Comcast: Wanna Pay An Extra $2.95 A Month For TiVo?

TiVo says that you will soon have the privilege of paying Comcast an extra $2.95 a month for TiVo service (on top of what you already pay for a DVR).

“We are very excited by the emphasis that Comcast has placed on this product within its organization and their plans to aggressively market it at a $2.95 up-charge as well as through packaged bundles and win-back offers,” Rogers said. “Further, we are pleased with Comcast’s plans to promote and market the value of the TiVo experience, which will leverage many of their marketing assets including cross-channel TV.”

In the Boston area, Comcast’s regular pricing for a high-definition DVR (the model that supports the TiVo software) is $16.94 per month, meaning TiVo service would be $19.89. Comcast confirmed that it will add the $2.95 up-charge for TiVo service

Are you excited?

Comcast to Charge $2.95 Extra for TiVo DVR Service [Multichannel News]

Comments

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  1. Alvis says:

    What are you paying for exactly? The right to keep the company afloat? TV listings like are available online for free?

  2. hamsangwich says:

    If only there was a law on the books that protected consumers from monopolies…..

  3. MikeB says:

    You get much more than tv listings when you use something like Tivo or ReplayTV. It is very rare for me to watch tv “live”

  4. So I’m assuming this basically means you can replicate the Tivo interface on non-Tivo DVRs, right? If so, I’m not as offended as I was when I first read the post, considering how craptastic most cable box DVRs have proven to be when it comes to interface and usability.

  5. Catperson says:

    Yeah, we’re not in a Comcast market, but we have a TV card on our desktop and have Windows Media Center record everything we want and it’s totally free. The TV card came with a little HD antenna so anything that’s in HD on the networks actually comes in HD. The TV card was a one time expense of $120 (they have cheaper ones, but ours has two tuners so we can record two things at once or watch something while something else is recording). I don’t understand why anyone with a reasonably new computer would ever pay for TiVo.

  6. Nick says:

    @Catperson: because my computer is in my office, and my HDTV is in my living room.

  7. juri squared says:

    My lifetime subscription weeps, you guys.

  8. Catperson says:

    @schwnj: That’s a good point. Some of my inability to understand paying for this stuff is probably due to the fact that I’m a poor student and live in a tiny apartment. Our “office” is in our dining room, which is right next to our living room. My brother in law has an office upstairs and living room with TV downstairs and he’s building his own media center PC for his living room so he can have a similar setup. He’s super cheap and he’s doing it out of all used parts, so there are still options for those who have the time, ability, and desire and who don’t want to pay TiVo a ton of cash.

  9. visualbowler says:

    im with Jurijui, I’m really upset they got rid of the lifetime subscriptions. Its the one reason I dont plan on buying an HD Tivo. If they brought it back at a reasonable price, I would plop down the money, but the fact that its seemingly never ending doesn’t motivate me to expedite my purchase.

  10. mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

    Does this mean I will get to use my Tivo again? Good! The Comcast DVR locks up, gets stuck in fast forward (while going through a commercial), is slow, has a terrible GUI, and generally sucks.

    You wanna know about Comcast DVR’s?

    Don’t get a Comcast DVR.

    Tivo is in the closet, just waiting to return. And if he can’t? I have the money for an HD Tivo that has just been waiting for a service to use it with.
    Glad you are catching up with 2002, Comcast!

  11. doormat says:

    You know TiVo brought back lifetime for $400 right?

  12. ogman says:

    My understanding is that you get the TiVo software on the same old Comcast junk hardware.

    For years this company has lost customers and money because of Scientific Atlanta hardware that even their own employees hate, but they refuse to change. From what I’ve seen, the Motorola garbage isn’t much better. I once watched a Motorola DVR lock the picture so badly that the TV was stuck until the box was replaced.

    Comcast should just use TiVo hardware. However, in their continuing effort to do exactly the opposite of whatever their customers actually want, they will continue down the same old road, pissing off customers until they have none left. Then, as is now typical, they’ll whine for a government bailout, collect their corporate welfare check, and go back to business as usual.

  13. coffee177 says:

    Comcrap – Voted one of the most depressing experience in life.

    I have a Mythtv box that does it all and dont care about HD. HD is not that big a deal. Its just a gimmick to get more money out of you.

    Just watched a HD channel at my neighbors house the other day and I was not impressed. Alot of artifacts from compression, Studdering, Freezing of the picture.

    It goes to figure that a company like comcrap can take a decent idea, spin it for as much bucks as they can squeeze from us and then ruin the experience.

