Ok, So I investigated the Tivo thing a bit more, and it turns out that a while ago it was advantageous to get the Sony unit because it was cheaper, but this is no longer true. The feature set between the two brands is almost identical, the Sony has a lousy remote compared to the Phillips, and the Sony is more expensive (although not that much more).
A bigger problem is that Tivo doesn’t support my ghetto A/B cable system, and won’t ever. I would have to jump through all kinds of hoops in order to get it to work, and it simply isn’t worth it.
I am now thinking about getting a DirecTV receiver with built in Tivo, and just get rid of my shitty cable service.
There are two problems with that:
- Placing the Antenna – I am supposed to get my landlord’s permission, which I will attempt. If he doesn’t give me permission, I can always invoke FCC law which “…prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming.” and “Effective January 22, 1999, the Commission amended the rule so that it also applies to rental property where the renter has an exclusive use area, such as a balcony or patio.”. So the “Patio of Doom” may very well be my ticket to DirecTV.
- Having the Right Sky – I am not sure if my sky is good for DirecTV… I will try and figure that out tonight… I see other people with dishes on my block, but I think they are all Dish Network.
There are a couple of advantages however:
- Cost – Believe it or not, this whole operation will be cheaper overall. The 35 hour Tivo-ed DTV receiver is $399, but there is a rebate bringing it down to the same price as the normal 30 hour box. The DirecTV service, even with HBO and the like added comes to around $50 a month, which is $10 a month cheaper than my cable bill, with more channels.
- Second Tuner – The Tivo’ed DirecTV receivers have two tuners built into them, so you can record a program while watching another, or record two programs at once. This is a great advantage over the normal Tivo receiver.
- Get Rid of Ghetto Cable – My cable system blows, and it would be great to get rid of it. Of most annoyance is the A/B setup, where I have to press a button on the remote to change the switch, allowing me to view the second half of my channels.
I know that some people reading this have experience with DirecTV, so I was looking for some feedback. I am particularly concerned with rain and stuff like that affecting the picture quality. Is there anything I should know? I am aware of the “local channel” stuff, and DirecTV offers local service in this area, so that shouldn’t be a problem.