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  1. #1
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    TiVo options
    Nine years ago, I tried unsuccessfully to buy a TiVo DVR. More recently, we've been using the Comcast DVR.

    It's time to change, because (1) we've exchanged our Comcast DVR at least a dozen times, but it's still unreliable and erratic, and (2) the Comcast DVR costs us $69 per month.

    Let me explain that last number: we've decided that we only need basic cable ($16 per month), but in order to use a Comcast DVR we must purchase a 'digital package' that costs $60 per month extra, plus another $9 per month for the DVR (both are temporary promotional rates which will escalate after a few months).

    We decided to try TiVo again, but unfortunately the folks at TiVo are making it quite difficult. When I tried to order it online, their system told me that my credit card was being declined, but my bank reports that the transaction was authorized (three times). I tried placing a phone order, with the same result (two more authorizations by my bank, both treated as "declines" by TiVo's system).

    I've also learned that TiVo units come with very limited warranties (a 90-day warranty, even though the minimum subscription is one year), and that a "working" TiVo without a valid subscription is just a brick.

    Since TiVo won't accept any form of payment from us, we're now trying to find a used TiVo with a prepaid lifetime subscription on Craigslist (many are listed, but most are scams).

    I'd appreciate any suggestions.

  2. #2
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    What a morning. I've talked to about a dozen people at TiVo (sales agents, billing, tech support), and they are absolutely uniform in their response: there is absolutely nothing they can do, nor is there any way for them or me to reach someone who could look into this problem.

    Buying a used TiVo doesn't seem to be a viable option; I responded to about a dozen Craigslist ads offering to sell TiVos with transferable lifetime subscriptions, but none of the sellers will provide me with information TiVo demands to verify the existence or transferability of the subscription.

    FYI, I'm also remembering another reason why I'm peeved at Dell: in 2007, they sold me a computer with Windows XP Media Center Edition and a dual-tuner TV card, which has simply never worked even to view a TV signal.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador CCBerries's Avatar
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    ever thought about just getting it at a retail store? When I looked at the "Find a store" link at the bottom of their home page it listed a number of places that carry them (including amazon & tigerdirect if you have to get it online).

  4. #4
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    That's a reasonable suggestion, which I'd considered (and one TiVo staffer even suggested) -- but buying a TiVo in a store wouldn't help (as that TiVo staffer acknowledged), because I'd still need to get the subscription from TiVo.com, which requires a credit card.

    The only way to avoid the TiVo payment system would be to purchase a used TiVo that already has a paid-up lifetime subscription.

    Unfortunately, none of the prospective Craigslist sellers offering used "TiVos with lifetime subscriptions" are willing to provide me with the information TiVo needs to verify that there really is a valid transferable lifetime subscription associated with the device (most of these folks are probably just con artists).
    Last edited by markwelch; June 16th, 2010 at 03:52 PM.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador CCBerries's Avatar
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    how about getting a Tivo gift service card from a third party? (are they in with all the other gift cards at the supermarkets?). Or just a generic Visa gift card.

    I guess the other question is what caused TiVo to decline the card when the bank said it was OK, but usnless you are talking to someone on the technical/back end at Tivo you may never know.

  6. #6
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    I'm adding funds to a PayPal account which has a debit card attached, and once the funds clear (on Monday, I assume), I will try using that to make the purchase. If it works, I'll need to make sure that the PayPal account is funded every month to cover the subscription fee.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager bcwaller's Avatar
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    I think you will learn to love the TiVo, but there is a learning curve.

    Also, fees may not change that much unless you get service over the air. If you still use Comcast, you will need one or two cableCARDs, which they will rent to you (OK, they are legally obligated to, but sometimes tell you they can't).

    My parents use a TiVo and a good HD antenna on the roof and are happy. You can go to http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/Address.aspx and see what they say about the signal you can get where you are and what antenna you might need.

    I like cable shows, so I pay Verizon for FiOS, cable cards, etc. I'm not sure if it is cheaper, but the TiVo is far superior to any DVR supplied by a service that I have every had.

    You can get PyTivo (http://pytivo.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/PyTivo) for a Mac and PC which makes your computer look like another TiVo. You can use Vuze (http://www.vuze.com/), a bittorent client, which also lets you view shows from your computer on your TiVo. Not that I would advocate illegal downloading of content.

    Finally, check out the forum for TiVo users which might help in dealing with Comcast.
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/
    Brad Waller | VP, Business and Affiliate Development
    EPage.com

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager ParadigmWilliam's Avatar
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    Most won't give out that info because then you could just transfer it to your account.

    Did you try eBay. I still have a Series 2 with lifetime that I haven't used in a year. It works great but been so busy I never get around to watch TV anymore.
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