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Discussing the DCT-6412, Home Theater Devices, Entertainment, Celebrity and the Cable Industry. Not affiliated with any Cable Company, Hardware Manufacturer or Software Developer.



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#1 12-26-2006 1:25:08 AM

J-Mac
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From: Ridley Park, PA
Registered: 07-11-2005
Posts: 34
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Tivo vs. Comcast Moto 6412 DVR?

Frank,

I know that you are a long-time Tivo user, and that you also are very familiar with the Comcast DVRs - including those that I have, the Moto 6412 2-tuner boxes.

As you know there is never an end to the frustration with the Comcast boxes! Every now and then I take a look at Tivo's site and wonder if it would be an upgrade at all to pick up one of their boxes and hook it up at home. Then I read for a while in their forum and see that there are a lot of their customers raising the roof over there. Of course I'm sure that it is a whole different set of complaints, whether about the service (Tivo's) or the equipment. But as someone with three of the Comcast boxes to curse at daily, I'm keenly aware of the problems with these boxes!

Since you now have both boxes at your place, how do they compare? If you favor Tivo at all over the Comcast box, I might try one, along with Tivo service, and replace one Comcast box to see how I like it.

Advantages with Tivo? Disadvantages? Can I use the Tivo box to control the digital box & TV? (Though I'm almost certain it would not help the DVR remote lag issue! That one is close to permanent.)

Can I record from Tivo directly to a PC? A DVD Recorder? I'm not looking for a cheap alternative to DVDs - I can already record them on my PC and burn onto DVD. Before the Comcast DVR's that's how I used to record programs for my wife. Since she refuses to watch a movie on the PC, I had to burn them, but that ties up a hefty piece of my PC's CPU resources for a couple hours, so I use the DVR for her shows now. But we still miss some shows: Both drives recording and someone changes the channel... Aarrgh! Or occasionally when recording two shows, one simply will not stand for the other recording at the same time; insists I change the channel and cancel one recording. Anyway, I am familiar with any Comcast DVR issues. What benefit does the Tivo have over it?

Thanks.

Last edited by J-Mac (12-26-2006 1:25:52 AM)


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#2 12-26-2006 10:21:52 AM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Re: Tivo vs. Comcast Moto 6412 DVR?

Here's some background...I have a 2 tuner Series 2 Tivo and the Motorola 6412.  Previous to the Series 2 Tivo I had a Series 1 that died on me this year.  As far as technology, I'd say my Tech Savvy is "Slightly Above Average." As a reference, I have never modded a Tivo to the point where it does extra stuff, but I have added an extra hard drive (to my original TiVo). So I'm not a "My VCR blinks 12:00" kind of guy, but I'm by no means a serious mod expert.

Series 2 TiVo does not do HD.  That's a deal breaker.  No ifs, ands or buts.  If HD were not an issue, I would highly recommend the TiVo I have with it's Home Media Options such as being able to transfer recordings to my PC and being able to transfer ANY mpeg2 recording with mp2 audio from the PC to the TiVo.

The Series 3 Tivo does do HD, but it's price is prohibitive and it does not currently do the transferring that I refer to above.  Also, you'll need a cablecard to use it for cable-based HD, which sounds like a pain in the neck especially since Comcast appears to have a vested interest in preventing you from using it or at least making it very difficult.

With TiVo, there is of course no OnDemand.

You can use your TiVo to operate your digital cable box.  I used to use my Series 1 in conjunction with a Stand Alone DirecTV box. With DirecTV, there was the option of using a Serial connection to operate the Sat Box, which worked flawlessly. I first had it hooked up using the IR blaster to operate the DirecTV box, which was spotty.

With my Series 2 TiVo, I can take recordings and put them onto the PC.  They're in TiVo proprietary format, but it's only one step (using freeware program Directshow Dump) to strip the TiVo wrapper (in just a few minutes) and convert to pure MPEG 2 for burning to DVD.

If TiVo Series 3 were more reasonably priced AND did the home media transfers AND I had no use for OnDemand, I'd have it instead of the Comcast DVR.  As it is, I cannot recommend.

