General Question

anonyjelly16's avatar

Buy a Tivo or rent one from the Cable Co?

Asked by anonyjelly16 (739 points ) November 6th, 2008

I am tempted to buy a new Tivo but am wondering if it is smarter (financially) to rent one from the cable company.

Any thoughts?

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14 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

Our knockoff Tivo clone from the cable company is like $6.95 a month I think and when we’re done we just give it back.

Last time I looked at Tivo there was the upfront costs (buying the box) and then a monthly charge to use their services which was more than what we were paying ($11.95?). I still almost did it just because every time I’ve used one I’ve been impressed with how simple it is.

Ultimately we just don’t use it enough to justify the extra $$ so we stuck with the cheaper option. Really it’s up to you, but the cable option is probably going to be significantly cheaper.

anonyjelly16's avatar

Yeah, I was thinking it might be smarter to rent as well. Buying has an upfront cost of $300 or more (plus an additional $400 for lifetime service). Might be smarter to get it from the cable company. I wonder if you can still stream netflix through it though.

augustlan's avatar

Plus, if the technology improves, you just swap in the one you’re renting for the new model.

anonyjelly16's avatar

@augustian – exactly what I was thinking. These things become obsolete too quickly. I guess renting is the way to go—the only question is whether I can stream netflix. I am guessing that I wont be able to.

augustlan's avatar

Can’t help you on that one. I love netflix, though!

funkdaddy's avatar

I’ve got Time Warner and there doesn’t seem to be any facilities for the Netflix thing if that helps…

MrItty's avatar

The cable companies do not rent TiVos. They rent their own generic DVRs. Everyone I know who has one, and has experienced TiVo previously or subsequently, hates it. They do not work nearly as well. They’re buggy. The interface is bad. They do not offer the features that TiVo does (online scheduling, multi-room viewing, downloads from Amazon & NetFlix, dual-tuner capability, wishlist recording, suggestions, pad live events, etc)

Last time I checked, TiVo has a money-back offer for a 30 day trial. Give it a shot. If you really think the cable company’s DVR is better than the TiVo, or that the TiVo isn’t worth the additional cost, give it back.

MrItty's avatar

oh, when doing your calculations, don’t forget to take into account the fact that when you get a Series 3 TiVo, you can return your cable box and just rent CableCards from the cable company instead. That’s probably a $5—$10 savings per month.

robhaya's avatar

I have Comcast in Chicago and I switched from their crappy DVR to the Tivo HD. Paying $14.99 a month for a sub par and buggy DVR from Comcast is like throing money out the window. I use a M-Card cable card which is free since it can support two tuners on one cable card. My monthly cost is about $8.95 month, since I prepaid the 3 years of service, which is $6 less than Comcast. Yes, you have to pay for the Tivo and subscription upfront, but its a much better DVR and experience. Worth every penny. The only downside to the Tivo, is it can’t support On Demand due to the limitations of the current cable cards. This will change when Tivo releases an updated dvr with Tru-2way Cable Card support.

Good Luck!
R

boxing's avatar

If you really need to have a DVR, go with TiVo, period.

About lack of On Demand feature, yes, but with TiVo you can get Amazon Video on demand.

Plus, you have the satisfaction of “sticking it to the cable company”.

Priceless.

SpatzieLover's avatar

boxing thanks for mentioning that…I didn’t know that at all! We rent ours via TW and have considered buying one for years. But financially it seemed cheaper to rent

skord's avatar

This comes down to a lot of personal preference. Some people like the integration and the lack of a second box. The feature set on tivo is a lot more robust than most cable co dvr’s. You can always get an upgrade if you lease from the cable company rather than being stuck with something outdated. The TiVo however, has a ton of cool features if you’re a “power” tv watcher. BOTH have upgradable storage, the average Scientific Atlanta 8300HD is upgradable via eSATA, I’m not exactly sure on the TiVo details.

If you really want TiVo, I recommend shelling out the big bucks and getting their version with CableCard support. It’s really the best of both worlds. This allows near the full functionality of a box from the cable company and only one box—your TiVo box.

skord's avatar

@robhaya MCards will support Switch Digital video and VOD soon with Tru Two way or whatever they’re calling it.

ezraglenn's avatar

TiVo is better, but we switched to the DVR from Time Warner and it’s fine. We don’t even watch that much television anyway.

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