Home > Technology, Uncategorized > Saving Money In All The Wrong Places

Saving Money In All The Wrong Places


I love my TiVo HD and would not watch TV without a TiVo anymore but some of the comments on the tivo.com site are just plain crazy.  Like the type of crazy where if a crazy person heard someone else say it, they would be like, wow, that guy is crazy.  Yea that type of crazy.

I retired a few months ago and in order to cut costs I canceled satellite tv services and bought a TiVo. I already had a roof antenna so I set up my new TiVo HD to it. Now I get my national networks (ABC,CBS,NBC,FOX, and PBS) all digitally and in HD when it is available. I get about 20 channels from all around our area, all digital. I can pull in analog channels if I want them. I record shows, and rent movies and tv shows all with my $12.95/month TiVo subscription. I saved $115/ month.

Tivo customer comment from http://www3.tivo.com/form-apps/customerraves.do?c=Saved-me-money&k=dvr-benefits&pager.offset=18

So this person bought a $300 TiVo HD  to connect to his HDTV while he was paying $115 a month for his satellite tv service and then decided, it was time to start saving money?  Thats like buying the $40,000 car, then realzing you can’t afford the gas, so you cut back on the insurance.  I told you it was crazy. 

The Tivo comment page is full of people that are claiming TiVo saved them money because they cut off there cable service .  TiVo without subscription channel service is useless.  If all you wanted was network television recorded why don’t you just buy a VCR?

Tivo Subscription Cost:  $12.95 a month
TiVo HD – $299.99
HDTV – $399.99
Realzing you need to save money after you spent it all –  Priceless.

Update:  Turns out you can’t even use TiVo HD with satellite server.  It says so on the tivo service page

Does the TiVo HD work with satellite programming?
The TiVo HD DVR is designed for cable and CANNOT support satellite programming. For customers with satellite service, TiVo offers the TiVo Series2 Dual Tuner DVR in standard definition.

So this person apparently had satellite tv service, bought an TiVo HD which does not work with satellite tv and then decided to connect it to his roof top antenna.  Something seems very odd about this whole story.

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Categories: Technology, Uncategorized
  1. Kevin
    September 3, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I did exactly what you say makes no sense. I hated the brighthouse dvr’s new firmware and search. Bought a tivo hd. Already had an antenna (cable outages are NOT rare in my part of FL, at least 3 hrs 2 nights ago, no storm in the area).

    Tried the service for a month to overlap with cable to see how it worked out. I get stations locally I can’t get via brighthouse, got my tivo hd on clearance from sears for $150, paid $400 for lifetime service. Cut my $80 cable bill. If the cable bill doesn’t go up (not likely) it will take me 6 months 3 1/2 weeks to break even. That’s only 2 months away. If I hadn’t gotten my tivo on sale I could have gotten a refurb shipped free from tivo for $200 so add 2 months.

    Spent another $20 dollars for a cable long enough to reach my tv from my computer and all sorts of shows I want to watch are available like Monk and Burn notice Warehouse 13 and Rescue me for free.

    I did spend another $95 on an approved expansion hard drive because with all the recordings I do now being digital the standard hard drive isn’t adequate.

    I already have more programming I really want to see on the tivo, some of it I wouldn’t have discovered without tivo than I will have time to watch it. I delete things I really want to watch because there isn’t room all the time.

    Best part is when the cable co. updated their firmware it would not play if your service was out. So unless you had your own antenna you would be left with no tv and couldn’t even watch what you had previously recorded. That is no problem with a tivo.

    Saying “TiVo without subscription channel service is useless. If all you wanted was network television recorded why don’t you just buy a VCR?” is incredibly silly. With 93 HD hours or 800 sd hours of recording time to get the equivalent (if it was available, I haven’t searched for one but doubt there is an HD VCR out there) assuming I only did SD recordings it would be 400 tapes. If it did HD it would probably take as many if not more. Then there is the logistics of dealing with 400 tapes, assuming you could get a tape for $1 I don’t see where the savings would be not to mention the mess and logistics of finding the program you want. Even if I only got 50 tapes and managed to juggle them and find the program I wanted to watch it wouldn’t take long for it not to be worth the grief. I’ve had my tivo 5 months and it crashed once, I wonder how many tapes would have been “eaten” watching the same amount of programming. I didn’t lose anything during the crash because I wasn’t recording. How many times would my tape run out during the last minute of programming unless I was very careful? Then there is the time going through the tv guide and programming the vcr and hoping you got it right. Think back to when you actually used a vcr, it’s obviously been quite a while for such a silly statement.

