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First off, I don't work for Tivo, I'm just a happy customer. Second, I had the same problem with the Tivo at first and it kept me away from them for YEARS. Why buy the hardware and then pay? Well, there are a few things to consider and after having Tivo for several months now, I HAPPILY pay that fee.
1) Program Guide … see more
First off, I don't work for Tivo, I'm just a happy customer. Second, I had the same problem with the Tivo at first and it kept me away from them for YEARS. Why buy the hardware and then pay? Well, there are a few things to consider and after having Tivo for several months now, I HAPPILY pay that fee.
1) Program Guide - This seems like a simple thing, but Tivo does so much more with the program guide, finding shows, recording options, etc. All quite remarkable with Tivo. No more worrying about time/date/channel. Just pick a show, Tivo finds it and records it for you. It's a smart schedule, not just a standard time based schedule.
2) Software Updates - The Tivo is going to be your friend for years, and you want the latest software. Funding that development takes money. Sure, you paid for the hardware, but that really only covers the R&D and the actual hardware itself. Just like your smartphone and other things, they have to pay for ongoing development somehow. Smartphone manufacturers just refuse to support the hardware after 18-24 months to force you into a new one, and that's how they get away with not charging you. Tivo wants you to keep your box for years to come.
3) Think about what you're saving. If you're a cable customer, like I am, the savings can be huge. I have 3 TVs, but I'm a bachelor so I can really only watch one at a time. So I had 3 HD DVRs @ $15/mth, 3 Premium Channel packages @ $10/mth, with a $10/mth up charge on the secondary / tertiary DVR for the premium channels. So that's $95/mth. Now I bought a Tivo Roamio Pro and two Mini units and I'm at $8/mth for the cable card, $30 for the premium channels, and $15/mth for the Tivo service. (The Mini units DO NOT require a subscription). So $53/mth total, $42/mth savings. That's $504/year, or the entry price of the Roamio. Within 18 months, Tivo has paid for itself. With all that being said, I had regular DVRs, X1 would have added another $10/mth per TV and an install charge and Tivo still has more features than X1. With the X1 math, it's $72/mth in savings, or $864/year. Which is more than my Roamio Pro + 2x Tivo Mini cost. :)
Now toss in the Smart TV integration. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify, etc, and you've got a great platform. Sure, other boxes offer streaming, but Tivo is integrated into the guide. Find a show and it finds it across all services like the Roku does. It's pretty epic. Shows you what's out there on all of your available sources, and lets you turn off the sources you don't subscribe to so you don't get a cluttered guide with stuff you can't get anyway. Also, if you're a Comcast customer, you get Xfinity on Demand built into Tivo. It's tricky to get it to work the first time, but it's a Comcast problem. Once they correctly set up your account, the Tivo end works fine.
Last but not least, the Roamio Premier / Pro have 6 tuners, and the Mini looks and works the same way as the main unit, so there's no reason not to get a Roamio Pro and slap on Mini units for the rest of your TVs, where you'll have access to all of your shows, all of your streaming services, etc. It really is all that it's cracked up to be.
So yes, I'm officially a Tivo fan boy now, but everyone I've convinced to try it out has thanked me. It's a great platform. I kept all of the best parts of Comcast (On-Demand, etc), lost the worst part (ridiculous equipment rental fees), and gained so much more (streaming, better mobile device support, etc) than I had. I'll happily buy a new Tivo every 3 years if I have to and gladly fork out the $15/mth for their service.
I hope this answers your "Why do I need to pay TIVO" question. I tried to keep the overzealous attitude to a minimum. :) see less

By Ed Presutti on February 16, 2015
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Yes unless you have a TiVo box from your tv provider. Only Netflix and YouTube work on tv provider TiVos
By Gian Carlo Sosa on August 10, 2014
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No - this TiVo is for Digital Cable ONLY.
By Diacritical on January 12, 2014
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If you have a Tivo Premiere (Series 4; any model) or a Tivo HD (Series 3), the Roamio Pro is a nice upgrade. If you are upgrading from a Series 4 model, the HD menu speed and responsiveness is great. Record 6 shows and Stream to tablet or outside home. Streaming from another location, like on vacation or at a relative'… see more If you have a Tivo Premiere (Series 4; any model) or a Tivo HD (Series 3), the Roamio Pro is a nice upgrade. If you are upgrading from a Series 4 model, the HD menu speed and responsiveness is great. Record 6 shows and Stream to tablet or outside home. Streaming from another location, like on vacation or at a relative's house, is a work in progress. see less
By Mark Twain on January 9, 2014
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No cable only. Sorry
By Peter K. Richter on July 28, 2014
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I have had prior TiVo's Series 2, Series 3 and now Series 4. They start to have hard drive failures after every 2-3 years. I got lifetime subscription at first but decided not worth it if want latest features on each upgrade and the fact hard drives tend to only last 2-3 years. On Series 4 now have the clue is unexpec… see more I have had prior TiVo's Series 2, Series 3 and now Series 4. They start to have hard drive failures after every 2-3 years. I got lifetime subscription at first but decided not worth it if want latest features on each upgrade and the fact hard drives tend to only last 2-3 years. On Series 4 now have the clue is unexpected reboots at first and now some programs (3 today) only recorded the fist 1 minute and then ended. From all I've read most likely sign of hard drive going again. Yes can be replaced but more of a cost and hassle vs starting over with latest version like now Series 5. see less
By Dave in Phoenix on December 27, 2014
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I had has 2 HD Tivo XLs before upgrading. Comcast (I am in Chicago) sent me a new cable card so I would be able to receive all 6 tuners. It is an incredible upgrade.....I love it! I also just spoke to Tivo and was told that they currently working on partnering with Google so that the streaming features and other opti… see more I had has 2 HD Tivo XLs before upgrading. Comcast (I am in Chicago) sent me a new cable card so I would be able to receive all 6 tuners. It is an incredible upgrade.....I love it! I also just spoke to Tivo and was told that they currently working on partnering with Google so that the streaming features and other options that are only for Apple devices now will hopefuly soon work with Android phones and tablets. :) see less
By Suzanne S. on November 18, 2013
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Yes, I purchased one in December for 599.00
By Amazon Customer on April 4, 2016
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I reached out to TiVo to get an answer to your question. You cannot install Apps onto your TiVo.
By Remy on September 16, 2015
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Amazon Instant Video is available on this unit. This unit records from cable so you will need Comcast or some similar type service.
By Abt Electronics on March 20, 2015 SELLER