TiVo Premiere DVR Review

TiVo Premiere DVR


In the DVR world, there’s always been one king: TiVo. The new TiVo Premiere DVR boasts a shiny HD menu and access to a range of online multimedia streaming services – not to mention excellent recording and video playback features. But is TiVo still the DVR brand you can trust?

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TiVo Premiere DVR

TiVo Premiere DVR Specs At A Glance

Average Price: $78.99

Size: 16.5 x 9.7 x 2.4

Connection: HDMI, Composite Video

Resolution: Up to 1080p

SD Card Slot: None

USB Ports: 2

Storage Space: Up to 45 hours HD/ 400 hours SD

Internet: Ethernet

Web Browser: None

New TiVo Premiere DVR

Content Services


Netflix: Yes

Hulu: Yes

Amazon Video: Yes

YouTube: Yes

TiVo Premiere DVR: The Good


Price: The price of the TiVo Premiere DVR has come down significantly since it was first launched. You can now get it for under $100 (as opposed to $300), which makes it a very attractive option to rival big names such as Apple TV and Roku. The great thing is that the TiVo comes with the same range of online services as its rivals, with some excellent recording abilities too (see below). But you do need to pay a TiVo service subscription to access them.


Recording Features: The TiVo Premiere DVR can do a lot more than your standard cable company DVR. For a start, you can set it up to automatically download shows based on your selections. You can set it to follow a whole season of a show, or you can choose your favorite directors, actors or genres to have TiVo make recordings for you. When you’re watching a show, the 30 second skip button is very useful to fast-forward your way through.


There’s even a suggestions feature to help you find new TV shows to watch based on what you like. Although you may find some of these features in cable DVR players, they are extremely well implemented and easy to use on the TiVo.


Even the electronic programming guide (EPG) on the TiVo is a lot easier to work your way through than other options. It lets you browse what’s on TV now and for up to two weeks into the future, and you can browse it while you watch your TV shows in the other half of the screen.


Online Content: Considering the fact that TiVo’s strength lies in its DVR recording features, the multimedia streaming options it provides are pretty impressive. Users will have access to Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, Blockbuster and YouTube videos. You’ll also get internet podcasts and radio stations, Rhapsody and Pandora for streaming music, and Picasa for viewing photographs. An excellent variety that will satisfy most users.


Stream Between Devices: Download TiVo’s free Desktop software and you can transfer recorded videos to your PC. This software also makes it easy to transfer your music and photo library to your TiVo for viewing on the TV. An upgrade for around $25 also lets you transfer videos, or transcode TiVo recordings for playback on portable devices such as tablets and smartphones.


New Interface: Both the TiVo Premiere and the TiVo Premiere XL come with a new HD interface that takes advantage of all the screen real estate on a widescreen TV. It’s easy to navigate and looks sleek, even boasting an excellent search feature that’ll let you find content by searching standard TV listings and the web at the same time. It’s worth noting, however, that some of the sub menus are still using the old SD format, and it can be a little clunky switching between the two.


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TiVo Premiere DVR: The Bad


Extra Costs: Although the price of the TiVo Premiere DVR is now a lot more affordable, there are still a range of extra costs to consider when you buy. For a start, using the TiVo features does mean signing up to monthly, yearly or lifetime service (the cost is comparable to cable services).


Aside from that, there are some optional extras. If you want to connect up to Wi-Fi, maybe because you don’t have a convenient wired connection in the area where you want to hook up the box, you’ll need to spend a little money on a Wi-Fi dongle. And, if you want to stream video from your networked PC to the TV through the TV box, you need to spend $25 on the TiVo software that lets you do so.


Size: The TiVo Premiere DVR isn’t really comparable to multimedia streaming devices like the Apple TV or Roku. Those devices are tiny, almost invisible in your living room, whereas the TiVo does look more like a wide but thin DVD player. Note, however, that the TiVo box is designed to record more content so needs a bigger hard drive to do so (devices like Apple TV don’t have any inbuilt storage, or use a small memory card).


Video On Demand: It’s also important to note that the cable card technology used in this TiVo Premiere DVR means that you won’t be able to access your own cable company’s video on demand services. This isn’t really too much of an issue since TiVo comes with so many services integrated into the device.


Is The TiVo Premiere Worth Buying?

Although more and more cable companies are providing customers with a DVR these days, none of these compare to the range of recording features you’ll get with the TiVo Premiere DVR. Even better is the fact that there’s access to a good range of on demand content from Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, YouTube and more. This is an excellent option for those looking for a high quality media streamer and DVR combined, although owners of previous TiVo models might want to wait for a more significant change before they upgrade.


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