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Replacing Verizon Equipment with TiVO Edge for Cable and TiVO Mini Vox

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Replacing Verizon Equipment with TiVO Edge for Cable and TiVO Mini Vox

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I have had Verizon Fios for 4 years. I have 5 TVs on my account. I have been renting a DVR and 4 additional STBs from Verizon for the 5 TVs. My monthly bill for "Services, Equipment & Discounts" includes $20 for "Multi-Room DVR Enhanced Service," $60 for "Rent: HD Set-Top Box 5," and a $10 "Verizon Loyalty Discount" for a total of $70. Every month. For 4 years.

 

This is way too much. By my calculations, that is over $3,000 in the 4 years I have had Fios to rent equipment that has never been upgraded, serviced, replaced, etc. I had asked Verizon over the years about purchasing equipment but was always told there was no purchased equipment available to replace the rented boxes. I point-blank asked if that meant I would be forever beholden to Verizon to pay equipment rental fees and was told that was correct. I believe I have learned that was not the entire truth.

 

I understand I can purchase my own TiVO equipment and rent a cable card (M-card?) from Verizon for $4.99 a month that will save me at least the $60/month I am paying for the 5 STBs. But I am not a techie and want to ensure I understand what I think I know (I am a retired accountant).

 

Unless I hear something that changes my mind, I propose to purchase a TiVO Edge for Cable and 4 TiVO Mini VOX boxes and then rent a cable card from Verizon to replace the Verizon DVR and 4 STBs I currently rent. The TiVO Edge for Cable has 6 tuners so that should be adequate for my set-up. I realize that I won't be able to get Fios VOD  with this set-up, but I am okay with that. I have never used VOD as I have access to plenty of streaming services that are either free (Crackle, Pluto, Tubi, etc.) or that I receive as a result of a membership I already have (Amazon Prime). I would like to confirm what I think I know and ask a few questions:

 

1. Will my proposed set-up of the TiVO Edge, 4 TiVO Mini VOX units and a rented Verizon cable card ($4.99/month) effectively replace my current Verizon rented DVR and STBs and allow my 5 TVs full access to my Fios TV programming? I understand I also have to pay TiVO a fee for their Edge service ($14.99/month; $149.99/semi-annually; $549.99/Edge unit lifetime).

 

2. Will this set-up not only allow me to view recorded content on any TV, but also allow me to view different live programming on each TV (me watching the SEC game in the man cave, the wife watching DWTS in the master bedroom, the grandkids watching Nickoleon in the family room, the guests watching PBS in the guest bedroom, and the daughter watching the Food Network in the kitchen)?

 

3. My house is fully wired with Cat-6 ethernet cabling. I also have a 5G wireless network throughout the house. There is a connection available at every TV. I also have solid copper coax "home runs" from the ONT area to every TV location in the house. I understand Fios is fully MoCA capable/enabled. In reading the TiVO documentation, it appears they do not recommend using wireless to connect the Minis. I read it as they recommend using ethernet (preferred) or coax (MoCA). I don't imagine I should use 2 or all 3 methods, but is there really 1 connection method that is superior to the others? If so, which should I use?

 

4. One of the CSRs/Techs I chatted with online tried to convince me that I needed a separate cable card for each TiVO Mini. I explained to him that I didn't think so, based on literature I read, and that I didn't even believe the Minis had cable card slots. I know my TVs do not. After some back-and-forth, he checked with someone else and then advised I didn't need cable cards for the Minis - just the 1 for the Edge. Can I get confirmation that this is accurate? Not that I don't trust the Verizon CSR/Tch personnel, but...

 

5. I believe that if all of my presumptions are correct, I can return all of my rented Verizon Fios equipment (the DVR and the 4 STBs) and eliminate the $60 charge on my bill for equipment rental. What about the $20 "Multi-Room DVR Enhanced Service" charge? Does that go, too, or do I still need that because I will have a DVR hooked-up that I want to access on all TVs?

