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1,011 of 1,090 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Previously not eligible for Lifetime Service before May 19th, 2011. No parental controls in HD Menus
**** UPDATED: March 26th, 2012 ****

1) After my original review was written I was contacted by TiVo executive customer service that wanted to offer me the chance to purchase Lifetime service on my new Premiere. But I'd already shipped it back to Amazon. I did get the name and number of the gentleman who contacted me though, who promised they would make good on...
Published on November 20, 2010 by Hodor

versus
818 of 856 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars TiVo Vs. Cable DVR
Tivo is something I didn't really understand at first on how different it is from a regular Cable DVR. I understand really well how cable technologies work with my degree in Computer Networking as well working for Level 3 support at my local cable company. I read all the reviews on this TiVo box and it was somewhat puzzleing. Some of these reviews do seem to be one...
Published on July 5, 2010 by Chozomaster747


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818 of 856 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars TiVo Vs. Cable DVR, July 5, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
Tivo is something I didn't really understand at first on how different it is from a regular Cable DVR. I understand really well how cable technologies work with my degree in Computer Networking as well working for Level 3 support at my local cable company. I read all the reviews on this TiVo box and it was somewhat puzzleing. Some of these reviews do seem to be one sided...either a huge grudge against the cable company, a huge grudge against TiVo, or they just love everything. I'm going to play neutral and try to break it down so that is may seemed more central opinion.

I have owned my TiVo for a few weeks, and right now there really isn't too much a difference between it and my Cable DVR. The main thing is, if you want to save money in the long run...and I mean a long long run, the TiVo is a better deal. If you want stuff to work right away, the Cable DVR is the best way to go. Here are my reasons why:

Cost: The cost of the TiVo is expensive, but can be worth it in the long run. Most Cable DVRs run between $15-$20. My Time Warner Cable HD DVR is $17 and runs with no problems. Now, if you think that just buying a TiVo will save you money, well, look at all the other added costs. You will need to get a MultiStream CableCard from your cable company and they most likely aren't free. Mine is $2.85/month, and make sure when the technician comes out to install it, that it needs to be a MultiStream CableCard and not a Single Stream. Single Streams will not work with this box and you'll just have to wait longer for your box to start receiving digital channels. Also you'll need to get a service plan with TiVo. Tivo has monthly plans starting at $15/month (add that to the cable card and now you're not saving any money because it now cost as much per month for the TiVo as your CableDVR did), or you can choose quarterly, yearly, or get it over with with one payment. If you going for cost, you mind as well just pay it off all together right away. So, $299 for the DVR + $399 for the lifetime service plan =$700 one time charge. Now do the math. 700 divided by 17 is about 41 months. It will take 41 months to match what you're paying for with your cable DVR. Hence, if you're going for cost, don't plan on upgrading the box for a long time, because you're just going to be losing money.
Winner on Cost: Both- Depends if you're okay on keeping a box for about 4 years or not without an upgrade.

Time: The time to get a TiVo fully functional is a process that takes weeks. You need to have your TiVo set up and ready to go before the cable guy comes out to install the cablecard. Then after your cablecard is set up, as long as you don't live in a Switched Digital Video (SDV) area, you're ready to go. If you live in SDV area, you'll need to sign up for a Tuning adapter through your cable company (their free if you have Time Warner Cable). Mine will be shipped to me when one comes available, hence I don't have it yet. Without this box, you won't be able to watch all your channels. SDV works by turning TV streams off that are not in use, so if no one is watching BBCHD, and you want to watch it on your TiVo box without the Tuning Adapter, you won't be able to watch it. Call your cable company to see if this is needed if you think about going this route.
Also, the TiVo takes a long time to download the guide and set your channels on initial set up, so don't be in a hurry. It takes about 1.5-2hrs for the TiVo to install everything.
Winner on Time: Cable DVR

