So you finally made the plunge to a TiVo Premiere (or two). If you haven’t yet, maybe you are just looking for that last bit of information that will push you over the edge and cause you to break out the credit card and order one up. For the last article in our Hello TiVo series (see Related Articles below for previous posts), I bring to you a list of “Accessories” that can make your TiVo ownership a truly rewarding experience (not that it was lacking to begin with). These accessories aren’t what you’re thinking. I’m not trying to sell you expensive gadgets here, but educate you on some low-cost tools that will help you get the most out of your DVR.
Each of these recommended accessories requires some hardware and/or skills that you might not have. Each has been highlighted, along with links to the application/program or the web site where you can get more information.
Accessory 1: An HDTV Antenna
Covered already in the article Buh-Bye DirecTV, Hello TiVo – How I Ditched Cable, the HDTV antenna is a must-have accessory for anyone looking to get the most out of their TiVo (Premiere or HD). You might have cable service, but an HDTV antenna will pull down super high quality broadcasts for FREE! Whether you decide to lower your bills by ditching cable or simply want a backup (in case that cable service acts up), the HD antenna will not cost you too much and will provide years of service without any monthly fees.
Did you know that the picture quality of FREE over-the-air (OTA) HD signals is unmatched by cable or satellite providers? ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX… Depending on your area you might get 10 HD channels or 60. For more information on what channels you can receive and what type of HD antenna would be best suited for your area, visit http://antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx. You only need to enter your zip code to find out more. No registration or purchase is necessary to use this site.
Accessory 2: TiVo iPad and iPhone Apps (updated 7-21-2011)
The TiVo Premiere and Premiere XL both come with a standard “peanut” remote and, while the XL’s remote has lighted keys, neither has a QWERTY keyboard. Since you’ll be searching for shows, movies and actor names in the TiVo interface, a better input method is a must. One option is the TiVo Slide Remote, available from TiVo.com for $59 (as of 7-22-2011), but iOS users can save the money by downloading the official TiVo app for their device.
The official TiVo app, which is FREE by the way, turns your iPad or iPhone into “command central for your TiVo DVR.” You’ll be able to search, browse, discover and share the show you’re watching quickly and easily. Other features allow you to view guides, schedule and manage recordings and even get recommendations.
Accessory 3: pyTiVo
Hardware Requirement: PC or Mac (running Windows, Linux, OS X, Ubuntu, Solaris or Linksys NSLU2)
Skill Level: Difficult
Link: Click Here for More Info from SourceForge.net
Do you have home movies or other digital recordings stored on your PC and would like to view them on your TV. Your TiVo Premiere (or other compatible TiVo) can play videos from your PC with the help of pyTiVo. pyTiVo installs on your computer and creates a link to your TiVo. From there on out, simply drag and drop any video files you choose and start watching them in minutes. The program is FREE!
Setup of pyTiVo will take some time and some familiarity with computers. The instructions provided via sourceforge.net are detailed enough to walk just about anyone through the process.
Accessory 4: CAT6 or CAT5 Cabling
It may seem like a step back from the world of wireless adapters and communicating without cables, but there is no speed like the screaming data connection you can get from good ol’ CAT6 or CAt5 cabling. TiVo does not come with built-in wireles, so you would need to shell out $40 or more for a G or N network adapter. You might be able to save even more if you go with “non-branded” wireless adapters, but you’ll need multiple if you want to transfer information between multiple units. There is just no comparison between the $80+ dollars you’ll spend on adapters and the enhanced data speeds of $30 worth of cabling.
With services like Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand and Blockbuster just a click away, you don’t want to sacrifice anything. Netflix is pure streaming entertainment and the slightest hiccup in your wireless network will cause you some serious frustration. So, if you can stomach wires run throughout the house or are willing to climb up in the attic and run wires through the walls, you can save money and build an entertainment network in your house. I ran the wires and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Related Articles in the Hello TiVo Series
- Cancel Your Cable/Satellite and Save Money While Adding Functionality
- Buh-Bye DirecTV, Hello TiVo – How I Ditched Cable
- Buh-Bye DirecTV, Hello TiVo – How I Ditched Cable – Part II
- Living With the TiVo Premiere – Day-to-Day Digital Living Reviewed
Tags: accessories, accessory, Amazon, Antenna, app, application, Blockbuster, cat5, CAT6, DVR, dvr remote lite, hardware, HD, hdtv, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Netflix, network cable, peanut remote, Premiere, program, pyTiVo, router, Slide Remote, TiVo, wireless