    You know, Alot of people complain that “If you dont like it then why bother with them?”. Well, I figure those people are comcrap people. The answer to your question in advance is :

    “BECAUSE YOU OWN THE FUC*IN MARKET AND YOU KNOW IT”.

  14. Pupator says:

    @coffee177

    If your neighbor’s HD had artifacts and stuttering, he was probably getting it over rabbit ears. My HD signal (from Dish) never does that, though I had some of that when I was using the bunny ears.

    If you think HD is just a gimmick, you’ve never really seen it, particularly a sporting event. The difference between golf and golf HD is the ability to actually see the ball. Football looks incredible – tennis and baseball too.

    Movies in HD are also well worth it and most primetime HD shows, though it’s not entirely necessary, certainly look better.

  15. missdona says:

    @coffee177: My HD Tivo with a Comcast Cable card doesn’t do that either.

    HD at my house is a beautiful experience.

    If I had a Comcrap DVR, I would dump it for the HD Tivo with cable cards. If you’re paying ~$20/mo for it, the TiVo with Lifetime would pay for itself in about 3 years ($700/20= 35 months).

  16. badgeman46 says:

    People! VCRs are like 50 bucks, and you own them outright!

  17. lemur says:

    @Catperson: I’ve looked into the work and costs involved in rolling out my own solution to replace Comcast’s DVR. In my market and with the needs we have in our household, the DVR came out cheaper. The PC solution looked cheaper until I looked at the details of what is needed and consider how long that PC will last. (I based my judgement on the hardware requirements for MythTV.) How long it will last is not just a matter of “how long will it boot?” but how long is it going to do what you want it to do.

    Then you have to consider that if you replace the DVR with a PC, you become the person providing maintenance for that machine. That’s not something I particularly want to do. If it were just me, I’d be fine with doing that. But I don’t need my wife glaring at me because a home-made PC solution I forced upon her starts acting up and does not record her shows.

    @coffee177: We have HD through Comcast here. HD is only worth it if you care about picture quality. Some people care more about other things, and that’s fine. But I think it is worth it. Still, HD is going to deliver on its promises only if the person installing the HD setup knows that they are doing. Given the numerous reports in the press that a majority of HD owners think they are watching HD when they are in fact still watching the old analog signals, I think most HD owners don’t know what they are doing.

    Here, we’ve never had any stuttering or freezing in our setup. Artifacts sometimes appear in some programs but they are pretty rare (and getting rarer) and even with these artifacts the picture is a thousand leagues better than in analog.

  18. psyop63b says:

    I have used TiVo for a long time, and TRIED to use a Comcrap DVR. If for $3 a month I could have a Comcrap DVR with the usability of a TiVo, I would consider it a worthwhile expense.

    Note: I do not subscribe to Comcast, nor would I ever, even if it were my only option (I rent).

  19. dlynch says:

    @catperson & @lemur: i have been running a windows media center box for at least 3 years now and i, for the life of me, do not understand why folks want to pay tivo. i have spent less than $400 on this machine (even after a recent upgrade to get vista-capable) and it is waaaaay more functional than tivo or a cable company dvr. best part – no monthly fee, and my wife has a second computer that she can use at any time on a 42″ monitor so she can leave my precious desktop alone :)

    i’ve been saying for years that i don’t understand why more people don’t explore pvr options – i think i’m finally starting to get it – it’s because they’re dumb.

  20. bohemian says:

    The only cost we will incur on our PC DVR will be the capture card and copy of MythTV. Scavenging out of warranty PCs that were going to go in the dumpter… priceless.

    Yep P4 beefy enough to run a DVR in the dumpster.

  21. sleze69 says:

    I have an HDTV device on my computer but it will never do as much as the TIVO or even the crappy comcast hd dvr. Why? Because it can’t decode encrypted programming. Until someone creates a cablecard reader for PCs and releases it by itself, PCs will always lag behind the DVRs.

    That said, can I just go out and buy a regular HD Tivo and have it work with comcast?

  22. elangomatt says:

    I am one of the many Comcast HD DVR customers. I got a brand new box back on July 1, 2007 I think when they released a new box. I assume that mine will be compatable with the Tivo upgrade if they ever bring it to the Chicagoland market. I have always been fairly happy with the comcast DVR interface, but I have never used Tivo so I really don’t have anything to compare it too. I do admit it is slow and I wish it detailed how much space each show is taking up (I don’t know if this info is there on Tivo at all). I have also had my fair share of problems too, but not too bad. I know a few times my DVR completely locked up and would not respond to anything. After a few minutes it usually turned it self off and then back on and started downloading all of the guide info again (that takes way too long). I have looked into making my own media PC to run MythTV on or something, but really, I’m just too lazy to get it going.

