TiVo – An Introduction
TiVo is basically a DVR, or Digital Video Recorder that lets you play cable as well as online channels on your TV. In reality, TiVo is quite a popular set top box employed by various cable companies in their respective markets. Large cable companies such as Comcast and Cox make use of TiVo as their primary DVR sets. It is different to a regular DVR or a set top box, and addresses all the issues faced by regular or ordinary DVR users. TiVo even has Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity. The remote is a standard affair with a lot of features and buttons to tap into the complete functionality of the device.
There are different models of TiVo boxes available from the TiVo store. Even the most basic version of TiVo offers a dual zone capability, which offers both web as well as cable entertainment. You can record TV shows, stream internet audio & video, store movies and you can replace your old cable set top box. The cost of a TiVo box starts at $149.99 and goes all the way up to $399.99 for the top spec model. This is just the cost for buying the box, and there is another cost for subscription, which has to be paid on a monthly basis. You can either choose your existing cable connection, or choose a new provider. It will be even better if you can find a cable service provider that offers a TiVo set top box as standard fitment as part of their cable connection and subscription.
TiVo Netflix Player Review
The main difference between TiVo and other ‘Netflix Player for TV’ devices is that TiVo is a conventional DVR with in-built internet connectivity for streaming web videos. The TiVo device can also be directly connected to the Antenna, thereby allowing you to watch channels available over the air as well. The TiVo box measures at 420 mm X 247 mm X 61 mm and weighs 6.8 lbs or 3 Kg. Hence, it is a heavy device that will neatly tuck above or underneath your TV. Don’t expect the sort of flexibility or mobility that you have come to expect from other devices such as Roku and Apple TV.
The main advantage of TiVo is that it has the ability to access and stream video as well as audio content from online media websites such as Netflix, YouTube, huluPlus, Amazon store, Pandora and much more with 1080p full HD resolution. But due to copyright and other issues, not all of these files can be stored or transferred to other devices such as mobile phones and computers. This is actually a disadvantage, comparing the price and features vis-à-vis Apple TV.
The remote is another stand-out component of TiVo. It is a standard device, and comes with all the bells and whistles that one can expect from a remote of a DVR. It can be considered to be a bit cluttered, and can be quite confusing, but being a DVR device, it is essential to have these features. However, most of the buttons will be left unused for quite a while. To choose the Tivo device to watch Netflix on TV, there are three models in the TiVo line-up, TiVo Premiere, TiVo Premiere XL and TiVo Premiere XL4.
This is the most basic package that costs $149.99. This is the cost for purchase of this product, and you have to pay extra service costs according to your subscription and monthly plans. You can choose either a $14.99 per month service plan or go for the unlimited product lifetime service that can cost you $499.99. The latter is quite expensive and will take some time to pay itself off.
Now coming back to the specifications and features, the TiVo Premiere supports both cable and web media, with up to 75 hours of HD recording and up to 650 hours of SD recording. You can access just about any video, radio channel, movie, streaming title, TV shows or broadcast by searching according to genre, actor, title, posters or date of release. You can choose to record your video through the online or mobile channel, and can also enable scheduled recording of shows.
Coming to the technical aspects of TiVo Premiere, you get 1080p HD as standard across the range of products. You get CableCARD support, 2 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, an HDMI port, a cable and antenna port, port for optical audio, and E-SATA for extendable storage. You don’t have to worry about product satisfaction, as every product from the TiVo stable offers a 30 day money-back guarantee. You also get free shipping as standard.
TiVo Premiere XL
The TiVo Premiere XL is a step up from the Premiere model. The XL model is priced at $249.99 plus the charge for services comes as extra. It offers 150 hours of HD recording, or up to 1300 hours of SD recording. The main advantage of the TiVo Premiere XL over its smaller sibling is that the XL device is THX certified for great and optimum quality. Even the remote comes as a backlit model.
TiVo Premiere XL4
This is the true powerhouse model in the line-up. It is actually worth the investment if you have decided for a TiVo DVR. Straight up, the price for the XL4 is pegged at $399.99. For this price, you get all the features of the XL and a lot more. This includes up to 300 hours of HD recording, and in terms of SD recording, you get at least 2600 hours. And if the previous models allowed for a greater amount of video recording and playback flexibility, XL4 supports 4 different channels for recording. This means that you can record 4 different shows at once using 4 different tuners.
There are a few criticisms associated with TiVo devices. For instance, the interface is not really representative of true HD. The text and windows come off as rough and irregular. The actual video viewing experience is great, but improvements in the actual interface can be a boon. And the pricing is a bit high. True, the set top box is value for money, but it is a lot more expensive than other devices in the market to watch Netflix on TV. And if you are choosing a subscription, it is even more expensive.
That being said, TiVo devices are really worth the investment when compared to the competition. The XL4 is a must have model for all Netflix enthusiasts. This device alone can really turn around the viewing experience.
Watching Netflix On TV Through TiVo Outside The US
If you reside or travel frequently outside the US, you will need to use a VPN service provider to access Netflix on TiVo. You will need to configure your router with VPN access or go through our guide on How To Unblock Netflix Outside The US On TiVo. Please browse through our list of top 10 VPN service providers to choose a VPN that suits your budget and requirements. Our personal favorite is HideMyAss!, as they offer the most comprehensive range of features for a competitive price. Using a VPN service provider is the key to unblocking and watching streaming videos from Netflix outside the US.