For a few years now, we've insisted on using TiVo boxes on every residential job we did. It made sense back then for a few reasons, but it makes even more sense today. Not only is it easier, and more reliable, but now it will actually save you money. Less money in the cable companies pocket is always a good thing.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW
First lets start by describing what a TiVo box is. Usually, if you have Time Warner, Cablevision, Comcast, or FioS, they will rent you your cable boxes and charge you anywhere from $8/mo to $20/mo for each one. The boxes are usually low quality used hardware, that needs to be rebooted often. They have ugly interfaces, and are not modern feeling at all. The alternative to this is to purchase a TiVo box outright, and then get a cable card from your cable company to put in the TiVo. The TiVo is much higher quality, and rarely needs to be rebooted. The interface is worlds better, and has some great features that the cable boxes can't touch.
WHY IS TIVO BETTER
So what makes a TiVo box better than a regular old cable box? Besides being easier to use, faster, and being more reliable. Well its got IP (network) control, which means when integrating with a control system like crestron, or savant, we don't need to put those little black sticky emitters on the front for control. It's a more advanced way to control the box, with less failure points. When it comes to control, another great feature is that the TiVo is always on, ready to go. Compared to a cable box which shut off by themselves and are never on when you want them to be.
TiVo boxes always have great services, like netflix, hulu, amazon prime streaming, vudu, youtube and more. Having all these service is great, but whats better, is the search functionality on TiVo. When you start searching, it instantly starts providing suggestions, not only by narrowing down from the letters you type, but also sorting by popularity. You'll notice that usually when just pressing one letter, the suggestions will show you the show or movie you are looking for. Beyond that, it wont just show results from whats going to be on tv, but will also show results from all your streaming services. It's one search, for everything.
The TiVo boxes also have expandable storage through USB, MoCa networking, up to 6 digital tuners built in, and large capacity hard drives built in. They also come with really great RF remotes, that don't require pointing. They constantly are adding new features, keeping your TiVo investment up to date with modern services and features. That's not where the benefits end though.
With the TiVo app, you can remotely watch tv anywhere you are, as long as you're on wifi. That means live tv, or anything you've recorded in the past. Not only that, but you can also use the TiVo's powerful search right from the app, and schedule recordings. You can manage your recordings, deleting what you no longer need. You also have the ability to use the app as a remote, controlling every feature with dedicated buttons, or gesture areas to swipe through channels.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The first TiVo you will get is the Roamio, its a standard size box that comes is different variations. We recommend the Plus. TiVo minis were released about a year ago, and those little guys are the reason to go TIVo. The TiVo minis are really small, fit behind almost any tv, and don't require a cable card, or a monthly fee of any sort. The minis effectively extend your main TiVo Roamio. You can connect the mini to either a regular cable wire and enable MoCa, or you can connect it to a network cable. Since the Roamio Plus has 6 built in tuners, you can have 5 minis around the home all streaming live tv from the main roamio. You can have more minis connected to that main roamio, but only 6 total devices can be watching live tv at the same time. If you want to go beyond that, you can get another roamio, and double that. The beauty is that anything you record on any of the minis or on the roamio all show up as one list everywhere.
YOU SAID I COULD SAVE MONEY?
So how does that save me money? How much does it all cost? Well that depends on how many boxes you are replacing. The TiVo Roamio is $399, and each TiVo mini is $150. The only monthly costs you will face are $12.99 to TiVo (or $150 a year), and whatever that one cable card costs to rent from your cable company. Comcast gives that one card out for free, Time Warner charges close to $5 a month for it. But thats it, so if you are returning 6 cable boxes to Time Warner, you'll be saving an average of $15 a box that you return. So it depends on how many boxes you return, and how you break up that initial investment. It will cost you $1150 in hardware for 1* Roamio, and 5* minis, but you'll be saving more than $70 a month on your bill. After about 16 months, your savings kick in.
What are the downsides to Roamio, unless you have comcast or RCN, you aren't going to get On Demand services through your TiVo. You will get all the same live channels you get usually, including premiums, but without On Demand. Comcast and RCN are the only companies that plays well with TiVo in that regard. But I still think it makes sense to go TiVo, especially when adding a $69 Apple TV (or Roku, fire, etc) to each TV will give you HBO on demand, Showtime on demand and a few others. Between those services, Netflix, Hulu, and more, who needs cables on demand services.