gb drive from a DVR into a computer.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 4:53PM
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