Like lots of Australians, I picked up a TiVo after the popular US DVR arrived down under. Now many years on the TiVo hardware is beginning to die. Like any piece of consumer electronics, it’s not built to last for decades, but just a few years. I picked up my TiVO in March of 2009 and now in September of 2013, it’s regularly loosing video signal to the TV for a couple of seconds at a time. Let’s face it, my TiVo has one foot in the grave and it’s time to consider what to replace it with.
TiVo’s local history is a sad one with the price remaining far too high for far too long and a licensee Hybrid TV unable to negotiate any package deals with new TV manufacturers. We broke the story of TiVo no longer being sold in Australia and now users are repeatedly asking for what to replace it with.
Hopes of the next generation gaming consoles including tuners have been dashed. They had an opportunity to include tuners and replace dedicated DVRs all together, but unfortunately neither Microsoft nor Sony went down that path. In the case of the Xbox One, the best we can hope for is the ‘advanced IR blasters’ to control out DVR and use HDMI in from the DVR. This still feels like a hacked solution that’s not fit for a solution in 2013.
So given we’re stuck searching for another DVR, the best recommendation I have right now is the Humax HDR7500T that comes in either 500GB or 1TB models. One of the great things about TiVo was it’s free EPG and moving to another means we need solution for program information.
That solution is the very popular IceTV, that allows remote scheduling from iPhone and Android devices. While the product is available from retailers, you’re best to buy it from IceTV to get 2 years free and a bonus WiFi dongle.
The Humax HDR7500T has catch up services like ABC iView and SBS On-Demand (what aren’t they on at this point), as well as YouTube and Quickflix. Probably the biggest must have feature in replacing the TiVo was season pass and the Humax does a good job of managing your favourites.
So that’s it, you have my recommendation of what I’d buy when my TiVo dies. If the competition beat it, then I’ll post about it, but for right now the Humax HDR7500T is my pick. Personally I’d go for the 1TB model, but it is $100 more expensive. The only knock I’d have is that it still has 2 tuners, so you’re replacing like for like, not increasing to 4 tuners.
Over time DVRs are becoming less important with catchup services for virtually every station now available. Problem is, most aren’t available in HD and aren’t available at the end of your control.