 

I appreciate forbearance with my obvious illiteracy when it comes to this stuff. I'm just having difficulty getting straight answers in language I understand from other sources, including the Verizon CSRs and Techs.

 

Thank you.

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Re: Replacing Verizon Equipment with TiVO Edge for Cable and TiVO Mini Vox

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Short answer ... yes

 

Back in 2013, I bought a TiVO Roamio and 3 Tivo Mini's along with the Lifetime plan for the Roamio guide.


Sounds like you did the same thing I did with a big spreadsheet and looked at costs and break even points -- which for me was 26 months.  Needless to say, I've been on the other side of that point for almost 5 years now and saving month every month as a result.  In that time, I had a hard drive fail on the Roamio (which was a fairly easy replacement exercise using a new standard drive matching the needed specs from Amazon) and one Mini go bonkers -- which Tivo replaced under their service agreement at about 1/2 the cost of a new one.

 

Specifically to your questions ...

1. Yes.   You need only one cable card -- an M-card -- in the main Tivo unit.  The mini's all allocate a tuner on demand from the primary Tivo via ethernet, so no additional cards are required.   This card decodes all signals to which you are subscribed and the DVR is accessible on the Mini's as well.   You lose access to the "on demand" services, but as most of the channels I watch and don't remember to record having streaming versions now which have the content just about as quick, I don't miss it.

 

2. Yes.   As long as there is a tuner available, you can watch live TV on any unit (each "active" device watch a live show takes a tuner as does each simultaneous recording for the DVR -- as long as that is less than 6, you're good.   You can put a unit in Standby if you run out tuners releasing it's allocated tuner -- and eventually a unit gives up the tuner automatically if it's not being actively watched.   As I previously indicated, you can not only watch recordings made on the DVR on any unit, you can also set any show to record from any unit (or the TiVO app on your phone or tablet).

 

3.  Ethernet or MoCA.   Wireless will work, but it can be problematic particularly if others are streaming as well.   I use a combination of both with the main box on MoCA and two of the remotes on Ethernet and one on Moca.   The only caveat with MoCA is the newer Verizon routers are MoCA 2.5 and the TiVO's older Tivo's are 1.1 (and the newer ones I think are 2.0).   To be safe, I think I'd go with ethernet if you can, but as long as you don't have any of their network extender devices which need the MoCA 2.5, you should be fine.   Any way you go, there are number of ways to overcome the MoCA challenge if that's an issue using a lo-pass filter and an MoCA bridge and isolated cable plant for your Mini's -- but don't mind that if you've got the other option available.

 

4. The tech was initially wrong.   One cable card -- and M-card -- is all you need for the main unit.

 

5. Everything goes back and all those charges including the DVR charge come off.  I pay for the cable card @ $4.99/month plus the programming package and taxes/fees along with my Internet (Double play) and that's it.

 

 

 

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Re: Replacing Verizon Equipment with TiVO Edge for Cable and TiVO Mini Vox

Message 2 of 5
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Short answer ... yes

 

Back in 2013, I bought a TiVO Roamio and 3 Tivo Mini's along with the Lifetime plan for the Roamio guide.


Sounds like you did the same thing I did with a big spreadsheet and looked at costs and break even points -- which for me was 26 months.  Needless to say, I've been on the other side of that point for almost 5 years now and saving month every month as a result.  In that time, I had a hard drive fail on the Roamio (which was a fairly easy replacement exercise using a new standard drive matching the needed specs from Amazon) and one Mini go bonkers -- which Tivo replaced under their service agreement at about 1/2 the cost of a new one.

 

Specifically to your questions ...

1. Yes.   You need only one cable card -- an M-card -- in the main Tivo unit.  The mini's all allocate a tuner on demand from the primary Tivo via ethernet, so no additional cards are required.   This card decodes all signals to which you are subscribed and the DVR is accessible on the Mini's as well.   You lose access to the "on demand" services, but as most of the channels I watch and don't remember to record having streaming versions now which have the content just about as quick, I don't miss it.

