In March, TiVo began selling the all-new TiVo Premiere, a new DVR box with all-new hardware and software. I picked mine up at Best Buy the first day they were available. There are already several good general TiVo Premiere reviews out there, including Engadget and Gizmodo. So, this review will really be directed to current Comcast subscribers who are using the Comcast / Scientific Atlanta / Cisco DVRs, mainly in the Houston market … because that was my situation before upgrading to the TiVo box.
First, the price: I spent $400.50, and that included the TiVo Premiere box (NOT the XL), the wireless adapter (so that I could connect it to my wireless network), and tax. Probably could’ve saved a few dollars in tax by ordering from TiVo or Amazon, but I really wanted it the first day it was available.
Installation: A breeze. It took about an hour, and that included downloading updates. Here’s a KEY POINT for Comcast customers: BEFORE you buy the TiVo, goto your nearest Comcast store and pick up a CableCard. They won’t charge you anything for it (at least not in the Houston market.) Don’t turn in your DVR box yet, just get the cable card so you’ll already have it ready when you get your TiVo.
Hardware: Much MUCH better than the Comcast DVR. Looks better, and it is silent compared to the fan and the hard drive in my old Comcast / Cisco box. Also, the remote control is MUCH better.
Software: Again, I’m comparing this to what’s offered by Comcast in the Houston market. I have no idea why I waited so long to upgrade. This user interface is so very much better than what Comcast has. Trust me. It’s full HD, so it uses all of the screen space on your HDTV. No more horrendous black bars on either side when you press GUIDE or INFO. Also, it just works better. “Season Pass” works better than the Comcast equivalent. And, since I’ve been using it, it hasn’t cut off the end of a show (except once when American Idol bumped the end of Glee by four minutes.) Seriously, if you’re a Houston Comcast subscriber, you really owe it to yourself to upgrade to this box. In the long run, it doesn’t cost any more, since you’re paying monthly for the Comcast box, which you can cancel once you get the TiVo set up. Yes, there is a montly TiVo subscription, but it balances out. You get so much more, that it really makes it worth it.
Service: TiVo Premiere doesn’t have access to the Comcast OnDemand (pay per view) shows. However, it has many many more choices, because, if you set it up on your wireless network, you will have access to your Netflix queue, and to Amazon’s on demand library. Plus, YouTube and all of the content that you already have on your network. And most everything is in HD. What isn’t HD is upscaled very nicely. I was very impressed with the quality of YouTube videos on my 47″ LCD using the new Premiere box. Loads quickly. Search is a little cumbersome, but TiVo is releasing a new remote that includes a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, which will fix the slow search process. (For an extra charge, of course.)
Bottom Line: Worth the money. Especially now, since the price has come down a little already … Go here to order at Amazon or read the Amazon reviews.