    As far as the topic at hand goes, if Comcast does offer this Tivo service in my area, I’ll sign up for the Tivo interface, then curse at comcast some more every month when I get my bill.

  23. elangomatt says:

    @bohemian: yeah, I’d like to find THAT place that is dumping P4 computers into the dumpster. Number 1, any P4 computer would be the most powerful desktop computer in my posession. Number 2, (and probably more important) why aren’t they taking these computers to one of the many many electronic recycling centers that have been popping up. In my tri-town area of 50,000, even we have an electronic recycling center that is open a few days every week.

  24. missdona says:

    Yes. You just have to call Comcast for a cable card appointment. The first one has no monthly charge. You do have to pay for the Tivo service. You can do that monthly, yearly or lifetime (for now).

    Keep in mind that cable cards dont work with on-demand. So, if that’s important to you, it’s something to consider.

  25. lemur says:

    @dlynch:

    i’ve been saying for years that i don’t understand why more people don’t explore pvr options – i think i’m finally starting to get it – it’s because they’re dumb.

    Or in other words, “people who don’t agree with me are dumb”.

  26. bentcorner says:

    I would pay an extra $3 bucks to use the TiVo interface.

  27. Dr_awesome says:

    I’m assuming i’m in the minority here, but i’ve never had a problem with my comcast hd dvr. Their customer service on the other hand…

    I’ll give the tivo a shot for the 3 dollars a month though.

  28. edwardso says:

    @badgeman46: but you have to buy the tapes, which is wasteful.

  29. Trai_Dep says:

    Anyone that would use a VCR on an HDTV is a guy that is pumping a low-rez signal to his mega-bucks HDTV. One of the 1/3s unwashed, in other words.

  30. slowinthefastlane says:

    @DLYNCH
    “i’ve been saying for years that i don’t understand why more people don’t explore pvr options – i think i’m finally starting to get it – it’s because they’re dumb.”

    I’m currently on a TiVo Series3 box. I guess I’m dumb then. So far, I’ve tried the following:

    * Sony TiVo Series 1 DirecTV DVR: Worked great. Except I moved to a place were I could not put up a dish that had a clear shot at the satellites without running afowl of the neighbors and wife. So, I had to move to cable and search for other alternatives.

    * MythTV Running on a Linux machine. Worked okay. As long as I kept the software up-to-date, it was reliable at recording my programs on time. It also handled 3 tuners and as much storage space as I could get which was really nice. Unfortunately, the box required maintenance every so often when the feeds changed (especially in the early days – circa 2003 – when they scraped the listings from HTML rather than use a real feed). This is not something that a consumer would want to do. Updating the software required a lot of work and Linux knowledge and would always seem to have some weird bugs. Furthermore, it had no CableCard access and very limited QAM support and therefore would not record HD from my cable provider. It’s final death knell in my house was that the listing feeds are no longer freely available. If I’m going to pay for the feeds, I might as well get a TiVo and not have to touch the software on the box, ever.

    * Comcast HD DVR. Didn’t work at all. Would not reliably schedule and record TV programs. When it did record programs, they would not play back half of the time. The box would actually crash and reboot during playback. It also had very limited space. The plus side to this was that it did record all HD channels.

    * Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. I bought a dedicated Core2 Duo machine and decided to try Windows MCE 2005. It worked okay, and got listings just fine and recorded TV programs reliably. It supported a lot of storage and had a pretty polished UI. The downsides were that it would require a reboot every so often (it would get slower and slower when left running for a week or so). It was also very expensive. The hardware cost about $700 (would have been more if I didn’t scavenge some parts like the tuner boards from the MythTV computer). The Windows MCE software was $99 (OEM), the Windows MCE remote was about $40, and the MPEG2 decoder (required to playback recordings and watch DVDs) was $40 (nVidia PureVideo). After all of that, it still wouldn’t record in HD (no QAM support and no CableCard suport). I sold the box.
    * TiVo Series 3 HD DVR. I just picked this up recently for $589 with a $200 rebate from a store online. The TiVo service plan cost $299, so I’m into this thing for

  31. sharding says:

    This article is written misleadingly, I think. It makes it sound like Comcast is charging people who have their own TiVos $2.95 to use them. They are not. They are charging extra to get the TiVo interface on a rented Comcast DVR. Regardless of whether you think it’s worth $3 or not, most people who have used both will agree that the TiVo interface is at least somewhat better. So they’re charging extra for an interface that is better. Charging more for a better product or service isn’t exactly a shocking business practice.