Content: I think TiVo wins this category big time. With Amazon on Demand, as well as HD streaming from Netflix, its really nice. The only problem is that if you subscribe to premium channels like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, or Starz, you're not going to get their On Demands like standard cable customers get for free with their subscriptions. Amazon On Demand has more choices and better prices than Cable On Demand. Their have been reviews on here that say you can not watch your Amazon On Demands right when you order it...this is false. You have to give it about 2-3 min to download enough content, then you'll be able to start watching it (as long as you have high speed Internet about or above 7Mbps).
Winner on Content: TiVo

Interface: I'm very partial to both interfaces. My Cable DVR has a nice looking interface, but its harder to navigate all the settings and options. The TiVo interface is rough. The guide isn't a clear as I would have thought for an HD Box. You can see the letters are fuzzier than HD quality should be. Both boxes fail at using the remote to search for programming. It takes forever to type in a show, or log into YouTube off the TiVo. I wish either one would develop a Wii concept for better interaction. The TiVo's is better at interacting with you. TiVo will help you find suggestions for your programming you like with the ratings on which you give each show. Plus, you can choose what to record off of TiVo's website, which is really nice. I know the cable companies will soon be coming out with this, but as of this review, they aren't out yet.
Winner of Interface: Tivo

Extra Features: So, each box has its special features. My Cable DVR has Caller ID on TV which is really nice and can't be done on the TiVo. Also, Cable On Demands and Pay Per Views will not work at all on a TiVo until they become Tru2Way compliant. TiVo's extra features include access to online vendors like YouTube and Netflix. The other really nice thing that TiVo comes with is the ability to transfer your recored shows to your computer so you can burn them to DVDs if you so wish. This is a very nice feature to have especially when you do networking like me. So, if you can give up Caller ID on TV and your Cable On Demands, then you'll be fine with the TiVo. Also, TiVo does have multi room viewing, but you'll need to have multiple TiVo's in order to do this.
Extra Features Winner: TiVo

Customer Support: Either way, if you have to contact either the Cable Company or TiVo for customer support due to technical issues, you'll probably won't be happy. We as Americans want our stuff fixed and working now, not until the box can be replaced or a tech to come out. So, you'll have to put these grudges aside for now. Remember, you own your TiVo box. After you buy it, you're responsible for it. You break it, its your fault. TiVo will be more than willing to help you with your box issues, but if it is broken by a power surge or a natural disaster in your house, its your fault, not theirs so remember that before you call up and and start screaming. If you have your Cable DVR, if anything ever happened to it, its owned by the cable company. They'll take their box back and give you another, normally within a days notice.
Winner of Customer Service: Cable DVR

So, in summery, its about a 50/50 match. If you prefer light monthly costs, Time, and Support, its better to have the Cable Company's DVR. If you prefer on the Interface, Extra Features, and not upgrading your box for 4 years, then the TiVo is a good direction to go. All in all, I give this box 3/5 stars and if you do decide on getting it, I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine.
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1,011 of 1,090 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Previously not eligible for Lifetime Service before May 19th, 2011. No parental controls in HD Menus, November 20, 2010
By 
Hodor (Raleigh, NC) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
**** UPDATED: March 26th, 2012 ****

1) After my original review was written I was contacted by TiVo executive customer service that wanted to offer me the chance to purchase Lifetime service on my new Premiere. But I'd already shipped it back to Amazon. I did get the name and number of the gentleman who contacted me though, who promised they would make good on the offer if I changed my mind in the future. At the time I was doing a number of major household renovations, but I did eventually buy a Premiere in March, 2011, and TiVo Executive service allowed me to purchase the Lifetime service. I was NOT allowed to transfer it from my old Tivo, but I was able to sell that unit so it was a decent deal.

2) On May 19th, 2011, Tivo revised their Payment Plans policy to allow TiVo Lifetime service to be purchased on "retail" units for a $499 price-tag.

