In the past, I'd been a big fan of ReplayTV because it was so hackable, but the only way until recently to get a dual-tuner, high-definition DVR (not SD) digital cable TV setup with the subscription channels available for recording had been to use Comcast's own box.
Anyway, so last week there were some deals popping up on eBay for about $100 USD off of the retail price for these, and so I ended up getting one for about $700 USD shipped. — This still wasn't that cheap, though, and then on top of this I also paid $299 USD upfront for three years of Tivo service! 😱
… Why would I pay all of this money? Well, I'd have otherwise continued paying $15 USD/month to Comcast for the HD DVR that I had, so over those same three years that would have still cost me $540 USD, and in the end I wouldn't have been able to sell the Comcast DVR (you have to return it since it's a “rental”) like I can with the Tivo unit to recoup some of my original investment. — So, I guess that's not as bad sounding of a deal?
Either way, the user-interface on the Tivo and overall experience is so much better.
I accidentally bought an HDMI cable separately, not knowing that there'd be one in the box, but it actually comes with a ton of other cables, as well. — The full list is:
- HDMI cable
- Component video (HD) cable
- Composite video (SD) cable
- RJ11 telephone wire
- RJ11 telephone splitter (in case you need to also plug-in a nearby telephone)
- A plain coaxial TV cable
… It did not come with an Ethernet cable, but I luckily had one of those, and so I chose to connect the box to the internet that way using the Ethernet port on my nearby Airport Express Wi-Fi unit that was setup in “bridge” mode. — The Tivo was downloading its TV program guide in no time at all! 👍🏻
Enabling the hidden “30-second skip” feature
This is basically the whole reason to get a Tivo, or any other DVR (with this feature) for that matter. You can really easily skip TV advertisements and boring parts of shows, and it's super easy to setup. — To enable it on the Series3 Tivo HD DVR:
- Record (at least part of) any show. 🔴
- Then, start watching the recorded show. ▶️
- Press and release these buttons (in order) on the Tivo's remote control:
… If you've done this correctly, you should hear three chimes in a row from your TV, or wherever your speakers are. — This indicates that the feature has been enabled!
The “Advance” button on your remote will now have this behavior, which pairs nicely with the nearby-located “Instant Replay” button (a 15-second rewind) for finding the best possible spot to watch from after skipping ahead. 😎
Waiting on CableCARDs from Comcast
I requested two CableCARDs from Comcast in order to receive digital cable channels with the Tivo and to get rid of the Motorola HD DVR that I was renting from them, but they're not arriving for installation until tomorrow.
In the meantime, I tried setting the unit up using the “Cable & Antenna” option (for now) in order to try and receive some of the basic cable channels and anything available over-the-air, but I was only able to pickup a handful of channels without having a better antenna (and not the channels that I wanted as a minimum) and so I just decided to set it back to “Cable Only” mode and just wait it out until the installation was completed the following day.
Although I'm still figuring out the interface (this is my first Tivo), Comcast has set the quality bar low with their software for the Motorola cable boxes, so I doubt that I'll have any major complaints. 😅
I'll try to post again tomorrow as soon as the CableCARDs are installed. 👍🏻