Pros easily upgraded, software updates have eased some lag in menus, more features than cheap cable company DVR for only the cost of ownership
Cons obviously it needs a cablecard to get encrypted channels and cable company hassles me for not using "their" equipment. Not TiVo's fault.
Pros Streaming Netflix is nice when it works. Better video quality than our previous DVR.
Cons Scheduled recording from television will frequently fail to record anything. Sometimes the Tivo operating system hangs and won't respond to anything until we pull the power plug.
Summary After reading many positive reviews, and listening to CNET podcasts recommending the Tivo systems, we purchased one with a lifetime subscription to replace our RCA DVR. Unfortunately the Tivo isn't as reliable. Scheduled recording from television will frequently fail to record anything. Technical support informed us that this is a 'known problem' with the analog tuner. The only way to fix the problem is to reboot the device. Sometimes the Tivo operating system hangs and won't respond to anything until we pull the power plug.
Pros Ability to download movies, TV shows & independently produced programs; ability to access one's Rhapsody and/or Live365 Internet Radio accounts; and ability to access your home computer's photo and music libraries.EXCELLENT antenna/OTA HD support.
Cons REQUIRES paid subscription. NO support for programmed recording of programs on cable company-provided "clear QAM" HD channels (
Summary TiVo's video and audio quality of recordings is excellent, and it has a full compliment of HDMI, component, and analog outputs as well as digital (optical) audio output. There is no support for *Internet* downloading of *HD* movies or tv shows yet, but TiVo constantly upgrades its capabilities via automatic OS software updates that download to the TiVo units via its connection to your Internet service provider or to the TiVo service directly via a telephone line connection (but the latter is too slow to be considered practical for most people). Access to Live365's Internet radio service is excellent. TiVo has excellent remote programming capability via Internet and cell phone access, but it is NOT the only dvr brand to have remote programming capability.P.S. Sorry - the cost of the Moxi HD dvr unit I referred to is about $800, not $700.
TiVo does have one serious shortcoming - if you are one of the many cable company customers who do NOT have a digital set-top box or CableCard decoder and thus have your cable connected directly to your digital "cable-ready" HD tv set: there is no ability to program recording of local HD channels' tv programs transmitted by your cable company on "clear QAM" (non-scrambled digital) channels via TiVo's tv program guide... thus your only options are to either connect an antenna and hope you can get your local HD channels over the air, pay for a more expensive digital cable package or otherwise pay for the cable company's digital set-top box or CableCard (which the TiVo unit has two slots for), or manually program recording based on channel and time rather than program title - TiVo's famed "Season Pass" auto recording feature will NOT work for such situations. To make matters worse in this regard, TiVo's ability to RECEIVE such channels - although present - can be somewhat complicated for even *seasoned* "gadget gurus" and it is somewhat buggy in its implementation as well.
The long and short of it - if you need or want the ability to record over-the-air HD programs, TiVo HD is THE HD dvr to buy, and this is also true if you subscribe to one of your cable company's digital packages that includes use of a set-top box or CableCard(s). And if you really want a dvr unit that can access your home network and can download movies, tv shows and independently produced programs that are available through the Internet, TiVo is the way to go... the price of the hardware is very reasonable but you MUST purchase a monthly, annual, or 3-year subscription as well.
If you subscribe to your cable company's "basic" package and don't use a digital set-top box or CableCard but connect your cable line directly to your HD set and thus get your local stations' HD broadcasts on "clear QAM" channels, and want to record programs on those channels automatically, you might actually do better to purchase the Moxi brand of HD dvr - which fully supports clear QAM channel programing. BUT - the Moxi dvr does NOT support antenna/OTA connection/reception (at least not in its "out-of-the box" configuration), and although it does not require a paid monthly or annual subscription for full functionality it IS much more expensive (around $700 !) than the TiVo HD dvr.
Updated on Dec 19, 2008
Pros The Tivo user interface is excellent!
Cons Very bad customer support. No discount on upgrades or replacement of defective products. Very difficult to reach technical support and not helpful
Summary My first Tivo stopped working 16 months after I bought it but it was out of warranty and Tivo offered no discount on the replacement so I had to shell out the full price on a replacement. Next, when they came out with their NetFlicks interface, they announced that it wouldn't work on my unit, so I'd have to upgrade to a new unit. Only problem is that they offered no discount on the upgrade. In other words, I have to buy 3 units over a period of less than 2 years of service. This company seems not to care about keeping customers. What a shame!
Pros Easy to use ,great menus does what its supposed to time shift hdtv programs for us folks with a new hdtv but no cable/sat company dvr. BTW the instant cake hard drive upgrade works great I have 1tb wd hd for 131 hours of hdtv recording.
Cons wish there was not subscription fee like old school vcrs, but a years tivo subscription still cheaper than any cable/sat services so I can live with it
Summary This is a great unit for us folks who want hdtv time shifting but dont have cable/sat company dvr. It works well although the firstime setup is a slow drag (btw hook up you tivo though dsl (cable or wireless) because it can take hours with phone lines. And everytime you unplug it the tivo goes though a god awful long start up sequence. Also if your not worried bout getting under the hood look and brain cooleys insider secrets at upgrading your tivo (if you ever built your own pc its a snap) I did and with in a hour I upgraded my tivohd with instant cake and 1tb western digital hd and now have a 131 hours hdtv storage. It does what it says it time shifts hdtv programs if you like me and only have OTA hdtv tivo hd rocks. If you have hd with your sat/cable provider get there dvr , but for my uses this is a great machine.