Given periodic tuner conflicts with my Premiere XL4/Elite, due to recording duties and Mini streaming, and a desire to periodically offload DVR-ed shows, something the devalued Slingbox cannot offer, I’ve been quite pleased since taking TiVo up on their 10 year customer deal last month for a 6-tuner Roamio. Indeed, while TiVo’s “Stream” functionality isn’t currently as robust or reliable as Sling’s, I downloaded several episodes of Arrow onto an iPad for two recent flights. Even with the more frequent drops or need to restart a stream as the 5PM news flips to 6PM, given TiVo’s need to initiate a recording prior to streaming, it’s still far more efficient and pleasant than Sling for “watching TV” at the dinner table. My only real issue since upgrading TiVo has been storage capacity…
My Lifetimed Premiere XL4 provided 3TB for recordings. And while we’re probably watching less “cable” television these days, we’re hoarding much more content as we accumulate seasons and half-seasons for binge viewing, sans commercial interruption. TiVo had offered me the Roamio Plus (1TB) for $500 or the Roamio Pro (3TB) for $700, both with Lifetime service. I figured I’d give the smaller drive a shot to potentially save a few bucks… and knowing I could upgrade on my own down the road, for less than TiVo charges for the drive delta, should 1TB prove insufficient.
Fast forward a few weeks… Continually pruning my recordings for a sufficient buffer and not being able to take advantage of Verizon providing a few months of Showtime on the house, I pulled the trigger on a drive upgrade.
I went with this highly regarded 3TB Western Digital AV drive for $111 — the same brand and model TiVo utilizes for reliability/longevity. I assume there are various drive tools and settings I could have futzed with via computer, but I went ahead and dropped the drive in without any customization — all you need is 5-10 minutes, assuming you have two Torx screwdrivers/tips and are capable of removing/attaching a single data+power cable. Which emphasizes the ease of this process. Prior TiVo models require drive prep and imaging. But, presumably to better support their MSO partners, Roamio takes care of bare drives up to 3TB. (If you need something larger, WeaKnees can help.) In fact, the initial boot of the new drive may have been quicker than a typical TiVo reboot. I did have to run thru Guided Setup again, turn off Suggestions, etc, and re-pair my CableCARD — not a big deal, but not entirely seamless. Also, in theory, TiVo backs up Season Passes to the cloud. But only one of mine returned. Not sure if it’s because I didn’t wait long enough, it only backs up SPs initiated on the TiVo versus those transferred, or is just flakey. For recordings, I had the benefit of still having my XL4 in play – it was a bit tedious to transfer everything over there and then back, but simpler than determining if I could clone a drive and more practical than offloading to computer via kmttg as I’m between computers and my Macbook Air doesn’t have the disk space.