The RCN TiVo Premiere Launches (Again, in DC)

While those of us in the know were aware RCN has been deploying customized TiVo Premiere units to all-comers in the DC area the last few weeks, a press release and updated landing page now make it official. Unlike the retail TiVo Premiere ($299), RCN’s rendition is currently limited to the the original TiVo interface. But what you gain in functionality and support is pretty substantial.

For only a few bucks more over the monthly cost of the generic RCN DVR, TiVo renters end up with a much better experience. More storage, more features, better UI. Compared to a retail TiVo, the RCN includes over 10,000 hours of On Demand content – transparently utilizing SeaChange technology and RCN broadband to get it done. While features like YouTube and TiVoToGo are enabled, and something not seen in prior relationships like DirecTV, someone has made the decision to prohibit access to Netflix and Amazon VOD. Yet it’s not a unilateral blockage of third party VOD service, as Blockbuster On Demand is available. Go figure. (Given their respective catalogs, for competitive reasons, it’d make more sense to block AMZN and BBI while allowing Netflix.)

In the long run, it’s possible a RCN-provided TiVo (max: $20/mo) could cost more than it’s retail counterpart. But official cable-co support is priceless. They will figure out any CableCARD problems. They will replace defective units. And if a better retail TiVo comes along, cancel the rental and grab it. Other than the loss of Netflix, I’m having a hard time seeing any downside.

12 thoughts on “The RCN TiVo Premiere Launches (Again, in DC)”

  1. I have 2 RCN TiVos. They work great. The second unit is only $12.99 per month, which is quite reasonable, at least as compared to Tivo’s standalone cost.

  2. Some questions:

    Can you add an eSATA hard drive?

    Does 30 second skip work?

    Can you disable channels under “channels I receive” or are you forced to leave, like, home shopping network in the list?

    Are you allowed to opt out of data collection about your activity?

  3. You can add a WD MyDVR Expander drive (and no other), which is about $130 for a TB.

    30 sec skip works. select-play-select-3-0-select

    You can disable whatever channels you want.

    Don’t know about data collection — it’s probably the same as whatever Tivo’s ordinary rules are.

  4. Wow, sounds like it really is a tivo premiere with the glacially slow HDUI disabled and no netflix or amazon. Very cool.

  5. Does it appear the missing Netflix and Amazon is just a temporary issue or permanent?

    Does the box still require a network connection for guide updates or can it get it straight from the cable?

  6. And to add to my questions, Reading the site’s FAQ it sounds like a wireless adapter is included. Is that true, or do you need to buy that separately.

  7. In regards to your first question, a TiVo rep had this to say in the forums: “Unfortunately Netflix and Amazon will not be available on the RCN TiVo DVR at this time. Hopefully that can be changed in the future.”

    The RCN TiVo is not two-way in the standard cable coax sense. So it’s my belief that network connectivity is still required for guide data and for the new On Demand functionality.

    Not sure on the wireless situation, but I didn’t come across anything to make me think an adapter is bundled.

  8. Here is the section I read in FAQ:

    What do I need to get TiVo Premiere from RCN?

    You’ll need our Digital TV service to power your TiVo Premiere. Also, you’ll need RCN high-speed Internet, along with either an in-home wireless network or a hard-wired Internet connection.

    Now that isn’t fully clear, but you’d think if you needed to buy a TiVo Wireless Adapter (since that’s the only one that works with Premiere), it would be listed as a requirement before they come and install it.

    Plus, later on in the FAQ they list the cost breakdown if you bought your own TiVo:

    Here is a breakdown of the cost incurred by a customer who purchases the TiVo Premiere at a retail outlet (Instead of purchasing the RCN TiVo Premiere through RCN):
    # TiVo + Wireless Adapter + Lifetime Fee = $750.00 upfront

    That even further makes me as a consumer think I don’t need to buy a wireless adapter.

    Or maybe as a part of the installation service they will setup an ethernet jack next to your modem and your TV? That would be cool.

    I’m sure John Smith can enlighten me on this.

  9. I’m surprised TiVo doesn’t incorporate a SoC DOCSIS Modem on a dongle or on the motherboard. The cost of incorporating such a chip, or adding MoCA isn’t that great, and would make their hardware more palatable for OEM purchasing ala the RCN deal. TiVo’s decisions are perplexing at times.

  10. Yup, I move to MoCA myself using external boxes, but that’s stupid and expensive. They could easily have included it and made this whole thing much easier to set up for the typical person, especially with this sort of cable-company install.

  11. My installer threw in a free wireless g adapter, in part I think because I was patient after he came late to install. I had planned to use an extra wireless bridge or powerline kit I had kicking around. RCN officially threw in the 802.11g wireless adapters for free to a friend, though. (They charged him for them but then credited him for the $80 cost for two over the course of a couple of months. RCN seems to charge and credit a lot rather than provide things gratis.)

  12. Thanks for the info John Smith. I was curious what would happen if the installer entered a home with a network but no adapter (which wasn’t on the required list).

Comments are closed.