If your main use will be SD recording from basic cable (non-digital), you have other ways to receive OnDemand (like multiple Comcast boxes) and you'd like to transfer recordings for conversion to DVD, I'd recommend a Series 2 TiVo.

If you mainly watch HD shows, I can't see recommending anything other than Comcast's box.

Hope this helps.

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#3 12-27-2006 12:21:44 AM

RobertAlder
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Registered: 11-20-2005
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Re: Tivo vs. Comcast Moto 6412 DVR?

And, as an old TIVO devotee (sp?), I'll chime in. 

Frank is corrrect on all counts. 

The only additional comment I would make is that TIVO's software for selecting programs has a "Wishlist" and "Keywords" features that, in my opinion, are FANTASTIC.  As I've posted elsewhere on this Board, I used to do 90%+ of my TIVO programing using those features which the Comcastic DVR doesn't have.  (And boy was I pissed when I belatedly figured that out after switching.)   I think the TIVO guide info also provides for better filtering and program selection/recording.  Once wishlist and key words were done, it was set it and forget it and seldome missed a program.  Now I have to fight and manually program once a week and still miss stuff.  Arrrrgh!

Since I've only watched two On Demand shows in the year I've been Comcastic, that feature holds little or no sway for me.  Ditto the ability to transfer recordings to other media.  I just don't do it.  So, my TIVO ledger is a bit brighter because I wouldn't miss On Demand or tranferring.

However, now with HD (the reason I switched to Comcast a year ago) a Series 3 is the only TIVO I would consider.  SD is dead.   And, as Frank said, the price of the TIVO Series 3 box and subscription fee, not to mention the additional cost of two Cable cards to "power" it, is  HEAVY DUTY.   So, I'm not going there just yet.

First, I'm going to wait to see if the long-awaited Comcast/TIVO agreement will produce some new Comcast offering with TIVO features that is a better value than going outright to TIVO Series 3 box.  Something from this agreement has been promised for quite some time, but at last count, something in early 2007 seemed likely (hopeful?).  Whether it's just software and/or hardware we won't konw for sure 'til we see it.   But I'm going to wait and see.

Also, if that offering doesn't come about or it isn't what I want, hopefully by early-mid 2007 the price of the TIVO Series 3 will come down meaningfully.  Already starting to see some $100 off deals here and there.

For now, I'm not making any changes and staying with Comcast's 6412.   To TIVO or not is not a simple choice and depends greatly on your pocket book and how you currently use the 6412. 

Hope this helps.

Last edited by RobertAlder (12-27-2006 12:26:21 AM)

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#4 12-27-2006 1:01:35 AM

Georgia Guy
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From: Atlanta
Registered: 02-15-2005
Posts: 207
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Re: Tivo vs. Comcast Moto 6412 DVR?

To make sure its quite clear, the Tivo HD box, the S3, will NOT control a cable box. Only the S1 & S2's do that.   With that said, even tho its quite expensive, the Tivo S3 is a really really good box. At least in my experience.

Drawbacks that Frank mentioned are certainly real.... no multi-room transfers (yet, maybe never?), no OnDemand type stuff.
Of course, the 6412 doesn't do the multi-room transfers either.  The cablecard installations were zero problems for me, but a lot of S3 users have complained that getting them working (via inept Comcast installers who were clueless about them) was a real problem. Check out the Tivo community forum for endless posts about that.

In my own setup, I have several other S2 Tivos throughout my house for multi-room transfers and I have a older 5000 series digital Comcast box for the Tivo to control for OnDemand stuff  (which I rarely use....maybe one or two times a year for unbroadcast UGA football games).  So, those deficiencies were not really a problem for me either.

The problems that finally made me plop down the big bucks for the S3 was the infuriating unreliability of the 6412 that I used for about a year.  It was so unreliable that I had to make backup Tivo copies of shows I really liked to make sure I'd actually get to watch a show I wanted, (even if it WAS on a non-hd Tivo).  The 6412 regularly missed HD shows, recorded with no sound, froze up, was pixelated, the guide was constantly losing all programming info (sometimes taking 1-2 days to reload) and when the guide lost its programming, forget about trying to use the 6412, almost nothing works until several hours of info are restored. The dual tuners in the 6412 were often conflicting with each other about shows on at the same time, even though there was no logical reason for the conflicts.  Shows would record that I had not scheduled, abandoning shows that I did want.