    Many TiVo fans who are Comcast customers have been waiting for this since it was first announced long ago, and I don’t think anyone was expecting it to be free (and most TiVo customers are paying more than Comcast is charging, if you factor in the cost of the box).

    I’m far from being a Comcast fan, but I feel like this is a little unfairly negative.

  32. slowinthefastlane says:

    * TiVo Series 3 HD DVR. I picked this up recently for $589 with a $200 rebate from a store online. The TiVo service plan cost $299, so I’m into this thing for about $700. It works great, requires no maintenance, supports a lot of storage from the SATA port. It always records my programs on time and reliably. Best of all, it has CableCard support, so it records all of the HD channels without a Comcast box. Furthermore, there is a bunch of cost savings to using the Series 3 over Windows MCE. First of all, I don’t need the Comcast box for HD, so my cable bill was cut by about $10. The second cost savings was a nice surprise: the TiVo series 3 draws ALOT LESS POWER than my PCs running MythTV or Windows MCE. Switching to the TiVo has cut my power bill by about $15/month.

    Note that I work in TV for a living – I need to watch certain shows. Having a DVR really improves my productivity. Don’t assume that I’m “stupid” for getting a TiVo.

  33. lemur says:

    @slowinthefastlane: Thanks for sharing with us your experience in general and in particular the reality of what it means to roll your own PVR.

    We’ve been using one of Comcast’s DVR for at least two years and we’ve used it for recording HD shows for about a year now. The box is certainly not without its faults but our experience has been much better than yours. It has failed to record programs but that happens only rarely and is not enough of a problem for us so far to switch to something else. (I might crunch the numbers for a TiVo again however.) My observation is not in any way a rebuttal of your own experience but just to show that when it comes to Comcast the quality experienced by different customers can vary a lot.

  34. missdona says:

    My experience shows that MythTvs are great for hobbyists and people who like tinkering. But if you want something that’s plug and play and able to support cable cards, a Tivo is the better choice.

  35. Lordstrom says:

    I don’t know why any of you put up with any of these companies in the first place. I download all my shows or watch them on DVD or online.

  36. someToast says:

    @lemur: “[The Comcast DVR] has failed to record programs but that happens only rarely and is not enough of a problem for us so far to switch to something else.”

    The fact that I can’t trust the Comcast DVR to reliably perform the one task for which I have a DVR in the first place is why I’ll gladly pay the surcharge for the Tivo software when Comcast finally gets the service out of New England and over to the West coast (which, at the rate things have been progressing, will be mid-2010).

  37. BStu says:

    The TiVo interface IS much better than Comcast’s, though I’d say that’s mostly a failure on Comcast’s part. I mean, TiVo is really good but Comcast is also REALLY bad. Still, their hardware is so awful that the interface alone isn’t enough for me. Oddly enough, my Comcast DVR is recording better than my TiVo right now, but that’s just because the cable box my TiVo runs through ocassionally decides to change channels. Even still, watching a show on the Comcast DVR just takes longer because the fast forward is just unpredictable so we have to go at half-speed through the commercials lest it decide to skip ahead 15 minutes for no reason. The real problem, though, is that the Comcast DVR is always at risk of wiping itself clean. It does it 3 or 4 times a year and it drives us crazy. That’s hardware, and I just can’t trust it.

    I mean, why not just got an HD TiVo with a cable card and just pay TiVo for service. It’ll cost a lot less than $20.00 a month over the long haul. It doesn’t cost less than the $12.95 I’m paying for my DVR, so I’m not quite ready to do that, but that’d be my choice long before I thought of getting a Comcast DVR with TiVo slapped on top of it.

  38. llcooljabe says:

    I have used the TIVO interface with DIRECTV, and a directv dvr without TiVo,and now a cablevision dvr.

    Everything sucks compared to TIVO. I want my tivo back.

  39. hollerhither says:

    @someToast:
    It’s not even in all of New England yet.
    I’m deliberating over the HD Series 3 w/lifetime, myself…and will probably end up just waiting another year.

  40. Okiedog says:

    For all you fast-forwarding naysayers on Comcast DVR. Set up a skip by doing the following. I have the “B” button set as my macro. You hit this about 6 or 7 times to get through the commercial break.

    My comcast DVR is pretty reliable. For $12.95 a month, I’m not concerned about maintenance. I think that’s worthwhile.