3) I've been using the Premiere XL for just over a year now and it's a reliable unit, with all the usual TiVo service offerings. The biggest disappointment about it is the HD (Hi-Def) support for the interface. Only the main menu and a few sub-menus are presented in HD. For many functions you use routinely including seeing up Season Passes, Wishlists, changing settings and more, it switches back to SD (Standard Def) menus, which actually slows things down since you have to wait for the TiVo to switch resolutions and of course your TV or AV Receiver to catch-up. They came out with a recent new software release that does expand the HD support a bit but really, it's absurd how much of the old interface system is used (probably around 75 to 80%). Also, when you have HD menus activated, absoilutely NO PARENTAL CONTROLS ARE AVAILABLE. That's right, No KidZone and not even the basic Parental Controls!! I was pretty stunned by this. Since I have a child who prefers to use KidZone and I don't want them just randomly watching whatever happens to be on, I just keep HD menus turned-off. You can still record and watch HD programming using the SD menus, so it's not a total loss. But it is very important to realize when buying the HD Premiere you realize that the HD menus are superficial layers and that if you have kids, you probably won't be able to use them anyways.
(Switching between HD and SD menus is moderately tedious as well because if you do have Parental Controls you have to turn them off before you can switch to HD)

All that being said, I've changed my rating from 1 star to 4 stars. TiVo did finally change their policies (I wasn't aware of it sooner), and I've had the unit for a year and it's performed fine. We get plenty of use out of it.

####################################################################################################################################################################

We're longtime Tivo users and have always gotten Lifetime service (aka Product Lifetime Service aka PLS) on our Tivo units. I'm a big fan of the Tivo interface and features, the reliability of the units, etc.

What Tivo and Amazon have done here, however, is a shameless bait-and-switch that is going to have me filing a complaint to the FTC, writing off to Consumerist and of course leaving this one-star review.

When I tried to activate the new HD Tivo, I was only offered one option: A 1-year subscription at $19.99 a month. Period. Nothing else.

- I can't pre-pay for a year, even at full price
- I can't commit to more than one year
- I can't go month-to-month AT ANY PRICE
- I can't add Product Lifetime Service, not even at the full $399 price

Even as an existing Tivo customer, I'm given NO other option. Hell, I can't even transfer my existing PLS to the new unit, SOMETHING I AM WILLING TO PAY MONEY FOR.

Me : "Hey Tivo, do you want $400?"
Tivo: "DERP"
Me : "No, really, I want to give you a bunch of my money. Here, take this wad of cash--"
Tivo: "DEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRP!" *sets cash on fire*

When I talked to Caitlin in Tivo's Activation department, she said that all of the units sold at these reduced prices (i.e. through Blockbuster, Best Buy, Amazon, etc) are ineligible for anything but the crappy, single service rate. It is part of a promotion being done during the holidays, which ends Dec. 31st, 2010. Caitlin also said that Tivo "may" offer other options after the 1 year commitment is up, but I am absolutely not going to buy into that without a written guarantee that I would be able to get PLS.

I will add that Caitlin was at all times professional and courteous, and I could tell from her tone that she's had to deal with more than a few stunned customers like me.

I am also very annoyed at Amazon.com for deceiving customers. No where in the description of the item or during the purchasing process was I told that I could only do a monthly plan. Under technical specifications, they merely say "Monthly service plan required". Well yes, of course you must have a service plan to use a Tivo. But what they actually mean is "ONLY MONTHLY SERVICE PLAN AVAILABLE". Tivo's own website also glosses over this, except buried deep into the payment plans option:

################################
2.1.2 When purchasing a TiVo Premiere box from a third party retailer at $99.99 (includes an instant $200 savings off MSRP) for the TiVo Premiere box or $299.99 (includes an instant $200 savings off MSRP) for the TiVo Premiere XL box, you may only subscribe to the TiVo Service on a monthly basis for $19.99 a month with a one (1) year commitment (renews monthly after one year).
################################

More than likely I will be returning this unit to Amazon, as it is completely useless to me. I may consider going through Tivo's upgrade program, but I will also be considering going to the DVR service offered by my cable company. After all, I was already planning to upgrade to digital cable and the DVR will be built into the cable box, and it'll only cost me $7 or $8 a month. I stand to save $230 that way.

