TiVo HD DVR vs DIRECTV

TiVo HD DVRLet’s talk TiVo. Specifically, the TiVo high definition digital video recorder (HD DVR) which is now proudly integrated into my home entertainment system.

Not too long ago, I told everyone right here in my What’s Noo? blog that I was going to switch from DIRECTV to digital cable and purchase a new “native” TiVo DVR. I didn’t exactly deliver 100% on that statement but I think what I did was even better.

For starters, I didn’t go with digital cable mainly because my local cable company is in the middle of a transition to its new owner, Comcast. If I had jumped to digital cable now, I would have had to deal with transitioning cable cards and channel lineups in the next few months and I wanted no part of that.

The new TiVo setup

So what did I do? I actually de-activated one of my DIRECTV receivers and replaced it with a brand new TiVO HD DVR. Of course I needed a few “extras” to complete my setup. Here’s what I ended up with:

More on the indoor antenna and wireless adapter later this week.
I should also note that the TiVo service itself costs money (many people think it is free). The best deal is a 3-year pre-paid option which cuts the price down to a little over $8/month but I decided to go with a 1-year plan at just under $13/month for two reasons. One was that I wasn’t quite ready to commit to anyone for three years. The second reason was that I had a special coupon code that gave me three months free when I pre-paid a year of service.
I’m going to wrap up today’s post by comparing what I gained and what I lost by switching from my DIRECTV setup to my new standalone TiVo setup. I think you’ll quickly see why my heart belongs to TiVo.

What I gained by switching from DIRECTV to a TiVo HD DVR:

  • The ability to watch and record television shows in high definition with no monthly service charges from a cable or satellite provider using only a $40 indoor antenna.
  • The elimination of a $4.99 mirroring charge from DIRECTV.
  • The ability to download movies from Amazon Unbox for rental and/or purchase.
  • The ability to share home movies with other TiVo users in my family, regardless of where they live.
  • The ability to schedule shows on my TiVo from anywhere in the world using the Internet.
  • TiVo KidZone, which goes way beyond entering a four digit code to keep control of your children’s prying eyes.
  • Photo slideshows from pictures stored on my personal computer or on the Internet using Picasa Web Albums.
  • TiVo desktop, a free software download from the TiVo web site that lets me watch any show recorded on my TiVo directly on my personal computer.
  • Automatic video downloads from the Internet such as the midwest weather forecast ready and waiting for me each morning.
  • And much, much, more.

What I lost by switching from DIRECTV to a TiVo HD DVR:

  • The ability to watch or record any show that is not broadcast over-the-air (OTA). In other words I am limited to only ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX and a handful of other local affiliates.

Tomorrow I will switch gears to the HP Media Server and then, later in the week, return to the TiVo HD DVR to discuss some of my favorite features in more detail.

Note: I did not drop DIRECTV completely. For comparison purposes I only deactivated one of my four DIRECTV receivers and replaced it with the new TiVo HD DVR.