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Saturday, March 29, 2008
Comcast and Tivo HD
This is not going the way I planned.

I bit the bullet and bought the Tivo HD to go with the new HDTV. After all the trials and tribulations of setting the new TV up, I thought this would be a simple plug and play where I just swap out the old Tivo box and put in the new one.

Oh - how naive I am.

Here's the deal. In order to use an HD Tivo, you need something called a CableCARD from Comcast, and a technician has to install it. Two things are bad about this: 1. They only do installations between 9 and 5 on weekdays, so your job gets compromised, and 2. I just spent $75 on an HDMI cable I don't need. Now that the package is open - I'm not sure I can return it.

But wait, there's more! Tivo will work beautifully and record shows in HD. However, Comcast On Demand and Pay Per View are not available through a CableCARD. When I asked Comcast how much my bill would be lowered without these features available, they replied "zero - those services are free". Yeah - right - the services I care about most are free - then what am I paying for now?

Comcast has partnered with Tivo to create a Comcast/Tivo HD DVR - but it's only available in small parts of New England at the moment, AND you then sacrifice a lot of the neat Tivo features like downloading movies, and uploading photos and music.

Now, while it would be nice to get rid of the cable box and all the spaghetti on the back of my entertainment armoir, and use one remote instead of the three I'm using now, and get my shows recorded in HD, I happen to like watching movies "On Demand" and some of the other features I will lose with this "upgrade".

When I asked Comcast if they were planning on offering On Demand and Pay Per View through CableCARDs anytime soon, they replied: "The cable industry is working closely with the consumer electronics industry, but we don't have a date for this upgrade."

I'm seriously wondering if I shouldn't just return the Tivo HD, save myself $300, and continue watching recorded shows in SD, but since I watch almost everything on Tivo, it completely negates the point of having an HD TV. Arrrggggghhhhh.

I'm going to check out Verizon FiOS and see what's what with their service instead. Anybody have an opinion on this or experience with it?

Oh, and BTW, I have completely wasted an entire Saturday fooling around with this and the new GPS toy. The GPS toy is exactly that - lots of fun downloads and accessories to set up. I now have it programmed with an Australian guy's voice. I'm calling him "Bruce".

UPDATE: Of course, Verizon FiOS is not available to us urban dwellers, and there is no time table as to when it might be. So, Comcast can do whatever it damn well pleases. I'll be switching over as soon as it's available.
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:53 PM  
5 Editorial Opinions:
  • At March 30, 2008, Blogger David said…

    What about DirecTV? Don't they do HD now? I don't have HD so I don't know. I just got AppleTV which seems reasonably HD and is ultrafunky.

  • At March 30, 2008, Blogger bosconet said…

    I have DirectTV but not their HD service. One thing to note is that HD service from Direct is an extra $10/month. I've also heard complaints that they compress their HD signals aggressively so they aren't as crisp as you would like and this is more visiable on larger screens. You might be OK with a 32" screen and having just moved from SD.

  • At March 30, 2008, Blogger trigimper said…

    If the answer is Comcast, it was a bloody silly question.

  • At March 30, 2008, Blogger Broadsheet said…

    Actually, I looked at Apple TV after David commented, and I'm wondering if that wouldn't be the best option. I hate to abandon Tivo, but, oh well.

  • At October 02, 2009, Blogger Rob said…

    We are in the same situation. I am wondering if the Tivo HD will work with Comcast basic service without using cable cards since everything is digital now.

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