In summary, if you buy this highly-discounted unit you will HAVE to pay an additional $240 over the course of one year in $19.99 increments. No other option exists, even if you are already a Tivo customer. And you have no guarantee you will EVER be allowed to get Lifetime Service, EVER.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Some level of customer service would be nice, June 16, 2010
By 
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
The box itself is great, pity the Comcast on Demand doesn't work which may have stopped me getting it if I had known but it's their customer service that really would stop me ever considering one of their products again.

The first unit I had was an out-of-box failure, BBY did their best & replaced it as soon as they could but it wasn't the greatest first experience.

The second unit worked great until I was in the middle of the England US world cup game and it decided enough was enough & stopped working. 4 pizzas, lots of beer & 8 guys all looking at a green screen explaining that there has been a major fault detected with the unit.

So I phone Tivo - the first guy was obviously just following the script but I was told I had to pay to return their faulty product (policy on their website) & they would not ship me a return unit until they had it & then it would ship 5 to 7 business days - when you do not have a functioning TV & it's because their $300 box you might think they would be keen to get you a replacement sooner (oh I could have paid $300 to get them to pre ship it in about a week but that, in my opinion, is ridiculous).

Having been put through to a supervisor and been given the same run-around I asked to speak to a manager. I was told that his manager and above do not talk to customers - wow, arrogant & insulting after all it's folk like me who's money pays their wages.

Eventually we managed to agree that they would send me a shipping label so at least I didn't have to pay to ship it back, that never arrived despite several emails back to them so I was forced to pay it myself - if it's a deliberate delaying tactic it's good, worked on me - how desperate is he to have his TV working? - maybe he'll save us the shipping cost if we don't respond immediately - they have subsequently promised to refund the cost after I suggested my TV-free time may be spent writing reviews - we'll see.

I was also promised next day return but I somehow feel that may have been to get me off the phone and is very unlikely to happen.

The real kicker in all this though was the sheer gall to refuse to refund a portion of the pre-paid service fee to cover the time that the box is out of commission. To suggest that the quality of the box they build was actually Best Buys responsibility because they sold it to me (btw it's outside the 30 days but inside 90 days so I didn't even try BBY) and then say that I am still receiving the service they provide (despite the fact that the box does not work) was incredible. I wait to find out whether or not I actually see that - not going to hold my breath (especially as it will take between 2 & 3 weeks to get a replacement).

Addendum to this.

My Tivo has typically worked well enough since I finally got one that did work, the occasional inexplicable power down which takes about 10 minutes to reboot from but that is not enough to annoy me.

What is however is their customer service once more. I had the free software application they provided and used it regularly but having had a problem with my PC I found that the software had been removed while it was fixed I was surprised to see that the software was now $15 (PC version, MAC was still free - not sure why Tivo think MAC users are more important/valuable to them but it appears they do).

When I inquired they informed me that the software was no longer supported and that to get the same features that I had before I had PC problems they will allow me to pay them $15 for the privilege (I can cope with it no longer being supported but still give me the now unsupported version, the one I got when I bought my Tivo)

I have Comcast DVR in a different room, unless Tivo address this I will have it in both and will not be renewing my subscription (apparently my Tivo does not include the same features it used to but I bet the subscription price doesn't drop by $15).

TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR #Black)TiVo TCD748000 Premiere XL DVR (Black)
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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT a deal given TIVO subscription changes, November 14, 2010
By 
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
Tivo just changed their service plan and discounted the tivo box price. So in other words, anyone that buys this box is locked into a $20 a month plan with no option for lifetime subscription plan. Not such a good deal after all! Talk about sticking it to the consumers. . . .
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New Tivo $20/month service plan required., November 14, 2010
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
Missing from description.

