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