Thursday, May 6, 2021

Replacing TiVo

I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for TiVo. It was the first streaming device I had, even if I didn't know it.

Maybe I'm remembering it wrong, now that I think about it. I'm trying to recall just when I upgraded my first TiVo. It may have been after I bought the first Apple TV and Roku. It was around that time, though. And, that first TiVo may have had streaming capabilities, even if I didn't use them.

Regardless, I mentioned before that using TiVo helped me make the switch to streaming. I really liked TiVo, but after I stopped using it, TiVo faded from my thoughts, even though the devices were still connected.

I went without local channels often, because I didn't have cable and I didn't have an antenna. However, I eventually did put up an antenna and used it with TiVo. But, as I said, I rarely used TiVo.

Still, I wanted to have the capability of watching local channels, even if I didn't watch them. When my mother had a problem getting warranty replacement for a defective TiVo device, she decided she was done with them and canceled her service. I had lifetime service, but decided the old TiVo company I had known and loved was officially no more. I took my devices down.

So, what did I replace it with? I narrowed down the list to two separate devices and services: AirTV and Tablo TV.

They both have their good points and bad points. They both cost around the same for their top end devices. and the pricing for the services are comparable, though not identical.

AirTV is from Dish. They own Sling TV. I'll talk more about Sling TV in the future. For now, it's important to know that the Sling TV app is how you watch AirTV. You hook the antenna lead up to the AirTV and the content will show up in the Sling TV app. And, you don't have to have a Sling TV subscription. You can watch the free content, and the over the air (OTA) programming will appear in the menu and on the program guide.

Oh, and AirTV offers a free two-week program guide. So that's great. The only cost is the antenna and installation, plus the AirTV device. I went with the $200 one that has a large storage drive for DVR.

Tablo TV is similar in that you buy the equipment -- I got the one that's around $200 -- and hook the antenna to it. You add the Tablo TV app and use that to watch TV. The program guide is one day for the free one, or you can pay $5/month for a two-week guide. That's more than AirTV, but less than TiVo.

I like the Tablo TV interface better than AirTV's, but that simply means I'm not that big of a fan of Sling TV's interface, because, as I said, that's what it uses.

So, which do I use? That's easy. I use both.

At one house -- the one I co-own with two sisters -- I put up AirTV. It works great.

At the other house, I put up Tablo TV, and paid for a lifetime subscription.

They're both great. They work a lot alike, but have some small differences.

Which one would I recommend? Well, I'd say check for special deals on service bundles. If you already use Sling TV, go with AirTV. If you don't, go with whichever you can get a better deal on. You'll be happy whichever way you go.

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