The new lower price comes with a catch.

A new Tivo service plan for one year at $20 / month is required.
The lifetime service plan is no longer offered on the unit sold through retailers.
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96 of 109 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buggy Interface lacking almost any additional features over Tivo HD, April 6, 2010
By 
W. C. Morrison (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
As a Tivo HD user, I pre ordered the Tivo Premiere on spec, and am unfortunately paying the price. This has almost no new features, period. The UI has been revamped, but once you get 2 or so menus deep, you almost always end up back at the old UI, which is a jarring and ugly experience. Even browsing web videos, youtube and netflix are all in the old Tivo HD format, further hammering home the nothing new here feeling. I would say about 35% of the UI has been revamped, the rest is being "worked on". That statement comes up alot in discussions of this unit. I was excited about Pandora on the Tivo Premiere, however that is being "worked on", expected in the 2nd half of 2010. I am told the lag the new interface has is being "worked on", while it is a multi core processor, Tivo Premiere does not have it enabled. While switching between the old menus and new menu's my tivo rebooted without notice, cutting off both programs. Oh yeah, did I mention it still only has 2 tuners. This unit does have alot of promise, but this is a glorified beta test unit. Having been a Tivo series 1 then a Tivo HD customer, I expected similar enhancements in a new generation. I cannot find one feature, even the new menu's were available to Tivo HD units in a beta form. not one reason at all for a current Tivo HD customer to upgrade. Like I said, this unit has promise, but only time will tell. For now, I am not impressed, nor do I feel it was even remotely worth the money.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible product -- even worse customer support., August 15, 2010
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
Used to be a devoted tivo customer but not any more. This DVR arrived malfunctioning out of the box. Couldn't get the HD menus to turn on, also couldn't enable video downloads. Spent many hours on the phone with technical support. Their answer is for you to wait for future, unspecified software updates that "might" fix the problem. They expect you to endure a kind of open ended, unlimited trouble shooting process. Even if everything is operating I could tell that tivo is cutting corners. Not nearly as elegant as they used to be and VERY SLOW. Perhaps they are using junk components to save money. ... Anyway I was never able to get the DVR fully functioning and tivo wanted me to wait another five days for some other tech person to work on the issue. I had been troubleshooting for two weeks and some forty hours of phone time (no exaggeration!). I finally gave up and asked to ship the unit back for a full refund. Even though it was broken they required ME to pay return shipping and got nasty about it in the process. WHAT A TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE!
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glad we upgraded!, April 2, 2011
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
We had previously been using a Tivo Series 3 HD unit (upgraded from a Series 2) until it finally died about a month ago. To be fair, the unit was operating 24/7 and we used it quite heavily, so it was probably only a matter of time before something was going to give (probably the hard disk in this case). Being a long-time Tivo customer, I contacted their support and they quickly issued me a replacement box and allowed me to upgrade to a refurbished Tivo Premiere unit.

The box arrived in a few days, we had the cable company come out to install our digital Cablecard Readers (that was a fiasco but certainly not the fault of Tivo, only the cable company), and we had it up and running. We really like the new interface and the options that it gives us. Some of it is taking a little bit of getting used to since we were accustomed to the old menu screens and way of doing this, but it didn't take long to adjust (Note: old menu screens are available if you really don't like the new ones).

Our Premiere unit has been running for a little over a month now like a champ, and we've had no issues except for a couple of system freezes (which very likely could have been caused by the cablecard readers). The HD picture is gorgeous and we can record two shows while watching a third simultaneously. We can also stream movies and videos from Netflix, Amazon, Youtube, etc., and link the unit to our home network PCs for further file access and streaming.