    30, 60, 90, 120 (and more) Second Skip

    Create a 30 second skip using the following directions:

    1) Press the “Cable” button at the top of the remote to put it into Cable Box control mode.
    2) Press and hold the “Setup” button until the “Cable” button blinks twice.
    3) Type in the code 994. The “Cable” button will blink twice
    4) Press (do not hold) the “Setup” button
    5) Type in the code 00173 for 30 second Skip.
    6) Press whatever button you want to map the skip to.

    Next, you create a macro using your new 30 second skip:

    1) Press and hold down the “Setup” button until the light blinks twice.
    2) Press 995.
    3) Press the key you want to assign the X second skip to.
    4) Press the button that you have used for the 30 second skip x times. (2 times for 60 seconds, 3 times for 90 seconds, and so on.)
    5) Press and hold the “Setup” button until the light blinks twice to exit programming.

    X = 30, 60, 90, 180, etc.

    You now have an extended Skip button.

  41. mdot says:

    Everything sucks compared to TIVO. I want my tivo back.

    Amen brother!!

    To anyone that has used TiVo and attempted to use the cable/satellite company’s cheap imitation, I think that they would agree wholeheartedly with that statement. It’s also the main reason why I subscribe to cable instead of a dish, I can’ get long-term TiVo support with a dish.

    I think that of the negative responses, they basically fall into two camps…people who absolutely despise Comcast, and wouldn’t use their service even they got unlimited, free pr0n (although they would consider it *smile*). The others are people who have not used TiVo before. It is easy to right it off as “does the same thing as the cable company’s DVR”, but nothing could be further from the truth.

  42. axiomatic says:

    Exactly which Comcast DVR’s work with the Tivo SW? The Scientific Atlanta 8300 or the Motorola 6200? (Unsure if I got the Motorola model # right?)

  43. Jamie Beckland says:

    I believe that the return of lifetime TiVo service is limited only to current TiVo customers…although you can buy a lifetime subscription for someone else.

    Also, I believe it expires in late January or early February.

  44. My P.O.S. Comcast DVR has had to be replaced three times in two years, and is beginning to make the “squeak of death” once again, so I don’t expect this one to live much longer. Given that it regularly misses scheduled recordings, the UI sucks, and it has no intelligence for skipping episodes it’s already recorded, I’d gladly pay an extra $3 to upgrade to Tivo.

    It’s cheaper and easier than buying a standalone Tivo box

  45. bostonguy says:

    @visualbowler:

    I believe TiVo has brought back Lifetime subs, but only for existing customer. (Or something like that)

  46. phearlez says:

    I’d probably trip running for the phone if DirecTV would start offering a way to get a tivo on their system. I fear for the day my current DTivo croaks and I have to switch over to using their lame-o DVR.

    Never thought I’d envy a Comcast customer in any way.

  47. hexychick says:

    @badgeman46: Yeah, you own it outright, but the recording quality isn’t as good, you have slower fast forward and rewind, you can’t just skip an entire section nearly as quickly, and you have a bunch of clunky tapes that take up space.

    @Catperson: no comcast? Consider yourself blessed. Where I am, I can’t have satelite anything because I can’t angle it to receive correctly without mounting it to the building but I can’t put it on the building itself because that is against my lease agreement and we get fined for it. Forget DSL because I’m too far from the nearest hub. Only cable market in my city? Comcast. I’m screwed.

  48. dazzla says:

    [www.comcast.com]

    There’s a zip code checker for Comcast Tivo service on the top right after clicking on that link. Anyone lucky?

  49. jsoutter says:

    @Alvis:
    THIS IS A GREAT THING.

    This mean you can finally get a HD Tivo box without paying the $400 that Tivo wants for it equipment.

    The TIVO add alot of great features that the Comcast box was missing. You get the TIVO remote control shipped to you so you now have the thumbs up and down. Also TIVO will try and quess what you would like to watch and fill up the empty hard drive with “Suggestions”. As well as “Season Passes” to TV shows. If you have a season pass and the network moves the show to a new time slot Tivo is smart enough to know it’s moved and not record repeats.

    See a comercial for a new TV series comming up and click on a button and voila it’s set to rescord.
    Also Tivo search is light years ahead of the Comcast DVR crap. Just tell it to record any show or movie that has Julia Roberts and off it goes. Also it learns what you like to watch and will record things that it thinks you may like…it’s just awsome… and at $3 month a steal…

    Again to get a High Def box from Tivo it will cost you $400 for the equipment and $16.00 for the service. From Comcast it’d no charge for the equipment and a $14 / Charge for the service.

    I’ve been waiting months for this to come out !!!!