My Personal Finance Journey

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A Love-Hate Week With TiVo, Part 1

Contributed by mm | May 27, 2005 7:25 AM PST

Since I tied the knot with TiVo during Christmas, the small box had been serving my family really, really well. Nowadays, we cannot think about a day without TiVo -- in the last few months, we never worried about missing 24 or American Idol. We figured out it saved us at least 100 hours this year so far, and it is well worth the subscription price of $12.95/month.

The unfortunate: our TiVo stopped working last Sunday -- the video output is still perfect but there is no audio. Upon restart, the audio will come out for about half an hour, but no more, so we began a love-hate week with TiVo:

The Hate:

As the handyman of the household, I dialed TiVo's customer service number (1-877-367-8486). To be honest, I hate all IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system that requires you to speak to browse different options; I'd rather press the number buttons. TiVo's phone system failed me a lot: "troubleshooting" was routed to "billing", and my saying of "audio" was determined to be closer to "recording." Anyway, it takes me 5 minutes to get to a technician.

I was asked to reboot the system twice and double checking all wiring. I'm not complaining -- I have an engineering background and I did all tests before I called TiVo so I am sure it's something wrong within the TiVo box -- I understand it's TiVo's process to make certain it's a TiVo problem before authorizing a return. Anyway, after 20 minutes, the technican finally concurred with me that this is indeed a TiVo issue and started to authorize a return.

Now comes the real money question. I was asked to pay $49.00 plus taxes because my box is out of its three-month no cost warranty. But, should I expect a consumer electronic equipment to only work for five months, and take the fault for its short life? Anyway, I wrote down the RMA number but I stared to have second thoughts immediately ...

This Post Has Received 6 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Brett Commented on May 27, 2005

If your cable operator offers DVR, or you are a satellite subscriber, get what they offer. I had TiVo and was a HUGE fan, switched over to my cable company's (Time Warner) DVR offering, and found that it was even better. And since it's their box, they service it.


Kris Commented on May 27, 2005

If it is the cheapest 40 hour box, you may be able to find a new one on sale for $50 after rebate. I picked up a second one at Target a month or so back for $15 after rebate and 10% off coupon. This would give you an extra remote and allow you to pull the 40 gig hard drive out of the original and re-use it. Just a thought...


Nathan Commented on May 27, 2005

In all my research, this is the biggest complaint I've heard against Tivo, the the reason I ultimately decided against getting one. Many people claimed theirs broke just outside of the warranty.

Time Warner just took over the servicing of my area (previously adelphia) so when the network is switched over I'll be subscribing to Time Warner's DVR service. Now if only they would enable DVR with HDTV I'd be all set... :-)


Dallas Commented on May 27, 2005

You can get a DVR for free through DISH Network. They have very low prices. You can't beat that deal.


TY Commented on May 27, 2005

DUDE bummer it broke so quick, if your want to fly first class stick with tivo, these cable generics will drive you nuts especially if you are used to a tivo. get an extended warranty it cheap. humax branded tivo have longer warranty. you could also buy one on ebay cheaper than retail. i've had my 80hr upgrade to 300hr for 18 months now no problems. my humax 300hr froze after 6 months and humaz replaced no problem.


Alan Commented on May 27, 2005

Ditto above, stick with Tivo. Sure you can have a substandard dvr from cable or Dish that would include servicing; but the Tivo features are not there. I moved from Dish to DirecTivo and it was almost as big an upgrade as moving from VHS to a generic DVR.

My only advice, ditch the standalone Tivo and get one thru Directv - recording quality is better, and can record two programs at once. You can get a box w/ 70 hrs for about $100. I've got one with 70 hrs and a second one with 120 and it's great.


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