Overall, we're extremely happy to be Tivo customers and have this unit. It is so much better than what most cable companies offer to their customers. Also, definitely consider getting a wireless adapter (and a router if you aren't set up with a network) so that you can unlock all of the features of your Tivo Premiere. We're also considering getting one of the new Slide Remote controls (with a QWERTY keyboard), but we're shopping around for the best price or waiting until the price comes down since it is still so new.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE, November 16, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
Why are you only paying $99. You are required to sign up for a 1 year contract and at the premium price with no discounts allowed for multiple units. ... I've looked several times to see if this info listed on Amazon and couldn't find anything. I checked at the TiVo site also and couldn't locate anything. I was very dissatisfied that I didn't know this before purchase.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Evolutionary not revolutionary., April 27, 2010
By 
Chad (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model) (Electronics)
While I enjoy the new box size and look. It's obvious by now to anyone who read a review the HD menu which is supposed to have made this the great and wonderful new box is not ready for prime time.

The new HD interface is slow, unstable and incomplete. It is by definition a "BETA" still. I would not recommend using it as your primary interface until it is completed. Luckily there is the option to run the legacy "SD" interface TIVO is known for until that happens. But that effectively eliminates the reason for upgrading. It is essentially a Series 3 hd in a new form factor with a bigger hard drive, all other features on this new box are already available there.

If you don't already own a TIVO and need a HD cable box with DVR then this is a great choice, just use the SD menu. If you already own a TIVO series 3 HD box save your money, there is nothing here to justify a 300 dollar upgrade and the time involved to set it up and deal with the bugs.

I quite frankly can't believe with all the competition Tivo has they could leave out what should be standard features in 2010 and justify the cost/fees involved.

PROS:
New box design and look.
More recording time from last series.
New HD interface that displays a lot of good info about the shows you have.(when its finished)
New hardware processor etc
USB keyboard support
netflix streaming support (existing feature)
amazon movies on demand support (existing feature)
blockbuster (existing feature)
Ability to transfer shows to home pc or home server (existing feature)
Ability to set recording of new shows etc via the tivo website (existing feature)

Cons:
No built in wifi. You have to buy a very expensive and unattractive wifi adapter. Most of us don't have an Ethernet connection to our entertainment center so this is a must have for most of us. Add 40 - 90 dollars to your cost. You can get blue ray players for less then 300 now with built in wifi. This was just a cheap nickel and dime you decision on tivo's part.
45 hours of HD recording time. In the day of 2TB hard drives tivo puts in a 320GB (yes you can upgrade to XL but why? The XL should have a 2TB). Look forward to paying for a branded tivo extender drive from WD if you want more.
Still the monthly fee PER BOX unless you want to pay lifetime, 300 to 400 dollars per box.
Look forward to being blasted by commercial company ads on the tivo itself especially in the HD interface.
Cable cards is a real pain and they do not offer tru2way. That means no "on demand" from the cable company. Also look forward to the service fee to have these installed, in addition to a possible monthly fee as well.
If you have multiple tivo's there is no over network streaming, you have to transfer a show from one to the other and its slow, real slow especially for shows in HD.
No ability to re download a rented movie (even if you haven't watched it yet on amazon movie on demand. That means if the download goes bad, which is very possible with a unit that locks up this much, you can't download it again without repurchasing it.
New hardware, but I see no performance difference if anything its slower then series 3. Dual core processor but the software doesn't support multiple threads yet to actually use it,(for stability reasons according to tivo, once again proving this box was not ready for release.)

Overall the Tivo premiere is a buggy, expensive mess. You quite simply do not get what you pay for/continue to pay for on a monthly basis. You can tell tivo isn't there for its customers, its there to make money and it shows with this latest box. It was rushed to market and its as cheap as it can possibly be.

I am disappointed, but overall I see the potential in a year. And personally I don't want to deal with the cable company again to get my old tivo re setup.

Tivo should of waited to release this or at least made it extremely clear the HD menu is not ready for prime time instead of touting it as a finished product. It clearly is not and it shows with the reviewers feedback all over the tech community.
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TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR, Black (2010 Model)
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