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Re: [vox] Tivo question
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Re: [vox] Tivo question

On Mon, 8 Dec 2003, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:

> a) what are some of the things you can do with a tivo without tivo
> service?
> b) what are some of the services you lose when you use a tivo without
> the tivo service?

There are two levels of "losing service" with a Tivo series 2:

   1. When you first get your Tivo, you MUST connect to the
      Tivo service to setup your Tivo.  This downloads the
      latest software, the latest TV programming information
      for about 2 to 3 weeks, the Tivo configuration information
      (whether to use the tuner or a cable box, and the
      IR signal information for changing the channel on the
      cable box), and syncs the Tivo's clock (via NTP.)

      You get this service for free for a week or two.  If you
      contact the Tivo service again even though your service
      expires, they'll disable your Tivo's recording feature.
      You won't be able to record anything, at all, manual or
      programmed, in any way or form, at all.

   2. If you disconnect the phone line before Tivo disables
      your Tivo's recording feature, you can continue to record
      shows for as long as you have the TV programming
      information.  Eventually, though, you'll run out of the
      TV programming information, but you'll be able to continue
      to record shows by channel and time.

      But that's not all that happens.  Because there is no way
      to set your clock manually, and the only way to set the clock
      properly is by connecting to the Tivo service, your clock
      will start to drift.  Eventually your Tivo will start recording
      things minutes earlier or later than it's supposed to, and
      you'll start losing the beginning or the end of shows.  You
      can lengthen the recording times by designated increments
      only (1 minute, 2 minues, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes,
      1 hour, 1.5 hours, and 3 hours) and you can't shorten them,
      so you'll be stuck extending recording times for every
      single show you watch, and you'll have to give up recording
      certain shows that overlap by only a few minutes (you can't
      program it to record partial shows, though you can start
      and stop recording partial shows manually.)

      One more thing.  You can't change your setup.  If you use
      your tuner, you're stuck with it, unless you wanna call
      up the Tivo service again, at which time they'll lock out
      the recording feature of your Tivo.  If you move to a
      different channel lineup zone, or if the channel lineup
      changes, it'll still show your old channel names and lineup.
      You're stuck.  If you wanna switch to using the AV input
      instead of the tuner, you're stuck - you can't!

Basically, if you want a Tivo series 2, you pretty much *have* to get the
Tivo service if you want to make a good use of it.

Looking back, I think it would've been better for me to make my own
system, or get an old series 1 and upgrade.  Not because I think I paid
too much for Tivo, although that's a part of it given that I paid $700
(almost $400 taxes included for 80 hour Tivo + $300 lifetime subscription)
for a MIPS computer sitting in my room that I can't use as nothing but a
TV appliance, but because there's no guarantee I'll trully get my money
worth with my lifetime subscription.  For all I know, Tivo's gonna go
bankrupt and leave me with a non-configurable digital VCR with a drifting
clock, or my Tivo's hardware is gonna break before I feel that I've gotten
my lifetime subscription worth of programming (which is actually a very
high possibility, given that I've already had one close call.)  Overall,
though, I'm glad that I have *a* digital recorder because it frees me from
thinking about TV shows - I just turn on the TV when I feel like watching
something, and I watch whatever Tivo happens to have recorded while I
wasn't.  Perhaps the time saved from trying to configure a custom computer
to act as a PVR is well worth what I've paid for the Tivo, and at the time
I think it was ('cuz I didn't have any spare time when I first got Tivo,
which is a part of the reason why I got it,) but if I had to get another
PVR I'd rather make my own than get a Tivo or ReplayTV or whatever else
that might be out there.


Mark K. Kim
AIM: markus kimius
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