 

2. Yes.   As long as there is a tuner available, you can watch live TV on any unit (each "active" device watch a live show takes a tuner as does each simultaneous recording for the DVR -- as long as that is less than 6, you're good.   You can put a unit in Standby if you run out tuners releasing it's allocated tuner -- and eventually a unit gives up the tuner automatically if it's not being actively watched.   As I previously indicated, you can not only watch recordings made on the DVR on any unit, you can also set any show to record from any unit (or the TiVO app on your phone or tablet).

 

3.  Ethernet or MoCA.   Wireless will work, but it can be problematic particularly if others are streaming as well.   I use a combination of both with the main box on MoCA and two of the remotes on Ethernet and one on Moca.   The only caveat with MoCA is the newer Verizon routers are MoCA 2.5 and the TiVO's older Tivo's are 1.1 (and the newer ones I think are 2.0).   To be safe, I think I'd go with ethernet if you can, but as long as you don't have any of their network extender devices which need the MoCA 2.5, you should be fine.   Any way you go, there are number of ways to overcome the MoCA challenge if that's an issue using a lo-pass filter and an MoCA bridge and isolated cable plant for your Mini's -- but don't mind that if you've got the other option available.

 

4. The tech was initially wrong.   One cable card -- and M-card -- is all you need for the main unit.

 

5. Everything goes back and all those charges including the DVR charge come off.  I pay for the cable card @ $4.99/month plus the programming package and taxes/fees along with my Internet (Double play) and that's it.

 

 

 

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Re: Replacing Verizon Equipment with TiVO Edge for Cable and TiVO Mini Vox

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lasagna:

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I very much appreciate your reply and advice.

 

I ordered the TiVO equipment and m-card yesterday. I picked-up the m-card from the  Verizon store today and the equipment will be delivered tomorrow. I’ll hopefully get this set-up this weekend, return Verizon’s equipment early next week and be done with their ridiculous equipment rental charges.

 

Again, thank you very much!

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Re: Replacing Verizon Equipment with TiVO Edge for Cable and TiVO Mini Vox

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One word of wisdom ... start only with the main Tivo unit and get that fully working first (making sure the guide data retrieves thru your internet connection and insuring that all the channels you subscribe to are viewable).

 

It took a call or two to Verizon to get them to get the M-card properly authorized so it would decode all my channels (I had some of my channels initially viewable but others said I was not subscribed) even though I followed their activation instructions that came with the card exactly.   They did some fiddling on the backend (after getting all the card information and stuff from me over the phone) and pushed the proper updates to the M-card and things started working (they had me keep the box turned on and checking various channels while they did this until we were sure everything was working).  Once that was done, I never had a problem after that.

 

After that, you should be able to just hook up the Mini's, connect them to the LAN, and go thru the power up configuration screens and be up and running (they find the main unit automatically). 

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Re: Replacing Verizon Equipment with TiVO Edge for Cable and TiVO Mini Vox

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Thanks. Got everything setup in 3-4 hours last weekend. The Verizon online activation site for the cable card sucked. I put all the information in and hit “go.” I got the “blue circle of death” for about 30 minutes before I gave up and called their activation line. Miraculously, I actually got a live person on the line within minutes and they were able to push the activation from their end. From there, everything went reasonably well. I actually spent more time on the phone with TiVO as one of the minis got hung-up during setup and I needed some help to get it out of an endless loop. Other than that, it was a relatively simple and easy process.

 

So far, so good after the first week. Everything works flawlessly and my wife actually likes the TiVO guide better than the Fios guide from the old rented equipment. I am really liking the RF functionality of the TiVO remotes. Got all of the old Verizon boxes packed up and shipped back. That will knock $80 plus taxes off my monthly bill. With the “All In” TiVO service plan, I’ve got about $1,400 invested in this equipment. My payback period will be less than 2 years. That pleases me to no end.

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