While they lack the sophistication of TiVo DVRs, cable company DVRs offer significant advantages. For one thing, there's no upfront cost, and lease/DVR fees are largely competitive with TiVo's service charges. The required cable box is also included, so the DVRs integrate more seamlessly with a cable company's service. There's also full support of all interactive features, such as on-demand viewing and pay-per-view, something TiVo DVRs can't accommodate because of the CableCard technology they must use. Some providers and cable boxes offer advanced features, such as the ability to program your DVR from the Internet. However, TiVo DVRs, including the TiVo Premiere (*Est. $100 and up, plus TiVo service), have more sophisticated programming guides and are loaded with extra features, such as the ability to download or stream content from Internet sources such as Hulu Plus and Netflix.
The most current professional feedback regarding cable company boxes can be found in reports that compare them to the TiVo Premiere, and those can be found at PCMag.com and ZatzNotFunny.com. Some helpful user insights can be read at DSLReports.
This report covers the TiVo Premiere, but Joel Santo Domingo also discusses whether the Premiere is a better choice than a cable company DVR. While he likes the Premiere overall, he adds that if you are not already a TiVo enthusiast, a cable company DVR is likely to be both less expensive and more convenient. He adds that the user interfaces and programming guides on cable company (and telephone company) DVRs have almost caught up to TiVo in some respects.
Review: TiVo Premiere, Joel Santo Domingo, March 24, 2010
2. Zatz Not Funny!
Digital media guru Dave Zatz says that while the TiVo Premiere is one of the best DVRs available, it's clear that most users are very happy with their cable company-provided alternatives. He adds that he's tried lots of those out, and that many outdo TiVo in some respects.
Review: TiVo Premiere as Box of the Year?, Dave Zatz, Dec. 8, 2010
This is a busy user discussion site with good current information regarding cable company and telephone company (Verizon Fios and AT&T U-verse) DVRs. Threads are organized by provider so you can zero in on what's available in your area. Discussion about DVRs is scattered among other topics, including some dealing with a provider's Internet or telephone service.
Review: Forums, Contributors to DSLReports.com