    By the way, the tivo program guide was worth the investment by itself.

    I almost never watch the major networks, they are not longer the only broadcast options for most markets. If I want to watch a network show I wait a day later and watch virtually commercial free via computer. That goes for most of the cable only networks as well. The only big disadvantage would be sports programming but that’s not a concern to me.

    • mshnitzer
      September 3, 2009 at 1:33 pm

      Kevin,

      I appreciate your comments but your saying you paid $150 for tivo, $400 for service and $95 for tivo extender drive. That’s $645 to record what can’t more than a handful of local channels. You say that you

      almost never watch the major networks

      then what exactly are you recording on your tivo?

  2. Kevin
    September 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    On your update:

    TiVo HD which does not work with satellite tv and then decided to connect it to his roof top antenna.

    What the original poster said was: I canceled satellite tv services and bought a TiVo.

    Guess one should read what’s already been posted before finding them fishy…

    • Kevin
      September 3, 2009 at 11:57 pm

      The real question should be how many stations does it take to justify $645 for the NEXT FEW YEARS? Just because I’m not choosing from 200 different stations doesn’t mean a $645 investment isn’t worthwhile.

      My concern is not quantity of stations but quality of programming available. My guess is with your tivo HD you would find plenty of programming more than worth watching no matter your taste with a decent antenna.

      Your other posts indicate you are in NYC metro area, back when there was only VHF channels to watch I watched more tv than my mom liked there and didn’t have the advantage of a tivo.

      Questions for you Mike:

      What do you record on your tivo?

      How long until you pay out $645 for cable or satellite and your tivo investment and tivo programming?

      Next month the $80/month I was paying will become savings. How much will you spend before you no longer consider the cost / benefit of cable worthwhile? I personally spent more than enough to reach that point long ago but didn’t become aware that the relatively cheap, convenient alternative was available until about a year ago and the digital transition added more. I didn’t have the time to implement sooner because I was away from home for 6 months.

      My wife and college junior son don’t find a lack of programming to watch either. We will definitely find better uses for almost $1000 a year.

      By “almost never watch the major networks” I meant big 4 – NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX. Most people don’t consider PBS a major network. I get 3 different PBS stations, each with several subchannels, including MHZ which as someone who would like to travel and rarely gets the opportunity I find wonderful. (My tivo records the foreign language subtitles!). I get 12 different channels and subchannels not counting the big four networks, spanish and religious and off the wall pbs feeds of county commission meetings, etc (and I do rarely record some good movies off the religious).

      Titantv.com will show you broadcast schedules for an area if you put in a city. Put in 32798 and you will see exactly what I get to choose from. Granted I have fairly eclectic tastes but if I wanted to watch lots of standard network programming I would have 4 more channels to chose from wouldn’t I? Most network programming during prime time is HD now so that would only take 80 hours to fill up my tivo and expander.

      When you have the diverse programming available I do and a 24 hour cycle to record and then watch at my leisure as any tivo owner does, I get more recorded that I would like to watch than I have time for. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

      As my original post mentioned I also watch several different cable only programs via computer. I can’t watch while the first run version is actually playing on the cable network, but I don’t mind waiting a day or two. It often becomes a few weeks, I’m often only a few days ahead of my hulu queue program availability expiration. When tivo adds the capability to view hulu and other cable programming directly like Moxie does it will be easier, but for now the desktop computer with DVI cable (monoprice.com is awesome!) works for me and my family.

      I also have half a dozen rss feeds I watch via download recording over ethernet. That only accounts for 7-8 hours a week, but is a nice bonus.

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