Few users of both Tivo & 6412's will argue the fact that Tivo has far superior interface, from season passes to wishlists, to simply searching for a program. The 6412 makes you click thru the whole alphabet for EACH letter in a search....maddening, (although that is possibly a function of which guide the 6412 utilizes. The fact that the 6412 uses several different guides never pleased me much, either).  The S3 will store almost twice as many hours of HD than the 6412, and larger drives can be user-installed on the S3s.  Supposedly, some of the Comcast boxes will allow the addition of external usb drive storage, but mine did not.

The 6412 was, for me, a great box when it was the ONLY way for me to view HD content. I loved it because I love HD.  The 6412 & S3 have equally great hd pictures.  The final straw for me was when the 6412 simply turned off, never to come back on, causing me to miss the HD versions of several season finales. Luckily, the dependable Tivos recorded the shows.

The new HD S3 Tivo lacks a few of the S2's very cool features that Frank mentioned.  It also has features that the S2s did not have....like HD dual tuners, both cable HD (x2) and over-the-air HD (x2). And beautiful HD.

My summary:  If cost is the primary factor, go with the 6412, if reliability and ease of use are the primary factors, go with the Tivo S3.  Opinions vary wildly, and each has it's merits.

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#5 12-27-2006 9:01:38 AM

jganyard
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Registered: 09-09-2005
Posts: 344
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Re: Tivo vs. Comcast Moto 6412 DVR?

I bought my mom a Series 2 two-tuner Tivo for Xmas.  First time I've ever interacted with a Tivo was while I was setting it up for her.  My wife and I both agreed that it was a much better interface and user experience than the Comcastic boxes we have (6412 Phase II and 3416) just in the half hour we played around with it.

IF Comcast ever offers the fabled Tivo interface option, we will likely switch to it provided it's additional cost isn't too high.  I would even consider the Series 3, however it's cost prohibitive right now.

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#6 12-27-2006 4:33:25 PM

dar
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Registered: 12-01-2005
Posts: 85
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Re: Tivo vs. Comcast Moto 6412 DVR?

well, anything Comcaustic does will only ensure they'll suck more money from you and me.  Bring on the competition.  I think ATT is laying fiber just down the road from me.


Mitsubishi WD-52528, Motorola DCT-3416, Denon Recvr, Sony DVD, Panasonic DVD R/VCR, Harmony Remote, KEF Speakers

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#7 12-28-2006 1:25:56 PM

RobertAlder
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Registered: 11-20-2005
Posts: 74
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Re: Tivo vs. Comcast Moto 6412 DVR?

As Frank has noted in his other post,
http://www.dvrchatter.com/viewtopic.php?id=1181
be sure to read Walt Mossberg in today's Wall Street Journal.  He simply confirms all the pros and cons of TIVO S3 vs Comcast box that has been said here.

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#8 01-23-2007 1:07:05 AM

J-Mac
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From: Ridley Park, PA
Registered: 07-11-2005
Posts: 34
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Re: Tivo vs. Comcast Moto 6412 DVR?

Hi folks - thanks for the replies. Sorry to post back so late; I thought I would get email notifications of the replies - didn't happen.

Well, with the latest price increases, my 2nd and 3rd DVR boxes went from 9.95 apiece to 16.90 apiece, so I called today and canceled them. The tech was able to disable the DVR function from the office and I'll keep the boxes as just HDTV digital converters. At $6 less per box monthly. As it was, those two boxes were used primarily for backup recordings, to catch "misses" of shows by the main DVR box - which I still have.

It's a shame that with all the hype about the S3 box that it is missing a lot of features that S1 and S2 had. Wonder why they did that? I have to look into the cable card issue and see if it is do-able here; price-wise, it might not be as big a hit as originally thought, with the new Comcast pricing.

BTW, that video requires a $10/month sign up to view - I didn't need to see it that much!

Thanks again!


J-Mac

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